he will not hearken to your excuses, but will try your ways by the rule; he will know whether they be straight or crooked.

When you plead for these and thase liberties which you take, let it be considered, whether they be likely to be allowed of by the Judge at the last great day. Will they bear to be tried by his eyes, which are purer than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity ?

4. To those who are wont to excuse their wickedness. Will the excuses which you make for yourselves be accepted at the day of judgment ? If you excuse yourselves to your own consciences, by saying, that you were under such and such temptations which you could not withstand ; that corrupt nature prevailed, and you could not overcome it; that it would have been so and so to your damage, if you had done otherwise; that if you had done such a duty, you would have brought yourselves into difficulty, would have incurred the displeasure of such and such friends, or would have been despised and laughed at; or if you say, you did no more than it was the common custom to do, no more than many godly inen hare done, no more than certain persons of good reputation now practise; that if you had done otherwise, you would have been singular; if these be your excuses for the sins which you commit, or for the duties which you neglect, let me ask you, will they appear sufficient when they shall be examined at the day of judgment ?

5. To those who live in impenitence and unbelief. There are some persons who live in no open vice, and perhaps conscientiously avoid secret immorality, who yet live in impenitence and unbelief. They are indeed called upon to repent and believe the gospel, to forsake their evil ways and thoughts, and to return to God, that he may have mercy on them; to come unto Christ, labouring, and heavy-laden with sin, that they may obtain rest of him; and are assured, that if they believe, they shall be saved; and that if they believe not, they shall be damned; and all the most powerful motives are set before them, to induce them to comply with these exhortations, especially those drawn from the eternal world; yet they persist in sin, they remain impenitent and unbumbled; they will not come unto Christ, that they may have life,

Now, such men shall be brought into judgment for their conduct, as well as more gross sinners. Nor will they be any more able to stand in the judgment than the other. They resist the most powerful means of grace; go on in sin against the clear light of the gospel; refuse to hearken to the kindest calls and invitations, reject the most amiable Saviour, the Judge bimself; and despise the free offers of eternal life, glory, and felicity. And how will they be able to answer for these things at the tribunal of Christ?

IV. If there be a day of judgment appointed, then let all be very strict in trying their own sincerity. God on that day will discover the secrets of all hearts. The judgment of that day will be like the fire, which burns up whatsoever is not true gold; wood, hay, stubble, and dross, shall be all consumed by the scorching fire of that day. The Judge will be like a refiner's fire, and fuller's soap, which will cleanse away all filthiness, however it may be coloured over : Mal. iii. 2. Who may abide the day of his coming ? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap; and chap. iv. l. For behold the day cometh that shall burn as ar oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.

There are multitudes of men that wear the guise of saints, appear like saints, and their state, both in their own eyes and in the eyes of their neighbours, is good. They have sheep's clothing. But no disguise can hide them from the eyes of the Judge of the world. His eyes are as a fame of fire: they search the hearts and try the reins of the children of men. He will see whether they be sound at heart; he will see from what principles they have acted. A fair show will in no degree deceive him, as it doth men in the present state. It will signify nothing to say, Lord, we have eaten and drunk in thy presence; and in thy name have we cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works. It will signify nothing to pretend to a great deal of comfort and joy, and to the experience of great religious affections, and to your having done many things in religion and morality, unless you have some greater evidences of sincerity.

Wherefore let every one take heed that he be not deceived concerning himself; and that he depend not on that which will not bear examination at the day of judgment. Be not contented with this, that you have the judgment of men, the judgment of godly men, or that of ministers, in your favour. Consider that they are not to be your judges at last. Take occasion frequently to compare your hearts with the word of God; that is the rule by which you are to be finally tried and judged. And try yourselves by your works, by

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which also you must be tried at last. Inquire whether you lead holy Christian lives, whether you perform universal and unconditional obedience to all God's commands, and whether you do it from a truly gracious respect to God.

Also frequently beg of God, the judge, that he would search you, try you now, and discover you to yourselves, that you may see if you be insincere in religion; and that he would lead you in the way everlasting. Beg of God, that if

be not upon a good foundation, he would unsettle you, and fix you upon the sure foundation. The example of the Psalmist in this is worthy of imitation : Psal. xxvi. 1, 2. Judge me, O Lord, eramine me, and prove me; try my reins and mine heart; and Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24. Search me, O God, and know my heart : try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be

wicked way

in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. God will search us hereafter, and discover what we are, both to ourselves and to all the world ; let us pray that he would search us, and discover our hearts to us now. We have need of divine help in this matter; for the heart is deceitful above all things,

V. If God hath appointed a day to judge the world, let us judge and condemn ourselves for our sins. This we must do, if we would not be judged and condemned for them on that day. If we would escape condemnation, we must see that we justly may be condemned; we must be so sensible of our vileness and guilt, as to see that we deserve all that condemnation and punishment which are threatened ; and that we are in the hands of God, who is the sovereign disposer of us, and will do with us as seemeth to himself good. Let us therefore often reflect on our sins, confess them before God, condemn and abhor ourselves, be truly humbled, and repent in dust und ashes.

VI. If these things be so, let us by no means be forward to judge others. Some are forward to judge others, to judge their hearts both in general and upon particular occasions, to determine as to the principles, motives, and ends of their actions. But this is to assume the province of God, and to set up ourselves as lords and judges. Rom. xiv. 4. Who art thou, that thou judgest another man's servant ? Jam. iv. 11. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law. To be thus disposed to judge and act censoriously towards others, is the way to be judged and condemned ourselves. Matth. vii. 1, 2. Judge not, that ye be


not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged : and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

VII. This doctrine affords matter of great consolation to the godly. This day of judgment, which is so terrible to ungodly men, affords no ground of terror to you, but abundant ground of joy and satisfaction. For though you now meet with more affliction and trouble than inost wicked men, yet on that day you shall be delivered from all afliction, and from all trouble. If you be unjustly treated by wicked men, and abused by them, what a comfort is it to the injured, that they may appeal to God, who judgeth righteously. The Psalmist used often to comfort himself with this.

Upon these accounts the saints have reason to love the appearing of Jesus Christ. 2 Tim. iv. 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all those that love his appearing. This is to the saints a blessed hope. Tit. ii. 13. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. This day may well be the object of their eayer desire, and when they hear of Christ's coming to judginent, they may well say, Even so come, Lord Jesus, Rev. xxii. 20. It will be the most glorious day that ever the saints saw; it will be so both to those who shall die, and whose souls shall go to heaven, and to those who shall then be found alive on earth : it will be the wedding-day of the church. Surely then io the consideration of the approach of this day, there is ground of great consolation to the saints.







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