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among those on the right hand, or these on the left. There shall not be a silent conscience, and far less a scared conscience amongst all the ungodly crew : But their consciences shall be most quick sighted, and most lively, in that day. None shall then call good evil, or evil good. Ignorance of what sin is, and what things are sins, will have no place among them: And the subtle reasonings of men, in favour of their lusts, will then be for ever baffled by their own consciences. None shall have the favour (if I may so speak) of lying under the soft cover of delusion : But they shall all be convicted by their conscience. Nill they, will they, they shall look on this book, read and 'be confounded, and stand speechless, knowing that nqthing is charged upon them by mistake; since this is a book, which was always in their own custody. Thus shall the Judge make every man see himself in the glass of his own conscience which will make quick work.
Thirdly, The Book of the Law shall be opened.' This book is the standard and rule, by which is known what is right, and what is wrong: as also, what sentence is to be passed accordingly, on these who are under it. As to the opening of this book, in its statutory part, which sheys what is sin, and what is duty; it falls in with the opening of the book of conscience. For conscience is set, by the sovereign Law-giver, in every man's breast, to be kis private teacher, to shew him the law, and his private patstor, to make application of the same; and at that day, it will be perfectly fit for its office ; so that the conscience, which is most stupid now, shall then read to the man, most accurate, but dreadful lectures, on the bay. But what seems (mainly at least) pointed at, by the opening of 2his book, is the opening of that part of it, which deterInines the reward of mens works. Now, the law promised life, upon perfect obedience ; but none can be found on the right hand, or on the left, who will pretend to that, when once the book of conscience is opened, it threateneth death upon disobedience, and will effectually bring it upon all under its dominion. And this part of the book of the law, determining the reward of mens works, is opened only to shew what must be the portion of the ungodly, and tbut there they may read their sentence before it be pronounced. But it is not opened for the sentence of the saint's; for no sentence absolving a sinner, could ever be
drawn out of it. The law promiseth life, not as it is a 'rule of actions, but as a covenant of works : And therefore innocent man could not have demanded life upon his obe. dience, till the law was reduced into the form of a covenant, as was shewn before. But the saints having been in this life, brought under a new covenant, namely, the covenant of grace, were dead to the law, as a covenant of works, and it was dead to them. Wherefore, as they shall not have any fears of death from it, so they can have no hopes of life from it, since they are not under the law, but under grace, Rom. vi. 14. But, for their sentences another book is opened ; of which in the next place. :
Thus the Book of the Law is opened, for the sentence against all those on the left hand, and by it they will elearly see the justice of the judgment against them, and how the Judge proceeds therein, according to law. New vertheless, there will be this difference, namely, that these who had only the natural law, and lived not under any special revelation, shall be judged by that law of nature they had in their hearts : Which law bears, « That they who commit such things (as they will stand convicted of) are worthy of death,” Rom. i. 32. But these, who had the written law, to whom the word of God came, as it has sounded in the visible church, shall be judged by that written luv. So says the Apostle, Rom. ii. 12. “ For as many as have sinned without (the written) law, shall perish without (the written) law : And as many as have sinned in the law (i. e under the written law) shall be judged by the (written) law.”
Lastly, Another book shall be opened, which is the book of life, Rev. xx. 12. In this, the names of all the elect are written, as Christ said to his disciples, Luke x. 20.Your names are written in heaven. This book contains God's gracious and unchangeable purpose, to bring all the elect to eternal life ; and that, in order thereto, they be redeemed by the blood of his Son, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and raised up by him at the last day without sin. It is now lodged in the Mediator's hand, as the book of the manner of the kingdom; and having perfected the work the Father gave them to do, he shall on the great day, produce and open the book, and present the persons therein named, faultless before the presence of his glory; Jude 74. « Not having spot or
wrinkle, or any such thing," Eph. v. 27. None of them all, who are named in the book shall be missing. They shall be found qualified, according to the order of the book, redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, raised up without spot ; what remains then, but that, according to the same book they obtain the great end, namely, everlasting life. This may be gathered from that precious promise, Rev. iii. 5. “ He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment (being raised in glory) and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. But I will confess his name (it shall be, as it were, read out amongst the rest of God's elect) before my Father, and before his angels.” Here is now the ground of the saints absolviture, the ground of the blessed sentence they shall receive, the book of life being opened, it will be known to all, who are elected, and who are not. Thus fap of the trial of the parties. :
Eighthly, Then shall the Judge pronounce that blessed sentence on the saints, “ Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, Mat. xxv. 34. It is most probable, the man Christ will pronounce it with an audible voice; which mot only all the saints, but all the wicked likewise, shali hear and understand. Who can conceive the inexpressible joy, with which these happy ones shall hear these words? Who can imagine that fulness of joy, which shall be poured into their hearts, with these words reaching their ears? And who can conceive how much of hell shall break into the hearts of all the ungodly crew, by these words of heaven? It is certain this sentence shall be pronounced before the sentence of damnation, Mat. xxv. 34, 41. “ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed, &C. Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed," &c. There is no need of this order, that the saints may with. out fear or astonishment, hear the other sentence on the reprobate ; they who are raised in glory, caught up to meet the Lord in the air, presented without spot, and whose souls (for the far greater part of them) have been so long in heaven before, shall not be capable of any such fear. But hereby they will be orderly brought in, to sit in judgment, as Christ's assessors, against the ungodly;
whose torment will be aggravated by it. It will be a hell to them, to be kept out of hell, till they see the doors of heaven opened to receive the saints, who once dwelt in the same country, parish, or town, and sat under the same ministry with themselves. Thus will they see heaven afar off, to make their hell the hotter. Like that unbelieving lord, 2 Kings vii. 19, 20. they shall see the plenty with their eyes, but shall not eat thereof. Every word of the blessed sentence, shall be like an envenomed arrow shot into their hearts, while they see what they have lost, and from thence gather what they are to expect.
This sentence passeth on the saints according to their works, Rev, xx. 12. But not for their works, nor for their faith neither, as if eternal life were merited by them. The sentence itself overthrows this absurd conceit. The kingdom they are called to, was prepared for them, from the foundation of the world ; not left to be merited by themselves, who were but of yesterday. They inherit it as sons, but procure it not to themselves, as servants do the reward of their work. They were redeemed by the blood of Christ, and clothed with his spotless righteousness, which is the proper cause of the sentence. They were also qualified for heaven, by the sanctification of his Spirit; and hence it is according to their works : So that the ungodly world shall see now, that the Judge of the quick and dead does good to them, who were good. Therefore it is added to the sentence, “ For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat," &c. ver. 35, 36. which doth not denote the ground, but the evidence of their right to heaven : As if a judge should say, he absolves a man pursued for debt, for the witnesses depone, that it is paid already. So the Apostle says, 1 Cor. x. 5. “But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness." Their overthrow in the wilderness was not the ground of God's displeasure with them, but it was an evidence of it. And thus, our Lord teacheth us the necessary connection betwixt glory and good works, namely, works evangelically good ; works having a respect to Jesus Christ, and done out of faith in him, and love to him, without which they will not be regarded in that day. And the saints will so far be judged according to such works, that the degrees of glory amongst
them shall be according to these works; for it is an eternal truth, “ He that soweth sparingly, shall reap sparingly,” 2 Cor, ix. 6.
Thus shall the good works of the godly have a glorious, not a gratuitous reward ; a reward of grace, not of debt; which will fill them with wonder at the riches of free grace, and the Lord's condescending to take any notice, especially such public notice, of their poor worthless works. The which seems to be the import of what they are said to answer, “ Saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered," &c. ver. 37, 38, 39. And may they not justly wonder, to see themselves set down to the marriage-supper of the Lamb, in consequence of a dinner or supper, a little meat or drink (such as they had) which they gave to an hungry or thirsty member of Christ, for his sake ? Oh plentiful harvest following upon the seed of good works: Rivers of pleasure springing up from (perhaps) a cup of cold water given to a disciple, in the name of a disciple ! Eternal inansions of glory rising out of a night's lodging given to a saint, who was a stranger ! Everlasting robes of glory given in exchange of a new coat, or, it may be, an old one, bestowed on some saint, who had not necessary clothing! A visit to a sick saint, repaid by Christ himself coming in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels! A visit made to a poor prisoner, for the cause of Christ, repaid with a visit from the Judge of all, taking away the visitant with him to the palace of heaven, there to be ever with himself! These things will be matter of everlasting wonder, and should stir up all, to sow liberally in time, while the seed-time of good works doth last. But it is Christ's stamp on good works, that puts a value on them, in the eye of a gracious God; which seems to be the import of our Lord's reply, ver. 40. “ In as much as ye have done it, unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
IX. Now the saints having received their own sentence, they shall judge the world, i Cor. vi. 2. This was not fulfilled, when the empire became Christian, and Chrisa tians were made magistrates. No, the Psalmist tells us, 6 This honour have all the saints," Psal. cxlix. 9. And the Apostle in the forecited place, adds, “ And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge.