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which still continues to flow, though sometimes with a fuller current, and at others with a diminished stream: while that of the hypocrite resembles a land-flood, now impetuously deluging the fields, and then wholly disappearing. But to those, who thus “patiently conti“ nue in well-doing,” and to them only, will the righteous Judge at last assign the eternal inheritance. “He that continueth to the end shall be saved."
We need not enlarge on the reverse of this character. “ Unto them that are contentious, and do not “ obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; indigna
tion and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every " soul of man that doeth evil.” Such persons, instead of believing the gospel, and in humble repentance embracing the promised salvation, contend against it, 15 contradicting and blaspheming.” They dispute against the strictness of the divine law or justice, and the sentence denounced against transgressors. They oppose their own reasonings against the express testimony of God, in respect of the mysteries of redemption; and venture to charge him foolishly, as if they were more wise and righteous than He.-Being thus “ contentious, they do not obey the truth;” they will
not submit to God, repent of sin, believe in Christ, L separate “they obey unrighteousness:” sin, in one
form or other, has dominion over them; and their unbelief is the effect of a depraved heart and a rebellious will, which it tends reciprocally to confirm and ren. der more desperate. To all these the righteous Judge will recompense“ indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish;” not regarding their outward privileges or distinctions, but deciding impartially according to
their works: for, “there is no respect of persons with 6 God.”. Let us then,
II. Compare this statement with several other im. portant scriptures, which may serve to elucidate and confirm it. ,
It is the uniform declaration of the sacred writers, that all men shall be judged according to their works: yet it is equally evident that faith, or unbelief, determines a man's state in the sight of God, as justified, or as under condemnation. “ He that believeth and “is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." “ Verily, verily, I say unto
you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him “ that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation, but is passed from death “ unto life.” “ He that believeth not is condemned " already: because he hath not believed in the name “ of the only begotten Son of God."*
The same instruction is implied in the apostle's vision. w The “ books were opened: and another book was opened, “ which is the book of life; and the dead were judged “out of those things, which were written in the books "according to their works; and whosoever was not “ found written in the book of life, was cast into the " lake of fire.”+
The prophet, having shewn that the ways of the Lord are equal, was led to state the characters of the righteous and the wicked; and then he adds, " When “ the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, " and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall *** save his soul alive; --repent and turn from all your “ transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”* The true penitent therefore will not be condemned, when judged according to his deeds; which he must be, if the solemn process should be conducted according to the strictness of the law, without reference to the grace of the gospel, to which all these invitations and promises belong.
* Mark xvi. 16. John ii. 18. v. 24.
+ Rev. XX, 12-15. * Ezekiel xviii, 27-30.
The atoning sacrifices of the Mosaick law, which typified the redemption of Christ, were offered upon mount Zion: and David, enquiring who should ascend and worship with acceptance on that holy hill, draws a character, which entirely accords with that given of a true believer in the new Testament.” Thus he shews us, which of the professors of true religion will stand accepted in the day of judgment: but this hath nothing to do with such as openly neglect or oppose revealed truth, or refuse the salvation of the gospel.
In perfect harmony with these scriptures, our Lord describes his true disciples, “Whosoever shall do the “ will of my father which is in heaven, the same is
my brother, my sister, and my mother.” “T: 'ssed
are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” I. This word or will of God doubtless has peculiar relation to Christ, and the voice from heaven, “ This is
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear
ye him:” and a moral or pharisaical decency of conduct most essentially differs from the obedience of faith. “ He that believeth not God hath made him a
+ P3. xv. I Matt. xii, 49, 50. Luke si. 98.
liar, because he believeth not the record that God
gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God “ hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his “ Son; he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath " not the Son of God hath not life."* The unbe. liever, therefore, whatever his moral character may be, so far from doing the will of God, disobeys his express command, and deliberately affronts his veracity.
Our Lord closed his sermon on the mount with this remarkable passage.
“Not every one that saith “ unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom “ of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father “ which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy “ name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy " name done many wonderful works? and then will " I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from
me ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever “ heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will “ liken him unto a wise man, which built his house
upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house " and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. " And every one that heareth these sayings of mine “ and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish
man, which built his house upon the sand; and the “ rains descended and the floods came, and the winds “ blew, and beat upon that house and it fell, and great
was the fall of it.”+ This passage evidently refers
* 1 John v. 10–12. + Matt. vii. 21.-27. Luke vi. 46-49.
to the day of judgment; but it mentions none except those who call Christ Lord, come to him, and hear his sayings. His professed disciples therefore are exclusively intended; and living faith is described as distinguishable from dead faith by its holy fruits. Disobedient professors of Christianity will be condemned as hypocrites, or wicked and slothful servants; and avowed unbelievers as “ enemies who would not have “ the Son of God to reign over them."*
But the solemn description of the great decisive day, given us by the Judge himself, is most conclusive on the subject.† In this important scripture, acts of kindness, shewn to believers for the sake of Christ, are the only deeds mentioned, as the reason for the rejoicing words addressed to the righteous. " Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the beginning of the world.” And no charge is brought against the wicked, but their omission of such duties, when the sentence is denounced, “ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, “ prepared for the devil and his angels." Yet it will then appear, that the righteous have performed many other good works of divers kinds, and that the wicked have been guilty of numerous other crimes and omissions. Why then did our Lord mention these things exclusively? Doubtless, because he supposed them to constitute the most conclusive evidence of genuinc faith, or unbelief. Beneficence, not springing from love to Christ, nor exercised towards his disciples, his brethren or representatives, cannot be here intend
Matt. xxv. 30. Luke xix. 21-27.
* Matt. xxv, 31--16.