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All things will be regulated in the judgment of the great day according to the law of righteousness. God "hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” All men, therefore, must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be rewarded or punished, according to the law of righteousness, or the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. Hence, “As many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law.”* This law is the Gospel; for it is added, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel.” The Gospel of God, Paul calls his Gospel, because it was the Gospel which he preached. And according as men shall obey or disobey this Gospel, so it will fare with them in the solemn day of account. "What” then o'shall the end be of those who obey not the Gospel of God?" In the second Epistle to the Thessalonians we have an answer to this solemn and interesting question. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God; and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Such will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.”
Those who in the day of judgment will be admitted into the kingdom of God, and who will be cast out, we learn from the twenty fisth chapter of Saint Matthew. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall be sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
* Rom. ii, 11.
you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visit. ed me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer bim saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered and fed theç? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer, and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Had those persons who were set on the left hand a degree of true holiness in their hearts? Had they served God in their day and generation? Were they subjects of gødly sincerity? Had they denied themselves and taken up the cross daily and followed Christ? Had they kept the commandments of God? How will you answer these questions? Was the sentence of eternal death passed upon them by the righteous Lord and just Judge, because they had not been perfect in holiness? We learn no such thing from the preceding representation of the process of the general judgment. The Judge said to those on the left hand,
Depart from me, ye cursed; for I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat. He doth not say, Depart ye cursed, because ye are not perfect in holiness, or because ye have sinned. This could not be the rea
For if so, what could be the difference between those on the right hand, and those on the left? Why then were those on the left hand doomed to everlasting fire? I will answer the question. Not because they were not perfect in holiness; not because they had committed some sin; but because there was no love of God in them; because they were entirely destitute of charity. They had not put off the old man,
put on the new, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling symbal; and though I bestow all my goods to feed tlie poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, I am nothing. Did the aposile mean to assert that they are nothing who are not sinless, or perfect in holiness? This cannot be his meaning. Charity is love to God. But do not some men love, who are not perfect in holiness, who ule not sinless in their obedience? And, had those persons on the left land, the least degree of love to God in their hearts, would they have been doomed to eternal fire? They would not. The reason, therefore, why they were cursed, and the sentence of death denounced against them, was not because their obedience had fallen short of perfection; but because they were entirely disobedient: they had not obeyed the Gospel of God in the least degree.
l'hose on the left hand went away into everlasting punishinent; but the righteous into life eternal. Did the Judge give life eternal to those on the right hand! Did he say, “Come ye blessed of my Father,” because they were perfectly holy? because their obedience to Christ had been sinless? If not, then the law regulating the judgment of the great day, does not require sintess obedience in order to salvation.
GENESIS ii, 17.
- In the day that thou eatest thereof; thou shalt
HAVING shown in three articles, that God has given no law to man since the apostasy, requiring sinless obedience in order to happiness, we proceed to a fourth:
IV. The law given to Moses on Mount Sinai, does not require sinless obedience in order to happiness.
“'I'he law," says Jobn the Evangelist, “was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Here seems to be a contrast between the law by Moses, and grace and trutli by Jesus Christ. It caonot bowever mean, that the law given by Moses was destitute of grace and truth: for it had the same origin; being equally, with grace and truth, derived from a source of infinite purity, Moses gave the law to the people of Israel, but God gave it to Moses. All that Moses could do was to give that law to the people which God had communicated to hini. God can, not only reveal to men what they ought to do; but he is able to set home the law upon the mind; he can write it upon the fleshy tables of the heart. Hence, “When the commandment came," says Paul, “sin revived and I died.” The law given to Moses, aside from the grace of Christ, remains a dead letter. But, in the hand of Christ, conveying the truth into the heart, it becomes "quick and powerful
, sharper than a two edged sword.” This I conceive, explains the antithesis between the law by Moses, and grace and truth by Jesus Christ.
The law given by Moses is the law of God. It cons tains words spoken by God himself. And this law, that is, the moral law, all are agreed, was never dissolved: “And God spake all these words saying, I am the Lord thy God." And “thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This law teaches us what we must do, and what we must not do. It requires us to love God and to keep his commandments. And the language of this law is, that, to a thousand generations God will show mercy to them that love him. The moral law then stands upon the foundation of the covenant of redemption. It comprehends the promise of God which was made to man immediately after the apostasy, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.
Had it not been the purpose of God to redeem men, by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, he would never have given a law containing mercy for thousands of them that love him. Hence, the moral law which was given by Moses, was essentially different from the law given to Adam in Paradise, for that law threatened death for the first act of disobedience, announcing, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” That law, therefore, contained no mercy on any condition what
When it was once violated the death threaten. ed must inevitably follow. With the Sinai law it is not so. This law requires love to God, and on that condition, promises life eternal. But it is not like the law to Adam which threatened death for the first act of disobedience, without a possibility of repentance. The law to Adam gave no encouragement, that if he would repent, he should escape the deach threatened him: Nay; the death threatened was infallibly connected with the first act of transgression. There was no way to escape the threatening, when the offence was once committed. But is there no room for repentance in the moral law? Does it hold out no encouragement? Nay; does it not promise the best things to the penitent? Most certainly it does. No part of divine revelation affords greater encourageinent to the penitent than what is contained in the moral law, This law, therefore, does not punish with everlasting death all those who transgress it is one single instance, without a possibility of repentance. This would be