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whom are all things in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings:" (Heb. ii. 10:) whose example reminds us of the precautions with which the Deity has thought fit to fence about his mercy, that it might not be abused, nor regarded too familiarly; and affords a wholesome admonition to persons like the idle dreamers before mentioned, who would have that mercy to be not only infinite, as it is; but also without either method or conditions, which I trust, I have proved, it is not. For when they observe, that even the Captain of their salvation is not restored and made perfect, or "perfected," (Luke xiii. 32,) as he says, according to his humanity, but through sufferings and a sincere obedience to the will of God, it may teach them, that their restoration is not such a mere matter of course as they had imagined, but that we must deny ourselves in many things, and be "made conformable unto his death, if we would know him, and the power of his resurrection." (Phil. iii. 10.)

It is easier to comprehend this matter, than to conceive how three superior properties like judgment, justice, and rigour, which are ascribed to God, and the last of them especially, can be reconciled with his excellent mercy and goodness, with which they have now been proposed. For although we can conceive most satisfactorily and agreeably such a position of the case as when "mercy seasons justice;" yet cannot we any how that of mercy and rigour combined but still we are bound to believe the fact; and its Author is not bound to account for it. The measures of justice and mercy pursued by divine Providence are, like its other measures, of course more sublime and extensive than any in use among men. We find it just, if not indispensable to punish or reward instantly on the occa sion; and specifically in the person or fortune of one by whom such occasion is afforded: divine Wisdom on the contrary suspends and dilates its judgments and mercies in a measure proportioned to the occasion and object.

And often are they rendered on great occasions not only to the third and fourth generation of the party pleasing or offending, but distantly also in place, as well as in time or succession to those who are no otherwise related to that party apparently than by occupying the same soil, or the same trust; or constituting a part of the same community of which that party may be a member or chief. "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will; and whom he will he hardeneth.-And O man; who art thou that repliest against God?" (Rom. ix. 18, 20.) It may seem hard, that men should be made liable, as they undoubtedly are, not only for the vices, but also for the follies and indiscretions of their forefathers; their neighbours and other relations; but does it not seem wonderful on the other hand, that the Lord their God should shew mercy unto thousands in those (however related, by government, by country, or by kindred) who love him and keep his commandments? Certainly, considering the grandeur and import of either attribute, the apprehension of his judgment should lead to a greater concern than usual for his mercy; as the Psalmist intimates, "But who regardeth the power of thy wrath? For even thereafter as a man feareth so is thy displeasure?" (Ps. xc. 11.)

He clearly evinced this perfection of a judicial character, the combining of justice with mercy in the first and most general of his judgments on mankind; justly punishing, and mercifully saving at the same time: as for example, in multiplying the woman's, and every female's, sorrow and conception, for the feeling necessary to make her a tender and devoted mother; also in cursing the ground with stubbornness and thistles for man's sake, to exercise his strength, patience and ingenuity while he lives; and dissolving him again at the appointed time, and passing his elements through their native dust, to filter them as it were, and purify them from the dirt and dross contracted in a sinful world previous to their perfecting in a better, as impure water is filtered through a stone and prepared for


One word from him was enough for every purpose: and though a severe sentence, namely "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return," (Gen. iii. 19,) it produced by its inconceivable operation the most perfect conjunction and agreement imaginable of those two divine attributes judgment and mercy: here all men dead in Adam, and the ground cursed for his sake; (Ib. 17;) there all men alive who are in Christ, and a new world for their sake, or rather "his by whom are all things, and we by him." (Cor. I. viii. 6.)

It ought also to be here remembered again, how the divine authority still dispenses its judgments to mankind on the same principle of combining judgment with mercy, and favour with severity. For there is nothing but sin that really annoys us; and how can the Good Being better express his love to the world than by destroying the only thing that annoys it?-than by hating, punishing, disgracing, persecuting, and finally driving clean out of the way that which torments it? David therefore clears a great point in mentioning as an instance of divine goodness that congenial distribution of good and evil to their natural objects; that is, of good to good, and evil to evil, as we find respectively. He says, "God spake once: and twice I have also heard the same, That power belongeth unto God; and that thou, Lord, art merciful: for thou rewardest every man according to his work." (Ps. lxii. 11, 12.) So the wise son of Sirach too avers; looking backward to principles, and forward to consequences or effects, "For the good are good things created from the beginning: so evil things for sinners." (Ecclus. xxxix. 25.) And if the good suffer, it is not their good but their evil constituents that smart for the evil; which it is for their good to extirpate. "An unwise man doth not well consider this: and a fool doth not understand it." (Ps. xcii. 6.)

There are a few sorts of these foolish and regardless persons, which have been already alluded to, and may now be severally mentioned, as,

1, Men of that sort which the apostle speaks of: "who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (Eph. iv. 19.) For to any one of that sort the judgments of God will not seem worth heeding, if others should happen to mention them. "His ways are alway grievous: thy judgments are far above out of his sight; and therefore defieth he all his enemies." (Ps. x. 5.)

2, To another sort of men, not quite so hardened and depraved as that, but at the same time not much wiser, the awfulness of the event, that is, of a future judgment, and their very anxiety concerning its issue, will offer a strong inducement for self-deception,-if peradventure by bringing themselves to disbelieve such event they might any how contrive to prevent it. And what pitiful subterfuges will they adopt to accommodate their reason to their inclination in this dreadful emergency! For example; they will persuade themselves one while, that the world is so much of a sort as to leave little room for selection: therefore, admitting the probability of a future judgment, themselves will stand as good a chance as others at least in escaping condemnation; although they may possibly have read somewhat of "the few that be saved." (Luke xiii. 23.) Then

3, There will be some who consider, that the notion of a future judgment does not accord with the doctrine of fate, or that regular concatenation of events by means of which our actions whether good or bad necessarily fall into their consequences, and are naturally rewarded according to their merits. For judgment (in its usual sense at least) will imply some other parts likewise, besides the consequence; as previously-an examination of evidence, deliberation thereon, reference to some code known and understood, or that might be understood, by defendant, and lastly the decision or sentence, with a formal declaration of the same. But in the general judgment hereafter, they think, there can be no examination upon facts that were

known to the Judge himself before they were committed, nor deliberation upon the nature and merits of a case that is self-evident, nor reference to a code which the defendants do not acknowledge; so "the day" to their mind may be never. And in short, with a little practice these intellectual suicides are first able to persuade themselves, that the notion of such a future process is quite visionary: then by little and little they come to forget it; and in the end, to think no more of the day of retribution, than the first mentioned vicious sort, or than those who never heard of it. And, to crown the sample of confusion in regard to this important doctrine, we find

4, Another very remarkable sort of fanatic believers; whose preconception it would be hard to account for, if the same revelation from which it is wrested did not afford us the means. For they think, if they do the evil they would not, their will being the most essential part is of Christ, their deeds only are of Belial, and consequently—not they; as if Christ was divided, or that their evil half was not liable to suffer in the judgment, and their good with it, if they had any; the object of God's vengeance being, not the involuntary sinner, but the evil principle by which he is in a manner constrained to do evil,-as the object of God's love is not the saint, but Christ who constrains him to do good. In which mode of reasoning their premises are true, but their conclusion is extremely erroneous. For certainly, as the object of God's love is Christ, the genuine principle of righteousness, so the object of God's vengeance is decidedly the evil principle; which he pursues like “ consuming fire" through all his strong holds and recesses, neither sparing the country that harbours him, nor offering any quarter either to him or his adherents. "For (says he in the majestic style of the great leader of Israel) I lift up my hand unto heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me, I will make mine arrows drunk


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