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themselves now, that they shall fare the better for the Company they keep; no Church, and no Communion is pure enough for them
; not that they are so much holier than their Neighbours, but they are of Opinion, that God will judge of thein by the Church they are of; and therefore whatever Church strikes their Fancy most with an appearance of Sanctity and Holiness, there they join themselves,not so much to be made better by their Company, as to escape the better with them: But they should remember, that the Tares and the Wheat grow together in the same Field, but yet have a very different end ; the one is gathered into the Barn, and the other is burnt, and that good and bad Fish are taken in the same Net, but they are separated at the Day of Judgment: All our Separations now will avail us nothing, unless we take care to be found in the number of Christ's Sheep, when we come to Judgment; for if we be concealed Hypocrites, and rotten and corrupt Members of a Sound and Orthodox and Pure Church, though we have conversed with Good Men all our Lives here, yet we must part Company at last; the Angels at that Day will gather forth out of Christ's Kingdom, and Church, all things which offend, and work iniquity.
The Judge being thus seated on his Throne, and all Mankind before him, the Books are opened; which is another Circumstance to be considered in the last Judgment, 20. Revel. 12. And I saw the dead, small and great , ftand before God; and the Books were opened : And
another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life: And the dead, were judged out of those ubings which were written in the Books, according to their Works. The like we have 7 Dan.
This opening of the Books, seems to be an Allusion to the Form of Process in Humane Judicature; for we cannot think that God keeps Books of Record in a literal sense, as Men do; for such Books are only Helps to Memory, and therefore God needs them not: But this represents to us the exact and impartial Justice of the last Judgment; for there are two sorts of Books which shall be opened, and out of which we shall be judged: 1. The Laws of God, which are the Rule
of our Axions, by which we shall be judged. 2. The Records of our Lives and Actions, which contain the Matters of Fact, or that for which we shall be judged. I shall difcourse more particularly of this hereafter, and shall only observe at present, that God is a curious Observer of all our Actions, and keeps a faithful Record of them; though we take little notice of our Sins our felves, and forget them presently, and then think they are gone and past, yet God remembers them, and we shall find fair and fresh Records of them, when we come to Judgment : And how will it amaze and confound Bad Men, to see all the Sins of their Lives called to remembrance; to see a black Gatalogue of all their Impieries and Blasphemies, Injustice and Oppression, Uncleanness and Impurities; to see an exact Counterpart of a most wicked
and ungodly Life! Nothing can blot our Sins out of God's Book, but a sincere Repentance and Reformation of our Lives : For then God has promised to blot out all our Iniquities, which is somewhat more than crossing the Accompt, for when the Accompt is only crossed, it is visible still; but what is blotted out, don't so much as appear; it no longer stands upon Record, it is forgot, and shall never be alledged against us; there shall be no mention made of it at the Day of Judgment; for St. John tells us, there is another Book Shall be opened, the Book of Life, out of which Good men shall be judged, which records their Faith, and Patience, and Charity, and all the Good they have done; but none of their Sins, which God has blotted out of his Reniembrance, and has promised to keep no Record of them: And is not this a mighty encouragement to true Repentance, that all our Sins shall be blotted out before the Day of Judgment, that there shall be no mention, no remembrance of them then?
Some very Good Men have been guilty of very great Wickednesses, which it may be none but God and their own Consciences know; and the best Men have so many Failings, Weaknesses, Miscarriages, that should all the Sins of Good Men be exposed to the View and Censure of Men and Angels at the Day of Judgment, though they were finally absolved and acquitted, yet it would cause great Shame and Confusion, and overcast the Glory of that Day ; but their Sins are done away and forgot , and forgot, and they have washed
their Garments, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb: This is the only way to conceal your moft secret Sins, to blot them out of God's Book by Repentance; for if they remain there upon Record, how successful soever you may be in concealing them at present, the Books will be opened at the Day of Judgment, and then all the World will know them.
Thus in our Saviour's Accompt of the last Judgment, none of the Sins which Good men ever committed, are mentioned, but only the Graces and Vertues for which they are rewarded; nor is there any notice taken of any good Actions done by Bad Men, but only of their Sins, 25 Matthew, as God exprefly declares it Shall be, 32 Ezek. 13, 14. 16. When I shall say to the Righteous, that he shall surely live; if be trust to his own Righteousness (to the good he hath already done) and commit Iniquity, all his Righteousness shall not be remembred; but for his Iniquity. that he hath committed, be shall dye for it. Again, when I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely dye, if he turn from his fin, and doth that which is lawful and right: None of his fins that be bath committed, shall be mentioned unto bim; he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
And now let urs consider in what order Christ will judge the World: When he has separated between the Sheep and the Goats, between Good and Bad Men; he first calls Good Men to Judgment, and pronounces them blessed, as we see 25 Matthew. And this very much becomes the Person of our Judge, who is the Sa
viour of the World, and therefore to save is his proper Work, and must take place of all Acts of Justice and Vengeance; the Saviour of the World, as I observed before, must be our Judge, that he may be a compleat and perfect Saviour, that he may finally acquit and reward us; and therefore this is his first Carè, to separate his Blect from the Company, and to deliver them from the Destruction of the Ungodly
This demonstrates to all the World, that God takes more pleasure to save than to destroy; this convinces Sinners, that their Destruction is from themselves, that they might have been faved as well as others, for Christ came to save them ; and they fee now,
that he would have done it, would they have been faved by, him : In the Glory which is conferred on Good Men, they fee what they have lost, before they hear that terrible Sentence pronounced, Go je ćursed into everlasting fire; and this is a double Damnation, to see the Happiness of Good Men, and to feel their own Misery; for when we come to Judgment, to lose Heaven will be thought a terrible Punishment, tho’there were no Hell; and this Punishment Bad Men have, by being suffered to stand by, and see the glorious Rewards of the Righteous.
But there is a further Reason also for this : That Good Men, when they are acquitted and absolved, shall, together with their Lord, fit in Judgment on the wicked World : 1 Cor. 6. 2, 3. Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the World? Know ye not that we shall judge Angels! How far this extends, we know not;