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this good land to possess it for thy righteousness, for thou art a stiff-necked people.” Isaiah xlviii. 4, “ Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass.” Ezekiel ii. 7, “ And thou shalt speak my words upto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, fæ they are most rebellious.” Acts vii. 51, “ Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost : as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Fourthly, These unbelievers are said to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, which day of wrath is the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Acts xvii. “God hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
Fifthly, In that day God will render unto every man according to his deeds. Yet will not this retribution usurp the place or arrest the progress of his mercy. Psalm lxii. 12, “ Also untó thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy, for thou renderest to every man according to his work." Proverbs xxiv. 12, “ If thou sayest, behold we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works?" Jeremiah xvii. 10, “ I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Chapter xxxii. 19, “Great in counsel and mighty in work : for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men : to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Chapter xxvii. - Be . hold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; Is there any thing too hard for me? Be not deceived, that which a man soweth he shall also reap.” So, then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God ? Certainly, every one shall be judged out of the things written in the books; and if any man's work abide, he shall be entitled to a reward-Moreover, the book of life shall afterwards be opened.
But, Sixthly and lastly, Upon recurring to these considerations, we should never lose sight of one plain, positive truth. The Judge bimself, the Redeemer of the world, the Son of man, the God-man, whose work was before him, when he descended from heaven to seek and to save that which was lost, shall as.
suredly be rewarded according to his work. Dearly hath he earned, and he will most unquestionably possess all those souls which belonged unto the Father. Isaiah xl. 10, 11, “ Behold the LORD God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him ; behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom.” It was for this, that he might bring his ransomed home, that he tasted in the most ignominious form, the enanguished bitterness of death, for every man. See Hebrews xii. 2, where this glorious Author and Finisher of our faith is thus spoken of by the Apostle, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Nor 'will he be defrauded of any part of his recompense. Let us then
be careful not to treasure up to ourselves wrath against the day of wrath, well knowing that our works must be tried, and that we shall receive the reward to which we shall be entitled, in its utmost extent ; let us rejoice also that the man Christ Jesus shall likewise be rewarded, that his recon.pense will be full. But where would be his reward, if a single member of his body was to be consigned to never-ending sufferings ? Children, said the Psalmist, are the heritage of the LORD. They are his recompensema reward which he deemeth most precious. They constitute the lost nature of which the wandering sheep was an emblem, in pursuit of which he left the abodes of blessedness, and when he had found it, he layed it upon his shoulder rejoicing over it more than over the ninety and nine who had never strayed; more than over angels who had never lost their first estate. In such estimation doth the head of every man hold those individuals, which constitute the aggregate of his mystical body.
Romans ii. 16.
There is a day when God shall judge the secrets of
Matthew xxv. 35, “For I was an hungred and ye gave me meat,” &c. &c. &c.
Secondly, And this judgment will be executed by Jesus Christ. John v. 22, “ For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” We are aware that our Saviour saith, John xii. 47, “ That if any man hear his words and believe not, he judges him not, because he came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” The office of judge, and the office of Saviour, are distinct offices. The Redeemer in his descent, and abode upon this globe, was occupied in the great work of salvation, he did not then blend the character of a judge, but having fully accomplished the errand on which he was sent, he will, in the winding up of the great drama, be found upon the judgment seat, judging every individual who hath not previously judged himself. The words spoken by the Redeemer will be the test, and every mouth will be stopped before God. Such will be the process and final issue of the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Thus saith our text, and its doctrine is corroborated by many passages. Acts x. 42, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it was he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” Acts xvii. 31, " Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” 1 Corinthians iv. 5, “ Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the LORD come who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart, and then shall every man have praise of God." 2 Timothy iv. 1, 8, “I charge thee therefore before God and the LORD Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at liis appearing, and his kingdom, Preach the word, &c. &c. I have
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing."
Thirdly, This judgment doth not contradict the gospel, nay, it is in perfect unison with the gospel. Please to read at your leisure 1 Peter, Chapter iv. 5, 6, and Revelations chapters nineteen and twenty.
Fourthly, If we judge ourselves we shall not be judged. 1Corinthians xi. 31, “For if we would judge ourselves we should not be judged.” John v. 45, “ Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father : there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom you trust.”
How excellent is the gospel plan ; the judge is the Redeemer, the husband the Father, the clder brother the Head of every man.
Türst, We do not hear the apostle Paul mentioned, until the elose of the seventh chapter of Acts, wbile he is a spectator of the death of Stephen, and apparently consenting to his sufferings, for the witnesses laid down their clothes at his feet. In the succeeding chapter, he is described as making havock of the church, entering into every house, and committing men and women to prison. of his lineare, and even his immediate parentage, we are totally ignorant; we only learn from himself that he was a Hebrew, both by father and mother, that he was of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city, that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, that he was a zealous, devout man, in other words, a scholar and a religious observer of the law; and he affirms, that he lived in all good conscience before God. Yet, although very devout, he was however very cruel, very vindictive, binding men and women, delivering them into prison, and persecuting them unto the death.
Secondly, The omnipotent power of God arrested this furious zealot in the midst of his persecuting career. He who verily thought, he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, who punished the christians in every city, who compelled them to blaspheme, and who was exceeding mad against them, even him, did the Almighty arm of the LORD arrest; while he yet breathed out threatenings and slaughter, a light from heav. en shone round about him, and he fell prostrate to the ear's. Do you not, my beloved hearers, imagine you are listening to the voice of the tender Redeemer; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? Yea, verily, whatsoever is done to the least of his brethren, to the smallest member of his body is done unto him. Who art thou, Lord, said the terror struck delinquont? I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. His agonized astonishment was now indescribably augmented, his heart,melted, he was disposed to obedience, he was slain, he died and was made alive. The result was precisely what might have been calculated ; LORD, what wilt thou have me to do ? He was hastening to the city upon his persecuting errand; but he is directed thither for different purposes. « Arise, and go into the city, and it sha!l be told thee what thou shalt do”. For three days he continued without sight or sustenance; but he was a chosen vessel unto God, ordained to bear his name before Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel, and it was the good pleasure of God to show him how great things he must suffer for his name sake. “ Inquire for one Saul of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth.” Forever blessed be the name of the prayer hearing God. Gracious heaven, what big emotions must have swelled the bosom of this man of Tarsus, when first he heard the voice of Ananias, when he listened to his address ; could words have been more calculated to astonish, to console, and to elevate? Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way, that thou camest, hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Mark how the chrisțian spirit breathed forth in the words of Ananias, He did not say, Jesus whom thou persecuted hath sent me ; but Jesus who appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest. Well, immediately the scales fell from his eyes, his understanding was illuminated, he arose and was baptized, and straitway he preached Christ in the synagogue, that he is the son of God, confounding the Jews, and