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SERMON CXXIX.

THE GOLDEN RULE OF EQUITY.

Matt. vii. 12.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Although in this world, as the Wise Man observed, “ All [Eccl.9. 2.) things come alike to all, there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked ;” to him that feareth God, and to him that feareth Him not: yea, the things of this world are generally so dispensed, that the best men have the most of the troubles, and the worst usually the most of the pleasures of it, so that there is no knowing vice from virtue by its outward garb and condition here: yet it is not so in the other world which is appointed for man to live in : for there vice shall have its condigno punishments, and virtue its just rewards ; so that there shall be as great a difference bewixt Saints and sinners in their estate and condition, as there is in their temper and inclinations; the one being advanced as high in happiness, and the other depressed as low in misery, as it is possible for them to be. And the reason is, because as men go from this into the other world they must pass through the fiery trial, and under a strict examination at the tribunal of the Most High God, where the secrets of all hearts are disclosed, and all men's lives are reviewed, and all their actions looked over again, and ex

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SERM. amined by the exactest rules of justice: and according as

men are there found to have carried themselves whilst they were on earth, they are presently adjudged to their eternal habitations. If it be there found upon trial, that they have performed their duty both to God and man, as they ought to do, then, in and through the merits of Jesus Christ, they have all happiness and honour imaginable conferred upon them. But if they be there found to have misspent their time, embezzled their talents, and neglected their duty either to their great Creator, or their fellow-creatures, whilst they were upon earth, for a just recompense of reward, they are condemned to eternal misery and torment.

Now it will not, it cannot be long, before you and I must all stand before this tribunal, and there give up our accounts before the great and all-wise Judge of Heaven and Earth. But, blessed be His glorious Name for it, there is none of us but as yet may so prepare ourselves for it, as to come off with joy and comfort at that day. For He that then will be our Judge, as yet proffers to be our Advocate, yea, and our Saviour too: and He hath made that provision for us, and given such directions to us, how to prevent our condemnation at that time, that it is nothing but our own folly and madness that can make us subject to it. For He having in our natures undergone the curse of the Law, and suffered that death which was due to us, hath thereby put us into a capacity of avoiding it; which we may all do, if we will but perform the conditions which He requires in His Gospel, in order to it; which are only to repent of our former sins, and sincerely endeavour unto the utmost of our power, for the future, to perform our duty, both to God and man. And when we have done all, trust and depend only upon Him for the pardon of our sins, and defects in duty, and for the acceptance both of our persons and performances before God. And that there might be nothing wanting on His part to make us happy, He hath with His Own mouth most clearly discovered to us the several duties both to God and man, which at the day of judgment he will proceed chiefly upon, and search narrowly into, whether we have used the utmost of our power and skill to perform them aright or no.

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