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which God excludes; it would have the appearance of upbraiding, which the word of God admits not : “ God giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not,” James i. 5.
As justice does not require it, and as upbraiding is excluded, it can only be done to gratify devils and sinners, which God will never do. I read that the mystery of iniquity is to be revealed to the righteous, but I never read that the mysteries of grace are to be revealed to the damned. The manifold wisdom of God is to be "made known by the church to principalities and powers in heavenly places,” (Eph. iii. 10) but to no other. A purged conscience, the law of God written in the heart, and the testimony of God's Spirit, is a receipt in full of all the above-mentioned demands. And the poor sinner, who has long laboured under a sight and sense of his sins, frequently finds, after God has removed his transgressions from his sight, and purged his conscience, that, even in a fit of unbelief, he is not able so much as to bring his sins fresh to his remembrance again; they are blotted out as a cloud, they are buried, nor can the devil or unbelief raise them up and bring them to life again. Not a single sin shall appear against the poor believer in the judgment day; he shall rise in his Saviour's image: “ He shall be like him, for he shall see him as he is,” i John iii. 2. He shall“ have boldness in the day of judgment," 1 John iv. 17. He shall be presented “ holy and unblameable and unreproveable in God's sight,” Col. i. 22. He shall rise first, and appear in the Saviour's likeness, before the wicked be raised at all, 1 Thess. iv. 16. Ahimaaz. I am coming again with another knot; for I am determined to bring forth every puzzling experience, and every puzzling providence; not a perplexing scripture, not an entanglement in my judgment, will I leave unriddled, if God will enable me to bring them forth, and you to explain them; though I dare say I shall think of twenty things after you are gone, that I shall now forget. But to the matter in hand. You know that Paul says we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: “ For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God," Rom. xiv. 10-12. And again, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad,” 2 Cor. v. 10. Here Paul declares, first, that we must all appear before the judgment seat; secondly, every knee must bow, and every tongue confess to God; thirdly, that every one must give an account of himself to God; and, lastly, that every one may receive the things done in his body, whether they be good or bad. Be as plain as possible on the subject; for, if you leave a vacancy but as big as a button hole, unbelief will creep in, and drag a thousand doubts at her heels.
Cushi. Then observe, first, the directions given by the lawgiver to the judge,
“ If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked,” Deut. xxv. 1. And again, “ If a man trespass against his neighbour,
and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house; then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness," i Kings viii. 31, 32. Here you have the unalterable and eternal rule of judgment. In this rule you find two sentences, and no more--justification and condemnation; thou shalt condemn the wicked, and justify the righteous. Now the effects or consequences of these two sentences are two also, a blessing and a curse; the law reveals no more, Deut. xxviii. (Read the whole chapter). The blessings are to those who hearken to the voice of the Lord in the gospel, and the curses are to the legal, self-righteous tribe, who trust in their obedience to the law, to which they adhere for life, because they cannot fulfil the whole of it: “ As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse," Gal. iii. 10. On the other hand, I have proved the believer to be under the blessing: “So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham," Gal. iii. 9.
I have already shewn that the believer is justified, consequently under the sentence of justification; and the glorious effect of this is, that he is blessed; yea, he is blessed both by the law and the gospel; God the Father blesses him: “Kiss the Son lest he be angry; blessed are all they that put their trust in him, Psalm ii. 12. He is blessed also of God the Saviour: “ Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” John xx. 29. This blessing is likewise pronounced by the Holy Ghost: “ Blessed are the
dead that die in the Lord: Yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them,” Rev. xiv. 13. This being the real case, the sentence of justification, and the blessing annexed to it, follows the believer go where he will.
Having shewn you the rule of judgment, the sentence and the blessing, I come now to speak of the judgment seat. I have already proved, by the trial of Prodigalis, that the elect are arraigned and tried before the judgment seat in this world; that the light of God shines upon them; that the commandment comes with power; that sin revives, and the sinner, feeling the sentence thereof, dies; that law, conscience, and Satan, accuse him; and that by faith he is justified, and passes from the sentence of death to spiritual life by faith in the Son of God; as it is written, “ I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth shall never die,” John xi. 25, 26. Thus you see the elect soul is arraigned and acquitted in this world by an act of grace.
Secondly. Every time he sins against his Father and Redeemer, having the law of God and the rule of judgment written on his heart, he arraigns himself; this is his privilege, which if he neglects God does it: “ If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged; but when we are chastened we are judged of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world," 1 Cor. xi. 31, 32.
Thirdly. The believing soul may appear before the judgment seat of Christ as soon as it is severed from the body; for-56 the spirit returns to God that gave it,” Eccles. xii. 7. But, supposing this be the case, the believing soul can receive nothing but the sentence of justification, and the blessing annexed to it: Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” But this is all supposition; for the Bible is silent about it to the best of my remembrance. It is said of Lazarus, that he “ was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom,” Luke xvi. 22: and of the thief, that he should be that day with the Lord in paradise, Luke xxiii. 43. But there is nothing said of a trial between death and eternal glory. Yet doubtless the Saviour will present every believing soul before his Father at their arrival in heaven; but, if he does, it will be “without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing:" and, if so, it can be only to receive the Father's blessing; which will be no worse than that which the poor soul met with on his repentance; namely, the “ Father fell on his neck and kissed him, and rejoiced over him with singing.'
Fourthly. If we are all to appear before the judgment seat of Christ in the great day, as the apostle intimates, it will be only to be exalted to the right hand of the Lord: “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left,” Matt. xxv. 33. And, whatever account a believer is to give of himself to God, I believe the Saviour, as his only advocate, will instruct him in it: « The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way,” Psalm xxv. 9. And the chief account that he will have to give at that day will be of his unworthiness, and to wonder at the grace of his incomparable Lord: “ Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father (Mark the blessing here !] inherit the kingdom prepared for you