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from the foundation of the world,” Matt. xxv. 34.
1 was in prison, and ye came unto me,” Matt. xxv. 35, 36.
Now comes the account that the saints give of themselves to God, which consists of a public renunciation of all usefulness to God, and of all dependance on merit: “ Then shall the righteous [Mind the appellation !] answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee ?” Matt. xxv. 37–39. Thus the Lord justifies the righteous. Mind, he calls them righteous, which they could never be but by faith; for “ he that believeth not is condemned already.” Nor need we wonder at the Lord's putting encomiums on their works, for it was himself that worked in them “ both to will and to do of his own good pleasure,” Phil. ii. 13. The Lord wrought all their works in them, Isa. xxvi. 12. And he takes special notice of, and puts great encomiums upon them.
them. But the righteous place no confidence in them; but renounce them, with an humble confession of their unworthiness. And they were justified when they spoke, and cleared when they thus judged of themselves, Psalm li. 4. Thus you see, instead of the sins of the just being exposed, he brings forth every work of righteousness, every fruit of faith and labour of love.
Thus have I answered three things in thy question.
And I suppose that Satan has been tempting thee to think that thou shalt be covered with shame and confusion, either at death or at thy entrance into heaven, or at the great and terrible day; and his temptations have driven thee to make this earnest inquiry, which is easily answered; for, if there be in the word of God any thing relative to your inquiry which I have not brought forth, this text is sufficient to answer it, either at the hour of death or at the day of judgment: “But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end,” Isa. xlv. 17.
The last part of your question is, What is meant by every man receiving “according to the works done in the body, whether they be good or bad ?” Here are two sorts of works, good and bad; which Paul calls the fruits of the Spirit and the works of the flesh: “ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law,” Gal. v. 22, 23.:" Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these-Adultery, fornication, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, &c. they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” Gal. v. 19-21.
Thus you see the world is divided into two classes -sheep and goats: and there are two sorts of fruits
--those of the flesh and those of the Spirit: so likewise there are two covenants--one of grace, the other works: so also there are two sentences—that of justification, and that of condemnation. The effect of justification is the blessing of God, and the effect of condemnation is the eternal curse of God. A blessing and a curse will close the scene in the great day, and finally conclude the mystery of God, Rev. x. 7.
As “a just God and a Saviour” the Judge will appear, and both classes will be judged according to their works: “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting,” Gal. vi. 8. Thus every man shall receive according to the things done in the body; according to that he hath done, whether good or bad, 2 Cor. v. 10. If he be a believer, he is blessed with faithful Abraham; if he be a hoping soul, he shall not be ashamed of his hope, but shall enjoy his expected inheritance, after his patience is tried in “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” Titus ii. 13.
O how thankful ought a soul to be at the thought of the blessed Lord's appearing to give a “reward to his servants the prophets, and to them that fear his name, small and great," Rev. xi. 18. While, on the other hand, he that dies in the flesh is not one of the children of God; for he dies in his sin, not in the Saviour, and, dying in unbelief, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. For my part, I know of no other sorts of fruit or works but these two; and all the human race are bringing forth one or the other, according to the state they are in, and the covenant they are under; nor is there any middle state between them.
Ahimaaz. And, for my part, I am satisfied. “ Bless the Lord, O my soul ! and all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul ! and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies,” Psalm ciii. 1-4. Pray now go on with the description of the blessed inheritance.
Cushi. That is more than man or angel can do: but the book of God mentions it. God the Father hath promised to be our God: “ At that time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people,” Jer, xxxi. 1. This implies that God will be the portion of his people. “ Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward,” Gen. xv. 1. Thus the Lord is the portion of his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance,” Deut. xxxii. 9.' This glorious portion is to be known and enjoyed by every believer at last; for he is, as the Scriptures witness, “ an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ,” Rom. viii. 17.
The blessed Saviour is the believer's portion also: “ God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoeyer believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” And again: “I will keep him, and give him for a covenant of the people,” Isa. xlii. 6. The sight of this made Paul "count all things but dung that he might win Christ,” (Phil. iii. 8) whom he styles " our life,” Col. iii. 4.
The Holy Ghost also is the portion of a believer, and an earnest in his heart of all that he has in hope: “ I will send you the promise of the Father.” And again: “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever,” John xiv. 16.
Thus God-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-are the believer's everlasting portion; and so he will find and, if I
it in the end, when he comes to be filled with all the fulness of God. The whole of which is couched in these words: “ That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one,” John xvii. 21, 22, 23. Thus much for the portion.
But a dwelling-place is likewise included in scripture, as well as the enjoyment of God; for the inheritance of the saints consists of a place as well as ' a glorious state: “I go to prepare a place for you;
prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am there ye may be also,” John xiv. 2, 3. “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness," 2 Peter iii. 13.
Ahimaaz. This is an inheritance indeed! and, blessed be God, it is in a measure enjoyed in this life; for, when God sheds abroad his love in our hearts, on our receiving the atonement, the Holy Ghost fills us with joy and peace in believing; and we feel union and “ fellowship with the Father and with his Son,” (1 John i. 3) and enjoy the communications of the Holy Ghost. And I believe this is what Paul means
“ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Cor. xiii. 14.
Cushi. It is Paul's meaning. And thus the blessed Trinity is experimentally and savingly known by every real believer in this world. The above inheritance is the inheritance promised to Abraham, Isaac, and
when he says,