« FöregåendeFortsätt »
come into the Mouths of Christians, and all reviling and reproachful Speeches, Slandering, Back-biting, Railing, which our Saviour threatens with Eternal Damnation: But I say unto you, Whosoever is angry with his Brother without a Cause, shall be in danger of the Judgment : And whosoever shall say to bis Brother, Racha, shall be in danger of the Council : but whosoever shall say, Thou Fool, shall be in danger of Hell-fire, s Mat: such angry reproachful Language, tells us, If 22. And St. James with a peculiar refpe Mar. any man among you seemeth to be Religious, and bridleth not bis Tongue , but deceiveth his own Heart, that man's Religion is vain, 1 James 26. And
I need not tell any Man, how coinmon this practice is.
Atheistical, Prophane, Obscene, Reviling Discourses, make up the Wit, and Humour, and Conversation of the Age: The brisk and pleasant Talkers would fit like Mopes, and gaze upon one another without one wise word to say, unless
you allow them to laugh at God, and Religion, and all things sacred, to make a Mock of Sin, to tickle their Fancies with obscene Jests, or spiteful Reflections; for were it ever pofsible that such Men should have nothing to Laugh at, or nothing to Rail at, they were undone,
These Men never think of being judged for their Words; and yet there is as much reason we should be judged for our Word as- for our Actions.
Words are the first and most natural Indications of the Temper and Disposition of the Mind; For out of the fulness of the Heart the
Mouth Speaketh: Our Words betray the Atheism and Infidelity, the Lust and Wantonness, Revenge and Malice, and other evil Passions, which are within : Men are generally more cautious of their Axions than of their words, and they can speak their Minds, when they cannot act ; and therefore may be better known by their Words than by their Actions : Nay, Words do not only betray what is within, but shew what the Heart most abounds with: *For out of the fulness of the Heart, the Mouth speaketh : That Men talk of most, which is most in their Thoughts, and which they are most full of; so full, that they cannot open their mouths, but it runs ont.
There are some Fools that only say in their Hearts, There is no GOD. Such Thoughts as these lie low and secret, are not come to maturity and perfe&ion yet to be talked; but when Men venture to say this with their Mouths, when they come to be talking and disputing Fools, it is a sign they are very full of these Thoughts, and either are Atheists, or have a great mind to be fo.
There are a great many lascivious Wantons, who will not offend chast Ears with their wanton
ere very modest in Converfation, and Discourse.; but when Men think they can't be witty nor pleasant Company, without larding their Talk with obscene Jests, and putting modeft Matrons and Virgins to the Blush, they have arrived at a great perfe&tion of Lewdnefs : And do not such Men deferve to be judged ?
But besides this, does any thing do more Mifchief in the World, than Words, as little as some Men make of them? Can there be a greater Contempt of God, than for Men to deny his Being, to reproach his Providence, to ridicule his Worship St. Jude tells us, That the Lord cometh with Ten thousand of his Saints, ito'execute Vengeance upon all, and to convince all that are Ungodly among them, of all their ungodly Deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard Speeches which ungodly Sinners have spoken against him, Jude 14, 15, v.
Does any thing more tend to corrupt the Minds of Men, than such Words, which St. Paul says, Eat like a Canker, 2 Tim. 2. 17. and prey upon
Vitals of Religion?
What makes more Divisions in the World, and gives greater Disturbance to Neighbourhoods and Families and private Persons, than Slandering, and Backbiting, and Tale-bearing? I am sure St. James tells us, That the Tongue is a little Member, and boasteth great things, Behold bow great a matter a little Fire kindleth. And the. Tongue is a Fire, a world of iniquity: so is the Tongue, amongst our members, that it defileth the whole Body, and setteth on fire the Course of Nature; and it is set on fire of Hell, 3 Jam. , 6. And if words can do so much Mischief in the World, it is very fit that GOD should judge us for them; and then it is very fit that we should be very careful of our words.
CH A P.
CH A P. VII.
Concerning the Righteousness of the Future
Judgment, and the Rule whereby ide shall be judged.
T. Paul tells us, That God will judge the terrible saying, did Righteousness always signifie strict and severe Justice; for who then could be faved? But diralow'n fignifies Mercy, Goodness, Equity, as well as Justice ; or Justice tempered with Equity and Mercy: And what the Apostle adds, That God will judge the World in Righteousness by that Man whom be batb ordained; that is, by Christ Jesus, proves that Righteousness signifies an equal, kind, and merciful Justice: For Christ is a Mediatory King, and a Mediatory Judge ; He judges between God and Man He sets Bounds and Measures to Justice, and makes allowances for the Folly and weaknesses of Humane Nature ; and with a Sovereign Authority difpenses not only the Justice, but the Mercies of God.
When God appoints the Great High-Priest and Mediator to be Judge of the World, all Mankind may expect a very merciful Judge ; for the High-Priest and Mediator must judge with Equity and Mercy, or else he does not maintain his Character of Mediator, when he judges; and yet the final Judgment is the con
cluding Act of his Mediatory Kingdom, and therefore an Act of his Mediation.
We know not certainly how God will deal with the Heathen World, who never heard of Christ, and never had the Gospel preached to them; but it seems to look very favourably on them, that the Saviour of Mankind, the merciful and compassionate Jesus, is their Judge also; which promises all the Mercy that their Condition is capable of; and how much that is, we cannot tell; for the Saviour of the World muft judge with Mercy and Equity, not by the Rules of severe and rigorous Justice : Of which more presently.
Leaving then the Heathen World to the Mercies of God, which are over all his Works, it more concerns us to enquire by what Rule Christ will judge us, who have had the Gospel Preached
Now in general St. Paul tells us, God will judge the Secrets of men by Christ. Jefus according to my Gospel, 2 Rom. 16. That is, by the Gof pel which I Preach: The Gospel of our Saviour is the Rule whereby we shall be judged ; by which our Lives and Actions shall be examined; and as the Gospel acquits or condemns any Man, so he shall be acquitted or condemned at the last Judgment. ' So that we need not go far to know, what oar Doom shall be, we need not search into the secret and hidden Counsels of God; the Gospel lies open before us, and though we cannot find our Names there, we may read our Sentence; for God will render to every man according to his deeds. To them who by patient continuance in well doing;