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lish. Psal. cxxv. 5. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity. Isa. xxxv. 8. An high way shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. Rev. xxi, 27. And there shall in do wise enter into it, whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.” And in many places, “ Depart from me, I know you not, ye that work iniquity.”
ARGUMENT VI.....Another thing which makes it evident, that holy practice is the chicf of all the signs of the sincerity of professors, not only to the world, but to their own consciens ces is, that this is the grand evidence which will hereafter be made use of, before the judgment seat of God; according to which his judgment will be regulated, and the state of every professor of religion unalterably determined. In the future judgment, there will be an open trial of professors and evidences will be made use of in the judgment. For God's future judging of men, in order to their eternal retribution, will not be his trying, and finding out, and passing a judgment up on the state of men's hearts, in his own mind ; but it will be, a declarative judgment; and the end of it will be, not God's forming a judgment within himself, but the manifestation of his judgment, and the righteousness of it, to men's own consciences, and to the world. And therefore the day of judg. ment is called the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Rom. ii. 5. And the end of God's future trial and judgment of men, as to the part that each one in particolar is to have in the judgment, will be especially the clear manifestation of God's righteous judgment, with respect to him, to his conscience ; as is manifest by Matth. xviii. 31, to the end. Chap. XX. 8....15. Chap. xxii. 11, 12, 13. Chap. xxv. 19....30, and verse 35, to the end. Luke xix. 15...23. And therefore though God needs no medium, whereby to make the truth evident to himself, yet evidences will be made use of in his future judging of men. And doubtless the eridences that will be made use of in their trial, will be such as will be best fitted to serve the ends of the judgment; viz. the manifcstation of the righteous judgment of God, not only to
the world, but to men's own consciences. But the scriptures do abundantly teach us, that the grand evidences which the Judge will make use of in the trial, for these ends, according to which the judgment of every one shall be regulated, and the irreversible sentence passed, will be men's works, or practice, here in this world, Rev. xx. 12. « And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened ;....and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. So verse 13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them ; and they were judged every man according to their works. 2 Cor. v. 10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, whether it be good or bad.” So men's practice is the only evidence that Christ represents the future judgment as regulated by, in that most particular description of the day of judgment, which we have in the Holy Bible, Matth. xxv. at the latter end. See also Rom. ii. 6, 13. Jer. xvii. 10. Job. xxxiv. 11. Prov. xxiv. 12. Jer. xxxii. 19. Rev. xxii. 12. Matth. xvi. 27. Rev. ii. 23. Ezek, xxxiii. 20. 1 Pet. i. 17. The Judge at the day of judgment, will not (for the conviction of men's own consciences, and to manifest them to the world) go about to examine men, as to the method of their experiences, or set every man to tell his story of the manner of his conversion ; but his works will be brought forth, as evidences of what he is, what he has done in darkness and in light, Eccl. xii. 14. “ For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” In the trial that professors shall be the subjects of, in the future judgment, God will make use of the same evidences, to manifest them to themselves and to the world, which he makes use of to manisést them, in the temptations or trials of his providence 'here, viz. their practice, in cases wherein Christ and other things come into actual and immediate competition. At the day of Judgment, God, for the manifestation of liis righteous judgment, will weigh professors in a balance that is visible. And the balance will be VOL. IV.
the same that he weighs men in now, which has been already described.
Hence we may undoubtedly infer, that men's works (taken in the sense that has been explained) are the highest evidences by which they ought to try themselves. Certainly tha: which our supreme Judge will chiefly make use of to judge us by, when we come to stand before him, we should chiefly make use of, to judge ourselves by.* If it had not been revealed in what manner, and by what evidence the Judge would proceed with us hereafter, how natural would it be for one to say, “ O that I knew what token God will chiefly look for and insist upon in the last and decisive judgment, and which he expects that all should be able to produce, who would then be accepted of him, and according to which seltence shall be passed ; that I might know what token or efidence especially to look at and seek after now, as I would be sure not to fail then.” And seeing God has so plainly and abundantly revealed what this token or evidence is, surely if we act wisely, we shall regard it as of the greatest im. portance.
Now from all that has been said, I think it to be abundantly manifest, that Christian practice is the most proper evidence of the gracious sincerity of professors, to themselves and others; and the chief of all the marks of grace, the sign of signs, and evidence of evidences, that which seals and crowns all other signs I had rather have the testimony of my conscience, that I have such a saying of my Supreme Judge on my side, as that, John xiv, 21.
“ He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me;" than the judgment and fullest approbation of all the wise, sound, and experienced divines, that have lived this thousand years, on the most exact and critical examination of my ex
* « That which God maketh a rule of his own judgment, 'as that by whick he judgeth of every man, that is a sure rule for every man to judge himself by. That which we shall be judged by at the last day, is a sure rule to apply to ourselves for the present. Now by our obedience and works he judge us. “He will give to every man according to his works." Dr. Proster's Church's Carriage.
periences, as to the manner of my conversion. Not that there are no other good evidences of a state of grace but this. There may be other exercises of grace, besides these efficient exercises, which the saints may have in contemplation, that may be very satisfying to them, but yet this is the chief and most proper evidence. There may be several good evidences that a tree is a figtree; but the highest and most proper evidence of it is, that it actually bears figs. It is possible, that a man may have a good assurance of a state of grace, at his first conversion, before he has had opportunity to gain assurance, by this great evidence I am speaking of.... If a man hears that a great treasure is offered him, in a distant place, on condition that he will prize it so much, as to be willing to leave what he possesses at home, and go a journey for it, over the rocks and mountains that are in the way, to the place where it is; it is possible the man may be well assured, that he values the treasure to the degree spoken of, as soon as the offer is made him: He may feel within him, a willingness to go for the treasure, beyond all doubt; but yet, this does not hinder but that his actual going for it, is the highest and most proper evidence of his being willing, not only to others, but to himself. But then as an evidence to himself, his outward actions, and the motions of his body in his journey, are not considered alone, exclusive of the action of his mind, and a consciousness within himself, of the thing that moves him, and the end he goes for ; otherwise his bodily motion is no evidence to him of his prizing the treasure. In such a manner is Christian practice the most proper evidence of a saving value of the pearl of great price, and treasure hid in the field.
Christian practice is the sign of signs, in this sense, that it is the great evidence, which confirms and crowns all other signs of godliness. There is no one grace of the Spirit of God, but that Christian practice is the most proper evidence of the truth of it. As it is with the members of our bodies, and all our utensils, the proper proof of the soundness and goodness of them, is in the use of them : So it is with our graces (which are given to be used in practice, as much as our hands and feet, or the tools with which we work, or the arms
with which we fight) the proper trial and proof of them is in their exercise in practice. Most of the things we use are serviceable to us, and so have their serviceableness proved, in some pressure, straining, agitation, or collision. So it is with a bow, a sword, an axe, a saw, a cord, a chain, a staff, a foot, a tooth, &c. And they that are so weak, as not to bear the strain or pressure we need to put them to, are good for nothing. So it is with all the virtues of the mind. The proper trial and proof of them, is in being exercised under those temptations and trials that God brings us under, in the course of his providence, and in being put to such service as strains hard upon the principles of nature.
Practice is the proper proof of the true and saving knofl. edge of God; as appears by that of the apostle already mentioned, “ hereby do we know that we know him, that we keep his commandments.” It is in vain for us to profess that we know God, if in works we deny him. Tit. i. 16. “ And if we know God, but glorify him not as God ; our knowledge will only condemn us, and not save us, Rom. i. 21. The great note of that knowledge which saves and makes happy, is, that it is practical, John xiii. 17. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Job xxviii. 28. To depart from evil is understanding."
Holy practice is the proper evidence of repentance. When the Jews professed repentance, when they came confessing their sins, to John, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; he directed them to the right way of getting and cxhibiting proper evidences of the truth of their repentance, when he said to them, “ Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.” Matth. iii. 8. Which was agreeable to the practice of the Apostle Paul ; see Acts xxvi. 20. Pardon and mercy are from time to time promised to him who bas this evidence of true repentance, that he forsakes his sin, Prov. xxviii. 13, and Isa. lv. 7, and many other places.
Holy practice is the proper evidence of a saving faith. It is evident that the Apostle James speaks of works, as what do eminently justify faith, or (which is the same thing) jusLify the professors of faith, and vindicate and manifest the