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SECT. V.

All will be done in righteousness.

Christ will give to every man his due, according to a most righteous rule. Those who shall be condemned, will be most justly condemned; will be condemned to that punishment which they shall most justly deserve; and the justice of God in condemning them will be made most evident. Now the justice of God in punishing wicked men, and especially in the degree of their punishment, is often blasphemously called in question. But it will be made clear and apparent to all; their own consciences will tell them that the sentence is just, and all cavils will be put to silence.

So those that shall be justified, shall be most justly adjudged to eternal life. Although they also were great sinners, and deserved eternal death; yet it will not be against justice or the law, to justify them, they will be in Christ. But the acquitting of them will be but giving the reward merited by Christ’s righteousness, Rom. iii. 26. “That God may be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”

Christ will judge the world in righteousness, particularly as he will give to every one a due proportion either of reward or punishment, according to the various characters of those who shall be judged. The punishments shall be duly proportioned to the number and aggravations of the sins of the wicked; and the rewards of the righteous shall be duly proportioned to the number of their holy acts and affections, and also to the degree of virtue implied in them.?I would observe further,

1. That Christ cannot fail of being just in judging, through mistake. He cannot take some to be sincere and godly, who are not so, nor others to be hypocrites, who are really sincere. His eyes are as a flame of fire, and he searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of the children of men. He can never err in determining what is justice in particular cases, as human judges often do. Nor can he be blinded by prejudices, as human judges are very liable to be. Deut. x. 17. “He regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.” It is impossible he should be deceived by the excuse, and false colours, and pleas of the wicked, as human judges very commonly are. It is equally impossible that he should err, in assigning to every one his proper proportion of reward or punishment, according to his wickedness or good works. His knowledge being infinite, will effectually guard him against all these, and other such errors.

2. He cannot fail of judging righteously through an unrighteous disposition; for he is infinitely just and holy in his nature. Deut. xxxii. 4. “He is the rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he.” It is not possible that an infinitely powerful, self-sufficient being should be under any temptation to injustice. Nor is it possible that an infinitely wise being, who knoweth all things, should not choose justice. For he who perfectly knows all things, perfectly knows how much more amiable justice is than injustice; and therefore must choose it.

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