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talent hid in a napkin, or buried in the earth."-SHERLOCK.
After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came, &c.-The life to come dependeth upon this; as the reward upon the work, or the runthe work, or the runner's or soldier's prize upon his race or fighting, or as the merchant's gain upon his voyage. Heaven is won or lost on earth. The possession is there; but the preparation is here. Christ will judge all men according to their works on earth. 'Well done, good and faithful servant' must go before enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course' goeth before the crown of righteousness which God, the righteous judge, will give.' All that can be done for salvation by us must here be done. It was on earth that Christ himself wrought the work of our redemption, fulfilled all righteousness, became our ransom, and paid the price of our salvation; and it is here that our part is to be done.
And the bestowing of the reward is God's work, who we are sure will never fail. There is no place for the least suspicion or fear of his misdoing or failing in any part of his undertaken work; but the danger and fear is of our own miscarrying, lest we be not found capable of receiving what God will certainly give to all that are disposed receivTo distrust God is heinous sin and folly; but to distrust ourselves we have great cause.
And it is great and difficult work that must here be done. It is here that we must be cured of all condemning sin, that we must be regenerate and new-born, that we must be pardoned and justified by faith; it is here that we must be united to Christ, made wise to salvation, renewed by his Spirit, and conformed to his likeness. It is here that we must overcome all the temptations of the devil, the world, and the flesh; and perform all the duties towards God and man that must be rewarded. It is here that Christ must be believed in with the heart unto righteousness, and with the mouth confessed unto salvation. It is here that we must suffer with him that we may reign with him; and be faithful to the death that we may receive a crown of life. Here we must so run that we may obtain.
And we have greater work here to do than the mere securing of our own salvation. We are members of the world and church, and we must labour to do good to many. We are trusted with our master's talents for his service in our places to do our best to propagate his truth, and grace, and church, and to bring him souls, and to honour his cause, and edify his flock, and further the salvation of as many as we can. All this is to be done on earth, if we will secure the end of all in heaven.— BAXTER.
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, aud he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall
be taken away even that which he hath. -Dream not that God will save the wicked, no, nor equally reward the slothful and the diligent, because Christ's righteousness was perfect. Paternal justice maketh difference according to that worthiness which is so denominated by the law of grace; and as sin is its own punishment, holiness and obedience is much of its own reward: whatever God appointeth thee to do, see that thou do it sincerely, and with all thy might. Stir up, O my soul, thy sincere desires, and all thy faculties, to do the remnant of the work of Christ appointed thee on earth; and then joyfully to wait for the heavenly perfection in God's own time.-BAXTER.
And is this life prolonged to me,
In vain these moments shall not pass,
I bow before thy throne.
Now cleanse my soul from every sin
The honours of my God.
Let me no more my soul beguile
My thankful lips shall loud proclaim
On earth let my example shine;
CHAP. XXV. 31-46.
The description of the last Judgment. 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory :
32 And 'before him shall be
gathered all nations: and "he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, " inherit the kingdom "prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink : "I was a stranger and ye took me in :
we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
but the righteous into life eternal.
8 Zech. xiv. 5. ch. xvi. 27 ; & xix. 28. Acts i. 11. 1 Thes. iv. 16. 2 Thes. i. 7. xx. 38; & xxxiv. 17, 20.
Mark viii. 38. Jude 14. Rev.
39 Or when saw we thee 17 Rom. xiv. 10. 2 Cor. v. 10. Rev. xx. 12.- Eze.
sick, or in prison and came unto thee?
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels :
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink :
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer answer them, saying, Verily I say unto
"Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye
did it not to me.
46 And 'these shall go away into everlasting punishment:
ch. xiii. 49.- Rom. viii. 17. 1 Pet. i. 4, 9; & iii. 9. Rev. xxi. 7.-y ch. xx. 23. Mark x. 40. 1 Cor. ii. 9. Heb. xi. 16.- Is. viii. 7. Ezek. xviii. 7 Jam. i. 27,-a Heb. xiii. 2. 3 John 5.-6 Jam. ii. 15, 16-c 2 Tim. i. 16.-d Prov. xiv. 31 ; & xix. 17. ch. x. 42. Mark ix. 41. Heb. vi. 10-e Ps. vi. 8. ch. vii. 23. Luke xiii. 27.-f eh. xiii. 40, 42.-g 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6.-h Prov. xiv. 31 ; & xvii. 5. Zech ii. 8. Acts ix. 5.-i Dan. xii. 2. John v. 29. Rom ii. 7, &c.
READER. Before him shall be gathered all nations.-When our bodies, by the word of the Almighty God, shall have been called together again, our souls will be all prepared to meet them; and so both "appear before the judgment-seat of Christ," to receive sentence according to what they have done in the flesh, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. And though it is very difficult, or rather impossible, for me to conceive or determine the particular circumstance of this grand assize, or manner and method how it shall be managed, yet, from the light and intimations that God has vouchsafed to give us of it, I have ground to believe, it will be ordered and carried on after this, or the like, manner.
The day and place being appointed by the King of kings, the glori ous Majesty of heaven, and Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, who long ago received his commission from the Father, to be the "judge of the quick and dead,” “shall descend
from heaven with the shout of the archangel, and with the trump of God," royally attended with an innumerable company of glorious angels. These he shall send with the great sound of a trumpet, and
they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the one end of heaven to the other, yea, and the wicked too, from whatsoever place they shall be in; and then shall he sever the wicked from the just.' So that all nations, and every particular person, that ever did, or ever shall, live upon the face of the earth, shall be gathered to gether before him, and he shall separate the one from the other, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left.
Things being thus set in order, the judge shall read his commission, i. e. declare and manifest himself to be the judge of all the earth, sent by the God of heaven to judge them that had condemned him, and in that very body that was once crucified upon the cross, at Jerusalem, for our sins. So that all the world shall then behold him shining in all his glory and majesty, and shall acknowledge him to be now, what they would not believe him to be before, even both God and man, and so the judge of all the world, from whom there can be no appeal.
And having thus declared his commission, the first work he will go upon, will be to open the book of God's remembrance, and to cause all the indictments to be read, that are there found on record against those on his right hand; but, behold, all the black lines of their sins being blotted out, with the red lines of their Saviour's blood, and nothing but their good works, their prayers,
their sermons, their meditations, their alms, and the like, to be found there; the righteous judge, before whom they stand, turning himself before them, with a serene and smiling countenance, will declare to them, before all the world, that their sins are pardoned, and their persons accepted by him, as having believed in him; and therefore will he immediately proceed to pronounce the happy sentence of election on them, saying, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
The sentence being thus pronounced, the righteous (and I hope myself amongst the rest) shall go up with shouts of joy and triumph, to sit with our blessed Redeemer, to judge the other parts of the world, who are at the left hand of the tribunal, with ghastly countenances and trembling hearts, to receive their last and dreadful doom. Against these all the sins that they committed, or were guilty of, shall be brought in judgment against them, as they are found on record in the book of God's remembrance, and the indictments read against every particular person, high or low, for every particular sin, great or small, which they have committed. And the truth of this indictment shall be attested by their own consciences, crying, guilty, guilty; I say, by their own consciences, which are as a thousand witnesses; yea, and by the omniscience of God too, which is as a thousand consciences. And, therefore, without any further
delay, shall the judge proceed to pronounce the sentence, the doleful sentence, of condemnation upon them, "Depart ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." This, or such like, will be the method of Christ's proceeding with us in that great and terrible day of trial and retribution. Oh! may these awful thoughts and ideas of it always accompany me, and strike such a deep and lively impression upon my heart, in every action of life, as to deter me from offending this just and Almighty Being, in whose power it is to destroy both soul and body in hell, and engage me in such a regular, strict and conscientious course of life, as to be always ready, whenever he shall please to summon me, to give in my accounts at the great audit, and with an holy assurance fly for mercy und succour into the hands of my Redeemer, and be permitted to enter into the joys of his rest. -BEVERIDGE.
the other to the left. Men are very apt to flatter themselves now that they will fare the better for the company they keep; they hope not so much to be made better by their company, as to escape the better with them. But they should remember that the tares and the wheat grow together in the same field, but yet have a very different end; the one is gathered into the barn, the other is burnt: and that good and bad fish are taken in the same net, but they are separated at the day of judgment. All our separations now will avail us nothing, unless we take care to be found in the number of Christ's sheep, when we come to judgment-SHERLOCK.
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat, &c.-Though we shall be judged for all the good and evil we have done, yet our Saviour, in describing the process of the last judgment, makes no mention of any thing but acts of charity.-It concerns us to take notice of this, and to enquire what the meaning of it is.
Now, in the First place, there is no doubt but our Saviour's intention in this was in this was very powerfully to recommend all acts of charity to us.
He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the guats on the left.-This is the last and final separation. Good and bad men will never meet and intermix-Secondly, He hereby signifies that with each other after this. They this divine charity is the perfection live together in this world, and con- of all other Christian graces and verse together; are united by relati- virtues, and comprehends them all; on and interest; are members of the for it is certain that no man will be same church; and worship God to- saved without an universal rightgether in the same holy communion eousness, and yet our Saviour of prayers and sacraments: but they enquires only after charity, as the must part company at the day of judg- mark and criterion of an universal ment, the one to the right hand and righteousness; for where that is in