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their old age; their fruitless repentances, and frequent relapses; their excesses in the pleasures of sense, and their deficiencies in the duties of religion; the wanderings of their prayers, and the coldness of their charity. And, alas ! if God should be extreme to mark what is done amiss, who could stand? But for those who believe, upon the preaching of the Gospel, who lay hold on the benefits of that act of grace, and come in upon the easy terms of the Christian covenant, for them there is Nagaxantos, an adoocate ready to appear, even the Spirit, which now or maketh intercession for them,” and shall do the same at the last day against the allegations of Satan, pleading the merits of the Redeemer, and the promised pardon made effectual by grace; what he wrought for his people, and what he wrought in them; the groans and the tears of the penitent, the fastings and the watchings, the prayers and the alms of the faithful; the weakness and imperfection of which shall be forgiven, and they shall be accepted, not for their own sake, but for the sake of the beloved ; through whose blood all shall be saved who depart in the faith and fear of God, notwithstanding their relapses, through infirmity, in the days of their flesh. These, therefore, go to the portion on the right hand, because the Lord their God doth answer for them. They shall hear the joyful sound of pardon and peace : the angels who ministered to them, and often rejoiced at their repentance, shall place them in everlasting habitations of pleasure and glory; while the wicked, forsaken by their guardians, and condemned by the righteous judgement of their God, are consigned over to the executioners of eternal vengeance.
A consideration of these important truths suggesteth the best rules for the conduct of those who are concerned in human judicatories.
Mindful, therefore, of “ that man by whom 166 God shall judge the world in righteousness,' he who sitteth on the seat of judgement, as the representative of an earthly sovereign, will consider himself likewise as his minister,“ by whom kings “ reign, and princes decree judgement,” and at whose bar kings and princes, with all in authority under them, must one day appear.
At present “God “standeth in the congregation of princes,” observing the manner in which they exercise the power delegated to them; but hereafter he shall sit as a judge even of them, who, by reason of that delegated power are styled gods. The care then of the magistrate, when he goeth up to the judgement-seat, will be, to put on righteousness as a glorious and beautiful robe; and to render his tribunal a fit emblem of that eternal throne, of which justice and judgement are the habitation.
Mindful of those holy and exalted personages, who shall sit with their Lord upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, they to whom the laws of their country commit the lives and properties of their fellow subjects, will not suffer themselves to be biassed by any worldly considerations. They will neither be intimidated by the frowns of the mighty, nor seduced by the promises of the opulent, to de
part one step from the disinterested uprightness and integrity which characterize the apostles of the Son of God.
Mindful of that true and faithful witness which every man carries in his bosom, which no gift can blind, no power can silence, or prevent its appearing to testify concerning his thoughts, his words, and his actions at the last day, they who are called upon
to give evidence, will do it with simplicity and sincerity; neither palliating the crimes of the guilty, nor aggravating the calamities of the wretched, but so speaking " the truth, the whole truth, and nothing “ but the truth,” as their consciences will hereafter infallibly do, and as they expect help from the God of their salvation in that dreadful hour.
Mindful of that blessed and gracious Spirit, who now “maketh intercession for us with unutterable
groanings,” and who shall plead our cause at the judgement-seat of Christ, the advocate will rejoice in the godlike task of patronizing the injured and oppressed; of contributing, by his skill and industry, towards the elucidation of truth, the detection of villany, and the vindication of innocence. But he will never employ his learning for the establishment of falsehood, nor display his eloquence in favour of injustice.
Mindful of their happy lot wbom mercy shall receive to glory, and of their sad estate whom justice shall hurry away to torments, we shall all provide against that day which is to determine our fate for everlasting ages. Should a door of hope be opened to those unhappy wretches who are now reserved in
chains, to be brought forth to judgement before an earthly judge, how eagerly would they press into it? Could sorrow for their past offences, and unfeigned resolutions of amendment, procure the royal pardon, restore them to a state of probation, and enable them to lay hold on life, how thankful would they be for the offer, how readily would they close with the proposal! This favour is graciously vouchsafed to us. For, “ behold, now is the accepted time; behold,
now is the day of salvation. The judge standeth “ before the door," but his entrance is not yet. The evangelical act of grace continueth in full force, and all are invited to partake of the benefits of it; that so having repented, and believed the Gospel, having kept the faith in a pure conscience, and kept it unto the end, they may obtain their pardon under the seal of the living God, and receive the promised reward in the day of eternal recompense. For “ there is no “condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, “ who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” While, therefore, we bless God, who preserveth to us the administration of justice in our land, let the present solemnity, by reminding us of the trial we likewise must undergo, be made profitable in things pertaining not only to this life, but also to that which is to come; that so, when we shall all meet again, after our separation by the chances of life and the stroke of death, we may remember that we met on this day; and remember with pleasure, that we met not in vain.
THE ORIGIN OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
ROMANS, XIII. 4.
He is the minister of God to thee for good.
It is impossible for any one to consider, with attention, the harmony in which all the parts of the natural world conspire to act for the benefit of the whole, without feeling an ardent desire to learn by whom, and in what manner, they were first framed and compacted together; how the agents were suited to the patients, and the causes proportioned to the effects; so that the former have ever since operated invariably in the production of the latter; and the result hath been an uniform obedience to the laws originally imposed upon inanimate matter.
A diligent survey of the blessings for which the moral' world is indebted to civil polity, and the due execution of its edicts, must needs excite a curiosity equally earnest and equally laudable, to inquire into the origin of so useful and necessary an institution; to know at what time, and under whose direction, a