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1 For when they know themselves to be fo far from being righteous, that they are very wicked, why fhould they think, that God will judge of them otherwife than they are? That he will call good evil, and evil good; light darknefs, and darkness light; fweet bitter, and bitter Sweet; when he himself has pronounced a Woe against those who do it, 5 Ifa. 20. I am fure, a Righteous Judgment is to judge of things as they are, to judge Good to be Good, and Evil to be Evil; to judge the Tree by the Fruit; that a good Tree is that which bringeth forth good Fruit, and an evil Tree which bringeth forth corrupt Fruit.

This is Truth and Righteoufnefs in judging of the Natures of Things; and Righteoufnels in judging, as that fignifies rewarding and punifhing, is to reward and punish Men according to their Natures, Qualities and Deferts, to reward thofe, and thofe only, who do fuch things as deferve a Reward, or at leaft as make them capable of being rewarded; and to punish those who do fuch things as deferve punishment; for to give every Man his Deferts, is to judge righteously.




All this is very plain; and it is as plain, that Righteousness and Vertue deferve a Reward and Wickednefs deferves to be punished, and therefore a juft and righteous Judge must reward good Men, and punish the wicked: This all Mankind agree in; they have no other Notion of judging righteously but this, to reward the Good, and to punish the Wicked, but to blefs and profper, and reward the wicked, and to punish the good, is without difpute




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confeffed to be unjuft. Some Men dispute the effential difference between Good and Evil; but all confefs, that what we call Good, deferves Praife and Reward, and what we call Evil deferves Punishment; and this Diftinction between Good and Evil the Laws of all Nations make; and if this be accounted a righteous Judgment among Men, if God will judge the World, and judge in Righteousness, he alfo muft judge Men according to their Works; unless he means fomething elfe by judging righteously, than what Mankind underftand by it.

And thus he has every-where declar'd, he will do, as I need not prove to those who have read the Scripture. All the Threatnings both of the Law and the Gofpel, are againft the workers of Iniquity; all the Promifes are made to Holiness and Obedience; and if this be the Rule of Righteoufnefs and Justice, it must be the Rule alfo of a righteous Judgment: for to judge righteously, is to judge by the Rule of Righteousness.

Now if this be a righteous Judgment to reward or punish Men according to the Good or Evil they have done, how can God judge the World in Righteoufnefs, if he does not judge Men according to their Works? If he fhould acquit the wicked, and beftow Heaven on them; or condemn any Good Man to Hell? For will any Man fay, this is juft? And therefore let the Grace of the Gofpel be what it will, if it cannot make a wicked Man righteous without doing Righteoufnefs, it can never make it juft for God to fave a wicked and un


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godly Man. The Grace of God cannot change the Natures of Things; Righteoufnefs and Juftice is the fame thing under the Gospel, that it was under the Law; and therefore to judge righteously is the fame thing too, and that always did, and always will fignifie to judge Men according to their Works; to judge those righteous Men, who do Righteoufnels; and thofe wicked Men, who do Wickedness ; and to reward the Righteous, and punish the Wicked.


2dly. The Righteoufnefs of the Future Judgment confifts in the equality of it, to deal equally by all Men; now there is no other equal Rule of Judgment, but to judge Men by their Works; for there is nothing elfe for which all mankind can be judged; and if fome Men muft be judged for the Good or Evil of their Actions, and equal Juftice requires that all Men be judged by the fame Rule, Men muft either be judged by their Works, orby their Knowledge, or their Faith: As for Knowledge and Faith, it is evident that Mens natural Capacities, and the Circumftances of their Lives, and Fortunes, and Educations, which are not of their own choofing, and. therefore cannot be imputed to them, make a very great difference. One Man has naturally a better understanding, a quicker Apprehenfion, a more piercing Judgment than another; or if their natural Abilities be equal, yet the Circumstances of their Fortunes and Education make a difference: One is better instructed, trained up in the Art of Thinking, and Reafon

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Reafoning, and Judging, and has leifure and opportunity to improve his Knowledge by Study; while another as capable as he, is either ill taught, or not taught at all; or only taught the Art of Living in the World by Labour and Induftry: That. God might as well judge Men for being Rich or Poor, when their Fortune is not at their own difpofal; but owing to their Birth, or to profperous or adverfe Events of Providence, as to judge Men by the different Degrees and Improvements of Knowledge.

Thus as for Faith, fome never heard of Chrift at all; or if they did, it was only under the Character of an Impoftor, or of a Fable, but never had the true Reasons of Faith explained to them; others have been very ill inftructed in the Faith of Chrift, and never had opportunity to rectify their Mistakes; and yet as no Man is bound to know, what Nature does not reach, unless it be revealed to him; so no Man is bound to believe, what he has not fo much as heard of, nor to believe every thing he does hear, without fufficient Evidence; nor to receive the true Faith of Chrift, which he was never taught: So that fhould God divide the World at the laft Day, only into Believers and Infidels, this would be a very unequal distribution, because great part of the World never had the Faith of Chrift preached to them; and though Infidelity will condemn thofe Men, who have been inftructed in the Faith of. Chrift, and would not believe, yet it cannot in Reafon and Juftice be imputed to thofe Men who never heard of Chrift.



But now the Being and Providence of God, and the Differences of Good and Evil, are known to all Mankind; Nature teaches this, and therefore all Mankind are bound to know. it, and all Mankind may be judged by this Rule, whether they know God, and worship. him as God, and take care to do that which is good, and to avoid the evil. This account St. Paul gives us of it. For the Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and

righteousness of men, who hold the Truth in un


righteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifeft in them, for God hath fhewed it unto them. For the invifible Things of God from the Creation of the world, are clearly seen, being underftood by the Things that are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead, fo that they are without excufe. Becaufe that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their Imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkned, 1 Rom. 18, 19, 20, 21.. And the fame Apoftle tells us, That the Gentiles which have not the Law; (no Divine written Law) do by nature the Things contained in the Law, thefe having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves, which shew the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, their Confciences alfo bearing witnefs, and their Thoughts the mean while accufing, or elfe excufing one another, 2 Rom. 14. 15, 16.


So that all Mankind, even Heathens themfelves, have a natural Knowledge of G O D, and of Good and Evil, and therefore may be judged for what they know, and condemned by God for tranfgreffing thofe Laws of Righteoufnefs

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