ROMANS 2, 1 - 12. Therefore thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that thejudgment of God is arrording to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, 0 man, that judgest them which do such things and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering : not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God ; who will render to every man according to his deeds : to them who by patient continuance in well - doing. seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life ; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath: tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile ; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law ; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

BEFORE proceeding to the exposition of this chapter, it may be remarked of the concluding verse in the last chapter, that, with all the blindness winch the apostle charges on the heathen, and with all the dislike of retaining God in their knowledge which he ascribes to them - there was still one particular of this knowledge which they did retain. They still knew as much of God's judgement, as to be conscious that what they were doing and reprobacy of their minds, was worthy of death. There was still a remainder of conscience about them, in virtue of which they felt that there were a sin and a condemnation which attached to their own persons. With all the obliteration which had come upon their moral faculties - there were still the traces of a law which they could obscurely read, and of a voice which faintly uttered itself in notes of disapprobation. They were conscious that all was not right about them; and had the impression of a Being greater than themselves, to whose account they were responsible; and the idea of a reckoning and of a sentence were not altogether strange to their understandings.
For still, in the most sunken ages of our decaying and deteriorating species, did each man carry about with him such a light as, if he did not follow it, would render him a sinner - not against such principles as were altogether hidden, but against such principles as were partly known to him. And such vestiges of a natural sense about the right and the wrong, may not only be gathered from the books of Pagan antiquity but they may be still more satisfactorily educed, from the converse that we hold in the present day with the living Paganism which still abounds in our world. We know not a more deeply interesting walk of observation, than that which is prosecuted by modern missionaries, when they come into contact and communication with the men of a still unbroken country - when they make their lodgment on one of the remote and yet untravelled wilds of Paganism - when, after the interval of four thousand years from the dispersion of the great family of mankind, they go to one of its most -widely diverging branches, and ascertain what of conscience or what of religious light has among them survived the lapse of so many generations - when they thus, as it were, knock at the door of nature left for ages to itself, and try if there yet be slumbering any sense or intelligence there which can at all respond to the message they have brought along with them. Nor do we know an evolution of the human heart which carries in it more of a big and an affecting interest, than that on which philosophy has never cast an enquiring regard - even that among its dark and long unentered recesses, there still subsists an undying voice, which owns the comfort and echoes back the truth of Christianity. Insomuch that, let missionaries go to the very extremity of our species, and speak of sin and judgment and condemnation, they do not speak in vocables unknown ; and sweet to many a soul is the preacher's voice, when he tells that unto them a Saviour is born; and out of the relics of even this deep and settled degeneracy, can be gotten the materials of a satisfying demonstration; and thus in the very darkest places have converts multiplied, and Christian villages arisen, and the gospel been the savour of life unto life to the some who have embraced it, and been the savour of death unto death to the many who have declined it- all proving that a principle still existed in their bosoms, which if they followed would guide them to salvation, and which if they fled from would try them and find them to be guilty.

Nor let us wonder therefore, that the apost.le, even when speaking of those who are given over to every abomination, should still affirm of them that they know the judgments of God. Even a remainder of that knowledge which they liked not to retain, still kept its hold upon their Conscience and gave them a responsibility which belongs not to the beasts that perish. Man, in short, throughout the whole of this world's peopled territory, has a law by which he may righteously be judged; and still enough of it is known and felt by his own conscience to make it out, that for its violation he should be righteously condemned. So that, dark as our conceptions may be of the present character and future fate of those who live under the shadow of heathenism, we may be sure that a clear and righteous principle of retribution will be applied to them all; and that they who shall be judged worthy of death on that day will be found to have committed such things, as they themselves either knew or might have known to be worthy of it.

There is still another phrase in the verse which may require to be adverted to. It is there said of the people who committed things worthy of death, that they not only did the same, but had pleasure in them that did them. This last marks a higher and a more formed depravity, than the direct commission of that which is evil. To be hurried along by the violence of passion into some deed of licentiousness, may consist with the state of a mind that feels its own degradation, and mourns over the infirmity of its purposes. But to look with connivance and delight on the sin of others - to have pleasure in their companionship - and to spirit them on in the ways of disobedience, after perhaps the urgency which prompted his own career of it has abated - this argues, not the subjection of one faculty to another, but the subjection of the whole man to sin, viewed as an object of full and formal approbation. This is a reprobacy of the mind, to which the old are sometimes given over, after they have run their course of dissipation. At the outset, even of this lawless history, was there a struggling principle within them, which debated, and, for a time, parried off the question of indulgence; and after they entered on the transgressor's path, did they taste the bitterness of many a compunctious visitation. But under that hardening process, which we have already explained, the conscience at length lost its tenderness, and all its pangs and all its remonstrances were forgotten; and, from one year to another, can the voluptuary, more abandoned than before, lift a louder and a louder defiance to the authority which at one time overawed him.

But never, perhaps, does he betray such a fatal symptom of one who is indeed given over, as when age, with all its ailing helplessness, has at length overtaken him; and he can now only smile at the remembrance of joys which he can no longer realize; and the young who assemble at his festive board, are by him cheered forward on that way of destruction, to the end of which he is so fast hastening; and the poison of his own indelicacy spreads its vitiating influence over the unpractised guests who are around him. Depravity so unfeeling as this, which goes to augment its own votaries and its own victims, and to perpetuate a legacy in hell from one rebellious generation to another, was daily and currently exemplified in the manners of an age which has now passed by. And if, in the progress of an external or fashionable reformation, it now be nearly unknown, let the record of it at least serve to mark, how even an individual conscience can wither in its possessor's bosom to the very margin of extinction; and how ere he leaves the world he can bequeath to it an increase of degeneracy, adding his own seductive testimony to all the other engines of corruption which are already at work in it - thus serving to explain, not merely how guilt is ever growing in power and ascendancy over the habits of a single man, but how it deepens and accumulates and rises into magnitude more appalling, along the line of the advancing history of our species.

Before entering upon the exposition of the verses which have now been read in your hearing, let it be remarked, that the special design of the writer of this epistle begins to open into clearer manifestation. The fact is, that it was written to the believers in Rome, before he ever had made a personal appearance in that city. We know from tile book of Acts, that, upon his arrival there, it was his first care to obtain an interview with the people of his own nation; and that, as his practice was in other places, he began his explanation of the gospel in the hearing of the Jews, and then turned himself also unto the Gentiles. Certain it is, that in this written communication, the main purport of the argument, is to conciliate the Jews to the faith of the gospel. It is to make them understand, that, in respect of their need of salvation, they were on a footing just as helpless as that of the Gentiles; that a like sentence of wrath had gone out against both; and a like process of recovery was indispensable to both. For the accomplishment of this object, he makes, we apprehend, a very skilful approach to the Jewish understanding. Throughout the whole of his writings, in fact, do we see that he abounded in wise but honourable devices, for the purpose of giving weight and acceptance to his reasonings. He was all things to all men, not to the extent of surrendering any particle of truth to their prejudices, but to the extent of doing all that might be fairly or innocently done, for the purpose of softening and surprising them out of their prejudices.

The picture which he draws in the first chapter, is a picture of the Gentile world; and its most conspicuous lineaments are those of Gentile profligacy; and in laying it before the eye of a Jewish observer, he in fact deals with him even as Nathan did with David, when he offered him a disguised representation of his own character, and turned the indignation which he had previously kindled in the bosom of the monarch upon his own head. For you will observe, that though the most prominent features of the apostolic sketch, are drawn from the abominations and the excesses of Heathenism, there are others which are descriptive, not of any special, but of that universal corruption, which may be read and recognized on the person of every member of the human family. The common depravities of our race are made to enter into the enumeration, along with those which are more monstrous and unnatural; and the vices which are chargeable upon all, are mixed up in the same catalogue with the vices which are chargeable upon some; and the Jew, heedless of those traits of the description which may be fastened on himself, is thus caught, as it were, into an indignation which may be retorted back again upon his own character. It is thus that the apostle begins this second chapter, much in the way in which the prophet of the Old Testament prosecuted the advantage that he had won over David, whose resentment he had kindled against an act of oppression, which he himself had both imitated and outdone. "Thou art the man," is reiterated upon the Jew, throughout the whole of the second and the greater part of the third chapter - it being the main object of our apostle to assail the opposition in that quarter where it looked to be most impregnable - to extend the conviction of sin from the Gentile whom he had laid prostrate before him, to the Jew who still kept a boastful attitude, on the ground of that self-sufficiency which the apostle labours to cut away - to prove, in short, that all were under sin, and all were in need of a Saviour; that all were partakers of the same guilt, and must be partakers of the same grace, ere they could be restored to acceptance with that God whom in common they had all offended.

In order that you feel the force of the apostle's demonstration, there is one principle which is held to be sound in human law, and which in all equity ought to be extended to the law of God. The principle is this - that, however manifold the enactments of the law may be, it is possible, by one act or one kind of disobedience, to incur the guilt of an entire defiance to the authority which framed it; and therefore to bring rightfully down upon the head of the transgressor, the whole weight of the severities which it denounces against the children of iniquity. To be worthy of death, it is not necessary to commit all the things which are included in the sad enumeration of human vices - any more than it is necessary for a criminal, to add depredation to forgery, or murder to both, ere a capital sentence go out against him, from the administrators of the law upon which he has trampled. You may as effectually cut with a friend by one hostile or insolent expression, as if you had employed a thousand; and your disownal of an authority may be as intelligably announced, by one deed of defiance as by many; and your contempt of Heaven's court be as strongly manifested, by your wilful violation of one of the commandments, as if you had thwarted every requirement of its prescribed and published ceremonial. It is true that there are gradations of punishment; but these are measured, not according to the multiplicity of outward offences, but according to the intensity of the rebellious principle that is within. In virtue of an honourable feeling, you may never steal; and this is the deduction of one external iniquity from the history of the doings of the outer man. But it is not on that account an alleviation of the ungodliness of the inner man. You may have natural affection and never abandon either a child to the exposure of its infancy, or a parent to the helplessness of his age; and yet your heart be as destitute as that of any of the inferior animals, of affection for your Father who is in heaven.

The man who has thrown off the allegiance of loyalty, may feel no inclination to walk the whole round of disobedience to the laws; and yet upon the temptation of one single opportunity, and by the breaking forth of one single expression, may he bring down the whole vengeance of Government upon his person. The man who has thrown off the allegiance of Religion, may neither have the occasion nor the wish to commit all the offences which it prohibits, or to utter all the blasphemies which may be vented forth in the spirit of defiance against the Almighty's throne. And yet the principle of defiance may have taken full possession of his heart; and irreligion may be the element in which he breathes. And in every instance, when his will comes into competition with the will of God, may the creature lift himself above the Creator; and though, according to the varieties of natural temperament these instances may be more manifold and various with one man than with another - yet that which essentially constitutes the character of moral and spiritual guilt may be of equal strength and inveteracy with both - Making it as true of a reputable member of society in our day, as it was of the formal and observant Pharisee, that he only conformed to the law of God, when, though walking all the while in the counsel of his own heart, conformity is that which he would; and always trampled upon this law, whenever, walking in the same counsel, conformity is a thing which he would not. Ungodliness, in short, is not a thing of tale and measure. It is a thing of weight and of quality. It may be as thoroughly infused through the character of him who is observant of all the civilized decencies of life, as of him whose enormities have rendered him an outcast from all the common regards of society. Heaven's sanctuary is alike scorned and alike neglected by both; and on the head of each, will there be the same descending burden of Heaven's righteous indignation.

Among the varieties both of taste and of habit which obtain with the different individuals of our species, there are modifications of disobedience agreeable to one class and disgustful to another class. The careful and calculating economist may never join in any of the excesses of dissipation; and the man of regardless expenditure may never send an unrelieved petitioner from his door; and the religious formalist may never omit either sermon or sacrament, that is held throughout the year in the place of his attendance; and the honourable merchant may never flinch or falsify, in any one of the transactions of business. Each has such points of conformity as suits him, and each has such other points of non-conformity as suits him; and thus the one may despise or even execrate the other, for that particular style of disobedience by which he indulges his own partialities; and the things which they respectively do, differ there can be no doubt as to the matter of them - but as to the mind of unconcern about God which all of them express, they are virtually and essentially the same.

So that amid the censure and contempt which so currently pass between men of various classes and characters in society, there is one pervading quality of ungodliness which they hold in common; and in virtue of which the condemnation that one pronounces upon another, may righteously be turned upon himself; and it be said of him in the language of the apostle, ‘therefore thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. Romans, ii, 1 - 12.

This passage requires almost nothing in the way of verbal criticism. The term for ‘despise' in the 4th verse needed not to have been so rendered as to denote an active contempt - but rather a mere disregard and negligence of the opportunity, which God in His forbearance had afforded to sinners, for returning and making their peace with Him. The term ‘patient' again, in the 7th verse, signifies, both here and in other places of Scripture, something more active than the mere virtue of patience under suffering. They who bring forth fruits with patience, are they who do so with perseverance. They who run their race with patience, are they who persevere in so running. They who maintain a patient continuance, are they who maintain a persevering continuance in well-doing.

The whole passage is so plain, that it scarcely admits of elucidation even from a paraphrase. But let the following be offered to you. ‘Therefore, 0 man, thou art without excuse, whosoever thou art, that judgest; for, in judging another, thou condemnest thyself - seeing that thou who judgest doest the same things. And we are sure, that God's judgment is according to truth, against them who commit these things. And dost thou think, 0 man, who judgest them that do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape God's judgment? Or do you despise His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, inadvertent of this, that it is His goodness which affords to you a season of repentance? But, instead of this, do you, after your hard and impenitent heart, treasure up to yourselves wrath against the day of wrath, and against the day when the righteousness of God's judgments shall be rendered manifest? God will render to every man according to his deeds - to them who by a course of perseverance in well-doing seek for glory, honour, and immortality, eternal 1ife - but unto them who of contention and obstinacy do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be rendered indignation and wrath: tribulation and anguish, upon every son of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God on that day, whatever apparent preference He may make of one man over another, and of one people over another in the present stage of His administrations. He will then judge every man according to the light that was in his mind, according to the law which spake its authority to his conscience, and which he himself recognizes to be of rightful obligation.

It may be remarked that ‘tribulation' simply denotes affliction; and is the same here in the original, as in the passage, ‘we are troubled on every side' - and that anguish signifies the affliction from which there is no hope of our being extricated; and is the same in the original, as in the passage, that ‘though troubled on every side we are not distressed.'

At the outset of this chapter, the apostle appeals to a principle which is vigorously at work in every bosom; and from its felt and conscious existence within us, would he press upon our belief the reality of the same principle, as residing in the Godhead - as applied by Him to every creature who is capable of exercising it in his own mind; and leading to a result, that will be verified on the great day of the winding up of this world's administration. By nature we are slow to self-condemnation; and, beset with the engrossments of our own passion and our own interest, we see not in ourselves the criminality of the same things which we reprobate in others; and conscience either passes no verdict at all, or in such a faint and gentle whisper that it is not heard, when it takes a rare and a feeble cognizance of our own character. But the self-love, which deafens the voice of con science in its application to our own case, lays no such barrier in its way when it pronounces on the ease of others. And hence the familiar spectacle, of, not merely an adverse judgment, but even of a wrath and an indignation in the mind of one man against the vanity or the dishonesty or the calumnies of another, to the evil of which he is blind or insensible when exemplified in an equal degree upon his own person.

Now this very judging of others, proves that there is in him a capacity for this exercise. It shows that there is a moral light and a moral sense still residing in his bosom. It proves a sense of the difference between right and wrong; and that when a certain veil is lifted away from the materials of the examination, so as to bring his mind into a more unclouded discernment of them - then, there is in that mind a conscience, which can operate and pronounce aright, upon what is meritorious and what is blameworthy in the character of man. Should that man be himself, and should this circumstance throw a darkening shroud over the field of examination, it surely is no palliation of his sinfulness, nor does it render him less amenable to the judgment of God, if this shroud which hides his own character from his own eyes be drawn over it by his own selfishness. You cannot allege his blindness in mitigation of the sentence that is to go forth against him, if it be a blindness which has no place in reference to the faults of other men; and only gathers again over the organs of his moral discernment, when the hand of his own partiality sets up a screen between the eye of his conscience and the equal or perhaps surpassing faults of his own character. The mere fact that he can and does judge of others, proves that a law of right and wrong is present with him. The fact that he does not so judge of himself, only proves, not that he is without the light of moral truth like the beasts that perish - but that he keeps down that truth by unrighteousness; that when its voice is so stifled as to be unheard, it is he himself who stifles it; that his blindness is not the natural incapacity of an animal, but the wilful and chosen and much-loved blindness of a depraved man.

If you see one of our species judging certain things in the conduct of another, infer from this that he knows of a code to whiéh by his own voice he awards a moral authority. If you see him not judging in the same way of the same things in himself, consider this as a wilful suppression of the truth, which does not extenuate, but which in every way heightens his guilt, and turns his moral insensibility, not into a plea, but into an aggravation. And if there be not a country in the world, where this twofold exhibition is not to be witnessed - if, even among the rudest wanderers of the desert, there is the tact of a moral discernment between what is fair and what is injurious in the character of man - if in the fierce contests of savages, you see them capable of being alive to the injustice of others, while in the wild and untamed rapacity of their natures, they experience no check from the sense and conviction of their own - Then be assured, that, on the great day of account, will it be found, that there is a law which can reach even unto them; and a retribution of equity which can be rendered unto them; and a vengeance which, in despite of every plea and every palliation that can be offered for these darkest and most degraded of our brethren, can be righteously inflicted - Making it manifest, that a judgment-seat may be set up on the last day of our world; and that around it, from its remotest corners, all the men of all its generations may be assembled; and that not one of them will be found to have lived without the scope and limits of a jurisdiction, on the principles of which he may rightfully be tried - so as that yet the triumph of God's justice shall, be signalized upon every individual; nor will there be a single doom pronounced upon any creature, in any one department of the great moral territory, that is not strictly accordant with this song of Revelation - " Even so, Lord God Almighty! true and righteous are thy judgments; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

But let us look nearer home. There is not an exercise more familiar to your own hearts, than that by which you feel the demerits of others, and judge of them accordingly. The very movements of anger within you are connected with a sense of right and wrong - such a sense as evinces you to be in possession of a law, which you can bring to bear in examination and condemnation upon the doings of man; and should this law be evaded through the duplicities and the deceits of selfishness, in its application to yourself - then know that a principle so universal among mankind, in reference to their judgments the one of the other, is of unfailing operation in the mind of the Deity, and will be applied by Him to all who by the mere possession of a moral faculty prove themselves to be the fitting subjects of His moral cognizance. If in the whole course of your existence, you ever judged another, this renders you at that one time a right and proper subject of judgment yourself; and if this be your daily and habitual exercise, insomuch that any development of vanity or selfishness or unfairness in another is sure to call out from you a feeling of condemnation, then this proves that you are hourly and habitually the rightful subjects of a moral guardianship and a moral jurisdiction. The faculty you have, is but a secondary impress of that superior and pervading faculty which belongs to God, as the judge of all and the lawgiver of all. Be assured that there is a presiding justice in His administration; that there is a moral government founded on a righteousness, the lessons of which are more or less known by all, and the sanctions of which will be accordingly fulfilled upon all. Your very power of judging others, proves that its lessons are in some degree known to you. And think not, 0 man which judgest those who do such and such things, and doest the same, that thou wilt escape the judgment of God.

God, in the day of final account, will find out in the case of every human being whom He does condemn, the materials of his valid condemnation. These materials may in a great measure be hidden from us now; and yet the palpable fact of each being able morally to judge another, and to pass his moral opinion upon another, however little he may be disposed to scrutinize himself, forms a very palpable disclosure of the fact, that there is in our hearts the sense of a moral law -a monitor who, if we do not follow him as our guide here, will be our accusing witness hereafter. And from every feeling of reprobation, if not from every feeling of resentment towards others of which we are capable, we may gather assurance of the fact, that there does exist within us such a sense of the distinction between right and wrong, as, if not acted on in our own conduct, will be enough to convict us of a latent iniquity, and to call down upon us a rightful sentence of condemnation.

So long as self is the subject of its overseership, the moral sense may be partial or reluctant or altogether negligent of its testimonies. But if it can give those testimonies clearly enough and feelingly enough, when it casts a superintendimig eye over the conduct of others, this proves that an inward witness could speak also to us, but does not, because we have bribed him into silence. In other words, it will be found on the last day, that we had light enough to conduct us if we would have followed, and to condemn us if we have either refused or wilfully darkened its intimations. So that God will be clear when He speaketh and justified when He judgeth. He will wipe His hands of every outcast on that great and solemn occasion; and make it evident that the guilt of all the iniquities for which he is punished is at his own door - that there is no unrighteousness of severity with God, but that ‘His judgment is indeed according to truth' when it is against them who commit such things.

The apostle affirms his own sureness of this, and with a view to make us sure of it also. The truth is, that a want of belief in God as a Judge, is nearly as prevalent as the want of belief in Christ as a Saviour. Could the one be established within you, it would create an enquiry and a restlessness and an alarm, which might soon issue in the attainment of the other. But the general habit of the world proves, that, in reference to God as a God of judgment, there is a profound and a prevailing sleep among its generations. The children of alienated and degenerate Nature, are no more awake to the law in all the unchangeableness of its present authority, and in all the certainty of its coming terrors - than they are awake to the gospel in the freedom of its offers, and in the sureness of its redemption, and in the exceeding greatness and preciousness of all its promises. There is just as little sense of the disease, as there is little of esteem for the remedy.

Theologians accordingly tell us of the faith of the law, and of the faith of the gospel. By the one we believe what the law reveals, in regard to its own requirements and its own sanctions. By the other we believe what the gospel reveals, in regard to its own proposals and its own invitations and its own privileges. Faith attaches itself to the law as well as to the gospel ; and obedience to the gospel as well as to the law. The apostle here speaks of our not obeying the truth - and the psalmist says - " Lord, I have believed thy commandments." The truth is, that, among the men of our listless and secure species, there is no realizing sense of their being under the law - or of their being under the haunting control and inspection of a Lawgiver. Their habit is that of walking in the counsel of their own hearts and in the sight of their own eyes - nor do they feel, in the waywardness of their self- originating movements, that they are the servants of another and amenable to the judgment of another.

Let a man just attend to the current of his thoughts and purposes and desires, throughout the course of a whole day's business; and he will find how lamentably the impression of a divine superintendence, and the sense of a heavenly and unseen witness, are away from his heart. This will not excuse his habitual ungodliness - due, as we have often affirmed it to be, to the wilful smothering of convictions, which, but for wilful depravity, he might have had. But such being the real insensibility of man to his own condition as a responsible and an amenable creature, it is well that by such strenuous affirmations as those of the apostle, he should be reminded of the sureness wherewith God will appoint a day in righteousness; and institute a judgment over the quick and the dead.

Unbelief is not so much a dissent of the mind from any one particular truth or doctrine of revelation, as a darkness of the mind which intercepts a realizing view of all the truths and all the objects that lie spread over the region of spirituality. The clearing away of this darkness renders these objects visible; and it is a variation in the order of their disclosure which forms one chief cause of the varieties of religious experience. Some catch in the first instance a view of the law, scattering, as if from the mouth of a volcano, its menaces and its terrors on all the children of disobedience; and it is not till after a dreary interval of discomposure and distress, that they behold the mantle lifted away from that stronghold into which all of them flee as an escape and a resting place. Others again catch at the outset a milder and a quieter ray from the light of the Sun of Righteousness; and it is not till they have been conducted within the fold of a most sure and ample mediatorship, and from whence they may look tranquilly and at a safe and protected distance on all around them - it is not till then, that they are made to see the hatefulness of sin, and all the dread and all the dignity of God's fiery denunciations against it.

These things follow each other by a different succession with different individuals; but certain it is that the most partial glimpse of the smallest portion of the whole territory of faith, is greatly more to be desired, than the deep and sunken and unalleviated carnality of him, who is wholly given unto things present and things sensible; and even he, to whom the guilt -and danger alone have been unfolded, is far more hopefully conditioned, than he, who, alike insensible to the wrath of God the Judge, and to the beseeching voice of God the Saviour, has taken up with time as his portion and his all; and, living as he lists, lives in the enjoyment of a peace, which, if not broken up ere he dies, a few years will demonstrate to have been indeed a fatal and then irrecoverable delusion.

The 4th verse of this chapter has been referred to by Peter in his second epistle - wherein he also explains why it is that God does not cut short the present stage of His administration - why it is, that He tolerates so long the succession of one sinful generation after another - why it is, that He sweeps not away such a moral nuisance as our rebellious world, and so have done with it - why it is, for example, that at this very hour we see not the symptoms of dissolving nature, and hear not the trumpet of preparation for the solemnities of the last day, and feel not the heat of melting elements, or the shaking of the ground from under us - But, instead of these, why it is that all is going on in its wonted order, and the sun moves as steadily, and the seasons roll as surely, and all the successions of nature follow each other with as undisturbed regularity, as if destined so to abide, and so to persevere even unto eternity.

We know not the theory of ungodly men upon this subject, but their practice speaks most intelligibly what they feel about it. They tread upon this world's surface as firmly, as if the world stood on a secure and everlasting foundation. They prosecute this world's objects as strenuously, as if in the gaining their little portion of it, they gained a value which in exchange would be greater than the value of men's souls. They toil and calculate and devise for this world's interests, with as intense and undivided earnestness, as if they and the world were never to be separated. In the face of evidence - in the face of experience - in the face of all they know about death, and of all that has been revealed to them about judgment and retribution and the final wreck of the present system of things, do they assign a character of perpetuity to what is seen and sensible around them ; nor could they possibly labour more devotedly in the pursuits of time, though they themselves were to continue here for ever, and all things to continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Such is the practical impression of a natural man about the life that he lives in the world; and all his habits of life and business are founded upon it. But how different from the revelation of its design and purpose as given by the apostles. It is a suspension of the wrath of God against sinners, that space may be allowed for repentance. It is ‘that He, not willing that any should perish,' but that all should return, forbears the infliction of His final vengeance till they have got their opportunity. The perverse interpretation which a worldly man puts upon the continuance of the world, is, that the world is worthy of all his affections; and that it is his wisdom to rear upon its basis the fabric of his hopes. He misses the altogether different conclusion which should be drawn from it - that this continuance is due to the goodness of God, lengthening out to him and to us all the season of an offered indemnity, and of a proclaimed pardon, and of an inviting gospel with the whole of its privileges and blessings - and so, not knowing that this goodness, instead of rivetting him more to the world should lead him to forsake the love of it for the love of its Maker, does he misunderstand and misapply the bearing of time upon eternity.

What we have already noticed, about the alternative character of that dispensation under which we sit, is strikingly brought out in the verses before us - goodness to the innocent, or goodness to the deserving, merely displays this attribute in a state of simplicity; but the goodness which remains unquelled and unexhausted after it has been sinned against - the goodness which persists in multiplying upon the transgressor the chances of his recovery, and that in the midst of affront and opposition - the goodness which, loth to inflict the retaliating blow, still holds out a little longer and - a little longer; and, with all the means in its power of avenging the insults of disobedience, still ekes out the season for its return, and plies it with all the encouragements of a free pardon and an offered reconciliation - This is the exuberance of goodness, this is the richness of forbearance and long-suffering; and it is the very display which God is now making in reference to our world.

And by every year which rolls over our heads - by every morning in which we find that we have awoke to the light of a new day, instead of awaking in torment - by every hour and every minute through which the stroke of death is suspended, and you still continue a breathing man in the land of gospel calls and gospel invitations - is God now justifying His goodness towards you. And earnest as He is for your return, and heedless as you are of all this earnestness, does it call as time moves onwards for a higher and a higher exertion of forbearance on the part of the Divinity, to restrain His past and accumulating wrath, from being discharged on the head of those among whom though God entreats yet no man will turn, and though He stretch out Ills hand yet no man regardeth.
Now if such be the character of God in His relation to man, mark what character it stamps upon man should he remain unsofteneci and unimpressed by it. It were offence enough to sin against the authority of a superior; but to sin against his for bearance forms a sore and a fatal aggravation. Thus to turn upon the long- suffering of God and to trample it - thus to pervert the season which He has allotted for repentance, into a season of more secure and presumptuous transgression - thus, upon every delay of vengeance with which He favours us, the more to strengthen ourselves in hard and haughty defiance against Him - This indeed is a highway of guilt, which, if you be not arrested therein, will lead to a sorer judgment and a deadlier consummation. Turn then all of you at the call of repentance, or it is the very highway on which you are treading. It is because He is rich in goodness, that we have been spared to this present moment of our history; and now hear Him in the very language of His own revelation bid you turn and turn, for why will you die. But if you will not draw from the treasures of His forbearance, there is treasure of another kind that is heaping by every day of your neglected salvation, in a storehouse of vengeance; and which, on the great day when God shall ease Him of all His adversaries, will all be poured forth upon you. And thus it is, that if you despise the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, and suffer not them to lead you to repentance, you will by your hardness and impenitency, treasure up unto yourselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgments of God.

Let us therefore, in plain urgency, bid you repent; and, untrammelled by system, set before you, as the apostle does, both the coming wrath and the coming glory; and tell you that the one is to him who doeth evil, and that the other is to him who doeth well; and we may be sure that there is nothing in faith, or in any of its mysteries, which will supersede the day of judgment as it is recorded in the passage here before us. The apostle is not only describing what would have happened under the first covenant, but what will happen under the second. For though justified by faith, we shall be judged by works; and let not the one of these articles be so contrasted with the other, as to throw a shade either of neglect or insignificance over it. When rightly understood, they reflect upon each other a mutual lustre, and lend to each other a mutual confirmation. Faith is the high road to repentance. Our acceptance of the righteousness of Christ as our title for an entrance into heaven, is an essential stepping-stone to our own personal righteousness as our preparation for the joys and the exercises of heaven; and if there be a stirring of conscience and an agitation of alarm in any of your hearts, under the sense of your not being what you ought to be - we can do nothing more effectual, than to propose the blood of Christ to your faith, in order that under the transforming and sanctifying influence of such a belief, you both be what you ought and do what you ought.

The great object of the apostle s demonstration is, that men should make their escape from the penalties of the law, to the hiding- place provided for them in the gospel. And though he here intimates the rewards which it holds out to obedience, and the fearful vengeance which it holds out against transgression - yet he does not intimate that any individual ever earned the one, or ever secured by his own righteousness an exemption from the other. His object is to make known to us the constitution or the economy of God's government, that, should any of its subjects fulfil all its requisitions, they should be rewarded; but without saying that they actually did so - or, that, should any of its subjects fail in those requisitions they would be punished; but without telling us whether any or some or all come under this condemnation. How it was that they actually did conduct themselves under this administration, he tells us afterwards - when he says of all, both Jews and Gentiles, that they were under sin; and that by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified, for that all had sinned and come short of the glory of God. And yet after all there will be a judgment; and this judgment will proceed upon each individual according to the deeds done in his body; and it is upon those who bring forth fruit with patience, or who maintain a patient continuance in well-doing, that these accents of invitation will descend - " Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord;" and it is also upon those who are contentious and obey not the truth but obey unrighteousness, that the awful bidding away to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels will be pronounced, by Him who conducts the solemnities of that great occasion.
But then, as we read afterwards, it will be Jesus Christ to whom this judgment will be committed; and the judgment will be according to "my gospel," or the gospel which the apostle proclaims to his hearers. The judgment of condemnation will be upon those who have withstood its overtures; or who, if these overtures had never reached them, have withstood the instigations of their own conscience, which ought to have been a law unto them. And the judgment of acquittal will be upon those who have obeyed the truth, or who have rendered obedience unto the faith - those whose persons and whose works are accepted for the sake of a better righteousness than their own - those who, after they believed, were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, and were made the workmanship of God in Christ Jesus, and were created anew unto good works. So that, after the first covenant has been superseded by the second - after man has become dead unto the law and made alive unto Christ - after all its demands have been satisfied, and it has no more power to challenge or to condemn him who truly believes in Jesus, Jesus himself takes up the judgment of him, and tries him on the question whether he is actually a believer; and the deeds done in the body are the evidences of this question, and make it manifest on that day that the faith which he professed was no counterfeit - being fruitful in all those works of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.

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