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linquents but by Order of the Judge and the Laws; so the whole Business that the Devils are to do in Hell, is appointed them by the great Judge, whose Officers and Executioners they are, as to the Business of Punishments; as he has other Officers, the holy Angels, to execute his Commands in the more delightful Part of his Justice, the Rewarding of such as do well. The Prison too, here mentioned, seems to be a proper Description of Hell; and especially our Saviour's Afsuring us with an Asseveration, that there shall be no Mercy shewn there, no Compounding for the Debt, no Abatement of any of the Dues, makes it very probable that this was the Chief Thing he had an Eye to, the Judgment of the Other World; for it is no unusual Thing in this World, to make Abatements and Compositions with Poor Debtors, and to let them get out of Prison, by paying a Part, when they have not wherewithal to difcharge the whole Debt. There is one Word indeed put in the End, because our Saviour observes an exact Decorum in all his Similitudes, which would seem to intimate, that upon paying the whole Sum, the Prisoner may be released at last. Thou shalt by no Means, says he, come out thence, 'till thou hast paid the uttermoft Farthing. But if we consider the Scope and Purport of the Discourse, we may observe the Simile runs quite another Way; for the Allusion is made to a Debtor that had neglected and abused the Patience of his Creditor, of whom he might have had good Terms in Time, had he been careful to embrace them. But instead of that, he provokes him to the highest Degree imaginable ; and will do nothing but as he is compelled by the Extremity of
the Law. This Debtor is represented as one that had not wherewithal to satisfy the Debt himself, and one that could find no Bail, and therefore was forced to go to Prison ; our Saviour assures us, the Creditor was so irritated with this ill Usage, that he would have no Mercy on him; would not abate him one Farthing of the Sum. Now then, what is there to answer this part of the Similitude? truly this, that when the poor Wretch, who was much in his Neighbour's Debt, and took no Care to satisfy him in this Life, comes to be condemned by the great Judge of all the Earth, and to be thrown into the Prison of Hell, without Effects, and without Friends to do any thing for him ; there he must lie till the whole Reckoning is Discharged, which never will be discharged; for it is not the Lying there that discharges any thing. For this particle Till, doth not always denote a limited Time, but is used often to Things that have no end, as 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16. The Wrath of the Lord arose against the People, till there was no Remedy. So yob xxvü. 5. Till I die, I will not remove my Integrity from
And Ifa. xxii. 14. Surely this Iniquity fall not be purged from you till ye die, faith the Lord of Hosts. So Matt. i. 25. Joseph took to him his Wife, (the Virgin Mary) and knew her not till the bad brought forth her first-born Son; though he never knew her at all, but the remained a perpetual Virgin. So in this fame Chapter : Till Heaven and Earth pass away, one Jot or Tittle Mall in no wise pass from the Law. So 1 Cor. xv. 25. He must reign till he hath put all Enemies under his Feet. The whole Text then having an Aspect this way, we may learn from it, not only that there shall be a most exact,
righteous Judgment, which shall pass upon all Men, but particularly (which is home to the Point here treated of) that Severe Vengeance shall be taken of them who wrong their Neighbours in this Life, and neglect to make Reparation, and to reconcile themselves to them. These their injured Neighbours, by not avenging themselves, but committing the Cause to God, may be justly said to deliver their Adversary into the Hand of the Judge. And the Terror of what follows here, is a lively Description of the Punishment in the future State, which shall be inflicted on such obstinate, malicious Persons, as refuse to be reconciled with their Neighbour in this world. They shall have nothing wherewithal to make Satisfaction in the World to come; there is none then will be Bail or Surety for them; they shall be personally thrown into Prison ; the Time of Accommodation with the Adversary will then be over, and no further Offers of that kind shall then be made them ; the Debt, as all other, the longer it is unsatisfied, is still growing bigger and bigger, so that at last it rises to such a prodigious Sum, that the Debtor shall never be able to discharge it, and therefore can never expect to be released from that dismal Place.
Let this Doctrine teach us, in the first Place, to abstain carefully from doing any Injury to our Neighbour, that we may not at all run iu his Debt : And in the next Place, Let it teach us to be Careful to make our Peace with him in Time, at least, when we are both in the Way, that is, while we are both alive, in this World ; for if the Debt remains unsatisfied till he puts it into the Hands of the Eternal Judge, we see how
it will be then too late, and how our Misery will be then irretrieveable.
And what is here said of the Debts to our Neighbour, might, by a Parity of Reason, be applied to all Sins whatsoever, being Debts to Almighty God; which if neglected to be made up in Time, will have the same fatal Consequences; and therefore there can be no wholesomer Advice given to Men, than to make their Peace with God while the Day of Grace lasts, when he is willing to treat with them in a friendly and amicable Manner; for if they put off their Repentance, and Reconciliation with him, till the final Satisfaction by the Judgment of the great Day, it will be then too late, and all those dreadful Consequences will follow, which we have been describing. Consider therefore in this your Day the Things which belong to your everlasting *Peace, before the Time come, that they be hid from your Eyes. I shall conclude with an excellent Advice of the Evangelical Prophet Isaiah, Chap. lv. 6, 7
the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near ;. let the Wicked forsake bis Way, and the unrighteous Man his Thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have Mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly Pardon. Now to this great God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, let us render, as is due, all Praise, Honour and Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
SE R M O N XVI.
MATT. V. 27. re have beard that it was said by them of old time,
Tbou Malt not commit Adultery. Ver. 28. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a Woman to Luft after ber, bath committed adultery with ber already in bis Heart.
The First Sermon on this Text.
Subject which he had been treating of from the twentieth Verse of this Chapter, namely, in fhcwing how we Christians must carry Moral Duties to an higher Perfection than the strictest Doctors and Interpreters of the Law among the Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, carried them; if we intend to have any share in his Kingdom. He had instanced in the Sixth Commandment, directing the Government of our Passion, and shewed both what Interpretation those Doctors had put upon it, and what higher Degree of Duty he required. He proceeds now in the same manner to give another Instance of the fame Truth in the Seventh Commandment, for governing Luft; which it seems those Jewith Doctors had interpreted as forbidding only the gross Acts of Uncleanness: Ye have heard, says he;" that is, Ye have been taught by your Doc