Imatges de pàgina

fuch written law, they shall be both alike | diffent from their actions, according as in this, that they shall be judged and con- they are conform or diffonant unto these demned, the Jew, viz. according to the common notions of equity and justice, written law, but the Gentile not, but ac- which are written in their hearts. cording to another law, whereof he speaks From Verse 12th OBSERVE, afterward. After this the apostle, verse 1. It seemeth good in the eyes of the 13th, answereth the objection which the only wise Lord, who doth all things accordJews might propose; they might say, You ing to the good pleasure of his own will, do us wrong in putting us into the fame Eph. i. 11. to reveal his mind more parcategory with the Gentiles, seeing we have ticularly and plainly to fome than to others, the law of Moses, and hear it daily, which the more to shiew his sovereignty over all they want. To this he answereth, That nations whatsoever, and his infinite wisdom this will not avail, or cause God think in bringing about his own holy ends, to his more of them than of other Gentile fin

own glory, in so doing : for there is here ners, though it may move men to do fo ; fome who are said to be without a law ; for whosoever will expect that God will that is; not wihtout a law fimply, but approve of them more than of others, for without the written law of Moses, wherethe law's fake, must not be hearers only, in the mind of the Lord was revealed more but doers of the law. Then, in the next fully and clearly. place, he answereth what might be ob- 11. Tho' the sin of such as live under jected by the Gentiles, who might say, It greater light, and clearer discoveries of were not equity to punish us so as the God's mind, be the greater, because of Jews, seeing we have not had the means those clear manifestations of God's will ; of knowledge that they have had; they yet the ignorance (even cho' invincible) of had the written law, which we have not that law, wherein the Lord doth clearly had. To this the apostle answereth like and perspicuously hold forth his mind, ways, verses 14. 15, and faith, That this doth not wholly excuse men, and exeem will not be a sufficient ground for them to them from guilt, so as they should be out. expeét exemption upon; because tho' they of a capacity of sinning against God, howhave not a written law, yet are they not ever sin be the transgression of a law : for altogether without a law. And this be here there is some without a law, (vizo cleareth, by shewing, that they have some written) and yet are finners; For as many draughts of the law of nature (which is as have finned without a law. not tocally and wholly obliterated) where- III. Death is the wages of fin, be it by they take up some principles of equity committed against a clearly revealed law, and common reason, and are able to deduce or against a law that is more dark, and conclusions therefrom, tending to practice ; whereby the Lord's mind is more obthis is the work of the law written in their scurely and not so fully held forth ; so bearts. Now, this the apostle makesgood by just and righteous is God: for here it is these grounds : 1. Because by nature they said, that even such as finned without do concur with the law, by practising even a law should perish. fome of those things which the writen IV. At the great day, when God shall kaw requiresh, and by making precep:s en- be judging all flesh according to law, he joining what was co nmanded in the writ- will not judge the Gentiles who never saw ten law; and thus they are a law unto the law of Moses by it, but folely by the

bemselves. 2. Because they have a con- law of nature; for they fall perish withfrience within them which is privy to all out (Moses's) luw. sheir carriage, and doth content unto, or V. It is not mure light and more clear

discoveries of God's mind, or more means easy way whereby to stand joftified at the whereby the knowledge of God's mind bar of God's tribunal

, and expect absolumay be attained, that will keep folks from tion, than ever God carved out : and as fioning against God : So unwilling are we men should look diligently that their imaby nature to obey God, that convictions of ginations thus deceive them not, and that our duty will not be sufficient to cause us they stand on sure grounds; so the faithrun the way of God's commandments ; ful servaots of God should be careful to unfor here we hear of fome who fined in deceive people, and to discover the vanity of the law, or under the law of Moses. their imaginations, and shew the true grounds

VI, Tho' none shall escape the trial of on which a man must stand justified before God at the great day, but all and every God in the great day: therefore doth one shall be particularly examined, yet Paul shew, that not the hearing of the law, such on whom the Lord hath bestowed (which they imagined to be sufficient) but more means of knowledge, and unto whom doing was required : Luke xiii. 26. Then he hath revealed his mind more clearly Mall ye begin to say, We have eaten and and distinctly, and written his law more drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught fully, and in more legible letters, will be in our streets. examined by a more narrow rule than III. We should not value so much what others; and they judged according unto all we are before men, or in mens account, those advantages which they have had be as what we are before God, and in his eltiyond others: for such as finned in the law, mation: therefore the apostle speaks of Mall be judged by the law.

justification before God. VII. Whenas the Lord will thus judge IV. Whoever doth expect justification every one according to the rule he hath in and thro' the law, must not think ic given them to walk by, and the means enough that they have it made known to which they have had of attaining unto the them, and they carry themselves externalknowledge of his will, and not according ly respectfully thereto, and are hearers of to their outward condition, sex or age, it, but they must resolve to yield perfect or any thing of that kind, it doth abun obedience thereto; for the law says, Cursed dantly prove God to be no accepter of is every one that abideth not in all tbat is persons in the day of reckoning; for this written therein to do it, Deut. xxvii. 26. verse is brought in to confirm the former. Gal. iii

. 10. and whosoever offendeth in one From Verse 13th OBSERVE, point is guilty of all, James ii. 10. ThereI. That ordinarily men are so far from fore faith he, not the bearers of the law, looking upon their being within the visible but the duers of the law shall be jullified: church, and blefled of God with ordinan. not' as if this were the only way to be ces, and more means of knowledge than justified, for by the works of the law all others, as a strong engagement on them to no flesh he justified, Rom. iii. 20. and yield more bearty obedience unto his com- there is no way to be justified but by mands, that they make a sconce thereof un- faith in the blood of Christ, Rom. iii. 24. der which they think to shelter themselves 25. 28. Gal. ii. 20. nor as if he were exin the day of wrath, and ward off the horting them to expect justification by the stroke of justice, and expect exemption doing of the law, but rather dissuading from wrath ; for they thought that all them from it, and presling them to take Thould have been right, because they had another way, seeing ic is impossible to be the law, and were bearers thereof, though justified by the law, because whoever would they never minded obedience.

be fo justified, must resolve to keep it II. Men are ready to imagine a more perfectly, which is impoflible to be done.


From Veries 14. 15. OBSERVE, they never had the law. written by Moses, 1. Tho'many are ready to helter them directing their walk, as a rule, yet they felves under their ignorance, and to thiŋk shall be found not to have been altogether that because they have not the means, of without a law, having had the light of na. knowledge which others have, therefore cure to direct them lome manner of way : they shall be excused; yee in that day of for upon this ground the apostle looseth reckoning this shall be found vain and use the fcruple of the Gentiles, who might less: and though by this means they think expect exemption, because they had not to rub the fauit off themselves on God, the written law of Moses, by saying, That yet they will meet with a disappointment: they had the law of nature for a law, and For this is the pretext the Gentiles had, thereby became a law unto themselves. and which the apostle is here removing, V. This light and law of nature, tho? by thewing, That tho' they were ignorant it be not fo clear, fo full, nor so exact as of the written law, as not having it com- the written law, and doch not hold forib punicated to them, yet that would not the mind of God so distinctly as that dorh; arail.

yet it agreeth with the moral law in subII. When men once imagine to shelter ftantials which it holdeth forth, fo as men, themselves under their ignorance, thro' following the direction thereof, may do want of the means of knowledge, then many things for substance (tho' not well, tho every mean whereby the Lord mani- neither as to the principle from which, nor felteth any thing of his mind, be of great end to which) conform to the moral law; price, yet they are ready to undervalue, | for it is said, the Gentiles did by nature the and cast behind their back, any serious things contained in the law. confideration of such means, and think no- VÍ. As other laws whereby God revealthing of them, in comparison of other eth his mind to people, have a power and means; for the Gentiles, tho' they had office to direct men to know God's mind, the law of nature, (a mean whereby God and to coinmand them to obedience; so this manifesteth fomething of his mind) yet light of nature in all men and women, that is quite out of mind now, when they hath this efficacy and power, to clear and think to secure themselves from wrath, hold forth what is wrong, what right; under the pretext of ignorance, through what is honest, what dishonest, c. and the want of a written law.

therefore it is said so have a work or of III. Beside the law of Mofes, written fice, the work of the law. on tables of stone, whereby the Lord did VIL. The efficacy and influence of this communicate his inind, touching mens car. law upon tolks carriage, in directing them, riage, in a more full, distinct, and clear and constraining them to obedience, is a manner, to the people of the Jews, than thing that can hardly be rooted out of the before to other people and tongues, there heart of the natural man, however he may is a law of nature, common both to Jews do much to weaken its power, by making and Gentiles, whereby the Lord revealeth a trade of fin; therefore it is said to be his mind, in some measure, lefs or more ; | written in their heart, they Joew the work for it is said, that by nature they did those of the law written in their hearts. ibings contained in the law.

VIII. This efficacy of the light of naIÙ. This light of nature, tho'it be but sure, as a law, is clear and manifest by the din, shall be a sufficieyt ground of con-carriage of mcre natural men, and Hea... viction of guilt, even in those who never thens, without all knowledge of the writheard of the moral law, in the day that ten law, enacting laws for virtue, and aGod hall reckon with them; and cho'' gainst vice, rewarding well-doers, and pu


nishing evil-doers; and by the practice of notice of, the man's commissions or omen, according to the common natural missions, and is privy unto all his carriage, grounds of equity and justice; for their as his thoughts, words, and actions; and dving the things contained in the law, and can bear witness and give true testimony of becoming a law unto themselves, did evi- them, whether done or omitted, and whedence the work of the law written in their ther done in a right manner, and completebearts.

ly, or not : therefore it is said to bear them ix. The Lord hath endowed every man, witness

. Whatever they did, of whatever whether, meerly natural or christian, Jew nature, conscience had fomething to say of or Gentile, with a conscience, to the end it, and a testimony to give of it, viz. whehe may be acknowledged sovereign Lord ther it was right or wrong, well or ill and Ruler over all mankind, and may not done, both as to the matter, and as to the leave rational creatures as beasts, but un form. der bis deputy and viceroy, which may XII. This vicegerent of God is not onpuc to duty, after it hath been held forth, ly a witness of all our actions whatsoever, and scar from vice; and may have some but also is diversely commoved and affected, thing within themselves that may concur according as the actions which it knoweth, with him, in judging and sentencing them and beareth witness unto, are good or efor their iniquities; for these Gentiles are and so fideih with God and his law, said to have a conscience, or a power (or and acteth under him, and is not still in something of that kind) in a man's soul, one and the same posture, but exchangeth deputed by the great God, as his vicege- its disposition according unto the change rent, acting for God according as it receiv- in mens actions': therefore it is faid someeth instruction and orders from him, tak- times to accuse a man, fometimes to apoing knowledge of things together with logize and speak for a man, and take his God's kņowledge; something beside a defence, sometimes to befriend him, and man's self, taking notice both of God's law, sometimes not, it accuseth or excuseth, ac and of the man's carriage, compared there diverse occafions. with.

XIII. This deputy can moreover act X. Tho' the very name of conscience God's part as Judge, and so as under-judge doth imply knowledge and light, (as being in name of its Master; and by virtue of one knowledge with another or anothers) | power and authority from him, can set itand tho' it be grounded upon knowledge self upon the bench, and give out sentence as to its regular actings, (so as if the mind of absolution or condemnation, according be not clearly and distinctly informed, the as the man, or his particular actions, are conscience must accordingly miscarry in its conformable unto the law of the Lord, or office) yet it is not one and the self-fame not ; and so it can reach the man and effect thing with a man's light and understand him, as his actions are good or bad; for ing, but some power, faculty, or act in it accuseth and excuset h the man, and this the soul, distinct from that illumination and in order to a sentence. light in the mind and understanding; for XIV. All these actings of conscience in beside the light which they had whereby reference to mens carriage, in particular, they knew what was right, and what was or estate in general, absolving or condemwrong, and fo became a law unto them ing, approving or disapproving, accusing selves; they had a confcience (distinct) bear or excusing, or the like, are not blind ing witness.

acts, but flowing from reason, and conXI. This conscience within every man science walking according to its warrant is particularly acquainted with, and taketh the word of God, and right information

laying down the law of the Lord as the creation, therefore this day of judgment rule, and examining impartially the man's will not come; yet let wicked men put this actions, whether they be cenform un- day as far off as they please, there is a to the law, or not; and so comparing certain day to come, a day, tho’unknown them to it, and accordingly concluding to man, yet certain and determined by God: of the man, or his actions; and thus it | Acts xvii. 31. Because he hath appointed a proceedeth according to right reason: day in the which he will judge the world in and therefore it is said, their thoughts, righteousness, by that man whom he hath or ratiocinations, did accuse or excuse, that ordained.---- Sée 2 Pet. ii. 9. is, their consciences did accuse or excuse, III. At that day, tho' now wicked folk by such thoughts as are made by reasoning commit many acts of iniquity in the dark, and disceptation, according to the judg- which cannot be made known to men on ment of equity and reason; such thoughts earth, and so escape punishment at the as flow from counteland deliberation, which hands of men, and they lurk all that time sometimes the word rendered thoughts ligo in the dark, and are not discovered to be pifieth,

what they are, and let their hearts and XV. It is but folly for people to pre- thoughts feed on many unlawful things, tend ignorance of God's mind, and think which others see not, and therefore give thereby to escape judgment at God's hand, out themselves to be what they are not; when they have a conscience within them yet all those shall be made plain and visible; bearing them witness, and accusing or ex- all their intentions and projects which necusing ; for where-ever this conscience, ver have been discovered; all their hypothus acting, is, there, of necessity, must crisies which have been marked with fair be a law, unto which actions must be con- colours; and all their actions, which have fidered as consonant, or diffonant, and a been committed in secret, shall then.aplaw known; for otherways the conscience pear in open view: And as the secret would not bear witness, or testify, that a pranks of the wicked shall be made man's actions were conform or not con- known at that day; so shall also the secret, form unto the law, and so could not ac- unseen sincerity and streightness of heart cuse or excuse: for this is the force of of the suspected seekers of God, and all the next argument of Paul's; they want- their good actions done in secret, and not ed nor a law, because they had a conscience to be seen of men, be openly declarbearing them witness, and accusing ed, and they rewarded openly therefore; fing

Matth. vi. 4. 18. That tbine alms may be

in secret : and thy Father which feeth in From Verse 15th OESERVE, secret, himself shall reward thee openly. • I. It will be very useful and advantage. That thou appear not unto men to fall, but ous toth for one and oiher, to be feri- unto thy Father which is in secret: and ons and often upon the thoughts of the thy Father which seeth in secret, Mall regreat day of judgment; and it is the duty ward thee openly. For it is a day in which both of the godly and wicked to be of the secrets of men fall be juilged: See iener thinking upon this day : therefore i Cor. iv. 5. Ecclef. xx. 14. dath the apostle lo often make mention of IV. Tho' carnal men may now tush at it in writing to these Romans.

all this, and think it impossible that all II. Howbeit many should conclude in that ever breathed shall appear before their minds with those scoilers mentioned God; and that every one, even the least, by Peter, 2 Epist. iii. 3. 4. that because of their finful acts, committed in secret, , all things conţinue as they were since the thall be taken notice of, and they judged



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