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even

propriety of that expression, that they shall

scarcely be saved ;" thirdly, the character of the “ ungodly and the sinner," and the justice of the apostle's conclusion in assigning them fuch an hopeless estate.

And every thing I shall say to you upon this subject, I desire you will apply feverally to yourselves, in these or the like expressions ; as, “ am I of the number of these righteous or regenerate persons ? then how much reason have I to rejoice that I am so; and that by God's grace, however unworthy myself, I am within a possibility of salvation ?” Or, on the other hand, as I am afraid the greater part of you may argue, “ am I of these ungodly and finful men, thus running headlong to perdition ? then let me determine from this moment to cease to be so; to cast myself prostrate before

my offended God, and humbly entreat, from this solemn hour of my repentance, to have my name written in the book of life.”

For all the fermons in the world without these practical applications, are but so many amusements of the passing hour; and the holy scriptures themselves, those most diB 2

vine

vine discourses that lead directly to falvation, if not heard with a teachable and a willing mind, are but like the harp of David on the distempered ear of Saul; a lesson, however instructive, that will not profit ; an admonition, however just, that will not avail to our sanctification.

But to proceed with the proposed explication of our text. Who then are meant by

" the righteous ?” This will be made

very

clear by considering the strict and genuine sense of the word ; and the manner in which it is used in parallel places of the scripture. The original word, as it stands in the greek (NX2105) is not always translated“righteous: it is frequently rendered “ just." ( In the derivative word also, (omalow) where the sense is to make or account one righteous, it is rendered - justify,” in every part of the new Testament. Now, strictly fpeaking, a righteous man is one who performs his whole duty to God to the best of his power ; and a just man is one who fulfils only that part of it which relates to integrity, and honesty in his dealings with his

neighbour.

neighbour. But it appears that at the time

. when our version of the Bible was made, the terms

were quite synonymous, and used indifferently for the same thing. Of this I shall produce two instances; the one in the sixth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, and the tenth verse, where the apostle tells his converts, that “ God is not unrighteous, that is, so unjust as to forget their works ;” and the other in our common-prayer book, which was composed about the same time, * where, in the collect at the end of the litany, we do “ pray against those evils which we have most righteously deserved,” which, if put into modern language, would most certainly be expressed by the words “ most justly have deserved.” Let us now see how the words "6 just” and “ righteous” are used in the old and new Testament, where they are always derived from the same word,

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here

* The first edition of the common-prayer, in which the following passage is inserted, was published A. D. 1549. The bible, first translated into english by Tindall, was published in 1526, and many times after in that century: could

here translated " righteous” in our text. In the book of Genesis, we read * that s« Noah was a just man and perfect,” and in St. Luke, t that “ Simeon was a just man and devout ;” and again in the same evangelist, that

Joseph of Arimathea was a good man and a juft;" and Pilate, declaring that he will have nothing to do with the condemnation of our saviour, says, I am innocent of the blood of this just person.”S In all which accounts it is manifestly implied, that they were “just perfons,” as the word is used again in the parable of the lost sheep,

" that needed no repentance."

And thus, when the same original word is translated “ righteous,” it is used in the same sense, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my

last end be like his.”|| • We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins." And “ I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."** I could easily produce many other scriptures, but these I think may be sufficient to thew, that “the righteous” in our text, means holy, just, and upright persons, dedicated to the service of their God, and proceeding with their best endeavours to the performance of every christian duty, and the avoiding of every wilful sin, in all fincerity, though with much imperfection. If any

* vi. 9. t ii. 25: xxiii. 50. § Matth. xxvii. 24; | Numbers xxiii. 10. q 1 John ii. 1, 2. ** Matth. ix. 13,

of you are desirous of knowing whether you

you may be reckoned of the number of “ the righteous,” I will give you those marks that will enable you to distinguih your condition, and whether you are christians in name and word only, or “ in deed and in truth.” And, first, are you baptised into the name and service of our Lord Jesus Christ ? Do you perform what was promised for you at your baptisms, that you should take upon yourselves when you came to years of discretion ? Are you constant in coming to his church every Lord's day? diligent in listening to his holy word, and the

prayers there provided for you? constant in receiving the Lord's supper ? frequent at your private prayers, especially

every

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