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given for Christ's sake, and that the door of heaven is opened, affording free access to the throne of grace and glory—which brings inexpressible joy to the mind. “ In whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace,"b “Let us draw near with a true heart, in “ full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled “ from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with
pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our “ faith without wavering.”.
xx. But we must take heed lest, in place of a wellassured faith, a bold and headlong presumption take possession of our mind. We shall be able to distinguish the one from the other, if we attend to what goes before, to what accompanies, and to what follows this assurance. The things which go before it, are those which we have stated in order in the eighteenth Section, namely, unfeigned sorrow for our violations and neglects of duty, the fear and trembling of a mind that dreads the offended justice of God, holy selfdespair, an ingenuous confession of our trespasses, earnest prayers, the flight of the trembling soul to the merits of Christ not without the hope of forgiveness, and in fine, resolutions of more pious and circumspect behaviour in time to come. It is not to be imagined, that God ever speaks pardon and peace to the soul, which continues to sleep securely in its sins, and neglects to condemn itself, and by importunate supplications to solicit the favour of God in Christ. “ He “ shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto “ him; and he shall see his face with joy, for he will “ render unto man his righteousness.
“ Wash you,
upon men, and saith, I have sinned, and perverted “ that which was right, and it profited me not.”d 77
xxi. This assurance of forgiveness is accompanied by the conscientious cultivation of accurate holiness. The promises of justification and of sanctification being equally extensive, no man can claim the former, who doth not also find the latter in himself. “ make you clean, &c. Learn to do well, &c. Come
now and let us reason together, saith the Lord,
Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white "as snow, &c.”e As often as the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart in his own gracious language, saying, "Be " of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee,” he at the same time convinces the soul of its unworthiness, and fills it with admiration of so great kindness, and with joyful gratitude, which constrains it to celebrate the stupendous grace of God.
6 Bless the Lord, O my “ soul, who forgiveth all thine iniquities.”f
XXII. In fine, a fervent love to God and our neighbour follows this assurance. Who would not ardently love Him, by whom, he believes that, when he might justly have inflicted punishment, so many and so great offences have been graciously forgiven! “ I love the “ David, “ because he hath heard
voice "and my supplications.”And what was the sum of his supplications ? “ O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my
soul.”h_The love of God, too, is joined with reverence. “ There is forgiveness with thee, that thou
mayest be feared.” And the fear of God is a power
a Job xxxiii. 26, 27.
€ Is. i. 16, 17, 18. f Ps. ciii. 2, 3.
8 Ps. cxvi. 1. h Verse 4.
i Ps. cxxx. 4. 79 See Note LXXVII. VOL. II.
ful preservative of the soul from sini Far be it, that he who is sure that his iniquities are forgiven him, should thence arrogate to himself a liberty of sinning.” -The love of God and of Jesus towards us, kindles also in our heart love to our neighbour, so that we are ready for Christ's sake to forgive him.
« Even as “ Christ forgave you, so also do
XXIII. To enable us to form a right estimate of the greatness of their felicity, who have obtained from God the remission of their sins, it is proper to consider the extreme misery of the sinner whose transgressions are still unpardoned. Sin is truly a burden, which it is not merely difficult, but impossible, to bear;m and which brought down to the dust the magnanimous Lion of the tribe of Judah, when, having taken on himself the guilt of our crimes, he was required to make satisfaction for them. But if, perhaps, the mind of the sinner doth not feel itself greatly burdened or weighed down by them, whilst he securely indulges in them as his pleasure, let him wait a little. “ Sin lieth at the door,"n like a furious mastiff, awaking from his sleep, ready to rush suddenly upon him, and to show no more pity to his soul, than was shown of old by the dogs to the carcase of Jezebel.
xxiv. The unpardoned sinner is unquestionably destitute of a sense and taste of the Divine loving-kindness, without which even life is not life. He is not permitted to behold the face of God as a reconciled Father,9 which ought to be regarded as more grievous than death itself. In vain does he expect any kind
· Prov. viii. 13.
k Rom. vi. 1, 2.
words from the mouth of God, who is either silent in his wrath, or severely reproves, and denounces condemnation.s Let him not entertain the least hope of admission to heaven; for it gates are barred against him. He is banished from that paradise, and all access to it is eternally prevented.
xxv. But if he happen to enjoy a considerable share of the advantages of the present life, these are to him, merely what the quails were to the Israelites, which they perversely demanded, and in which they ate death to themselves, u or what a new suit of fine clothes is to those who are condemned to hang on the ignominious
He possesses those worldly advantages with
who have their portion in this life." He has nothing farther to expect, “ but a certain fearful
looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which “ shall devour the adversaries.” Nay, his present enjoyments contain a seed, from which he shall reap never-ending torments; according to that expression : “ How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and misery give her.”x
XXVI. So dreadful is the plague of unpardoned sin, that it pervades the sinner himself in all the parts of his nature; and infects, with a hideous contagion, whatcver belongs to him, whether at home or abroad, whether in the city or in the field, whether prosperous or unfavourable; and renders all that concerns him cursed and execrable, just as is the sinner himself.y
XXVII. All these evils, too, are only the beginnings of sorrows. There remain the never-dying worm of a
r Is. lvii. 19-21.
Rev. xviii, 7,
: Ps. 1. 21.
conscience that gnaws without mercy, the uñquenchable flames of hell, the reproaches of malignant devils, and what is chiefly to be considered, the intolerable weight of the wrath and vengeance of God to abide on the sinner through all eternity. These are not the vain terrors of weak minds, but the true and faithful words of God. Such is the deplorable condition of those whose sins are not forgiven.
XXVIII. Hence appears, on the other hand, the blessedness of those “ whose transgression is forgiven, “ whose sin is covered, unto whom the Lord imputeth “ not iniquity.”a Christ is justly honoured with the name of Jesus, or the SAVIOUR, because he obtains this blessing for his people, and bestows it upon them." Rejoice, ye happy souls, who are admitted to the
participation of so invaluable a benefit. You need not tremble at the name of hell, or quake for fear at the mention of heaven : to you the former is shut, the latter open. You need not be afraid of the calumnics of Satan, or of those accusations, worthy of his name, which he brings against you. “ The accuser of the “ brethren is cast down, which accused them before our “ God day and night.”c And if he should even stand at your right hand to resist you, he shall hear again what was said to him of old, according to Zechariah : “ The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD “ that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee."d You need not dread the tribunal of your own conscience. It will upbraid you indeed with numerous crimes, and crimes which you have really done ; but purified by the blood of Jesus and by faith in him, it will attest
2 Mark ix. 43, 4+.
a Ps. xxxii. 1, 2.