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with us, without the powerful Interceffion of his own Son.
And as our Conviction of the Neceffity we have of Chrifts Sacrifice and Interceffion is very apt to affect us with holy Sorrow and Fear, both which are very powerful Inftruments of our Reformation; fo our perfuafion of the Reality and Excellency of his Mediation is no lefs apt to infpire us with a mighty Hope and Affurance of Acceptance with God, if we reform and amend. For it feems that upon propitiatory Sacrifices and interceding Spirits, guilty Minds have been always inclined to place their Confidence of Acceptance with God. Hence it was a Principle generally received by men of all Nations and Religions, (however it came to pafs I know not,) that for finful men to appease the incenfed Divinity it was neceffary, first, that fome Life fhould be facrificed to him by way of Satisfaction for their Sins, and that the nobler it was, the more propitious it rendred him. 1. That fome high Favourite of his should be prevailed with to intercede with him in their behalf. Whereupon understanding by univerfal Tradition that there were a fort of middle Beings (whom they call Demons, and we Angels) between the fovereign God and Men, they began to addrefs to these, and to bribe them with facred Honours to interpofe with God in their behalf. And if they could make a fhift to rely upon Sacrifices, the most precious of which were the Lives of finful Men; and to depend upon Interceffors of whofe Intereft with God they had little or no Security; what a mighty ground of Confidence and Affurance have me, for whom the Son of
God once offered fuch a meritorious Sacrifice upon Earth, and continues to make fuch a powerful Interceffion in Heaven? For befides that, as he was a spotless and innocent Perfon, his Sacrifice was wholly meritorious for guilty Offenders; and befides that, as he was a Perfon of infinite Value and Dignity his Sacrifice was meritorious for a World of guilty Offenders; God, upon whofe good pleasure the Admission or Refufal of it intirely depended, has openly declared his Acceptation thereof as a Propitiation for the fins of the World, and ingaged himself by a publick Grant and Charter of Mercy to indemnifie for the fake of it every finner in the World that will but return to him by a ferious and hearty Repentance; neither of which great things could ever be faid of any other Sacrifice. And in the virtue of this Sacrifice, as well as of his own perfonal Intereft with his Father, he now intercedes in our behalf; and pleading our Cause, as he doth, with the price of our Souls in his hand, even his precious Bloud by which he redeemed them, we may be fure that with that powerful Oratory he cannot fail of fucceeding in our behalf. For having purchafed for us by his Bloud, all thofe favours which he interceeds for, he is invested with the Right and Power of beftowing them upon us. So that now, for our greater Security, all thofe Favours which God hath promifed us, are actually depofited in the hands of our Mediator; and though his bare Promife is in it felf as great an Affurance as can be given us; yet it is to be confidered that guilty Minds are naturally anxious and full of unreafonable Fealonfies, and confequently whilst
they looked upon God as their adverse party, and a party infinitely offended by them, would have been very prone to fufpect the worst, had they had nothing but his bare Word to depend on. And therefore in Condefcenfion to this pitiable Infirmity of his finful Creatures, he hath not only promifed them his acceptance and Favour upon Condition of their Return to him, but hath alfo put the Performance of his Promise into a third Hand, even into the Hand of a Mediator, who by the Nature of his Office is equally concerned for both Parties; as well that God fhould perform his Promife, if we performed our Duty, as that we should perform our Duty if we received the Benefit of his Promife. And hence, Heb. vii. 22. our Mediator is called the Sponfor, or Surety of a better Covenant. So that now we have no longer to do with God immediately as our adverfe Party; but by a Mediator, who by his Office is obliged to be on our fide as well as Gods, and to take care that neither receive the others part of the Covenant without performing his own. Thus as he hath been fometimes pleased in Compliance with humane Weakness to enforce his Promife with his Oath, not that the one is in its own Nature a greater Security from God than the other, but because with Men an Oath is more obliging than a Promife; fo in great Condefcenfion to the unreasonable Diffidence of our guilty Minds, he hath not only promised us Pardon and Acceptance upon our Repentance, but he hath alfo given us a collateral Security for the Performance of it, even the Security of a Mediator, in whofe hands he hath depofited whatsoever he
hath promised us. Not that in it felf this is a greater Security than his own bare Word and Promife, which he cannot falfifie without renouncing his Being: but because this way of giving Security by a third Perfon is more accommodate to the, Method of our Covenants and Agreements with one another, and confequently more apt to fatisfie our anxious and diffident
And thus the Conviction of our need of a Mediator, and the Perfuafion of the Reality and Excellency of his Mediation will powerfully work both on our Hope and Fear, which are the main Springs of all our religious Endeavours; and give us at once the most horrible Profpect of the Evil of Sin, and the most comfortable Affurance of Pardon and Acceptance with God upon our Repentance and Amendment; both which are abfolutely necessary to our fuccefsful Entrance into the ChriStian Warfare.
IV. To our Beginning of this Holy Warfare it is alfo neceffary that we thould be affected with a deep Sorrow and Shame and Remorse for our past Iniquities. For this the Apostle calls forrowing to repentance, and tells us that godly forrow worketh repentance to falvation not to be repented of, 2 Cor. vii. 9, 10. and accordingly it is recorded of S. Peters Converts that the beginning of their repentance was their being prick'd at the heart, Acts ii. 37. and even Repentance it felf is in Scripture called a broken and contrite heart, this being the most immediate Preparation to a true Repentance or Change of mind, Pfal. li. 17. And hence the ancient Penitents are defcribed in Scripture as girding them
themfelves with fackcloth, and repenting in duft and afhes; in Allufion to the ancient manner of great and folemn Mournings, which was to put on Sackcloth, cover the Head with Ashes, and fit in the Duft. And in the Primitive and pureft Ages of Christianity it is evident that the bittereft Sorrows and Remorfes were looked upon as neceffary Preparations to Repentance: for the Penitents in thofe days, as Tertullian and Nazianzen defcribes them, "Lay proftrate at the Church doors "in Sackcloth and Ashes, fupplicating the Prayers "of the Presbyters and Widows, hanging on the "Garments and Knees of thofe that entred into "the Church, kiffing their Footsteps, and with "rivers of Tears in their eyes befeeching their t Prayers to God for their Pardon. Now though we are not under the Severities of fuch an Ecclefiaftical Difcipline, yet we are equally obliged with those ancient Penitents to exercise it internally in our Hearts. For fin is as bad now as it was then, and as great an evil in us, as it was, in them; and therefore ought to be lamented by us with an equal Sorrow and Remorfe. And indeed if we ever mean to wage War with it with Succefs, it is neceffary we should acquire before-hand a through fenfe and feeling of the evil of it; that we should chaftife our fouls with fome degree of that bitter Sorrow and Regret it deferves, and inflict upon our felves fome part of that Hell of infinite Horrour and Anguish that is ingendring in its Womb; that fo being the more fenfible of its Malignity, we may be the more enraged against it, and enter the Lifts with it with the greater Refolution and Animofity. For our Sorrow and Remorfe