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ful preservative of the soul from sin Far be it, that he who is sure that his iniquities are forgiven him, should thence arrogate to himself a liberty of sinning.k -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 ye."

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," 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, which ought to be regarded as more grievous than death itself. In vain does he expect any kind

j Prov. viii. 13.

1 Col. iii. 12, 13.

n Gen. iv. 7:

P Ps. lxiii. 3.

k Rom. vi. 1, 2.

m Ps. xxxviii. 4.

2 Kings ix. 35, 36. ↑ Is. lix. 2.

words from the mouth of God, who is either silent in his wrath, or severely reproves, and denounces condemnation. 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. *

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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," or what a new suit of fine clothes is to those who are condemned to hang on the ignominious cross. He possesses those worldly advantages with the men "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."w 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."

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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, whatever 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

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Is. lvii. 19-21.

t Rev. xxii. 15.

V Ps. xvii. 14.

X Rev. xviii. 7.

r

$ Ps. 1. 21.

u Num. xi. 33.

Heb. x. 27.

y Deut. xxviii. 16. et sey.

conscience that gnaws without mercy, the unquenchable 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.b 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." 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." 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

Mark ix. 43, 44.

b Mat. i. 21.

d Zech. iii. 2.

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a Ps. xxxii. 1, 2.

c Rev. xii. 10.

that they are all blotted out and cancelled by the merits of Christ. Whatever conscience may do, God, even in this respect, is a greater and higher Judge than our heart. "Who shall lay any thing to the charge

"of God's elect?" &c.e

XXIX. That hostility which once subsisted betwixt God and you is now removed, and happily exchanged for the most delightful intercourse of mutual friendship. "For I will not contend for ever," saith God, "nei"ther will I be always wroth; for the spirit should "fail before me, and the souls which I have made. - - "I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead "him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his "mourners." You may now approach the throne of grace with all filial freedom, and with confidence pour out all the sorrows and all the joys of your heart into the bosom of God, as a most indulgent Father. He is liberal in the manifestation of his kindness. To his ministers he gives the following commission: "Com"fort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God," &c.s And he himself speaks to the soul by the secret whisper of his Spirit: "Thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, my delight; And as the bridegroom rejoiceth

over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."h "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I com"fort you."i

xxx. All these felicities, however, are but an earnest of those eternal blessings to which they whose sins are forgiven on account of the infinitely meritorious righteousness of Christ, have a title no less valid, than if

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e Rom. viii. 33, 34.

* Is. xl. 1, 2.

1 Is. lxvi. 13.

f Is. lvii. 16, 18.

h Is. lxii. 4, 5.

they had never been guilty of any offence, and had in their own persons rendered the most perfect obedience to the law. "Where sin abounded, grace did much "more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness un"to eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.";

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Rom. v. 20, 21.

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