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obedience. The ransom I say, the atonement by Chrift, the fulness of the redemption that is in him, and so forgiveness in his blood for believers, from the good will, grace, and love of the father, is the first gospel discovery chat a sinner, in a saving manner, closeth withal. · Pariicular assurance riseth or may arise after words, and this also is supposed in the assertion.
SECONDLY, That which is affirmed in it, is, That a discovery of forgiveness in God, without any particular afsurance of personal interest therein, is a great supportment to a fin-entangled soul. And let no man der pise the day of this small thing, small in the eyes of some, and those good men also, as if it did not deserve the pame of faith. Now, as it hath been made to appear this discovery of forgiveness, is the soul's persuasion, on gospel grounds, that however it be with him, and whatever his state and condition be, or is like to be, yer that God in his own nature is infinitely gracious, and that he hath determined in a sovereign act of his will from eternity to be gracious to finners ; that he hath made way for the administration of forgiveness by the blood of his Son, according as he hath abundantly manifested, and declared in the promises of the gospel. However it be with me, yet thus it is with God; there is forgiveness with him. This is the . first thing that a foul in its depths riseth up into: And it is a supportment for it; enabling it unto all present duties, until consolation come from above.
Thus hath it been to, and with the saints of old, Hof, xiv. 3. Ashur Mall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ye are our gods, for in thee the fatherless findet) mercy. A solemn renunciation we have of all other helps, reliefs or assistances, civil or religious, that are not God's. Therein a solemn resolution in their great distress of cleaving unto God alone; both which are great
and blessed effects of faith. What is the bottom and foundation of this blessed resolution ? namely, that propofition, In thee the Fatherless findeth mercy ; that is, there is
forgiveness with thee for helpless finners.' This lifted up their hearts in their depths, and supported them in their waitiog, unto the receiving of the blessed promises of mercy, pardon, grace and holiness, which ensue in the next verses. Until they came home unto them in their efficacy and effects, they made a life on this, 'In thee the fatherless findeth mercy,
The state and condition of things seem to ly yet lower in that proposal we have, Joel ii. 13, 14. Rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, flow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil ; who knoweth if he will return, and repent, and leare a bleffing. That which is proposed to the faith of those here fpoken upto, is, that the Lord is gracious and merciful; that there is forgiveness in him. The dury they are provoked unto hereupon is gospel-repentance. The affent unto the proposition demanded, as to their own interest, amounts but unto this, who knows, but that the Lord may return and leave a blesling; or deal with us according to the manifestation he hath made of himself, that he is merciful and gracious. This is far enough from any comfortable persuasion of a particular interest in that grace, mercy or pardon. But yet, faith the prophet, Come but thus far, and here is a firm foundation of dealing with God about further discoveries of himself, in a way of grace and mercy. When a foul sees so much in God, as to conclude ; well, who knoweth but that he may returð, and have mercy upon me also, it will support him, and give him an entrance into further tight.
The church in the Lamentations gives a fad account of her state and condition in this matter. For the maketh that hard conclusion against herself, chap. iii. 1.8. My strength, and my hope is perished from the Lord. And when I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayer, ver. 8. So far is she from a comfortable persuasion of a particular interest in mercy and acceprance. that under her pressures, and in her temptations, she is ready positively
to determine on the other fide, namely, that she is rejected and cast off for ever. What course shall we then take? Shall we give over waiting on God, and say there is no hope? No, faith she, I will not take that way; for, ver. 26. It is good that a man should both bope, and quietly wait for the salvation of God. But yet there seems small encouragement for her so to do, if things be with her as was expressed : Things indeed (saith lhe) are very sad with me, My soul bath them still in remembrance, and is bowed down in me, ver. 20. but yet, somewhat I recall to mind, and therefore have 1 bope, ver. 21. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, There is mercy and never failing compassion, in God; so that though my own present condition be full of darkness, and I fee no deliverance; yet I purpose still to abide waiting on him: Who knows what those infinite stores and treasures of mercy and relief that are' with him, may at length afford unto me? And many instances of the like kind may be added.
We may observe by the way, how far this relief extends itself, and what it enables the foul unto. As,
First, The soul is enabled thereby to resign itself ụnto the disposal of sovereign grace, in self-abhorrency, and a renunciation of all other ways of relief, Lam. ü, 29. He putteth his mouth in the dust, if fo be there may be hope. What God will, is his language. Here he lies at his disposal, humble, broken, but abiding his pleasure. Though he hay me (faith Job) yet I will trust in him, chap. xiii. 15. “ Is it all one how he deals " with me; whatever be the event, I will abide clearing unto hin. I will not chink of
I will not think of any other way of “ extricating myself from my distress. I will neither fly " like Jonah, nor hide like Adam, nor take any other « course for deliverance. Saith the soul, God is a God " that hideth himself from me, Isa. xlv. 15. I walk « in darkness and have no light, chap. I. 10. My flesh “ faileth ; and my heart faileth, Plal. Ixxiii
. 26. so that “I am overwhelmed with trouble. Mine iniquities have
"taken such hold on me, that I cannot lock up, Pfal. xl. 12. “ The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten “ me, Isa. xlix. 14. Every day am I in dread and terror, “ and am ready utterly to faint,and no relief can I obtain. 66. What then shall I do? Shall I curle God and die? " Or cry, This evil is of the Lord, why should I wait for “ him any longer? Shall I take the course of the world, “ and seeing it will be no better, be wholly regardless “ of my latrer end ? No, I know whatever my lot and “ portion be, that there is forgiveness with God. This " and that poor man trusted in him, they cried unto “ him, and were delivered. So did David in his
great .“ distress, he encouraged his heart in the Lord bis God, • 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26 It is good for me to cast myself “ into his arms; it may be he will frown; it may be he “ is wroth still; but all is one, this way I will go; as it “ seems good unto him to deal with me, so let it be: “ And unspeakable are the advantages which a soul “ obrains by this felf-resignation, which the faith treat's ed of, will infallibly produce.”
Secondly, It extends itself unto a resolution of waiting in the condition wherein the soul is. This the church comes unto, Lam. iii
. 26. It is good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the
Lord. I will not give over my expectation, I will not make hafte, nor limir God; but I will ly at his foot, until his own appointed time of mercy shall come. Expectation and quierness make up waiting. These the soul attains unto, with this supportment it looks upwards, as a servant that looks to the hands of his master, still fixed on God to see what he will do, to hear what he will speak, conceroing him; missing no season, no opportunity, wherein any discovery of the will of God may be made to him. And this he doth in quietness, without repining, or murmuring, turning all his complaints against himself and his own vileness, that hath cut bim short from a participation of that fuldess of love and grace which is with God : That this effect also attends this faith will fully appear in the close of the pfalm.
Thirdly, Thirdly, It supports unto waiting in the use of all mean, for the attainment of a sense of forgiveness, and fo hath its effect in the whole course of our obedience. There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. To fear the
Lord, is an expression comprehensive of his whole worship, and all our duty. This I am encouraged, saith the psalmist, unto in my depths ; because there is forgiveness with thee. I will abide in all my duties, in all the ways of thy worship, wherein thou mayest be found. And however it may be for a while, the latter end of that soul, who thus abideth with God, shall be peace. Let us then, Dextly, see by what ways and means it yields this supportment.
First, It begets a liking of God in the soul, and consequently fome love unto him. The soul apprehends God as one infinitely to be desired and delighted in by thole who have a share in forgiveness. It cannot but consider him as good and gracious, however its own es. tate be hazardous, Pfal. Ixxiii. 1, 2. Yet God is good to Ifrael, to such as are of a clean beart; as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipt. However the state stands with me I know that God is good, good to Israel ; and therewith shall I support myself. When once this ground is got upon the soul, that it confiders God in Christ as one to be delighted in, and loved, great and bleffed effects will ensue. 1. Self-abhorrency and condemnation, with resignation of all to God, and permanency therein, do certainly attend it. 2, Still somewhat or other in God will be brought to mind, to relieve it under faintings; some new springs of hope will be every day opened. 3. And the soul will be iasensibly wrought upon to delight itself in dealing with God. Though in its own particular, it meets with frownings, chidings and repulses, yet this still relieves him, that God is so as hath been declared; so that he says, however it be, yet God is good, and it is good for me to wait upon him. Without this discovery the foul likes not God, and whatever it doth, with respect unto him, it is because it dares do no otherwise, being over awed