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with his terror and greatness. And such obedience God may have from devils."
Secondly, le removes sundry overwhelming difficulties, that ly in the soul's way, before it close with this difcpvery of forgiveness. As,
ift, It takes away all those hindrances that were formerly insisted on, from the greatness, holiness and leverity of God, the inexorableness and strictness of the law, and the natural actings of conscience, rising up against all hopes of forgiveness. All these are by this faith removed, and taken out of the way. Where this faith is, it discovers not only forgiveness, as hath been Thewed, but also the true nature of gospel-forgiveness. It reveals it as flowing from the gracious heart of the Father, through the blood of the Son. Now, this propitiation in the blood of the Son, removeth all these difficulties, even antecedently unto our special sense of an interest therein. It shews, how all the properties of God may be exalted, and the law fulfilled, and yet forgiveness given out to finders. And herein lies no small advantage unto a soul in its approaches unto God. All those dreadful apprehensions of God, which were wont to beset him in the first thoughts of coming to him, are pow taken out of the way; so that he can quietly apply himself unto his own particular concernments before him. · 2dly, In particular, it removes the overwhelming consideration of the unspeakable greatness of Gin; this presseth the soul to death, when once the heart is pofsessed with it. Were not their fins so great, such as no heart can imagine, or tongue declare, it might possibly be well with them, say distressed singers. They are not so troubled that they are sinners, as that they are great sinpers; not that these, and those fins they are guilty of, but that they are great fins attended with fearful aggravations; otherwise they could deal well enough with them. Now, though this discovery free men not from the entanglement of their fins as theirs, yet it doth from the whole entanglements of their fins, as great and mapy. This consideration may be abstracted. The foul sees enough in God to forgive great fins, though ir doth not, as yet, to forgive his fips. That great sins shall be pardoned, this discovery puts out of question ; whether his sins shall be pardoned, is now all the enquiry. Whatever any faith can do, that this faith will do; unless it be the making of particular application of the things believed unto itself. The soul than can no longer jully be troubled about the greatness of fin; the infiniteness of forgiveness that he sees in God will relieve him against it. All that remains is, that it his own fid about winicb he hath to deal, whereof afterwards. These, and like difficulties, are removed by it.
Thirdly, it gives some life in, and encouragement unto duty. And that, ift, Unto ducy as duty; eyeing God by faith in such a fulness of grace, the soul cannor bur be encouraged to meet him in every way of duty, and to lay hold upon him thereby. Every way leading to him, as leading to him, must be well liked and approved of: And, 2dly, To all duties; and herein lies no fmall advantage. God is oftentimes found in duties, but in what, or of what kind, he will be found of any one in particular, is uncertain. This faith puts the soul on all; so it did the spouse in the parallel to that in hand, Cant iii. 2, 3, 4 Now, what supportment may be hence obtained, is easily apprehended; supportment, pot from them, or by them, but in them, as the means of intercourse between God and the soul.
. From these effects of this discovery of forgivenels in God, three things will ensue, which are sufficient to maintain the fpiritual life of the soul.
First, A resolution to abide with God, and to commit all unto him. This the word, as was observed, teaches us; There is forgiveness with thee, and therefore thou Jhalt be feared. Because this I found, and this I am persuaded of, therefore will I abide with him in the way of his fear and worship. This our Saviour calls unto, John xv. 4. Abide in me; except you do so, ye can bear no fruit. So the Lord representing his taking the
church unto himself, under the time of the prophet's taking an adulteress in vision, doth it on these terms, Hof. iii. 3. Thou shalt abide for many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man, so will I also be for thee. Now, this abiding with God intimates two things; 11, Oppositions, solicitations, and temptations to the contrary. 2dly, Forbearing to make any other choice, as unto that end for which we abide with God,
ift, It argues oppositions. To abide, to be stable, and permanent, is to be so against oppositions. Many discouragements are ready to rise up in the soul against it. It fears especially, that it shall not hold out, that it shall be rejected at last, that all is nought and hypocritical with it, that it shall not be forgiven, that God in. deed regards it not, and therefore it may well enough give over its bopes, which seem often at the giving up of the ghost, will assault it. Again, oppositions arise from corruptions and temptations unto fin, contrary to the life of faith : And these often proceed to a high degree of prevalency, so that the guilt contracted upon them is ready to cast the soul out of all expectation of mercy; I shall one day perish by these means, faith the soul, if I am not already loft.
But now, where faith hath made this discovery of forgiveness, the soul will abide with God against all these discouragements and oppositions ; it will not leave him, it will not give over waiting for him. So David expresseth the matter in the instance of himself, Pfal. lxxiii. 1, 2. But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipt; and v. 13. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain; but yet after all his conflicts, this at last he comes unto, ver. 26. Though my heart and my flesh faileth, yet (ver. 28.) It is good for me to draw near unto God: I will get abide with God, I will not let go his fear, nor my profession; although I walk weakly, lamely, unevenly, yet I will still follow after him. As it was with the disciples, when many, upon a strong temptation, went back from Christ, and walked no more
with him, Jesus said unto them, will ye go away also ? to which Peter replies in the name of the rest of them, Lord to whom fball we go? thou hast the words of eternal life, John vi. 66, 67, 68. It is thus and thus with me, faith the soul;. 1 am tossed and afflicted, and not comforted; little life, little strength, real guilt, many lins, and much disconsolation. What then Taith God by his word, Wilt thou go away also? No, faith the soul, there is forgiveness with thee, thou hast the words of eternal life, and therefore I will abide with thee.
2dly, This abiding with God argues a forbearance of any other choice. Whilst the soul is in this conditi. on, having not atrained any evidences of its own special interest in forgiveness; many lovers will be solliciting of it to play the harlot, by taking them into its embraces. Both felfrighteousness and fin will be very importu. nate in this matter; the former tenders itself as exceed. ing useful to give the soul fome help, affiftance and supportment in its condition Samuel doch not come faich Saul, and the Philistines invade me; I will venture and offer sacrifice myself, contrary to the law. The promise doth not come to the soul for its particular relief; it hath no evidence as to an especial interest in forgiveness. Temptation invades the mind ; try thyself, says it, to take relief in somewhat of thine owo providing : And this is to play the harlot from God. To this purpose felf-righteousness variously disguises itself, like the wife of Jeroboam, when she went to the propher. Sometimes it appears as duty; sometimes as figns and tokens; but its end is to get somewhat of faith and trust of the soul to be fixed upon it. But when the foul bath indeed a discovery of forgiveness, it will not give ear to these solicitations : No, faith the soul; I see such a beauty, such an excellency, such a desireablenels and suitableness unto my wanks and condition, in that forgiveness that is with God, that I am resolved to abide in the gospel desire and expectation of it all the days of my life; here my choice is fixed, and I will not alter. And this resolution gives glory to the grace of
God. When the soul, without an evidence of an interest in it, yet prefers ir above that which, with many reasonings and pretences, offers itself as a present relief unto it; hereby is God glorified, and Christ exalted, and the spiritual life of the foul secured.
Secondly, This discovery of forgiveness in God, with the effects of it before-mentioned, will produce a refolution of waiting on God for peace and consolation, in his owa time and way. He that believeth will not make haste, Ifa. xxviii. 16. not make haite ; to what? not to the enjoyment of the thing believed. Haste argues precipitation and impatience; this the soul that hach this discovery is freed from, refolving to wait the time of God's appointment, for peace and consolation. God speaking of the accomplishment of his promises says, I the Lord will haften it, Isa. Ix. 22. Well then, if God will hasten it, may we not hasten to it? nay, faith he, I will halten it, but in its time. All oppositions and impediments considered, it shall be hastened, but in its time, its due time, its appointed time. And this the soul is to wait for, and so it will.
As when Jacob had seen the beauty of Rachel, and loved her, he was contented to wait seven years for the enjoyment of her to be bis wife, and thought no time long, no toil too hard that he might pbtain her ; so the foul, having discovered the beauty and excellency of forgiveness as it is with God, as it is in his gracious heart, in his eternal purpose, in the blood of Christ, in the promise of the gospel, is resolved to wait quietly and patiently for the time wherein God will clear up unto it, its own personal interest therein ; even one experimental embracement of it, even at the hour of death, doch well deserve the waiting, and obedience of the whole course of a man's life.
And this the psalmist manifests to have been the effęc produced in his heart and spirit ; for upon this discovery of the forgiveness in God, he resolveth both to wait upon him himself, and encourageth others so to do.