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makes a conquest upon Satan's territories. Do then as they do, who are entring on an enemy's country, secure the passages, fortify the strong holds as you go on, that you be not cut off in your progress

. Be not as a ihip at sea, which passeth on, and is no more poffefsed or master of the water it hath gone through, than of that whereunto it is not yet arrived. But so it is with a soul, that fixeth not on these foundation-principles; he prefseth forwards, and the ground crumbles away under his feet, and so he wilders away all his days in uncertainties. Would men but lay this principle well in their souls, and secure it against assaults, they might proceed, though not with so much speed as some do, yet with more safety. Some pretend at once to fall into full assurance, I wish it prove not a broad presumption in the most. It is to no purpose for him to strive to fly, who cannot yet go; to labour to come to assurance in himself, who never well believed forgiveness in God. Now, that we may be enabled to fix this persuasion against all opposition, that which in the next place I shall do, is to give out such unquestionable evidences of this gospel truth, as the foul may safely build and rest

upon: And these contain the confirmation of the principle proposition before laid down.

Evidences of forgiveness in God...--No inbred noti

ons of any free acts of God's will.---- Forgiveness not revealed by the works of nature, nor the law.

FIRST,The things that are spoken, or to be known of God are of two forts; natural and necessary : Such as

his essential properties,or the attributes of his nature, his goodness, holiness; righteousness, omnipotency, eternity, and the like. These are called to ywsào tū 6:3, Rom. i. 19, That which may be known of God. And there are two ways as the apostle there declares, whereby that which he there intimates of God may be knowo.



First, By the inbred light of nature; pavepà ist iv aurois, ver. 19. It is manifest in themselves, in their own hearts; they are taught it by the common conceptions and prefumptions which they have of God by the light of nature. From bence do all mankind know concerning God, that he is, that he is eternal, infinitely powerful, good, righteous, holy, omnipotent. There needs no special revelation of these things that men may koow them; that indeed they may be known favingly, there is, and therefore they that know these things by nature, do also believe them on revelation, Heb, xi. 6. He that COMETH unto God, muft BELIEVE that he is, and that be is a rewarder. Though men know God, by the light of nature, yet they cannot come to God by that knowledge.

Secondly, These effential properties of the nature of God are revealed by his works. So the apostle in the same place, ver. 20. The invisible things of God from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: See also, Psal. xix. 1, 2, 3, And this is the first fort of things that may be known of God.

Again, there are the free acts of his will and power ; or his free eternal purposes, with the temporal dispensations that flow from them. Now of this sort is the forgiveness that we are enquiring after ; it is not a property of the nature of God, but an act of his will, and a work of his grace. Although it hath its rise and {pring in the infinite goodness of his nature, yet it pro. ceeds from him, and is not exercised but by an absolute 'free and sovereign act of his will. Now, there is no. thing of God, or with him, of this fort, that can be any ways known, but only by especial revelation : For,

First, There is no inbred notion of the acts of God's will in the heart of man, which is the first way whereby we come to the knowledge of any thing of God. Forgiveness is not revealed by the right of nature ; fleth and blood, which nature is, declares it not : By that means, No man bath feen God at any time, John i. 8.



that is, as a God of mercy and pardon as the Son reveals him. Adam had an intimate acquaintance, according to the limited capacity of a creature, with the properties and excellencies of the nature of God. It was implanted in his heart, as indispensibly neceffary unto that natural worship, which, by the law of his creation, he was to perform ; but when he had sinned, it is evident, that he had not the least apprehension that there was forgiveness with God. Such a thought would have laid a foundation of some farther treaty with God about his condition. But he had no other design but of flying and þiding himself, Gen. ii. 10. 10 declaring that he was utterly ignorant of any fuch thing as pardoning mercy. Such, and no other, are all the first or purely natural conceptions of finners, namely, that it is fixardiaca 6:8, the judgment of God, Rom. i. 32. that sin is to be punished with death. It is true, thefe conceptions in many are stifled by rumours, reports, traditions, that it may be otherwise; but all these are far enough from that revelation of forgivenefs, which we are enquiring after.

Secondly, The consideration of the works of God's creation, will not help a man to this knowledge, that there is forgiveness with God. The apoftle tells us, Rom. i. 20. what it is of God that his works reveal, even his eternal power and Godhead, or the essential properties of his nature, but no more; not any of the purposes of his grace ; not any of the free acts of his will; not pardon and forgivenels. Besides, God made all things in such an estate and condition, namely, of reétitude, integrity, and uprightness, Fccl. vii. 29. that it was impossible they should bave any respect unto fin, which is the corruption of all, or to the pardon of it, which is their restitution, whereof they stand in no need. There being no such thing in the world, as a lin, nor any such thing supposed to be, when all things were made of nothing, how could any thing declare or reveal the forgiveness of it, : Thirdly, No works of God's providence can make this discovery, God bath indeed born testimony to himself


and his goodness in all ages, from the foundation of the world, in the works of his providence: So Acts xiv. 15, 16, 17. We preach unto you, that you should turn from these vanities, unto the living God, which made headen, and earth, and the fea, and all things that are therein ; who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways : Nevertheless, be left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from hea. ven, and fruitful seasons, filling our heart with food and gladness : bx vandptupey i avlèv ápáne, he left not himself without witness, that is, by the works of his providence there recounted, he thus far bore testimony to himself, that be is, and is good, and doth good, and ruleth the world; so that they were utterly inexcusable, who, taking no notice of these works of his, nor the fruits of his goodnels, which they lived upon, turned away after tå náraiz, vain things, as the apostle there' calls the idols of the Gentiles. But yet these things did not discover pardon and forgiveness. For God still suffered them to go on in their own ways, and winked at their ignorance : So again, Acts xvii. 23. 24, 25, 26, 27. Whom you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is the Lord of beaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needeth any thing, seeing he giveth unto all, life and breath and all things, and hath made of crie olood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, where, by the way, there is an.alution to that of Gen. xi. 28. the Lord scattered them abroad on all the face of the earth) and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation, that they Should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, thobe be not far from every one of us. By arguments taken from the works of God' both of creation and providence, the apostle proves the being, the properties of God. Yea, he lets them know with whom he had to do, that God designed by his works. so far to reveal himself unto them, as the true and living God,


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the maker and governor of all things, as that they ought to have enquired more diligently after him, and not to look on him alone as the unknown God, who alone might be known; all their idols being rain and dothing. But of the discovery of pardon and forgiveness in God, by these ways and means he speaks not ; yea, he plainly shews that this was not done thereby. For the great call to saving repentance, is by the revelation of forgiveness. But now, by these works of his providence. God called not the Gepriles to saving repentance. No, faith he, he suffered them to walk still in their own ways, chap. xiv. 16. and winked at the times of their ignorance; but now, that is by the word of the gospel, commanded them to repent, chap. xvii. 30.

SECONDLY, Whereas there had been one signal act of God's providence about fin, when man first fell into the snares of it; it was so far from the revealing forgiveness in God, that it rather severely intimated the contrary. This was God's dealing with finning angels. The angels were the first finners; and God dealt first with them about fin. And what was his dealing with them, the Holy Ghost tells us, 2 Pet. ii 4. ayyina ipapancávtwv Ön ipdicato, be spared not the sinning angels. He ipared them not, is the same word which he useth, where he speaks of laying all our iniquities on Christ, he unde going the punishment due unto them, Rom viii. 32. Ex ipdo aro, be spared him not; that is, he laid on 'him the tuli punilhulent, thar by the curse and fanction of the law, was due unto fin. So he dealt with the angels that sinned; he spared them not, but inflicted on them the punishment due unro fin, fhutting them up under chains of darkness for the judgment of the great day. Hitherto then God keeps all thoughts of forgiveness in his own eternal bosom. There is not so much as the least dawning of it upon the world. And this was at first no small prejudice against any thoughts of forgiveness. The world is made, fin enters by the most glori. ous part of the creation, whose recovery by pardon

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