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before, fo that I had as good give over, sit down and perish, as contend any longer! No ; but searchiag by faith, into the discovery that God makes of himself in Christ, through the covenaot of grace, he finds a stable foundation of encouragement, to continue waiting on him, with expectation of mercy and pardon. Propofitions or observations from the former expofi
-tion of the words.----The first proposed to confirmation.--.-No encouragement for any lipner to approach unto God, without a discovery of forgiveness.
From the words thus unfolded, as they ly in their contexture, in the pfalm, the ensuing propositions do arise.
PROP. 1. Faith's discovery of forgiveness in God, though it have no present sense of its own peculiar interest therein, is the great supportment of a fin-perplexed soul.
Prop. 2, Gospel-forgiveness, whose discovery is the fole supportment of fin-distressed fouls, relates to the gracious heart, or good will of the Father, the God of forgiveness, the propitiation that is made by the blood of the Son, and free condonation or pardon, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace.
Prop. 3. Faith's discovery of forgiveness in God, is the sole bottom of adherence to him, in acceptable worship and reverential obedience.
The first of these, is that whose confirmation and improvement I principally aim at; and the other only so far as they have coincidence therewith, or may be used in a subserviency to the illustration or demonstration - thereof. In the bandling then of this truth, that it may be of
the more advantage onto them whose good is fought, and intended in the propofal and management of it, I shall steer this course, and ihew,
FIRST, That there is not the least encouragement to the foul of a finner to deal with God without this discovery.
SECONDLY, That this discovery of forgiveness in God is a matter great, holy, and mysterious, and which very few, on gospel abiding grounds, do attain upto.
THIRDLY, That yet this is a great, sacred, and certain truth, as from the manifold evidences may be made to appear.
FOURTHLY, That this is a stable supportment to a fin-distressed soul, shall be manifested, and the whole plied, according to the several concernments of those who shall consider it.
FIRST, There is not the least encouragement for the foul of a singer, to entertain any thought of approaching upto God without this discovery. All the rest of the world, is covered with a deluge of wrath, this is the only ark whereunto the soul may repair and find reft, all without it, is darkness, curse, and terror.
We have an instance and example of it, beyond all exception, in Adam. When he knew himself to be a finner, and it was impossible for him, as we fhall shew afterwards, to make a discovery of any such thing as forgiveness with God, he laid alide all thoughts of treating with him, the best of his foolish contrivance was for an escape, Gen. iii. 10. I heard thy voice, faith he to God, in the garden, and was AFRAID, because I was naked, and I HID myself. Nothing but, I bou fhalt die the death, founded in his ears.
In the morning of that day, he was made by the band of God; a few hours before, he had converse and communion with him, with boldness and peace; why then doth nothing now but fear, flying, and hiding possess him? Adam had finned, the promise was not yet given, no revelation made of forgiveness in God, and what other course than that vain and foolish one, to fix upon, he knew not; no more can any of his posterity without this revelation. What else any of them hath fixed on in this case, hath been no less foolith than his hiding, and in molt, more pernicious. When Caio had received his sentence from God, it is said, he went out from the prefence or face of the Lord, Gen. iv. 16. From his providential presence he could never subduct himself: So the psalmist informs us at large, Pfal. cxxxix. 7, 8,9. The very heathen knew, by the light of nature, that guilt could never drive men out of the reach of God.
Quo fugis, Encelade, quascunq; accefferis oras
Sub Jove semper eris.
They knew that siwn (the vengeance of God) would not spare finners, nor could be avoided, Acts xxviii. 4. from God's gracious presence, which he never enjoyed, he could not depart. It was then his presence as to his worship, and all outward acts of communion that he forsook, and departed from ; he had no discovery by faith of forgiveness, and therefore resolved to have no more to do with God ror those who cleaved to him ; for it respects his course, and not any one particular action.
This also is stated, lsa. xxxiii. 14. The finners in Sion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprized the hypocrites; Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire?
Who among üs Mall dwell with everlasting burnings? The perfons spoken of are finners, great sinners and hypocrites; conviction of fin, and the desert of it was fallen upon them, a light to discern forgiveness they had not, they apprehend God as a devouring fire, and everlasting burnings only, one that would not spare, but assuredly ipflict punithment according to the desert of fin; and thence is their conclusion couched in their interrogation,
that there can be no intercourse or peace between him and them, there is no abiding, no enduring of his 'presence. And what condition this consideration brings the souls of finners upto, when conviction grows strong upon them, the Holy Ghost declares, Micah vi, 6, 7. Wherewithal Shall I come before the Lord, and bow myfelf before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands, of rivers of oyl? Jhall I give my first born for my transgres fion, the fruit of my body for the fin of my soul? Senie of fin presseth, forgiveness is not discovered, (like the Philifines on Saul, Samuel not coming to his direction) and how doth the poor creature perplex itself in vain, to find out a way of dealing with God; will a sedulous and diligent observation of his own ordinances and institutions relieve me? Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, and calres of a year old? Alas! thou art a finner and these sacrifices cannot make thee perfect, or acquit thee, Heb. x. 1. Shall I do more than ever he required of any of the sons of men ? O that I had thousands of rams, and ten thousands of rivers of oil to offer to him! Alas! if thou hadít all the bulls and goats in the world, it is not possible their blood should take away fins, ver. 4. But I have heard of them who have snatched away their own children from their mother's breasts, and cast them into the fire, until they were consumed, so to pacify their consciences in expiating the guilt of their iniquities; shall I take this course? will it relieve me? I am ready to part with my first-born into the fire, so may i have deliverance from my transgressions. Alas! this never came into the heart of God to approve or accept of. And as it was then, whilst that kind of worship was in force, so is it still as to any duties really to be performed, or imaginarily. Where there is no discovery of forgiveness, they will yield the soul no relief, no supportmeni; God is not to be treated upon such Greatness and rareness of the discovery of forgive
nefs in God... Reasons of it.-..- Testimonies of conscience and law agaiolt it, c.
SECONDLY, This discovery of forgiveness in God is great, holy, and mysterious, which very few on gospel: ground do attain unto.
Allomen indeed say there is, molt men are perfuaded that they think fo. Only
men in great and desperate extremities, like Cain or Spira, seem to call it into question. But their thoughts are empty, groundless, yea, for the most part, wicked, and atheistical. Elihu tells us, that to declare this aright to a sinful soul, it is the work of à messenger, an interpreter, one among á thousand, Job xxxiii. 23. that is, itideed, of Christ himfelf. The common thoughts of men about this thing are flight and foolish ; and may be resolved into those mentioned by the pfalmift, Pfal. I. 22. They think that God is altogether like themselves. Tbar itideed he takes little or no care about these things, but pafseth them over as slightly as they do themselves. Thar, notwithstanding all their pretences, the most of men never had, indeed, a real discovery of forgiveness, shall be afterwards undeniably evinced; and I shall fpeedily thew the difference that is between their vain credulity, and a gracious gospel-discovery of forgiveness in God. For, it must be observed, that by chis discovery, I'intend, both the revelation of it made by God, and our understanding, and reception of that revelation to our own advantage, as shall be thewed immediately.
Now, the grounds of the difficulty intimated, confift partly in the bindrances that ly in the way of this discovery; and partly, in the nature of the thing itself, that is discovered ; of both which I shall briefly treat.
Bur here, before I proceed, somewhat must be premised to shew what it is, that I particularly intend by a discovery of forgiveness. It may then be considered two ways; 1. For a doctrinal, objective discovery of it in its truths. 2. An experimental, subjective discovery of its