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power. In the first sense, forgiveness in God hath been discovered ever since the giving out of the first promise: God revealed it in a word of promise, or it could never have been known, as shall be afterwards declared. In this sense, after many lefser degrees and advancements of the light of it, it was fully and gloriously brought forth by the Lord Jesus Christ in his own person; and is now revealed, and preached in the gospel, and by them to whom the word of reconciliation is committed ; and to declare this, is the principal work of the ministers of the gospel. Herein ly those unsearchable treasures and riches of Christ, which the apostle esteemed as his chiefeft honour and privilege, that he was intrusted with the declaration and dispensation of, Eph. iii. 8, 9. I know by many it is despised, by many tra. duced, whose ignorance and blindness is to be lamented. But the day is coming which will manifest every man's work of what sort it is. In the latter fense, how it is made by faith in the soul, fall in its proper place be further opened and made known. Here men may mistake and deceive themselves; because it is so in the book, they think it is so in them also; because they have been taught it, they think they believe it. But it is not so ; they have not heard this voice of God at any time, nor feen bis shape, it hath not been revealed unto them in its power : To have this done is a great work. For,

First, The constant voice of conscience lies against it. Conscience, if not feared, inexorably condemneth, and pronounceth wrath and anger upon the soul that hath the least guilt cleaving to it. Now it hath this advantage, it lieth clofe to the soul, and, by importunity and loud speaking, it will be heard in what it bath to say,it will make the whole soul attend, or it will speak like thunder. and its constant voice is, that where there is guilt there must be judgment, Rom. ii. 14, 15. Conscience naturally knows nothing of forgiveness; yea, it is against its very trust, work and office, to hear any thing of it. If a man of courage and honesty be intrusted to keep a

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garrison against an enemy, let one come and tell him that there is peace made between those whom he serves and their enemies, so that he may leave his guard, and set open the gates, and cease his watchfulness: how wary will be be, left under this pretence he be betrayed ? No, faith he, I will keep my hold, until I have express order from my superiors. Conscience is entrusted with the power of God in the soul of a sinner, with command to keep all in subjection with reference unto the judgment to come. li will not betray its trust in believing every report of peace: no, but this it says, and it fpeaks in the name of God, Guilt and punishment are infeparable twins, if the foul sin, God will judge: What tell you me of forgiveness, I know what my commission is, and that I will abide by, you shall not bring in a superior commander, a cross principle into my trust, for if this be so, it seems I must let go my throne, another Lord must come in, not knowing as yet how this whole bufiness is compounded in the blood of Christ. Now, whom fhould a man believe, if not his own confcience, which, as it will not fatter him, so it intends not to affright him, but to speak the truth as the matter requireih. Conscience bath two works in reference un10 fin; one to condemn the acts of sin, another to judge the person of the fioner, both with reference to the judgment of God. When forgiveness comes, it would sever and part these employments, and take one of them out of the hand of confcience, it would divide the spoil with this strong one. It shall condemn the fact, or every fin ; but it shall no more condemn the finner, the person of the finner, that lhall be freed from its sentence. Here conscience labours with all its might to keep its whole dominion; and to keep out the power of forgiveDess from being enthroned in the soul. It will allow men to talk of forgiveness, to hear it preached, though they abuse it every day, but to receive it in its power, that stands up in direct opposition to its dominion, in the kingdom, faith the conscience, I will be greater than

thou;

thou; and in many, in the most, it keeps its poffeffion, and will not be deposed.

Nor indeed is it an easy work so to deal with it. The apostle tells us, that all the sacrifices of the law.could not do it, Heb. x. 2, they could not bring a man into that estate, wherein he should not have any conscience of sin, that is, conscience condemning the person; for conscience in a sense of fin, and condemnation of it, is Dever to be taken away. And this can be no otherwise done but by the blood of Christ, as the apostle at large there declares.

It is then go easy thing to make a discovery of forgiveness unto a soul, when the work and employment which conscience, upon, unquestionable grounds, challengeth unto itself, lies in opposition unto it. Hence is the soul's great delire to establish its own righteousness, whereby its natural principles may be preserved in their power. Let self-righteousness be enthroned, and natural conscience desires no more, it is satisfied and pacific ed. The law it knows, and righteousness it knows, but as for forgiveness, it says, Whence is it? Uato the utmost, until Christ perfects his conquest, there are

on this account secret strugglings in the heart againit < free pardon in the gospel, and fuctuations of mind and

spirit about it; yea, hence are the doubts and fears of believers themselves, they are nothing but the strivings of conscience to keep its whole dominion, to condemn che singer as well as the lin: more or less it keeps up its pretendons against the gospel, whilst we live in this world. It is a great work that the blood of Christ'hath to do upon the conscience of a finner, før whereas, as it hath been declared, it harh a power, and clain a right, to 'condemn both sin and sinner ; the one part of this its power is to be cleared, strengthened, made more active, vigorous and watchful, the other to be taken quite away: It thall now see more sins than formerly, more of the vileness of all sins than formerly, and condemn them with more abhorrency than ever, upon more, and more glorious accounts than formerly; but it is also L 2

made

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*made to see an interposition between these fins, and the person of the finger, who hath committed them, which is no small or ordinary work.

Secondly, The law lies against this discovery. The law is a beam of the holiness of God himself, what it speaks unto us, it speaks in the name and authority of God; and I shall briefly shew concerning it thefe two things.

ift, That this is the voice of the law, namely, that there is no forgiveness for a fioner.

2dly, That the finner hath great reason to give credit to the law in that affertion.

It is certain that the law knows neither mercy nor forgiveness. The very fanction of it lies wholly against them :, The Youl that finneth fhall die. Cursed is he that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them, Deut. xxvii. 26. Hence the apostle pronounceth universally without exception, that they who are under the law, are under the curse, Gal. iii 10. and, faith he, ver. 12. The law is not of faith. There is an inconsistency between the law and believing, they cannot have their abode in power together. Do this and live, fail and die ; is the constant immutable voice of the law. This it speaks in general to all, and this in particular to every one.

2dly, The finner seems to have manifold and weighty reasons to attend to the voice of this law, and to acquí. esce in its sentence. For,

1. The law is co-natural to him, bis domestic, his old acquaintance; it came into the world with him, and hath grown up with him from his infancy, it was inplanted in his heart by nature, is his own reason, he can never shake it off, or part with it; it is his familiar, his friend, that cleaves to him as the fileth to the bone; so that they who have not the law written, cannot but shew forth the work of the law, Rom. ii. 14, 15. and that because the law itself is inbred to them, and all the faculties of the soul are at peace with it, in fubjection to it; it is the bond and ligament of their union,

harmony;

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harmony, and correspondency among themselves, in all their moral actiogs; it gives life, order, and motion to them all. Now, the gospel that comes to controul this fentence of the law, and to relieve the finner from it, is foreign to his natore, a {trange thing to him, a thing he hath no acquaintance or faniliarity with, it bath not been bred up with him, nor is there any thing in him to fide with it, to make a party for it, or to plead in its behalf. Now, fhall not a man rather believe a domer. tick, a' friend, indeed himself, than a foreigner, a stranger, that comes with uncouth principles, and such as suit not its reason at all? i Cor.i. 18.

2. The law speaks nothing to a figner, but what his conscience assures him to be true; there is a constant concurrence in the teftimony of the law and conscience. When the law says, this or that is a Go worthy of death, fays, it is even fo, Rom. i. 42. And where the law, of itself, as being a general rule, rests, conscience helps it on, and says, this and that fin, so worthy of death, the foul is guilty of; then die, saith the law, as thou hast deferved. Now, this must needs have a mighty efficacy to prevail with the foul to give credit to the report and testimony of the law, it speaks not one word, but what he bath a witness within himself to the truth of it. These witnefses always agree, and so it seems to be established for a truth, that there is no forgiveness.

3. The law, tho' it speaks against the soul's interest, yet it speaks nothing but what is so just, righteous, and equal, that even it forcech the soul's free consent. So Paul tells us, that men know this voice of the law to be the judgment of God, Rom. i. 32. They know it, and cannot but consent unto it, that it is the judgment of God, that is, good, righteous, equal, not to be controuled. And, indeed, what can be more righteous than its sentence? It commands obedience to the God of life and death, promiseth a reward, and declares, that for non-performance of duty, death will be inflicted. On these terms the fidder-cometh into the world, they are good, righteous, holy, the soul accepts-of them, and

knows

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