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knows not what it can desire better, or more equal. This the apostle insists upon, Rom. vii. 12, 13. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid; but fin, that it might appear sin, working death in me, by tbat which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding finful. Whereever the blame falls, the soul cannot bụi acquit the law, and confess that what it says is righteous and incontroulably equal, and it is meet things should be so. Now, though the authority and credit of a witness may go very far in a doubtful matter, when there is a concurrence of more witnesses it strengthens the testimony; but nothing is so prevalent to beget belief, as when the things themselves that are spoken are just and good, not liable to any reasonable exception. And so it is in this case: Unto the authority of the law, and concurrence of conscience, this is also added, the reasonableness and equity of the thing itself proposed, even in the judgment of the finger, namely, that every sia shall be punished, and every transgression receive a meet recompence of reward.

4. But yet farther. What the law says, it speaks in the name and authority of God; what it says then must be believed, or we make God a liar. It comes not in its own name, but in the name of him who appointed it: You will then say, Is it so indeed ? Is there no forgiveness with God? for this is the constant voice of the law, which, you say, speaks in the name and authority of God, and is theretore to be believed. I answer brief. ly with the apostle, What the law speaks, it speaks to them that are under the law. It doth not speak to them that are in Chrift, whom the law of the Spirit of life hath fet free from the law of fin and death ; but to them that are under the law it speaks, and it speaks the very truth, and it speaks in the name of God, and its testimony is to be received. It says there is no forgiveness in God, namely, to them that are under the law; and they that shall Latter themselves with a contrary per

suasion,

great day.

suasion, will find themselves greatly mistaken at the

On these and the like confiderations, I say, there seems to be a great deal of reason, why a soul should conclude, that it will be according to the testimony of the law, and that he shall not find forgiveness. Law and conscience close together, and infinuate themselves into the thoughts, mind, and judginent of a fianer. They strengthen the testimony of one another and greatly prevail. If any are otherwise minded, I leave them to the trial : If ever God awaken their confciences to a thorough performance of their duty, if ever he open their souls, and let in the light and power of the law upon them, they will find it no small work to grapple with them. I am sure, that eventually they prevail so far, that, in the preaching of the gospel, we have great cause to say, Lord, who hath believed our report? We come with our report of forgiveness, but who believes it? by whom is it received? Neither doth the light, por conscience, nor conversation of the most, allow us to suppose it is embraced.

Thirdly, The ingrafted notions that are in the minds of men, concerning the nature and justice of God, ly against this discovery also. There are in all men by nature indelible characters of the holiness and purity of God, of his justice and hatred of fin, of his invariable righteousness in the government of the world, that they can neither depose nor' lay aside. For notions of God, whatever they are, will bear sway and rule in the heart when things were put to the trial; they were in the heathens of old, they abode with them in all their darknefs, as might be manifeited by innumerable instances. But so it is in all men by nature : Their inward thought is, that God is an avenger of sin, that it belongs to his rule and goveromear of the world, his holiness and righteousness, to take care that every sin be punished. This is his judgment, which all men kaow, as was observed before, Rom. i. 32. They k-ow, 'that it is a righteous thióg with God to render trivitation unto sinners. From thence is that dread and fear which surpriseth men at an apprehension of the presence of God, or of any under him, above them, that may seem to come on his errand. This notion, of God's avenging all sin, exerts itself secretly, but effectually : So Adam trembled, and hid himself; and it was the saying of old, I have seen God, and shall die. When men are under any dreadful providence, thundrings, lightings, tempests, in darkness, they tremble, not so much at what they see, or hear, or feel, as from their secret thoughts that God is nigh, and that he is a consuming fire.

thence

Now these inbred notions ly universally against all apprehensions of forgiveness, which must be brought into the soul from without doors, having no principle of nature to promote them.

It is true, men by nature have presumptions, and common ingrafted notions, of other properties of God, besides his holiness and justice, as of his goodness, benignity, love of his creatures and the like; but all this have this supposition inlaid with them in the souls of men, namely, that all things stand between God and his creatures, as they did at their first creation; and as they have no patural potion of forgiveness, so the interposition of fin weakens, disturbs, darkens them, as to any improvement of those apprehenfions of goodness and benignity, which they have. If they have any notion of forgiveness, it is from some corrupt tradition; and not at all from any universal principle that is inbred in nature, such are those which they have of God's holiness and vindi&tive justice.

And this is the first ground. From whence it appears, that a real, solid discovery of forgiveness is indeed a great work, many difficulties and hindrances ly in the way of its accomplishment. False presumptions of forgiveness discovered.----Dif

ferences between them, and faith evangelical. Before I proceed to produce and manage the remaining evidences of this truth, because what hath been fpoken lies obnoxious and open to an objection, which must needs rise in the minds of many; that it may not thereby be rendered useless unto them, I fhall remove it out of the way, that we may pass on to what remaids.

It will then be said, Doth not all this ly directly contrary to our daily experience? Do ye pot find all men full enough, most 100 full of apprehensions of forgivepels with God? What fo common as God is merciful? Are not the consciences and convictions of the most Ktified by this apprehension? Can you find a man that is otherwise minded? Is it not a common complaint, that men presume on it, unto their eternal ruin ? Certainly then, that which all men do, which man every can so easily do, and which you cannot keep men off from doing, though it be to their hurt, hath no such difficulty in it as is pretended. And on this very acccunt, hath this weak endeavour to demonstrate this truth, been by some laughed to scorn, men who have taken upon them the teaching of others, but, as it seems, had need be taught themselves, the very first principles of the oracles of God.

Anfw, All this, then, I say is so, and much more to this purpose may be spoken. The folly and presumiption of poor souls can never enough be lamented; buc it is one thing to embrace a cloud a shadow, another to have the truth in reality. I hall hereafter shew the true gaiure of forgiveness, and wherein it dorh confift, whereby the vanity of this self-deceiving will be discovered and laid opon. It will appear in the issue, that notwithstanding all their pretensions, that the mot of men know nothing at all, or not any thing to the pur. pose, of that which is under consideration. I shall therefore, for the present, in some few observations, shew how far this delusiop of many differs from a true golpel discovery of forgiveness, such as that we are engairing after. First, The common notion of forgiveness, that men

have in the world, is twofold, if, An atheistical prefumption on God, that he is not so just and holy, or pot just and holy in such a way and manner, as he is by some represented, is the ground of persuasion or forgiveness. Men think that some declarations of God are fitted only to make them mad, that he takes little notice of these things, and that what he doth, he will easily pass by, as they suppose better becomes him Come, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrrw we shall die. This is their inward thoughts, The Lord will not do good, nor will he do evil, which, says the r salmift, is meos thinking that God is such a one as themselves, Psal. li. 21. They have no deep nor serious thoughts of his greatness, holiness, purity, severity, but think that he is like themselves, so far as not to be much moved with what they do. What thoughts they have of fin, the same they think God hath. If with them a flight ejaculation be enough to expiare sin, that their consciences be no more troubled, they think it is enough with God, that it be not punished. The generality of men make light work of fin; and yer in nothing doth it more appear what thoughts they have of God: He that hath flight thoughts of sin, had never great thoughts of God. Iodeed mens undervaluing of sin ariseth merely from their contempt of God. All lin's concernments flow from its relation unto God; and, as men's apprehensions are of God, so will they be of fin, which is an opposition to him. This is the frame of the most of men, they know little of God, and are little troubled about any thing that relates uoto him. God is not reverenced, fin is but a trifle, forgiveness a matter of nothing, who so will, may have it for asking. But shall this atheistical wick. edness of the heart of man be called a discovery of forgiveness? Is not this to make God an idol? He who is not acquainted with God's holiness and purity, who knows not fins desert and sinfulness, knows nothing of forgiveness.

2dly, From the doctrine of the gospel commonly preached and made known, there is a general notion be

gotten

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