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* In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his gracey.” The sufferings of Christ are the meritorious cause of pardon, and his own glory is the ultimate end which God proposes to himself, when he bestows this distinguishing blessing. “God, (saith the Apostle) for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you "y.” “ I, even I, am he that blotteth out thị transgressions for mine own sake, and will not bemember thy sins?."
“ Thus the Divine mercy, disdaining all limits, is overflowing and immeasurable. Sin, indeed, abound's like a flood; but grace like an ocean, to drown the crimes of the most impious soul, that returns, with weeping and supplication, with genuine faith and repentance, unto God: The favour of man is generally backward to interpose, till something amiable and inviting appears in the object. But the grace of God is immensely rich, and infinitely free. It encourages the most vile and hardened rebels to return to their allegiance to God. It brings every requisite and recommendation in its own unspeakably beneficent nature. It accomplishes all its blessed ends, not by any towardly disposition in the sinner, but by that one glorious righteousness provided by the Saviour."
3. This forgiveness is everlasting, which is necessary to crown a complete pardon suited to the condition of guilty creatures; for, if all their trespasses were not entirely forgiven, and that for ever, what sure ground could they have for peace of conscience here? what joyful hope of glory hereafter ? Happily, the continuance of a truly contrite soul in a pardoned state does not depend upon the perfection of his
Eph. i. 7
Jy ib. iv. 32.
• Isa. xliii. 25.
own obedience, (for, if it did, he would soon forfeit the blessing, since he is liable to fall every moment,) but on the covenant of God, which secures the perpetuity of the Divine mercy towards its chosen objects. In the perpetual efficacy of Christ's atonement, and the inviolable fidelity of the eternal God, there is all possible security, that a full pardon, once granted, shall be as unalterably fixed as the oath and promise of Jehovah can make it”.
The word of righteousness fully attests the cheering truth. Thus the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, addresses his Church and people : "As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed ; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee!.”
The same doctrine is frequently insisted on by the Royal Psalmist.
“ Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Now, as the two opposite points of east and west cannot meet, so it may be fairly concluded, that the sins of the penitent shall never come against him, to his condemnation and punishment. Indeed, the same inspired penman assures us, that “the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him.” The new covenant guarantees the blessing in the a Heb. vi. 13-20.
b Isa. liv.9, 10. Psalm xxxii. 1, 2.
d Psalm ciii. 17.
following joyful declaration :-“I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
The Prophet Micah thus expresses himself on the subject :- Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depth of the sea.” When a stone, or any ponderous substance, is thrown into the fathomless deep, it is impossible that all the art or power of man should ever recover it. If, then, this striking image of drowning the transgressions of the pardoned sinner in the ocean of sovereign mercy, does not intimate their entire removal and destruction, it will be difficult to find language that can convey such an idea. · But to represent the absolute nature of that forgiveness which is freely vouchsafed to believers for Christ's sake, God says, “ The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve'.
Here is a most blessed assurance, that they who are forgiven by God have all their iniquities blotted out for ever: Confident of this soul-animating truth, St. Paul challenged every enemy, and defied the hosts of darkness. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right-hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” If those who have been absolved from sin, and acquitted from condemnation, should again come under the curse, and finally perish, then such expressions have no proper meaning .
How supremely glorious is that forgiveness which Heb. viii. 12.
i Jer. 1. 20. : Rom. viii. 33-39. 56 John X. 27-30. 1 Pet. i. 2–6.
is with God! It has every requisite to make it acceptable to the indigent miserable sinner. The most guilty need not despair of obtaining it, nor the most unworthy be discouraged from applying to the allmerciful God for it, if duly humbled for their multiplied offences against him ; especially as his boundless compassion has led him to make a universa! tender of pardon to the apostate sons of Adam. He has made a proclamation of mercy, by his Evangelical Herald, which well deserves the attention of rebels, who must die eternally unless they avail themselves of his clemency. “Ho! every one that thirstèth, comė ye to the waters ; and he that hath no inoney, come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Remonstrating with those who either neglect or despise the proffered blessing, he adds, "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?'and your labour for that which satisfieth not? 7 Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me : hear, and your soul shall-live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of Davidb
4. Did, then, the most abandoned characters know the riches and extent of God's mercy ; did they but seriously reflect how his bowels of compassion yearn over them; instead of being held any longer in captivity by Satan, under the fatal persuasion that there is no hope,” they would quickly return to God, that they might experience the tender concern which he feels for their everlasting welfareh. Come, then, lost and wretched prodigals, and consider with what reluctance God abandons the most obdurate to deIsa. lv. 1-4.
in Hosea xi.8, 9.11.
served wrath ; "how affectionately he desires your conversion! and, approaching him with penitence, say, in anticipation of his mercy, "Father, we have sinned against Heaven and before thee;" be gracious unto us, and blot out our misdeeds! Then, instead of reproaching you
unkindness and ingratitude in deserting him, he will hail your return with the liveliest tokens of joy; and, in accents of paternal love, will exclainn, " Is Ephraim my dear son is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember himn still; therefore, my bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lordi.”
5. Come then, poor, trembling, conscious sinner, and refuse not the consolations of your God! Let us meditate awhile on the riches of his grace, that we may see whether it does not afford you a cheering hope of forgiveness, if you will but come back to him with heartfelt contrition." To answer your objections, let us suppose yours to be the worst of cases. What if your conscience is intolerably oppressed with the number and magnitude of your sins ;---what if you are by nature a child' of wrath, and by practice, the reverse of all that is good ; --what if you have violated the Divine law, and incurred its everlasting curse ;-what if you have grown hoary in rebellion against God, and think yourself a monster of impiety; -what if your sins of heart and life, sins of omission and commission, sins of ignorance and presumption, sins against light and knowledge, like an armed host in terrible array, besiege you on every side, and cry aloud for vengeance on
your guilty head ;--what if, to aggravate your misery, Satan should load
you with horrid accusations, tempt you to blaspheme,
Jer. xxxi. 18-21.