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it is fuperadded, that we muft confefslider how you take this Word in your them to him: And the Promise is an. Dealings with Men, you take it certainly nexed, be is just and faithful to forgive. in a more real Sense than you use it in Now this Confession of Sin is very fitly Religion. If any had done you some fubjoined, both to that which he decla- great Wrong or Injury, suppose your Serred of that great End of the Gospel, Com- vant, or Inferior, What Acknowledgment munion with God, and that which was would you take from him of his Wrong? immediately bolden forth of the remain if he confessed his Wrong only in geneing Vertue of Christ's Blood ; for might ral ambiguous Terms, if he did it either a poor Soul fay, How fhall I come to lightly, or without any Sense or Sorrow partake of that blessed Society? I am a for il, if he did withal excuse and exceSinner, and so an Enemy to God, How nuate his Fault, and never ceased, notwithShall this Enmicy be removed? And if standing of all his Confession, to do the the Answer be made, The Blood of like Wrong when Occasion offered, Jesus Cbrift cleanfoth from all Sin, would you not think this a Mockery? and fo makech Access for a Sinner to en and would it not rather provok: you,
ter into this Society ; yet a Question re- chan pacify you? Now, when ye take mains, And how fall the Vercue of that Words in fo real and deep Significations be applied to my Soul? It is fufficient 1| in your own Matters, what gross De. know for all, but what Way may I have lufion is it, that you cake them in the the particular Benefit of it? Here it is Nightest and emptiest Meaning in these
fully satisfied, If we confefs our Sins, Things that relate to God? And I am God is just and faithful to forgive.' He sure the most part of Mens Confessions Iyeth under some Obligation to pardon are of that Nature which I have described, us. Now, many of you may think, if general, ignorant, fenseless, without any this be the Way, and these be the Terms particular View, or lively Feeling of the of Pardon, then we hope all fhall be Vileness and Loathlomness of Sin, and pardoned ; for if there be no more but their own Hearts; whenever it comes to confefs our Sins, Who will not wil to Particulars, there is a Multitude of lingly do that, and who doth pot daily do Extenuationsand Pretences, to hide and it? As one faid, if it be sufficient to ac- cover the Sin ; and generally Men never cyfe, none will be Innocent: Si accusaje cease the more from finning, it puts no fufficiat, nemo innocens erit ; so you stop in their running, as the Horse to may think, Si confiteri fufficiat, nemo ibe Barle: To-day they confefs it, and reus erit. If it be sufficient to confess, Tomorrow they act it again with as none will be guilty. But, my Beloved, much Delight as before. Now, of this let us not deceive curselves with the pre- I may say, offer it to thy Governor, and fent first Apprehensions of Words that see if be will be pleased with thee, or occur in this Kind; it is true, as ye take let another offer such an AcknowledgConfeffion, there is nothing more ordi. ment of Wrong to thee, and see if it will nary ; but, if it be taken in the true please thee ; and if it will not, Why deScripture-meaning, and in the realeft Sense, ceive ye yourselves with the 'outward I fear there is nothing among Men fo Visage of Things, in these Matters that extraordinary: I desire you may but con- are of greatest Soul-concerament 2 Should
they not be taken in the most inward and Cbrift; thus ' being inwardly pressed to substantial Signification that can be ? lealt | yent and pour out our Hearts before him, you be deceived with falle Appearances ; | in the Confession of our Sins, and to flee and while you give but a Shadow of Con unto the City of Refuge, bis Mercy and fefsion, you receive but a Shadow of For Grace that is declared in Jerus Chrift; giveness, such a Thing as will not carry this, I say, is indeed to contess our Sins : and bear you out before God's Tribunal: For then Confeffion is an Exoneration Therefore we cut needs take it thus, and disburdening of the Heart, it flows that Confellion of Sin is the work of the from the Abundance of the inward Conwhole Man, and not of the Mouth only. trition of it; and as this must be the It is the Heart, Tongue, and all that is Spring of it, so there is another Stream in a Man, joining together to the Ac. that will certainly now from the inge. knowledgment of Sin, and God's Righte- nious Confeffion of our Sins, that is, a ousness; therefore it includes in it, not forsaking of them: These are the two only a particular Knowledge of our Of Streams that now from one Head and fences, and the Temper of our Hearts, Spring, the inward Fountain of Contribut a senfible Feeling of the Loathsom tion and Sorrow for Sin ; there is a holy ness and Hainousness of these: And this Indignation kindled in the Heart again it is the Spring that it Aows from, a Sin, and an Engagement upon such a Soul, broken and contrite Heart, that is bruias indeed Hees to Mercy, to renounce Sin; fed under the Apprehensions of the and here is the complete Nature of true Weight of Guiltiness, and is imbittered Repentance. Solomon joins them, He with the sense of the Gall of Iniquity, that confefletb and forsaketb fball bave that poflefleth the Heart. Here then is Mercy, Prov. xxviii
. 13. And this is the great Moment of Confession and Re- opposed to covering of sins, For be that pentance, What is the inward Fountain covereth his Sins fall not prosper. * Aows from? If the Heart be brought And what is that to cover his Sin? Con: co the distinct and clear View of itself, felling them in a general confused No and to discern the Iniquity and Plague of tion, without any distin&t Knowledge, or it, and fo to fall down under the mighty Sense of particular Guiltiness, that is a Hand of God, and before his Tribunal, covering of Sins, or confessing Sin, and as guilty, as not being able or willing to not forsaking of it, that is a covering of open his Mouth in an Excuse or Extenu- Sin; for, to a& Sin over again, with con ation of Sin, or to plead for Compassion rinual frelh Delight and Vigour, is to refrom any Consideration in himself ; a tract our Confessions, and, to .bury and Soul thus placed between Iniquities set cover them with the Mould of in Order, and Battle array on the one Transgressions. Now, take this unto Hand, and the holy Law and Righteoul you, you fall not prosper, what can be ness of God on the other Hand ; the said worse? for you are but in a Dream Filthiness of the one, filling with Shame of Happiness, and you shall one Day be and Confusion, and the Dreadfulness of Taken out of it, and that fancied Pardon the other, causing Fear and Trembling ; shall evanish, and then your Sins that you In this posture, I say, for a Soul to covered in this Manner, shall be discove come and fall at the Judge's Feet, and red before the Judge of the World, and make Supplication to him in his Son 'you sbail not fand in Judgment.
i John i. 9. If we confess our Sins, he is faithful and just
to forgive our Sins, &c.
HE Freedom of God's Grace, and the Curse, only receive bim, come to >
the Greatness of his Wisdom, shines him, and believe in bim. He hath unforth most brightly in the Dispensation dertaken to save, only do you consent of the Gospel, and both of them beautify too, and give up your Name to him ; and illustrate one another. That there ye have nothing to do to satisfy Justice, is first, an Expiation of Sin by the Blood or purchafeSalvation, only be willing, of Jesus Chrift; that a Way is laid down that he do it for you, or rather acquiesce of reconciling the World, and that by the to that he hath done already, and reft on Blood of tbe Cross, that Peace is pur- it. But how shall our Sins be pardoned, chased, and fo preached unto -Sinners
, as and Justice satisfied ? Only confess your a Thing already procured, and now on Sins to him, and ye are forgiven, not ly to-be applied unto the Soul by Faith; for your Confession, but for Chrift; only herein doth the inestimable Riches of acknowledge thine Iniquity and Wrongs, the Grace of God expose itself to the and he hath taken another Way to repair View of Angels and Men. That the his Justice, than by thy Destruction and great Work of Redemption is ended, Condemnation ; he is so far from extenere it come to us; and there remains ding his Justice against thee, that he is nothing, but to publish it to the World, rather engaged upon bis Faithfulness and and invite us to come and receive it, and Justice to forgive thee, because of his have a Part in it ; all is ready, the Feast Promise. prepared, and set on the Table, and there Yet, ye would not conceive so of this wants nothing but Guests to eat of it, Manner of Proposal of Forgiveness and and these are daily called by the Gospel Salvation, as if the requiring of such a to come to this Table, which the Wild Thing as Repentance in thee, were any dom of the Father hath prepared for us, Derogation from the Absolute ness of his without either our Knowedge or Con- Grace; for it is not required, either currence. Besides, the very Terms of to the point of Satisfaction to God's proposing the Gospel, speak forth abso- Justice, and Expiation of Sin, for that iure Freedom; What can be more free is done already upon the Cross. Chrift and easy than this ? Christ is sent to die was not offered to save Sinners, he was for- Sinners, and to redeem tbem from nat fent upon the previous Condition of :
their Repentance : Nay, wbile we were Consciences of all? How shall a Soul
mojt great and potent Lord, who can his Holiness, to look no other way, than easily rid himself of all his Enemies, and to his own merciful and gracious Nature: do all his Pleasure in Heaven and Earth, Suppose we had nothing of a Promise fhould come under an Obligation to Man from him, by which he is bound; yet, to forgive him bis Sins. A strange Ex as the very Apprehension of the general change, Man is standing bound by the Goodness, and unlimited Bounty, and Cords of his own Sins over the Justice original Happiness that is in God, ought of God, he is under that insoluble Tye naturally to draw the Creature towards of Guiliness ; God in the mean Time bim in all its Wants, to fupplicate his is free and loosed from the Obligation Fulness, that can supply all Neceflities, of the first Covenant, that is, his Promise without lessening his own Abundance: of giving Life. to Man; we have lonfed even 10, if we did only apprehend that him from that voluntary Engagement, God is the Fountain of Mercy, and that and are bound under a Curse ; and yet, he is infinitely above us and our Injuries, behold the Permutation of Grace, Man and that all our Being and Well-being is loosed from Sinto which he was bound, eternally consists in his role Favour; and God is bound to forgive Sin, to this, I say, alone confidered, might draw which he was not bound. He enters in us to a pouring out our Hearts before a new and voluntary Engagement by his him, in the Acknowledgment of our Promise, and gives Right to poor Crea. Guiltiness, and cafting ourselves upon his sures to sue and seek Forgiveness of him, Mercy (as the Term is used in War) according to his Faithfulness: Yet in this when there is no Quarter promised, and Plea, as it becomes us to use Confidence, no Capitulation made : It is the last Rex because he gives us Ground by his Pro. suge of a desperate Sinner, to render una mises, so we hould season it with Hư to God upon Mercy, to resign himself to mility, knowing how infinitely free and his free Dispofal; lince I cannot but perill voluntary his Condescension is, being (may a Soul say) without him, there is always mindful, that he may in Righte- no Way of escaping from his Wrath, i ousness exact Punishment of us for Sin, will rather venture, and go in to tb. rather than we seek Forgiveness from King, and if I peris I perife : Ther: him; and yet seek it we ought, because is more Hope in this way to come to he hath engaged his faithful Promise ; | him, than to fee from him, perhaps he which Opportunity to neglect, and not may show an Act of absolute fovereign to improve, either, though Fear or Secu-Goodness, and be as glorious in passing rity, were as high Contempt and Dif by an Offence, as just in punishing its obedience to him, as these Sins by which Do I not see in Man, (in whom the we offend him.
Divine Majefty hath imprinted some Certainly, the very Name of God re Characters of Conscience and Honesty) vealed to us, or known by Nature's that it is more generous and noble to Light, those general Characters of his forgive, phan to revenge? And do I not Name, Merey and Goodness, Power fee generally among Men, Clemency and and Greatness, might fuffice to so much, Compassion is commended above Seve as to make us in the Apprehensions of rity and Rigour, though just, especially Our own Guiltiness and Provocations of towards these who are inferior, weak