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unable to relist, and have yielded-them this, what ever Sinner comes to God in felves to Mercy. Now, shall I not much Cbrift, confeffing their owp Guiltiness more apprehend that of God, which I in Sincerity, and supplicating for Pardon, admire in a sinful Man? Shall not that he cannot in Justice refuse to give it out be most perfect in him, which is but a unto them, since he hath taken complete maimed and broken Piece of his Image Satisfaction of Chrift. When a Sinner in loft Man? Certainly, it is the Glory seeks a Discharge of all Sin, by Virtue of of God to conceal an Offence, as well that Blood, the Lord is bound by hisas to publith it
, and he can lhew as much own Justice to give it out, and to write Greatness and Majesty in Mercy, as in a free Remission to them; since he is Justice ; therefore I will wholly commit fully paid, he cannot but discharge us, my self to him. I think a Man ought to and cancel our Bonds. So then a poor reason fo, from the very natural Know. Sinner that desires Mercy, and would lege he hath of God; but when ye have forsake Sin, hath a twofold Ground to not only his Name and Nature published, fuit this Forgiveness upon Cbrift's Blood, but his Word and Promise so often pro and God's own Word, Christ's Purclaimed, himself come under fome Tye chase and Payment, and the Father's to receive and accept graciously all Sin Promise, he is juft and Righteous, and ners that fly in under the Shadow of his therefore he cannot deny the one, nor Wings of Mercy; then 0, with how yet take two Satisfa&tions, two Payments much Perswalion and Boldness Tould we for one Debt ; and be is faithful, so he come to him, and lay open our Sins be- cannot but stand to the other, that is his fure him, who not only may pardon Proinise, and thus is Forgiveness ascerthem, and not only is likely to do it, tained and assured unto the confesling Sin. seeing he hath a gracious Nature, bur ner. If any would take this in Relation certainly will pardon them, cannot but to Confession, as if it reflected upon that do it, because his Faithfulness requireth which preceeded; and the Meaning fhould it. Certainly, he hath superadded his be, if any Man confess his Sin, he is just Word to his Name, his Promise to his to requite Confession with Remission, Nature, to confirm our Faith, and give he cannot in Righteousness deny one that us ample - Ground of Atrong Consola- deserves it so well, he is juft to return tion.
some suitable Recompence, to such a hum. There is another more suitable Noble Confellion : This Sense were a pertion about the Justice of God, in for verting of the whole Gospel, and would giving Sin; it hath some Truth in the overturn the Foundations of Grace ; for, Thing itself, but whether it be impor. there is no Connection between our Conted here, I dare not certainly affirm. fillion and his Remission, but that which Some take his Faithfulness in Relation the absolute good Pleasure of his Will to his Word of Promise, and his Justice hath made ; besides, that Repentance is in Relation to the Price and Ransom as free Grace given from the exalted payed by Cbrift ; importing as much as Prince, as Remillion of Sins is.
1 John i. 9, 10. If we confess our Şins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our Sins, and to cleanse us from all
Unrighteousnefs. If we say that we have not finned, we make him a Liar,
say you? Who doth not confess Conformity to God's Will, then they Sins daily, and therefore, who is not for are in no better Acceptance with God. given and pardoned? But ftay, and con- than these external Sacrifices which Godk lider the Matter again, take not this upon rejected, though he had required them, your first light Apprehenfions, which in because they were disjoyned from the Religion are commonly empty, vain and crue Life of them, and spiritual Meaning, superficial; but search the Scriptures, and that is, Faith in a Mediator, and Love to your own Hearts, that ye may know Obedience. If Confession flow, not from what Confeffion means. It may be said fome Contrition of Heart, if there be of that external Custom of Confeffion, not some inward Spring of this Kind, that many of you have, that the Lord the Heart opened and unfolding its very hath not required it, Sacrifices and In-lide before God, breaking in Pieces, burnt Offerings tbou wouldeji not, some which makes both Pain or Sense, and external Submissions and Confessions, likewise gives the clearer View of the which ye take for Compensation for inward Parts of the Heart; and if it be Sins and Offences against God, these, inot joined with Affection to God's Will fay, are but Abomination to the Lord; and Law, earnest Love to new Obedibut a broken and a contrite Heart, o ence, it is but a vain, empty and counGod, thou wilt not despise, Psal. li. 16, terfeit Confeffion, that denies it self. I sup14. And lo, I come to do thy Will, pose, a Man that confesses Sin which he feels I delight in it, Psal. xl. 7, 8. When nor, or forsakes not, in so doing, he deexternal Professions and Confessions are clares that he knows not the Nature of feparated from the internal Contrition of Sin; he may know such an Action, that the Heart, and godly Sorrow for Sini ic is commonly called Sin, and it may be, and when both internal Contrition, and is alamed and censured among Men, external Profession and Confession are and therefore he confesseth it ; but while
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he conteslech it without Sense or Feeling, fake, you in so far declare that you know he declares that he takes it not up as Sin, not Sin, what it is you confess, and so, hath not found the Vileness and Loath- that you have mocked him who will somness of the Nature of ir, nor beheld not be mocked; for, what a Mockery it as it is a Violation of the most high is ir, to confess these Faults, which we Lord's Laws, and a Provocation of his have no folid effe&ual Purpose to reform? glorious Holiness
Did a Soul view it To vomit up your Sins by Confession, thus, as it is represented in God's Sight, that we may with more Defire and Lust as it dishonours that glorious Majesty, lick up the Vomit again, and to pretend and hath manifest Rebellion in it against to wash, for nothing else, but to return him, and as it defiles and pollutes our to the Puddle and defile again. My Spirits ; he could not I say, thus look Brethren, Out of tbe same Fountain upon it, but he would find some inward comes not bitter Water and sweet, Soul-abhorrence and Difplicence at it, and James iii. 11. Since that which ordinarihimself too. How monftruous would it ly proceeds from you, is bitter, unsavory make him in his own Sight? It could not to God and Man, carnal, earthly and but affect the Heart, and humble it in sensual, your Ways are a displayed BanSecret before God; whereas your for- ner against God's Will, then lay your ced and strained Confessions made in Account, all your Professions and Acpublick, they are meerly taken on then, knowledgments are of the fame Nature, and proceed from no inward Principle ; they are but a little more fugared over, there is no Shadow of any Soul-humili- and their “inward Nature is not chanation in Secret, but as some use to put ged, as unacceptable to God, as your on Sackcloath when they come to make Sins are. zhat Profession, and put it off when they I would give you some Characters out go out ; so you put on a Habit of Con- of the Text, to discover unto you the fession in publick, and put it off you when Vanity and Emptiness of your ordinary you go out of the Congregation. To Confessions. The Confession of Sin must ly mourning before the Lord, in your be particular, universal, perpetual, or secret Retirements, that you are Stran constant ; particular, I say, for there gers to. But I wonder how you thould are many Thousands who confess that chus mock God, that you will not be as they are Sinners, and yet do not at all ferious and real in confesling, as in fin- confess their Sins: For, to confess Sins, ning? Will you sin with the whole Man, is 10 confess their own real actual Guiland confess only with the Mouth? Will tiness, that which they indeed have comye act Sin with Delight, and not con- mitted, or are inclined to do. So the fess it with a true Sorrow that indeed true and sincere Confession of a repenting affects the Heart? Now, do you honour People is expressed, 1 Kings vii. 38. God by confeffing, when the Manner of what Prayer or Supplication foever it declares, that you feel not the Bitter be made by any Man, wbich sball know ness of Sin, and conceive not the Holi- tbe Plague of bis own Heart, and nefs and Righteoufness of God, whom spread fortb bis Hands, tben beat thou you have to do withal? Even so, when in Heaven, and forgive every Man you confess Sin, which you do not for wbose Heart Ibou knoweft. Now con
sider whether or not you be thus ac- ticular Sins. I confeled my Sin, and quainted with your own Hearts and mine Iniquity I bid not.
While you Ways, as to know your partículas Plague confess only in general Terms, you con. and Predominant. Are you not rather fess others Sins rather than yours ; but wholly Strangers to yourselves, especially this is it, to descend into our own Hearts, the Plague of your Hearts? There are and find out our just and true Accusation, few that keep so much as a Record or our real Debt, to charge ourselves as Register of their Actions done against narrowly as we can, that he may dif God's Law, or their. Neglects of his charge us fully, and forgive us freely. Will; and therefore, when you are par. Next, I say, Confession must be uniticularly posed about your Sins, or the versal, that is, of all Sin, without ParChallenge of Sin, you can speak nothing ciality or Respect to any Sin. I doubt to that, but that you never knew one Sin if a Man can truly repent of any Sin, by another ; that is indeed, you never except he in a Manner repent of all Sin, observed your Sins, you never knew any or truly forsake one Sin, except there be Sin, but contented your self with the a Divorcement of the Heart from, and Tradition you received that you were forsaking of all Sin ; therefore the Apostle Sinners; but if any Man be used to re- faith, if we confess our Sins, not Sir flect upon his own Ways, yet generally, simply, but Sins, taking in all the Body the most Part of Men are altogether and Collection of them ; for it is opStrangers to their Hearts ; if they know posed to that, if we say we have no any Evil of themselves, it is at most, Sin, &c. Then there lyes a Necessity but something done, or undone, some upon us to confefs what we have ; we Commission or omission, but nothing of have all Sin, and so fhould confess all the inward Fountain of Sin is discovered. Sins. Now, my Meaning is not, that it I beseech you then, do not deceive your is absolutely necessary that a Soul come felves with this general Acknowledgment to the particular Knowledge and Acknow. that you are Sinners, while in the mean ledgment of all his Sios, whether of IgTime your real particular Sins are hid norance, or Infirmity; nay, that is not from you, and you cannot choose but possible, for wbo can underfand bis hide in a Generality from God. Cer- Errors? (faith David) Cleanse tbou mo tainly, you are far from Forgiveness, and from secret Sins, Plal. xix. 12. There that Blefedness of which David speaks, are many Sins of Ignorance, that we Pfal. xxxii. for this belongs to the Man know not to be Sins, and many Escapes that bidetb not bis Sins, in whose of Infirmity, that we do not advert to, Heart is no Guile. And this is the which otherwise we might know. Now, Plainness and Sincerity of ghe Heart, I do not impose that Burden on a Soul, rightly to discern its own Plagues, and to confess every individual Sin of that unfold them to him. David, no doubt, Kind; but this certainly must be, there would at any Time have confessed that he must be such a Discovery of the Nature was a Sinner, but mark how heavy the of Sin, and the Loathsomness of it in Wrath of God was on him for all that, / God's Sight, and the hainous Guilt of it, because he came not to a plain, ingenuous as may abase and humble the Soul in and humble Acknowledgment of his par. his Presence; there muft be some diftinct
er and clearer View of the Dispositions Then this Confeflion should be perand Lufts of the Heart, chan Men at- petuated and continued, as long as we tain generally unto ; and withal, a Dir are in this Life, for that is imported by covery of the holy and spiritual Meaning comparing this Verse with these it stands of God's Law, which may unfold a Mul-between. If we say we bave no Sin, titude of Tranfgreflions, that are hid if we say at any Time, while we are in from the World, and make Sin to abound this Life, if we imagine or dream of in a Man's Sight and Sense; (for wben any such Perfection here, we lie. Now, the Law enters, Sin abounds) and to what should we do then, since Sin is alclose up this, as there are many Sins now ways lodging in our mortal Bodies, dudiscovered unto fuch a Soul, which lay ring this Time of neceffary Abode beside hid before, tbe Light baving joined in an ill Neighbour ? What should be our upon the Darkness, and above all, the Exercise ? even this, Confess your Sins, desperate Wickedness of the Heart is confess, I say, as long as you have them, presented ; so there is no Sin known and draw out this the length of that: Be con discerned, but there is an equal impartial tinually groaning to him under that Body Sorrow for it, and Indignation against it. of Death, and mourning under your As a Believer bath Respect to all God's daily Infirmities and Failings; that Stream Commands, and loves to obey them, to of Corruption runs continually, let the the penitent Soul hath an impartial Hat Stream of your contrition and Conferred of all Sin, even the dearest and most lion run as uncessantly; and there is beloved Idol, and desires unfeignedly to another Stream of Christ's Blood, that be rid of it. Hence your usual publick runs constantly too to cleanse you. Now, Confessions of Sin, are wipt out of the herein is the Discovery of the Vanity Number of true and sincere Confessions, and Deceitfulness of many of your Conbecause you pretend to repent of one Sin, feflions, publick and private ; the Current and in the mean Time, neither do ye of them soon dries up, there is no Per. know a Multitude of other Sins that pre-petuity or Constancy in them, no daily vail over you, nor do you mourn for humbling or abasing yourselves, but all them, nor forsake them. Nay, you do that is, is by Fits and Starts, upon fome not examine yourselves that way, to transient Convictions, or outward Cea-find out the Temper of your Hearts, or fures and Rebukes : And thus Men quickTenor and Course of your Ways. You ly cover and bury their Sins in Oblivion pretend to repent for Drunkenness, or and Security, and forget what Manner fuch like, and yet you are ordinary of Persons they were ; they are not un. Curfers, Swearers, Liars, Railers, Neder a daily impartial Examination of their glecters of Prayer, Prophaners of the Ways, take Notice of nothing but some Sabbath, and such like, and these you do foiemn and gross Escapes, and these are not withal mourn for: In sum, he that but a short Time under their View. mourns only for the Sin tbat Men cen Now, let me apply a little to the Ensure, he knoweth and confessech no Sin couragement of poor Souls, who being tincerely ; if you would indeed return inwardly burdened with the Weight of unto God from some grofs Evils, you their own Guiltiness, exoner themselves. must be divorced in your Affections from by Confession in his Bosom ; as you all Sin.