The true doctrine of justification asserted and vindicated, from the errours of Papists, Arminians, Socinians, and more especially Antinomians in XXX lectures preached at Lawrence-Iury, London
Burgess, Anthony, d. 1664.
Page  1

OF JUSTIFICATION.

LECTURE I.


ROM. 3.24, 25.,

Being justified freely by his Grace, &c.

THE Apostle in the words precedent laid down two Propositions,* to de∣base man and all his works, that so he might make way for the exaltati∣on of that grace of justification here spoken of.

The first Proposition is, that By the deeds of the Law no flesh shall be justifi∣ed in his sight, where two things are observable.

1. That he cals every man by the word Flesh, which is em∣phaticall to beat down that pride and tumor which was in the Jews.

2. He addeth, in his sight, which supposeth that though our righteousnesse among men may be very glorious, yet before Page  2 God it is unworthy. The other Proposition is, that, All come short of the glory of God; Some do make it a Metaphor from those in a race, who fall short of the prize. Whether by the glory of God be meant the image of God, and that righteousnesse first put in∣to us, or eternall life, or (which is most probable) matter of glorying and boasting before God, which the Apostle speaks of afterwards, is not much materiall. Now the Apostle having de∣scribed our condition to be thus miserable, he commends the Grace of God in justifying of us, which is decyphered most ex∣actly in a few words; so that you have in the Text a most com∣pendious delineation of justification.* First, There is the bene∣fit set down, being justified. Secondly, The efficient cause, Gods Grace; and here we have a two-fold impulsive cause, one inward, denoted in the word Freely; the other outward, in the meritori∣ous cause, Christs death; which is further illustrated by the ap∣pointment of God for this end,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Some understand this of Gods manifestation, as if it were spoken to oppose the propitiato∣ry in the Ark, which was left hidden; some to the whole polity in the Old Testament, which in the Legal shadows, and the Pro∣phets predictions did declare Christ; Others (upon better ground) refer it to the Decree of God. This death of Christ is cal∣led 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which denoteth both the action it self, as also the effect and benefit which cometh by it. Chrysostome observeth, that it is called redemption, and not a simple emption, because we were the Lords once, but by our sins became slaves to Satan, and now God doth make us his again. In the third place you have the instrumentall cause, Faith in his bloud; this is that Hysop that doth sprinkle the bloud, though it be contemptible in it self, yet it is instrumentall for a great good; and hereby is denoted, That Faith hath a peculiar nature in this work of Justification, which no other grace hath, for none saith Love in his bloud, or Patience in his bloud. Lastly, here is the final cause, To declare the righteousnesse of Godafor the remission of sins past.b Some observe those words sins past, as implying, no sinne is forgiven till it be committed; it must be past before it can be forgiven; But the Apostle might use this speech in reference to sins past before his coming, to shew the efficacy and power of Christs death, that it was not the bloud of Rams and Goats, but that of Christ, Page  3 which could expiate our offences. My intent is to speak of the benefit first, and then the Causes: the Benefit is Justification: And for the better understanding of this,* consider the Proposi∣tions following, which will be subservient to clear the nature of it, although the more exact opening of the word, and the nature of it, is to be looked for when we come to speak of impu∣ted righteousnesse.

First, It is of great consequence to have this Doctrine kept pure.*Luther called it Articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae, as if this were the soul and pillar of Christianity. Pighius, though a Papist, calleth this the chief par of Christian Doctrine, confessing that it had been obscured rather then cleared by their own Writers: yea, this Doctrine about Justification is that which discerneth the Orthodox from Pagans, Papists, Socinians and Arminians. Now there are divers reasons why we should keep the Philistims from throwing in earth to stop up this pleasant spring:* As 1. be∣cause herein is the grace and good favour of God especially re∣vealed. Therefore the Gospel is called glorious, because God did not so much exalt, and manifest his excellency in creating the world, as he did in providing of a Saviour, and pardon for a poor sinner: Hence its called the riches of his grace, rather then of power or righteousness. We are therefore sollicitous (what∣soever the Antinomians say to the contrary) that the doctrine of Gods grace in Justification may be fully improved to the utter∣most, and that every broken heart may be put into a ravishment and admiration of it. We bewail those times of Popery, when the name and efficacy of Christ and his Grace, were obscured by the works and pretended righteousnesse of men.

2. It is very necessary to keep this pure, because of the mani∣fold truths that must fall if this fall; if you erre in this, the whole truth about Originall sinne, Free-will, and Obligation of the Law will likewise perish.

3. It is of great influence into practice; for what doth the heart smitten for sin, and filled with the displeasure of God, but run to this▪ Doctrine, as the City of refuge? This is the water that their souls pant after, this is the bread that their fainting sto∣macks would▪ gladly feed on: now if this water be turned into mud, if this bread be made into stones by the corrupt Doctrines Page  4 of men, how must the soul perish for want of sustenance?

Secondly,*Satan hath endeavoured severall waies the corrupting of it. You may judge of the preciousnesse and excellency of it by Satans malicious endeavours to suppresse it: Herod not more diligently seeking to take away the life of Christ when he was in his Cradle, then Satans instruments were busie to stifle this truth in the infancy.*Chemnitius relateth, that he did saepè cohor∣rescere, many times tremble when he thought of a speech which Luther would often say (and it was ominous) That after his death the Doctrine of Justification would be corrupted: And indeed when those first Reformers had made the body of this truth in all the severall parts of it like that of Absalom, comely and beau∣tifull, without any blemish, there presently rose up many per∣verted in minde, and set upon it, as those theeves upon the man going to Jericho, leaving it wounded, and half dead. There are errours about the very nature of it, making it to be the infusion of righteousnesse in us, for which God doth accept us: Thus they speak of Justification, as Aristotle would about Physicall moti∣ons. Some take away the imputation of Christs Righteousnesse; some take away the satisfaction of Christ; some make Faith to be accounted for Righteousnesse; some make such a Justification, that thereby God shall see no sin in those that are justified whatsoe∣ver they do. Thus in the nature, parts, instrument, consequents and subject, there are manifold errours, and hereby Satan bringeth much mischief to the Church, for by this means our lives are spent in disputing about this benefit, when it were farre more comfortable to be enjoying of it. And when Satan could not overthrow the truth by mingling of our works with the Grace of God, as in Popery, then he bendeth himself to errours on the right hand, by setting it up in such a seeming way, by amplifica∣tions of it, that thereby all repentance and godly humiliation shall he quite evacuated: Even as when he could not by his in∣struments, the Pharisees, disprove the Deity of Christ, then he sets instruments on work to confess that he was the Son of God, thereby to get in some errours.

*Thirdly, God in this way of Justification goeth above our thoughts. And certainly, when a Christian will set his heart to think about this truth, he must lay this for a foundation, that, in this matter of Page  5 Justifying, Gods thoughts and his thoughts do differ as much as hea∣ven and earth; so that the doctrine of Christs hypostaticall uni∣on is not more above our thoughts and expectation in the truth of it, to be believed, then that of Justification is above our hearts in the goodnesse of it, to be embraced. It is in this case with us, as with Sampson, who found honey in the carkase of a Lion, this could not be expected how it could come there; had he found it in some holes of a Tree in the Wood, where Bees will some∣times hive themselves, there had been some probability, but here is none: Thus thinketh the soul troubled, to finde this honey of Justification in the death of Christ, how unlikely is it? If I should look for it in the works I do, in my holinesse, and righ∣teousnesse that is wrought by my own hands, this were accord∣ing to rules of righteousnesse.

And this is the ground of all that dangerous errour in Popery, they look upon it as against the principles of reason, that we should be accounted righteous any other way, then by that which is inherent in us; and this made Luther professe, that when he did rightly understand the doctrine about free remission of sins, yet he was exceedingly troubled with the word Justifie, for that old opinion had much soaked into him, that it must be to make righteous, as sanctificare is to make holy, or calefacere to make hot; some positive quality to be brought into a man, which he might oppose against the judgement of God. And hereby you may see, that its no wonder if the people of God are so difficult∣ly perswaded of their Justification; if they be again and again plunged into fears about it; because this way which God taketh is above our thoughts: It is a great matter to deny our own righteousnesse, and to be beholding to Christ only for pardon.

Fourthly, As the Doctrine it self is by peculiar revelation,*so the Scripture hath proper words to expresse it by, which we must wholly attend to. This would be a good Pillar and Cloud to direct us; for then men began to decline from the truth, when they left off a diligent search of the use of the word in the Scriptures. What makes it so confidently and generally asserted by Papists, that Justification is a transmutation, a change from the state of un∣righteousnesse to the state of holinesse, but only neglect of the Scripture-use of this word?

Page  6And though this matter was agitated seven moneths in the Councell of Trent, yet because they did not follow the Star of the Scripture, they came not to the lodging where Christ was. There are some kinde of words, which the Scripture takes from the common use and custome amongst men, and they are to be interpreted as commonly they are taken; but then there are o∣ther words, which the Scripture doth peculiarly use, as being sub∣servient to expresse that peculiar matter, which the holy Ghost only teacheth, and such is this word, to justifie, for the greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is observed by learned men to have two significati∣ons, one to punish a man, or condemn hm, which is clean contra∣ry to the Apostle his use of the word; or else to determine and judge a thing as just, but then it doth not come up to the Apo∣stles meaning; for he speaks of persons, but the Grecians use it of things themselvs: Thus the word justificare is not used by any approved humane Authors, no more then sanctificare and glori∣ficare. As therefore we must goe to the Scripture▪ only for the knowledge of the nature of the thing, so we must expresse it in such words as the holy Ghost useth; and this is the ground which hath made our learned men call upon all to consider the Grammaticall use of the words in this matter.

*First, The word doth imply an accounting just: And this is ac∣knowledged by the Papists themselves, as more frequent▪ though they pleade much for such a sense, as to make just. Now the truth is, there needs not much quarrell even about that signification, though the Scripture doth not manifest it: For we confesse that he is made just, who is justified, and that not only in respect of the inward renovation of a man, but also in respect of ju∣stification; for God doth not account him just who is not so, and certainly to esteem a man just without righteousnesse, is as ab∣surd as to account a man learned without learning, or the wall white without whitenesse; only we say this Righteousness that doth to make a man just, is not inherent in him, but reckoned to him by the satisfaction of another: for a man is accounted righteous two waies, either when he is not guilty of the crime charged upon him, or when he doth make satisfaction; and in this latter sense by Christ we become righteous.*

2. So that if the word should signifie as much as to make Page  7 righteous, as to sanctifie doth signifie to make holy, still we could grant it, though not in the Popish way; and indeed the Apostle Rom. 5. saith, many are made righteous by the second Adam, which if not meant of inherent holinesse, doth imply, that the righte∣ousness we have by Christ is not meerly declarative, but also con∣stitutive; and indeed one is in order before the other, for a man must be righteous before he can be pronounced or declared so to be. But the Hebrew word doth not signifie this sense prima∣rily; for whereas the Hebrew word in Cal doth signifie to be righteous by a positive quality; The word in Hiphil according to that Rule in Grammar, signifyeth to attribute and account this righteousnesse unto a man by some words, or other testimony, even as the word that in Cal signifieth to b wicked, doth in Hiphil signifie to condemn and judge a man as wicked, so that there are these two things in justifying, whereof one is the ground of the other, first to make righteous, and then to pronounce or de∣clare so.

From these two followeth a third,* which is to deal with a man so justified as a just man, so that condemnation, crimes, re∣proach and fear shall be taken away from him. This declareth the admirable benefit of being justified before God, for when this is done, Rom. 5.1. We have peace with God, Ephes. 3. We come with boldnesse into his presence, and open face; so that unbe∣lief and slavish fears in the godly are great enemies to this grace of justification; yea, they are a reproach and dishonour to it. Thou thinkest if thy heart were not conscious to sin, if nothing but holinesse were in thee, thou wouldest be bold, thou wouldst not fear or be troubled, but thou dost not consider that God walketh towards thee as a righteous man, looketh upon thee as so, so that if Christ be bold thou mayst, if God will not re∣ject Christ, or thy sins cannot condemn him, so neither will God reject thee, or shall thy sins overwhelm thee; this is the sweet consolation of the Gospel, to a sinner broken-hearted, who would give a world for a perfect righteousnesse, to make him accepted.

4. This is a judiciall word, and taken from Courts of judge∣ment. It is good to consider this also,* for this supposeth God as a just Judge offended, and man summoned to his Tribunal to ap∣pear Page  8 before it. This work of Justification may be excellently compared with that Parable, Mat. 18. where a man owing many talents to his master, is called upon to pay them, and although the servant prayed his Master to have patience, and he would pay him all (which we cannot say) yet, it is said, his Master forgave him all the debt. That the word is a judiciall word in the gene∣rall appeareth, Deu. 25.1. where the Scripture speaketh of a con∣troversie between men brought to judgement, and the Judge ju∣stifying the righteous, so 2 Kin. 15.4. There Absalom wisheth he were Judge in the land, that he might justifie him who brought his case to him; so Psa. 51. That thou mayest be justified, and overcome when thou are judged; As it is thus in general, so in this particu∣lar case, it is a word taken from Courts of judgement: Thus Rom. 3. That every mouth might be stopped, and the whole world be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 guilty.

Hence there is an accuser, and our sins called debts, and the op∣posite to this justification is condemnation, and the Apostle calleth it a charge that is laid upon men. Therefore Christ is called an Advocate, and he is said to make intercession; all these expressions denote a judiciary proceeding: Thus David, Enter not into judge∣ment with thy servant; for in thy sight no man shall be justified, Psa. 143. and Paul, 1 Cor. 4.3. It is a very small thing to be judged of mans judgement, where a mans judgement is called a day, accor∣ding to the Cilician phrase (as Jerome saith) and having spoken this, he addeth something of his justification before God; so that there is nothing clearer then that the word is a judicial word, and with John who in his Epistles never useth the word justifie, the sense of it is expressed, by not to come into judgement, or to be translated from death unto life. And certainly if to justifie were to make righteous inherently, it would not be an abomination in that sense to justifie the wicked.

*Fifthly, There can be properly no justification, but where there is accusation or a charge: Therefore condemnation is opposite to it. Hence it is that though it be said that Angels and Adam were ju∣stified, and that by works, yet if we would speak properly, they were no more justified, then they had an Advocate, or Interces∣sor. Thus when Christ is said to be justified in the Spirit, that is, declared to be the Son of God by the Spirit, which was spoken Page  9 in reference to those calumnies and reproaches that were cast upon him; so that this consideration may comfort a godly man even in that particular wherein he is most troubled; for thus the godly argue, my heart chargeth me with such folly, and so the devil doth, oh it is too plain! I cannot dissemble it, I cannot hide it; oh what shall I do? even this very thing may support; for how could there be Justification, if there were not a charge? What need a Christ to justifie, if there were no fault?

Sixtly, No man can do any thing,*whereby he should be accounted just before God. This is the grand truth that is such a stumbling block to the world; this makes the Papist gibe and scoff; this makes God (say they) to dissemble; this makes him a lyar, to ac∣count that ours, which is his Sons; who will say a lame Vulcan go∣eth upright with another mans legs? who will compare some de∣formed Thersites to a fair Absalom, because of some imaginary beauty which is not in him? But the Scripture is too plain, 2 Cor. 5. to be eluded, Ipse factus est peccatum, sicut nos justitia non nostra sed Dei, nec in nobis sed in ipso, sicut ipse factus est peccatum non suum sed nostrum, nec inse, sed in nobis constitutum. He is made sin as we are righteousness, not our righteousnesse but the righ∣teousnesse of God, not in us, but in him: as he was made sin, not his own, but ours, not in himself, but in us. Neither do we say, we are made righteous without a righteousnesse, that indeed were absurd, but we say it is not in us.

Seventhly, That righteousnes whereby we are made just,*is only by Christ; of this more hereafter; only the Scripture doth carry us alwaies from our own righteousness to that of Faith, which is by his bloud; this made Bernard say, Quid tam ad mortem quod morte Christi non salvetur, Meum meritum est miseratio Domini, non planè sum meriti inops quamdiu ille miserationum non fuerit in∣ops. Though we want, Christ doth not want, though we sinned away our good, yet not Christ his merits: And if a man were made perfectly holy, yet he could not be justified for all that, but he needs a Christ to satisfie for his former transgressions.

Eightly,*This description of Justification in a judicial way contain∣eth much terrour, and also much comfort. It is good for a Christian to meditate, why God describes the way of pardon by these tearms; and first it may be to rouse up secure and Epicurean Page  10 consciences. Thy heart will not alwaies be quiet, neither will thy sin alwaies lie still at the door, but it will awaken thee, and hale thee to judgement. O the terrour thy soul will then be put into! And as it doth thus terrifie, so it doth the more comfort; nothing is so welcome as a pardon after a man is condemned, and his head laid upon the block: Thus when all this charge is laid upon thee, and thou summoned before the tribunall, how precious must grace then be to thee?

LECTURE II.


ROM. 3.23.

Being justified freely by his grace, &c.

THe ninth Proposition is, concerning the reality and truth of this Justification:* for when we say God doth justifie, that is, account and pronounce righteous, this is taken by Papists, as if here were nothing, but a meer fiction and imagination, without any truth indeed: Therefore the godly are for their comfort to know that this Justification of theirs, is no lesse a reall and solid foun∣dation for comfort (yea it is more) then if they had the most perfect and compleat inherent righteousnesse that could be: for all things that are constitutive of this Justification, are reall; God his gracious accounting and esteeming of us so, is reall: and see∣ing he is most wise, just and holy, what he doth judge must needs be so; we many times justifie our selves, but then it is sometimes a meer opinion, we are indeed condemned at that present, but it cannot be so with God. Again the foundation of this Justificati∣on, is as solid and firm as any rock, it being the righteousnesse of Christ, if therefore the righteousnesse of Christ be not a fancy or imagination, no more is this. And lastly, the effects of this are reall, viz. deliverance from wrath, peace with God, joy in the holy Ghost, and the spirit of Adoption. Now in this treasure the godly heart may much inrich himself, he is not in a Page  11 dream when his soul is ravished with this priviledge; thou may∣est be in this transfiguration, and say, it's good for us to be here, and still know what thou saiest; What shame then is it to thee, when if thou hadst inherent perfect righteousnes, thou wouldst bid thy soul take her spirituall ease, for she hath much good stored up for her, and thou canst not do this upon an imputed righteousnesse: impu∣ted righteousnesse and inherent, differ only in the manner, not in reality: it is all one, as to Gods glory, and as to thy comfort, whether righteousnesse be thine inherent, or thine imputed, if it be a true real righteousnesse.

Tenthly, Consider, the Scripture speaks of this justification, as to us,*still in a passive sense, we are justified, and that whether it speaks upon a supposition of Justification by works of the Law, or in an Evangelicall manner, and this it doth to shew that God on∣ly doth justifie: for sin is only against him, and therefore none but himself can remit his own offence. Besides, none can con∣demn but God, therefore none can Justifie. Who can lay trou∣ble on thy soul, binde thee in chains, and throw thee into hell, but God? and who but God can command all the tempests and waves in thy troubled soul to be still? When therefore others are said to Justifie, that is only to be understood declaratively, and no more. Now this particular may suppress all those proud, Pha∣risaicall thoughts in us, whereby we are apt to be puffed up within our selves: what if we Justifie our selves, and clear our waies? yet if God doth not, we remain still obnoxious, and bound in Gods wrath.

Again, It is for comfort to the godly, what though Satan, thy own heart, and the world doth condemn thee? yet if God Justifie, thou maiest rejoyce; you see Rom. 8. what a challenge Paul there makes, Who shal lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? it is God that Justifieth. Who shall charge any thing? The devil, thy own heart, can lay much pride, hypocrisie, sloth fulnesse to thy charge: it is true, but God through Christ doth Justifie. What a Cordiall and reviver would it be to Gods people, to live in the power of this gift bestowed upon them? it is God that justifieth thee, O my troubled soul! who can then condemn? who can hinder it, or invalidate it? Certainly we are therefore in dejections, despon∣dencies, and perplexities often, because we drink not of this wa∣ter Page  12 of life. Lay and apply this excellent Doctrine to thy fainting dying soul, and it will become to it, like Elisha applying himself to the dead childe, cause spirit and life again to return to him; right thoughts here, will sweeten all thoughts in other things.

*Eleventhly, Although Justification be a Court action, and drawn from judicatories, yet God is not in this action, considered meerly as a Iudge, but as paternus Judex, a fatherly Iudge, having an admirable temperament of justice and mercy, so that God pro∣nounceth this sentence from the Throne of Justice and Mercy also; of Justice, in that he will not absolve, till satisfaction be made, and he will not pronounce righteous, but where there is a perfect righteousnesse: Therefore that opinion, of making Faith to be accepted of for righteousnesse is a dangerous and false assertion. God in this work of Justification, is never described, as accepting of an imperfect righteousnesse for a perfect. No, God doth not cease to be just, while he is thus gracious. Again his Justice and righteousnesse is herein seen, that none shall be Justified, but such sinners who feel their guilt, and desire to be eased of that burden, beleeving and rolling their souls upon him. It is very hard to give the right order of the benefits of Vocati∣on, Justification, Adoption and Sanctification; but yet this may be made good against the Antinomian, that a man is not Justi∣fied, till repenting and beleeving. Here is Justice then but there is also a great deal of Grace and Mercy; As in the accepting of a surety for us, that he would not keep to the Law, of having us in our own persons to pay the utmost farthing: This was great love; so likewise to finde out a way for our reconciliation; that when the devils had no remedy provided for them, we have. Further, that when this price is laid down, we have the applica∣tion of this benefit, and so many thousands have not. Two in a Bed, in a Family, in a Parish, one Justified, and the other con∣demned; What Grac is this?

Twelfthly,*This grand mercy is described in Scripture by God his giving something to us, not our doing any thing to him. It is described by Gods actions, & not ours to him, which may abundantly satis∣fie the heart against all doubts and fears; thus the Scripture cals it forgiving, not imputing sin, imputing righteousnes, making righ∣teous, all which are actions from God to us, not ours to him, so Page  13 that we are no where said in a good sense to Justifie ourselves, or commanded to it, as we are to repent, or beleeve, and to crucifie the lusts of the flesh, because it is wholly Gods action; by faith in∣deed we apprehend it, but it's Gods action, as the window letteth in the light, but it is the Sun that doth inlighten. And from this particular, we may gather much comfort, for when we look into our selves and see no such righteousnesse or holinesse, that we dare hold out to God, then we may remember, this is not by our doing to God, but receiving from him; and in this sense, it is more blessed for us to receive, then to give. This made the Fa∣ther say, justitia nostra, est indulgentia tua, our righteousnesse is thy indulgence. Therefore let not the troubled heart say, where is my perfect repenting? where is my perfect obedience? but ra∣ther ask, where is Gods forgiving? where is Gods not imputing? how hardly is the soul drawn off from resting in it self? it is not thy doing, but Gods doing; thou must not consider, what do I, but what God doth. The Antinomian, he indeed wringeth these breasts of Consolation, till bloud cometh, but the true sweet milk of the word must not therefore be thrown away. Do not then as they sought for Christ, look for him in the grave, when he was risen out thence. Do not thou por in thy self for this treasure, when it is to be looked for from heaven; duties, graces will say, this is not in me.

Lastly,*The Scripture hath other equivalent phrases to this of Ju∣stification, which likewise do amplifie the comfort of this gift. It is called Blessedness, as if this indeed were the true heaven and hap∣pines. If thou art justified, thou carriest heaven about with thee, and thy name may be Legion, for many are the mercies that do fill thee. Nothing can make thee blessed but this, it is not Bles∣sed is he to whom the Lord giveth many riches and honors, ma∣ny parts and abilities, but to whom the Lord imputeth no sin; and howsoever those who wallow in a Laodicean fulnesse, judge not this such blessednesse, yet, ask a Cain, ask a Judas, demand of the tormented in hell, whether it be not a blessed thing to have sin pardoned. That thou shouldest be able to look on thy sins as so many serpents without stings, as so many Egyptians dead upon the shoar, as if they had never been, that thou shouldst be able to say, Lord, where are such lusts, such sins of mine? I finde them all cancelled; Is not this blessednes indeed?

Page  14Another expression is of accepting us in Christ, and herein lieth much of Justification, that it is an acceptation of us to eternall life, Eph. 1.6. This must needs imbolden and incourage the heart, when it knoweth, that both person and duties are accepted, though so much frailty and weakness, yet God will receive thee, The third phrase is to make Just, Rom. 5.9. For God doth not pronounce that man just, which is not so. Therefore when we are Justified, this is not absolutely and simply against a righteous∣nesse of works, but in a certain respect, as done by us, and as o∣bedience coming from us, and this must needs support the soul: for when satisfaction is made, when God hath as much as he de∣sireth, why should not this quiet the heart of a man? will no∣thing content thee, unlesse thou thy self art able to pay God the utmost farthing? A fourth word is not imputing of sin, or im∣puting righteousnesse, and this, as you heard before, is a very sure and real thing, though it be not in us, for there are many real be∣nefits do come to us, wheh yet the foundation is extrinsecal, as when a mans debt is discharged by his Surety, he hath his real benefit, is discharged, and released out of Prison, as if it had been his own personal payment. Now when God doth this, he goeth not against that text, To Justifie the ungodly, for its an a∣bomination to do so, because it's against Law, but when God doth not impute sin, because of the satisfaction of Christ inter∣vening, that is most consentaneous and agreeable to Justice. There is one word more equivalent, and that is reconciliation, some indeed make this an effect of Justification, some make recon∣ciliation the general, and remission of sin a particular part; but we need not be curious, where Justification is there is reconci∣liation; and this doth suppose, that those who were at discord before, are now made friends, and where can friendship be more prized then with God?

Having laid down these introductory Propositions, which describe most of the matter or nature of Justification, I shall now come to shew, wherein it doth particularly consist, where∣in the true nature is,* onely let me premse two or three Cautions.

1. We must not confound those things, which may be consequent, or concomitant to justification,*with justification it self, for many Page  15 things may necessarily be together, and yet one not be the other; so Justification is necessarily joyned with Renovation, yet a man is not justified in having a new nature put into him: The water hath both moistness and coldness in it, yet it doth not wash away spots as it is cold, but as it is moist. We will not enter into dis∣pute (as some of the Schoolmen have, and concluded affirma∣tively) Whether God may not accept of a sinner to eternall life, without any inward change of that mans heart: It is enough that by Scripture we know he doth not.

2. To place our justification in any thing that is ours, or we do,*is altogether derogatory to the righteousnesse and worth of Christ. Some there are who place it partly in our righteousness, and part∣ly in the obedience of Christ, supplying that which is defective in us; some of late have placed it in our Faith, as if that were our righteousnesse, and not for any worth or dignity of Faith, but God out of his meer good pleasure (say they) hath appointed Faith to be that to man fallen, which universal righteousnesse would have been to Adam: and hence it is, that they will not allow any trope or metonymie in that phrase, Abraham beleeved, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. But here appeareth no lesse pride and arrogancy in this▪ then the opinion of the Pa∣pists, and in some respects it doth charge God worse, as is to be shewed in handling of that point: Therefore let us take heed, how by our distinctions we put any thing with Christs righte∣ousness in this great work.

3. In searching out the nature of Justification,*we must not only look to the future, but that which is past. For suppose a man should be renewed to a full perfection in this life, yet that ab∣solute compleat holiness could not justifie him from his sins past. Those committed before would still presse him down, though he were now for the present without any spot at all. Therefore though now there were no defects, no frailties in thee, yet who shall satisfie the Justice of God for that which is past, though there were but the least guilt of the least sin? there is no Sampson strong enough to bear the weight of it, but Christ himself.

4. The Orthodox sometimes make the nature of Justification in remission of sin; sometimes in imputation of Christs righteousness,* which made Bellarmine charge them, though falsly, with different Page  16 opinions, for some make these the same motion, it's called remissi∣on of sin, as it respecteth the term from which; but imputation of righteousnesse as it respecteth the term to which; even, say they, as the same motion is the expulsion of darknes, and the introduction of light. But I rather conceive them different, and look upon one, as the ground of the other; remission of sin, grounded upon the imputation of Christs righteousnesse, so that his righteousnesse im∣puted to us, is supposed to be in the order before sin forgiven; and although among men, where righteousnesse is imputed, or a man pronounced just, there is, or can be no remission of sin, yet it is otherwise here, because righteousness is not so imputed unto us, as that it is inherent in us; so among men, the more a man is forgi∣ven the lesse he is Justified, because forgivenesse supposeth him faulty, yet it is not so in our Justification before God.

*Lastly, We must not confound Iustification with the manifestati∣on and declaration of it in our hearts and consciences. This is the rock at which the Antinomian doth so often split, he supposeth Justification to be from all eternity, and that therefore a man is Justified before he doth beleeve; Faith only justifying by evi∣dence and declaration to our consciences: but this is to con∣found the decree of God, and its execution, as shall be proved. Hence it is a dangerous thing, though some excellent men have done it, to make Faith a full perswasion of our Justification, for this supposeth Justification before Faith; It is one thing to be Justified, and another thing to be assured of it. It is true, we can∣not have any peace and comfort, nor can we so rejoyce in, and praise God, though we are justified, unlesse we know it also.

Page  17

LECTURE III.


ROM. 3.24, 25.

Being Iustified freely by his grace, &c.

JUstification consisteth in these two particulars,*Remission of sin, and Imputation of righteousnesse: Indeed here is diversity of expressions among the learned, as you have already heard: some thinking the whole nature of Justification to be only in Remission of sin, and therefore make it the same with Imputation of righteousnesse; others make one the ground of the other; some make Imputation of righteousnes, the efficient or meritorious cause of our Justification, and Remission of sin, the only form of our Justification; others make Remission of sin the effect only of Ju∣stification. But howsoever we call these two things, yet this will be made plain, that God in Justification, vouchsafeth these two priviledges to the person justified; First, He forgiveth his sins; Secondly, He imputeth righteousnesse, or rather, this latter is the ground of the former, as I shew'd before.

That Justification is remission of sins, is generally received,* the great Question is about imputation of Christs righteousnes (but of that afterwards) only here may be a Doubt, how we can pro∣perly say, That Justification is pardon of sin, for a man is not justi∣fied, in that he is pardoned, but rather it supposeth him guilty: It is true, Remission of sin doth suppose a man faulty in himself, but because Christ did take our sins upon him, and we are accepted of through him, as our Surety, therefore may remission of sin be well called Justification: Indeed pardon can never be called an inherent righteousnesse, or a qualitative Justice (but rather it opposeth it) but it may be called a Legal or Judicial righteousnesse, because God for the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, doth account of us as righteous, having pardoned our sin; and withall imputing Page  18 Christs righteousnesse to us,* both which make up our Justifica∣tion▪ For the understanding therefore of the first particular, viz. Remission of sins, take these Propositions, which will be the foun∣dation upon which many material questions will be built.

1. That forgivenes of sin is possible,*there may be, and is such a thing. Hence in that ancient Creed, we are said to believe a remis∣sion of sins, where faith is described, not in the meer historical acts of it, but fiducial, the remission of my sins. Now this is some stay to a troubled sinner, that his sins may be forgiven, whereas the devils cannot; God no where saying to them, Repent and be∣lieve.* And although Salmeron holdeth, that God gave the lapsed Angels space to repent, before they were peremptorily adjudged unto their everlasting torments; yet he hath scarce a guide or com∣panion in that opinion; were not therefore this true, that there is such a thing in the Church of God, as forgivenes of sin; How much better had it been for us, if we had never been born?

*2. Consider, That a sin may be said to be forgiven divers wayes. First in the decree and purpose of God, as Christ is called the Lamb slain from the beginning. Though I do not know where the Scri∣pture useth such an expression, yet the Antinomians build much upon it.* Secondly, A sin may be said to be forgiven in Christ me∣ritoriously,* when God laid the sins of his people upon him, which the Prophet Isaiah doth describe as plainly, Isa. 53. as any Evangel∣ist; hence some have called Isaiah the fifth Evangelist. Now you must not conclude, such a mans sins are pardoned▪ because they are laid upon Christ a long while ago, which is the Antinomians per∣petual▪ panalogizing, for to this effect of remission of sin, there go more causes besides the meritorious, faith the instrumental cause, which is as necessary in its kinde for this great benefit, as the meritorious cause is in its kind, that though Christ hath born such a mans sins, yet they are not pardoned▪ till he do believe; for as the grace of God,* which is the efficient cause of pardon, doth not make a sin compleatly forgiven, without the meritorious cause, so neither doth the meritorious without the instrumental, but there is a necessity of the presence, and the co-operation of all these. Thirdly,* A sin is said to be pardoned, when the guilt is taken away, and this is properly, Remission of iniquities. Fourthly, Sin is par∣doned in our sense and feeling, when God takes away all our fears and Page  19 doubts, giving us an assurance of his love. And lastly,*Sin is forgiven when the temporal affliction is removed, and in this sense the Scri∣pture doth much use the word, forgivenesse of sins, and his not pardoning, is when he will punish.

3. There are several things considerable in sin,* when we say it is forgiven. First, In sin there is a privation of that innocency which he had before; as when a man is proud, by that act of pride he is depri∣ved of that innocency and freedom from that guilt which he had before. This is properly true of Adam,* who lost his innocency by sinning: It cannot be affirmed of us but in a limited sense, thus far, that when a man commits a sin, that guilt may be charged upon him, whereof he was innocent before. Now, when sin is for∣given, the sense is, not that he is made innocent again, for that can never be helped, but that it must be affirm'd such an one hath sin'd, this cannot be repaired again. It is true, the Scripture useth such expressions, That iniquity shall be sought for, and there shall be found none, Jer. 51.20. But that is in respect of the consequence of it. We shal have as much joy and peace, as if we had not sinned at all.

A 2d thing in sin is the dignity & desert it hath of the wrath of God;* and this is inseparable from any sin, if it be a sin, there is a desert of damnation, & thus all the sins of the godly, howsoever they shall not actually condemn them, yet they have a desert of condemnation.

Thirdly, There is the actual ordination and obligation of the per∣son sinning to everlasting condemnation:* and forgivenes of sin doth properly lie in this, not in taking away the desert of the guilt of sin, but the actual ordination of it to condemnation. Therefore its false that is affirmed by some, that reatus est forma peccati, guilt is the form of a sin: for a sin may be truly a sin, and yet this actu∣al ordination of it to death, taken away.

Fourthly, There is in sin an offence done unto God,* or an enmi∣ty to him, so that now he is displeased: and this is taken away in some measure by forgivenesse; yet so, as his anger is not fully removed. If we speak exactly, God doth not punish his children, yet as a Father he is angry with them, and that makes him to chastise them, though the sin be forgiven.

Fifthly, In sinne is likewise a blo or pollution, where∣by the soul loseth its former beauty and excellency,* and this is not removed by remission, but by sanctification and Page  20renovation. Hence it is ordinarily said, that Justification hath a relative being only, but Renovation, an absolute inherent change.

*And lastly, In all sin there is an aversion from God; either Ha∣bitual, in Habitual sins; or Actual, in Actual: and in this aver∣sion from God, the soul abideth, till it be turned to him again; as a man that turneth his back on the Sun, continueth so, till he turn himself again: now Conversion, and not Justification, doth rectifie this;* so that by this you may see, what it is to have a sin forgiven, not the foulnes or the disformity of it to Gods Law re∣moved, nor yet the dignity and desert of Gods wrath; no, nor all kinde of anger from God, but the actual ordination of it to con∣demnation.

*4. There is a great difference between original sin, and actuals; for that of original is much more perplexed in the matter of re∣mission, then those of actuals; when an actual sin is committed, the act is transient, that is, quickly passed away, there remaineth only the guilt, which sticketh, till God by pardon doth remove it, and then when he hath forgiven it, there is all of that sin past. But now in original sin it is otherwise; for that corruption adhe∣ring to us, cleaving to our nature, like Ivie to the tree (as the Fa∣ther expresseth it) though it be forgiven, yet it still continueth, and that not only as an exercise of our faith and prayers, or by way of a penal langur upon us, but truly and formally a sin, so that its both a sin, and the cause of sin, and the effect of sin at the same time. Now in this particular lieth the greatest part of the difficulty, in the doctrine of forgivenes of sin, for here sin is in the godly, and truly so, yet for all that it doth not condemn. The Papists finding by experience such motions of original sin in us, yet do say, they are only penal effects, and remain as opportunities by spiritual com∣bate to increase the Crown of glory: and this they urge as impossi∣ble they should be sins, and yet not condemn the godly, because guilt is inseparable from sin. And the Antinomian doth expresly stumble at this stone; Dr Crisps Serm. vol. 2. p. 92. For my part (saith he) I do not think as some do, that guilt differs from sin, but that it is sin it self: They are but two words expressing the same thing. Now if it were so, that sin and guilt, or the ordination of it to punishment were the same thing, there could be no sin in the godly. It is true, guilt cannot be but where sin hath been, Page  21 yet guilt of punishment may be removed, when the sin is past. But this the Author doth shew, that sin was so laid on Christ, that from that time he ceaseth to be a sinner any more. Thou art not a Thief, a Murderer, when as you have part in Christ, p. 89. ut su∣pra. But of this hereafter.

5. When a sin is forgiven, it is totally and perfectly forgiven.* This is to be considered in the next place; for when the Antino∣mian would have us so diligently consider that place, Jer. 50.20. where God saith, The iniquities of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none•• If (I say) this were all his meaning, sin shall be as if it had never been in respect of condemnation, he shall be as surely freed from hell, as if he had never sinned, all this is true. But they have a further meaning, and that is, That the sin was so laid upon Christ, that the sinner ceaseth to be a sinner, as if because a surety payeth the debt of some lend bankrupt, that very pai∣ment would make him cease to be a bankrupt, that is false; yet God doth so forgive sin, that it can be forgiven no more perfectly then it is: Those sins cannot be forgiven any more then they are, which is matter of infinite comfort, and as it is totally, so irrevo∣cably, God will not revive them again: Hence are those expres∣sions of blotting them out, of throwing them into the depth of the sea; and howsoever that Parable, Mat. 18. which speaks of the Ma∣ster forgiving a servant so many talents, yet upon the servants cruelty to some of his fellows, his master calleth him to account, and throweth him in prison for his former debts; howsoever (I say) this be brought by some to prove that sins forgiven, may up∣on after-iniquities be charged upon a man, yet the ground is not sufficient. For first, The main scope only of a Parable is Argumen∣tative. The Fathers do fitly represent Parables to many things; to a Knife whose edge doth only cut, yet the back helps to that: to a Plow whose Plow-shear only cuts, yet the wood is subservi∣ent; so in a Parable, the main scope and intent is only argumenta∣tive; the other parts are but like so many shadows or flourishes in the picture to make it more glorious; now this instance was not mainly intended by our Saviour, but forgivenesse of one another; so that this part doth only shew, what is in use amongst men, or what sin doth deserve at Gods hands; not that God revoketh his pardon, or repenteth that ever he hath forgiven Page  22 us, but this is more expresly answered afterwards.

*6. Though sin be forgiven, yet there may be the sense of Gods displea∣sure still; for, as though God doth forgive, there are many cala∣mities and pressures upon the godly: so though Christ hath born the agonies that do belong unto sin, yet some scalding drops of them do fall upon the godly; not that the godly is by these to satisfie the justice of God, but that hereby we might feel the bitter∣nes of sin, what wormwood and gall is in it, that so we may take heed for the future, and that we may by some proportion think on, and admire the great love of Christ to us, in undergoing such wrath. Didst thou not judge the least of his anger falling upon thee more terrible, then all the pains and miseries that ever thou wast plunged into? And by this then, thou mayest stand ama∣zed, and wondering at this infinite love of Christ to stand under this burden for thee. David is a pregnant instance for the truth of this. As when Saul was angry with Jonathan, and run a Jave∣lin at him, he escaped, and that run into the wall; so the wrath of God, which was violently to fall upon thee, missed thee, and ran into Christ.* But the sense of Gods displeasure for sin, may be retained in us two wayes;

*1. Servilely and slavishly▪ whereby we run from the promise and Christ, and have secret grudgings and repinings against God: this is sinfull for us to do.

*2. There is a filial apprehending of Gods displeasure, though we are perswaded of the pardon; this is good and necessary, as we see in David, who made that Psalm of Repentance, Psal. 51. though he had his absolution from his sin. Tears in the soul by the former way, are like the water of the Sea, salt and brackish; but those in the latter are sweet, like the rain of the Clouds fal∣ling down on the earth.

*7. No wicked man ever hath any sin forgiven him; for seeing remission of sins, is either a part or fruit of Justification, no wicked man is more capable of the one then the other: Indeed we may read concerning wicked men, Ahab and the Israelites, when they have humbled themselves, though externally and hypocritically, yet God hath removed those judgements, which were imminent upon them, and thus far their sins have been forgiven them; but God did not at the same time take off the curse and condemnationPage  23 due to them. Though they were delivered from outward cala∣mity, yet not from hell and wrath. This therefore doth demon∣strate the wofull condition of wicked men, that have not one farthing of all their debts they owe to God, paid, but are liable to account for the least sins, and it must needs be so, for Christ the true and only paimaster of his peoples debts, doth not own them; so that when their sins shall be sought for, every one in all the aggravations of it will be found out.

8. This remission of sin is onely to the repenting, believing sinner.* To the repentant, Act. 5.31. To give repentance to Israel, and for∣givenesse of sins. So Luk. 44.47. That repentance and forgivenesse of sins should be preached in his name, Act. 8.22. Repent, and pray, if the thoughts of thy heart may be forgiven thee, 1 Joh. 1.9. If we confesse our sins he is faithfull to forgive, &c. These, and many other pla∣ces do abundantly prove, that there is not forgivenes but where there is repentance▪ Therefore look upon all those doctrines, as false and dangerous, which make justification to be before it. Not that we do with Papists make any merit, or causality in repent∣ance, or that we limit it to such a measure and quantity of repent∣ance, nor as if we made it the condition of the Covenant of Grace; but only the way, without which (not the cause for which) remis∣sion of sins is not obtained, neither can there be any instance gi∣ven of men forgiven, without this repentance; and the same like∣wise is affirmed of faith, though faith is in another notion then repentance, this being the instrument to apply and receive it. But of this hereafter.

9. This remission of sin is not limited to persons, times,*or the quan∣tity and quality of sins. Indeed the sin against the holy Ghost cannot be forgiven: we will not explain that (cannot) by difficul∣ty, as if indeed it might be forgiven, but very hardly. The ordi∣nary answer is, that therefore it cannot be forgiven, because the person so sinning, will not confesse, humble himself, and seek par∣don. God is described by pardoning iniquity, transgressions and sins. Christ is said to take away the sin of the world. David and Peters sins were voluntary, yet God forgave them.

Page  24

LECTURE IV.


ROM. 3.24, 25.

Being Iustified freely by his grace, &c.

*THe Doctrine about remission of sin being thus particularly declared, we come to that great Question, How afflictions come upon the godly after the pardon of their sins? For the Antino∣mian goeth into one extremity, and the Papist into another, so true is that of Tertullian, Christ is alwayes crucified between two thieves; that is, Truth suffers between two extream errors. There∣fore in prosecuting this point, which is of great practical con∣cernment, I will lay down, First, What the Antinomian saith; Se∣condly, What the Papist; And lastly, What the Orthodox. The Antinomian,* in his book, called the Honey-Comb of Justification, explaineth himself in these particulars, by which you may judge, that his Honey is Gall. Having made this Objection to himself, That the children of God are corrected by God, therefore he seeth sin in them, maketh a large Answer: Distinguishing first of afflictions,* calling some Legal, and some Evangelical, and then he distinguisheth of Persons, making some unconverted, others converted; the unconverted again, he makes to be either such as are reprobate, or else elected; now (saith he) the legal crosses have a two-fold operation, either vindicative or corrective: Vindicative are such afflictions as God executeth upon the wic∣ked and reprobates▪ in which sense God is called the God of ven∣geance: Corrective, are such lashes of the Law, as are executed upon those persons that are the children of God by election, but not yet converted, and so under the Law, therefore these afflicti∣ons are not in wrath, to confound them, but in mercy to prepare Page  25 them to their conversion, for God seeing sins in them, layeth crosses upon them. Now these elect persons he cals unconverted, actively and declaratively, in a very ambiguous, and suspicious manner, as if conversion were from all eternity, as well as Justifi∣cation, so that as they say, a man in time is justified only declara∣tively, being indeed so from all eternity, thus he must be said to be converted: and if this be true, then it will likewise follow, that a man in heaven is glorified likewise onely declaratively, but actually and indeed glorified from all eternity, even while he is in this miserable house of clay. In the next place he comes to E∣vangelical crosses, which fall upon them that are actively and de∣claratively (as he cals it) converted, and these he denieth expres∣ly to be for their sins, for this were (saith he) to deny Christs satisfactory punishment, because by his death, we have not one spot of sin in us: therefore he makes them to be only the tryal of their faith, and to exercise their faith: so that (by his divinity) when a godly man is afflicted, the flesh would indeed perswade a man hath sin in him, but this is to try whether thou canst be∣leeve thou art cleansed from sin for all these afflictions. There∣fore if any man yield to this temptation (viz. that he hath sin in him when he is afflicted) what is this (saith he) but to deny Christ and his bloud? Think you this to be the voice of the Scriptures? Hence he laboureth to shew that twelve absurdities would fol∣low from this doctrine of Gods afflicting his children for their sins, the strength of which shall be in his place considered; I have now only laid down his judgement; and he makes the Doctrine of the Protestants opposing this to be Popish, and confounding the Law and the Gospel together. Hence intending the Prote∣stant Authors and Ministers, he saith, They paint God like an an∣gry father, ever seeing sin in us, and ever standing with a rod and staff in his hand, lifted up over our heads, with which by reason he seeth sins in us, he is ever ready, though not to strike us down, yet to crack our crowns, and sorely to whip us: whereas the Gospel describeth him to be not only a loving Father, but also our well-pleased Father, at perfect peace with us; so that the up∣shot of his position is to shew, that they are taskmasters and do degenerate to the legall teaching in the Old Testament, whoso∣ever preach that God doth correct Believers for their sins: and I Page  26 have, saith he, somewhat the more largely hunted this Fox, be∣cause it is so nourished, not only by the Papists, but also some of us Protestants, who by lisping the language of Ashdod▪ do under∣mine the very roots of the Lords vine. And that you may see it is not one mans judgement amongst them, see what their great General saith in a Sermon,*pag. 162. Know this, that at that in∣stant, when God brings afflictions upon thee, he doth not re∣member any sin of thine, they are not in his thoughts towards thee. Again, whatsoever things befall the children of God, are not punishments for sins, they are not remembrances of sin, and if men or Angels shall endeavor to contradict this, let them be accounted as they deserve.* Thus the Antinomian. The Papist goeth into another extremity, for thus they hold, Bellar▪ de poen. lib. 4. cap. 1, & 2. That when God hath forgiven a sin, yet it is according to his Justice, that the sinner should suffer, or do some∣thing to satisfie this justice, not in respect of the sin as it is against God (for although some say so, yet others reject it) but in re∣spect of some temporal punishment, either in this life, or in the life to come, which is the ground of Purgatory. And that this may be made good, they say, When God doth forgive a sin, he doth not presently remit the temporal punishment; therefore men may by some satisfactory penalties voluntarily taken upon themselves, res∣cue themselves from these temporal punishments. Now this is a do∣ctrine extreamly derogating from the full satisfaction of Christs death,* as the Orthodox shew against the Papists. Therefore in the third place, the truth is this, That God when he forgiveth a sin or sins, he doth likewise take off all temporal punishment, properly so called, viz. in order to any vindicative justice, as if a further sup∣ply were to be made to Christs sufferings by what we indure: yet we say withall, that God indeed doth take notice of the sins of those that are justified, and doth correct them for them: so that when he chastiseth them, it is in reference to their sins, they are the occasion, or the impulsive cause (as we may say, though im∣properly when we speak of God.) Although the final cause, and the end why God doth so, is not to satisfie his justice, but for o∣ther ends. It is doubted whether we may call them punishments or no: but we need not litigate about the word, I see Chemniti∣us and Rivet cals them so. And if we make a distinction in Gods Page  27 end, why he afflicts the godly for their sins, from that when he punisheth the wicked, though both for their sins, we speak the truth fully enough, though we call them punishments; and cer∣tainly the words punish or punishment, used Hos. 4.19. Ezek. 9.13. Levit. 26.41. do not take the word punishment in such a strict sense. The Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used of the damned Angels and men, 2 Pet. 2.9. Mat. 25.46. and this word seems not appli∣cable to the afflictions of Gods people for their sins, and so the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 seemeth to be an act of some Judge, who doth not attend to mercy,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Sui∣das in voc. But the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to Iudge, is attributed to God when he doth correct his children, 1 Cor. 11.31. where the Apo∣stle useth three words in an elegant paronomasia〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; so then when God doth afflict his people, he may be said to do it as a Iudge, and afflictions are called judge∣ments, 1 Pet. 4.17. only when God doth thus correct and punish his people, he is paternus Iudex, a fatherly Judge. But the most ex∣pressive word of these afflictions, is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which denoteth God afflicting his people, as a father his childe; and although he doth it, because of their faultslts, yet he hath tendernesse in what he doth. This is the truth: and for the proving of it,* consider these Propositions:

First, That God doth not afflict any but where there is sin in the subject; for so was the threatning at first,*in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die. By death is meant all kinde of evil and pu∣nishment, so that had there been no sin going before, there had no curse, either upon man or creatures followed after. Hence it is that Divines say, The very hunger and thirst which Adam had, while in the state of integrity, was without that pain and provo∣cation as it is in us. So that the state of man in righteousnesse, was like the heavens that admit of no corruptive alterations. As for that dispute,* Whether God may not by his absolute Sove∣raignty adjudge man without the consideration of sin to everlast∣ing misery, the affirmative decision of it will not much incom∣modate this truth, seeing that even then (they say) God doth this per modum simplicis cruciatus, by way of a meer naked trouble and pain: not per modum poenae, by way of a punishment. As for Christ, he though innocent, was a man of sorrows, because our sins were laid on him.

Page  28*Secondly, That God may, and sometimes doth afflict, yet not in re∣ference to sin. Thus God doth exercise Job, who though he was not without sin, yet God seemeth not to do it for sin: Therefore such calamities were rather exercises of his graces, then corre∣ctives of his sins: they were to him, what a storm, or a tempest is to a skilfull Pilate, what a valiant adversary is to a stout Champi∣on; and to this purpose is that answer of our Saviour, when the question was, Whether the parents, or the blinde man himself had sinned, that he should be born blinde? (speaking according to the opinion of some Philosophers, that was now also recei∣ved among the Jews (as learned men think) viz. That there was a prexistency of the souls before they were united to their bodies) our Saviour returneth this answer, Neither hath this man sinned (because he had no being before his birth) nor his parents (viz. some grievous sin, for which God would punish the childe) but only that the works of God may be made manifest. This also must be granted.

Thirdly, That all afflictions and crosses are to be reduced to the Law.* We may acknowledge this truth also, if so be by Law we mean strictly whatsoever doth command and threaten, and the Gospel to be only promissory, though if largely taken, the Gos∣pel hath its curses and afflictions; so God threatning or afflicting of a godly man, doth so far use the Law as an instrument to make him sensible of his sin: and therefore this is a sure Argument, that the Law is not abolished as to all uses to the Believer, be∣cause still there do befall afflictions to the godly, not only from sin (as the Antinomians speak) but for sin; only as the Law with∣out the grace of God worketh all evil, so do all afflictions like∣wise to men that are not godly: Therefore wicked men in affli∣ctions, are as garlik, or any ill-smelling herb, the more it is poun∣ced, the worse smell it sends forth; so that there must be teach∣ing, as well as chastening, to make that affliction blessed.

Fourthly,*That in the calamities which fall upon the godly there is a great difference, some are common and absolutely determined, o∣thers more special, and not necessary. This distinction must be attended, for God hath so peremptorily and irrevocably con∣cluded upon some miseries as the fruits of sin, that no repentance or humiliation can ever take them off. Thus though a man should Page  29 have as much faith as Abraham, as much meeknesse as Moses, as much uprightnesse as David, as much zeal and labour for the Church, as Paul; yet all this would not free from death, nor could it remove the curse that is upon the ground; so a womans holiness and humiliation cannot take away the pains and throbs in childe-bearing, for these are absolutely decreed. But then there are special calamities, which many times by turning unto God are taken away; yea, and God very frequently when he pardo∣neth sin, he taketh also away those outward miseries, as we see in many whom he healed both in soul and body at the same time. So that we say not God is bound alwaies when he doth pardon sin, outwardly to afflict for it.

Fiftly,*There are again some calamities that come upon them be∣cause of sin, others for other ends. We acknowledge it as clear as the sun, that many troubles upon the godly, are by way of tryal and temptation upon them, and because of the good that is in them; of these the Apostle James speaks, when he bids them count it all joy, when they fall into divers temptations; of these Paul speaks, when he saith he will rejoyce in his infirmities; so that the persecutions and miseries which come upon them are an Argu∣ment of the good in them, more then of the evils; as the tree that is ful of fruit, hath its boughs more broken, then that which is barren, and the Pyrates watch for the ship that is fraughted with gold. And thus a martyr comforted himself; That though he had many sins, for which he deserved death, yet he thanked God, that his enemies did not attend to them, but to the good that was in him, and for that he suffered: so then, all the grievances upon the godly are not of the same nature.

Sixtly,*The afflictions for sins upon the godly do differ much from those that are upon the wicked. This we also grant, that when God doth punish the godly and the wicked for their sins, though the punishment for the matter of it may be alike, yet they differ in other respects very much; as in the cause from which, one cometh from a God hating their persons, the other from anger indeed, but the anger of a father. Hence secondly, they differ in the fit∣tedness of these afflictions to do good, God doth moderate these afflictions to his people, that thereby grace may be increased; but to the reprobate, they are no more to their good, then the Page  30 flames of hell-fire are to the damned; The Butcher he cuts the [ 3] flesh far otherwise then the Chirurgion, saith August. Again, in the end they differ; All afflictions to the godly, are like the beat∣ing of cloathes in the Sun with a rod, to get out the dust, and moths, but it is not so with the wicked; many other differences practical Divines prove out of the Scripture.

Seventhly,*Yet God doth in reference to the sins of his people, though forgiven, sometimes chastise them. This is proved,

1. From the Scripture, that makes their sin the cause of their trouble: Thus of David, Because thou (saith Nathan, 2 Sam. 12.14.) hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the childe also that is born of thee, shall die: Thus God speaks to all the godly in Solomon, 2 Sam. 7.14, 15. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men▪ but my mercy will I not take away: In these places, sin is expresly made the cause of those afflictions; and it is a poor evasion to say, this was in the Old Testament, for was not the chastisement of the godly mens peace in the Old Testament, laid upon Christ, as well as in the New? but their folly herein, and their contradiction to themselves, will be abun∣dantly shewed, in answering their objections.

*2. In the places that do assert Gods judging of his people, and rebuking of them: and they are divers, 1 Cor. 11. For this cause many are sick, and weak: where again, you have not only the affliction, but the cause why, viz. irreverent prophaning of that Sacrament. Thus James 5.14. Is any man sick? Let him call for the Elders, and let them pray for him, and if he have committed sins (saith the Text) they shall be forgiven him: There is none but hath committed sins; yet the Apostle makes such an if, because he speaks of such sins, that may provoke God to lay that sick∣nesse upon him. Thus in the Old Testament, Psal. 99.8. Thou forgavest them,*though thou tookst vengeance on their inventions: Here the Psalmist cals the chastisements upon those, whose sins were forgiven, vengeance: as in other places, his anger is said to smoak against the sheep of his pasture; but we must not under∣stand it of vengeance strictly so called, as if God would satisfie his justice out of their sufferings.

3. From the incouragement to duties by temporal Arguments, Page  31 and threats of temporal afflictions. If the godly have these goads, then certainly, as they may conclude their temporal mercies to be the fruit of their godlinesse, which hath the promise of this life, and the life to come; so they may conclude that their afflictions are the effects of their evil waies, which have the threatning of this life, and the life to come; only here is this difference, that the outward good mercies, are not from their godlinesse by way of merit, or causality, but their afflictions are so, because of their sins: Hence the Apostle urgeth the godly, Heb. 12.19. with this, that even our God is a consuming fire: Thus 1 Pet. 3.10, 11. He that will love life and see good daies, let him eschue evil, and do good. So that the Scripture pressing to holinesse, because of out∣ward good mercies, and to keep from sin because of external evils, and pressing these to the godly, doth evidently declare this truth; and certainly the Apostle, speaking of the godly, Rom. 8.10. saith, the body is dead because of sin; for by body, Be∣za doth well understand our mortal body, and not the mass of sin, as some interpret it.

4. From the comparison God useth concerning his afflictions up∣on his people; and that is, to be a father in that act,*correcting of them. Thus Heb. 12.6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. compare this with Rev. 3.19. As many as I love, I rebuke; now rebuke is alwaies for some fault, and this is further cleared, because he makes this conclusi∣on, be zealous therefore and repent, therefore sin was precedent. Now in these places, God compareth himself to a Father, and beleevers to children,* and we all know that fathers never correct but for sin; it would be ridiculous to say, the father whips the childe from sin, not for sin. It is true, he doth it from sin, by way of prevention to the future, yet for sin also. The Antinomian saith this is spoken of many beleevers together, where some were not con∣verted, but this is weak, because the persons whom he reproveth, God is said to love them, and they are children not bastards. A∣gain he saith, There is no sin mentioned, therefore it was not for sin; But I answer,* the very comparison of God with a Father correcting his childe, doth evidently argue, it was for sin; though it be not expressed.

5. From the command not to despise, or to make little account of Gods afflictions, but to humble our selves, and search out our waies.Page  32 Why should this be spoken, but because they are for our sins? Heb. 12.5. Despise not the chastening of God, neither faint when thou art rebuked of him. Where two things may seem to be forbidden, though some make them all one, one not to faint,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a meta∣phore from those who faint in the race, through languor, and dissolution of minde. The other is in the other extream, not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉to despise, or to make little or nothing of it: as it were a great fault in a childe, to slight or make nothing of his fathers corrections. Now let all the world judge, whether the Antino∣mian Doctrine doth not open a wide gate to despise Gods af∣flictions: this makes them cry down Fast-daies, repentance, hu∣miliation, and confession of sin: yea they make it Popery, and hypocrisie what is done this way. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 we may say with Homer.

*6. If God hath commanded Magistrates to execute outward evils upon some godly men, that have hainously offended, then its Gods will to afflict them for sin; but he hath done so. If a god∣ly man, being through the Dalilah of some corruption, perswa∣ded to have his hair cut off, his spirituall strength gone, and so he fall into the sin of murder: is it not Gods will that the Ma∣gistrate should put him to death for this sin? and what God would have the Magistrate do, is it not as much as if God him∣self had done? and must not all say this is a chastisement upon him because of his sin? Thus have I brought reasons to prove that, which I think was never denied before, till this age, which every day like Africa bringeth forth some Monster. And cer∣tainly the Doctrine of afflictions upon the godly is so sweet and wholesome a truth, that none but a Spider could suck out such poison from it, as the Antinomian hath done.

Page  33

LECTURE V.


ROM. 3.24, 25.

Being justified freely by his grace, &c.

WE come now to consider how the Antinomian can make good that Paradox of his [God chastiseth not believers because of their sins] and indeed the Author forementioned doth much sweat and tug, in bringing in severall absurdities,* which he conceives will follow upon the truth asserted by us. But before we examine them, let us take notice of the Authours great con∣tradiction to himself in this point, and that within very few Pa∣ges; Falshood is not only dissonant from truth, but also from it felf; for whereas in the forequoted place he makes his assertion universal, that Ged seeth not sin in persons converted, and therefore there are no afflictions befall them because of sin: Now see how flat contrary that same Authour speaks in the same book, pag. 117. for there making an opposition between the condition of belie∣vers in the Old Testament, and those in the new, he expresly gives this difference: God (saith he) saw sin in them, as they were children that had need of a rod, by reason of their non-age, but he se∣eth none in us, as being full-grown heirs; and again, God saw in them, and punished them for it, as they were under the Schoolma∣ster of the Law, but he seeth none in us: Hence pag. 99. he makes it peculiar to the time of the Law, that Moses for an unadvised word was strucken with death, and Ʋzzah, and Jonah, and Ely, with others temporally corrected: Therefore it was (saith he) came those terrible Famines, whereby mothers were driven to eat their own children, all was because they were under the se∣verity of the Law, that if they did but a little step awry, they were sharply scourged for the same.

Now how great a contradiction is this to his other assertion? Page  34 for were not the godly under the Old Testament actually convert∣ed? had they not Christs righteousnes made theirs? were they not elected? how cometh it about then, that they were afflicted for sin, and not believers under the New Testament? when a man can bring the East and West together, then may he reconcile these assertions: but self contradiction is no strange thing in that book.

*But I come to his Arguments; The first place he urgeth is Ro. 5.1, 2, 3. Being justified by faith we have peace with God, that is, all beating,* blows, and anger are ceased, saith he, and hence it is that we glory in our afflictions: but now if they were for our sins, we had no more cause to glory in them, then the childe hath in his whippings for his faults. For the opening of this place consi∣der these things, some ancient Commentators reade the word imperatively (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) let us have, instead of we have, and thus they have interpreted it,

[Being justified by Faith, let us take heed how we sin again, but preserve our peace with God] The words taken this way would much confirm,* rather then debilitate our assertion: but I doe not judge this so suteable to the scope of the Apostle in this verse; we will take them as they are indicatively or assertively: and first, we may mean by peace, either that reconciliation which is made with God, or the sense and feeling of this, which is nothing but tranquillity, and security of conscience, through the perswasi∣on of Gods favour to us. Now these may be separable one from the other, a believer may be reconciled with God, and in the state of friendship with him, yet he not feel this, or know this, as ma∣ny passages in Davids Psalms do witnesse; even as the childe in the womb knoweth not the great inheritance, and rich Reve∣nues, it shall be possessed of, or as Agar did not see the well of water by her, but thought she must perish, till God opened her eyes. There is a seal of the pardon of sin, when yet the proclama∣tion of it is not made in the conscience. If we take peace in the first respect, it is an absolute universal proposition, and true of e∣very justified person; but in the latter sense it is true only of some persons, and at some times, for the sense of Gods favour is a se∣parable priviledge from those that are in it.

If by peace we should understand the sense of Gods favour, and the declaration of it in our consciences (as by their arguments Page  35 they must do) then it proveth against their opinion as well as any others: for they hold that a believer needeth to pray for pardon in the declaration or sense and feeling of sin, though not for the pardon it self of sin; now there cannot be at the same time a want of the feeling of pardon of sin, and the tranquillity of conscience to∣gether: so that this place must needs be a thorn in their side.

But 2ly, the true and direct answer to this place is, that there is a twofold peace, one which is opposite to the hatred of God,* as he is a terrible enemy to sinners, unreconciled with them, in which sense he is often described in Scripture. The other, as it is oppo∣site to that fatherly anger and displeasure, whereby though for the main reconciled, yet he may for some particular faults be displeased; now the Apostle speaks of the former kinde of peace. Being justified that is God being once reconciled with us in Christ, he hath no more hostile enmity against us, and if we do sin after∣wards, he will not become an enemy to us, or satisfie his justice by punishing of us, but as a father he may in his displeasure chastise us. The sense of Gods displeasure as a father, may well stand to∣gether with an assurance, that for all this he is no enemy. A childe that bitterly crieth out because of his fathers chastisements, yet even then hath that hope and comfort which he would not have if fallen into the hands or rage of an enemy that would kill him. Hence it is that we presse all believers, though sorely punished for their sins, as their own hearts can tell them, yet they must ne∣ver pass such a sentence, Now God is become my enemy, he deals with me as with a Judas, as with a Cain; these (we say) are sin∣ful inferences, but they may conclude thus, God, though a lo∣ving father, is now very angry, and much displeased with me.

Distinguish then between a peace that doth oppose the hatred of God to a sinner as an enemy, and a peace which doth oppose only the frowns of a father; and this objection is answered. I will ac∣knowledge the people of God are apt under his sore displeasure not to discern between a father and an enemy. They have much adoe to keep up this in their hearts; God he smites, he frowns, he chides▪ yet he is a father still: but this is their temptation and weaknesse, and we are apt to endeavour some kinde of com∣pensation to God in our troubles for sin: therefore it was a most blessed thing when God at the Reformation out of Popery, Page  36 caused this truth to break out, That punishments for sin were not satisfactory to God, but fatherly chastisements. Thus you have this answered, and as for that which followeth, we glory in tribulati∣ons, the Apostle must be limited to those which fall upon us for professing of Christ and his truth. In these we may glory, as the souldier doth of his marks and wounds he hath received in the wars for a good cause, and to this purpose we told you in one Proposition, That there was a great difference between those troubles that fell upon us, because of the good in us; and those which come upon us, because of the evil in us. What glory is it, saith Peter, 1 Pet. 2.20. if ye be buffeted for your faults? Now who can deny but that even a godly man may fall into some hainous crime, for which he may receive a sentence of death? This man though he may rejoice in God, who doth pardon the sin to him, yet he can no more glory of this tribulation, then a childe doth of whipping for his faults.

Another place of Scripture, is Isa. 53.5. The chastisement of our peace was upon him,*and with his stripes we are healed. This Text of Scripture is again and again pressed by them, and certainly it is more sweet then the Honey or Honey-Comb: but truly they do with it, as the thieves with the man of Jericho, leave it half dead,* and much wounded. First, Let us open the place, and then see how far they are from the meaning. The Prophet Isaiah in this Chapter, may be called, as we said before, the fifth Evangelist, for he seemeth rather to write an History of Christ, then make a prophecie of him. Among other passages these two are to our purpose.

1. That the chastisement of our peace was upon him: by Peace here, Calvin doth well understand, not that of quietnes in the con∣science, but a reconciliation made with God through his sufferings. And it is observed by some, how emphatical the Scripture is in that Pronoun [He] He hath born, and He hath been wounded.

The second follows, With his stripes we are healed: Some think that this is spoken to debase that condition Christ so voluntari∣ly put himself in, that so his love might appear the more to us; it being an allusion to the State of servants, who used to be chasti∣sed by their lords. The phrase is the same with that, He hath born our griefs, or diseases, which Matth. 8.17. is applied to Page  37 Christs healing of diseases, and 1 Pet. 2. to that suffering upon the Crosse. And well may this be, because the outward healing of di∣seases, was a Symbole or Testimony of his inward healing. Al∣though Grotius observeth, That Christ is therefore said to bear our diseases when he cured them, because of the great pains and travell he took therein, for it was after Sun-set, and the multi∣tude did much throng him; so then, by the words you see the whole price of our peace laid upon Christ, and by him all evils, both temporall and spirituall removed: but what is this to the purpose? Yes (say they) here our chastisements are laid upon Christ, therefore we have none for sin; but 1. if this proved any thing, it will be more then the Antinomians will yield, for it would infer, that there are no chastisements at all, either for sin, or no sin; now the Antinomians cannot deny (and experience confuteth them) but that the godly have afflictions, though as (they say) not for sin; and this will inevitably follow by their argument; for as they would prove from hence they have no sin at all, not only sin that will not condem (as the Orthodox say) but even no sin; so it will by the same reason follow, that believers have no chastisements at all, I do not say (not for sin) but none at all.

But Secondly,* The Antinomian in that place pag. 129. doth fully answer himself, All chastisement (saith he) for sin, needfull for the making perfect peace between God and his justified chil∣dren, was laid upon him: very true, Therefore say we, though these chastisements be for sin, yet they are not upon the godly as upon Christ, they are not to satisfie Gods justice, to work a re∣conciliation, but only to humble them in themselves, and make them the better feel how much they are beholding to Christ who bore so much wrath for them. To say therefore as the Papists, Christ by his death did only remove the spirituall evil, and we by our sufferings must take away the temporall punishment, this would indeed be derogatory to Christ, and take off in a great measure from his glory.

A Third place brought in to maintain their errour,* is James 1.2, 3, 4, 5. Count it matter of all joy when you shall fall into di∣vers temptations, therefore (saith he) they are not for sin, because they are matters of joy; and mark how he baptizeth (goeth on the Author) crosses and afflictions, as it were with a new name, ta∣ken Page  38 from the nature of the change of them through the Gospel, calling them temptations and trials. But mark the ignorance of the adversary rather then the name of afflictions: for, Is it pe∣culiar to beleevers under the Gospel, that their afflictions are tryals? what then will he return to that place, Deut. 8.2. God saith, the afflictions upon the people of Israel for fourty years in the wildernesse (and they were not all beleevers, much lesse beleevers under the Gospel) were to humble them, and prove or try them? And Jer. 9.7. God speaking of the Israelites saith, He will melt them and try them. See also Dan. 9.25. Zech. 13.9. Whereby you will presently judge of the mans bold ig∣norance. But as for the place it self, certainly the words are ve∣ry emphaticall. Count it (implying a man in his choicest deli∣beration ought to do so) all joy, an Hebraism, full, perfect joy, when ye fall, the word is so fall that ye are compassed round a∣bout. And lastly, divers temptations, By temptations Austin seemeth to have understood inticements or provocations to sin, and whether such temptations may be desired, or to give ground of a just joy, is disputed by the Schoolmen, but that is imperti∣nent: we see the Apostle speaketh of afflictions, as appeareth by the word following, and not all kinde of afflictions, but such as are for Christs name: certainly the Apostle writing to the Corin∣thians, and speaking of the chastisements of God upon them for their sins, he doth not bid them count that all joy, but rather ex∣horts them to judge themselves that they be not condemned with the world. He doth not then speak of all kinde of afflictions, but some only, and his meaning is not, that under even those affli∣ctions they should have no grief (for he saith, no affliction is for the present joyous but grievous) but he giveth one respect why they should rejoyce, because of the good work of their faith manifested thereby, though in other considerations they may be humbled. And I see not but even in those persecutions which befall the godly for the Gospels sake, they may not, some of them at least, and sometimes, be humiliations for the Godlies former sinnes, as well as explorations of their Graces, and more eminent glorifying of them here and hereafter. I deny not but even in af∣flictions for their sins, the people of God may take comfort to their souls from severall considerations, but I think not that the Page  39 Apostle doth refer to them in this place: Let us now consider what dangerous Absurdities would flow from this doctrine of ours;* and first (saith he) this is to confound Law and Gospel toge∣ther. The Law should be preached only to secure sinners, the Go∣spel to broken sinners only; whereas if you tell the godly when they are afflicted, that it is from their sinnes, you preach Law to them.

But first, Then the Apostle mingled Law and Gospel,* when he commands the Corinthians to judge themselves under Gods hand upon them: and how legall was Peter, when he said, judgement must begin at the House of God?

2. The Gospel and the Law are to be mingled in all spirituall administrations, but for different ends.* As they must not in preaching be confounded, so neither divided.

3. The people of God have still sin, pride,* and hardnesse of heart remaining in them, and shall a Minister preach the Gospel to his pride? shall we comfort them, because their hearts are sometimes dull and froward?

Lastly, Though we say they are afflicted for their sins,* yet this is not to make the crosses Legal but Evangelical; for we do not say they are so for their sins, as that thereby they must satisfie the justice of God in their own persons, but for other considerations.

A second Absurdity will be, say they,*hereby to make the Gospel unsufficient to abolish the old man, unlesse it borrow help from the Law.

But first, Observe his contradiction,* The Gospel doth abolish sin in the beleever; how can that be, when he holdeth there is no sin to be abolished? certainly that which is not, needs not to be abolished, for it is not already.

Secondly, If the Gospel be so powerfull to abolish sin,* why will he have the Law preached to obstinate sinners? certainly by his rule the Gospel would sooner melt the tuffest and most I∣ronny sinner that is.

Thirdly,* That which he would have such an absurdity is an eminent truth: the Law and the Gospel are mutually subservi∣ent to each other, and are to be preached as conjoyned, though not confounded one with another.

Another Absurdity (for I cannot take them in order,* seeing Page  40 he doth absurdly make one thing several arguments, and so doth but tautologize) This would be to deny Christs perfect righteous∣nesse, and that we are not made without all spots or blemishes.

*But first, It doth not derogate from Christ, that we are not freed from sin, while here in this life, for he himself holdeth the believers in the Old Testament, had sin in them, and God scourged them for it, yet Christ bore their sins, and took away their iniqui∣ties.

*Secondly, If this place prove any thing, it would the Popish Tenet, That we are inherently without sin: and the Antinomian denieth that, for he saith, we are made perfectly holy; not active∣ly, but passively, whereas those places speak of an active holiness.

*Thirdly, If so be the sin remaining in us did not only bring temporal evils but eternal; did not bring only a disease but hell also; then this would evacuate the fulnesse of Christs death, but now it doth not.

*A fourth Absurdity he would fetch from an Argument of Bish. Babingtons, Ejus quod non est, non est poena, but sin when it is forgiven, is not; therefore to forgiven sin there is no temporal punishment.

*I answer first, If by that which is not, should be meant that which hath a physical and natural existence, then the Argument would prove that no sin whether forgiven or not forgiven, could damn a man, because no sin (according to the received opinion) hath any positive natural being: therefore it must be understood of a moral being, that is, a desert of punishment. Now when sin is said to be forgiven, the reason is not, at if remission of sin made sin no sin, drunkennesse no drunkennesse; or as if that sin did not deserve punishment, for that is inseparable from the nature of it: but forgivenesse of sins takes away the actual ordination of them to condemnation. So then a sin, though forgiven, hath some kinde of being, though not that of actual ordination to everlasting death; when therefore sins are said to be thrown into the bottom of the sea and they shall be no more, that is to be understood quoad hoc▪ in re∣spect of actual condemnation. So Davids sin was forgiven, viz. as to damn David, yet though forgiven, it was still, viz. to af∣flict David, and to make God angry with him.

*A fifth Absurdity, If you say the people of God are afflicted for sin, Page  41 this would trouble the consciences of Gods children exceedingly, and make them fearfully to expect horrible temporal plagues every hour, because the least sin is so infinitely distastfull to God.

But first,* It seemeth then a godly man though fallen into mur∣der, adulteries, &c. his conscience must not be troubled: Peter if he denieth Christ, must not weep bitterly.

Secondly, we give many cordials and antidotes against despair,* while we say they are afflictions even for sin, for we add further, That they are all bounded within a due measure; God considers our strength, and will lay no more then he will inable to bear.

Thirdly, There is a two-fold trouble,* one that is holy and effe∣ctual for good, such a trouble as that was which the Angel made in the pool of Bethesda; and there is a trouble by way of torment, driving from, and raging at God; now we all forbid this later, nei∣ther will this Doctrine give any ground to such a distemper.

Lastly,* If a doctrine shall be branded for such an event as shall come through the corruptions of men, then we may say their o∣pinion will encourage believers, or men that do presume they are so, to act all manner of flagitious crimes, and yet to have no fear that God will plague them for those things.

LECTURE VI.


JER. 50.20.

In those dayes, and at that time, the iniquity of Judah shall be sought for, and it shall not be found, &c.

ALthough the Apostle say true, 1 Tim. 6.4. that there is a do∣ting about questions, whereby the soul of a man is made sick and spiritually diseased, as the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 implieth, weak∣ning and debilitating grace, as much as fretting doth waste away the flesh; and this is done when men encounter in con∣troversies as beasts in their combats, seeking only victory; yet there may be such a doctrinal clearing of truth by answering of Page  42 Objections, that may tend much to edification, both in know∣ledge and affections; and by the striking of flint stones together, there may flie out sparks enough to kindle godliness and zeal in our brest. This I shall endeavour by Gods assistance in that ne∣cessary and famous question, of Gods forgiving sin. For to preach in crabbed controversies, is like Gideon, Judg. 8.16. to teach men with briars and thorns, as the phrase there is. The Antinomian placeth this Text in the fore-front, for that absurd opinion, God seeth no sin in persons justified:* if therefore their Goliah be slain, the rest will speedily quit the field. The words contain a graci∣ous promise to Judah and Israel.

First, To deliver them from their temporal evil: They shall be brought out of their captivity into their own countrey again: we need not dispute how many came back again, its enough this mercy was offered them, howsoever they might neglect it.

Secondly, Here is a promise to remove their spiritual evil, which was the cause of the former; God will pardon their sins; and by this a profitable Doctrine is taught, That a people ought to be more desirous of Gods pardon, then of removal of their calamities, whereas commonly like unwise diseased men, we complain more of the Symptomes then of the disease it self. The evil of sin de∣priveth us of an infinite good; but the evil of afflictions, only of a finite. Now this promise is not to be stretched out only to the times of the Gospel, but is particularly true of the Jews, when removed out of their banishment, yet not to be limited to that time only; and howsoever the promise for pardon be general to all, yet it is to be understood in this manner, that to the wicked, their sin was no farther forgiven, then in this sense, That their captivity was removed: but to the true believers, there was a real taking a∣way of Gods wrath and displeasure from them. The promise of par∣don is described very emphatically and comfortably to the truly humbled Jews, There shall be none of their sins, and none shall be found when sought for: This expression doth suppose a judicial inquiry, (as when God is said to make inquisition for bloud) and to be found doth imply, God judicially taking notice of a man to punish him, so Rev. 20.15. In her was found the bloud of the Saints: So Beza am∣plifieth that word, Phil. 3.9. be found in him, as if the justice of God were pursuing Paul as a malefactor, and Christ was a City of refuge unto him.

Page  43Observation. Remission of sin is such a taking of it away,*as if it had never been: he that denieth sins forgiven to be quite remo∣ved, denieth Pharaoh and his host to be drowned in the red Sea, said Gregory.

This point practically improved is the treasure of a believers comfort: But there is the Antinomian error on the right hand, and the Popish on the left, whereby a godly heart, if not well instructed, may when it cals for bread, meet with a stone,* and when for fish, with a serpent. Therefore for the more orderly proceeding, let us consider what the Antinomian saith, then what the Papist; and lastly, what the truth is.* The Antinomi∣ans opinion may be discovered in these particulars.

1. That a justified person having on Christs wedding garment, [ 1] hath thereby all his sins quite taken away from before God, and so ut∣terly abolished, that we have not any spot of sin in the sight of God (Honey-Comb of Justification, pag. 24. cap. 3. per tot.)

2. This is extended by them (pag. 27.) not only to actuall [ 2] sins but originall sins, for we easily grant that in actuall sins, if once forgiven, there remaineth no more defilement, but that he is made in that respect of remission, as white as snow, though there may remain a further disposition to evil, by that sin once committed, if renewing grace help not.

3. This abolition of sin, they understand both of the fault and the [ 3] guilt; so that God doth not only take away the punishment, but both the form of the sin also is wholly removed, so that there is neither pu∣nishment nor cause of punishment, in one thus justified. Hence they say, there is no sin in the Church now, and they expresse it thus, As a Physician, though he healeth a man, yet he can∣not take away the scars; but God healeth sin so, as no scar re∣maineth, yea, he giveth a fresh colour again. They say likewise, our sin is consumed, as if one drop of water should be abolished by the heat of the Sun, yea, pag. 39. the Authour affirmeth, that whoso∣ever have not confidence in this one point, that our sins are so taken away by Christ, that God doth not see our sins in us, without doubt are damned as long as they continue to rob the bloud of Christ of this honour; Therefore (saith he) true Divinity teacheth that there is no sin in the Church any more.

Page  44 [ 4] 4. He distinguisheth (p. 51.) of a two-fold abolishing, the one mystical and secret, wrought only by Christ, and his righteousnes; The other grosse and palpable, wrought by us, by the help of Gods Spirit, to our sense and feeling; so that they grant sin in us, and sin to be mortified, but this is not in Gods sight, although it be in our own.

[ 5] 5. Whereas it might be, and is objected, God hath an all-seeing eye, and therefore he cannot but see sin if it be in us, They answer, God indeed seeth all things, saving that which he will not see, but un∣dertakes to abolish out of his sight, and they distinguish of Gods knowing and his seeing (p.68.) God knoweth believers sins, but he doth not see them. To know, is to understand the nature of a thing: but to see (according to them) is to behold the real existence of a thing: now that cannot be of sin, because its taken away. Thus (say they) God did know the sins of Abraham, and men did reprove him, but God did never once rebuke him in all his life after his calling, for any one sin.

So that by these Positions you may see their meaning to be, That a justified man is by Christ so cleansed, that God seeth nothing but what is perfectly holy in him: sin not only in the punishment, but in the existence of it is removed quite away as to Gods sight. Hence God takes no notice, never chastiseth them, never repro∣veth them, because he seeth nothing but what is exceeding good; and therefore because the justified feel the contrary, that they have sin, they commend and presse faith, to live above sense, rea∣son, and all our experience; for (say they) as a man that looks thorow red glasse, seeth every thing red, so God looking tho∣row Christ, seeth not only our persons, but all our actions, per∣fectly righteous with Christ righteousnesse. What else may be said of their opinion, is to be spoken of, when we treat of impu∣ted righteousnesse.

*In the next place, let us consider what is Popery in this point, The Papists, as Bellarmine, lib. de Justif. c. 7. say with the Antino∣mian, That forgivenesse of sin is the quite abolishing of it, and that whether it be original or actual, so that no sin abideth any more in a man so justified, till he fals from it; and saith Bellarmine, If the Scripture would have invented words on purpose, to shew that sin is quite extinguished, it could not use other then it doth, Page  45 and they think it impossible to conceive, that there should be sin in a man, and yet justified; for this is (say they) to make him at the same time a childe of God and the devil, The devil to dwell in him by sin, and Christ by Justification. Thus they distinguish not between sin reigning and sin being. Though sin be in a godly man, yet it neither hath vim damnatricem or dominatricem, con∣demning power, or reigning power. Now its wonder the Papists should conceive this so impossible, when they hold that the god∣ly have venial sins, which yet are truly sins, and so by their own argument God must hate and punish them, yet God doth not break off his friendship for all that: now compare these two errors together in their agreement and difference.

1. Both Papist and Antinomian agree in this,*That remission of sin, is quite abolishing and extinguishing of sin, both in the exi∣stence of it and punishment (although some Papists hold for the la∣ter, viz. of punishment, at least temporal, that that may abide, though the sin be forgiven.)

2. They both agree in the places of Scripture, as Christ clean∣sing [ 2] us from all sin, Thou art all fair my love, To purchase to himself a Church without spot or wrinkle; These and the like, they both insist much upon.

3. They both agree in reason to prove it, viz. That sin is so odious [ 3] to God that he hateth it wheresoever it is, and therefore a godly man must at the same time be the object of Gods hatred and love, which (say they) is absurd to affirm; but here they differ; the Antino∣mian makes a believer without sin, because of Christs righteousnesse which he is cloathed with;* The Papist he makes him to be without sin inherently, because of the grace of sanctification perfectly renew∣ing him. And indeed though the Antinomian seem to shew more zeal to Christ and grace, yet the Papist speaks more to reason; and if those places of Scripture did prove an utter extinguishing of sin, it would carry it fairer, for an inherent perfect holinesse,* then such a mystical perfection as they imagine. In the third place, I shall lay down the truth, and wherein Scripture-doctrine doth indeed sail between these two rocks.

And, 1. The Orthodox do distinguish of the nature of sin, especi∣ally [ 1] original, and the guilt of it, now (say they) the Scripture makes forgivenes to be the removing of the guilt, but the nature doth still abide in some degrees.

Page  46 [ 2] 2. This sin even in the godly, is seen by God, taken notice of, he hates it, and doth punish it, only he doth not punish it in their own persons, but in Christ; so that the sin of a godly man doth offend God, and he abhorreth, and will punish it: but Christ intervening, it fals upon him; so that our being in Christ doth not hinder Gods taking notice of our sins, and hating of them, but onely freeth us from final destruction by them.

[ 3] 3. If by seeing of sin should be meant judicial and final punishing of a man, then we would say, God doth not see sin in the godly in that sense, and this some Orthodox have spoken, which the Antino∣mian mistaking, have lost the truth. Thus Pareus, lib. 2. de Justific. cap. 9. p. 491. maintaining, That the godly mans sins are covered, which (saith he) supposeth not that sins are not, but that they are not seen, maketh this objection, but nothing is covered, or hid to God; and then answereth, True, but what he would have covered, but he will not fasten his eyes upon believers sins, because through Christ he turneth away the eyes of his justice, that he may place the eyes of his mercy upon them; and to this purpose he quoteth Austin, Tecta peccata, quare dixit, ut non viderentur, quid enim erat Dei videre peccata, nisi punire? Brockman likewise de Justific. cap. 2. qu. 10. p. 526. In vain is it objected, That nothing is covered to God, for that is true with this restriction, unlesse it be that which he would have covered; so that if by seeing were meant Gods judicial punishing and condemning, in that sense God doth not see the sins of believers, for he throweth them behinde his back: but if by seeing be meant (as the Antinomian doth) Gods not ta∣king notice of, nor being offended with the sins of the godly, so that he doth not chastise them for them; this is a very dangerous er∣ror, and is far more then a difference about words; for the truth is, That the sins of a Godly man do offend God, and he is angry, not as a Father, but as a Judge: hence (as you heard) the afflictions upon the Godly are for their sins, and called Judgements, onely he is a Fatherly Judge. There is an excellent temperament of both these in God relatively to his people. For the further discussion of this main point,* let us consider practically, the sweet and full expression of the Scriptures about pardoning of sin. One word frequently used is Nasa, which signifieth to lift up; and take away a thing so,* as that it was an heavy burden, and so some Page  47 translate that, Psal. 32.1. Blessed is he who is eased of his sin, for you may see in that Psalm, David feeling an insupportable weight upon him by his iniquities, such as he could not stand under: now to pardon, is to take this weight off, so Gen. 4.13. My sin is greater then can be born, or taken away, i.e. forgiven: again, If thou dost well, is not Levatio, that is, pardon and ease? It is then no marvel, if for∣givenes of sin be accounted such a blessed thing, by those who tru∣ly feel the burden of their iniquities. Hence you have it excellent∣ly, Zech. 3.9, 10. made the cause of all quietnesse and content, when their sins were pardoned, then they called to their neighbours to sit under their fig-trees. And well doth Calvin call this, The chief hinge of Religion, and the truth of this Doctrine is to be sought out with all care, for what quietnesse can a man have till he know what judgement or esteem the Lord hath of him, and in what manner it is wrought?

Another expression of it is called covering of sin, there are two words for this, the one is Chasah, and is used properly of such a thing that is put between the object and the eye, Numb. 9.15. It is used of the Cloud that covered the tabernacle, its applied to a Garment, or any other thing that doth cover, Gen. 3.21. Its applied to God covering Adams nakednesse: Hence a learned man thinks, those skins were of beasts sacrificed, which did pre∣figure Christ, and God by this covering, would as by an out∣ward Symbol teach them, by whom their sins should be covered, and to this an allusion seemeth to be, Rev. 3.18. I counsel thee to buy of me white garments, that thy nakednesse may not appear. A like word is Caphar, which signifieth covering with pitch, or the like, which doth so cleave to the thing it covereth, that it can hardly be removed. Its applied Exod. 15.27. to the propitiatory, or co∣vering made of pure gold, wherein God shewed himself gracious. It is used Levit. 16.30. The word also is used of the pitching of the Ark, and as that pitch kept the waters from coming in, so doth the bloud of Christ our sins from overflowing us, and this doth excellently describe the nature of pardoning of sin, God doth as it were hide it from us, he will not punish it: but you must not stretch this word too far with the Antinomian, as if indeed God did not take notice of them, for Davids when it was covered, yet was visited afterwards by God, but its covered so far, as Page  48 that it shall not condemn. We do not therefore as the Antinomian saith, make God peep under the covering again, but we say the word is a Metaphor, and must not be understood grosly and pal∣pably, as if there were any real thing put before the eyes of God, that he could not behold our sins, but only that God will not finally condemn us for sin. Furthermore, when a sin is pardoned, it is said to be hid from Gods eyes, as if God did not know it, Jer. 16.17 The Hebrew word Zaphan, is applied to the Northern part of the world, because it is hidden from the heat of the Sun. Hence Joseph is called, Gen. 41.45. Zapthnath paaneah, because he was a revealer of hidden things. Those iniquities therefore which are so often before thee,* they are as it were hidden from God.

Another is Mechah (and I will name no more) which is to blot out, or wipe out, a Metaphor from those who cancel or blot out their debts▪ when once discharged. Now besides these verbal expressions, you have many real phrases that do declare this great mercy, as Micah 7.19. He will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast them into the bottom of the sea, where the Prophet doth admire the goodnesse and freenesse of God herein, Who is a God like thee? passing by iniquity, subduing sins. The word implieth, that our sins were as our enemies, the guilt of them did inslave us, and keep us like vassals in fear, but now they are ma∣stered. And further, He throweth them in the bottom of the sea, there is no more memory or footsteps of them, as when the Aegyptians were drowned in the bottom of the sea, they could never hurt the Israelites more. Thus God doth to thy sins when they are pardoned. Another expression you have, Isa. 44.22. some ex∣pound it thus, As the Sun rising doth make the thick clouds to va∣nish away, and there is nothing but serenity to be seen; so it is with God pardoning: but Junius understands it thus, As the thick cloud dissolved into rain, washeth away the soil and filth of the earth, so will the Lord in pardoning, take away that noisomnesse and of∣fence their sins made. Consider Hezekiahs expression, Isa. 38.17. Thou hast cast all my sins behinde thy back; It is an expression from men, who when they will not regard a thing, cast it be∣hinde their backs, and thus God doth, not as if he did not take notice to chastise for them, but they shall not have their proper effect, which is to condemn. And these expressions are very neces∣sary Page  49 to a contrite heart, which is apt to imagine God as alwaies beholding his sins, and sending forth his judgements because of them, whereas it must be as a foundation laid, That God is graci∣ous and mercifull, not only in the generall, but even to us in par∣ticular. The last I will pitch upon, is Psal. 13.12. As far as the East is from the West, so far hath he removed our sins from us, where the Psalmist makes Gods mercies as much above our sins, as hea∣ven is above earth; and lest the guilt of sin should hinder the de∣scent of it, he makes God to throw away our sins from him, as far as it can be. Thus you see how abundant the Scripture is, in de∣scribing this mercy of mercies: This mercy, which if not injoyed,* every thing, our beds, our fields and houses, will be an hell to us▪ The summe of these words and phrases amounteth to these com∣fortable considerations.

First, That God pardoneth sin, and removeth the guilt of it totally [ 1] and perfectly, so that a sin cannot be more forgiven then it is: not that all the pollution of sin is likewise totally taken away, for that would contradict other places of Scripture, which say, sin is still in us, but only the condemning power is subdued; and therefore this doctrine doth afford as much comfort, as any Antinomian would desire, and yet doth not fall foul with other places of Scripture. Those sins committed by thee and repented of, are as absolutely forgiven as can be desired: they can be no better par∣doned if thou wast in heaven, or hadst perfect righteousness be∣stowed upon thee. It hath pleased God that the guilt of thy sin should be perfectly remitted, though the power be not fully mor∣tified.

Secondly, These phrases imply, That its Gods meer act with∣out [ 2] us, which doth expell the guilt of sin, not any thing done in us, or by us, and therefore thou art not to build thy hope of pardon upon any work of Regeneration or Mortification with∣in thee, but Gods goodnesse without thee; even as a Creditor doth forgive many thousands to a Debtor, by his meer volunta∣ry Act. Now we are apt to think according to the principles of Popery, that our Justification is no better then our inherent holinesse is, whereas any godly man may sit down and con∣sider, that he is not able to goe out with his five thousrnd, a∣gainst, the Justice of God that comes against him with ten Page  50 thousand. Grace justifying takes away all guilt of sinne; grace sanctifying doth not, because as Bonaventure well observeth, the remedy given by grace against originall sin, is not ordained a∣gainst it, prout corrumpit naturam, sed prout personam, as it doth infect our nature, for so it sticketh till death, but as it doth defile the person; measure not therefore the perfection of grace justifying, by the perfection of grace sanctifying.

[ 3] Thirdly, This Scripture language doth infer, That sin forgiven, is as if it had never been; now the troubled soul cryeth out, Oh that I had never been thus, done thus▪ Why? God when he doth pardon, makes it as if it had never been: do not fear the drown∣ed Aegyptians will rise up and pursue thee again. We may tell a David, a Paul, it is so with them, as if no adultery, murder, or persecutions had been committed by them.

[ 4] Fourthly, As God doth indeed really thus remit, so the Scripture commands the repentant sinner to believe this, and with confidence to rest satisfied. Oh what holy boldnesse may this truth believed work in the tender heart! You may see a poor man, though he hath much ado to live, yet if his debts be discharged, how glad he is he can go abroad, and fear no Sergeant to Arrest him, no writ issued out to attach him; and thus it is with a sinner repenting and beleeving; and if there be any whose heart is not ravished with this glorious mercy, it is to be feared, he never felt the bur∣den of sin, or else never strongly beleeved this gracious way of God. Let not then any Antinomian say, we put water into the beleevers wine, or wormwood into their bread; for who can ra∣tionally desire more then this doth amount to? but to expect such a pardon, such a justification, as that God shall take no notice of sin, to chastise or afflict for it, is to say, There is forgiveness with God▪ that he may not be feared, contrary to Davids expression.

Page  51

LECTURE VII.


JEREMIAH 50.20.

In those daies, and at that time, the iniquity of Iudah shall be sought for, &c.

FIfthly, From this Scripture-expression is gathered, That gross [ 5] sins are blotted out, as well as sins of an inferiour nature; Though there be sins that waste the conscience, yet they do not waste the grace of remission; how is the true repentant affected with slavish fears sometimes, as if his sins did blot out Gods mer∣cy like a thick cloud? as if our transgressions had subdued his goodnesse, and thrown it into the bottom of the Sea? What a comfortable expression is that, Isaiah 1.18. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, &c. It was wonderfull mercy that ever so horrid and bloudy sinners (therefore their sins are said to be like scarlet) should become so clear, yet the grace of Justification doth as totally remit great sins, as lesse sins, as Christ did with the same easinesse cure several diseases. Thus David also, Psal. 51. after he had wallowed in that mire, he pray∣eth to be purged, in an allusive expression, with hysope, which was the last thing used in their legal purifications, and therefore doth imply the total and compleat cleansing by Christ, and upon this, David saith, He shall be whiter then snow, which phrase is neither with the Papist to be extended to sanctification, as if such perfect clean righteousnesse were vouchsafed to him, as that there were no sin in him, nor with the Antinomian, as if God did quite a∣bolish sin from David out of his sight, so as to take no notice of it, or chastise him for it (for after the pardon was past, yet his childe was to die, and much more evil to come to Davids house) but in respect of final condemnation, God having thus pardoned Page  52David through Christ, would no more adjudge him to everlast∣ing punishment, then he would one that was innocent, or with∣out any spot of sin. And this is to incourage great sinners; ten thousand talents was a great summe of money, yet how easily forgiven by that kinde Master? Thus Exod. 34.7. God is descri∣bed forgiving sins of all sorts, and this he proclaimed, when his glory passed by; and how necessary is this for the contrite heart, which judgeth his sins, because of the aggravations of them, to be unpardonable? If they had not been of such a breadth and depth, and length, they would not fear overwhelming as now they do. There are sins of all sorts described, and which is to be observed, God putteth no term or bounds to his mercy, whereas he doth set some to his anger. Let not therefore the greatness of sin be thought more then the greatness of mercy pardoning, and Christs obedience suffering; as it is hypocrisie to extenuate and make our sins lesse then they are, so it is unbelief to diminish his grace; and Gods greatness above us is as much celebrated in this his kindness, as in any other attribute. The sins of all the world, if they were thy sins, were but like a drop of water to his mer∣cy, no more then our essence or power is to his Majesty: Take heed then of saying Such and such sins may be forgiven, but can he forgive such as mine are also?

[ 6] Lastly, In that Honey Comb (for we may say of these places, if of any, they are sweeter then honey) this sweetness may be pressed out; That all their sins, though never so many, shall like∣wise be blotted out. The Sea could as easily drown an whole Hoast of Pharaohs men, as twenty Souldiers. The Apostle is excel∣lent, Rom. 5. in this, making an opposition between the first A∣dam and second, aggravating the superlative power of the gift by grace, above the evil through sin: Hence it's called the riches of his grace, rather then power or wisdome, because of the plen∣ty, and abundance of it. Who would not think that while Gods goodness in the Scripture is thus unfolded, there should not be a dejected, unbeleeving Christian in the world? shall our sin a∣bound to condemnation, more then his grace to justification? be∣cause sin is too strong for us, is it therefore too much for the grace of God also? you see by ths, that we may drink wine enough, in the Scripture Wine-cellars, to make our hearts glad, Page  53 and yet swallow not down any dregs of Popish or Antinomian errors. These things thus explained,* I come to confirm you with severall Arguments, that God doth see sin so as to be offended and displeased with it, in those that are already justified.

And the first rank of Arguments shall be taken from those places of Scripture where the godly do aggravate their sin, under this notion, that it was in Gods sight, that he especially beheld it,* and was offended with it: and this aggravation the Prophet Na∣than doth set home upon David, 2 Sam. 12.9. why hast thou de∣spised the commandment of the Lord, to do this evil in his sight?* Now this would be a falshood, by the adversaries Doctrine, and not fit to be confessed by the justified; but rather to be looked upon as robbing God of his glory. Let us observe the places, Psal. 51.4. Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; Observe that, in thy sight; Therefore God did see and take notice, so as to be displeased with David, and of all considerations this did most wound and break his heart; so that indeed the An∣tinomian Doctrine doth properly overthrow that which is the choisest ingredient in godly sorrow, viz. because God is angry. For what is Davids meaning but this, Although men do not know how wicked I was in the matter of Ʋriah and Bathsheba, yet thou doest, and although the world would flatter me, yet as long as thou art angry, I can have no peace. Haec regula tenenda est, si vero paenitentiae sensu imbui velimus, saith Calvin upon the place, that is, this rule is to be observed, when at any time we would be truly affected in a way of repentance. This Argument seemeth to be Cogent, but see what an answer the Antinomian giveth, whereby you may see that true of Tertullian, that besides the poëtica, and pictoria, tertia jam est, ea{que} haeretica licentia, besides the boldnesse of Poets and Painters to invent any thing, there is a third, and that is of Hereticks.

The Answer is this, David doth here judge according to his sense and feeling, what he was to finde at Gods hand by the Law,*so that he doth not speak this (according to their divinity) in a way of faith, but sense and failing; and therefore the Author doth compare this with that place, Ps. 31.22. I said in my hast, I am cut off.* Oh boldnesse! Shall David be thought in hast and rashnesse, to say, Against thee have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight? Then all Page  54 the other verses. Have mercy on me, Thou delightest in truth, may be said by David to be spoken in hast. How unpardonable is this error, to make that which was a speciall tendernesse of godly sorrow upon David, to be a part of his humane weak∣nesse? But (saith the Author) he speaketh in the Gospel-way after∣wards, when he saith, purge me, and I shall be whiter then Snow: But in what sense that is true, you have already heard; when a grosse actuall sin is committed, is repented of, the sinfull act is quite passed away and gone, the guilt by forgivenesse is quite extinct, and so, as to that respect, remission of sin doth make us as white as Snow. But it is not thus with original sin, whose guilt though removed, yet the proper stain of it doth still abide; (but of this more, when we declare what that is, which doth denomi∣nate a sinner) Therefore David doth not here speak contradicti∣ons, but his soul may be made white by Justification, and yet in the committing of new sins, God be angry and much offended with him.

*A second Text to this purpose, is, Psal. 90.8. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy counte∣nance. Where Moses the pen-man of the Psalm, speaks in the behalf of the Church then afflicted, that God had put their sins before him; so that God did not only take notice of them to chastise them, but he put them before his eyes. How the sin of a justified man, may at the same time be covered, and yet put before God, is to be shewed in answering their Objections. And the Text to put the matter out of all doubt, addeth in close, they are before the light of his countenance, which is very emphaticall. God (as is to be shewed) hath in the Scripture a three-fold eye, to our pur∣pose, the eye of omnisciency (which the Antinomian will grant) and all agree in; the eye of his anger, which they deny; and an eye of condemnation which the Papist pleads for: now we go further then the Antinomian, we say God hath an eye of omni∣sciency, and of anger, upon the sins of justified persons, but not so far as the Papist, to say he hath the eye of condemnation upon them.* You would think this Text stood unmoveable, but let us hear how they would shake it.

First, It may be said, that these are places in the Old Testament, whereas they speak of Beleevers under the New.

Page  55I answer, first,* The chiefest places which they bring for seeing no sin, are in the Old Testament. Thus God seeth no iniquity in Ja∣cob: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow: Thou art all fair, my love: Their sins shall be blotted out. These places and the like were true in the Old Testament, and applied particularly to the godly Jews then living, by way of comfort to them, as the context plainly evidenceth.

Secondly (As I shewed in the Treatise of the Law) there can be no sound reason given, why God should see sin in the ju∣stified person then and not now: For did not God elect them from all eternity? Were not they in Christ, and their sins laid upon Christ? Now these are the great Arguments why God seeth no sin in beleevers (as they hold) and were not▪ all these as verificable upon the godly in the Old Testament?

2. It may be answered,*that Moses speaks here in the behalf of the whole Church then, and there were many among them that were not justified. But this is easily taken away.

1. The Scripture speaks universally, and Moses reckoneth himself in the number with them.

2. The calamity was generall, and who can say, none of the Justified suffered under it? and this chaftising of them, is that which is called setting of sins before Gods face.

Lastly, Some places of Scripture which they bring, and the chiefest ones, for seeing no sin in beleevers, are universal, as this is, and spoken of the whole Church: thus my Text, The iniquity of Judah and Israel shall be sought for, and not found: so God seeth no iniquity in Jacob, that is spoken of the body of them, when yet they must acknowledge, all were not justified among them.

I will name one place more in this rank, and that is Luke 15.21: Where you have a confession of a penitent son, I have sin∣ned against heaven, and before thee. This penitent was a son and therefore calleth God Father; and indeed he could not cease to be a son, therefore he doth not say, I am not thy son, but I am not worthy to be called thy son. As for Grotius his observation up∣on the place, Haec fabula declarat, quod omnes homines sunt ortu filii Dei, sede jure excidunt semet à Deo alienando, that is, this fable declareth that all men are by birth the sons of God, but they fall from that right, by alienating themselves from God, it de∣serveth Page  56 a double Animadversion, one for calling this Parable fa∣bula, which although in a critical notion, it may have a right sense, yet use doth not now indure it; It would be very offen∣sive to call Christs Parables, Christs Fables: Secondly, he shew∣eth unsound Divinity, worse then Pelagians or Arminians, as his very expression declareth; (but to passe that) The Parable doth represent a godly man foully lapsed in sin, and now re∣turning to God, and he accuseth himself, aggravating sin, that his Father took notice of it; and whatsoever other Doctors teach, yet this is the best way, for godly persons repenting, to aggravate their sinfulnesse, in reference to Gods beholding of them, and being angry with them, Quicun{que} sibi se excusat, ac∣cusat Deo, whosoever excuseth himself to himself, accuseth him∣self to God, said Salvian and Tertul. In quantum non peperceris tibi, in tantum tibi Deus (crede) parcet, so much as thou shalt not spare thy self, God (beleeve it) will spare thee.

Lastly, This is to be observed, that after his father had kissed him, which was a sign of reconciliation and pardon; yet the son confesseth he had sinned against heaven, and before him.

*A second rank of Arguments shall be from those places where the Spirit of God is said to mortifie our sins, or we by his help to crucifie our sins: if the Spirit of God do inable us to crucifie and mortifie sin, as that which is an enemy and loathsome to him, then notwithstanding Christs righteousness imputed, God doth take notice of that which is filthy, and to be removed in the godly: But we are assisted by Gods Spirit, to this, Ergo.

Rom. 8.11, 13. If ye by the Spirit mortifie the deeds of the body. Gal. 3.18 If ye be led by the Spirit, ye shall not fulfill the deeds of the flesh. In these words are two plain Conclusions,

First, That the godly have still sins in them, for these are called the deeds of the flesh. By deeds of the flesh, are not meant grosse sins, but all the inward motions and thoughts of the soul cor∣rupted.

Secondly, That the Spirit of God seeth them, takes notice of them, they are loathsome to him, and therefore he mortifieth them. Now the Spirit of God being the same with God, that which he mortifieth, must needs be taken notice of by him as offensive.

Page  57To this what do they answer?

They say, We do not mortifie sin, no not by Gods Spirit,*out of Gods sight, but only out of our own sight, so that when the Spirit of God overcometh a corruption in us, this is not by removing it out of Gods sight, but our own only, Honey-Comb, pag. 164. for (say they) Christs righteousnesse being made ours, we are all clean before God, and that which the Spirit of God doth afterwards in sanctification, is cleansing away sin only declaratively before men; Hence (as you heard) they distinguish of a two▪fold cleansing, one secret and mysticall by Christs righteousnesse, and the other palpable and grosse to our sense and feeling, which is by Gods spi∣rit in us; but here are many mistakes and errours.

1. That they oppose Christs cleansing and the Spirits cleansing together; for what Christs bloud doth meritoriously cleanse a∣way, the same Christs Spirit doth by efficacious application. Hence Christ by his death doth quite remove sin, in respect of the guilt of it here on earth, and doth give his Spirit to crucifie the power of it; so that both Christs cleansing, and the Spirits cleansing, do relate to Gods sight: for it is Gods will that we should not only be clean by imputed righteousnesse, but also by inherent holinesse.

2. It is false, that we only mortifie sin declaratively to men, for it is really and indeed done, even to God-ward. Hence this is the great difference between a Pharisaicall or externall mortificati∣on, and a spirituall; The former is from humane principles to humane motives; the other is from God, and to God, and through God: so that as that is not a divine faith, but humane, which is not from a divine principle, and because of divine Au∣thority; so neither can that be divine and spirituall mortificati∣on, which is not from divine efficiency, and because of divine grounds. Hereby it is that the whole work of grace is called a new creature, and it is a new creature not only man-ward, but God-ward, and who can think when Eph. 4. we are exhorted to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousnesse, that any other sense can be drawn out of it, then that, the putting off the old man, and putting on the new, have relation to God as well as man? It is therefore well observed by Musculus on the former Text, that both these are put together, If ye through the Page  58 Spirit do mortifie; we and the Spirit. The Spirit, and that shew∣eth all the Popish means of mortification to be unprofitable, the Spirit of God neither appointing them, or working by them. Then he addeth ye, denoting that we also are to work and act (being first quickned with a spiritual life put into us) and not as some do now dangerously maintain, give up all, expecting the operation of the Spirit only.

3. The falshood of this Assertion will further appear; If the Spirit of God by mortification doth not remove sin out of us, as to Gods sight, then by further sanctification, it brings no good thing into us as to Gods sight likewise; and thus as God shall see no sin in his people, so neither no good thing inherently in his people; for this must necessarily follow by their principles, as God takes no notice of sin inherent in believers to be angry with them; so like∣wise no notice of inherent grace to be well pleased with them; for if the Spirit of God do not cleanse our corruption from Gods sight, then still the more corruption is washed away, God still doth no waies approve that holinesse, but it is only the imputed holines of Christ, which he regards. Therefore he that maintain∣eth God seeth no sin in believers to chastise, must maintain, he seeth no graces in them to reward them; and take their own similitude, as he (say they) that looks thorow a red glasse seeth every thing in it red, if there be dirt in it, it looks red, if there be pearls in it, it looketh red, all is one to the sight; so when God looketh upon us in Christ, if there be sin, if there be our own inherent holines, it is all one, God seeth only Christs holiness. Thus while the Antinomian laboureth to have our sins covered from Gods eies; he likewise spreads a covering over all the fruits of Gods Spirit in us, that they shall not be taken notice of: whereas none ever denied but that the graces of Gods people are acceptable to him, though not to justification; and many promises he makes to them, the imperfection being done away by Christ. But in their way, as God takes no notice of Pauls sinfull motions to be of∣fended at them, so neither of all his labourings and sufferings in the Gospel way.

Lastly, If the Spirit of God do only mortifie, as to our feeling, and not to Gods sight, then when the soul departs into glory, all that inherent purity, must only be declaratively also; but in hea∣ven Page  59 we are made holy perfectly in Gods sight, and that without any imputed righteousnesse of Christ, though Christ did purchase and obtain that for us. Now what the Spirit of God doth finish and consummate upon the souls dissolution, he had begun even in this life.

A third sort of Arguments is from those places which com∣mend repentance, humiliation, and godly sorrow for sin;* for if God takes no notice of our sin, be not offended at it, we may indeed be sorrowfull for sin because of men, but not because of God▪* Shall I be sorrowfull because God is offended when he is not offend∣ed? shall I weep because God is angry when he is not angry? If you ask Peter why he weeps bitterly, will he not say, Because he offended God? If you ask the Corinthians, why they are so deeply humbled, will not they say, because by their sins they provoked God to bring temporal calamities upon them? so that the poisonous nature of this Doctrine, appeareth in nothing more then in this, it taketh away all grounds of humiliation and repentance of sin in those that do believe. Therefore mark it, He that saith there is no sin in the Church of God now (which is their express opinion) he must likewise say, There is no godly sorrow in the Church of God now. For what is the reason there can be no godly sorrow in heaven, there was none in the state of innocency, but because there was no sin there? and it must be thus now in the Church of God. This error eateth into the vitals of godlinesse, therefore beware of it. Say, I will have no such free grace, as shall take away godly sorrow; Remember the gracious Pro∣mise, Zech. 12. where God promiseth, a spirit of prayer and mourn∣ing for sin, as well as to blot out sin, he shall not obtain the pro∣mise for the later, that feeleth not the promise for the former. And certainly, if this Doctrine were true, why did Paul say, Though I made you sorry, I did not repent? We Ministers ought to repent, that ever we made you sorry; and you are to repent that ever you have been sorrowfull.

A fourth kinde is from all those places,* where God is said so to take notice of the sins of justified persons, as that he doth grie∣vously afflict them for their transgressions. This Argument doth properly and directly overthrow the whole Antinomian assertion, but because I have largely proved this already, I will Page  60 not insist on it. To make good their assertion, that God seeth no sin, they are forced also to hold, that all the afflictions upon the godly, are only trials of their faith, preservatives from sin, but not correctives for sin. But did not God see sin in Moses, when for his unbelief he kept him out of Canaan? Did not he see sin in David, though pardoned, grievously chastising him afterwards? Did he not see sin in Jonah, who would fain have run from Gods face, that he might not have seen him? Did he not see sin in the Corinthians, when many of them were sick and weak, for abusing the Ordi∣nances, yet many of them were such, that therefore were cha∣stened, that they might not be condemned of the Lord.

There are more arguments, but at this time I conclude with an use of exhortation, to broken-hearted, and contrite sinners, a∣gain and again to meditate upon the great and glorious expres∣sions which the Scripture useth about forgivenesse of sin. Your fears and doubs are so great, that only such great remedies can cure you. Tell me ye afflicted and wounded for sin, is not this the best oyl that can be poured into your sores? Tell me ye spi∣ritual Lazarusses, that lie at the gate of God daily, who is rich in mercy, desiring the very crumbs that fall from this table of grace, are you thankfull because God provideth food and rai∣ment, and not much rather because of a pardon? how great is Gods goodnesse, he might have removed us out of his sight, and he hath done so to our sins; he might have thrown us into the bottom of hell, and he hath cast our iniquities into the bot∣tom of the sea; he might have blotted our names out of the book of life, and he hath blotted out our sins from his remem∣brance.

Page  61

LECTURE VIII.


JEREMIAH 50.20.

In those daies, and at that time the iniquity of Judah shall be sought for, and it shall not be found, &c,

A Fifth rank of arguments is from those places of Scripture,* wherein the people of God in their petitions and suppli∣cations, doe necessarily imply this truth, that God seeth, taketh notice, and is angry with their sins. Now all petitions use to be in a two-fold faith, one applicative and fiduciall, the other doctri∣nall and assertive, which is the foundation of the former. If a Papist pray for the deliverance of any out of purgatory, it is a vain prayer, because there is not a theologicall verity to ground his prayer upon: thus a Socinian cannot truly pray to God in Christ, because he hath not a dogmaticall or assenting faith to the truth of Christs divine nature, and so cannot have a fiduciall faith in the same.

Thus it would be with the people of God, how can they in their prayers entreat God to turn away his anger from them, to hide his face from their sins, if he were not indeed angry? Now that the petitions of Gods people are for this end, will appear by severall places. I shall not here mention that petition, we are directed to in the Lords prayer, viz. forgive us our sins, for that is a noble in∣stance, and deserveth a single consideration of its self; but we have many other instances, as Psa▪ 51.9. Hide thy face from my sins. It is plain by this praier, Gods face, and so his eyes were upon Davids sins though justified, and that a godly man falling into grievous sins, hath them not presently covered from Gods eyes; for his meaning by this phrase, is, that God would not regard them to Page  62 visit them on him, the contrary whereof is Psa. 119.15. Let their sin be continually before thee; and this is observable, that David doth again and again petition for pardon, whereby is shewed how difficult a thing it is to obtain the favour of God after we have offended him by our sins. Neither let that be replied, that this is done by Believers in the Old Testament; for Paul bringeth a proof from Psa. 32.1. to shew what is the nature of Justificati∣on, even under the Gospel. And that I may once for all this dis∣solve this objection of theirs, I shall handle distinctly this que∣stion, Whether the Justification of believers under the Old Testa∣ment and New, be not uniform and altogether the same? which is to be affirmatively maintained, and therefore remit you to that question. For the present, we see how David here doth twice and thrice with much vehemency desire that Gods face would not be upon his sins.* Here may be one considerable question made, seeing Nathan the Prophet had told David his sin was forgiven him; Was not this great unbelief and diffidence, to pray for pardon af∣ter that consolation? To this it may be answered,

1. That Nathans comfort might be given after this penitential Psalm: for although 2 Sam. 12.13. the History makes mention of Nathans oyl poured into David, as soon as ever he was woun∣ded, yet it is a frequent thing in Scripture to have those things immediatly connected in story, when yet there was a great di∣stance in the practice. But grant it was immediatly upon Davids repentance; yet faith in God for pardon, may well stand with prayer for pardon; The deep sense and feeling of Gods offence, cannot but provoke to earnest petition, though faith at the same time perswadeth the heart God will hear: Hence David doth not here pray in unbelief, thinking God would not pardon him; therefore some translate v. 7. in the future tense, Thou wilt purge me with hysop, because of his assurance. Again, though God re∣moved Davids sin in respect of condemnation, yet not in respect of all other effects of his anger, for so his sin did still lie as a burden on him, and in this respect he still seeketh Gods face. In the next place consider, Psa. 32.1, 3, 4. Of all parts of the Scripture, the Psalms have this excellency, that they do in a lively experimental way set forth the gracious works of God upon the soul, and Da∣vid doth in many Psalms, still as it were play upon the Harp, to Page  63 drive out the evil spirit of unbelief and diffidence out of a mans heart. Now this Psalm is a most excellent directory for the ob∣taining of pardon after sin committed; wherein David being for a while grievously crushed by Gods anger for his sins, at last feel∣ing the Sun-shine of his favour breaking through the clouds, he doth in the beginning of the same joyfully break out, admiring the happines of those who have their sins pardoned, and he doth in several words repeat the same benefit, because of the excellen∣cy of it: and certainly were your hearts touched with the sense of Gods displeasure for sin, neither riches, nor good trading, or any advantage in the world, would so glad your heart, as to have a pardon of sin. For how cometh David to be thus affected with forgivenesse of his sins? even because he confessed it not, was not humbled under it, till Gods wrath was heavy upon him, and then he resolved to acknowledge it, whereupon God immediat∣ly forgiveth him. Now lest any should think What is this to us in the times of the Gospel? observe v. 6. For this every one that is godly shall pray unto thee, that is, for this remission, for this pardon e∣very one that is godly shall pray; so that its ungodlinesse by Da∣vids judgement not to confesse sin, or to pray for the pardon, which how can any Antinomian do by his principles, that holdeth, God seeth not, or taketh notice, so as to be offended with the sins of justified persons: and so they are not only Antinomists, but Anti▪Confes∣sionists, Anti-Petitionists, and Anti-penitents.

Take one more instance, Psa. 6.1. where David prayeth God would not rebuke him in his hot displeasure, Compare this with Jer. 10.24. where you see the servants of God do suppose an anger from God will fall on them for their sins, and they do not refuse his rebukes, only they desire God would moderate and set bounds to his wrath, that it may not overwhelm them. Many other places there are, where its plain, the people of God pray∣ing, do suppose him to be angry with them for their sins; and it is a truth so ingraven in the heart of a godly man, that no error can ever quite obliturate it.

A sixth sort of Arguments shall be from those places,* where God is said to take notice of our sin, more then we can or do, 1 Joh. 3.18, 19, 20. where the Apostle presseth believers to a sincere love of one another with this Argument, that hereby we shall assure Page  64 our hearts before him; the Greek word signifyeth to perswade, and doth excellently set forth the difficulty of being assured in Gods presence. Now this great benefit he illustrates by the contrary, if our hearts condemn us, God is greater then our hearts; and this holdeth universally in every holy duty, as well as that of love: if our hearts condemn us for hypocrisie, and insincerity in them, God doth much more, for he knoweth more evil by our selves then we do. Now how can this Apostolicall assertion be true, if so be God took no notice, or were not offended at the sins of his people? Its an argument of sweet meditation to humble us, that if where there is but a drop of grace, our sins are so lothsome and offensive; how much more must they be to the ocean of all purity?* To this the Antinomian replieth (Honey-Comb p 89.) that John speaks this of hypocrites, and not the justified children of God; But 1. he gives the expresse title of little children to them, ver. 18. and my little children, so that he taketh upon him the bowels of a father to them. Again, let it be granted that he describes hypocrites, yet there is no godly man but this text will in some sense belong to, there is no man so godly, but he hath some hypocrisie and insin∣cerity in his best love; there is that worm in his best fruit, that drosse in his best gold. It followeth then by proportion, that so far as the godly do discern imperfections, and insincerity in their duties, so far they are to be humbled before God, who knoweth much more by them then they discern; as you see little moats are discerned by the Sun-beams in the Air, which were not discern∣ed before: therefore when John addeth, If our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence with God, his meaning is not, as if we could have no confidence where our hearts doe condemn us in some degrees, for then none in the world could have confi∣dence; but he speaks of condemning our selves upon a discovery of a total and wilful hypocrisie; and so we will indeed grant that he speaks of hypocrites, but yet it proveth as much as we desire, namely, that where there is any condemnation of our selves for any degree of insincerity in any duty, we are to tremble, and to remember that God is greater then our hearts, knoweth more by us, and so his wrath might break out hotter then we can imagine. Neither is the former answer weakned, though we grant it to be understood of total hypocrites, for it is usuall with the Apo∣stle Page  65 to threaten even those that are godly, and dear to him, with the condition and punishment of Hypocrites and Apostates, as Heb. 6. See another instance, 1 Cor. 4.4. I know nothing by my self; yet am I not thereby justified, for it is God that judgeth me; where the Apostle doth not speak of an Anabaptistical perfection, as if Paul knew no sin by himself; but his meaning is to be restrained to the faithfull dispensation of the office committed to him, in which though he had not perfection, yet his conscience did not accuse him of grosse negligence or unfaithfulnes; but for all this, he doth not think himself justified, by any godlines in him; and why so? be∣cause God judgeth him, who takes notice of, and is offended with more sins then he understands by himself; so that Paul doth ac∣knowledge God to see sin in him, and therefore he cannot be justi∣fied by any thing inherent; and this made Bernard say excellent∣ly, Tutior est justitia donata, quam inhaerens, Imputed righteousnes is safer to relie upon then inherent. Think it therefore a small thing to be acquitted by Antinomian principles, when it is God that judgeth; and whatsoever the Adversary speaketh about a righteousnesse of Christ communicated unto us, so that thereby God seeth no sin; yet because they say, he seeth no sin in us inherently▪ they must conclude for some perfect inherent righteousnes. Lastly, Ps. 19. David crying out, Who can understand his errors? prayeth thereupon, Cleanse thou me from secret sins; and this doth imply, that there were many sins that David had, which were loath∣some and foul in Gods eyes, though undiscovered by himself, and therefore he would have God wash him, and make him clean

A seventh rank of Arguments, shall be from those places,* wherein God hath commanded Ministers to binde and retain the sins of scandalous offenders, and hath promised, to ratifie that in heaven, which they according to his will, do on earth. Experience witnesseth, that a justified person may fall into some scandalous sin, whereby the whole Congregation may be much offended, and God highly provoked. Now in this case God hath command∣ed the Ministers of the Gospel to binde & to retain such a mans sins till he doth repent. This binding is not by way of authority, but ministerial declaration, & effectual application of Gods threat∣nings in his Word to such a person sinning, and when this is done, God hath promised, that all this shal be ratified and made Page  66 good in Heaven against that man. Now how can God make good the Ministers threatnings applied to that godly man, if he take not notice, and be not offended with the person so hainous∣ly sinning? The places that prove such a binding of sin, and Gods ratifying of their sentence, are Joh. 20.23. Mat. 16.19. Mat. 18.18. Can any man say, that when a godly man is cast out of Gods fa∣mily, the seals of Gods grace denied him, and he delivered up to Satan, that God is not angry with him? yea, is not he bound then to apprehend God estranged from him? when a godly man is excommunicated, he is not only cast out from the externall Church-society, but likewise there is a deprivation from internal communion with Christ; not as if he were cut off from the pur∣pose or decree of Gods election, or as if the habitual seed of grace were quite extinct in him, but only as the outward seals of Gods favour are denied him; so also doth God being angry with him, deny him any inward testimonies of his favour; and it would not be faith against sense (as the Adversary cals it) but presumption against Scripture to say▪ God was at that time well pleased with him; yea Divines say (Synopsis puri. Theol. dis. 48.) that there is a conditional exclusion of the person so offending from future glory, for the Church threatens him, that as they judge him now, and bid him depart from their society, so if he do not repent, Christ at the last day will command him to de∣part from his presence and the holy Angels, according to that of Tertul. in Apologetico, Summum futuri judicii praejudicium est, si quis it a deliquerit, ut à communicatione orationis & conventus, & omnis sancti commeroii relegetur.

*The eighth kinde of Arguments is from those places, where Christ is said still to be an Advocate, and to make Intercession for believers after they are justified, which would be altogether need∣less, if God did not take notice of their sins, and were ready to charge them upon believers'; consider the places, 1 Joh. 2.1. Heb. 7.25. In the former place, John having said, That Christs bloud cleanseth us from all sin (a place the Antinomian much urgeth, not considering that at the same time the Apostle ver. 9. requi∣reth confession and shame in our selves, if we would have pardon) in the first verse of the second Chapter, he saith, He writes these things that they should not sin; all true doctrine about Christ and Page  67 free-grace tendeth to the demolishing, and, not incouraging of sin: but the Apostle supposeth such fragility that we will sin, and therefore speaketh of a remedy, If we sin we have an Advo∣cate; now this makes several wayes against the Antinomian.

First, That sins committed after our Justification need an Ad∣vocate; it is not enough that we were once justified, our new sins would condemn us for all that, were it not for Christ.

Secondly, In that Christ is an Advocate, it supposeth, That though God be a Father to his people, yet he is also a Judge, and that he so taketh notice of, and is displeased with their sins, that did not Christ intercede and deprecate the wrath of God, it would utterly consume them. Thou therefore who sayest, God the Father is not offended, why then doth Christ perform the Office of an Advocate? If thy sins be not brought into the Court, what need any pleading for thee? In the other place, Heb 7.25. The Apostle acknowledgeth a two-fold function of Christs Priestly Office, The one is, The offering up of himself for our sins; The second is, The continual Intercession for us, which the Apostle, Chap. 9.24. calleth, Appearing before Gods face in our behalf; now we must not so advance Christs sufferings in the taking away of sin, so as to exclude the other part of his Priestly Office, which is, continually to plead our cause for us: for the A∣postle makes Christ to stand before the face of God, as some great Favorite before an earthly Prince, to plead in the behalf of those who are accused; so that the Doctrine which denieth God seeing of sin in his people, doth wholly overthrow Christs In∣tercession, and the efficacy of it. Concerning the manner of Christs Intercession, it is not to be conceived in that way as he prayed here upon the earth; but it is his holy will, and expresse desire of his soul, that God the Father should be reconciled with those for whom he hath shed his bloud: and truly that point of Divi∣nity, viz. Christs affections and sympathizing with his people now in heaven, is an Ocean of infinite comfort.

Page  68

LECTURE IX.


JER. 50.20.

In those dayes, and at that time, the iniquity of Judah shall be sought for, and there shall be none, &c.

* I Shall now conclude with the last sort of Arguments, which are from those Scriptures that speak how God is affected with his people when they have sinned, which affections do necessarily imply Gods seeing of sin, so as to be angry with them, yea in some respects Gods anger is more to them then others, and we say, in some sense God doth more see and take notice of the sins of belie∣vers then others.

The places of Scripture which speak in what manner God takes the sins of believers, are these, Ephes. 4.30. Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, &c. where the godly in their sins are said to grieve Gods Spirit. Now can the Spirit of God, which is also God, be grieved (to speak after the manner of men) at our sins, and not take notice of them? certainly if they grieve God, they ought to grieve us, let us not neglect that which the Spirit of God is so offended with. This place seemeth to be taken out of Isa. 63.10. They vexed his holy Spirit. So that it is such a grieving, as doth vex and imbitter the holy Spirit of God. O what a dreadfull consideration should this be against all falshoods in this point▪ Doth not God, doth not the Spirit of God take notice of thy corruptions, yet it is grieved and vexed at them? furthermore the aggravation of this sin is seen in that it is against the Spirit that doth seal us to the day of redemption. A Metaphor, saith Zanchy (in loc.) from Merchants, who having bought such goods, seal them as their own, that so leaving others, they may transport Page  69 them. Now for the godly to sin, it is to deface this seal, and if it be so great an offence to violate humane seals, how much more divine? Observe likewise that passage of God to Moses, Ex. 4.14. where Moses out of the sense of his infirmity, refusing the office God called him to twice or thrice, it is said, The Lords wrath was kindled against him. In the Hebrew it is very emphatical, The fury of the Lord was angry against Moses, and the LXX,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by which expression was signified, God was not lightly, but grievously angry with him; So Ps. 74.1. the Church crieth out, Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? and in many other places. Now, can God be angry, and that in so high a degree, with that which he doth not see, or take notice of? It is true Isidor. Pelus. l. 1. ep. 144. will not suffer, that notice and affli∣ction which God layeth upon us, to be called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but then anger is to be taken in a strict sense, for punishment by way of satisfaction, but otherwise the Scripture doth frequently use this word, and that of God to his own people, yea vengeance, which is more, Ps. 96.8. But that it may the better appear, how great the guilt of sin in believers, even in the sight of God is, and what his account is of it, take notice of these particulars.*

First, What the Scripture stiles them, 1 Sam. 2.29. There God reproveth Eli in his indulgence about his sons, with this remark∣able expression, Thou honourest thy sons above me. Is not this an aggravation which God taketh notice of? and yet Eli did reprove his sons, but because he failed in the measure of zeal, therefore is God thus angry with him; so that God doth not only see the [ 1] grosse sins committed by his people, but a lesse measure of their gra∣ces, and is angry for that. So Rev. 2. because the Church abated in her first love, and her works were not perfect, therefore doth God threaten her. As the godly are said to honour the creature above him when they sin, so they are likewise said to despise God; and can God but be offended with them that despise him? 1 Sam. 2.13. They that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed, saith God again to Eli. Thus likewise to David, 2 Sam. 12.9. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord? God cannot but take notice of that which is a despising, and contemning of him. As their sins are a despising of God, so are they said to displease God, which cannot be if God see no sin; for if God see no Page  70 sin, it is all one in reference to God, whether a believer wallow in the mire of sin, or whether he live holily; so that this Doctrine must needs eat and consume like a Gangrene. Is God as well pleased with Peter denying Christ, as Peter repenting? as much pleased with David in his adultery and murder, as when making his penitential Psalm? The Papists indeed would fasten such pro∣digious consequences upon the Protestants Doctrine, but they abhor it, whereas it followeth naturally from the Antinomian assertion. Indeed the Orthodox say, David and Peter in their lap∣ses, did not fall from the state or grace of Iustification; but wherein the Antinomian and they differ, is hereafter to be shewen. That God is thus displeased with justified persons, when they thus sin, is plain, 2 Sam. 11.29. where what we translate (displeased) according to the original, is, was evil in the eyes of the Lord; where you see expresse Scripture, That God did see sin in David, because that which he had done, was evil in Gods eyes: so again, 1 Chron. 21.7. Davids numbering of the people, is said to be evil in the eyes of the Lord. Thus the very letter of the Scripture is against them. Last∣ly, Their sins are offences against God, and can God be offended with that which he doth not behold? Elihu speaks true and ex∣cellent Doctrine, Iob 34.32. though he erred in the application, Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have born chastisement, I will offend no more; where he acknowledgeth, That chastisements are for sins, and that sins are offences. If then the sins of Gods people are a dishonour to him, a despising of him, a displeasing of him, they are evil in his eyes, and an offence to him, it cannot be but that he must see sin in his people.

[ 2] Secondly, The Scripture describeth Gods threatning and up∣braiding of them with all his kindnesses he did to them, so that God doth not only take notice of them, but in the several aggravations of their ingratitude and unkindnesse unto him, in all that they offend. Thus observe Gods dealing with Eli, 1 Sam. 2.28. Did not I choose thy father out of all the Tribes of Israel to be my Priest, to of∣fer upon my Altar? Did I not give unto thy father all the offerings by fire of the children of Israel? wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice? What a cutting sword must this needs be in Eli's heart? and be∣cause the children of God have a Spirit of love in them, these upbraidings must needs wound their heart the more. Again, see Page  71 the like dealing with David, 2 Sa. 11.12.8, 9. I anointed thee King over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul: and if that had been too little, I would have given thee such and such things, wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of God? &c. Must not this pierce into the very bowels of David? Shall God upbraid his people falling into sin, spread before their eyes the manifold mercies he hath bestowed upon them, and all this while see no sin in them? Therefore when it is said, Iam. 1.5. That God upbraid∣eth not, that is to be understood, in respect of his frequent and li∣beral giving, as men use to say, I have given thus often, and I will give no more; which kinde of giving Seneca cals panem lapido∣sum; but if men walk unworthy of the benefits received, he doth then upbraid, as Mar. 16.14. He is said to upbraid the Disciples, because of their unbelief.

Thirdly, The Scripture applieth the threatnings of God to belie∣ves, [ 3] as well as to others▪ making no difference between them, un∣less they repent. Indeed we say against the Papists, that all the sins of justified persons are venial, and not mortal, that is, such as in the event will have pardon, but that is, because the seed of grace will be operative in them, so that they shall either habitually or actu∣ally repent of their sins. Neither when the Orthodox say, That E∣lection is absolute▪ do they exclude the media instituta, means ap∣pointed by God, in which the fruit of Election is accomplished, but conditions antecedanous, as if that decree did remain suspense and uncertain, till the will of man had determined, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. The Apostle laieth down an universal rule, such and such grosse offenders shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven, that is, those who live so and do not repent, and this is to be extended not only to those who are habitually so, but actually likewise▪ unlesse they are reformed. Therefore no godly man falling into any of those grosse sins, may deceive himself, and think he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven without a change. Godly or ungodly, yet if found in the committing of such a gross sin, unless they do repent, God will not accept one or the other. As repentance is appointed for the wicked man as a duty, without which he can∣not be saved; so confession and forsaking of sin, is prescribed a godly man fallen into sin, without which he cannot have remission, 1 Jo. 1.9. There is no such free grace or Gospel▪ as faith to a believer, Page  72 if fallen into a foul sin, whether you repent or no, your sins shall be pardoned to you. Hence 1 Cor. 11. the Apostle makes every man that receiveth unworthily (and yet some of them were godly) to receive their damnation, that is, their eternal damnation, without re∣pentance and reformation; and after repentance, their judgement, though not of condemnation, yet affliction and castigation. How ter∣rible likewise is Paul, He. 12.29. where speaking to the godly that are to receive a kingdom that is eternal, he exhorteth them to du∣ty, Let us have grace (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) that is, Let us retain and keep grace,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as Ro. 15.4. and observe the manner, with reverence and godly fear,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is such a fear as relateth to punishment; compare this place with Ps. 2.12. and thus the words following suppose, for our God is a consuming fire; this is taken out of Deu. 4.24. and the meaning is, God is no less angry with Chri∣stians sinning against him, then formerly with the Israelites, & it is as easy for him to destroy whom he is offended with, as for the fire to destroy stubble. How directly doth this place overthrow that Antinomian assertion, God saw sin in believers in the Old Te∣stament, and therefore afflicted them, but it is not so under the New?

Now when its said, God is a consuming fire, this denoteth the great anger of God, compare it with Deu. 9.3. & Deu. 32.22. Fire is most efficacious, and least capable of transmutation as other elements are, for which reason the Persians worshipped fire for a god, but fire might be extinguished, whereas God is such a fire as consumeth all, and remaineth immutable. Know then (bre∣thren) that as there are places in the New Testament, which speak of the riches of his grace, so also of his consuming anger. As therefore the promises of the Scripture are for consolation & hope to the godly, so are the threatnings for a godly fear. Between these two milstones a Christian is made dulcis farina, as Luther once said; and neither of these milstones may be taken for a pledge, as the Law was in the Old Testament, because one cannot work without the other. Therefore for a man to take only those pla∣ces of Scripture, which speak of the goodnesse of the promises, and to reject the terrors of the threatnings▪ is spiritual theft in an high degree. Doth not Paul, 2 Cor. 5 excite himself to run like a Gyant in his ministerial race, because of the terror of the Lord at the day of Judgement? See ver. 10. We must all appear (so to Page  73 appear, as to be seen through and made manifest, before the judge∣ment-seat of God (as those that are to plead a cause in an eminent place before a Judge) to receive a reward sutable to his life: nw knowing this (saith the Apostle) we perswade; it may relate to him∣self, and to those whom he perswadeth. Yet this apprehension of the Lords terror did not exclude love, for v. 14. he saith, The love of Christ constraineth us,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, either an expression from those who had a spirit of prophecie upon them, that was very power∣full, whereby they could not but speak, or else from women in travell, Heb. 12.15. which through pain cannot but cry out, so efficacious was love in Paul.

4. The sins of godly men cease not to be sins, though they are justifi∣ed. We may not say, that in Cain killing of another is murder, but in David it is not: We may not say, denying of Christ in Judas, is indeed a sin, but in Peter it is not. No priviledge they have by justification, can alter the nature of a sin. He that re∣ceiveth unworthily, is guilty of the body and bloud of the Lord, whether he be a wicked man or a Beleever. It is not with a Be∣leever and a wicked man, as with a man and a beast compara∣tively. If a beast kill a man, it is not sin, because the subject is not reasonable, but a man if he do so, whether godly or ungod∣ly, it is a sin, because against Gods Law. It is not safe to say, that God doth with the Beleever and wicked, as if a Magistrate should make a Law, that whosoever committeth such a crime, if he be a free-man he shall only be imprisoned, but if a servant, he shall be put to death: so God, whosoever murdereth or commit∣teth adultery, if he be a Beleever, the wages due to his sin, is only temporal chastisements, but to a wicked man, it's eternal death. I say this is not safe: for although a Beleevers sin shall not actu∣ally damn him, yet God hath made the same Law to both, and repentance as a means is prescribed, so that we may by supposi∣tion say, If the wicked man repent, his sin shall not damn him; If the justified person do not, his sin will damn him. It's true, it is not proper to say of sin in the abstract, it shall be damned, no more, then that grace shall be saved; but we are to say, the person shall be damned or saved. Yet the guilt of the sin will cause the guilt of the person, if not taken off by Christ as the meritorious, and faith as the instrumentall cause. The sins then of BeleeversPage  74 and ungodly are both alike, only that the guilt of them doth not redound upon the persons alike, is because the one takes the way appointed by God to obtain pardon, and the other doth not. Not that the godly man makes himself to differ from the wick∣ed, but all is the work of grace. In some respects the sins of god∣ly men are more offensive to God, then those of wicked men; because committed against more light, and more experience of the sweetnesse of Gods love, and the bitternese of sin. What is the cause, Heb. 10.28, 29, 30. the Apostle maketh the condition of a wilfull Apostate to be so dreadfull, but because of the excel∣lency of the object in the Gospel, above that in the Law? If he that despised Moses his Law, died without mercy: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy? &c. Observe that interposition, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, think ye, do you not easily think that such sins offend God more? Now although the truly sanctified can never fall into such a condition, totally and finally, yet their sins committed wilfully against the Gospel, are gradually, and in some measure of such a nature, and therefore they fall terribly into the hands of the living God, when they so sin against him; and consider how that the Apostle speaks these things, even to them, of whom he hoped better things, and things that accompany salvation, Heb. 6. If therefore we see a godly man, who hath ta∣sted much of Gods favour, play the prodigall, walk loosely, we may and ought (notwithstanding Antinomian positions) power∣fully and severely set home these places of Scripture upon his conscience. And observe how in the New Testament, the Apostle alledgeth two places out of the Old, Vengeance belongeth to me, Deut. 32.35. and the Lord will judge his people, Psal. 135.14. To judge, is to avenge; so that the people of God, have those consi∣derations in their sins to provoke God, which wicked men can∣not have; and therefore have the same motives to humble them; as the Apostle argueth, To which of the Angels said he, Sit at my right hand? &c. so may we, To what wicked man hath God pou∣red out his love, revealed himself kindly, as unto the godly? therefore do they neglect the greater mercies.

Page  75

LECTURE X.


JEREMIAH 50.20.

In those daies, and at that time, the iniquity of Iudah shall be sought for, &c.

LEt us in the next place consider the particulars wherein Gods eye of anger doth manifest it self upon his own children,* if sinning against him. The effect of his wrath may be considered in that which is temporal, or spiritual, or eternal; in all these Gods anger doth bring forth in one respect or other. For the temporal objects, take notice of these particulars; first,*When they sin against God, they are involved in the common and ordinary af∣flictions, which do usually accompany sin in the wicked: Thus 1 Cor. 11.30. for their unworthy receiving of the Sacrament (and some even of those were godly, as appeareth v. 32.) many were weak and sickly: weak, were such as did languish, and sickly is more, such as had diseases on them; now these were 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, strokes from God, and therefore came from his anger for their sins. Though the Lords Supper consist of a twofold bread, the one earthly for the body, the other heavenly the bread of life for the soul, yet both body and soul did miserably decay, because of unworthy receiving; This Table being as Chrysostom said, mensa Aquilarum, not Graculorum, food for Eagles, not Jaies. As therefore those children, who have fainting diseases upon them, and do secretly eat salt, oatmeal, &c. though they have never such excellent food at their fathers table, yet thrive not, but look pale, and consuming; so it was with the Corinthians by rea∣son of their corruptions, they inclined to death, though they fed on the bread of life. Now that these bodily diseases are the common issue and fruit of sin, appeareth Lev. 26.16. Deut. 28.22. Page  76 grace therefore of justification can give no Supesedeas to any di∣sease that shall arrest a believer offending; but are the wicked in Consumptions, Agues, Feavers for their sins? so are the godly; yea, the people of God are in these calamities before the wicked, Amos 3.2. You only have I known of all the Families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. I have known you, that is, acknowledged ye for mine, see what that is, Exod. 19.5. A peculiar treasure unto me above all people: The Hebrew word signifieth that which is dear and pretious, and to be desired of all. This is aggravated by what followeth, for all the earth is mine, that is, seeing there are so many nations in the world, over whom I have full power and dominion; how great is Gods goodnesse in taking you for his above others? now mark the Prophets reason, because I have done this, therefore I will visit you for your iniquities, for to all your other wickednesses you adde an ingratefull heart. So there is another place, 1 Pet. 4.17. where God is said to judge them before others, and this hath been a great offence to the godly; It is time, that is, a seasonable op∣portunity by the decree and appointment of God, for judge∣ment, that is, chastisements for former sins, which are called judge∣ments, because they are publique testimonies and manifestations of Gods anger against sins, and are to put the godly in minde of their sins (only it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the original) The word is used even of the godly, 1 Cor. 11.31, 32. 1 Pet. 4.6. By the house of God he meaneth the true Members of the Church, and whereas he saith it begins in them, he thereby intimates, that the godly in this life are more exposed to afflictions for sin, then the wicked are, and this made David and Jeremy so expostulate with God in this matter, so that the godly in their afflictions ought to say, as that widow of Sarepta, 2 Kin. 17.18. This is to call my sin to remembrance.

It is thought the Apostle, though he doth not expresly menti∣on a place, yet he takes this out of the Doctrine of the old Testa∣ment, for so God did begin first with his people, Isa. 10.12. Jer. 25.17, 18. Ezek. 9.6. begin at my Sanctuary, Ezek. 21.4. There God in publique calamities maketh no difference between the righteous and the ungodly; now this is so great, that the Apostle saith, the righteous is hardly saved: The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used of Page  77 those things that with much labour are brought about, Act. 14.18. Act. 27.7. These tribulations are so great, that they almost destroy the godly themselves: see also Jam. 5.13. Is any sick, where the godly man is supposed to be sick, and the cause (if he hath committed sin) that is, such sins as were the causes of that disease, they shall be forgiven him; so that even justified persons afflicted by diseases, are to inquire what sins the Lord would humble them for, and to labour that the sicknesse of the body, be the sanctified occasion of the health of the soul.

2. Gods anger is seen in bringing extraordinary and unusual ca∣lamities upon them because of their sins;* so that they have strange punishments, which even the wicked do many times escape: Jo∣nah who endeavoured to flie from Gods face (and that he might easily have done by Antinomian Doctrine) with what a prodi∣gious judgement was he overtaken? Jonah 2. The Prophet cals it the belly of hell; and how deeply his soul was afflicted under that punishment, appeareth, in that he saith, his soul fainted with∣in him, and he concluded, he was cast out of Gods sight.

He that voluntarily ran from Gods presence, doth now bewail that he is cast from it. He makes the Whales belly an house of praier, and this came up to God, in his holy Temple, that is Hea∣ven. You see by this, that God prepareth strange judgements sometimes for those that offend him, though his children: so in that 1 Cor. 11.30. when he saith, that many of the Corinthians were dead for their unworthy receiving, it is to be understood of an immature and untimely death; they did not live out to the term of those daies, that according to natural causes they might have done, so that it is the same with being [cut off] in the old Testament, Exod. 12.15. Whosoever did eat the Passeover with leaven was to be cut off from Israel: Therefore even godly men may procure to themselves untimely deaths, and may provoke God to cut them off in the midst of their years.

3. Yea further,* God may not only afflict them in an extraor∣dinary manner, but even strike them with sudden death, and that while their sins are upon them. I will not instance in Ananias and Saphira, nor in Nadab and Abihu, though some have thought charitably of them; we have a clear instance in Ʋzzah wherein Gods anger was so apparent, by striking him suddenly dead, that Page  78 the thing is said to displease David, 2 Sam. 6.7. The anger of God was kindled against Ʋzzah, and he smote him for his error. His er∣ror was not, because he was not a Levite, for its plain he was, but because they put the Ark upon a new cart, whereas they should have carried it upon their shoulders; although its thought the carrying of the Ark was limited only to the Levites that were the sons of Kohath, and that no other Levite might touch the Ark, which if so, then it was a second offence against the Law, be∣cause he touched it; and indeed this seemeth to be the proper cause, because it was a personal fault of Ʋzzah, whereas the put∣ting of it on a new cart, was the error of others besides him.

Thus Ʋzzah in his very sins is stricken dead; you have likewise another sad example of Ely, Lege historiam, ne fias historia, 1 Sam 4.18. Because he failed in the measure of zeal about the reproof of his sons, therefore he fell backward and broke his neck; Ely manifested his pious affections, in submitting to the hand of God punishing, and in being more affected with the publique calamity, then his own private, yet this is his sad Tragical end.

*4. Gods anger doth not limit it self to them only, but it reacheth even to their children, and to those that are dear to them. Thus Da∣vids childe is stricken dead, for his sin; and thus Flies daughter gives up the ghost with sad grief. The family both of David and Ely, have remarkable calamities following them, and all because of their sins. When any of Elies posterity shall be forced to crouch for a morsell of bread, this is a Memento of Elies sin.

Here a man may see the seed of the righteous begging bread, but for their Parents sins; Therefore that of David▪ Psal. 36. must not be understood universally. That this calamity may the more wound his heart, God telleth him what he will do to his house after his death; if any were left alive, it should be like that indulgence to Cain, to carry up and down a token of Gods displeasure; and if you ask for how long should this anger of God endure, 1 Sam. 3.14. His iniquity must not be purged away from that house for ever. Well may the Scripture say, that who∣soever heareth this judgement of God, his ears shall tingle. By this instance, how watchfull should godly parents be, lest for their sins committed, a curse should cleave to the family for ma∣ny generations? I acknowledge these calamities as they fel upon Page  79Ely a godly man, so they were wholsome medicines, and father∣ly corrections, but as they came on his wicked children, or po∣sterity continuing in wickednesse, so they were strictly, and pro∣perly, punishments.

Lastly,*These temporal evils will reach even to the publique Church and State wherein they live, so that the sins of godly men may help to pull down publique judgements. Thus it was with Hezekiah, for his unthankfulnes and pride, there was wrath upon Judah and Jerusalem, 2 Chron. 32.25. so Davids sin in num∣bring the people, it was the death of many thousand in Israel; for Elies sin, the Israelites are slain in the Army, and the Ark is ta∣ken. Hence you have Esay, Daniel and Ezra joining themselves in the number with others, who made publike confessions of their sins upon daies of humiliation. It is therefore a cursed and secure opinion, that faith, the godly when they keep Fast-daies, do it not, because they have any sins that God punisheth, bt be∣cause of wicked men. The Scripture doth manifet the contrary, and the holiest men living do bring some sparks and fire-brands to increase the wrath of God, and therefore they ought to bring their buckets for the quenching of it.

The aggravation of this anger will appear, if you consider,* what kinde of sins they have been for which God hath been so sore displeased, and in them enumerated, or instanced in, you may perceive they were the Belzebub-sins, the first-born of iniquities: Ʋzzah failed only in the order God had appointed, what he did was out of care, and a good intention; yet the Lord smiteth him; so Moses was denied entring into the land of Ca∣naan▪ which was an heavy affliction to him, because he spake un∣advisedly with his lips: Commentators are at loss to finde out what his sin was. So Davids sin in numbring the people, its dis∣puted wherein the transgression lay. Elies heavy judgements that came so frequently one upon another, were for a want of that measure of zeal which should have burnt within him. Oh therefore consider that God doth not only see sins, that are mountains▪ but that are mole-hils comparatively: He doth not only see the beams, but the motes that are in us; he doth not on∣ly take notice of our mire and vomit, if we return to that, but of the least spot and wrinkle; how deeply maiest thou humble thy Page  80 self under every Religious duty performed by thee. How often do we fail in the manner of a command, as Ʋzzah in the order? How often out of pride and self-confidence do we number our earthly props, and refuges, relying upon them? How unadvised are our thoughts and words? now these hairs of sins (as I may so call them, both for number and seeming littlenesse) are all numbred before God.

*As the Lord is angry with these lesser sins and defects in graces; so also for Errors in Judgements, and false opinions: How well would it be for the Antinomian, if God did not see this sin in them, that they hold, he seeth no sin in Believers? I fear me God seeth, and taketh notice of their erroneous Sermons, of their cor∣rupt Doctrines and seducing Books. There are indeed those, who would make heresie, almost innocency, and that it is more to be pitied then punished, but the Apostle, Gal. 5. reckons heresies among gross sins, such as exclude from the Kingdom of heaven; and how severe Gods anger is to those who do erre, though in less matters, and although they keep the foundation, appeareth in that notable place, 1 Cor. 3.12, 13, 14, 15.

It is a difficult place, and those that would build Purgatory out of it, they are the Architects of that hay and stubble the text speaks of. Not to join with that exposition of some, who by hay and stubble, do understand evil works; nor with Beza, who denieth it to be meant of false doctrine, but only of the man∣ner of preaching: He makes the building of gold and silver, &c. to be the pure and sincere doctrine of Christ; the hay and stubble to be the vain affecting of eloquence and words; but I rather go along with those that interpret the place of false doctrines, but not such as do overthrow the foundation; only they build su∣perfluous & unsound doctrine, upon the true foundation, which is as uncomely, as if you should see a royall palace, which hath gold for the foundation, and precious stones for the wals, yet have the covering of straw and stubble; what deformity would this be? yet so it is with the best preachers that are, who yet adde some errors to the sound Doctrine they deliver. Now for the o∣pening of the place, it is wholly Allegorical; The preachers of Gods word are builders, and they are to raise up a stately palace; the materials are compared to gold and silver, to precious stones.Page  81 The place is an allusion to Isa. 54.12. I will make thy windows of Agats, and thy gates of Carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones; it is a description of the precious Graces and Doctrines which the Ministers of God are cloathed with; and this sheweth with what esteem and high price all the truths of Christ ought to be received by you. The Ark, Ex. 25.3, 4, 5, 6. was to be made of gold, silver, and other precious materials; this is the nature of true Doctrine. Now false Doctrine, though it be not in fundamen∣tals, but in meer accessories, is called hay and stubble, and he that preacheth these shall come to a severe trial. Every mans work, saith the Text, shall be made manifest; where you see the spread∣ing of false Doctrine, is called the work of a man, as in the se∣cond Epist. of John, its called evil deeds; and this evil work hath a two-fold effect; First, it makes the owner to suffer losse, that is, all that labour and pains he hath taken shall bring him no profit, whereas if he had imployed himself in the truth, his reward would have been great. The lucrum cessans is as great a losse, as the damnum emergens. Oh! what a fearfull thing will it be for false teachers, who have made it their whole business to spread new opinions, to lose all their labour! The other effect is, that though he be saved, yet it shall be so as by fire, that is, he shall be in extream danger, and he shall have sad tribulations and miseries falling upon him; see the like phrase Jude 23. pulling them out of the fire. That which thou comfortest thy self with, and gloriest in, as if it were persecution, it may be is nothing but part of the fire in the Text, which is to afflict thee, that thy drosse may be purged out: let therefore all false teachers (though belonging to God) expect a fire of burning, great afflictions and tribula∣tions. And if Antinomians have trouble for their Doctrine, they are bound to believe God chastiseth them for this very opinion, that he doth not chastise for sin. I have bin the longer on this place, because of the multitude of hay and stubble that is built every where. God will have his day, when a fire shall rise to consume it all, and the true Doctrine will only continue. The Apostle speaks as terribly afterwards, v. 17. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, where the Apostle calleth the Corinthians, The temple of God: now this is not so much true of every single Christian, as when collected together in a Church or body; and Page  82 the Spirit dwelling among them, is much more admirable then his presence in the Ark; and he defileth this Temple, who by any false Doctrine and error, corrupts that society; now the greatness of this sin is seen by the words following, The Lord will destroy him, for so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is the same with 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, so that as God destroy∣ed Athaliah, and Beltashazzar for prophaning the Temple, and the offerings or gifts of the Temple, no lesse punishment (un∣lesse they repent) shall fall upon those who pervert the Do∣ctrines of Christ.

*I come to the second demonstration of Gods anger to believers when sinning, and that is in spiritual and internal things; now they are of two sorts; first, the consolations of the holy Ghost, with the light of Gods favour; secondly, the flourishing and sprouting of the graces of sanctification; In both these you shall finde the godly man after sin much withered. What anger in the first sense, after sin, the godly may feel, David will abundantly tell you, Ps. 11. he cals it the breaking of his bones; you know how ter∣rible and grievous that is, and in the godly this must be the more terrible, because they are of a more tender apprehension: As they say, Christs bodily pain was more then other mens could be, because of the excellent temper and tender constituti∣on of his body; so it is with the godly, every expression of Gods anger, fals like a drop of scalding lead into a mans eye; the con∣science of the believer, when once awakened, feels every frown of God like an hell. Thus after the committing of gross sin, God hides his face, and then for the while, they are like so many Cains and Judas's, crying out, Their sin is greater then they can bear; and truly this worm would never die, this fire would never be quenched in them, did not God again take them into favor; there is no difference between a man damned in hell, and a godly man troubled in conscience, but the adjunct of time, one is perpetu∣al, and the other is not. Now our Divines say, That eternity is not essential to the punishment of hell (for Christ suffered the torments of hell for us, which yet were not in time eternal) but accidental, because those in hell are not able to satisfie Gods ju∣stice, therefore they must continue there till they have paid the last farthing, which because they cannot do to all eternity, ther∣fore they are tormented for ever. Look upon David again in Page  83Psal. 32.3, 4. How it fared with him, because of his sins; My bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day long, my moisture is turned into the drought of Summer; Did David speak these things hyperbolically and rhetorically only? Did he not finde such anguish, and consumption in his soul, that he thought no words could express it? and all this he saith, was because of sin; O then believe this and tremble, lest such a whale of sorrow and grief should swallow thee up, as did David. Thus it was also with the incestuous person, the devil was ready to swallow him up; he was delivered to him to be tormented by him; and can all this be done, yet God take no notice of sin? As the godly in this life time, may have that joy in the Gospel, which passeth all understanding, and more then the heart can perceive; so they may have for sin such trouble, and spiritual desertions, that shall make every thing, their chamber, the field, a very hell to them; and David in many Psalms manifesteth such desolation upon his soul; especially this is seen in lapses, when persecutions do a∣bound, and men through fear have denied that truth, which in their consciences they were assured of. We may read in Ecclesia∣stical Histories of the grievous wounds and gashes, Gods people through frailty have made upon their own souls. And as it is thus in matter of consolation, so in the particular of sanctification,* how may you observe some, who have been planted by Gods grace like a Paradise, through their negligence and corruptions become like a parched wilderness? was not David in his fall, till recovered, like a tree in winter? though the moisture of grace was within, yet nothing did outwardly appear; Was he not like Samson when his hair was cut off, not able to break the cords of sin he was tied in? some have thought a godly man can no more fall from the degrees of grace, then the essence & state of grace; but if sin increase and grow, certainly grace must decrease, for whether sin expel grace meritoriously only, or formally, still the introduction of the one must be the expulsion of the other. Thus Rev. 2. the Church is reproved for abating in her first love; and the people of God complain, Why hast thou hardened our hearts from thy fear? Isa. 63.17. not that God doth infuse hardness, but only he denieth mollifying grace. And certainly a gracious tender heart, must fear a deliverance up to hardnesse more then up to Page  84 Satan, Illud est cor durum, quod non trepidat ad nomen cordis duri, said Bernard, That is an hard heart, which doth not tremble at the name of an hard heart. A godly man therefore may so pro∣voké God, that he be left in a senslesse, stupid way, acting sin without tender remorse, and securely lying down therein.

*Lastly, The anger of God eternal cannot indeed be in the event up∣on him, but yet it doth conditionally oblige him till he doth repent, so that you may suppose a Believer to be damned, if you suppose him not to repent. A conditional Proposition, Nihil ponit in esse, but it doth in posse, and therefore the Scripture makes such hy∣pothetical Propositions, wherein a possibility of Apostacy is sup∣posed in the godly, if left to themselves; as in that famous place, Ezek. 18.14. When the righteous man turneth away from his righte∣ousnesse, and committeth iniquity, all his righteousnesse shall not be mentioned, in his sins he shall die. This place is not (as some do) to be understood of a righteous man in appearance only, for its op∣posed to a wicked man in reality; and it is such a righteousnesse, that if continued in, he should have lived eternally. Neither may we stretch it to an apostacy from the state of Justification, as others do; but it is to be understood as comminatory, by way of threatning and supposition: for it is true, that if a godly man should forsake his righteousnesse, it would not be remembred to him; and therefore if you suppose a justified person not to repent of his grievous sins committed, you may also suppose him to die in the displeasure and eternal wrath of God: but this is more exactly to be considered of, when we handle that Question, Whether Remission of sin obtained, may be frustrated and made void by new subsequent actual sins?

Page  85

LECTURE XI.


HEB. 4.13.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

ALthough this Text in the general sense of it, will not fully prove Gods eye of anger against sin in justified persons; yet because a more special scrutiny and search into the words, will make much against the Antinomian Error, and also because the Answers which are given to this Text, and the like, do contain grosse falshoods, so that in the refuting of them, all things in this controversie will be clearly discovered, as also because that principal and noble Question, How far Gods taking notice of sin, to chastise and punish it, is subject to the meer liberty of his will, will in some measure be discussed, I shall therefore insist upon this Text. Not that the Orthodox make it their shield of Achilles, as the Antinomian slandereth, Honey-comb, p. 73. But be∣cause the vanity of that distinction, which they make between Gods seeing and his knowing, may be brought out from behinde the stuff, where like Saul it had hid it self.

And first, for the Text absolutely in it self,* The words are part of that excellent commendation, which is given to Gods word. The purity and power of Religion is kept up by acknowledging the fulness and perfection of the Scripture. Both Papists and Illumi∣natists agree in this dangerous Error, that they look for, and ex∣pect a Doctrinal teaching immediately by Gods Spirit, above, and besides that of the Word: Hence as the Papists make the Scripture but a sheath to receive any sword, either of gold or iron (words that will bear any sense you put upon them) so Page  86 do the Illuminatists, that a godly man is above all books, teach∣ers, writings, and feels nothing but God working and acting in him. We have therefore the greater cause to set up the Scriptures in their Divine authority and fulnes, by how much the more others indeavor to diminish it. This noble encomium of Gods word begin∣eth, v. 12. where you have the subject of the commendation, & the commendation it self. The subject is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the word of God. Bellarmine and other Papists, that they might depress the Authority of the Scriptures, understand this of Christ, who is oft∣en called the Word. Their reasons are partly because Christ is in other places called so, as Joh. 1.1. & alibi, and partly because this Word is spoken of as a person, and therefore all things are said to be open and naked to his sight. But these are not Cogent; for al∣though in other places Christ is called the word, yet the context doth there clearly evince it, whereas here the contrary will ap∣pear: for having before exhorted them to receive the Gospel, and to hearken to the voice, while it cals to day, among other Argu∣ments he brings this from the nature of Gods word, which is to be understood both of the Law and the Gospel; and its further ob∣served as a peculiar thing to John only in his Gospel, and the E∣pistles, to call Christ the word of God; and although the Text speaks of the word of God as preached, and not as written, yet be∣cause the word written and preached, differ not essentially but accidentally in respect of the manner, therefore this Argument holds true of the Scriptures. As for the second reason it is ordi∣nary by a metonymy to attribute that to the Scripture which be∣longs to God speaking by the Scripture, as Gal. 3.22. The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, &c. so the Scripture is said to speak Ja. 4.5. So that it is no wonder if here the word of God be spoken of, as knowing all things, because God by this doth discover and mani∣fest every thing. In the next place consider the commendation, and that is, 1. from the adjunct qualities, 2. from the powerfull ef∣fects. The adjunct qualities are (quick and powerfull) that is, it is not dead or frustrated, but puts forth its power and efficacy, which our words cannot do. It is thought to be an allusive expression to the fire wch was on the altar of sacrifices, that was not to go out.

Secondly, Its commended from the effect, its sharper then a two-edged sword; its an Hebraism to give a mouth to the sword, Page  87 because it doth so devour; but because a two-edged or two-mouth∣ed sword doth divide more forcibly, therefore is Gods word com∣pared to that. Such a sword they say, the Levites in the Old Te∣stament did use in dividing and opening the sacrifices, in which Metaphor the Apostle continueth afterwards. Now by this com∣parison two things are insinuated,

1. That God knoweth all sin, even the most hidden.

2. This knowledge is not a meer bare knowledge, but such as is of a Judge examining and punishing. For as the sword doth pierce and hurt, so Gods word doth see and punish, therefore it is said to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, most exactly discerning and separating gold from drosse, and judging accordingly: so that the Text speaking not barely of an omniscient eye of God, but an eye discerning▪ judg∣ing and punishing, doth in this consideration pertinently belong to the controversie. We need not be curious in distinguishing between the spirit and the soul (only the Scripture doth not con∣found these together) nor between the things understood by the marrow and joints,* which are translated from the body to the soul. This is intended in the general, by the joints, he means the minima, the least things; and by the marrow, the intima, the most secret and inward things. Having thus described the efficacy of Gods word, he layeth down two Propositions in my Text; one negative, the other affirmative. Negative, There is no creature, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 inapparent, but he seeth thorow it. Affirmative, All things are naked and opened, opened is more then naked: Naked, is that which is not clothed or covered; Opened, is that, whose inwards are discovered and made conspicuous. Much is said by Criticks concerning the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Cameron thinks it translated from wrastlers, who are said 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 their adversary, when they so take him by the neck, and turn him upside down, so as to object him in every part to the eyes of the beholders: some say, the Metaphor may be taken from those, who being before the Judge, hold down their neck and face to the ground, as not da∣ring to behold his face: but that which is most received, and which is most consonant to the context, is of those who take the word from those who begin at the neck, and divide the sacrifice in the middle, so that all the inwards do appear. Thus you see how emphatical and full the Scripture is in describing of Gods Page  88omniscient eye of any sin wheresover it is, and that not by a meer bare cognition,* but of judging; so that the Observation is,

That seeing there is sin in justified persons, Gods eye must needs see it, and judge it.

*To this it is answered very confidently by a distinction never heard of before, That God indeed knoweth the sins of believers, but he doth not see them, Hon. Comb p. 67, 68, 69, 70. and this di∣stinction they plead so boldly for, that (they say) although all men, Devils and Angels, would gain-say it, yet it must stand; for the opening of this silly distinction, they expresse themselves thus; That although to see and know be all one in the pure un∣compounded nature of God, yet they are not so to us; even as ju∣stice and mercy are all one in God,* but not to us, yea contrary; and the Author giveth two strong reasons (as he cals them) to [ 1] prove this, first, The Scripture (saith he) distinguisheth them, now he argueth, that as it is a sin to distinguish where the Scripture doth not (and thereupon he instanceth in the distinction of the guilt of sin, and the nature of sin, making it a new distinction, and suspecting it for a corrupter of the Gospel, as if Christ had taken away the guilt of our sins, and not the sins themselves) so where the Scripture doth distinguish, there it is a sin for us not to di∣stinguish. Now concerning the former, that there is in the Scri∣pture a distinction betweeen the guilt of sin, and sin it self, is in its due time to be proved.

Let us consider how he proveth this distinction of Gods seeing and knowing. The place he brings is Psal. 94▪9, 10. He that formed the eye, shall not he see? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? Here (saith he) they are distinctly set down, and the Scri∣pture useth this continual practice, saying no where, That God doth not know the sins of justified persons, but in many places, That he seeth no sin in them. His second reason is, because among men and Angels, yea in God himself there is a reason (to our capaci∣ties) of this difference; for to know a thing, is, to understand the nature of it, though the thing it self be abolshd and hath no exi∣stence; but to see a thing, is to have a real existence of it before our eye. As for instance, God (saith he) knoweth the floud that drowned the whole world, but he doth not see it having an exi∣stence now; so God knoweth the leprosie of Naaman, more Page  89 perfectly then Naaman did himself, yet he doth not see it upon Naaman; and thus God knoweth the sins of the wicked, and of his justified children more perfectly then they themselves do, and herein is no difference between them; but here is the difference, that God seeth sin in the one, and not in the other, because abo∣lished by Christ.

Thus you have a heap of falshoods and non-sense together, as if the Author had no knowing or seeing, while he speaks of these things.

To let you understand the truth in these particulars; howso∣ever it would be very profitable in this place, to give you the Scripture Doctrine, about the eye or seeing of God; as also the different use of it in Scripture; namely, that sometimes its ta∣ken for a meer naked apprehension of a thing; sometimes for the actions or effects that do flow from Gods seeing, and then it is used either in a good sense for the eye of his care, protection and approbation, or in a bad sense, and that two waies, either for an eye of condemnation, in which sense God doth not see the sins of Beleevers, or of displeasure and anger, in which sense its expres∣ly said, the sinfull actions of godly men are evil in Gods eyes:* How∣soever (I say) it would be very profitable to speak of this here, yet I shall put it off. I shall therefore examine what truth is in this distinction, which they so applaud, and that shall be by se∣veral Propositions.

First, That seeing is attributed to God only metaphorically,* God hath no bodily eies. It is well observed by a Father, that the meaner and more debased the things are to which God is com∣pared, there is the least danger, because every common appre∣hension will judge it not to be truly and formally so in God. And thus it is of eyes, and when to see is attributed to God, it is the same thing with to know, so that to make a difference between these two is grosse ignorance.

Secondly, Knowledge is attributed likewise to God,* but in a far different sense from what it is in us, and therefore differs from our knowledge many waies: 1. His knowledge is his substance: Hence Synesius said, God to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by his understanding. 2. Its not caused from objects; Gregory expressed it well, Ipse mundus nobis non notus esse posset nisi esset, deo autem nisi notus Page  90 esset, esse non posset. 3. It's simple and one. There is properly no memory of things past, no prescience of things to come, but all things are presnt to him: As if there were a body that were all eies, that needed not to turn it self backward and forward, to see things; or as a man standing upon an high Tower doth with one cast of his eye behold Passengers at the bottom of the Tower, which go successively one after another; Thus Deus est totus lux, & totus oculus, God is altogether light, and wholly an eye. 4. Knowledge in us, is properly taken for to know a thing by its causes, but it is not so in God. This rightly understood will overthrow that distinction of knowing and seeing.

*Thirdly, That text, Psal. 94. doth no waies suppose such a di∣stinction; for the Psalmist doth there intend, whatsoever perfection is either in bodily seeing, or mentall knowing, it is eminently and more transcendently in God; neither doth he limit seeing to the sins of wicked men, and knowing only to the sins of the godly; yea, the text maketh thus against the Antinomian, if a believer himself and others see sin in him, shall not God much more? In∣deed in the creatures, there is a distinction between seeing and knowing in some respects, for knowing may be of a thing in the abstract, but seeing doth denote the intuitive present apprehen∣sion, so that knowing hath a perfection which seeing hath not, and seeing which knowing hath not; but in God all his know∣ledge is intuitive, and all things are present to him, because of his eternity and omnipresence, so the Schools determine, and rightly, upon that Text, 2 Pet. 3. afterwards to be explained, and the reason is, because intuitive knowledge, or the apprehen∣sion of a thing present, is the most noble knowledge, not that the things themselves do coexist, or are present to one another, but unto God in Eternity; for as Gods immensity is in respect of his essence, so his eternity is in regard of time: so that although the things themselves vary, yet Gods knowledge doth not; As an Artificer, who hath the Idea, or form of an house in his minde, before he makes it, when it is made, and after it is de∣stroyed: he hath still the same form in his minde, though the house be altered.

*Fourthly, Neither doth the Scripture customarily use such a difference; yea, to know, when attributed to God, is used many Page  91 times for a knowledge of approbation, and then we cannot say, God knoweth the sins of Believers; but we may as well say, God knoweth no sin in them (that is) to condemn them for it, as well as he seeth none in them, so Hab. 1. God is said to be of purer eye then to behold iniquity▪ that is, with approbation, and so in this sense, we may say, God seeth no sin, no not in wicked men: Besides it is very false, that the Scripture doth no where say, that he seeth sin in Believers; for it is expresly said of Davids num∣bring the people, and of his murder, that it was evil in Gods eyes, and he confesses that he had done that evil in Gods sight. But of this more hereafter.

So then wheresoever the Scripture saith, God seeth no sin, there we may also as truly say, God knoweth none; and where it is said, he doth see, there we may say he doth know also.

Fifthly,*There is in reason no distinction to be made to our capa∣cities between Gods knowing and seeing, for in those instances the Author giveth, we may say God knoweth in that respect as he seeth, and he doth not see in that respect he doth not know; As for example, God doth not see the floud now to be, no more can we say, he knoweth it now to be, for that is false; God doth not see the Leprosie upon Naaman, no more doth he know it to be on him: So God knoweth his people in Christ, as well as seeth them in Christ, and therefore if by Christ he seeth no sin in them, he must likewise know none in them. Now this error is grounded upon a dangerous conceit, as if Gods seeing were limited to things existent, and his knowledge to things past or future, so that it's inexcusable ignorance, to say with this Author, that God knew the Sun and Moon before he made them, but he did not see them. He did not indeed see them to be before they were, no more did he know them to be before they were, but when they were made, his seeing and knowing of them were all one.

Sixtly,* If Gods seeing were to be explained oppositely to his know∣ing, then nothing that had a present being were known by God. But doth not the Scripture give to God the knowledge of all things? and though the things be diversified by time past, present, and to come, yet to God they are not so; Consider that eminent place, 2 Pet. 3.8. A thousand years with God, are but as one day. The Apostle alledgeth this place out of Psal. 90. ver. 4. Page  92 with a little variation. The Psalmist saith, as yesterday when it is past: The Apostle as one day. The Psalmist saith, in thy eyes O Lord: The Apostle with the Lord. The Psalmists expression in the eyes of the Lord, are very pregnant to our purpose. Here is a description of eternity, proving that God seeth all things with one intuitive cast of his eye, and that although to us things are present, past and to come, yet to God all things are present, and although we are not able to reach this with our understanding, no more then a pigmie the Pyramides, yet we must rest more upon this Scripture assertion, then our own understanding, Quicquid de Deo dici (we may add cogitari) potest, eo ipso est indig∣num quia dici (cogitari) potest: and again dignè Deum aestima∣mus, dum inaestimabilm dicimus. The Schoolmen dispute, whe∣ther those things which God did once know, he still knoweth, as for example, God once knew that Christ was to die, but now it is not true, that he is to die; and their resolution is, that we cannot properly say, God begins to know what he did, or ceaseth to know what he did, but rather that the thing it self beginneth to be known, or ceaseth to be known, so that the change is not in respect of Gods knowing, but the thing known, as when I see the Sun, and afterwards it is hid in the cloud, the change is not in my eye, but in the Sun; Hence they also resolve, that God knoweth all things simul together, that his knowledge is invariable, that it admitteth not of increase or decrease, that all things are present to him, and that as the Sun is alwaies in actu lucendi, so God in actu in∣telligendi: So that this very Text doth briefly overthrow all that which the Antinomian in so many pages sweateth to prove; and that the consideration of Gods eternal knowledge in this manner is of profitable use, appeareth by that, when the Apostle saith, Be not ignorant of this one thing.

*Seventhly, If Gods seeing of things were limited in our capacity, only to things present, then all the by-past sins of ungodly men, though unrepented of, yet God doth not see them, because they have no present being, and so God shall not only, not see sins in the godly, but likewise not in the ungodly: All the past sins of Judas and Cain, God did not see at the day of their death, for they were pst away. Here will be much comfort to unbelievers, as well as Believers.

Page  93Eightly, If therefore God doth not see a thing because it is past,* what need the Antinomian run to Christs merits taking away sin out of Gods sight, for this would follow by natural consequence, because the object is taken away? Take their own instances, God doth not now see the Floud that drowned the world; The Le∣prosie upon Naaman; The Israelites wound that is healed; why so? doth there need the bloud of Christ to remove these? No, it followeth naturally, because the objects are removed and taken away; and so it would be here.

Ninthly, All these instances for Gods not seeing, yet knowing,*are contrary to the doctrine they hold▪ God doth not see the Floud that drowned the world, he seeth not Naamans Leprosie, why so? because these things have no being; but here is their grand absur∣dity, that they hold sin hath still an objective existency in us to Gods understanding, and yet he doth not see it. They should have instanced in some thing that hath a being, and yet for all that, God not see it. If Naamans Leprosie had continued on him still, and yet God not see it, then it had been to the purpose; for they grant that we have truly sin in us, and we are to judge so; yet though it hath such a being in us, God doth not see it.

Tenthly, What an empty Cobweb is this distinction,* even for that very purpose they bring it? Oh say they, if God see sin, he is of so pure a nature, that he cannot be but horribly and infinitely dis∣pleased with us: Those (say they) that hold God seeth sin in Be∣lievers, consider not how loathsom, even the least sin is in his eyes. But will this comfort my conscience, if they say at the same time, though God doth not see it, yet he knoweth it? Alas, God is of that pure nature, that if he knoweth but the least sin by me, he cannot but be infinitely displeased at it. So that you see this distinction will no waies ease a Believer in point of the trouble of his con∣science. And thus have I laboured to break the heart of this false and ignorant distinction.

Page  94

LECTURE XII.


HEBREWS 4.13.

All things are naked and opened to him, &c.

*THe second answer made by the Antinomians to this Argu∣ment from Gods omnisciency, is this, For when we say, how weak and absurd is it, to hold, God doth not see that, which we see? They answer (Honey-Comb pag. 61.) Here we oppose the power of God against his will, for he seeth all things, saving that which he undertakes to abolish out of his own sight, that he may not see it, so that by his mysticall cloathing of us with his sons righteousnesse, he hath abolished it out of his own sight, though not out of ours. Now we told you that this answer is not universally to be slighted, for our Divines, Pareus and others (as I mentioned before) (maintaining that remission of sin, though it be the utter deletion of the guilt, yet not the ful eradication and abolition of the filth, but that it still continueth in us) make this objection to themselves, Nothing is hid or covered from Gods eyes, if therefore sin be there, God cannot but see it. To this they answer, God seeth all, but what he will not see, and that is a known saying of Austins, Noluit advertere, noluit animadvertere, noluit agnoscere, maluit ignos∣cere, God will not take notice of the sins of justified persons, he will not punish them, he had rather forgive them. It seemeth then by this, that God will not see sin in Believers to condemnation but yet he will to castigation; but if Christ hath fully satisfied Gods wrath, and it be a meer arbitrary thing in God, whether he will chastise or no, why then should not Gods anger and his chastise∣ments be removed from the godly by Christs death as well as his justice and punishments? It's therefore worthy the inquiry, how Page  95 far Gods taking notice of sin so as to chastise or punish it, is subject to the meer liberty of his will: And in answering of this, I will not range as far as this question will carry me, for the totall discus∣sion of it in its large extent will be when we speak of the meri∣torious cause of justification against Socinians.* To speak there∣fore in a more restricted way of this matter: Consider these Pro∣positions, some whereof are ground-works and foundations, the other more immediatly reaching to our scope in hand.

First, There is in God a liberty and free-will, whereby he doth whatsoever he pleaseth, so that as the Psalmist saith, He that made the eye to see, shall not he see? He that maketh man to know, shall not he know? and thus he that gave man and Angels this perfe∣ction of freedom, shall not he much more be free? * Therefore those titles of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which the Greek Fathers sometimes give to the will of man, are too proud and lofty, and do more properly belong to God. Indeed so far as freedom is con∣ceived in creatures to have some potential〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 indifferency, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a suspendedness to be determined by some other, so far we are not to conceive it in God; for this mutability or Potentiall indetermination, is an imperfection; and so that same potest as peccandi, power to sin, which some make necessary to liber∣ty, and which they call a perfection▪ though they grant the action of sin it self to be an imperfection (though this should be granted, which must not) yet neither could this be found in Gods liberty, and no marvell, seeing that it is not in the liberty of Christs hu∣mane will, for though Christs obedience was truly and properly so, being under a command of God, yet not only as he was God, but as he was man, he was 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉impeccablo, or free from the temptation of sin. Therefore its detestable blas∣phemy of Durand and other Schoolmen, saying, Christ might have sinned, lib. 3. Sentent. dist. 12. quae. 2. as also of the Remon∣strants who say, Christ after he had taken this Office of a mediator∣ship, might have forsaken it, and given it over, but of this more in its proper place; God therefore is a free agent, Psal. 135.6. He hath done whatsoever he pleased in heaven and earth, so that he made not the world as the fire burneth, or the Bees make their Honey-Combs, by a naturall necessity, but according to the counsel of his will; hence it is that all his spiritual mercies become Page  96 commended unto us, under the title of grace. There was no naturall or morall necessity, obliging God to elect us, to give his Son for us, or to save us, and indeed it could not be liberality, if it were not a libero, from one that is free.

*Propos. 2. According to the different descriptions of liberty and freedom; so it may be extended larger or narrower unto the actions of God. Those who make liberty consistent with a necessity of im∣mutability, and do not think indifferency necessary, but only knowledge, and judgement going before, they extend it even to the goodnesse and holinesse of God; so they say, God is liberè bonus, freely good, and doth freely love himself, so they make the con∣firmed Angels and Saints, freely to love God, though necessarily, thus we sin freely, though necessarily: But others, who make a power to do, or not do, necessary to liberty, think it a kinde of blasphemy to say, God doth freely will that which is good: hence they make liberty not an attribute of his nature, as holinesse, om∣nipotency, &c. are, but an affection of his will only, and they think that necessarium and contingens, under which liberty is comprehended, are differences of ens in its full latitude, as fini∣tum and infinitum; therefore as the same thing cannot be finite and infinite, so neither necessary and free, but this is to put the definition of liberty into too strait fetters, as in time may be shewn. I join with those, that think immutability and liberty may be in the same act, and that God doth freely, though unchangeably love himself; but that freedom of his actions to the creatures, is with a power to do otherwise if he pleaseth.

There is also another kinde of liberty mentioned by the learn∣ed, which is opposed to servitude, and is the same with sui juris; now God in all things is this way free: He hath no law imposed upon himself by any other, but only what he prescribeth him∣self, that doth he work by; therefore when we say, its just with God to damn an impenitent sinner, this justice ariseth not from any obligation put upon him by another, but what he hath eternally prescribed himself.

*Propos. 3. Gods omnisciency, or his bare seeing and taking no∣tice of sin, when it is, is not subject to his liberty, He cannot but see, whatsoever is, and also possible to be, so that we cannot say pro∣perly God seeth all things because he will see them; for this is an Page  97 attribute founded in the nature of God; but if we take know∣ledge or seeing for the effects accompanying them, as the Scri∣pture for the most part doth, because God is not an idle spectator of things, but upon his seeing, there is either care and protection, or anger and punishment, then in this sense, all these effects are subject in some sense to the liberty and free-will of God. God cannot but see the adultery of David, but whether he will so see it, as to punish David for it in his own person, or in Christ; or whether he will chastise him at this time, or in this manner; that is meerly at the good pleasure of God. Whether indeed he is free to punish at all, or chastise at all, you will hear in the other Propositions; thus much we may conclude, That God cannot abolish sin so out of his sight, so that with his eyes of omniscien∣cy he should not behold it, when it is there.

Propos. 4. In respect of Gods liberty and freedom,*there is great difference between the attributes of God, as also the exercises and a∣ctions of them. There are some properties that require no object for their exercise, but they make it; thus the omnipotency of God, doth not finde, but make its object. Again there are others, which though they require an object, yet not any condition, or circumstance in it; so the wisdom of God, can and doth order every object, let it be what it will be, to a glorious end. It or∣dered an harmonious world out of a Chaos, he made all things, qua omnipotens, as omnipotent, and ordered them all qua sapi∣ens, as a wise God. But then there are other attributes, which though essential to him, yet cannot be exercised, but where the objects are so and so conditionated; as that mercy of God, whereby he doth forgive sins, requireth an object penitent and believing: so that Justice of God, whereby it is punitive and vindicative of sin, requireth an object, that is a sinner and impe∣nitent. Now in the actions about the objects of the former sort, God is every way free, he might have created the world, or not have created it; but in the actions of the latter sort, though he be also free, yet not so as to use Justice, or not Justice, when there is an object with its due condition. As now it was free to God, whether he would make man or no, it was free for him, whe∣ther he would permit man to fall or no, but when fallen, not free whether he would be just or no: Thus God is free, whe∣ther Page  98 he will procure, or prepare an object of justice; but then when he hath so prepared an object, then he is not loosned from the obli∣gation of Justice. To procure an object of Justice ariseth from the Soveraignty and meer freedom of God: Hence Gods permission of sin, or reprobation negative. which is the passing by of some, are not acts of Justice properly so called; but condemnation for sin is tru∣ly and properly Justice. The former arise from Gods supream do∣minion and freedom. When an Object of Justice is, there is an obligation to execute the same upon it, but not when an object of mercy is, because its necessary to mercy, that it should be indebi∣ta, but to justice, debita.

I do not here intend to meddle with that Question, Whether God absolutely might not have let sin go unpunished, and yet forgive it, as we see men can: (This is disputed even among the Orthodox; some are for the Negative, as Pisator, Luber∣tus, &c. Others for the Affirmative, as Davenant, Twist, &c. but the proper place for this will be, when we speak of Christs satisfaction) nor yet with that other of the Schoolmen, Whe∣ther God may absolutely accept of a sinner to pardon, and eter∣nal life, though he do not regenerate, or sanctifie him; these are to be handled in their proper place. You see by this delivered, how far the actions of Gods Justice may be said to be free, or not free.

* Propos. 5. Whatsoever may be said in an absolute sense about Gods Justice, yet since that threatning promulged (In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death) God cannot in Iustice, but punish sinners. Though it be in his freedom whether he will give thee a being, or no, yet if thou art an obstinate sinner, it is not in his freedom, whether he will damn thee or no; so that as God can∣not but love that Image of his holinesse where he seeth it, so he cannot but hate the contrary, wheresoever it is, though that ha∣tred shall not alwayes fall upon the person in whom it is, because removed by Christ.

It is Camerons opinion, That the word Iustitia,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, when attributed to God, doth alwayes signifie Goodnesse, Salva∣tion, Redemption, but never in the Scripture (saith he) doth it denote an affection in God, whereby he avengeth himself upon sinners; but that the words Ira and Iudicium, AngerPage  99 and Iudgement expresse this; But though the word signifie so sometimes, yet in some places it must needs mean this disposi∣tion in God, Psal. 9.5. 1 Tim. 4.8. 2 Thess. 1.6. so that in some sense, we may with several Orthodox men, say, Iustice is es∣sential to God. Sin is not indeed Physically contrary to God, as water is to fire, for if it were so, God would not suffer it to be, because he is an infinite good; as if there were infinite fire, or light, there could not be any water or darknesse; but it is morally contrary to him, Hab. 1. Thou art of purer eyes then to be∣hold iniquity; even sins against any positive command of God, that are sins only because prohibited, they are thus far against his nature, and not his will only; because it is against his na∣ture, to have his will and commands disobeyed in any thing, he being the supream and most holy Lawgiver. If God did only punish sin because he will, and not because he is essentially just, there could no true cause be given, why Heathens should have terrour in their consciences after sins committed, seeing the Word is not revealed unto them, declaring Gods will: and when the Scripture speaks of God punishing sins, it doth not at∣tribute it to Gods meer will, because he will do so, but to his Iustice, Rev. 16.5, 7. Thus Exod. 24. God is described by this property, Not acquitting the guilty. Now when we say, God cannot but punish sin with death since the promulgation of the threat∣ning, that is not so to be understood, as if then only the tie and obligation of Iustice came upon God, but it was from eternity: for as God did in time reveal this threatning; so he did from all eternity will this threatning; and so therefore from all eternity it was just with God to punish a sinner, neither could he forgive him without a satisfaction. This is diligently to be observed, because men speak sometimes, as if vindicative Iustice were then only due when the actual threatning was; whereas the executions of God in time, are, as his decrees were from eter∣nity; and truly we should not give way to such Disputes, Whe∣ther God could have pardoned absolutely, or provided any o∣ther way and remedy, when we see God pitching upon this, and the Scripture only revealing this. Hence the Scripture com∣mandeth us to eschew sins, not meerly because of his will onely, but because he is holy in his nature, Lev. 11.44. Josh. 24.19. It Page  100 is true Gods hatred and displicency of sin cannot but be, yet the destination of it actually to punishment comes in some sense under his liberty.

*Prop. 6. Though God cannot but take notice of sin, so as to punish it, yet it is under his freedom, whether he will punish it in their own persons or in a surety; and by this means the wisdom of God found out an excellent temperament of Iustice and Mercy, so that the one doth not oppose the other; notwithstanding Gods justice, yet his love and wisdom put him upon that remedy, which neither men or Angels could have excogitated; so that God doth not let sin go unpunished, only he provideth a Ram to be sa∣crificed for Isaac, a Mediator to come between his wrath and us. It is true, reason (as we see) doth much gainsay this mystery; but we may say, mulier ista taceat, let this woman hold her peace in the Church of God: Though therefore God cannot but execute justice upon sinners, yet his justice did admit of a temperament, whereby God doth proceed to see the sins of his people, to hate them, but yet to punish them upon Christ.

*7. Prop. There is a great deal of difference between Iustice, as it is an essential property in God, ad intra, and between the effects of it, ad extra. These latter come much under the liberty and freedom of God; which appeareth in the variety of his judgements upon wicked men, some being consumed one way, and some another, so that it is meerly at his pleasure, whether he will stir up more or lesse wrath, Ps. 2. there is a little anger of his spoken of: but you may read a remarkable expression, Ps. 78.38. He turned away his wrath from thm and stirred not up all his wrath. Here you see the anger of God subject to his free-will. If the effects of Gods justice should flow from him as burning from fire, or drowning from wa∣ter, the whole world were not able to endure before him who is a consuming fire. How could it come about, that the wicked do so overflow with prosperity in this world, if so be that God did necessarily punish and destroy, which are effects of his Iustice? So that there is a great difference between Iustice taken for an at∣tribute, and Iustice for the effects; God cannot but be alwayes just the former, whereas there is a liberty in the latter. As in man, the power of laughing is an essential property in him, yet the act of laugh∣ter ariseth in some measure by the freenes of his will. Hence it is Page  101 that Gods essential Iustice doth not receive more or lesse, but the ef∣fects of his Iustice may be more or lesse: If many men be in the same sin, and God doth punish some of them with a remarkable temporal judgement, we may not say, God dealeth more justly with these then the other; yet we may say, the effects of his Iu∣stice are greater upon some then others.

8. Propos. Christ satisfied God as a just Iudge, not as a Father provoked, and by this means, though punishments are taken away,* yet afflictions for sin are not; and this doth directly answer the whole Question, whereas it is demanded, seeing Christ fully reconciled God to us, and thereby all punishments are taken away, why not as well all afflictions? If he hath removed great∣er, will he think much at the lesse? The answer lieth fully in this, Christ by his bloud and satisfaction undertook that the justice of God should never fall upon us to punish us, not that he should never be angry with us a Father, to chastise us. By this redem∣ption, its Christs will that God should not as a just Iudge, require compensation of us; not, that as a provoked Father, he should not scourge us for our sins when committed. The reason is clear, because fatherly anger is an ffect of love; but punishment the fruit of hatred. And thus now you see, why God will not see sin to condemnation, because Christ hath made up that; yet he will see it in believers to angry castigation, because Christ did not interpose there: it is therefore no derogation to Christs death, no injury to his suf∣ferings, if notwithstanding them, God doth afflict for sin, even his own children.

9. Propos. By reason of this anger of God against sin,*even still abiding, those afflictions which come upon believers, are from a con∣veniency with the justice of God. Although we cannot say rigidly, That if God did not chastise believers for their sins, he were unjust; yet we may say, his afflicting of them, is beseeming his Iustice, part∣ly, because he hath prescribed this law to himself, 1 Sam. 7.14. Even as to wicked men upon their obstinate sinning, to punish them, so upon his own, if they offend, to chasten them; and part∣ly by afflicting of his people for their sin, he demonstrates the hatred of it unto the world. Although therefore God do not alwayes chastise every godly man, but sometimes by their repen∣tance these very chastisments are either prevented or removed, Page  102 yet when God doth thus break out in his anger against them, this is becoming his just nature, and the world thereby seeth how he is displeased with it. One of the Articles which Arminius relateth, as laid against him, was, that he should hold, The temporal afflictions of believers, were not chastisements but punish∣ments, properly so called. To this he answereth, pa. 103. Resp. ad Artic. 31. That the calamities inflicted upon David for his sin, in the matter of Ʋriah, may be called punishments properly; and that the Text seemeth to be better explained so, and yet withall, that there will be no favour to the Popish opinion: for he grants, That Christ satisfied both for eternal and temporal punishments, but yet God when he takes off the spiritual punishment, may for a while reserve the temporal, as though Christ hath taken away the jus, the power and right death hath over us, yet he hath not quite destroyed actual death: but all this is a meer itching, to innovate needlesly in Religion; for if Christ have satisfied for temporal death, then though it be not removed presently, yet it cannot abide as a punishment strictly.

LECTURE XIII.


MATTH. 6.12.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

THis Text shall be the last (because the noblest) to prove that God seeth sin in those that are believers; for if they be bound to pray that God would forgive them their debts, there∣fore they are involved in debts, and in deep humility they are to acknowledge this, withall desiring the cancelling or blotting them out; so that as the Church anciently used this place a∣gainst those Pelagian Doctrines, which dreamed of a perfection in this life, and immunity from all sin, no lesse doth it over∣throw those novel Assertions, of being without sin (though not inherently) yet as to Gods eye and account. What Terul∣lian said of the Lords-Prayer in general, is most true of this Page  103 Petition, Quantum substringitur verbis, tantum diffunditur sensibus, it is as comprehensive in sense, as straightned in words,* so in this Petition, you have few leaves of words, but much fruit of matter; Its like Christs Mustard-seed, which by a good Interpreters managing, will grow into a tall tree. The material things that belong to remission of sins, I shall inclose as pertinent to my purpose. In the words you have the Petiti∣on it self, Forgive. Secondly, The Subject, Ʋs, Disciples and Believers. He that thinketh himself without sin, that very thought is a sin in him. Thirdly, The Object or Matter of Peti∣tion, Our debts (that is) as Luke 11▪ expounds it, sins. Fourth∣ly, The Condition or Qualification of those who are to expect pardon (As we forgive our Debtors) which words are not to be understood causally and meritoriously of Justification, nor as if we did hereby teach God to imitate us: Therefore those ex∣pressions of the Ancients, intimating that in other things we imitate God, but here God doth us, are not rigidly justifiable. Cassianus Collat. 9. cap. 23. reproveth some that would not for∣give others, but yet lest they should lie in their prayer, they would leave this part out of the Petition: But our Saviour ma∣keth this a necessary qualification for remission of sin, whether we expresse it or not. Lastly, There is the Particle of order,*And; so that the very connexion of it to the Petition for daily bread, doth teach us; first, that our hearts are not to stay long in prayer for temporal things, but presently to return to spiritu∣al: As some Fowls of the air, suddenly catch their prey off from the ground, but dare not abide, lest they should be insna∣red; so ought we to do in our affections about heavenly things: many times the Bee is drowned in its own honey. Hence we have but one Petition for earthly things, and two for spritual things, belonging to our selves; this, and the Petition following; In this we pray for remission of sin; in the folowing for sanctifica∣tion; which are the sum of the new Covenant. Besides this or∣der doth well teach us, That although we have all bodily necessaries, yet if our sins are not forgiven we cannot take any delight in any worldly advantage whatsoever. I shall begin with the Object of the Petition, which is in the Text Debts. Sins are so called to aggravate the nature of them,*Page  104 and make us more fearfull and cautelous how we run into them. As Solomon speaks of Suretiship for another, Deli∣ver thy self like the swift Roe; the same is much more to be applied to our sins, which are debts of a more terrible nature. Now when sins are called Debts, or said to be forgiven, its a Metaphor from pecuniary Debts, as the Debtor was said luere when he did pay his money; and it is generally used of any that are obnoxious to punishment; so the Grecians say, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and the Latines, Poenas debere. So the Hebrew word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used both for Debts and Guilt, Dan. 1.10. Ezech. 18.7. as also for Sin, Exod. 32. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which is applied to a Sin∣ner, Jam. 2.20. is also frequently used of Punishments, as Mat. 5.21, 22.

*The Observation, Sins are Debts. This is excellently described, Mat. 18.24. where our sins against God are not only compared to a Debt▪ but a debt of a vast sum, ten thousand talents, which there is no hope for us ever to discharge, so that the aggravation of a sin lieth in this, that it is against God; therefore observe, that of∣fence which man doth against man, is compared to an hundred pence only, but that which we do against God to ten thousand ta∣lents. O that men therefore who account it such a misery and slavery to be in money-debts, would bemoan their condition of sin-debts. As sins are debts, so God is said to have a debt-book▪ wherein he writeth all our transgressions: hence is that phrase of blotting them out, and of cancelling the hand-writing that is against us. This hand-writing in the Scripture should as much appale and astonish us, as that on the wall did Belshazzar. So that phrase 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to reckon or impute, is taken from ac∣counts in debts. But to open the Point,

*1. Let us consider, What in sin is a Debt. And

2. Why sins are called Debts.

In sin there is the obliquity and dissonancy from the Law of God; and this is not called a Debt, for we do not owe this to God, but the contrary, obedience and holinesse. In sin there is a guilt and obligation unto eternal punishment, and this is properly a Debt; but yet in this Petition we must not limit it to the lat∣ter respect only, but include both the deformity and demerit of sin, that God would forgive both. What it is in sin that Page  105 doth denominate a sinner, will in time be discussed.

Secondly, Consider Why they are called debts,* and that may be in these respects.

First, Because upon our sin, we owe God his honour, his glory, yea, his very deity again, which as much as lieth in us, we by trans∣gressions have taken away. Omne peccatum, est quasi deicidium, say the Schools. Every sinne doth as it were deprive God (as much as lieth in a sinner) of his Godhead and blessednesse; so that if God were capable of misery and grief, thy sins would bring it upon him. Hence are those expressions of being pressed by our sins as a cart is under sheavs, Amos 2.13. And the Prophet Ezekiel his lying so many daies on one side, and then on the other, to his great pain and trouble, was as some think, to represent, how much God was affected with the Israelites sins, and how great his patience was to endure them so long. If then they said to Da∣vid, Thou art worth ten thousand of us: how much rather may we say to God, Thy honour, thy glory, it is worth ten thou∣sand thousand of us? it is fitter for us to be damned or annihi∣lated, then the least glimpse of his glory obscured. For this is such a debt in sin, as we are never able to make up again. If a mean Peasant should defame a great King, and reproach him, he were never able to make satisfaction in way of Honour to him; how much rather is this true of us, seeing there is no pro∣portion between that which is finite and infinite?

Secondly, He is a debtor to Gods Justice to satisfie that:* and hereby it is, that Christ gave himself a price for our sins, and re∣conciled God to us: for we were not in that condition, as to say with the servant in the Parable, Mat. 18. Have patience and I will pay thee all I owe. They have low and narrow thoughts of sin, which think any externall or internall humiliation for sin, can be satisfactory to Gods Justice. Hence the godly do not (as the Antinomians charge them) put any such meritorious efficacy, and causality in them. They attribute not that to their tears, which belongs to Christs bloud; they do not judge their crucifying sin to be equivalent with Christ crucified; they do not in practice that which some have done in opinion, say, they are the Messi∣as or Christ: and certainly if the Psalmist say, we cannot ran∣some our selves from the grave, much lesse can we from hell. Page  106 Now this debt of Gods Justice is in every sin, the least idle thought or word: we may say of every sin pardoned, here is the price of bloud, even of Christs bloud.

*Thirdly, Being not able to satisfie Gods justice, in the next place, we by sin become debtors to everlasting punishment in hell; so that as the murderer or flagitious person by his crimes becomes a deb∣tor to the capitall punishments to be inflicted by a Law, so doth a sinner to the Scripture punishments threatned in the word, so that hell and damnation are the proper wages that are due to him. Oh how dear doth every pleasant or profitable sin cost thee? thou owest eternal damning for it. Chrysostome in his time com∣plained of some, who would say, Give me that which is sweet, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and let it choak me: so do all sinners, Give me that sinful profit and pleasure, though I am obliged to eternal wrath thereby. Ambrose thought wicked men were called debtors, be∣cause the devil lends them their lusts and sins as so much money, for which he will exact eternal torment as the usury of them. Whatso∣ever it be, certainly this notion of sins being debts ought much to affect and trouble thee. Thy sins are worse debts then any thou owest.

*Fourthly, In sin we become debtors by this means, All the good we have, whether natural or supernatural, we are betrusted with as so many talents, and for abusing of these, or not improving of them, we become debtors unto God. You have a full parable to this pur∣pose, Mat. 25. Where you have every opportunity, even the least, that God puts into our hands, compared to a talent, and that for the greatnesse and preciousnesse of it, and a man may be accountable unto God, either propter damnum emergens, for the losse that comes to our master therein, or for lucrum cessans, the very ceasing of gain. As that servant who hid his talent in a nap∣kin, and returned it safe again, though he was not guilty of any prodigall decoction of it, yet he is called a wicked and unprofi∣table servant, Now, because all our talents are many, hence our debts do arise to an infinite summe: none so indebted as those who have great wealth, great parts, Sicut crescunt dona, sic crs∣cunt rationes donorum, The more mercies the greater account to be given. This consideration may deeply humble us.

As our sinnes are thus debts, so we have all naturally the Page  107 evill properties, and wicked customes of ill debtors.

*

1. We are very unwilling to be called to any accounts; we do not love to hear of the day of judgement; we love not that the Mi∣nisters of God should tell us of our bills and hand-writings that are against us. Hence some observe that expression,*Mat. 18.24. When the Master begun to reckon, it is said, One was brought that owed ten thousand talents, as if it were by force; and he was haled to his master. What an amazement and astonishment will that voice from heaven put us into, Give an account of thy Stewardship, unlesse Christ be our surety, and he undertake to discharge all? so that the very word debts, may breed in us much love to Christ, who was willing to stand engaged for us. Phocian the Athenian, coming to one in publike office, that was very soli∣citious about giving up his accounts, and (saith he) I am soli∣citious how I may give no account at all. Thus if it were possible, would every man be studious how he may decline that day of accounts: how gladly would he have the grave to detain him there alwaies?

2. To be full of shame and fear: Thus are men in debt,* desirous to lie latitant, and not to be seen, Grave vocabulum debitorum, said Ambrose, The name of debts is very dreadfull and terrible. Hence Ambrose speaketh of some, who for the shame and di∣stresse thereof, have made away themselves, fearing more oppro∣brium vitae, then mortis periculum, the reproach of life, then the punishment of death. Suidas speaks of a Proverb in lit. A. A 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Once red with blushing at the time of borrowing, and afterwards ten times pale for fear of paying, Canis latrat, & cor tuum palpitat, Ambros. de Tob. cap. 7. The dog doth but bark, and thy heart feareth an Arrest: and if men have been thus perplexed about worldly debts, when yet death would at last release them, how much more may men be afraid of these spiritual debts? There was a certain Roman died in a vast sum of debts, which in his life time he concealed, and after his death, when his goods were to be sold, Augustus the Empe∣ror sent to buy his pillow he lay upon, because saith he, I hope that would make me sleep, on which a man so much indebted could take his ease. It is much that we who have so many debts spiritual, can sleep, or eat, or drink, till we see them discharged Page  108 by Christ. Oh that every natural man should not like Cain fear every thing would damn him!

*3. To shift and put off, to be in continuall delays, and if so, to be no further troubled. This a custome in worldly debts, if men can shift one way or other they care not: hence Horace cals the wicked debtor, Sceleratus Proteus, fiet aper, modo avis, modo sax∣um, & cum volét arbor, become in all shapes, to evade the Cre∣ditor, and thus it is in spirituall debts. How unwilling to acknow∣ledge our debts, to confesse them to God? I look upon all Pelagian Doctrines on one side, and Antinomian opinions on the other side, which would either make no sin in us, or at least not to be taken notice of by God, but as so many cousening cheats of a guilty heart, that is unwilling to be found a debtor before God. Cum delationem impetraveris, gaudes, said Ambrose of a debtor, If men can but delay they do rejoice. And are we not all thus na∣turally affected, if we can from day to day get one worldly com∣fort after another, and so be able to support our selves, we think all is well: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, nothing is more troublesome, then to hear, Pay what thou owest: do not there∣fore please thy self with delays and excuses, lest thou die in thy misery.

*4. To hate those to whom we are indebted: Leve aes alienum de∣bitorem facit, grave inimicum; A little money borrowed makes a man a debtor, but a great deal an enemy; and so the more they owe, the more they hate: 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, said Aristotle, Debtors wish their Creditors to have no being, such is the hatred that ariseth thereby: and this is most emi∣nently true in wicked men, They hate God because they fear him as a just Judge, who will severely demand to the last farthing: Com∣fortable therefore is this direction, to pray in this Petition, for hereby is supposed, that God is propitious, and ready to release us; we may have a Jubile ever day; No devil hath any war∣rant to say, Forgive us our sins, God hath cast them into utter darknesse, and bound them up in perpetuall chains for their debts, but he is ready to forgive us. As therefore we reade of David, That men in debt and distresse followed him, hoping thereby to be freed from their Creditors hands, so let us fol∣low Christ, who only is able to take off this heavy burden from us,Page  109 and know the longer we lie in our debts, the more they will en∣crease upon us.

Now in two respects spiritual debts do exceed wordly debts.*

1. In the danger of non-payment: Suppose the highest punish∣ments that we reade of in Histories against perfidious debtors, yet that doth not amount to the punishment of our spirituall debts. In some Laws they were bound to sell their children,* yea, themselves to become slaves, Exodus 21.7. Exodus 22.2. 2 Kings 4.1. Thus God commanded in the Jewish Laws. This was very miserable, to have children sold for parents debts. Va∣lentinian the Emperour would have such put to death that were not able to pay their debts; but above all, that Law in the 12. Tables, that who was in debt, the Creditors might take him, and cause him to be cut alive in as many peeces as the Creditors pleased. This cruelty saith Tertullian, was afterwards erased out by publike consent, Suffudere maluit homini sanguinem, quam ef∣fundere: but, what is this to that Mat. 18.30. His master was wroth, and delivered him to the trmentors, till he had paid all that was due? so then chains and imprisonments are the worst of worldly debts, but the eternall wrath of God falleth upon spi∣rituall debtors.

2. In the impossibility of escaping this punishment.*In these debts death will free a man: but then is the beginning of our misery by spirituall debts. So Mat. 5.26. Thou shalt by no means come out, till thou hast paid the utmost farthing; and because we are never able to do that, therefore must our condemnation be eternall. We pity the indebted prisoners that out of their grates cry, Bread, bread; But how more doleful is that cry of Dives out of hell for a drop of water, and none giveth unto him? This is some mitigating consideration to the worst troubles here, that they are not eternal; and it is the aggravation of the least in hell, that they are eternal. Therefore in that the Scripture cals our sins by these names, and we have an innumerable heap of them, let us mourn under the weight of them, and bewail their burden, aud this is to be done with all speed, not knowing how soon justice may take us by the throat, saying, Pay that thou owest.

The use may be of instruction to the godly,* that notwithstand∣ing their Justification and forgivenesse of sins past, yet they run Page  110 into debt daily, and such debts, as for the pardon of them, they must renew daily sorrow and confession, as also sue out continual pardon: for certainly our Saviour did not direct us to say this Petition, humiliter only, for humility sake, as some of old thought; but also veraciter truly, and if it be true, then we are not in a cold customary way of luke-warmnesse to beg this pardon, but with the same deep sense, conflict and agony of spirit, as we see male∣factors importune the Judge for a pardon. Now if there were a malefactor, that thought the Judge saw no crimes, nor matter of death in him; but on the contrary, that he was altogether righ∣teous and free, how could this man with any deep remorse and acknowledgement bewail himself? so that this Petition contain∣eth excellent Doctrine as well as practice. Tertullian called the Lords Prayer, Breviarum Evangelij, a breviary or sum of the Gospel, for legem credendi, adde & operandi, lex statuit supplican∣di, said another, The Law or Rule of Prayer, teacheth the rule of faith and practice; and this is very true in this Petition, which teacheth both Doctrine and Practice against the Antinomians: It is true, they make glosses upon this Text, but such cursed ones as do wholly corrup it; do not therefore think that Justifica∣tion giveth thee such a quietus est that new sins daily commit∣ted by thee should be no matter of humiliation or confession; certainly our Saviours command is, That we should desire this for∣givenesse, as often as we do our daily bread.

LECTURE XIV.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our debts.

WE have already considered the object in this Petition, viz. sins, which according to the Syriak Idiotism are cal∣led debts, as alms are called righteousnesse, ver. 1. in an Hebraism. The next thing to be treated of, is the Petition it self, forgive us,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: this word is most commonly used by the Apostles to signifie Page  111pardon of sins; they have it about seven and twenty times; but more of this when we shew what remission of sins is. The work I have for the present to do, is, to shew how comprehensive this Petition is, and what it is we pray for herein. Bellarmine oppo∣sing the Doctrine of the Protestants, holding a special and peculi∣ar faith, appropriating pardon of sin, mistaking the question, as if we maintained justifying faith to be that whereby we believe our sins are certainly forgiven us in Christ, chargeth this absurdity upon us, lib. 1. de Just. c. 10. That we take away this Petition in the Lords Prayer: For saith he, If I be bound certainly to believe my sins are forgiven already, it would be as absurd to pray that God would forgive us our sins, as to pray Christ might be incarnated, see∣ing we believe he was incarnated already. And l. 4. de noti ecclesiae, c. 11. He makes this opinion of the Protestants, holding we are righteous before God for Christs sake, and the believing of this with a special faith, to be comparable with any Paradox in the world, as not being above or besides, but plainly contrary to all reason, and as that which makes it impossible for us to say, Forgive us our sins, unlesse we lye. It is true according to the Antinomian Divinity, which saith, there is no sin now in the Church, this Prayer doth no more belong to us then to the Angels in heaven: therefore the Antinomian makes not the meaning of this Prayer to be as if we prayed for the forgiveness which we had not before, but only for more full and rich assurance of it. Honey-Comb p.156. But the Sequel will shew the falshood of both these assertions.

Obser.*It is the duty of justified persons to pray for the forgivenes of their sins. To understand this, we will shew, first,* what is the expresse meaning of this Petition, and then what is the implied sense of it.

In the first place, our meaning in this Petition is, That God would not require of us the payment and satisfaction of his justice for our sinnes. We have a Parable,*Luke 16.8. Of an unjust Stew∣ard, who called his Lords debtors, who bid him that owed an hun∣dred measures of oyl, set down fifty: but if God should conde∣scend thus far to us, instead of millions of sins we owe,*to set down but an hundred, yea, should we come down as low in the num∣ber of sins, as Abraham of his righteous men, yet that would not avail us. Yea, as long as there is but a farthing, the least sin un∣paid, Page  112 so long are we unable to give an account to God. We there∣fore desire of God, that he would not call upon us to pay for the least vain thought, or idle word, much lesse for those more grievous sins which we have committed. As it is, Not unto us Lord, not unto us, let the glory be given: so Not of us Lord, not of us, let thy justice be satisfied.

*2. We pray, That God would lay our sins upon Christ, and ac∣cept of satisfaction in and through him; for seeing God hath de∣clared his will, that man shall die for sin; if we should pray, that God would absolutely forgive our sins, it would be to pray, that he might be unjust. There is a twofold difference between Gods for∣givenesse of our sins, and our forgiving of others. First, We may and ought in some cases to forgive others freely, without any sa∣tisfaction at all, but God hath bound himself to another way. [ 1] Yet Gods grace is much to be magnified, and extolled in par∣don, [ 2] as we shall shew against the Socinian. Again secondly, We may and ought to forgive others though they do not repent, and ask pardon of us; but God hath declared his will otherwise: we do not therefore pray, that God would out of an absolute sove∣raignty and dominion remit our sins; but that he would account them upon Christ, and take him for our surety. As the Prophets wife who died in debt, was wonderfully relieved by the Prophets oyl, so that she was enabled to satisfie all her creditors; no lesse advantagious is the bloud of Christ to us, whereby the justice of God is appeased towards us. Therefore in this prayer, thus we may argue, O Lord, we call not upon thee to repeal any threat∣ning, to nullifie thy word, to become unjust; but thy wisedom hath found out a way that we may be pardoned, and thou satis∣fied. Neither will this be any injury to Christ, to lay them upon him though innocent, for this he voluntarily undertook, and he is not made a Surety or Mediatour against his will, neither in the midst of all his agonies and troubles he grapled with, did he repent of his suretiship, or desire to give it over; so that there goeth more to make this Petition good, and possible, then did to make the world at first, for there it cost Christ but a word, Let there be light, and there was light, but it is not so here, Let there be pardon, and there shall be pardon: besides Christs speak∣ing, there must be his doing and suffering.

Page  1133. As we pray thus for Justification, so also for continuance and preservation in it. As we pray for daily bread,* though our store be full; so, Though our Justification be sure, and perseve∣ring, yet by prayer we are to be preserved in it. A certain know∣ledge and faith of a thing, takes not away prayers; we know certainly God will gather a Church, and preserve it to the end of the world; yet we pray, Thy Kingdom come. Paul knew Act. 27.24. that none in the Ship with him should perish, because God had given him their lives, yet none can doubt, but he pray∣ed for their preservation, as well as used other means. Howsoe∣ver now, grievous sins committed by a David or Peter, may fa∣sten upon them, as the Viper upon Pauls hand, yet by the grace of God, they shall not be able to unstate them out of Gods fa∣vour, but at last their repentance will revive, and so they will sue out a pardon; and certainly Gods power and grace is no less seen in preserving of us in the state of Justification, then at first justifying us.

4. We do not only pray for preservation in this estate,*but for dai∣ly renewed acts of pardon, and imputation of Christs righteousnesse. Howsoever, as in the controversal part is to be shewed, Justifica∣tion is not reiterated, but is a state in which we were at first be∣lieving put into, without Apostacy from it, either total or final: yet those particular acts of pardon, and imputing of Christs righteousness, are continually by God communicated unto us: neither may we think, That our sins past, present and to come, are all taken away by one sentence, so that there is no new or iterated par∣don. Then indeed Bellarmines Argument would have strength in it, That it were as absurd to pray for forgivenesse of sin,*as to have Christ new incarnated; or that we might be predestinated, according as some have falsly said, Si non sis praedestinatus, ora, ut praedestineris, If thou art not predestinated, pray that thou mayest be. We might indeed pray for the believing of these things in a more setled manner, but not for the things themselves. But this is the proper answer to Bellarmines Objection, We pray for pardon of sin, and not for the Incarnation of Christ, or the ma∣king of the world, because these were so once done, that they are never to be done more. The Incarnation of Christ was once done, and is not to be done again; but remission of sin is so done, Page  114 as that it is continually to be done for us, and the ultimate com∣pleat effect of it will then only be, when sin shall be quite taken away, so that a total and full remission will be only at the day of Judgement, as appeareth Act. 3.19. That your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come: Not but that every sin here forgiven is fully and perfectly forgiven, but because we re∣new sin daily, therefore there is need of a daily pardon: Away therefore with all such opinions, as shall either plead such an inherent righteousnesse in the Pelagian way, or such an imputed righteousnesse in the Antinomian way, that will overthrow this Petition for forgivenesse of sins. If all thy former sins be forgiven, and no pardon for future, thy case would be desperate, for sin like Samsons hair, though it be cut, yet it will grow again, and come to great strength.

*5. We pray for the sense and feeling of this pardon in our consci∣ences more and more. For although God hath pardoned our sin, yet if we know not of this, it taketh off much from our comfort and Gods glory; we are in this case like some Heir or Prince, that hath many temporal dignities, but by reason of his infancy doth not understand it. Hence David, though Nathan told him, His sin was pardoned, yet Ps. 51. he prayeth for mercy and par∣don, and that in a plentifull manner; so that although a sin is perfectly remitted, so that it cannot be more of lesse forgiven then it is, yet the assurance or knowledge of this, may be more or lesse; and indeed though to have sins pardoned be an obje∣ctive happiness, yet to know that they are pardoned, is formal happiness; so that he is compleatly happy, who both hath his sins pardoned, and also knoweth they are so; and this made David Ps. 103. so exult and rejoyce, Blesse the Lord, O my soul, who for∣giveth all thine iniquities. This particular assurance inlarged his heart to praises. But although this be part of the sense in this Pe∣tition, yet this is not all we pray for, as the Antinomian con∣tends; for we pray principally for the real exhibition of pardon; and secondarily for the Declaration and manifestation of it in our consciences. Their conceit is, That God from all eternity hath par∣doned our sins past, present and to come, and that when we believe or repent, our sins are pardoned declaratively only to our conscience, they being forgiven before. This I shall handle in a Question by it Page  115 self: Only I shall lay down some few Arguments to prove that we do not only pray for assurance and manifestation of pardon, but also for pardon it self. The reasons are these,*

First, We might by the same rule, interpret all the other Petitions in regard of Declaration only, and not exhibition; when we pray for sanctification and glorification in that Petiti∣on, Thy Kingdom come, it might be as well said,* that we were sanctified and glorified from all eternity; and therefore when we are converted or saved in heaven, this is but to our sense and feeling. This Argument seemeth to be so strong against them, that they have confest, A man is already glorified while he is upon earth, most absurdly confounding the Decrees of God from eternity to do things, with the executions of them in time. How ridiculous would it be to expound that Petition, Give us our dai∣ly bread, thus, Not that God should give us daily bread, but only make us to see and feel that he hath given it us?

A second reason is, from the nature of forgivenesse of sin.* When sinne is pardoned, it is said to be blotted out: now that blotting out is not only from a mans conscience and feeling, but more immediately out of Gods Book. So that when God doth forgive, he doth cancel those debts which are in his Book, and not only the guilt that lieth upon our hearts: therefore these are very separable the one from the other: A man may feel no weight or burden of sin upon him, and yet it stand in fiery Characters against him in Gods Book; and on the contrary, a sin may be blotted out there, yet be very heavy and terrible in a mans feeling and apprehension: so sin pardoned is said to be covered or hid, not in respect of us, as if it were taken from our sight, but from Gods sight, and he is said to cast our sins be∣hinde his back, not ours.

The third reason, This Explication,* as the whole sense of the Petition, would overthrow all other places of Scripture, which make no pardon of sin to be, but where the subject hath such qualifications, as this in the Text of forgiving others, it is not indeed put as a cause or merit, but yet it is as a qualification of the subject; therefore our Saviour repeateth this again, Except ye forgive others, neither will my heavenly Father forgive you. So Act. 10.43. Whosoever believeth on him shall have remission of sins,Page  116 Rom. 3.15. He is a propitiation through faith in his bloud; here faith is made an instrument to apply and bring that pardon to the soul, which it had not before. So 1 Joh. 1.9. If we confesse our sins, he is faithfull and just to forgive us our sins. By these and the like Scriptures, it is plain, That remission of sin is given us only in the use of these graces: not that hereby we merit at Gods hand, or that God is tied to these wayes; but it is here, as in the Sacraments, he hath tied himself to convey his graces in no other chanels or conduits then he hath appointed.

*Lastly, This would make no difference between sins repented of, and not repented of; for if they be all pardoned from eter∣nity, then sins that are humbled for, and that are unhumbled for, have the like consideration on Gods part, and I may feel the pardon of the latter, though not repented of, as well as the former, yea I may have the sense of the pardon of all the sins I shall commit for the future, and so whereas I pray for daily bread, not to-morrow bread, I shall here beg for the sense of the pardon, not only of my sins to day, but tomorrow, and the next year: But I never read that God made such a Jubile, as one Pope did, who promised a plenary Indulgence, not only for sins past, but afore-hand also, for all sins to come; God doth not antidate his pardon before the sin be committed or repent∣ed of; but of this more largely in time.

*6. We pray, That as God doth forgive the sin, so also he would release the punishments, and take away all the wrath that doth be∣long to it. It is a mockery which Papists make about pardon, as if indeed God did pardon the sin, but the punishment that abi∣deth still, and we must work out a release from that by our own selves. It is true as we have proved, God though he doth pardon sin, yet he may grievously afflict; but these are father∣ly chastisements, not judicial punishments: but in this Prayer, we desire also that as the sins are removed, so also whatsoever troubles, afflictions and chastisements do remain, that they also may be taken away; that as the gulf of hell is removed, so eve∣ry cloud also may be dispelled.

*7. In this Petition, we pray, That God would deliver us from those effects of sin, which God hath immutably set upon it, such as are sicknesses, death and corruption; For although God by vertue of Page  117 the Covenant of Grace hath promised a perfect pardon of sin, yet we cannot come to a full enjoyment of all those priviledges which remission of sin doth bring, till we be freed from death and corruption. So that as long as there is the death and grave, still sin hath some power. We therefore pray, that whatsoever mortality and corruption sin hath brought in, it may be taken away, and we made fit for eternal life, which is the consequent of pardon of sin; for you must know that pardon is not a meer privative mercy, freeing us from Gods wrath, but there is also a positive investing of us with a title to everlasting life and glo∣ry, only our corruptibility hinders us from the actual possessi∣on of that which we have a right unto: we therefore pray, That as God removed our sins, so he would also remove all the sad effects and mischievous fruit which came in by it.

8. We pray not only for pardon of sin,*but also for the good con∣comitants and effects of it, which are Peace with God, and Joy in the holy Ghost, Rom. 5.1. Hence Luther speaketh of a two∣fold pardon, one secret and hidden, when he forgiveth sins, but the people of God do not feel or regard it; The other is open and experimental: now both these condonations are necessary. The first (saith he) is more bitter and troublesome, but more noble and acceptable. The first cleanseth, the latter pacifieth: the first is of meer faith, and obtaineth much of God; the latter is of experience more, and takes off from the excellency of faith: for as that is the best manifestation of love when it is carried out to an enemy, so is that of faith, when relying upon God, though feeling terrours, and an hell within us. God useth the first kinde of pardon to more heroical Christi∣ans. The latter to those that are more infirm. An instance of this two-fold remission we have in Mary Magdalen; the for∣mer, when Christ turned his back on her, and told Peter, Much was forgiven her; the other, when he turned towards her, saying, Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace. Now in our prayer we must not be limited; but as in the Law every Com∣mandment is spiritual, and hath a great latitude in it; so in pray∣er every Petition is spiritual, and hath much in it: let us there∣fore inlarge our hearts, and open them wide when we seek to God for pardon of sin. The priviledge is exceeding great, and Page  118 many are the dignities that do depend on it. If thy sins be par∣doned, thou becomest a favourite of Heaven, there is no con∣trariety between God and thee. The devil showed the glory of the world, and falsly said, All this is mine, but thou maiest shew all the glory of the Gospel and promises, yea all the glory of Heaven, and say, All this is mine. Yea there is a full recon∣ciliation made between God and that person, notwithstanding all former enmity, as appeareth in the example of the Prodigal son, he hath all love, favour and honour. Again, insomuch that such come not into judgement, Joh. 5.24. There is no condem∣nation to them, Rom. 8.1. yea there is not so much as any charge or indictment against them. What devil, what conscience, what law may accuse thee when God justifieth thee? Now in this Petition we desire that not only pardon of sin, but all these bles∣sed fruits of it, may be vouchsafed to us. Oh therefore the congealed and icie temper of men, who are no more inflamed in prayer about this! There are many that can heartily and feel∣ingly pray the former Petition, for the necessaries of this life, but how few for the grace of God in pardoning in a spiritual manner? Hearken then, O man, to what Christ hath said is good for thee to importune and seek after. Philo. lib. de Somniis saith, and it was also the opinion of Philosophers, That the Heavens make such an harmonious melody, that if the sound and noise of it could reach to our ears, it would make men leave off all their inferiour and sublunary labour and profit, attending to that only: Certainly this Doctrine of remission of sin, which is reveal∣ed from Heaven only, hath such excellent harmony in it of Gods Justice and his mercy, of Gods satisfaction and our happinesse, that it may justly make us forget to eat our bread, or delight in other comforts, meditating of, and being ravished with his excellency. Let this then instruct thee concerning that necessary duty of seeking out the pardon of thy sins; this belongs to every one, though a Paul, though a Moses, though in the highest form of Christi∣anity. It is a great comfort that all voluntary sins after grace received, are not unpardonable, as well as that against the holy Ghost. How often do we sin voluntarily and willingly after we are inlightned? And then the sins of infirmity and ignorance are more then the sands of the sea-shore: Is it not therefore ne∣cessary Page  119 that thou shouldest be continually begging for pardon? Know then that these indulgences are not like the Papal, to be bought by money, but they are purchased by the bloud of Christ: Peter thought it a great matter to forgive a brother seven times a day, but if God should not forgive us seventy times se∣ven a day, our condition would be damnable. Those that look to have pardon by their meritorious works, and penal satisfa∣ctions, cannot look up to God. Whereas all Nations used to look up to Heaven for rain, In Aegypto (saith Seneca) nemo aratorum aspicit Coelum, &c. No Husbandman regards the Hea∣vens, but Nilus only, from which they have rain; so in Po∣pery Christ is neglected, and Angels or Saints set up, as those that can give pardon; Men therefore look upon their Pilgri∣mages, their Penance, as if they were to forgive their sins to their own selves.

LECTURE XV.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our Debts.

WE come to shew, what is implied in this Petition,* and this may be reduced to three heads:

First, What is implied in the subject who doth pray.

Secondly, What in the object or matter that is prayed for.

Thirdly, What in respect of the person to whom we do pray.

For the first,* There are many things supposed in those who are to pray thus: As

1. That all men, though never so eminently sanctified, yet have sins in them: And this hath been generally urged by Antiquity against Pelagians, who have dreamed of perfect righteousnesse in this life, as if we might be sons of light, without any spot in us; and that evasion is ridiculous, that we speak this humiliter for humility sake, not veraciter truly: for if we had no sin, this Page  120 hypocrisie were enough to make it in us, and 1 Joh. 1.9. putteth it out of all doubt, If we say we have no sin, we deceive our selves, and the truth is not in us. He doth not say, we extol or lift up our selves, and there is no humility in us, but we deceive our selves, and there is no truth in us: Now this the Apo∣stle saith immediately upon those words, The bloud of Christ cleanseth us from all sin: So that whether this cleansing of Christ be understood in regard of the filth or guilt of sin, its not com∣pleatly fulfilled, till we come into heaven. So true is that of Am∣brose, Qui semper pecco, debeo semper habere medicinam, I who sin alwayes, need forgivenesse alwayes. And whereas the Apo∣stle saith, We all have sin, that is to be understood, partly in regard of the vicious affections and inordinate concupiscence, which is in every one; and partly in regard of the guilt, which doth accompany them; neither may we limit this to some, for the Apostle puts himself in the number of those who ought to say so. Neither may this be restrained as some would have it, to sins past in our former conversation only, although the Apostle speak, vers. 10. in the preterperfect tense, for he saith, we so sin, as that if we confesse our sins, God is faithfull to forgive: therefore he speaks of sins, which are yet to be pardoned, and not of those that are past only.

I acknowledge it is one thing to say, Every man hath sin, and another thing, that he sinneth in every good action he doth, and if this place did not demonstratively prove it, yet other places do. It is good to observe the danger the Apostle makes to come from this opinion, That we have no sin in us, we de∣ceive our selves, and the truth is not in us; and then which is worst, We make God a liar, who in his Word doth testifie of us, as having sin in us. So that this opinion argueth those that maintain it, neither to understand or firmly believe the Scri∣ptures; and this is to be extended to those who hold no sin in us, as to Gods eye, by reason of Christs righteousness: For the Scriptures do equally overthrow both. The most material Answer that I have observed by any given to this Argument from our duty of praying for pardon of sin, is given by Castalio de Iustif.p. 63. It is this, This prayer is not so prescribed us (saith he) that we should alwayes pray so, and we never reade that any in Page  121 the Scripture used these prescribed words: Nay (saith he) we ne∣ver reade that the Apostles praied for remission of sinnes, no nor Christ never praied for pardon of them. Therefore the meaning of this Petition must be to pray for pardon as oft as they need it, not that they need it alwaies. Therefore he compareth this Petition to such places, Love your enemies, Agree quickly with your adversa∣ry, Honour your father and mother; that is, when you have enemies or adversaries, when you have a father and mother: so here, Pray for pardon, that is, when you have sinned. But this very answer needeth a pardon, because its fraughted with much falshood; for first, although we reade not that they praied those expresse words, yet in their very addresse to Christ to be instructed how to pray, and our Saviour teaching them to pray thus, as one Evangelist; or after this manner, as another hath it: it had been hypocrisie and mockery, never to have conformed to it. Besides, our Saviour supposeth they have need of pardon, when he tels them, Except ye forgive one another, neither will my hea∣venly Father forgive you, vers. 15. which implieth their need of pardon. Hence Mat. 7.11. he cals them evil, If ye then being evill, which is not to be understood comparatively in respect of God only, for so the Angels are, Joh. 4.18. but inherently, because of the remainder of that corruption in them. Hence (as you heard) the Apostle John puts himself in the number here, If we say we have no sin, &c. certainly the Apostle Paul was farre from these thoughts, 1 Tim. 1.18. where he cals himself the chief∣est of all sinners: that is, one in the rank of those, whose sins had a scarlet hue; and he saith this in the present tense, not of whom I was chief, but I am chief; for although Cajetans Exposition be very probable, that makes this relate not meerly to sinners, but to sinners saved, thus, Christ came to save sinners, of which saved sinners I am chief; yet the former is not to be rejected; and certainly in some sense every man is bound to think of him∣self, as a greater sinner then others; As the Pharisee said, I am not as other men, adulterers, covetous, &c. The godly man on the contrary, thinketh he is not holy, zealous, sincere, as other godly men are. When Paul Rom. 7. complaineth of that evil in him, and law of sinne, can we think he never desired the par∣don of it? And when our Saviour, Joh. 17.17. prayeth God to Page  122 sanctifie his Disciples; what is that but to set them apart for their office, by forgiving their sinne, even as Isaiah was purified by a live coal from the altar. As for his parallell places and du∣ties, it is a most absurd comparison; for he may as well say, That the Kingdom of God, and hallowing his Name, are not constantly to be prayed for, but upon occasion only. Certain∣ly those places of Scripture which make originall sinne to cleave to us, even as Ivy to the Oak, and which is as leven in us, sowr∣ing every thing we doe in some measure: And those places which speak of such a perfection in the Law, that we are never able to perform it, argue a constant abiding principle of sin in us, we may conclude then, that this Petition doth suppose a worm in our best fruit, drosse in our purest gold, and many spots in our choisest beauty. Neither may we dream of such an imputed righteousnesse, as shall take away the necessity of this praying; not that the godly are therefore to be denominated sinners, because we call them godly, though sinne be in them, because godlinesse is the most noble quality in them, as we call that a field of corn, which yet hath many weeds in it.

*A second thing implied, is, feeling of sinne a burden and weight upon us: For none can heartily and with feeling experience im∣portune God for this pardon, but such who are sensible of a pressing load by sin. Hence the Hebrew word Nasa, doth sig∣nifie (as you heard) the taking of a weight and burden. So the Greek word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used of deliverance from bonds, Luke 4.18. where what was literally true of the Jews that were in captivity and prisons, is applied to us spiritually, and the Go∣spel of Christ is said, to preach deliverance to the captives: so that hereby is declared, that as a captive Jew in Babylon was wea∣ried with his estate, and did vehemently expect deliverance: no lesse doth a man burdened with sin, desire a freedom and re∣laxation. Therefore the time of the Gospell is expressed allu∣sively to the year of Jubilee, vers. 19. as that was proclaimed with the sound of a Trumpet, so this by the mouth of the A∣postles. How many are there then who pray this prayer, but want much feeling and zeal within. Now sinne hath a double weight, one of punishment, the other of offence and displea∣sure Page  123 to God, and in this later, we ought especially to groan under it. Cam felt a burden of his sins, and David also felt a pressure by them, but the tears of these two differed much. The one was meerly because of punishment; the other, be∣cause it was against God, Against thee onely have I sinned. This inward disposition is that which putteth an excellent relish and high prize upon Christ and his benefits. Hence the word to trust signifieth also to roul and cast our burden upon the Lord: As a man who beareth an heavie weight upon his back, being ready to break under it, rouls it upon the next stall he meets with, to ease himself, Psal. 55.22. Consider therefore what thou feelest within; what pressures upon thee, while thou desirest this forgivenesse: Art thou as the poor prisoner, bound in his chains and irons, longing for a releasment? Art thou as one ashamed in the presence of so glorious a God? Quidni totis artubus contremiscat ranuncula è palude acce∣dens ad thronum Regis? Why should not the Frog com∣ing out of the lake to the Kings Throne, altogether trem∣ble?

3. It implieth godly sorrow, and spiritual mourning of heart:* For we may not think this is appointed as a meer complement to use to God, but our hearts ought to be wounded and melt∣ed within us at that time. And indeed why is there a pro∣mise, Zech. 12. for the spirit of prayer and mourning together, if it were so easie and customary a work? Why Rom. 8. are these groans unutterable wrought by the Spirit of God in us at that time? insomuch that a soul in prayer, is in spiritual travel and heavenly Agonies: All which cannot be, unlesse the heart of a man be deeply humbled within for sin: so that this Petition doth not only imply sin is in us, and that God seeth it, but also that all within us ought to be moved and troubled at it. Beg therefore for pardon with the same zeal and movings of bowels, as David did, Psal. 51. who had his broken bones. A tear in our eye for sin, doth more adorn it, then a jewel doth the ear. Now the Antinomian Doctrine is like an Ea∣stern, or Northern winde, that drieth up, or bloweth away this spiritual rain. If God seeth no sin in us, then he would see no humiliation nor debasement in us for sin: and so where∣as Page  124 as heretofore repentance in believers hath been necessary, now it shall be prejudicial to salvation, and all sorrow shall be un∣godly. What direct Antipodes are these to Scripture-directi∣ons? Hence they repent that ever they did so much repent, and look upon their sorrow for sinne, as Christ upon his ene∣mies. Lord forgive me, for I did not know what I did. But we have not so learned the Gospel. The people of God, when sinning, are called upon to afflict themselves, and to mourn: and because the Corinthians did not so at first, though after∣wards they did, therefore the Apostle threatens to come with a rod unto them. Take heed then of all Doctrines or practices, that may obstruct the running streams of thy soul: Keep thy self alwayes in this spirituall sweat. Take not the Limbeck from the fire, that so spirituall distillations may flow conti∣nually.

*4. It supposeth earnestnesse and importunity, with perseverance till we do obtain. That which is requisite in every prayer, must not be excluded here. Prayer without fervency is like a messen∣ger without legs, an arrow without feathers, an advocate with∣out a tongue. Hence are those phrases, Be instant in prayer: and Watch unto prayer: and Pray without ceasing. Till the heart be deaded to every creature, and minde this thing only, it will not pray aright. Seeing therefore our blessednesse and happi∣nesse is made to consist in this, That our sins are pardoned; how ought we to lay every thing aside, till this be vouchsafed unto us! Hierom complained of his distractions and dulness in prai∣er, Siccine putas orasse Jonam? Sic Danielem inter leones? Sic latronem in cruce? Where is thy faith? Did Jonah pray thus in the Whales belly? Did Daniel thus among the Lions? Did the thief thus upon the crosse? If spiritual things were as truly and really apprehended by us, as temporal are, how should we bid all comforts stand afar off, even refusing to be comforted, till Gods favour shine upon us! If the frowning of a King be like the roaring of a Lion, how terrible then are the frowns of God for sin?

*Lastly, It supposeth in the subject, constant renewed acts of faith; For as there is constant pardon begged, and offered, so there must be a continual lifting up, and stretching out the hand to Page  125 receive. As the branch in the Olive doth constantly suck juice and nourishment, so ought we perpetually to be receiving from the fulnesse of Christ. This then is the only grace that hath the promise of pardon made to it: although where this is, there will also be the presence of all other graces. Neither may we with Spalato judge the distinction that is made between faith and other graces in this matter of Justification and Remission of sins, a meer metaphysicall subtilty and formality, as is to be shewed. If therefore thy faith be asleep within, no marvel if such tempests and storms arise, that thou fear drowning. As a trades∣man will part with any thing rather then his tools, for they are instrumental to his whole livelihood; so above all, we ought to look to our faith.

3. In the object matter we suppose these things,*

1. That forgivenesse of sin may be had after Baptism. That although we sin after that solemn stipulation, yet God will not divorce us, or cast us (as it were) out of the Ark into the deluge. There have been some of old, as the Novatians,* and Anabaptists of late, who have maintained, There is no hope of pardon to those that after their Baptism do fouly sinne; for there they suppose is given the plenary Remission; but this is false and uncomfortable: for we have the incestuous person after his repentance received into favour again. How desperate had Peters condition been, if this had been true? And when our Saviour bids us Forgive our brother seventy times seven, we may not think there is more love in the creature, then in the Crea∣tor, and Gods kindenesse beyond that of a mans, is most em∣phatically described, Jer. 3.1. Where God promiseth a reconci∣liation to his people, though they played the adulteresse with him.

2. That we may with hope and faith pray for the pardon of great sins as well as lesse. In Justification by Christ,* greater sins are as easily forgiven as lesse. Though, as is to be shewed, the par∣ty offending doth not come by pardon so easily, and more is re∣quired of him; now this is a good cordial to the afflicted spi∣rit, who is apt to limit God in his pardon. He may forgive such and such sins, but can these great mountains ever be remo∣ved out of his sight, sins of such a magnitude and aggravation? Page  126 But our Saviour doth not determine us in our Petition, but whatsoever your sins are, pray for the pardon of them. Had it not been a great dishonour to Christ, if any diseased man had said, his malady was greater then Christ could cure, he might heal others, but not him? No lesse injurious is thy doubting, when the greatnesse of thy sin makes thee stagger. The obedi∣ence of Christ is as much above thy greatest sin, as Christs per∣son is above thy person.

*3. It supposeth iteration of pardon, that God is not wearied out, neither doth upbraid us. Who would not think that the soul should be ashamed, and blush to go for the pardon of the same sins committed over and over again. How easily might we think, What hope is there to have me speed? Have I not a thousand and thousand times intreated God to forgive me such pride, such vain thoughts, such negligence in his service, and must I still go to ask pardon? How shall I look up into Heaven any more? and this temptation is more terrible, as is to be shewed, if it be a sin, or sins of a more grievous nature, that the petitioner▪ hath been overtaken frequently with; but as we are commanded to forgive to a brother offending in a day many times against us, so may we expect greater things of God. Know then, as we sinne daily, so there are out-goings of pardon continually; and the goodnesse of God, doth like the Sunne, rejoyce to run his race without any wea∣rinesse.

*Lastly, In the Person to whom we pray, there is supposed,

*First, That God only can forgive sins. This is an incommuni∣cable property of God, Isa. 43.1. and Exod. 34.7. It is there reckoned as one of his prerogatives: Hence Matth. 9. this is made an argument of Christs Deity, that by his meer com∣mand he forgave sin, for this power to forgive sin, is greater then to create Heaven or Earth, or to work the greatest mira∣cles; Therefore a power to work miracles hath been vouch∣safed to the Apostles, but not of forgiving of sin, unlesse de∣claratively onely. When therefore our Saviour, Matth. 9. ask∣eth which is easier, To forgive sin, or to say, Take up thy bed and walk; intending by this miracle to prove that he did also for∣give sin, it is not spoken as if this later were greater then the Page  127 former, but only the curing of the paralytical man, was a more visible sign to confirm the other, for when they saw that which he commanded accomplished upon the mans body, they might well conclude the other fulfilled in his soul. Now when we say, God only can forgive sin, this is to be extended both to the forgivenesse in Heaven, and to that in a mans own con∣science; for the former it is plain, because the injury is done only against him, when we sin; and for the later, it is clear, because he is the Father of Spirits, and so can command what∣soever peace and security he pleaseth in the conscience. We see when Friends and Ministers do pour oil into a wounded soul, they feel no benefit or refreshment, till God speak to the heart. This is notably asserted by Elihu, Job 34.29. When he giveth quietnesse, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? O therefore with all humble thankfulnesse acknowledge this great mercy of pardon, if thou art made partaker of it; If the Lord should work miracles for thee, he would not display so much power and mercy, as he doth in this forgivenesse of thy sins.

Secondly, It supposeth God doth see,*and take notice of sinne in us, after we have believed: For how can God be said to for∣give that which he taketh no notice of? If forgiving be cover∣ing of sinne, and a blotting it out, then it is seen and open to God, and uncancelled till this be done. Suppose our Saviour had used these words in this Petition, Cover our iniquities, as we cover the sins of others; would not that expression have ne∣cessarily implied, That God did see them, and look on them, till he covered them? Certainly Joseph did upon a good ground, abstain from sin, when he said, How can I do this, and sinne against God? That is, who seeth me, and beholdeth me in secret, and will be angry with me: But if God take no notice of my sinne; how can I truly awe my self from sinne, saying, How can I do this evil in Gods eyes? How can I provoke him to anger?

Let the Application then be, to importune for this mercy,* of forgivenesse, which makes all other things mercy. Health, riches, learning, peace, are mercies, if with these there be a pardon of all our sins: especially be pressed to seek for it, from Page  128 this motive which I shall only mention at this time, viz. That pardon of sin is the onely support and help in all miseries and calamities whatsoever. This onely can sweeten thy pain, thy poverty, thy fears of death. When the Apostle, Rom. 5.1. had spoken of Justification by faith, and the peace we have thereby with God, inferreth from thence, We glory in tribula∣tion. Alas, there would be little glory, if at the same time man be against us, and God also. So Rom. 8.33, 34, 37. when the Apostle had gloriously triumphed in this priviledge of Ju∣stification, and that none could lay any thing to our charge, then he concludeth, We are more then conquerors. Again 1 Pet. 3.16, 17, 18. exhorting the people of God to be ready to suf∣fer for well-doing, giveth this reason, For Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, &c. So that no misery or cala∣mity can be joyfully undergone, unlesse the Lord forgive our sins to us. In these times of warre, while we have been under continual fears of an enemie, vvhat could rightly support us, but remission of our sins? To have men accusing and condemn∣ing of us; but to have God clearing and absolving, this can make an Heaven in the midst of an hell.

LECTURE XVI.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our debts.

HAving explained this Petition positively and practically, we come to handle those Questions, which may make to the clearing of that truth, which is contained in the Text. And I shall pitch upon those that are usefull and necessary, not on thorny and perplexed. God indeed once spake out of the thor∣ny bush, but seldom doth truth discover her self in those thick∣ets, which the Schoolmen have made.

The first in order that should be discussed is, What remission of sin is; Or, What is meant, when we say, God doth forgive Page  129 sinne? But before we can come to that, another Doubt must be rouled out of the way, and that is, What sinne is, and what are the proper effects of sinne? For a man can never understand, what it is to have sinne blotted out, or taken away,* unlesse he be first informed, What the nature of sinne is, and what effects it hath wrought upon the sinner. Of this therefore in the first place,

And first,* I shall speak of sinne abstractedly in its own nature.

Secondly, Relatively to the person who sinneth.

Thirdly, The proper effects of it.

Fourthly, The weight or aggravation of every sin.

Let us begin with the former. Sinne in the Scripture hath several names, which do in some measure describe the nature of it. The Hebrew 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used commonly for sin,* and it doth in a proper signification, wherein it is once used, denote an aberration from the mark we shoot at, Judg. 20.16. Every one could sling stones at an hairs breadth, and not misse; and from hence metaphorically is signified the nature of sinne, for every mans action is to have an end, which end is manifested by the Scripture; and when a man reacheth not to this, he is said to sinne; answerable unto this word in the Greek is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which comes from 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is, to erre from the scope: And another word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is going beyond the bounds and limits which are set us. Though a learned Critick, Dieu, doth make 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to signifie beyond, but by, as if it did denote a negligent and carelesse passing by the commands of God. A∣nother word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which cometh of a word that properly sig∣nifieth crookednesse and obliquity in the body, and so is applied to the soul, and doth denote perversenesse in him that sinneth, and to this may answer 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 where the particle 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is not to be understood privatively onely, but adversatively: for a meer want of the Law, may not be a sin alwayes, but a repugnancy must necessarily be. And thus the word is used, 2 Thess. 2.8. 1 Tim. 4.9. The Hebrews also expresse sinne by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 which is as much as a desection, or falling off from God; and answera∣ble to this in the Greek is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is a falling away from that integrity and purity we either once had, or ought Page  130 still to have. As for the Latine word peccatum, some have deri∣ved it from pellicare, which is to commit adultery, as if a sin were so called in the general, from one kinde of it; and others from pecus, because a man in sin wanders like a beast, or becomes like a beast; yet many conceive the word peccare to be a theme it self, and not derived from any other word.

*As for the definition of sin, What it is; though there have been many disputes about it, and Chemnitius wished for one publike definition of it, to which all Churches should agree; yet certainly that of John is full and comprehensive enough, 1 Joh. 3.4 Sin is the transgression of the Law: Answerable whereunto is that, 2 Sam. 15.24. I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord: Only you must remember not to li∣mit 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to a meer want of the Law, but as comprehending that which is against it. Now this definition agreeth both to ha∣bitual and actual sins.

To habitual, whether it be that innate and imbred of original sin; or whether it be that habitual voluntarily contracted, you have both the actual and habitual 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, excellently put toge∣ther, Rom. 6.19 As you have yeelded your members servants to ini∣quity unto iniquity: where by the former iniquity is meant ori∣ginal and habitual sin; by the later, actual sin as the fruit of the former. It hath been doubted, how habitual, especially original sin can be called truly sin, because it is not voluntary: for that voluntarinesse should be of the nature of sin, is so universally acknowledged, that neither Doctorum paucitas, nor Indoctorum turba do dissentie: neither the few learned men, or the many unlearned did ever gain-say, said Austin: And besides, All sin must be forbidden by a Law, now how are we forbidden to be born without sinne? Would not such a prohibition be ridi∣culous?

Again, The commands of God seem to be for good actions, not for the habits of good actions.

Now although it might fairly be maintained, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the transgression of a Law, and not voluntari∣ness,* is of the nature of a sin; for the Apostle, Rom. 7.15. saith, He doth that which he would not do; and there are many sins of igno∣rance, which must necessarily be without any express act of the Page  131 will, yet we may with Austin call this sin voluntary, taking vo∣luntary, as it comprehends the will of Adam, that universal per∣son, and principle in whom we all willed. And by this means, though Infants are not in themselves capable of any precept, much lesse before they were born, which they were to accom∣plish in their own person, yet they were bound up in a com∣mand, even before they had an actual being in Adam, in whose will they were to fulfill that command, for that command was not given to Adam as a single person, but as an uni∣versal.

Hence it is, that habituall sin, whether remote, or proxime, is forbidden by the Law of God, which requireth not only good things to be done, but also that they flow from a clear and pure fountain within, even an entire perfection of the nature; so that although infused habits of grace come not under a pre∣cept, in respect of the infusing and ingenerating of them, for that is Gods act, and we are not bound to do that, yet they are commanded both before they are infused and after; Before, by the Law, which requireth of us, that inward rectitude, which is now lost; and after they are infused, to be diligent in those pious actions, whereby those habits may be preserved and retained. So that by this we may see a sin to be, what∣soever doth transgresse the Law of God, whether habitually or actually, whether internally or externally, whether by com∣mission, or by omission, and from hence ariseth the curse which the Law pronounceth against sinners, because its broken by them.

In the next place,* if we speak of sin as it relates to the person sinning; so there is not required; first, That a man should not intend sin, and will it as sin, for that is impossible: even as the understanding cannot assent to any thing false as false, but as the object is either true really, or apparently: So neither can the will, desire any thing that is evil, as evil, but as it is apparently good. As the devil appeared in Samuels clothes, so doth sin and evil alwayes under the notion of some good or other. Hence the Apostle saith, Lusts saves, i. do 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, entice a man, as a Fish∣erman doth the silly fish by the bait upon the hook, which the Apostle elswhere cals 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a deceiving or putting a false Page  132 Syllogism upon our selves. So that they do not sufficiently vin∣dicate the pure providence of God from sin, who say, God doth will the act, but not the deformity, or the evil of it; for so nei∣ther doth man will expresly the evil of the act, although in wil∣ling that act to which sin is necessarily annexed, it be interpre∣tatively to will the sin.

Neither secondly is to sin, to produce sin, as the proper and immediate terminus of our action, for sin being a privation, or at most a relation, it cannot be the immediate effect of any action. Sin is not indeed a meer pure privation, such as blindenesse is, but mixt and compounded, such as sicknesse is, which hath both the inordinacy, and want of a good temperament, and al∣so the ill humours in it. So that a man sinneth by producing or doing that action, to which sin is annexed. And herein neither do they sufficiently clear Gods concourse about sin, in saying it goeth to the material act of sin, but not to the immediate obli∣quity of it. For so neither doth man, and indeed sin being a pri∣vation, or as some, a relation, it is impossible it should be pro∣duced any other way, but by that act unto which it is joyned to, as theft is committed by doing that material action, to which that deformity is inseparably adjoined. Therefore to sin, is to do a thing deficiently from the Law of God, so that God in all those several acts of his about sin, whether they be permissive or ordinative, is gloriously vindicated, because he doth nothing deficienter, as falling from that eternal and immutable Law of righteousnesse; whereas the Angels and man did, missing or coming short of the rule, by which they were to be guided: but because this Discourse is more remote to our present mat∣ter of Pardon of sin, we come to that which doth more nearly concern it.

*Therefore in the third place, there is the proper effect, and consequent of sin, which is to make guilty, and oblige to eter∣nall wrath. To omit the many things that are in sinne, Divines doe acknowledge two things in every sinne, the Macula, or filth, and the Reatus, the guilt; which guilt some do again di∣stinguish into the guilt of sin, which they call the inward digni∣ty and desert of damnation, which they make inseparable from sinne, even as heat is from the fire; and the guilt of pu∣nishment Page  133 which they make separable: For the present, let us examine, What is that effect of sinne, whereby a man when a sinne is committed is truly denominated a sinner, for seeing Remission is a taking away of sin in that respect, whereby we are adjudged and accounted of as sinners, it is necessary to know what that is, which doth so constitute a sinner: As for example, David after his adultery, Peter after his denial, have contracted such a guilt upon them, whereby they are account∣ed as sinners, though the acts of their sins be gone and passed; and in this condition they stand, till remission or forgivenesse come, which takes away their sins. For the understanding of this, consider this foundation, That every sin committed by a man, though the sin be transient, and quickly passeth away, yet it doth still continue, and is as it were still in acting, till by remission it be removed. And this consideration is of great practical use. A man is apt to look upon his sins committed a long while ago, as those which are passed, and are no more to be thought upon; but you must know, that there is something which doth remain after a sin is committed, which is somewaies the same with the action of sin: so that not figuratively, but properly the sin it self is said to continue. Thus the Scripture cals something by the name of sin, that doth continue, when yet the commission of the sin is past. As David many moneths after he had sinned, praieth God, To blot out his sinne: why, where was his sin? It was committed long before, and it was a transient act, but yet David by this doth acknowledge that there is something which doth continue that act of sin, whereby David is as much bound up in his conscience, as if he had been in the very commission of it. Consider therefore that till there be a pardon of sin, though thy sins have been com∣mitted fourty or fifty years ago, yet they are continued still, and thou art truly a sinner, though so many years after, as thou wast at the first committing of them. Sin is not taken away by length of time, but by some gracious act of God vouchsa∣fed unto us: How justly may it be feared, that many a mans sins do still lie at his doors! Thou art still in thy sins, and looked up∣on as so by God; though it may be thou hast left such sins many years ago. Thy youthfull sins it may be, thou hast left them Page  134 along while ago, yet thou art still in them, and they are conti∣nued upon thee, till by remission they are taken away. It is not thy other course of life and abstinence from sin, that makes a sin not to be, but there must be some gracious act on Gods part, removing of this. Consider therefore of it, that thy soul re∣maineth as polluted and guilty twenty years after a sin, yea a thousand of years, if thou couldst live so long, as when it was in the very first act of sin. Remember the action of sinne doth passe away, but not the sinne; you may therefore ask, Where∣in doth the sin continue still? What is that which makes me still to be reputed of as if I were a sinner in the very act? It is com∣monly out of the Schoolmen determined,* That after a sinne is committed, there doth remain a Macula, a blot in the soul, and that continuing, the sinner doth thereby remain obliged unto eternal wrath. That there is such a filth and blot remaining because of sinne,* I see generally acknowledged by our Divines: only that learned Wootton doth much oppose it, and saith, the Schoolmen have been five hundred years labouring to declare, what it is, and are not able to do it. Indeed he grants, That in Adams sin we may well conceive a blot remaining after the sin was committed, because he was endowed with grace; but now in a man grown up that hath grace, no sinne that he com∣mits takes away his grace, and therefore he is not deprived of that beauty by the blot of sinne. And as for wicked men, they have no beauty at all in them; and therefore how can sinne make such a blot in them? There must be beauty in them by grace, which is nitor animae, the lustre of the soul, be∣fore there can be Macula, which is the deformity of it. For the right conceiving of this, know, 1. That it is one thing to ac∣knowledge such a defilement and impurity by sinne absolutely; and another to acknowledge it so, That justifying grace, or re∣mission of sin must take that blot away. Herein the Papists erre, That they hold sin leaveth such a stain, which remission of sin taketh away; whereas indeed there is such a filth by sin, but that is ta∣ken away by sanctifying grace, not justifying; so that it is a dan∣gerous errour to speak of such a defilement by sin, and then to say, God by pardoning takes it away; This were to confound Justification and Sanctification.

Page  135But in the second place, we may according to Scripture, say, not only in Adams sinne, but in every sin we commit there is a blot and stain made upon the soul, Matth. 15.20. These things that come from the heart defile a man, Ephes. 5.27. Sin is com∣pared to a spot and wrinkle. So Rom. 3.12. All by nature are said to become unprofitable. The Hebrew word in the Psalm, out of which this is taken, signifieth corruption or putrefacti∣on, for such sin is to the soul, not that you may conceive that the essence of the soul is naturally corrupted by sin, as rust doth the iron, and moths the garment; but in a moral sense, by sin the soul in its faculties is disenabled from doing its duty. Thus the Apostle cals sins dead works, Heb▪ 9.14. not in that sense, as if they did bring death to a man, for that the Apostle expresseth otherwise, killing us, when he speaks of the Law; but he cals them dead works, because they defile man, as dead carcases in the old Testament: For the Apostle, vers. 1. spake of cleansing by the bloud of an heifer, which was to be used when a man had toucht any dead thing, which made him legally unclean. Thus (saith he) Christs bloud will cleanse from sin that conta∣minateth a man. Neither is it necessary that grace must really have been in the soul before, and then sin by depriving the soul of it, so to stain it: for its enough that the soul ought to have grace in it, though it were not present before: as when a man doth not believe Gods Word, though this unbelief do not de∣prive him of the beauty and grace of faith, which he had, yet it doth of that beauty of faith, which he ought to have.* And thus as particular actual sins are multiplied: so are particular stains and defilements also encreased; we therefore must grant a stain by sin, though this be not that which is removed by re∣mission. Therefore that which continueth a man a sinner in Gods account, and is to be removed by remission, is that obli∣gation to eternall wrath appointed by God; for as soon as a man hath sinned, there doth accrue to God a moral right (as we may speak with reverence) and power, being a Judge, as thereby he may inflict vengeance upon a sinner; and in this re∣spect sin is called an offence, because it doth provoke him, who is a just Judge, unto anger and vengeance. This then is that, which makes a sin to continue still as if it were in act, because up∣on Page  136 the sinne committed there is an obligation by Gods appoint∣ment to everlasting punishment, and when this is taken off, then is God said to forgive, and till it be, sinne is alive, crying for vengeance, as fiercely, as if it were newly committed. So that the act once committed that causeth the obligation to pu∣nishment, and this obligation continuing, God doth not for∣give. When a sinne is committed it may remain in Gods minde, and in our minde. In our minde, by way of guilt and trouble; as David said, His sin was alwayes before him; or else in Gods minde, so that he doth will the punishment of such. Now when God doth forgive, he blots sins out of his minde, and remem∣bers them no more. He doth not will the obligation of them to punishment, being satisfied thorow Christ, and the party be∣lieving in him. By all this you may see, That after a sin is com∣mitted there remaineth obligation in the will and minde of God to eternal punishment, and God when he doth forgive, cancel∣leth this debt or obligation. This being cleared, we may the ea∣silier judge with what act God doth forgive sinne, but of that hereafter.

*Let us consider the aggravation of sin, as it is an offence to God, which may the more instigate us to pardon. In sin we may consider two things; First, The deprivation of that rectitude which ought to be in every thing we do: in which sense, sin is a moral monster, as there are natural monsters, for the soul in sin doth not bring forth fruit answerable unto reason and the Law of God; this consideration may much humble us; but there is another thing in sin which doth more aggravate it, and that is as it is a dishonour, and an offence to God, and by this means it becometh above our power ever to satisfie God for it. There∣fore in every sin besides the particular considerations, look up∣on that general one, which is in all, viz. That peculiar deformi∣ty it hath,* as it is an offence against God. Its disputed, Whe∣ther sin have an infinite evil and deformity in it? To answer this, If a sin be considered in its kinde, so its not infinite, because one sin is so determined to its kinde, that it is not another sin, as theft is not murder.

Neither secondly can sin be said to be infinite evil, in respect of the being of it, for it cometh from finite creatures, who are Page  137 not able to do any thing infinite; and therefore sin is not infinite, as Christs merits are infinite, which are so, because of the dignity and worth of the person, though the actions themselves had a finite being. Besides, if sins were infinite in such a sense, then no sin could be greater then another, because that which is truly infi∣nite cannot be made more or lesse.

Therefore thirdly, Sins are said to have infinite evil in them, in respect of the object or person against whom they are com∣mitted, viz. God, who is an infinite object. For seeing the aggra∣vation of a sinne ariseth from the worth of the person against whom it is committed; if the person offended be of infinite ho∣nor and dignity, then the offence done against such an one, hath an infinite evil and wickedness in it. So that the infiniteness of sin ariseth wholly from the external consideration of God against whom it is. But of this more when we speak of the necessity of Christs satisfaction to Gods justice by his death.

Let the Use be to inform thee, That every sin committed,* con∣tinueth as fresh to cry vengeance many years after, as if it were but lately done, till remitted by God. Think not therefore that time will wear it out, though they may wear out of thy consci∣ence, yet they cannot out of Gods minde. Consider that of Job 14.17. Thou sealest up my transgression as in a bag, and thou sowest up mine iniquity. So that what the Apostle speaks of some, 2 Pet. 2. is true of all impenitent sinners, Their damnation slumbereth not, nor doth it linger. Therefore till the mercy of God hath taken off this guilt, thou art to be in as much fear and trembling, as if the very sins were still committed by thee.

Page  138

LECTURE XVII.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our Debts.

*THe next Question to be handled, is, What remission of sin is, and how God doth forgive them. And although the dis∣cussing of the former Question, viz. What maketh a man a sin∣ner doth make an easie and quick way of dispatching this, be∣cause Justification doth take off that consideration and respect of a sinner from a man, yet that the whole nature of it may be better understood, I shall lay down severall Propositions, all which will tend to give us much light in this great and glorious benefit of the Gospel.

*And in the first place, as we formerly considered some choice Hebrew words that set forth the pardon of sinne, so now let us take notice of some Greek words in the new Testament, that expresse this gracious act of God: for the holy Ghost knoweth best in what words to represent this glorious mercy to us.

The word that is most frequently used by the Evangelists and Apostles is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which in the general, is as much as to dis∣misse or send away, to let alone, to leave, to permit or suffer; in which senses the Scripture often useth it: and certainly God in this sense doth pardon sin, because he lets it alone, he leaves it, he meddles no more with it, but handleth the person forgiven, as if he never had been a sinner. But commonly this word is u∣sed of absolving those who are accused as guilty, which appear∣eth in that famous sentence of Agesilaus, who writing to have one Nicias sent to him that was accused, used this expression, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Page  139Nicias, if he have done no wrong, absolve him, if he have, absolve him for my sake, but howsoever absolve him, or set him free. And in this sense forgivenesse of sins may well be called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but in the Scripture it seemeth rather to be an expression from those that are loosned out of their bonds for their debts; and there∣fore frequently is applied to the forgiving of debts, Mat. 18.25, 27, 32. and this is more notably set down, Luk. 4.18. to preach to captives or prisoners, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, freedom or forgivenesse of sin, and so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, shall be as much as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to loosen bonds, as the word is used, Luke 16.26. Acts 27.40. Therefore howsoever Grotius thinks the word to remit, to be a metaphor from those who part with, or leave a thing that they might retain, yet it seemeth rather to be taken from releasing of debts, and loos∣ning of bonds, in which the conscience of a sinner was tied, being bound to answer at the Tribunal of God. Hence the Scri∣pture useth several names to expresse pardon of sin, according to the several titles that sin hath in the Scripture. As sins are Debita, Debts, so God doth forgive, as they are Sordes, a filth and loathsomnesse, so God doth cover them, as they are vin∣cula, bonds, so he doth remit them. As they are debts, writ∣ten down in a book, so he blots them out: As they make us mi∣serable and wretched, so he is mercifull and propitious in remo∣ving of them.

A second word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Col. 2.13. Having forgiven you all trespasses, Col. 3.13. Even as Christ forgave us. Now this word doth excellently signifie the fountain, and the effect of pardon. The fountain, that it cometh from the meer grace and favour of God. There is nothing in us to merit or satisfie God with. Therefore howsoever there be a necessity of faith and repent∣ance, yea and God will not forgive sin in persons grown up, but where these are, yet these are no meritorious causes, nor can they satisfie God for all that offence and dishonour which our sins have cast upon him. And this may encourage the broken heart, who feeleth a load of sin upon it self, and hath nothing to bring unto God: remember the root and fountain of all for∣givenesse is grace, which is so far from supposing any worth of condignity in thee for pardon, that it rather implieth the con∣trary. And as it doth imply grace thus in the fountain, so also Page  140 acceptablenesse and joy too in the party, to whom sin is forgi∣ven. So that there can be nothing in the world more welcome, or a greater matter of joy, then to bring this glad tidings; and indeed therefore is the Gospel called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, because it prea∣cheth the glad tidings of Gods love and reconciliation thorow Christ with a sinner.

A third word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, thus the Publican prayed, Luk. 18.3. Some derive 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 from 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, because we desire to look on those to whom we are propitious. But this word doth more immediately relate to the bloud of Christ, as the way by which God becomes thus pacified. So that as the other words set up the grace of God in pardoning, so this the merits and satisfacti∣on of Christ, 1 Joh. 2.2. 1 Joh. 4.10. Rom. 3.25. Heb. 2.17. In which places the appeasment of God towards us, is attributed to the bloud of Christ. Therefore if we put the former words and these together, we may see an admirable temperament and mixture of grace and justice in forgiving of sins. The for∣mer places exclude Popish Doctrines, The later, Socinian bla∣sphemies.

A fourth word may be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to obtain mercy. For although the Scripture apply this to all the benefits and mercies of God, yet Paul applieth it more particularly to pardon of sin, 1 Tim. 1.13. and when Dives prayed, Luk. 16.24. Father Abraham〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, have mercy on me, and so by consequent to be remo∣ved from that place of torment. Hence in that form of prayer which Paul useth by way of salutation, there are these three words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. But this word is more expresly used for this end in the grand Covenant and Promise for par∣don of sin, Heb. 8.12. For I will be mercifull to their iniqui∣ties, &c. This is so comprehensive a Petition, that it seemeth to be a generally received form of prayer in the Church, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, yea the wiser among the Heathens used this pray∣er, as appeareth by Arrianus epist. diss. lib. 2. cap. 7. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Now this word supposeth, 1. The party praying for pardon to look upon himself, as in a most miserable and undone estate, that no outward calamity or evil lieth so heavily upon him, as his sins do▪ And then secondly, on Gods part, it supposeth that he doth not only par∣don, Page  141 but that even his bowels yearn within him, when he doth forgive. Hence Luk. 1.78. they are called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the bowels of mercy. This goodnesse of God is excellently repre∣sented in the father of the Prodigal, Luk. 15.20. Therefore how great a sinne is unbelief, and refusing to have good thoughts of God, when God hath manifested himself thus gracious!

The last word I shall mention (though there be others that are used) is by way of negation, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. 4.8. 2 Cor. 5.9. And this is a metaphor from those that cast up their accounts, and account so much upon such an one for debt. Now by this word is shewn the terrible nature of sin, as also that howsoever for a while, we may live jollily, care for nothing, and be in se∣curity, yet God will one day cast up his accounts, and charge such and such debts upon us; but if so be the Lord will not impute them to us, and account them upon our score, this will be our blessednesse. And thus you have heard the most choice and principal words the holy Ghost expresseth our forgivenesse by. We proceed,

1. Proposition. Lay this down as a foundation,*That when God doth pardon sin, he takes it away so, as that the party acquitted is no more looked upon as a snner.

All the expressions about pardon amount to thus much; even as when one accused of theft and murder in the Common∣wealth, and is legally acquitted by the Judge, he is no more re∣puted a thief or murderer. Therefore it is a calumny of the Pa∣pists, as if we held, That a man is a sinner after God hath pardon∣ed him. It is true, we say, That sin doth remain in a man, though he be justified, and that sin hath a desert of condemnation with it, but where God hath pardoned, there he doth not look upon that man as a sinner, but as a just man. Therefore in different respects we may say, That pardon of sin is an utter abolition of it, and it is not an utter abolition of it. It is an utter abolition of it, as it doth reflect upon the person, making him guilty, and ob∣liging him actually to condemnation; in this respect a man is as free as if he had never sinned; but if you speak of the inherency of sin, and the effects of original corruption, that do abide in all, which are also truly and properly sins; so pardon of sin is not Page  142 an utter abolition, and although Christ wrought no semiplenam curationem, as is observed, no half-cures upon any diseased per∣sons, but whom he healed, he healed perfectly, yet he works by degrees in the grace of Sanctification, as he did perfect the world by severall degrees successively, and not (as Austin thought) all at once. So that this particular, viz. That forgive∣ness is a perfect abolition of sin in the former consideration, is of transcendent comfort to the believers: and indeed it is impossi∣ble that sin should be forgiven divisibly, and by parts: so a man should be at the same time under the favour of God, and under his hatred, which is impossible.

Thou therefore who art a believer hast cause to rejoyce, for this perfect work of remission of thy sins past, wherein nothing more is, or can be done for thy good and consolation. Do not think it is with God, as with men, who say indeed, They forgive with all their heart, yet retain their secret, inward hatred, as much as before. Indeed the pain of sin may roul and tumble in thy conscience a long while after, though it be forgiven (we see so in David) as the sea, which hath been enraged by tem∣pests and windes, though they be quiet, yet the sea will roar and make a noise a long time after. The heart of a man awaken∣ed and pierced with the guilt of sin; doth not quickly and easily compose it self again.

*Prop. 2. It is one thing for God to forgive, and another thing not to exact and demand punishments.

As we see among men, a Judge many times through fear or otherwise, when Justice is obstructed, doth not call such a ma∣lefactour to an account, but deferreth it, yet for all that, the man is not acquitted; so it is often to be seen in Gods provi∣dence, There are multitudes of sinners, who after their trans∣gressions committed, are not onely without punishment, but enjoy great prosperity, and much outward successe, yet these men are not pardoned, they have no acquittance from God. This hath been such a temptation to David, Jeremiah, and others of Gods people, that they have many times staggered through unbelief. But men may have their punishments de∣ferred, their damnation may sleep or linger, but it is not ta∣ken off.

Page  143Let not men therefore delude themselves with vain hopes, as if their sins were forgiven, because not yet punished: No, there must be some positive gracious act of God to acquit thee, else thy sins are alive to condemn thee. Examine thy self therefore whether thy peace, comfort, plenty, be a fruit of Gods forbear∣ance meerly, or of his acquittance. This later is alwayes an act of his gracious mercy: but the other may be a terrible fruit of his hatred against thee, insomuch that thou hadst better wander up and down like Cain, fearing every thing will kill thee, or damn thee, then be in such security.

Prop. 3.*A godly man may account not only himself bound to thank God for the pardon of those sins he hath committed, but he is to ac∣knowledge so many pardons, as by the grace of God he hath been pre∣served from sin.

And if a believer enter into this consideration, how will it overwhelm him! So often as God hath preserved thee from such and such sins, which thy own heart, or temptations would have inclined thee to, God hath virtually given thee so many pardons. That God preserved David from killing Nabal and his Family, here was interpretatively as great mercy, as in the expresse forgiving of the murder of Ʋriah. It is a rule of Di∣vines, Plures sunt gratiae privativae, quàm positivae. There are more preventing graces then positive. The keeping of evils from us, is more then the good he bestoweth on us. Therefore Austin observed well, that as Paul said, By the grace of God I am what I am: So he might also have said, By the grace of God I am not what I am not. Though therefore we are not so sensi∣ble of preventing mercies, as of positive, yet a due and right consideration of Gods love in this matter might much inflame our hearts: Say therefore, O Lord, I blesse thee, not onely for the pardon of those sins I have committed, but also for thy goodnesse in preserving me from those many thousands, I was prone to fall into, which is in effect, the pardon of so many.

Prop. 4.*Remission of sin is not to be considered meerly as removing of evil, but also as bestowing of good.

It is not only ablativa mali, but collativa boni: it is not a meer negation of punishment due to us, but a plentifull vouchsafingPage  144 of many gracious favours to us, such as a Sonship, and a right to eternal life, as also Peace with God, and Communion with him. God also never pardons any sin, but where he sanctifieth the nature of such an one. Indeed it will be worth the enquiry, Whether this connexion of pardon of sin with inherent holiness, arise from a natural neessity, so that one cannot be without the other; or whether it be by the meer positive will, and appointment of God; for the present this is enough, God hath revealed he will never dis▪join these.

*Prop. 5. I every sin there are (as to the purpose of Justifica∣tion, these two things considerable) the offence that is done to God, whereby he is displeased, and the obligation of the man so offending him to eternal condemnation.

Now remission of sin doth wholly lie in removing of these two: so that when God doth will neither to punish or to be of∣fended with the person, then he is said to forgive. We must not therefore speak of two kinds of remissions, one remission of the punishment, another of the offence and fault; for this is one re∣mission, and God never doth the one without the other. It is true there remain paternal and medicinal chastisements after sin is forgiven, but no offence, or punishment strictly so taken. What kinde of act this remission is, whether immanent or transient, is to be shewed in the next Question.

*Prop. 6. From the former Proposition this followeth,

That sin in the guilt of it is not remitted by any act that we do, but it is a meer act of God.

So that neither the grace of repentance, or love of God is that, which removeth guilt out of the soul, but it is something in God onely. It is the opinion of many Papists, That God in pardoning doth onely inable to repent for sin, and then the guilt of sinne doth naturally and necessarily go away, so that there needeth no acceptation from God, or act of remission, but onely an infusion of grace to repent. But this in the next Sermon shall mainly be insisted upon, and it is of great practi∣cal use, to take us off from having confidence, and trust in our sorrow for sin. For as when a creditor doth forgive his debtor, it is the sole act of the creditor, not any thing of the debtor: So in pardoning, it is not any thing that we do, though with Page  145 never so much love, and brokennesse of heart, that doth release and untie the bond of sinne, but it is an act of God onely.

If you say,*Why then is repentance and faith pressed so ne∣cessarily, that God doth not forgive without it? For if it be onely an act of Gods▪ then it may be done without any work of the sinner intervening. But of this in the next place; onely for the present take notice,* That it is not any sor∣row or retraction of ours, that makes a sinne either re∣missible, or actually remitted, but a meer act of Gods, and if all the men of the world were askt this Question, What they mean, when they pray God to forgive their sins? The sense of all would be, not that they should doe something which would remit them, but that God by his gracious favour would release them. So then, if all these particulars be cast up together, you may clearly conceive, how God doth for∣give sin, not by infusing or putting grace into us, which may expel sin, as light doth darkness, but by his outward grace and favour accepting of us: and therefore we are not to relie upon any thing we do, not to presume, no not of our godly sorrow for sinne, but to look up to Heaven, desiring God would speak the word, that he would pronounce the sentence of abso∣lution.

Let the Use be, To look upon our selves as bound in chains and fetters by our sins,* as made very miserable by them, that so we may the more earnestly desire pardon, and put an high prize up∣on it. Though Gods forgiving be not the putting of godly sorrow, and the working of a broken heart within us, yet we can never obtain the one without the other. The grace and mercy of a pardon is no more esteemed by us, because we look not upon our selves, as so many guilty persons adjudged to eter∣nal death. Thus the Publican cried out, Have mercy upon me a sinner. What Plutarch said of the Husbandman, That it was a pleasant sight to him, to see the ears of corn bending to the earth, because that was an argument of fruit within. No▪ lesse joyfull is it to spiritual husbandmen to see their people walk with humble, debased, broken hearts, through sense of sin, and not to walk confidently and delicately, like Agag, saying, The worst Page  146 is past. God said of Ahab, though humbled for externall mo∣tives only, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself? How much more will God take notice of those, who humble themselves upon spiritual grounds, desiring ease from Christ. As there∣fore Bernard writing to one, epist 180. who he thought was not sollicitous enough about the Judgements of God, in stead of wishing him according to the ordinary custom of salutation, Salutem plurimam, much health, said, Timorem plurimum, much fear: So may the Ministers of God, we wish you not much joy, but much holy fear. Alas thou fearest pain, poverty, death: but the guilt of sin is chiefly to be feared: but we like children are afraid of a vizard, and do not fear the fire, which is a real danger.

LECTURE XVIII.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our debts.

*YOu have heard, Pardon of sin is Gods work only, as also his manner of doing it, is not by infusing grace into us, which takes away the guilt of sin, but besides grace sanctify∣ing, there is also an act on Gods part repealing the sentence of condemnation against us. Now because this may seem to over∣throw the duty of repentance: and because this is the rock ma∣ny have been split upon, not being able to reconcile our duty of repentance, with Gods gracious favour of pardoning. I shall speak, though not all, yet as much as relateth to my purpose in hand, concerning the duty and necessity of repentance, although there be no causality or merit in it, to take away sin, and this may rightly inform us about the true efficacy of our sorrow for sin.

To open this Truth, consider these Propositions:

*First, That God doth never remit or forgive sin, but where also he giveth a mollified and softened heart to repent.

Page  147The Scripture doth abudantly confirm this by precepts and examples. It is indeed disputed by the Schoolmen (as you have heard) whether God by his absolute power might not forgive sin without Sanctification of our natures, and the grace of Re∣pentance; for seeing they are two distinct mercies, why may not God separate the one from the other? But it is a vain thing to dispute what God might do, when he hath revealed what he will do. And although we cannot say, That there is a na∣tural necessity between Justification and Sanctification, such as is between the light and heat in the fire; yet this conjoyning of them together by Gods will and appointment, ariseth from a condecency and fitnesse both to God himself, who is an holy God, and to the nature of the mercy, which is the taking and remo∣ving of sin away.

2.*Although the Scripture attribute pardon of sin to many qua∣lifications in a man, yet Repentance is the most expresse and proper duty.

The Scripture sometimes makes forgiving of others a necessa∣ry disposition, sometimes confessing and forsaking of them, some∣times believing (though that hath a peculiar nature in receiving of pardon, which other graces have not; and therefore faith obtaineth pardon by way of an instrument applying, which other graces do not) But if we speak of the expresse formall qualification, it is repentance of our sins, not repentance as it is a meer bare terrour upon thy heart, but as it is sweetned with Evangelical considerations. Luther said, There was no word so terrible unto him, and which his soul did more hate, then that (Re∣pent.) But it was because he understood not Gospel-grounds. We read then of some places of Scripture, which make God to be the only Author of blotting out and pardoning sin. And again we reade of other places, where God doth this for none, but the broken and contrite heart. Now both these places must not be opposed to each other: neither may we so dwell upon the one, as to neglect the other; so to look upon it as Gods act, as if there were nothing required in us: and again, so to look upon that which we do, as if God were not to be acknowledged.

3.*None may believe or conclude that their sins are pardoned be∣fore they have repented.

Page  148To this I shall speak more particularly, when I handle the Do∣ctrine of Justification before Faith. As for the Assertion it self, it is plain by all those places of Scripture, which make repentance requisite to pardon, Ezek. 14.6. Ezek. 18.30. Mat. 3.2. Luk. 13.3. The learned Dr Twisse, Vind. grat. p. 18. confesseth, that there are Arguments on both sides in the Scripture: Sometimes he saith, Pardon of sin is subjoyned to confession and repentance, of which sort he confesseth there are more frequent and expresse places; but yet sometimes remission of sin already obtained, is made an argument to move to repentance, and he instanceth in David and Mary Magdalen, who did abundantly and plentiful∣ly break out into tears, upon the sense of pardon. But these in∣stances are not to the purpose, for David repented of his wicked▪ness before Nathan told him, That his sin was taken away; and his penitential Psalm was not made so much for the first pardon of his sin, as the confirming and assuring of him in his pardon. Thus it was also with Mary Magdalen. But more of this in time.

*4. There is a necessity of Repentance if we would have pardon, both by a necessity of precept or command; as also by a necessity of means and a way.

Whatsoever is necessary, Necessitate medii, by a necessity of means or a way; is also necessary by a necessity of command, though not è contra. That repentance is necessary by way of a command, is plain by the places fore-quoted, and in innumerable other places. I do not handle the case, Whether an actual or explicite repentance be necessary to salvation of every sinner; but I speak in the general. It is disputed, Whether it be a natural pre∣cept, or a meer positive command; and if it be a natural or moral command, to which command it is reduced? Those that would have it under the command of, Thou shalt not kill, as if there were commanded a care of our souls, that they should not be damned, are ignorant of the true limits and bounds of the se∣veral Commandments. Its disputed also, When this time of repentance doth binde? It is a wonder that some should limit it only to times of danger and fear of death. Certainly this com∣mand binds as soon as ever a man hath sinned, Venenata inducias non patiuntur, A man that hath swallowed down poison, is not to linger, but presently to expell it. And one that is wounded, Page  149 who lieth bleeding, doth presently dispatch with all readinesse for Physitians, to have his bloud stopt: and thus ought men to take the first opportunity. Hence in that famous miracle wrought at the pool of Bethesda, not the second or third, but he that stept first into it was the only man that was healed. As repentance is thus necessary by way of command, so also by way of means: for the Spirit of God worketh this in a man, to qua∣lifie him for this pardon; So that although there be no causali∣ty, condignity or merit in our repentance, yet it is of that nature, that God doth ordain and appoint it a way for pardon: So that the command for repentance is not like those positive commands of the Sacraments, wherein the will of the Law-giver is meerly the ground of the duty; but there is also a fitnesse in the thing it should be so: even as among men, nature teacheth, That the injurious person should be sorry, and ask forgivenesse before he be pardoned.

5. Concerning this duty of repentance,*there are two extream practical mistakes; the one is of the prophane, secure man, who makes every empty and heartlesse invocation of mercy, to be the repentance spoken of in the Scripture, whereas repentance is a duty compounded of many ingredients,* and so many things go to the very essence, yea the lowest degree of godly sorrow, that by Scripture-rules we may say, Repentance is rarely to be seen any where; for if you do regard the nature of it, it is a broken and a contrite heart. Now how little of the heart is in most mens humiliations? Men being Humiliati magis quam hu∣miles, as Bernard said, humbled and brought low by the hand of God, rather then humble and lowly in their own souls. Again, if you consider the efficient cause, it is from the Spirit of God, the spring of sorrow must arise from this hill, Zech. 12. Rom. 8. Fur∣ther, if you consider the motive, it must be because God is dis∣pleased and offended, because sin is against an holy law, and so of a staining and polluting nature.

Lastly, If you consider the effect and fruit of repentance, it is an advised forsaking and utter abandoning of all those lusts and iniquities, in whose fetters they were before chained: so that a man repenting and turned unto God, differs as much from him∣self once a sinner, as a Lazarus raised up and walking, differs Page  150 from himself dead and putrifying in the grave. Do not thou then whose heart is not contrite, who dost continually lick up the vo∣mit of thy sin, promise to thy self repentance: No, thou art far from this duty as yet.

*On the other side, There is a contrary mistake, and that is sometimes by the godly soul, and such as truly fear God, They think not repentance enough, unlesse it be enlarged to such a measure and quantity of sorrow: as also extended to such a space of time; and by this means, because they cannot tell, when they have sorrowed enough, or when their hearts are broken as they should be, they are kept in perpetual labyrinths, and often through impatience do with Luther in such a tempta∣tion, Wish they never had been made men, but any creatures rather, because of the doubts, yea the hell they feel within themselves. Now although it be most profitable bitterly to bewail our sins, and to limit no time, yet a Christian is not to think, Pardon doth not belong to him, because his sorrow is not so great and sensible for sin as he desireth it. David indeed doth not only in his soul, but even bodily expresse many tears, yea rivers, because of his sin, and other mens sins; yet it is a good rule, That the people of God, if they have sorrow in the chiefest manner ap∣pretiativè, though not intensivè, by way of judgment and esteem, so that they had rather any affliction should befall them, then to sin against God, if this be in them, though they have not such sensible intense affections, they may be comforted. When the A∣postle John makes this argument, He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how shall he love God, whom he hath not seen? implieth, That things of sense do more move us, then matter of faith. David made a bitter out-cry upon the death of Abso∣lom, with sad expressions, Would to God I had died for thee, O Ab∣solom, my son, my son, &c. But when Nathan told him of his Adultery and Murder, though he confessed his sin, yet we reade not that he made such sensible lamentation. Thus Hierom wri∣teth of a godly woman Paula, that at the death of her children, would be so dejected, that she did hardly escape death; yet it is not reported that she found such grief for her sins. So that as in corporal things, a man would choose the tooth-ach, rather then a pestilent feaver, yet a man is more afflicted and pained Page  151 at the tooth-ach, or burning of his finger, then at a feaver: So it may be here, a godly man would rather choose the losse of his children, or dearest relations, then lose the favour of God by his sinne; yet it may be have more painfull grief in the one then the other. Again, it is to be observed, That the Scripture requiring sorrow or repentance for sin, doth not limit such a de∣gree, or such a length of time, which if necessary, would certain∣ly have been prescribed.

6. It cannot be denied,*but that the ancient Fathers have spoken hyperbolically of tears and repentance; which phrases were the oc∣casion of that corrupt doctrine in Popery. Chrysostom compa∣reth repentance to the fire, which taketh away all rust of sin in us. Basil cals it, The medicine of the soul, yea those things which God properly doth, are attributed to tears and sorrow; as if the water of the eyes, were as satisfactory as the bloud of Christ; his bloud is clean enough to purge us, but our very tears need washing. It is true indeed, we reade of a promise made to those who turn from their evil wayes, Ezek. 18.27. he shall save his soul alive; but this is not the fruit of his repentance, but the gift of God, by promise: It qualifieth the subject, it hath no in∣fluence upon the priviledge: Even as a man doth by the power of nature dispose and prepare the body to receive the soul, but it is the work of God immediately to infuse it.

7. Though therefore repentance be necessary to qualifie the sub∣ject, yet we run into falshood,*when we make it a cause of pardon of sinne. And thus ignorant and erroneous people do: Ask why they hope to be saved or justified, why they hope to have their sins pardoned; they return this answer, Because they have re∣pented, and because they lead a godly life: Thus they put their trust and confidence in what they have done. But the Scripture, though it doth indispensably command repentance in every one, yet the efficient cause of pardon is Gods grace, and the merito∣rious is Christs bloud: And if repentance come under the name of a cause, it can be only of the material, which doth qualifie the subject, but hath no influence into the mercy it self. We reade Luk. 7. that Mary Magdalen had many sins pardoned her, because she loved much: But the Parable of a Creditor which for∣gave debts, that is brought by our Saviour to aggravate her Page  152 kindnesse, doth plainly shew, That he speaks not of a love, that was the cause of pardon of her sin, but which was the effect of it, Gods love melting her heart, even as the Sun doth snow. The highest expressions that we meet with in Scripture, where par∣don of sinne seemeth to be ascribed to godlinesse, as a cause, is Dan. 4.27. Break off thy iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor. Here we would think, that if a man would on purpose hold, that doing of a good work, would be a proper cause to remove sin, he would use no other expression. But first it appeareth by the context, that Daniel giveth not this counsel in reference to Ju∣stification, and the pardon of his sin, so as to be accepted with God, but to prolong and keep off that temporall judgement, which was revealed in the vision, as appeareth by those words [If there may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.] And we have the like instance in Ahab, who prorogued his calamity by an ex∣ternal humiliation. Again, although the Vulgar translate it, Re∣deem thy sins, yet the Hebrew word doth properly signifie, To break a thing, as we translate it, and although by a metaphor it be applied to redeem and deliver, yet that is alwayes of men and persons, not things, especially it would be ridiculous to say, Re∣deem thy sins: so that the meaning is, That whereas before Ne∣buchadnezzar had by injustice and oppression done much rapine and violence; now Daniel counselleth him to break off such wicked wayes, by the contrary expressions of love and chastity: So that this place giveth not any spiritual mercy to repentance, as the proper cause thereof.

8. As repentance is thus necessary, but not as a cause of par∣don: so neither is it required, as that whereby we appease and satisfie God; and this all Popery goeth upon, yea and all Phari∣saical spirits, in their humiliation, that by those afflictions and debasements of their souls, they shall satisfie God, and make him amends. But this is so grosse, that the more learned of the Papists are fain to mitigate the matter, and say, That satisfaction cannot be properly made to God by any thing we do, because all we have and do is from God, and therefore there must be an acceptation or covenant by way of gift interposed, whereby we may be able to satisfie. And then further they say, There cannot be satisfaction made to gain the friendship of God, which sin hath violated, but to take away Page  153 some thing of temporall punishment that belongs to sinne.*

So that by all this which hath been delivered, we may give repentance those just and true bounds, which Gods Word doth assign to it, and yet not give more then Gods Word doth. Nei∣ther may we think it a nicety or subtilty to make a difference between a qualification, and a cause; for if we do not, we take off the due glory that belongs to Christ and his merits, and give it to the works we do, and we do make Christ and his sufferings imperfect and insufficient; and by this we may see, in what sense grace inherent or sanctification doth expel sin; for if we speak of the filth and pollution of sin, so sanctifying grace expels it, as light doth darknesse, heat doth cold, by a reall mutation and change: So that God in sanctifying doth no more to expel the sin, in the filth of it, afterwards; even as the Physitian needs to do no more to the removing of the leprosie, then by producing a sound health in the body. But when we speak of the guilt of sin, it is not grace sanctifying within us that doth remove the guilt, but grace justifying without us. Insomuch that although a man after sin committed were perfectly sanctified, yet that would not take off the guilt his sin had brought upon him: So that although that man, needed in such a case no further grace of sanctification to make him holy, yet he needed the grace of remission to take away this guilt. So that the guilt of sin doth not cease by a natural necessity, upon the removing of the na∣ture of the sin, but upon a distinct and new act of Gods favour in forgiving; for if this were so, then Gods mercy in giving a repenting heart, and his mercy in pardoning should not be two distinct mercies (which yet are evidently distinguished by the Scripture) but the same entire mercy. Now although this be true, yet how few do reform their judgements in this point? and thereupon they come to put that upon their grace within them, which belongs to grace without them.

Use of Instruction,* That there may be an happy reconciliation and accord between Gods grace in forgiving, and mans duty in repenting, one need not be preached to justle out the other. All error is an extremity of some truth, and therefore it is hard to discover truth, because its difficult to find out where the bounds are, that truth parts from error. Let not therefore a Christian so Page  154 relie upon his repentance, as if there were no Covenant of grace, no bloud of Christ to procure an atonement: so neither let him extol these causes to the extinguishing of his duties.

*To stir up to this duty of repentance, as that without which pardon of sin cannot be obtained. There is no such free grace nor Gospel-mercy that doth supersede a broken and contrite heart. Christ was broken for thy sins, yet that will not excuse thee from a broken heart for them also. Christ was wounded, and a man of sorrow for thy sins, yet that will not take of thy wounds and sorrow also. Indeed if these were able to satisfie Gods wrath, or to make an atonement, then Christ was wound∣ed, and became a man of sorrows in vain, for God doth not re∣quire a two-fold satisfaction: but we are wounded for sin upon other grounds then Christ was: we mourn for other causes then he did: and consider, thou that art afraid to grieve here for sin, how little is this to that which thou shalt be forced to grieve for hereafter! Thou art unwilling to be burdened here; but oh how easie is that to the load thou must stand under hereafter! This Bernard urged, When, saith he, we urge men to repent, they say, this is durus sermo, an hard speech, who can bear it? But you are deceived, when God shall say, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire. This is indeed an hard speech. And account that repent∣ance is as much as the bringing of a man to his wits and minde again. All the while thy sins are not a burden to thee, thou art in blindenesse: even as the childe as long as it is in the dark womb, weeps not, but as soon as ever it cometh into the light, then it crieth. As long as thou liest in the womb of darknesse and ignorance, thou mournest not, but when God shall open thy eyes to see thy estate, and the aggravation of thy sins, then thou wilt burst out into sorrow.

Page  155

LECTURE XIX.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our debts.

IT hath been shewed, That there is an happy accord between Gods grace in pardoning, and our duty in repenting. In boun∣ding of which you have heard the Scripture excludes all merit and causality from our repentance, and gives the glory of all to Gods grace, and Christs bloud.

Before I leave this point,* it will be necessary to answer some practical Objections, for there is a great miscarriage in many about this very duty of repentance. If they be asked, How they hope to be saved? they will reply, by their repentance. Thus they make that their Ark and city of refuge; they look upon that as the brazen serpent, and not Jesus Christ. And it is no wonder, if this be so among ignorant people, when the most learned amongst the Papists, do give such power and merit unto repent∣ance. Insomuch that Vasques saith, He wonders at those Ca∣tholikes, who have such low and despicable thoughts of the righteousnesse in us, as that it should not exclude sin, without any new favour or pardon of God: as if the enabling us to re∣pent, did expel the guilt of sin, as fire doth water, by a natural necessity.

The first Objection therefore may be, To what purpose doth God require Repentance, seeing it is no cause of pardon?*Why may not God forgive sin, as well without this sorrow of ours; for if it have no efficacy of it self, to deliver from the guilt of sin, then sin might be pardoned, as well without it as with it; for if the Spi∣rit of God prepareth us for pardon, by exciting and stirring up Repentance, this Repentance must have some respect of causality Page  156 to pardon, or else to what purpose it is wrought? It is hard therefore to see the necessity of Repentance, unlesse it have such ef∣fects. Insiste fortitèr poenitentiae, inhaere tanquam naufragus tabulae, said Ambrose; And this efficacy all are pron to give to Re∣pentance.

*Now to answer this, lay first this foundation, That God doth indispensably require repentance of all, Act. 17.30. where not only the command of repentance is made known, but the good∣nesse of God in pressing this duty: for whereas God hath neg∣lected and passed over the former times of ignorance, by not revealing any such command unto them, now by the general spreading of the Gospel he doth. For howsoever we translate it (winked at) as also Beza doth, yet Dieu upon the place sheweth more probably, that it signifieth Gods anger, and in∣dignation to them, and therefore hid the means of salvation from them. This grace is also required of the godly sinning, 2 Cor. 7.9, 1O. Revel. 2.16. Tertullian subtilly, but not solidly saith, God first dedicated repentance in his▪ own self; for be∣fore God said, It repenteth me that I have made man, the name of repentance was not heard. But we know that God cannot in a proper sense be said to repent, because there is no ignorance in his understanding, or mutability in his will. But to answer, Why God doth require it; this in the first place might be enough, Because it is his will and command, Bonum est poenitere, an non, quid revolvis? Deus praecipit, said Tertulian: Is it good to repent, or not? Why doubtest thou? Hath not God com∣manded it? It is Gods will, to joyn pardon and repentance to∣gether. Though there were no more connexion between these two, then by that meer appointment of God, we were bound up to do it. As we see in the Sacraments, God hath promised such spirituall grace in the holy use and application of such outward signs, where there is no naturall connexion at all be∣tween the grace and the sign; but the union comes by the meer institution and command of God. Although the conjoyning of pardon with repentance, be more then from a meer positive command, there is an aptnesse and fitnesse in the thing it self. Now God in commanding of this, doth not because he needed it, or as if he could not do otherwise; for if a man may for∣give Page  157 another, that hath injured him, although he do not grieve or be troubled for such an offence, why may not God, if we speak of absolute power? Thy tears therefore and thy repent∣ance, they make not God more happy; neither are they requi∣red for Gods good, but for thy own good. Neither doth God re∣quire them, as if they should make up any defect or insufficien∣cy in Christs bloud; for alas, if Christs bloud be not able to cleanse away thy sin, how shall thy tears do it? Hence its no lesse then blasphemy, which Rivet reporteth of Panigirolla the Papist, who cals it foolishnesse, and a grievous sin to put confi∣dence wholly in Christs bloud. Although therefore God puts up thy tears in his bottle, yet if he do not also take notice of the bloud of Christ, thy soul must still remain filthy. Do not therefore magnifie thy tears, and undervalue Christs bloud. The bloud of the Sacrifice, which represented Christs bloud, was to be sprinkled upon the posts of the door, but not on the thre∣shold, it was not to be trampled upon or despised, no more is Christs bloud.

In the second place,*There are many reasons of congruity and fitnesse, why a man should repent,*though it procure not pardon as a cause. Though God cause the Sunne to shine, and the rain to fall upon the wicked as well as the righteous, yet pardon and reconciliation is not vouchsafed to the impenitent, as well as the penitent.

The first reason of Congruity is,*Because hereby a man shall experimentally know the bitternesse of sin, as well as the sweetnesse of it; For as God, though Christ hath fully satisfied his justice to take away all punishment, doth yet heavily afflict his own peo∣ple for sin, that so they may in their own sense apprehend what wormwood and gall is in sin; so the Lord, though pardon come wholly by Christ, yet will give it to none, but to those that re∣pent, that so according to their delight in sin, may also be their bitternesse for it, Jer. 2.19. Aristotle said, Homo est magis sensus quam intellectus, much more is he sensus then fides, more sense then faith, and what he experimentally doth most feel, in that he is most affected.

2. Another Congruity is this, Hereby we shall come to prize pardon the more, and to esteem the grace of God in forgiving.* The Page  158 sick esteem the Physician. The broken bones make a man cry out for ease. The famished Prodigal would be glad of crums. It is therefore fit, that a mans sins should be a burden, and an heavy trouble to him, that so pardon may be the sweeter, and Gods love the more welcome. When Josephs brethren were put in fear, and dealt with roughly as spies: after this to know that Joseph was their reconciled brother, did work the greater joy. Again, we shall hereby judge the better of Christs love to us, his suf∣ferings in his soul were more exquisite then those in his body, when he cried: My God, why hast thou forsaken me? in this was the height of his Agony. Now thou that in thy repent∣ance feelest Gods displeasure, art ready to cry out, Why dost thou forsake me? By these throbs and agonies in thy own soul, thou maiest have some scantling of what Christ had in his soul: and certainly to think that Christ was thus tempted, thus under Gods displeasure for thee, will more indear Christ to thee, then that he was made poor, a worm and no man, yea crucified for thee.

*3. Hereby we shall give God the glory of his Justice, that he might damn us, if he did enter into strict judgement with us. In repentance we judge our selves, 1 Cor. 11. that is, we condemn our selves, acknowledge such sins to be committed by us, for which God might shew no mercy, for which he might say, De∣part ye cursed into everlasting fire; and by this means, God is highly honoured, and we debased. See this notably in David, Psal. 51.4. Against thee have I sinned, that thou mightest be ju∣stified, when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgest. By this expression, David doth acknowledge, that all the afflictions laid upon him for sin, were just, and therefore God was to be clear∣ed howsoever. Thus in repentance a man comes to know him∣self, how low and vile he is, and that if he be saved from wrath and hell, it is meerly from Gods good pleasure; and therefore repentance is a kinde of a revenge upon a mans self, 2 Cor. 7.10. The Lord is set up in his greatness and soveraignty, we are made wholly prostrate.

*4. As there is a Congruity; So repentance floweth by naturall consequence from a regenerated and sanctified heart: For seeing regeneration is taking away the heart of stone, and giving an Page  159 heart of flesh, thereby also is given a flexiblenesse and tendernesse, and aptnesse to relent, because God is dishonoured. As there is in children a natural impression to mourn and relent, when a father is displeased, so that this godly sorrow floweth from a gracious heart; as a stream from the fountain, as fruit from the tree. From this inward principle David doth so heartily mourn and pray; from this Peter goeth out, and weeps bitter∣ly. It is therefore a vain Question to ask, Why a godly man is humbled for sinne, it is as if you should ask, Why a childe mourneth for the death of his father? That love of God within him, which doth abundantly prevail, and reign there, is like fire that doth melt and soften. So that as naturall forms are the principles of actions, which flow from them: Thus is a supernatural principle of grace within, the ground of all spiritual actions that issue thencefrom, but although it flow as a fruit, yet many times this stream is obstructed or dried up.

5. There is in godly sorrow an aptnesse or fitnesse,*to be made the means or way wherein pardon may be obtained. And this is the highest our godly sorrow can attain unto, in reference to par∣don of sinne, viz. an ordinability of it to be such a way, where∣in we may finde mercy. And thus we cannot say of impeniten∣cy, or any other sin: That God may forgive a man living in his impieties and wicked wayes, for they have no aptitude or condecency in their natures, to be referred to such an end. We grant therefore that when the Spirit of God doth humble and soften a mans heart for sin, that it works that in a man, which hath a fitnesse to be used, as the means whereby mercy is obtain∣ed; yet that hath no merit or condignity in it to purchase sal∣vation. Hence it is that we may not say, It is all one whether a man doth repent or not; or that repentance is in a man, as a sign only that God hath pardoned; but we must go further, and say, it is the means and way which God hath apointed antece∣dently to pardon, so that where this goeth before, the other cometh after.

6. There is a Congruency in repentance for sin,*Though it be not expiatory or satisfactory; If we do regard the justice of God, or the mercy and grace of God. The justice of God:*Page  160 For if he should pardon sinfull, impenitent men, though they wallow in all mire and filth, that despise his grace and mercy, how could his justice bear it? Though therefore repentance doth not satisfie his justice, yet sins unrepented of cannot be pardoned without injustice; and therefore Christ did not un∣dertake to satisfie the wrath of God in an absolute illimited manner, but in an ordered way, viz. in the way of faith and re∣pentance.

*Again, It is not beseeming the grace of God, to give pardon without repentance, for hereby a floud-gate would be opened to all prophanenesse and impiety; and then what sense or taste could men have of the grace of God, if it were thus exposed to all impenitent, as well as repenting? who would magnifie grace? who would desire it? So that you see, its neither agreeing with the mercy or the justice of God, to forgive sin before, or with∣out repentance.

*A second Objection may be, Why repentance wrought by the Spirit of God is not enough to remove sin in the guilt of it? What ne∣cessity is there, that besides this there should be a special and gracious act of God to pardon?

*1. The Answer is from many grounds: First, The Scripture makes these two distinct mercies, and therefore ought not to be confounded. God promiseth to turn the heart unto him, and he will turn to it, in the way of pardon. So that a man ab∣solved at the throne of grace, hath two distinct benefits, for which he is to give God thanks; the one is, that he makes him to see his sins, and be humbled for them: The other, that being thus humbled, God giveth him pardon; for although God hath ordered it so, that where the one goeth before, the other shall infallibly follow, yet all this is of Gods goodnesse. He might have commanded repentance in a deep and bro∣ken manner, and when we had done all, yet might have had no pardon, and therefore it is no thanks to thy repent∣ance, but to Gods grace that thou doest meet with forgive∣nesse.

*2. Our repentance is infirm and weak needing another repent∣ance. Lava, Domine, lachrymas meas, saith he, O Lord, wash my tears. That is only true of Christs bloud, which Ambrose spake Page  161 in commendations of water, Quae lavas ownia, nec lavaris, which washest all things, and art not washed thy self. So that re∣pentance cannot be the remedy to lean upon, for alas that need∣eth another remedy, which is the bloud of Christ. If therefore when asked, How dost thou hope to have thy sins pardoned? thou answer, because thou repentest and humblest thy self for thy sins. It will be further demanded, But how doest thou hope to have thy sins of thy repentance taken away? Here all must necessarily be resolved into the bloud of Christ: Take heed then after sin, of trusting in thy own sorrow. It is a most subtil sinne, unlesse a man be much acquainted with the Go∣spel-way, and his own self-emptinesse, its impossible but that he should look upon his repentance, as that which maketh God amends.

3. If it were possible that our repentance were perfect and without spot,*yet that could not take away the guilt of sin com∣mitted, because sinne is an infinite offence and dishonour to God, and therefore can never be made up by any man, though he should be made as holy as Angels; for if man had commit∣ted one sinne onely, if the same man should presently be made perfectly holy; or if he had the holinesse of Angels and Saints communicated to him, all this could not take off the guilt of sin, neither would all that holinesse have as much satisfied God, as sinne displeased and dishonoured him. Hence God sent Christ into the world to make a reparation, and to bring a greater good, then sinne could evil. Oh therefore how low must this lay thee in the dust, after sinne committed! O Lord, Could I repent to the highest degree, Could I bring the ho∣linesse of men and Angels, it could not make up the breach sinne hath made upon me; what then shall I think of my self, whose graces may be much perfected and bettered then they are?

But you may say,*Why should not repentance be as great a good, and as much honour God, as sinne is an evil? For when you say, sinne hath an infinite evil in it; it is meant only obje∣ctivè, because God against whom it is committed, is an infinite God; Now then if sinne be called infinite, because it turneth from an infinite God, why should not repentance be said to be Page  162 infinite, because it turneth to an infinite God? This hath much puzled some, and hath made them hold that repentance hath as much infinite worth in it, because of God, to whom a man is turned by it, as sinne hath infinite evil in it. But there is a vast difference, because it is enough for sinne to have an infinite evil in it, because the offence is done against an infinite God, and so the nature of an offence is according to the object against whom it is. As an offence against a King or Emperour is more then against a private man; so that still offences are more or lesse as the persons against whom they are, be of greater or lesse dignity: but now it is otherwise in good things that are done by way of satisfaction, that ariseth from the subject, not the object: as now repentance, though it be a turning to God, who is infinite, yet that cannot have infinite satisfaction, be∣cause the subject which doth repent is finite: Therefore this cleareth the difficulty: offences arise according to the object, but satisfaction encreaseth according to the subject. Hence it is, That Christ only could satisfie, because he only was an in∣finite person. Otherwise if grace or holinesse could have done it, Angels might have wrought our redemption. Besides, our repentance And turning to God, cannot be as meritorious of good, as sinne is of punishment, because of that true rule, Malum meum & purè malum est, & meum est: bonum meum, neque purè est, neque meum est. Our sins are altogether, and onely sins, and they are truly ours: but our good things are neither purely good things, nor yet ours, but the gifts of God.

*The last Objection is, Why should there be such pressing of mour∣ning and repenting for sin, and that because it is such an offence to God. For seeing God is all-sufficient and happy enough in himself, our sins do not hurt him, or make him miserable, no more then our graces adde to his happinesse, but as he is above our graces, so he is also above our sins: seeing therefore God is incapable of any injury from man, why should sin be such an offence?

*The Answer is easie, If you consider the internall Attributes of God, as Justice, Wisdom, Glory and Happinesse: So God can have no losse or injury, for he is alwayes the same happy and immutable glorious God: but if you do consider the ••••nallPage  163 good things that are due to him from men, as Honour, Praise, Reverence, &c. These may be taken away from God by the perverse wils and lives of men, and so God have lesse of this eternal Honour and Glory then he hath. And although this external Honour and Reverence do not make to the internal Happinesse of God, yet he is pleased with this, and commands it of men, and threatens to punish where it is denied him: and certainly we may not think the Scripture doth aggravate sine under this title, as an injury to him, as that which offends him, and is disobedience unto him, if so be there were not some Reality. Besides the Necessity of Christs death by way of sa∣tisfaction, doth necessarily argue, That sinne is a reall offence and dishonour to him. And lastly, a sinner as much as li∣eth in him, depriveth God of all his inward happinesse and glory; insomuch that if it were possible God would be made lesse happy by our sins. It is no thanks to a sinner that he is not, but it ariseth from his infinite Perfection that he cannot.

Let the first Use be,*To commend Repentance in the necessity of it, if ever we would have pardon. God hath appointed no other way for thy healing. Never perswade thy self of the pardon of sinne, where sinne it self hath not been bitter to thee. Be∣sides, where godly sorrow is, there will be earnest prayer and heavenly ascensions of the soul unto God, for his pardon. Hence, Zech. 12. The spirit of Prayer and Mourning is put together, and Rom. 8. Prayer and groans unutterable. As the fowls of the Heaven were at first created out of the water; so do thy heavenly breathings after God, arise from thy hum∣bled, and broken soul. It is presumption to expect pardon for that sinne, which hath not either actually or habitually been humbled for by thee. If a man should expect health and life, yet never eat or drink, would you not say, he tempted God, and was a murderer of himself? So if a man hope for par∣don, and yet never debase or loath himself repenting of his sins, will you not ••y, he is a murderer of his soul? And be en∣couraged to it, because God hath annexed such a graci∣ous Promise to it. He might have filled thee with sorrow here and hereafter. It might be with thee, as the damned An∣gels, Page  164 who have neither the grace of repentance, nor the mercy of pardon.

*2. Not to trust in repentance, but after all thy humiliations still to depend only upon Christ. Though Christ died, and was crucified, yet he did not lose his strength and efficacy. This was represented in that passage of Gods providence, That a bone of his was a broken; Relie therefore upon Christ wounded for sinne, not upon thy own heart that is wounded, use this, but trust only in Christ. Dependance upon Evange∣lical graces doth evacuate Christ, as well as confidence in the Law. A man may not only preach the Law, and the duties thereof to the prejudice of Christs glory; but also the du∣ties and graces of the Gospel. If a man relieth upon his re∣pentance and believing, he maketh Justification and Salvation to be of works, though it be of faith; for he makes his faith a work, and gives that glory which belongs to Christ, to his own repentance.

LECTURE XX.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our Debts.

IT hath already been demonstrated at large, How God doth remit or forgive sins. We come now to shew, What kinde of act forgivenesse of sin is,*and whether it be antecedent to our faith and repentance. Both these Questions have a dependency one upon another; and therefore must be handled together.

The first Doubt is, What kinde of act in God forgivenesse of sin is? Whether it be an immanent act in-dwelling and abiding in God, or transient, working some reall effect and change upon the creature.

Now in handling of this, I shall not trouble you with that perplex Question so much vexed by the Schoolmen, Whether Page  165 a transient action be in the Agent, or in the Patient, but lay down some differences between an immanent action, and a transient action;* only you must take notice that we are in meer dark∣nesse, and not able to comprehend how God is said to act or work. For on the one side, we must not hold that there are any accidents in God; or that he can be a subject recipient of such, because of his most pure and simple Essence;* so that whatsoever is in God is God. And yet on the other side, the Scripture doth represent God doing and working such mercies and judgements as seemeth good to him. Only this some con∣clude of, wherein others with some probability dissent, that Gods knowledge and will is the cause of all things that are done; so that there is not an executive power besides them, whereby he doth this or that; As we see there is in man, though an Ar∣tificer wils such a thing to be done, yet that is not existent till he hath wrought it, but now God worketh all things by a meer command of his will, as appeareth Gen. 1. God said, Let there be light, and there was light; Here was Gods will to have it so, no executing power distinct from that will. Therefore it is a sure truth, De Deo etiam vera dicere periculosum est. It is dan∣gerous to assert things though true of God; and Tunc dignè Deum aestimamus cum inaestimabilem dicimus, then do we rightly esteem of him, when we judge him above our thoughts or esteem. We must not therefore apprehend of God,* as having a new will to do a thing in time, which he had not from eter∣nity (as Vorstius and others blaspheme) but his will was from all eternity, that such a thing be in time accomplished by his wisdome. As for example, in Creation, God did not then be∣gin to have a will to create: but he had a will from all eterni∣ty, that the world should exist in time; and thus it is in Justi∣fication and Sanctification; not that these effects are from eter∣nity, but Gods will is: And if you ask, Why, seeing Gods will to create or justifie is from eternity, Creation and Justificati∣on are not also from eternity? The answer is, because God is a free Agent, and so his will is not a necessary cause of the thing, for then it would be immediately, as the Sun beams are neces∣sarily as soon as the Sun is, but it is a voluntary principle, and so maketh the effect to be at the time he prescribeth. As if there Page  166 were an Artificer or Carpenter, that could by his meer wi cause an house to be reared up; he might will this to be done in such and such a year long after his will of it to be: So God when the world is made, when a sinner is justified, willed these things from all eternity, and when they come to have a being, these effects cause an extrinsecal denomination to be attribu∣ted to God, which was not before, as now he is a Creator, and was not before, now he justifieth, and did not before. There is no change made in God, but the alteration is in the creature. But of this more in its time.* Let us come to give the differen∣ces between an immanent action, and a transient, and then we may easily see, which of these two Justification or Remission of sinne is.

*The first and proper difference is this, An immanent action is that which abides in God, so that it works no reall effect without: As when God doth meerly know or understand a thing; but a transient action, is when a positive change is made thereby in a creature, as in Creation, &c. So that we may conclude of all Gods actions, which do relate to believers, only predestina∣tion is an immanent act of God, and all the rest, Justification, Regeneration, Glorification, are transient acts: for Predesti∣nation though it be an act of God choosing such an one to hap∣pinesse, yet it doth not work any reall change or positive effect in a man, unlesse we understand it virtually, for it is the cause of all those transient actions that are wrought in time. Howso∣ever therefore Justification be called by some an immanent acti∣on, and so made to go before Faith and Repentance * as if Faith were onely a declaration and signe of pardon of sinne from all eternity, yet that cannot be made good, as is to be shewed.

*A second difference floweth from the other, An immanent action is from eternity, and the same with Gods essence, but a tran∣sient action is the same with the effect produced. Hence the Ortho∣dox maintain, That Gods decrees are the same with his nature. Hence when we speak of Gods willing such a thing, it is no more then his divine Essence, with an habitude and respect to such objects; Gods Decrees are no more then God decreeing, Gods will no more then God willing: otherwise the simpliciyPage  167 of Gods nature will be overthrown, and those volitions of God will be created entities, and so must be created by other new volitions, and so in infinitum, as Spanheimius well argueth, only the later part seemeth not to be strong or sufficient, be∣cause when man willeth, he doth not will that by a new voliti∣on, and so in infinitum, and why then would such a thing fol∣low in God? Besides its no such absurdity in the actings of the soul, to hold a progresse in infinitum, thus far, that it doth not determinately pitch or end at such an act. It is one thing to have things distinguished in God, and another thing for us to conceive distinctly of them. The former is false: The later is true and necessary. But with transient actions it is otherwise, they being the same with the effects produced, are in time; And this is a perpetual mistake in the Antinomian, to confound Gods Decree and Purpose to justifie, with Justification, Gods im∣manent action from all eternity, with that transient, which is done in time. Whereas if they should do thus in matters of Sanctification and Glorification, it would be absurd to every mans experience, whereas indeed a man may as truly say, That his body is glorified from all eternity, as that his sins are forgiven from all eternity. And certainly Scripture speaks for one as well as the other, when it saith, Whom he hath justified, them he hath glorified.

By these two differences, you may see, That pardon of sin is a transient action, and so Justification also, partly, because it leaveth a positive, real effect upon a man justified; he that was in the state of hatred, is hereby in a state of love and friendship, he hath peace with God now, that once was at variance with him. Now when we say, There is a change made in a man by Justification, it is not meant of an inward, absolute and physical one, such as is in Sanctification, when of unholy we are made holy, but morall and relative; as when one is made a Magi∣strate, or husband and wife: partly, because this is done to us in time, whereas immanent actions were from all eternity, and therefore it would be absurd to pray for them, as it is ridiculous for a man to pray he may be predestinated or elected. Some indeed have spoken of Predestination, as actus continuus, a con∣tinued act, and so with them it is good Divinity, Si non sis prae∣destinatus, Page  168 ora ut praedestineris, If thou beest not predestinated, pray that thou maiest be; but this is corrupt doctrine, and much opposeth the Scripture, which doth frequently commend election from the eternity of it, that it was before the foundati∣ons of the world were laid; whereas now for pardon of sinne, it is our duty to pray that God would do it for us. This being thus cleared, we come to answer the next Question depending upon this, viz. Whether God doth justifie or forgive our sins before we believe or repent? and our answer is negative, That God doth not. Although there are many who are pertinaci∣ous, that he doth; and so they make Faith not an instrumental cause to apply pardon, but only a perswasion that sin is pardon∣ed; and thus repentance shall not be a condition to qualifie the subject, to obtain forgiveness, but a sign to manifest that sin is forgiven. This Question is of great practical concernment; and therefore to establish you in the truth, consider these Ar∣guments.*

1. The Scripture speaks of a state of wrath and condemnation, that all are in before they be justified or pardoned. Therefore the believers sins were not from all eternity forgiven; for if there were a time, viz. before his Regeneration and Conversion, that he was a childe of wrath, under the guilt and punishment of sin, then he could not be at the same time, in the favour of God, and peace with him.* Now the Scripture doth plentifully shew, That even believers before their Regeneration are detained in such bonds and chains of guilt and Gods displeasure, Ephes. 2.1, 2, 3. There the Apostle speaking to the converted Ephesians, telleth them of the wretched and cursed condition they were once in, and he reckons himself amongst them, saying, They were children of wrath, and that even as others were: So that there is no difference between a godly man unconverted, and a wicked man, for that present state, for both are under the power of Satan, both walk in disobedience, both are workers of iniqui∣ty, and so both are children of wrath. It is true, the godly man is predestinated, and so shall be brought out of this state, and the other left in it. But predestination (as is more largely to be shewed) being an immanent act in God, doth denote no positive effect for the present of love upon the person; and there∣fore Page  169 he being not justified, hath his sins imputed to him, lying upon him, and therefore by the Psalmists argument, not a blessed man. This also, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10, 11. The Apostle saith of some Co∣rinthians, That they were such as abiding in that state could not inherit the kingdom of God, and such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are justified. Therefore there was a time when these Corinthians were not justified, but had their sins abiding on them. Likewise all the places of Scripture, which speak of Gods wrath upon wicked men, and that they have no peace with God, must needs be true of all godly men while unconverted. He that believeth not, hath not life, and the wrath of God abideth on him, and without faith it is impossible to please God. Now who can de∣ny but that this is true of Paul, while no believer, but an oppo∣ser of godlinesse? The Psalmist also saith, God is angry with the wicked every day; Was not this true of Manasses before his con∣version? It must therefore be a very poisonous Doctrine, to say, That God is as well pleased with a man before his conversion, as after.

2. If the Scriptures limit this priviledge of Justification and pardon only to those subjects that are so and so qualified,*then till they be thus furnished, they cannot enjoy those priviledges. The places are many which testifie this, Act. 3.19. Repent, that your sins may be blotted out. Therefore their sins stood uncancelled, as so many Debts in Gods register Book, till they did repent, Act. 26.18. To turn them from darknesse to light, from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgivenesse of sins. Therefore they had it not, while under the power of darknesse, 1 Joh. 1.9. If we confesse our sins, he is faithfull and just to forgive us our sins, which supposeth, That God doth forgive our sins only, when we confesse and forsake them, Matth. 6.15. If ye forgive not, neither will my heavenly Father forgive you. It is in vain to number up more places, for these do necessarily prove sinne is not forgiven, till Faith and Repentance. They do not indeed argue a causality or merit, yet they infer a necessary presence in those that obtain pardon, and do hold by the same propor∣tion, as those places which require Sanctification before Glo∣rification.

3. Where the Scripture requireth many things to the obtaining*Page  170of any speciall benefit, there that benefit cannot be said to be enjoyed, till all those things be brought about. Now the Word of God speaks of several things required to pardon of sin. There is the Grace and mercy of God, as the efficient cause, Psal. 51.1. Isa. 43.25. Rom. 3.25. 2. There is requisite the bloud of Christ, as the me∣ritorious cause; for there can be no remission of sins without ef∣fusion of bloud, Rom. 3.25. 1 Cor. 15.3. Heb. 1.3. 1 Joh. 4.10. 3. There is Faith required as an instrumental cause, Act. 26.18. Rom. 3.25. Now although an instrumentall cause have not that worth or excellency as the efficient and meritorious have, yet it is as necessary in the way of an instrument, as the others are in their respective causalities: so that as a man may not from those places, which speak of Gods grace, inferre, therefore remission of sins is before Christs death: So neither may a man argue, because Christ died to take away our sins, therefore these are taken away before we believe. So that this Argument may fully establish us. We see the Scripture speaking of three causes cooperant to pardon of sin, therefore I may not conclude the effect is wrought till all those causes be. And as the Scri∣pture speaks of these causes, so, as you heard, of many qualifi∣cations in the subject. Insomuch that it is so far from being a duty to believe our sins were pardoned from all eternity antece∣dently to faith and repentance, that we are undoubtedly to be∣lieve they were not. If the King proclaim a pardon to every one that shall humble himself, and seek it out. If the Physician prepare a potion, for the patient to receive it, shall any man say because of those causal preparations, that either the one is par∣doned, or the other healed before their particular application of those things?

*4. If our sins be pardoned antecedently to our Faith and Repent∣ance, then all those effects which are inseparable in the least moment of time from Justification, are also antecedent to our Faith and Re∣pentance: But it is evident by experience, that is not so. It is a clear truth, That Sanctification of our natures is individually conjoyned one with the other. So that although there be a prio∣rity of nature, yet they are together in time. God pardons no mans sins whom he doth not heal, Rom. 8.1. 1 Joh. 1.9. Psal. 32.2 A man may be justified, and not glorified, but not justified and Page  171 unregenerated. Then if so, a man shall be at the same time, un∣converted, and converted, at the same time a member of Christ, and a member of the devil; and so as they say, we are justified only declaratively in our own consciences, so we shall be rege∣nerated, and converted only declaratively. Again, where sins are pardoned, there is blessednesse, as the Psalmist speaks, then I may call Paul a blessed Persecutor: Manasses a blessed mur∣derer, for they had no sin imputed to them at that time. Besides those whose sins are pardoned, may boldly go to the throne of grace, and call God Father; all which are contrary to the whole tenour of Scripture, which expostulateth with men, for taking his name or words into their mouth, and hate to be re∣formed: yet a Doctor of this Antinomian sour leaven, affirmeth * boldly, That God doth love us as well before conversion, as after, That God did love Paul with as great a love when he persecuted the Church, as when he preached the Gospel; How must this devour up all godlinesse, when I may have the same faith and confi∣dence in God for pardon in the acting of flagitious crimes, as well as out of them, in prayer and humiliation? and if he may have the same faith, why not then the same consolations, and joy in conscience?

5. If Justification do antecede our Faith,*so that Faith doth on∣ly declare our pardon of sin, then any other grace may be said to ju∣stifie as well as Faith. For take any other grace, repentance, humi∣lity, joy, these are all the fruits of Gods Spirit, and so demon∣strate his election of us, his justification of us. But how unan∣swerably do the Orthodox prove, a peculiar instrumental vertue in faith for pardon, which others have not? The Apostle expres∣seth it, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, through faith in his bloud, not love of his bloud; and indeed the Apostle maintaineth that Gospel-position against false teachers, viz. That we are justified by Faith, not by works. The Question was not, Whether the works of the Law did justifie us declaratively only, but causally. So then by this Doctrine, Faith must no more be called the hand, or the eating and drinking of Christs body and bloud, but only made a sign of such mercies.

6. If pardon of sin be from all eternity,*going before our Faith and Repentance, because of Gods election, then it must also be ante∣cedent Page  172 to the death and obedience of Christ. So that not only our tears, but Christs bloud shall be excluded from this great favor. The reason is plain, Because Gods predestination and election is antecedent to Christ, yea Christ is a fruit of our election: so that the Orthodox maintain against Arminians, though we be cho∣sen in Christ, yet not for Christ. Christ is the meritorious cause of Justification and Glorification, but not of predestination, that is meerly from his own self; so that if Gods act of prede∣stinating us be enough to instate us into all this favour and love,* what need is there of an atonement by Christs bloud? and thus we may urge a Doctors Argument upon himself: All the elect of God are justified, but all the elect of God are elected antecedently to Christs merits, therefore they are justified be∣fore Christs merits.

*7. If (because its said, Ephes. 2. That while we were dead, Christ gave himself for us: And Rom. 5. That he died for the un∣godly) it followeth, Our sins are pardoned before we believe, then it will also follow, that all mens sins are pardoned. For the Texts that speak thus of his dying for the ungodly, and for enemies, make no distinction of one from another: And thus a Judas as well as a Peter is bound to believe his sins are pardoned. Those that argue against all qualifications, and say, God requireth no∣thing of thee, though lying in thy bloud, must needs hold an universal promiscuous pardon of all, and that such a sin as pre∣sumption is not possible; for if I believe that Christ died to take away my sins, though I walk in all disobedience, yet that is not presumption, but a duty. It is true the Orthodox call upon those who lie groveling in their swinish lusts to come unto Christ, and to believe in him; but what is that faith? Not a faith that sins are already pardoned, but a faith relying on him for pardon, which faith also at the same time cleanseth and pu∣rifieth the heart. Therefore let us take those general Texts, which speak of Christs dying to take away the sins of enemies; and let any Antinomian give a true reason, why one mans sin is par∣doned rather then another; and although to evade this, they fall into another error, holding Christ died for all; yet that will not serve the turn, unlesse they hold, That all men shall actually be saved, and none damned; for those Texts speak of a benefit Page  173 that is actually obtained for those, in whose behalf he died. And thus I have produced seven Arguments for the antecedency of our Faith and Repentance to our Justification, as many in num∣ber, as the fore-quoted Author brings against it. Other grounds may be pleaded to this purpose, when we shall demonstrate, that all sins are not pardoned together.

Use, Of Exhortation, To avoid all presumption, whether it be wrought in thee by thy own carnal heart, or corrupt Teachers,* and that is, when thou believest pardon any other way then in Scripture-bounds; there is a Pharisaical presumption or Popish; and there is an Antinomian or Publican presumption. The for∣mer is, when we hope for pardon, partly by Christ, and partly by our own works and merits. The other is, when we expect it, though living and walking in sin. Now it is hard to say, whe∣ther of these is more derogatory to Christ. The one sins in the excesse, the other in the defect. Be not therefore a Pharisee, excluding Christ either in whole or in part from the cause of pardon, Tutius vivimus, quando totum Deo damus; we live more safely, when we give all unto God, and take nothing unto our selves. In the next place be not a Publican. Think not to have Christ and Belial together; expect not pardon for sin without repentance of it. The world is filled with these two kinde of presumers: some limit Gods grace, and associate their perform∣ances with it. Others extend it too far, and conjoyn their lusts with it. But as the Apostle saith, If of works, and of the Law, then there is no grace: So we may, if of lusts, and prophane impieties, then there is also no grace. We are therefore both to avoid sins, and carnal confidence in our own righteousnesse, if we would have Christ all in all. In vain did Peter and Mary Magdalen pour out their souls with so much bitternesse, if pardon of sin may be had without this. It is Hieroms observation, That in all Pauls Salutation, Grace goeth before Peace, for till Gods grace hath pardoned our sins, we can have no peace, and God doth not pardon, but where he gives repentance. Labour there∣fore for that which is indeed the good of thy soul, viz. Par∣don of sinne. When the rich man in the Parable, speaking of the corn in his barns, said, Soul, take thine ease, thou hast much good laid up for thee. He spake as if he had porcinam animam,Page  174 the soul or life of an hog; for, what good is corn and wine to a mans soul? Forgivenesse of sin and reconciliation with God; that is the connatural and sutable good and happinesse for the soul.

LECTURE XXI.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our debts.

*IT hath been proved, That God doth not justifie or pardon a man till he doth believe; and that the wrath of God abi∣deth upon such an one. It is necessary in the next place to answer those Objections which are propounded by the Ad∣versaries, because some of them carry a specious pretence with them. And indeed the Antinomian with those Argu∣ments he fetcheth from some places of Scripture, is like David in Sauls Armour, not able to improve them, the weapons be∣ing too big for him. But before I enter into the Conflict, its worth the enquiry, what the judgement of the Orthodox is in this point.*

The Remonstrants, Acta Synod. p. 293. bring severall places out of our Authours, Lubertus, Smoutius, Piscator, and O∣thers, wherein they expresly say, That God doth blot out our sins, before we either believe or amend our lives, and that this pardon doth antecede our knowledge of God, Faith, Conversion, or Rege∣neration of the heart. Thus also D. Twisse, in the place before quo∣ted. Pemble also to this purpose (pag. 24.) The Elect (saith he) while unconverted, they are then actually justified, and freed from all sin by the death of Christ; and so God esteems of them as free, and having accepted of that satisfaction, is actually reconciled to them: But the falshood of this will appear in Answer to the sixth Argument. When Grotius had distinguished of a two-fold remission, a full remission, and a lesse full remission, hold∣ing Page  175 this later kinde of remission to be given to impenitent sin∣ners, abusing two places of Scripture for this purpose, Rom. 5. 10. 2 Cor. 5.19. Rivet confuteth him, making it a sure truth, That sins are not actually remitted, but to those that repent, and saith, Quinam sunt ii, qui volunt actu remissa peccata cui∣quam ante conversionem? certè nobis sunt ignoti. Who are they that say, sins are actually pardoned before conversion? Certainly they are unknown to us. Although we acknowledge the price of reconciliation and redemption to have been prepared for the elect from all eternity, or in Gods purpose and intention remission of sins to have been ordained for them, even as con∣version, which in his time by Gods grace are to be effected. Thus Rivet, vind. Apol. p. 127. If therefore any of our Orthodox Authors have acknowledged a remission of sins before faith, it hath been in a particular sense to oppose the Arminians, who maintain a reconciliability, and not a reconciliation by Christs death, and not in an Antinomian sense, as is more largely to be shewed in answering of their Objection, brought from Christs death for enemies and sinners. Indeed some learned and wor∣thy men speak of a Justification before faith in Christ our head, as we are accounted sinners in the first Adam or common per∣son. Thus Alstedius in his supplement to Chamier, pag. 204. when Bellarmine arguing against the holiness of the Protestants Doctrine, and bringing this for a paradox above all paradoxes, That I must be justified by faith, and yet justifying faith be a be∣lieving that I am just and righteous; which is (saith Bellarmine) besides and against all reason; He answereth among other things, That Christ and the elect are as one person, and therefore an elect man is justified before faith in Christ, as the principle of righteousnesse before God; and then he is justified by faith as an instrument, perceiving his justification in that righteousnesse of Christ. So that faith as it goeth to the act of justification, is considered in respect of that passive application, whereby a man applieth the righteousnesse of Christ to himself, not of that active application whereby God applieth to man the righteous∣nesse of Christ: For this application is only in the minde of God.

To this purpose the learned Zanchy in his Explication of the Page  176 second Chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, upon those words, vers. 5. [And you being dead in sin, he hath quickned together with Christ] doth in the first place distinguish of a two-fold quickning, One whereby we are freed from the guilt of sinne, and invested with a title or right to eternal life; The other from the power of sinne, whereby we are made spiritu∣ally alive to God. The former is Justification, the later San∣ctification. Now (saith he) this two-fold blessing is to be considered in Christ, and in our own persons. In the first re∣spect, God did quicken us in Christ, when by his death (sinne being expiated) he freed from guilt all the elect that have been and shall be, considering them as members in Christ their head. In the later respect, God doth it, when having given us faith, he gives us also remission of sins, and imputeth Christs righte∣ousnesse to us. And afterwards the fore-quoted Author, ma∣king this Objection to himself, How Christ could be said to be freed from the guilt of sinne, who had no sin? He answereth, The person of Christ is considered two wayes; First, in it self, as God-man, and so Christ was not bound by any guilt. Se∣condly, as appointed head, and so representing our persons. In this respect, as God laid our iniquities upon him, Isa. 55. So when they were expiated by his bloud, then was he released from the guilt of those sins. We might instance in other Au∣thors, but these may suffice to certifie, that some orthodox and learned Divines do hold a Justification of the elect in Christ their head, before they do believe, yet so, as they acknowledge also a necessity of a personal Justification by faith, applying this righteousnesse to the person justified. Therefore although this Doctrine passe for true,* yet it will not strengthen the Antino∣mists. Although even the truth of this opinion may modestly be questioned, unlesse by being justified in Christ our head, we mean no more, then that Christ purchased by way of satisfacti∣on our Justification for us, and so virtually we were justified in Christs death and resurrection. But the learned men of that opi∣nion, speak as if God then passed a formal Justification upon all (though afterwards to be applied) that are elected; even as in Adam sinning all his posterity were formally to be account∣ed sinners.

Page  177Now this may justly admit a debate,* and there seem to be ma∣ny Arguments against it.

First, If there were such a formal Justification, then all the elect were made blessed and happy, their sins were not impu∣ted to them: for so in Adam when accounted sinners, they are wretched and miserable, because sin is laid to their charge.* And if the elect before they believe or repent were thus happy, how then at the same time could they be children of wrath? and so God imputing their sins to them, Can God impute their sins to them, and not impute them to them at the same time? It is true, if we say, That Christ by his sufferings obtained at Gods hand, that in time the elect should beleeve and be justified, this is ea∣sily to be conceived; but it is very difficult to understand, how that all our sins should be at the same time done away in Christ (who is considered as one person with us) and yet imputed to us.

Secondly,* I do not see how this Doctrine doth make our ju∣stification by faith to be any more then declarative, or a justifi∣cation in our conscience only, and not before God, and so by believing our sins should be blotted out in our sense only, when they were blotted out before God by Christs death already. And so our Justification by faith, shall be but a copy fetcht out of the Court roll, where the sentence of Justification was passed already, whereas the Scripture speaks to this purpose, That even before God, and in his account, till we do believe and re∣pent, our sins are charged upon us, and they are not cancelled or blotted out, till God work those graces in us. Therefore this opinion may symbolize too much with the Adversary; and indeed none of the meanest Antinomians * speaks of an original reconciliation which was wrought by Christ on the cross, with∣out any previous conditions in us, and urgeth that parallel of the first Adam, in whom we all sinned before we had any actual being; as also that Text, Col. 3.1. where we are said to be risen with Christ.

Thirdly, It is difficult to conceive,* how Christ should repre∣sent any to his Father, thereby to partake of the heavenly blessings which come by him, till they do actually beleeve, and are incorporated in him, for they are not his Members till they Page  178 do believe: and till they are his Members, he cannot as an head represent them. It is true, God knoweth whom he hath ele∣cted, and to whom in time he will give faith, whereby they may be united to Christ, and so it's in Gods purpose and intention to give Justification and Sanctification to all his elect: but these being mercies vouchsafed in time, and limited to such qualifi∣cations in the subject, I see not how they can be said to be justi∣fied in Christ (before they do believe) otherwise then virtu∣ally and meritoriously. It is true, we are all condemned in Adam, because that was a Covenant made with him and his po∣sterity, so that the issues thereof fell upon them by a natural and necessary way: but it is not so in the second Adam. Nei∣ther do those places, Ephes. 2.5, 6. Colos. 2.13, 14. prove any more, then that in and through him, we do obtain such mercies there spoken off: and although we are said to sit in heavenly places already, yet that is because of the certain right we have thereunto; in which sense also, he that believeth is said to have eternal life; and Christ being the first fruits doth sanctifie the whole lump.

As for that place, 1 Tim. 3. where Christ is said to be justifi∣ed in the spirit, that makes nothing at all to this Justification we speak of. For the meaning is, That Christ was declared just, and absolved from all the reproaches cast upon him, by the spirit of God, which was done several waies, as by the witness exhibit∣ed from heaven unto him, by the innumerable miracles he wrought. In which sense, Mat. 11. Wisdom is said to be justi∣fied of her children. So that Act. 2.22. seemeth to be a full Com∣mentary on this place, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by signs and wonders, which God did by him in the midst of you: And this is that Justification of himself, which Christ speaks of, Isa. 50.8. It is true the Apostle doth apply that spoken of Christ to every believer, Rom. 8. by way of allu∣sion; and the rather, because Christ being the head of the elect, it will be made good of them in time, when they do believe: otherwise election is not enough to free from present accusation or condemnation, unless by faith they be actually in Christ, as is to be shewed more at large.

But this is a digression. It is the constant opinion of the Or∣thodox, Page  179 That a man is not justified, or hath his sins pardoned, till he doth beleeve. I have brought Arguments to prove the point, and now addresse my self to remove their Ob∣jections.

The first is brought from Infants, who are justified,* and yet do not beleeve, therefore before faith some are justified.

First, The case of Infants is of a peculiar consideration, and therefore not to be attended unto in most Questions: yea the Scripture pressing the things requisite to salvation, as repen∣tance, obedience, &c. cannot be understood of Infants. And Suarez argueth against Justification by faith in the general, up∣on this ground, Because Infants are justified without it, so that the Argument (if it proveth any thing) would prove a Justifi∣cation without faith, rather then before faith. Suppose a man should argue about glorification, as the adversary doth about Justification. Infants are glorified without fruits meet for re∣pentance, Therefore men grown up also may be, How absurd would that be? Therefore if the conclusion of the Argument were granted, viz. Some that do not believe are justified, re∣straining it to Infants, the main Question would have no detri∣ment. The opponent laieth down this conclusion (Reconc. of man with God, p. 5.) That mans actual reconciliation to God, requireth previous conditions to be wrought in him by Gods Spirit, before he can be reconciled actually to God; among which he reckoneth believing as the chief. Now I may retort on him thus, Infants are actually reconciled to God, but In∣fants do not believe, Therefore some are actually reconciled to God that do not believe.

Secondly, The opponent cannot but know, that there are Learned men, who hold Infants have actual faith, and do be∣lieve, Therefore to them his Argument is of no force. It may very well be thought, that they have actual sins, not such as are in men grown up, accompanied with reason and will; but those immediate motions of original corruption in them. For although original sin be not peccatum actuale, yet it is, pecca∣tum actuosum, if it be not an actual sin, yet it is an active sin, and therefore may not be thought idle in an Infant. Austin lib. 1. Confes. c. 2. Vidi ego Zelantem parvulum, &c. I have ob∣served Page  180 envy in an Infant, when another little childe hath sucked his breast, and so they have sinfull anger, which made the same Father say, Imbecillit as mmbrorum infantilium innocens est, non animus infantum. There is more innocency in their bodies, then in their souls. Now if there be actuall motions of sin before the use of reason, why not actuall motions of Gods Spirit. That it is possible, John Baptist makes it without question: all the doubt is, Whether God doth ordinarily so to Infants. Aretius is al∣ledged by some to hold, That * even repentance may be attri∣buted to Infants out of Joel 2.16. but the command there is, That parents should bring their children into the publike humi∣liation, that by the sight of them they may be the more fervent∣ly stirred up to pour out their praiers before God.

Thirdly, That which the most solid Divines pitch upon, is, That Infants have, (I speak not generally, but indefinitely) a seed of faith, because they have the Spirit of God and regene∣ration, otherwaies they could not be saved; and by this seed of faith, they become members of Christ, and that relation which is in their faith to Christs merits, is the instrument by which they obtain remission of sin. As for that place, Faith co∣meth by hearing, it is to be applyed to the ordinary means of faith, and that in persons grown up. Neither can I say, that an Infant is bound to have actuall faith; for happily in the state of integrity, Infants then, though they had the image of God, yet could not have put forth the actuall exercise of graces, and if they could not do it in that state, it is not to be expected they do so now.

Fourthly, It is not enough for him to prove they are justified before they beleeve, but also before they be any way united to Christ, Let that union be conceived how it can by us. For if a man be justified, because he is elected, as his third Argument would prove; then he is to shew, that Infants not only before they beleeve, but before they have any union with Christ are justified, for the election of Infants must needs go before their union with Christ. And howsoever the opponent quoteth Au∣stin saying, That which was wrought in John Baptist, to be a singular miracle, yet Serm. 14. d Verbis Apostoli, on those words, He that beleeveth not shall be damned, makes this questi∣on, Page  181Ʋbi ponis parvulos baptizatos? Where put you little chil∣dren baptized? profectò in numero credentium, truly in the num∣ber of beleevers.

His second Argument is to this effect.*He that is in Christ is justified. Now a man is in Christ, before he doth beleeve, because the tree must be good before the fruit can be. Therefore a man must be justified before he do beleeve.

In answering this Argument many things are conside∣rable.

First, It must be acknowledged a very hard task to set down the true order of the benefits bestowed upon us by God. The assigning of the priority and posteriority of them is very vari∣ous according to the severall judgements of men interessed in that controversie.

The opponent (it may be knoweth) that there are some, who say Christ, or the Spirit of Christ is first in us by way of a moving or preparing principle, and afterwards as a principle inhabiting and dwelling in us; That as some say, Anima fabri∣cat sibi domicilium, the soul makes its body to lodge in; it works first efficiently, that afterwards it may formally, so they say Christ doth in us. As the silk-worm prepareth those silken lodgings for her self to rest in. So that according to the judge∣ment of these men, Christ, or his Spirit, doth efficiently work in us the act of believing, by which act Christ is received to dwell in us. And in this way, Christ hath no union with us, till we do believe. He worketh indeed in us before, but not as united to us. Now according to this opinion, the answer were easie, That we are not in Christ, till we do beleeve; Though Christ be in us, as working in us, and upon us. Yea faith would first be wrought, and then Christ with his benefits of justification, &c. would be vouchsafed to us; but there are Reasons why it is not safe to go this way. And indeed that Charta magna or grand promise for regeneration, doth evidently argue, the habits or internall principles of grace, are before the actions of grace, Ezek 36.26. God takes away the heart of stone, and giveth a new heart, an heart of flesh, which is the principle of grace, and afterwards causeth them to walk in his Commandments, which is the effect of grace.

Page  182But secondly (which doth fully answer the Objection) It is true, our being ingraffed into Christ, is the root and fountain of faith, and of Justification too; but yet so, that these being correlates (faith and Justification) they both flow from the root together, though with this order, that faith is to be con∣ceived in order of nature before Justification, that being the in∣strument to receive it, though both be together in time. Therefore the major Proposition should be thus regulated, He that is in Christ doth believe, and is justified, or believing is ju∣stified; for Justification as our Glorification, though it flow from Christ, yet it is in that order and time which God hath appointed. Neither is it any new thing in Philosophy, to say, Those causes which produce an effect, though they be in time together, yet are mutually before one another in order of nature in divers respects to their severall cau∣salities.

Christ is in us, and we in Christ, Christ is in us, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by way of gift and actual working, and we are in Christ 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by way of receiving; and both these are necessary, as appeareth, Joh. 15.5. and both are together in time, yet so that in order of nature Christs being in us is before our being in him, and the ground of all our comfort and fruit, is not, because we are in him, but he in us (even as the branch beareth fruit, not be∣cause it is in the Vine, but because the Vine is in it, communi∣cating efficacy to it.) Thus also faith and Justification are to∣gether, yet so as one is produced by the other, we are not ju∣stified, and therefore believe, but we believe and are therefore justified.

Lastly, This may be retorted upon the opponent, who (as was alleadged before) denieth any actual reconciliation, till we do believe. But may not we strike the adversary with his own reason in this manner? He that is in Christ is actu∣ally reconciled. But we must be in Christ before we do be∣lieve. Therefore we must be actually reconciled, before we do believe.

I pass over the third, and reserve the fourth and sixth Argu∣ment (being all one) for the next Lecture, because in them is matter worthy of a large consideration.

Page  183I come therefore to the fifth Argument,* which is taken from the collation between the first Adam and second out of Rom. 5.18, 19. From whence is argued, As in the first Adam we are ac∣counted sinners before any thing done on our part; so in the second Adam, we are to be justified before any thing wrought in us. This the opponent doth much triumph in, but without cause, as the answer will manifest.

And in the first place we cannot but reject those Expositors of that text fore-quoted,* who understand us to be sinners in A∣dam, only by imitation, or by propagation meerly, as from a cor∣rupted fountain; but we suppose it to be by imputation: A∣dam (by Gods Covenant) being an universal person, and so as Austin said, Omnes ille unus homo fuerunt, All were that one man. And therefore these do not rise up to the full scope of the text, who parallel Christ and Adam only as two roots, O∣rigens or fountains; for there must be a further consideration of them as two common persons, for our immediate fathers are a corrupted root, and we are corrupted by them, yet their sins are not made ours, as Adams was. Hence the Apostle laieth the whole transgression upon one, as by one mans disobedience, &c. Those that deny imputation of Adams sin (as the Pelagi∣ans of old, and Erasmus with others of late) do not relish that translation of those words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in whom all have sinned, but prefer the other, Forasmuch as all have sinned in him; but both come to the same sense: and howsoever Eras∣mus say, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 with a dative case must be understood causally, yet that is not universally true; for Mar. 2.4. there is mention made of the bed, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in which the paralytique lay, it would be ridiculous to translate that inasmuch. So Act. 2. Be baptized,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the name, Heb. 9. Those ordinances consisted 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in meats. We therefore grant, That Adams sin was ours by imputation, before we had any actual consent to it. In which sense Bernard called it, Alienum & nostrum, anothers sin and ours: yea, it is so farre from being ours by consent, that if a man on purpose should now will that Adams sin should be his, this would not make Adams sin imputed to him, it would be a new actual sin in the man, it would not be Adams sin im∣puted to him. Now although all this be concluded upon, yet it Page  184 followeth not, that therefore we are justified in Christ before we believe. I acknowledge some eminent Divines have pressed this comparison; but there is a vast difference in this very act of imputation, and the ground of it: for supposing the Covenant at first made with Adam, all his posterity by a naturall way are involved in his guilt, and so whether they will or no, antece∣dently to their own acts they are obnoxious to this guilt. Hence all men (none excepted) that are propagated in a natural way are thus corrupted, but in Christ we are by a supernatural way, and none are made his, but such as beleeve in him; and he doth not represent any to God as his members, till they be incorpo∣rated into him by faith, which faith although it be a gift of God, yet by it we are enabled voluntarily to choose and embrace Christ. Many other differences there are, but I pitch on this on∣ly, as being fully to my purpose in hand. If therefore we were in Christ by a natural way, as we are in Adam, then antecedent∣ly to any thing wrought in us, we might be partakers of privi∣ledges by one, as we are of curses by another.

LECTURE XXII.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our Debts.

WE proceed to the remaining arguments, which would maintain a justification before faith.

*The next is from Gods election, thus, All the elect of God are justified before God. But some of the elect do not beleeve. And the major is proved from, Rom. 8.33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth.

*In the first place this Argument might easily be laid aside, for the Apostle doth not speak here of election, antecedentèr, ante∣cedently Page  185 to his other graces, which flow from that in time, but executivè, as it is executed and compleated in those that are ele∣cted. Therefore by the elect he meaneth those elect that be∣lieve, that are holy, that are conformable to the image of God, that do love him, as the context sheweth; for otherwise we know Paul himself laid much to the charge of the Ephesians, though elect, when before their conversion, he said they were children of wrath as well as others; and therefore by that ada∣mantine chain, Whom he hath predestinated he hath called, whom he hath called he hath justified, whom he hath justified he hath glri∣fied, it is plain, he takes election terminativè (as they say) in the effects of it, even till it hath obtained the utmost terminus, which is everlasting glory.

2. From this chain also is an infallible Argument against the Opponent, thus,*

Those only are justified that are called, But none are called or converted from all Eternity, Therefore none are justified from all Eternity.

The major is grounded upon the method and order which the Apostle observeth, beginning with the highest round in that chain, which is Predestination, and ending in the lowest, which is Glorification: so that it cannot rationally be thought that the Apostle did not intend an exact order, and method in those ex∣pressions.

3. If so be a man (because he is elected) be justified from all Eternity, then it will also follow he is glorified from all Eternity.* And so Hymenaeusnd Philetus may be excused in this sense, if they say, The resurrection is past already. It is true, the Apostle useth words signifying time past, Whom he hath predestinated, he hath called, &c. But that is either to shew the certainty and infallible connection of these benefits together; or else, because Predestination being necessarily for the time past, he would not alter the current of his expression for the following mercies.

4. The Apostle might well say,*Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? and not of Believers, because election is the maternal mercy, it is the fountain and head from which all other flow. Hence the Apostle doth in the same Chapter limit mercies Page  186 to those that are called according to Gods purpose, implying here∣by, that this is the ground and root of all.

*But fifthly, To discover the fundamental weakness of this Argument. We are to take notice, That Predestination is an immanent act of God, and works no positive real effect upon the party elected, till in time, for howsoever it be an act of love, yet of love only by way of purpose and decreeing, and so doth not denote a change in the creature, but when that purpose or councel of God, (which is altogether free) hath determined it. Hence we are to coceive a love of God electing us from all Eternity, which doth produce another love of God (not immanent in him, for so nothing is new in God, but transient in us) and that is Justi∣fication; from this love floweth another effect of love, which is Glorification. Some have doubted, Whether Election be an act of love; and therefore have distinguished between Dilecti∣on and Election, as if Dilection did go before, and Election follow. But certainly the same act of God, as it doth will good to the creature, is Dilection, as it willeth it to this rather hen another, is Election. We grant therefore that Election is an act of great love, but its a love of purpose or intention, not execution, it is Amor ordinativus, not collativus; it is a love or∣daining and preparing of mercies, but not bestowing them pre∣sently. Thus Austin defined Predestination, to be Praeparatio beneficiorum quibus liberantur, a preparing or ordaining of those mercies and priviledges, which the Elect shall have in time. And among men we see the purpose of giving such a gift is ac∣counted love, as well as the gift it self. Now while a man is on∣ly under the love of Election, and no more, there is no actual Remission of sin, no acceptance or complacency in his person or duties. There is a purpose in God to do all these in time, but the mercies are not from eternity exhibited.* So that in some respects there is a great difference between an elect Person un∣converted, and a Reprobate: And again in some respects there is none at all. As for example, there is this grand difference, [ 1] That although both be equally in sinne, and under wrath, yet God hath a purpose to bring the elect person infallibly out of that misery; and in this respect God may be said never to hate him that is elect, (In which sense, God is said to love Jacob, and Page  187 hate Esau) but the Reprobate shall perish eternally in his sinne. The Apostle saith, Rom. 11. Election hath obrained, because that will most certainly bring about both the means and the end. So that for all the Elect, The foundation of God standeth sure, having this Seal, The Lord knoweth who are his, 2 Tim. 2.19.

2. There is no difference in this, in that for the present both [ 2] are children of wrath, both aliens from the promise of grace, no promise of any gracious priviledge either for pardon of sin, or e∣ternal glory belongs unto them, only Gods purpose will in time make an actual difference between them. Neither is this to make any contradictory will in God, for both these may well stand together, viz. Gods will, for the future to give pardon and glory, and yet to will neither of them to be for the present. All this is done with the same act of Gods will. If therefore hatred be ta∣ken as opposite to that love of Election, which God had from all Eternity, so an elect man, though unregenerate, is never ha∣ted; but if it be taken largely for that displicency or wrath of God, which is contrary to the grace of Justification exhibited in time, so he may be said to be hated before his conversion: nei∣ther is it any wonder, if this be called hatred, seeing in the Scri∣pture, less loving, is called hating sometimes, as the Learned ob∣serve. Neither doth this make any change in God, it only deno∣teth a change in the creature, as hereafter is to be shewed. So that the gross mistake, as if Eletion were all love, actually and expresly, and the confounding of the love of God, as an imma∣nent act in him, with the effects of this love, hath made several persons split upon rocks of errors. But how love and anger are in God, is more exactly to be examined, when we speak of the me∣ritorious cause of Justification, which is Christs merits: for in∣deed this Argument from Election, will as well put in for a Ju∣stification before any consideration of Christ, as well as of Faith, if every thing be duely weighed, as in that part (God willing) is to he shewed, where also the distinctions about Gods love are to be considered of. Some making a general love, and a special love; others a first love and a second, or one flowing from the first; o∣thers a love of benevolence or beneficence, and of complacency: But of these in their proper place.

Page  188We proceed, and in the next place, we will put his fourth and sixth Argument together,* being both grounded upon this, That Christ by his death gave a full satisfaction to God, and God accepted of it, whereby Christ is said so often to take away our sins, and we to be cleansed by his bloud. This Argument made the learned Pem∣ble, pag. 25. to hold out Justification in Gods sight long before we were born, as being then purchased by Christs death, other∣wise he thinks we must with the Arminians say, Christ by his death made God placabilem, reconcilable, not placatum, recon∣ciled. No (saith he) it is otherwise, the ransome demanded 〈◊〉 paid and accepted, full satisfaction to the divine Justice is given and taken, all the sins of the Elect, all actually pardoned. This is a great oversight.

*For first, Though Christ did lay down a price, and the Father accept of it, yet both agreed in a way and order when this benefit should become theirs, who are partakers of it, and that is, when they believe and repent. Now Bonum est ex integris causis, if God the Fathers Covenant be to give pardon for Christs sake to those that do believe (which faith also is the fruit of Christs death) then may we not separate Christ from faith, no more then faith from Christ, or God the Fathers love from both. If Christ had died for such a man to have his sins pardoned, whe∣ther he had faith in him or no, then this Argment would have stood firm: God then, did accept of Christs death, and be∣comes reconciled, but in that order and way which he hath ap∣pointed.

*2. This Argument doth interfre with that of Election; for there pardon of sin doth take its rise from Election, but here from the time God laid our sins upon Christ. And indeed the Antinomians are at a variance amongst themselves, some fetch∣ing the original of pardon from one way, and some from ano∣ther.

*3. We do not say, That faith is the condition of Christs ac∣quiring pardon, but of the application of pardon. Faith doth not make Christs merits to be merits, or his satisfaction to be satisfaction. This ariseth from the dignity and worth of Christ. It would be an absurd thing to say, That faith is the cause why God doth accept of Christs merits, and receiveth a satisfaction Page  189 by him. This were to make the instrumental cause, a meritori∣ous cause. The Arminians they make Christ to have purchased pardon upon condition of believing, which believing they do not make a benefit by Christs death; yea they say, Nihil in∣eptius, nibil vanius, nothing is more foolish and vain then to do so. Now this indeed is an execrable errour, to hold Christ died only to make a way for reconciliation, which reconcilia∣tion is wholly suspended upon a mans faith, and that faith comes partly from a mans will, and partly from grace, not being the fruit of Christs death, as wel as remission of sins it self. But we say a far different thing, Christ satisfied Gods wrath, so that God becomes reconciled, and gives pardon, but in the method and way he hath appointed, which is faith, and this faith God will certainly work in his due time, that so there may be an instru∣ment to receive this pardon.

For the opening of this, when it is said, Christ satisfied Gods wrath, this may have a different meaning, either that Christ absolutely purchased reconciliation with the Father, whether they believe or no, without any condition at all, as Joab ob∣tained Absoloms reconciliation with David, or Esther the Jews deliverance of Ahashurosh, Or with a condition. In the for∣mer sense it cannot be said, because the fruits of Christs death are limited only to believers. If with a condition, then either Antecedent, which is to be wrought by us, that so we may be partakers of his death, and that cannot be, because it is said, He died for us while sinners and enemies. And this is Arminianism, for by this means only a gate is set open for salvation, but it may happen that no man may enter in: or else this condition is Concomitant or consequent, viz. A qualification wrought by the Spirit of Christ, whereby we are enabled to receive of those benefits, which come by his death; And in this sense it is a truth; and by this, the foundation of the Opponent is totally razed. For Christ took away the sins of those, for whom he died, and recon∣ciled them to God, and this absolutely, if by it we understand any condition anteceding to be done by us: but not absolutely, if it exclude a condition that is consequently wrought by the Spi∣rit of God, to apply the fruits of Christs death: so that the actual taking away of sins is not accomplished, till the person Page  190 for whom he died be united to him by Faith. Hence the Scri∣pture speaks differently about Christs death; sometimes it saith, He died for us sinners and enemies; and in other places, John 15.13. He layeth down his life for his friends, and his sheep. Joh. 17.19, He saith, he prayeth and sanctifieth himself for those that shall be∣lieve in him, viz. in a consequent sense; for those who by faith shall lay hold on his death.* So that faith hath a two-fold conditi∣on, the first of the time, when sins are taken away by Christs death, and that is, when they believe. 2. Of whom these privi∣ledges are true, and that is, of such who do believe. Now all this may be the further cleared, if we consider, what kinde of cause Christs death is, to take away our sins. It is a meritorious cause, which is in the rank of moral causes; of which the rule is not true, Positâ causâ, sequitur effectus, The cause being, the effect presently followeth. This holdeth in natural causes, which necessarily produce their effects, but moral causes, work ac∣cording to the agreement and liberty of the Persons that are moved thereby. As for Example, God the Father, is moved through the death of Christ to pardon the sins of such persons, for whom he dieth. This agreement is to be made good, in that time they shall pitch upon in their transaction. Now it pleased the Father, that the benefits and fruits of Christs death should be applied unto the believer, and not till he did be∣lieve, though this faith be at the same time also a gift of God through Christ. It is good therefore, when we either call Ele∣ction absolute, or say, Christ died absolutely, to consider that Absolute may be taken as opposite to a Pre-requisite Condition, which is to be fulfilled by us, so that upon this, Election, and the fruits of Christs death shall depend; or else Absolute, may be taken, as it opposeth any Means or Order which God hath appointed, as the way to obtain the end; and in this later sense, it would be a grand absurdity to say, Election is absolute, or Christ died absolutely, for if this were so, the prophane Argu∣ment about Election, would have truth in it. If I be elected, let me live never so wickedly, I shall be saved. And the Armi∣nian Argument, That every one were bound to believe that Christ died for him, though wicked and abiding so, would not well be avoided.

Page  191His last Argument is from the unchangeableness of Gods love, If we are not justified in his sight before we believe,*then God did once hate us, and afterwards love us. And if this be so, why should Arminians be blamed, for saying, We may be the children of God to day, and the children of the devil to mor∣row? Hence he concludes it, as undoubted, That God lo∣ved us first, before we believe, even when we were in our bloud.

In answering of this Argument, several things are considera∣ble,

First, It must be readily granted, That God is unchangeable,*Jam. 1.17. God is there compared to the Sunne, and is therefore called, the Father of Lights, but yet is preferred before it, because that hath Clouds sometimes cast over it, and sometimes is in e∣clipse, but there is change, or shadow of change with him. The Hea∣thens have confessed this, and so argued, If God should change, it would be either for better or worse; for worse, how could it be imagi∣ned? for better, then God were not absolutely perfect. Most accur∣sed therefore must Vorstius his blasphemy be, who purposely pleads for mutability in God.

But secondly, As this is easily to be confessed, so the diffi∣culty of those Arguments, brought from the things which God doth in time, and not from all Eternity, have been very weighty upon some mens shoulders; insomuch that they thought this the only way to salve all, by saying, That all things were from Eternity. And certainly by the Antinomian Argu∣ments we may as well plead for the Creation of all things from all Eternity, as that we are justified from all Eternity, for all are equally built upon this sandy foundation, That because the things are done in time, therefore there must be some new act of will, or love in God, which would imply God is mutable, not loving to day, and loving to morrow; Therefore to avoid this, they say, All is from Eternity. Origen who was called by an ancient Writer Centaur, because of his monstrous opinions, argued thus, lib. 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, cap. 2. As there cannot be a father without a sonne, or a Master and Lord without a possession, so neither an omnipotent, unless there be those things about which this power may be exercised. Now although it be true, Page  192 That De Deo etiam vera dicere periculosum est, because of the weakness of our Understandings to perceive his infinite lustre,

Yet thirdly, It is well cleared by the Schoolmen, That those relations which are attributed to God in time, as a Creatour, Father, or Lord, are not because of any new thing in God, but in respect of the creatures; so that when the world is created, when a man is justified, we say, God who was not a Creator before, is a Creator, who was not a Father by grace, is now by grace; not because any new accident is in him, but because there is a new effect in the creatures. Thus, if a man once the childe of wrath, be now a son of Gods love, the change is not in God, but in the creature.

For the better clearing of this, we are to take notice in the fourth place, That it is one thing, as Aquinas observeth, Mu∣tare voluntatem, to change the Will; and another thing, Velle mutationem, to Will a change. By the same unchangeable Will, we may Will several changes in an Object. As the Phy∣sician without any change of his Will, may will his Patient to take one kinde of Physick one day, and another the third: here he wils a change, but doth not change his Will. Thus God with the same Will, decreed to permit in time such an elect man to be in a state of sin, under the power of Satan, and after∣wards to call him out of this condition, to justifie his person; here indeed is a great change made in the man, but none at all in God. There is no new act in God, which was not from all Eternity, though every effect of this love of God was not from Eternity, but in time. Hence when our Divines argue against Arminians, That if the Saints should apostatize, Gods love would be changeable, it is meant of Gods love of Election, which is an absolute purpose and efficacious will to bring such a man to glory: now although such a decree was free, and so might not have been; yet ex hypothesi, supposing God hath made this de∣cree, it doth very truly follow, That if that Saint should not be brought to glory, God would be changeable. And besides this im∣mutability, which may be called an immutability of his nature, there is another of his Word and Promise, whereby he hath graciously covenanted to put his fear in their heart, that they shall Page  193 never depart from him: Now if any of the Saints should totally or finally apostatize, Gods mutability would be seen in both those respects of his nature or will, and of his truth and fidelity. But the case is not the like, when a man at his first conversion, is made of a childe of wrath, a childe of grace; partly because there was no such absolute decree of God from Eternity, that he should be for no space a childe of wrath, but the clean con∣trary; and partly because there is no such word or promise un∣to any unconverted person, that he shall be in the favour of God; but the Scripture declareth the clean contrary. This duly considered, will give a clear reason, why it is no good Ar∣gument to say, Such a man in his sins to day, is a childe of wrath; and converted to morrow, is a son of grace: Therefore God is changeable. But on the other side, if a man should argue, An Elect man received into the state of grace, may fall totally and fi∣nally, Therefore God is changed, would be a strong and unde∣niable inference. And indeed for this particular may the Ar∣minians be challenged, as holding Gods mutability, because they hold, That notwithstanding Gods decree and purpose to save such a man, yet a man by his own corruption and default, shall frustrate God of this his intention. Otherwise all know, Adam was created in a state of Gods favour, and quickly apo∣statized into the contrary: so that we may truly say, Adam was one day, (yea hour, as some) a childe of Gods favour; and in another of his wrath, yet the change was in Adam, not in God, both because God had not made an absolute Decree from all Eternity for his standing, as also because he had made no Promise to preserve him in that happy condition. In this sense 1 Pet. 2.10. it is said, Which in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God, which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. And whereas the Opponent saith, God loved us before we did believe; it is true, with a love of pur∣pose; but many effects of his love are not exhibited till we do believe. He loveth us▪ and so worketh one effect of love in us, that that effect may be a qualification for a new and further effect of love. He loveth us, to make us his friends, and when he hath done that, he loveth us with a love of friendship. God lo∣ved us before he gave Christ, for out of that love he gave us Page  194 Christ, that so when Christ is given us, he may bestow another love upon us. Now because it is ordinary with us to call the ef∣fect of love, love, as the fruit of grace is grace; Therefore we say, In such a time God loved not one, and afterwards we say, He doth love the same, not that herein is any change of God, but se∣veral effects of his love are exhibited. As we call the effects of Gods anger, his anger, Poena patientis, ira esse creditur decernen∣tis, The punishment on the offender, is judged the anger of the inflicter: and by this means we say sometimes God is angry, and afterwards he ceaseth to be angry, when he removeth these ef∣fects of his anger: so a man is said to be loved, or not to be lo∣ved according to the effects of Gods love exhibited in time, and God hath so appointed it, that one effect of his love should be a qualification in the subject for another, as sanctification for glo∣rification.

LECTURE XXIII.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our Debts.

*THe next Question to be considered, is, Whether in this pray∣er, we pray only for the Assurance of Pardon, not Pardon it self? For thus the Antinomians answer to the Objection fetched from this place, that the whole sense of this Petition is, That we may feel in our selves, and assuredly perceive, what pardon God had given us before, Honey-Comb. p. 155. So Den reconcil. of God to man, p. 44. making this Argument of the Text against himself, If we pray for forgiveness of sins, then sins are not forgiven before, answereth, The Protestants (saith he) with one consent hold, That they do beg at the hands of God greater Certainty and Assurance of Pardon, and he instanceth in a condemned person, that is upon the ladder, who having received the pardon of his Prince, may when called into the Kings presence fall down and Page  195 say, Pardon me my Lord and King; but this is to abuse Protestant Authours, for although many of them may make this part of the meaning, yet none make it the only meaning. Gomarus in his Explication of this Petition, doth excellently confute Pis∣cator, for explicating Pardon of sin by a Metonymy of the sub∣ject, viz. The sense and feeling of this in our hearts, and saith, That such a signification cannot be proved out of any place of Scripture, nor out of the language of any good Authors, and one of his reasons is this, Prayer for pardon of sin would be impru∣dently taken out of the Lords Prayer; for he, who prayeth for the sense and feeling of a thing, supposeth it already done. Now (saith he) every wise Petition hath for its object, a thing to come, and not a thing past.

This also Bellarmine objecting against special Faith, as if it were a confidence that my sins are forgiven already, he makes it as absurd upon this ground to beg for pardon, as it would be to pray, that Christ may be incarnated, or made flesh. Crocius in his answer to this, Disput. de fidei justificantis objecto, pa. 131. saith, as you heard before, That those things indeed use not to be prayed for, which are so done, that they are never done more; but those things which are so done, as that they may be often done again, may be prayed for. The incarnation of Christ was once done, and can be no more, but Remission of sins is so done, that it continueth further to be done, and its last effect is reserved for the future. For as often as we sin, so often there is need of Repentance. So that by his Judgement Remission of sinne is not like Creation, which once was, and is not reiterated, but conservation. More might be said out of Authors, but I come to answer the Que∣stion.*

First, We grant it a duty for that believer, who knoweth his sins are pardoned, to pray for further Faith and Assurance of the Pardon.* For seeing our Faith admits of degrees, and is sometimes stagger∣ing, ready to sink, no marvel if it needs supports. Thus David although he heard his Pardon proclaimed, yet makes that poe∣nitential Psalm, Psal. 51. for mercy to do away his sins, which was by appeasing his conscience, and satisfying his soul with the goodness of God: for as a godly man, though he have truly re∣pented of his sins, yet upon any sad occasion doth reiterate his Page  196 Pardon, as Paul many times hath his heart-ake for his former blasphemies and persecutions; so it is necessary to have the sense and apprehension of his Pardon reiterated to his own comfort and consolation. There is no mans Assurance about Pardon, so high and unmoveable, but it many times meeteth with violent assaults, and therefore needeth oil to be frequently poured into his wounds, Comfort, comfort ye my people, (saith the Prophet.) There must be an ingemination of the duty, else the soul at first will not hearken.

*In the second place, We may conceive of four sorts of persons praying for this Pardon of sin.

The first is an unconverted and unregenerated man. For al∣though he cannot call God Father, and so not pray in Faith, yet he is bound to pray. The Socinians interpret that compellation, Our Father, not actually, but dispositively; as if the meaning were, who art ready and willing to be a Father. But that is not the full meaning of that place. There lieth an obligation upon unregenerate men to perform holy Duties, though they cannot do them acceptably. Their impotency to do them, doth not disoblige from the command to do them. Now its plain, that such a person praying for forgiveness, doth not pray for the Assurance of that which is already past (for so no sinne is forgi∣ven to him) but for initial Pardon, which he never yet hath en∣joyed.

The second sort of persons praying this Prayer, are those that at their first conversion humble themselves, and seek unto God for his face, and reconciliation with him. Now those that are thus in their beginnings, and new birth, they can pray in no other sense, but for initial and first Pardon; for as that is the first time they begin to have sorrow and brokenness of heart; so that is the first time they begin to partake of Pardon; Pardon of sin and Faith they are correlates, and so are toge∣ther.

A third rank is of Believers in their progress of holiness and sanctification, walking without any scandal or offence in the wayes of God: They, in this Petition have a two-fold sense, the one an Assurance of the Pardon of sins, that are already forgiven them; and the other is a renewed Par∣don Page  197 for the renewed infirmities they continually are plunged into.

Lastly, There are lapsed Believers, who have fallen into some grievous sins, and thereby have made desperate wounds upon their own souls, and these have agonies and pangs of heart, much like their first conversion. Therefore its called so, When thou art converted strengthen thy brother, saith Christ to Peter. This re∣covery out of the sinne they were plunged into, was like a new conversion. By such a commotion as this made in the soul, there is nothing but darkness and confusion, and they pray for pardon, as if this were the first time. They fear all their former wayes to have been hypocrisies. Thus David Psal. 51. prayeth for the restoring of joy to him, that his broken bones may be heaeled; as also for truth in the inward parts. Now although such a mans for∣mer sins were indeed forgiven him, yet it is to his sense and feel∣ing as if it were not so, but rather the contrary is feared by him, that Gods wrath doth still abide on him. Hence he prayeth for Pardon in his own judgement, as one who yet never hath been acquitted by God. So that according to the several conditi∣ons of the persons prayings, we may suppose several senses in the Petition.

But in the third place, to answer the Question, we say,*That As∣surance of pardon is not the only thing praied for. And that for these Reasons.

First, We are never to depart from the literall sense of the words, without an evident necessity, but the plain undoubted sense is, That God would forgive our sins;* for our Saviour minding brevity in this Prayer, no doubt would speak his sense in the most perspicuous and clear manner that can be. As therefore if Christ had said, Make us to be assured of the pardon of sin. The Anti∣nomian would not have gone from the letter, but pressed us to that: So on the other side, when Christ saith, Forgive us, and not Give us the sense of forgivenes, we have cause to cleave ful∣ly to that: and this may be illustrated by two further conside∣rations, the former of those places where God is said not to for∣give, the later of those where forgiveness is applied of one man unto another. When the Prophet Isaiah speaking of the Israe∣lites, how their Land was full of Idols, and both great and mean Page  198 men did humble themselves before them, Isa. 2.9. prayeth, that therefore God would not forgive them. Can any one make the meaning to be, that God would not give them the assurance of their forgiveness?

Mat. 12.32. The Evangelist saith, All other sins may be forgiven, but that against the holy Ghost shall never: Now in that sense, o∣ther sins are said to be forgiven, in which sense that is denied to be forgiven: and that is denied to be forgiven, not in respect of Assurance and Declaration to a mans conscience only, but really and indeed. Therefore the sins forgiven are in the like manner forgiven.

*Again, It is plain, That by Pardon is not meant Assurance of Pardon only, because when applied to men, it cannot admit of such a sense. Now the Petition runs thus, That God would forgive us, as we forgive others; and there is no man will explain the later forgiveness of Assurance; and why then the former?

*Besides, The equivalent phrase of forgiveness doth evince more then an Assurance of Forgiveness; for when the Scri∣pture cals it blotting out of sinne, it is an expression from Debts, which are, as it were written in Gods book, and therefore till he cancelleth them, they doe remain in their guilt.

*Furthermore, If a sin be not really pardoned, till a man do re∣pent and believe, then he beggeth for more then Assurance; but we have fully proved, That there is no remission of sin till con∣fession and forsaking of it.

*As for the above named Authours instance of a malefactour who hath received Pardon, may yet upon his coming into the Kings presence, desire Pardon, it no wayes advantageth him: For suppose a Malefactour might the first time do so, yet experience doth demonstrate it would argue folly and madness in a Malefactour, to doe so frequently: Whereas it is our duty daily to begge the Pardon of our sinnes at the Throne of Grace. To conclude this Point (because we have elswhere spoken to it) This Exposition doth overthrow the continual use of the Word, the equipollent phrases, the pro∣per object of Prayer, and departs from the letter of the Text, Page  199 without any just ground at all. Which is against the rules of Explication of the Scripture.

The next Question is of great Practicall Concernment,* viz. Why God doth sometimes Pardon a sinne, and yet not mani∣fest it to the sinners heart. It appeareth by David, Psalm. 51. That when a sinne is forgiven in Heaven, it is not also remitted, and blotted out in a mans conscience; yet God can as easily work the one as the other. If he say, Let there be light in such a dark heart; of an Hell, it present∣ly becomes an Heaven. We would judge that by this divine Dispensation, as the godly man loseth much of his comfort, so God of his Glory and Honour. But divers Reasons may be produced for this. As▪

First, It may be God will teach us hereby,*That Pardon of sinne is not a necessary Effect of Repentance, but a graci∣ous Gift bestowed, though not without it, yet not for it. Though therefore thy soul hath been deeply humbled, and is great∣ly reformed, yet God suspends the light of his favour upon thy soul, that thou mayest acknowledge it his Grace, not the merit of thy sorrow; where Causes doe naturally produce an Effect, there it is a Miracle, if the one followeth not the other. If the fire doe not burn, if the Sunne stand still; if Peter walking on the water sink not. But it is no wonder, to see a true contrite heart without Assurance and Consolati∣on. These may be separated, that so thou mayest be as hum∣ble with thy Graces, as if they were not at all. Yea God hath delighted sometimes in natural Causes to work the Effects with∣out them, lest the glory should be given to the instruments. Hence he caused light to be before the Sunne, and the earth is commanded to bring forth Herbs before any rain, that so God may be acknowledged all in all. If God do this in the order of natural things, how much more of supernatural? Yet this is not so to be prest, as if therefore God would forgive sin with∣out Repentance. No, God hath ordered a way inviolably and indispensably, wherein he will vouchsafe his Pardon, and no otherwayes. But although God out of his meer good will hath inseparably conjoined Repentance and Remission together, yet the Discovery or Promulgation of this unto the broken and con∣trite Page  200 heart, is altogether Arbitrary: And in this, as well as in other things, that speech is true, The winde bloweth where it li∣steth. Know therefore by these divine Dispensations, That though thou dost repent, Gods forgiveness is a meer gift of li∣berality, and no natural, necessary fruit of thy sorrow. Inso∣much that setting Gods gracious Promise aside, whereby he is a Debtor unto his own faithfulness, after thy purest, and most perfect Humilation for sin, God might refuse to take thy guilt away.

*A second Reason, Why God though he pardon, may yet deny the manifestation of it, is, Because hereby God would make us feel the bitternesse and gall of it in our own hearts. A Pardon easily obtained takes off the burden of the fault. Thus God dealt with David, The light of Gods favour doth not presently break thorow the Cloud, that so David may feel how bitter a thing it is to sinne against God. As God suffered Isaac to be bound, to have wood laid on him, the knife to be lifted up to strike him, in all which space, Isaac's fear could not but heighten: Thus God also will kill and wound those, whom he intends to make alive: he will bruise them and break them, that so they may judge the seeming good in sin, to be nothing to the real evil that follow∣eth it.

*And from this second, issueth a third Reason, viz. To make us more watchful and diligent against the time to come: Peters bitterness of soul, was a special preservative against the like temptations; as bitter Potions kill the worms in childrens sto∣macks. It must needs argue much guilt in Gods people, if after the particular gall and wormwood they have found in sin, they shall be ready to drink the like bitter potion, when sin presents it self. Certainly the heart-aches that Paul found afterwards, though pardoned, for his former persecutions, were like a fla∣ming sword to keep him off from such attempts again; He might more truly say, then that Heathen did, He would not buy repent∣ance so dear.

*4. By reason of the Difficulty, and supernaturall way of believing, it is, that Pardon may be in Heaven, when we can∣not apply it in our Consciences. Hence though the Promi∣ses Page  201 be never so much for our ease, and thereupon infinitely to be desired, yet the way of believing this, is so far above natural con∣science, which expects Justification by works, that the heart of a man hath much ado to close with it. Therefore faith is not like other Graces or Duties (viz. Love of God, Humility, &c.) which have some obscure footsteps in the natural dictates of conscience, but it is wholly supernatural; yea Adam in the state of integrity knew not this kinde of believing in the righteous∣ness of a Mediatour. For as the object of faith, viz. Christ, is on∣ly by revelation, no councel of men or Angels could have exco∣gitated such a truth; so faith, as it is the hand or organ applying Christs righteousness, is a duty not manifested by humane light, but wholly from above. And as flesh and bloud doth not reveal to us, That Christ is the Son of the living God, so neither that we are to have remission of sins only by faith in his bloud. Hence the Scripture makes faith the gift of God, which coming from the Spirit into our hearts, meeteth with much contrariety and opposition of doubts and unbelief. No wonder therefore if after the heart of a man hath been awakened for sinne, there re∣main some commotions a long while after: even as the sea af∣ter tempests & winds, though they be allaied, yet for some space after roareth and rageth, not leaving its troubles presently, as you heard before. Though therefore as God pardoneth in Heaven, he offereth it also unto our Consciences, yet we re∣fuse and put it off, we will not be comforted, because it is not a comfort flowing in the way we look for, viz. by working. And for this reason, though David heard Nathan pronounce his pardon, yet he doth vehemently importune for it afterwards in Psalm. 51. as if he had not the least notice of any such mercy to him.

Lastly, God defers the notice of Pardon to thee,*that so thou mayest be the more able to sympathize with those that are in the like tempted condition. For as one end of Christs suffering in his soul, lying in agonies under Gods displeasure, was because he might know how to have compassion upon his children in such tempta∣tions: So the Lord doth exercise his people to the same purpose; and certainly Christ accounted this, the tongue of the learned, to speak a seasonable word to a wounded heart. Besides, hereby Page  202 shall we speak the more wonderfully of Gods grace, and his goodness, after our deliverance out of those storms. Those that have been in these deep waters, see the wonderful works of the Lord, and so have their hearts and mouths the more opened to celebrate his praise.

*Another Question may be, What Directions are to be given un∣to a soul tempted about the pardon of sin? for many such there are, who like Pauls fellow passengers in the ship, have been so many dayes, moneths, yea it may be years, and have seen no Sun, enjoyed no com∣fort at all.

Let the Persons thus affected use these remedies:

*First, Acknowledge God, and clear him howsoever. Thus Da∣vid, Psal. 51. that thou mayest be clear, when thou art judged. If the devils and the damned in hell have no cause to complain of God as unjust, or too severe, then much less mayest thou who art kept in darkness for a season only, that afterwards thou mayest enjoy the more light. Let not God be the worse God, his good∣ness the less unto thee, because thou art not yet set free out of the bonds of sin. By being thus humble thou takest the way to be filled, whereas impatiency and discontent, causeth God the more to hide his face.

*Secondly, Examine thy Repentance, whether that hath been so sound, so pure, so deep, so universal, as it should have been. All sorrow and humiliation for sin, is not godly Repentance. Ahabs tears and Peters differ as much as the water of the Sea, which is brinish and salt, and the water of the clouds, which is sweet. David, Psal. 32. acknowledgeth the pain and gripes he had within, because of sin: and no wonder he did not con∣fess it, and bewail it before God. If therefore God keeps thy heart in many doubts and fears, giving thee no rest; consider whether thou hast cast all that leaven out of thy house, whether every Achan within thee be stoned or no. It is in vain to cure the wound, as long as any splint of the poisoned arrow lieth within it, or if thou finde no sin unrepented of, search whether thy formal lazy duties be not the cause of all the blackness that is in thy heart. We reade in the Canticles, that the Churches laziness, and her not opening the doors to Christ when he knockt, was the cause of that spiritual desertion she was plun∣ged Page  203 into, seeking up and down for her Beloved, but not find∣ing of him. The standing pool begets the croaking Frogs, not the running stream: and it is the dull, negligent Christian, whose heart is filled with sad fears and doubts, whereas the hid∣den Manna and white stone is promised to him that over∣cometh.

3. Though thy soul walk thus in darkness,* yet exercise acts of dependency and recumbency upon Christ howsoever. As David many times cals upon his soul to trust in God, and not to be sin∣fully dejected. How is that woman of Canaan commended for her faith? who, though our Saviour called her Dog, and did in effect tell her, she was excluded from pardon, did yet earnest∣ly pursue him, and gave him no rest, till he gave her rest. And certainly, this is the noblest act of Faith, this is indeed to give glory to God, when in the midst of all thy fears and guilt, thou canst relie upon him for pardon; as in wicked men who are filled with Satan, as Anania was, there is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a desperate boldness, whereby they dare venture upon sin: So in the godly there should be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a confidence of Faith, whereby maugre the devil, and our consciences, we dare throw our selves into the arms of a Promise. Thus by fre∣quent putting forth of strong fiducial applicative acts of Faith, we shall at last enjoy obsignative. Howsoever hereby thou wilt shew thy heavenly courage in enduring a kinde of spiritual Martyrdom. As that Love is the highest Love, which is car∣ried out to enemies; so those are the strongest acts of Faith, which make us depend on God, though he seem to kill us, yea to damn us.

Page  204

LECTURE XXIV.


MAT. 6.12.

And forgive us our Debts.

*ANother Question, which is also of great use, we are to di∣spatch at this time, viz. Whether a Believer repenting and su∣ing for pardon, is to make any difference between a great sin and a lesse? For if a man should be perswaded of the negative, then would gross and notorious sins, which Tertullian cals, Devora∣toria salutis, whirlpools and gulfs, wherein the party offended is plunged, be no more then those sins, which Austin cals, Quotidiana & levia, daily infirmities, which continually flow from the most sanctified person. Again, on the other side, A Christian falling into such a gross sin, may so far be swallowed up with sorrow, as that he shall think the whole bond of friendship is dissolved between him and God, that he is cast out of that spiritual Paradise he was in, and that God is no more his Father, nor he his childe. It is therefore necessary to have a pillar of fire to guide us in this wilderness. And that the whole truth of this matter may be understood, observe these Propo∣sitions.

*First, Every sin, even the least sin, doth deserve eternal death. As appeareth by those general places, Cursed is every one that abideth not in all things the Law commands, Gal. 3.10. Now eve∣ry sin is a transgression of the Law. This the Apostle speaks uni∣versally of all sin, without any exception, Rom. 6.23. The wages of sin is death. And indeed this must needs be so, if you consi∣der the least sinne is an offence against an infinite God: and in this respect, because God is not a little, but a great God, so every sin is not little, but a great sin. Again, if you consider Page  205 the necessity of Christs bloud to expiate this, no sinne can be thought little: for if a man had no sin in the world, but one of these little ones, he could not escape eternall wrath, without Christs mediation.

Therefore we cannot say any sin is venial, either from its kinde and nature (as Papists distinguish) such they make to be officious, or jesting lies; or from the imperfection of the act, such they make those that are committed indeliberately, or out of igno∣rance, without full consent or knowledge.

Or from the smalness of the matter, as to steal a farthing, or the like. None of these sins are so small, but that they de∣serve hell, because they are the transgression of the Law of an holy and great God; and our Saviour confirmeth this, when he saith, Of every idle word a man shall give an account, Mat. 12.36. and that phrase of giving an account, is not a diminutive, but aggravative expression: Our Saviour doth there argue from the less to the greater, Thus, If a man must give an account for every idle word, much more for blasphemy against the holy Ghost.

Take we heed therefore, how we bring down the weight and guilt of the sinne; here also we may see, why Paul found such a mountain upon him, by sinful motions only arising in his heart.

There are two places that seem to import such a difference be∣tween sins, as if some only deserved hell, and others not. The first is, Mat. 5.22. where our Saviour speaking of three degrees of sin, doth proportionably assign three degrees of punishment, and the last only is guilty of hell fire.

But the clear Answer is, That our Saviour speaks allusively to those three Courts of Judicature among the Jews, the least pu∣nishment whereof was death; so that the first Court punished with death, the second, death with a more grievous torment; The third with a most grievous. For that our Saviour doth only allude to these Courts, and not speak of what faults the Courts punished, is plain; for none can think that the Court put any to death for calling his brother fool. It was murder and such ins that they punished with capital punishments. The other place is, 1 Joh. 5.15, 17. where the Apostle makes a difference Page  206 between a sin unto death, and a sin not unto death, but that is clearly to be understood either of the sin against the holy Ghost (which in those times, when the spirit of discerning was fre∣quent, might easily be known) or of such sin that did plainly discover obstinacy and impenitency accompanying of it, other∣wise no man might pray for another man that hath committed a mortal sin, if by a sin unto death, the Papist will mean every mortal sin.

Lay therefore this foundation, That every sin is mortal, in re∣spect of its desert and guilt, howsoever to the godly believing and repenting, no sin is mortal, but all venial, Rom. 8.1. There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. Therefore Mus∣culus observes well, That in this case, the persons offending are to be considered (whether they be believers) more then the sins themselves.

A second Proposition.

Howsoever every sin, even the least, doth thus deserve eternal dam∣nation, yet there is a great difference between some sins and others. And therefore sin is not a meer negation, but a privation, as dis∣eases are, and so as one disease may be more desperate then ano∣ther, so may one sin be more hainous then another. The Stoicks thought all sins alike. And Cyprian among the Ancients, is reported by the Learned to have been of that minde. But Scri∣pture doth evidently confute this, He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin, John 16.11. So you have the phrase, no be worse then an Infidel, 1 Tim. 5.8. Thus Ezek. 16.47. Israel is said to be more corrupted, and to do more abomination then So∣dom. For although to sinne be to miss the mark, yet some may shoot farre wider from it, then others, one sinne therefore may be more hainous then another, divers wayes, as Divines shew: As

1. From the Person offending; if he know the will of God, or if he be in publick place or office.

2. From the Object; If it be sin against God immediately, or man only, as Eli said, 1 Sam. 2.25. If one man sin against another, the Judge shall judge him, but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him?

3. From the Matter about which; If it be in the life of a Page  207 man, and not in his goods, that thou wrongest him. Some also may be aggravated from the disposition of the man, the means he enjoyes to overcome sin from the frequency of it, or defending of it, and the like. Hence some sins are compared to Camels, others to Gnats, some to Beams, other to Moats, some to Talents, other to Farthings. This then being clear, let us consider, what difference a true believer should make be∣tween these in matter of pardon, and what difference he should not make.

And in the first place,* he is to make a vast difference about them, when he sueth out for pardon. As

1. He is to believe Gods wrath is more kindled against him, and that his indignation burneth more hotly, when such an ini∣quity is committed, then in our daily infirmities.* Thus when Aa∣ron had made the Idolatrous Calf, how angry was God both with Aaron and the people? How angry also was God with Da∣vid after his murder and adultery? David had continual infir∣mities, but God did not break his bones for them, he made not such a breach upon his peace & conscience, as he did in these sins: Therefore it must argue high prophaneness of spirit; if a man af∣ter the committing of gross and loathsom sins be no more trou∣bled, then for the continual motions and incursions which sinne necessarily makes upon us. No, as sins have a greater guilt in them, so Gods wrath is stirred up in a more vehement manner against such.

2. There is a great difference to be made in respect of Humi∣liation, and the measure of godly sorrow for it.* For as the sin may exceed another, as much as the Camel doth a Gnat; so ought the sorrow as much as an Ocean doth a drop. Thus Peter goeth out, and weeps bitterly; he did not so for every defect, and spiritual imperfection in him, as for this abominable Apostasie. We reade also of the incestuous person, as he committed a sin, that was not so much as named among the Gentiles, so he mani∣fested such sorrow as was scarce heard among Christians; inso∣much that the Apostle was afraid of him, lest he should be over∣whelmed with too much sorrow. Now if for every sin of in∣firmity there should be as much sorrow and humiliation, as for these crimson and scarlet sins, how would the whole life of man Page  208 be but a continual trouble of soul? and in what darkness would he live alwayes? Although all thy continual failings ought to be matter of humiliation unto thee, yet when such as these shall break out, thy soul ought to set open the floud-gates of thy soul. Neither may this be thought a low mercenary way, as if the party so humbled did intend a compensation unto God. But all places of Scripture must be regarded, as those which speak of Christs glorious grace; so also those which speak of our duties.

*3. The Spirit of God doth not only in his Word reveal a great∣er wrath against such sins, but he doth also withdraw all those conso∣lations and comforts which were in the heart before. So that a man thus offending, doth, as it were, bolt himself in a dark dungeon, and shut out all the beams of the Sun against him. Insomuch that although Assurance, and the consolations of the holy Ghost may consist with the weaknesses, and sinful infirmities of Gods peo∣ple; yet they do not with the gross impieties they plunge them∣selves into, as appeareth in David, Psal. 51. who prayeth for the re∣storing of that salvation he had lost by his sin. The Spirit of God is a Dove, and that delighteth not in noisom buildings. The Spirit of God may be grieved and quenched in respect of the fruits thereof: So that a man thus wounded for sin, feels a very hell in his heart, admits of no comfort. Neither can it be otherwise, for when we refuse the Spirit of God sanctifying, we presently repel it comforting. If we have not the heat of this Sun, neither shall we have the light thereof.

*4. In these gross offences the Spirit of God doth not onely forsake him in respect of Consolation, but its a Command laid upon the Church-Officers, to cast such an one out of their society, as 1 Cor. 6. neither may the people of God have any familiar com∣munion or acquaintance with such: now what horror and trem∣bling may justly arise in such a mans heart, who shall thus be cast out of all gracious Priviledges, and that by Gods appointment? What darkness must this work in his heart, when he shall ar∣gue thus with himself; Its Gods command I should not be ad∣mitted to the Seals of his love; he hath given his Officers charge to pour no oil in my wounds; how can I plead for the grace signified, when he denieth me the Seals thereof? God hath shut Page  209 me out like the unclean leper, and whither shall I go? Now then, if the Church of God make such a vast difference between him and others, and that following the directions of Christ. Ought not the person offending also to judge the same things about himself?

5. In some kinde of grosse sins, although there may be deep humiliation, yet there are many other conditions requisite,* without which pardon of sinne cannot be obtained, and that is in sins of injustice, violence, and fraud of others. Thus Zacheus, it is not enough for him to beleeve Christ the Messias, and re∣ceive him into his house. but he makes satisfaction where he hath done wrong. Thus our Saviour also, Mat. 5. If thou remember any man have ought against thee, leave thy gift at the Altar, and go and be reconciled. It is a known saying of Austin, Non remit∣titur peccatum, nisi restituatur ablatum: The sinne is not remit∣ted, unlesse what thou hast unjustly taken be restored. And it is a most wretched perverting of the sense, which an Antinomian makes (Reconcil. with God, pag 90.) that this reconciliation is to be made of man to man, but not true in respect of God to man; and whereas the same Authour speaks of Zacheus, that he did be∣leeve first, and afterwards made restitution: which (pag. 91.) he cals an example beyond all exception; let him the second time consider Zacheus his expression, and he will see it nothing to his purpose. The words are in the present tense, Luke 19.8. Behold Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. and if I have wrong∣ed any man, I give him four-fold. Now either Zacheus means this of his former life past, or else he declares his ready and pre∣pared will for the time to come; and there are Interpreters of both sides, and which way soever you expound it, it overthrow∣eth the adversaries tenent. For if it be understood of his course of life, formely past, then it goeth clear against him. If of his readinesse of minde for the future, it makes nothing for him. For although by this it will appear, That Zacheus did joyfully receive Christ before he made actuall restitution, yet not before he had a preparednesse, and resolution of heart to do it. And certainly Zacheus speaking thus to Christ, Behold I give, cannot but be understood, that this penitent frame of heart was upon him be∣fore he said so. If Zacheus speaks this of his former course of Page  210 life, then he doth manifest this not in a way of pride or oftenta∣tion, but to see whether Christ would command him to do other∣wise, so that he might be thought to say this, for instruction sake, to be directed for the future.

*6. As there must necessarily be more sorrow, and will be great∣er terrors from the Lord, so there is also required greater and stronger act of faith, whereby pardon may be applied; For the a∣gony and temptation being greater, the strength of faith also must proportionably be encreased. Hence we see the incestuous person, was almost overwhelmed; so great a matter was it to exercise faith, when God was apprehended thus angry: and certainly, if faith be a grace so difficultly put forth even for the least sin; What conflicts must there needs be, when nothing but mountains are in the way, and great gulfs apprehended between pardon and him? The mariner doth need more skill and strength in a tempest, then in a calm; and the souldier must shew more courage in the midst of a furious battell, then when all things are quiet.

* Thus you see wherein a great difference is to be made. Now there are some particulars, wherein a beleever repenting is to make no difference at all. And that is in these things.

*First. There is no difference in respect of the efficient cause, Gods grace in pardoning. The godly man is not to think, that God can more easily pardon lesse sins, then great sins: No, all these are equally pardoned by him. Even as in the earth, though there be great and high mountains in respect of other hls, yet both them and these are meerly as a pactum in respect of the heavens; So although some sins exceed others in guilt divers waies, yet all of them in respect of Gods grace, are but as a drop before the Sun, which is quickly dried up. Hence when God proclaimeth himself in all his goodnesse, he is described to be a God pardoning iniquity, transgression and sinne; And thus Isaiah 1. he can make sins as red as scarlet, as white as snow: So that compared to Gods grace, there is no difference at all.

*Nor secondly, may any difference be made in respect of the meritorious cause, which is Christs obedience and sufferings: For that cleanseth away great sinnes as well as small. And certainly, when we consider of what infinite value and worth the sufferings Page  211 of him who is God as well as man, do amount to, the beleeving soul need not wonder, if Christ do away one as well as the o∣ther. In the Red Sea, the stoutest and most valiant Champion was drowned, as well as the meanest souldier. He is the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world; and his bloud is said to cleanse us from all our iniquities. Here is no difference made, from one sin as well as another. So that although thy great sins require greater humiliation, yet not a greater Mediator then Christ is; Thou must pour out more tears, but Christ needs not pour out more bloud; so that in respect of Christs righteous∣nesse applied, the least and the greatest sinner are pardoned both alike; neither is it blasphemy (though the Papists judge it so) to say, Mary Magdalen, and the Virgin Mary are both justified alike.

3. Neither may we make any difference in the means of par∣don thus farre,*as if our merit and satisfaction were to goe to the pardon of one, and not of the other. We are to shew greater sor∣row, more means are to be used, yet we are not to judge these actions of ours, as having any worth or dignity in them for re∣conciliation, so that after we have done all, we must confesse It's grace only that pardons. And this is the more to be obser∣ved, because it is hard not to do any thing extraordinarily in a way of pardon, and not presently to rest upon this, as if it had some worth in it. But certainly, if so be it be the goodnesse of God meerly to forgive us our farthings, it is much more his li∣berality to pardon our pounds: and if by our own strength we cannot remove a straw, how shall we a beam? But in the pri∣mitive times the Church being severe against grosse offenders, appointed more solemn and extraordinary duties of humiliation for satisfaction to the Church of God in point of scandal, and in processe of time these were taught to be satisfactory even to God himself.

4. Neither may this difference be made,* as if lesse sins might consist with the grace of Justification, but such grosse sins did wholly exclude out of that state. For there are some who pleade for the distinction of mortall and veniall sins, in this sense, veniall are all those which may stand with the favour and grace of God to the person so failing; but mortall are such, which (though a Page  212 man hath been justified) yet being committed, will cast him out of this sonship. Such a distinction Musculus acknowledgeth, loc. com. de peccato, and others; but this supposeth a totall apo∣stasie from grace, which I have already disproved.

*As the Ark was made of that wood which would not be cor∣rupt or putrifie, so is the Church of God in respect of the living members. Therefore although Gods people in such grievous fals lose their assurance, feel wofull commotions of heart, yet they are not to conclude, That God hath utterly cast them off. They are not to look upon themselves as unsound, though they have been Prodigals.

LECTURE XXV.


PSAL. 32.1, 2.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sinne is covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity.

DAvid is stiled by some Ancients, The Divine Orpheus, by whose musick the wilde beasts, evil men, may be made tame: and certainly his materiall Harp was not more efficacious to drive out Sauls evil spirit, then his Psalms are sanctified means to expell all corrupt affections in us. And although all Scripture be equally excellent in respect of the Authour, yea, and of the matter absolutely considered, yet in respect of us, our direction or consolation by reason of our present estate, one place of Scri∣pture may be preferred before another: in which sense Junius interprets those Psalms, that have their inscription, A Psalm of Degrees, A Psalm of Excellencies, as the Hebrew word will bear it. Now this Psalm I am upon, may justly be so stiled, be∣cause it hath a peculiar usefulnesse to those who are exercised a∣bout Page  213 the guilt of sinne; for here we have David like an anato∣my, opened, that we may be instructed. Hence the title of the Psalm is Maschil, which is as much as giving instruction, and it is observed by Commentators, this is prefixed commonly to those Psalms that have some choice, eminent Doctrine, especi∣ally about afflictions, as this hath, about Davids guilt and trou∣ble under sin, and also his pardon of it.

The Hebrews call this Psalm 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Cor, The heart of David, because he is so affected with Gods displeasure for sinne, and the excellency of the pardon. Therefore you must conceive the Text to be uttered by David, as one groaning and heavily pressed with the weight of his sinne, and crying out, Oh how blessed and happy are they, that have theis sinnes forgiven them!

In which words you have pardon of sin described.*

First, From severall expressions to magnifie the mercy,*Sins forgiven, covered, not imputed. It is much to consider how anci∣ent Interpreters have made a difference between the sins enu∣merated; as if there were divers kindes, or at least degrees of sinne enumerated; and hereupon also they make a difference between forgiving, covering and imputing, as if one were more then the other; but we are rather to take it according to the Scripture-custome, which doth use for amplification sake, to say the same thing in divers words, and this is autology, but not tautology. The difference that is, is from the severall me∣taphors that are in the words. As the first word doth signifie the taking away of sin, which is a burrhen, blessed is he that is eased of such a weight. The second, which is covering, doth suppose the loathsome filthinesse of sin in the eyes of God, and therefore by grace is taken out of his sight. The third, not imputing or reckoning, is a metaphor supposing sinne a debt, and God in his account will not set it upon our score, so that the severall expressions are wonderfully comfortable, if sinne trouble thee as an heavy weight on thee, pardoning is the ea∣sing and taking off this burden; if sinne make thee to judge thy self loathsome, thou canst not endure thy self, pardon of sin is covering of it; if sin put thee in such a debt to God, that thou knowest not how to satisfie, pardon is not imputing.

Page  214*Secondly, This is described from the adjunct, adherent to re∣mission of sinne, viz. blessednesse. The Apostle, Rom. 4, alledgeth this place to prove, That a man hath righteousnesse imputed to him without works, But the pertinency of the Apostles argu∣ment is disputed of: for how doth it from this place follow, that a man hath righteousnesse imputed to him without works? This is as if a man should argue, He is a rich man, because his debts are forgiven, which is a non sequitur, because they are two distinct things. This makes Piscator and Wotton, with others, to make justification to be nothing but remission of sins, and that imputation of righteousnesse, and remission of sins are the self same thing; a man being therefore accounted righteous because his sins are not imputed unto him. Hence they deny that the Scripture ever saith Christs righteousnesse is imputed unto us, although in some sense they grant, it may be said so, inasmuch as by his death for us, he purchased remission of sin, which is our righteousnesse. This is to be considered of, when we speak of the other part of justification, viz.. imputation of Christs righteousnesse. Although they that are for imputed righteous∣nesse, say, The Argument is good, which Paul useth, because imputing of righteousnesse is immediatly contrary to the impu∣ting of sinne; and therefore Paul might argue righteousnesse imputed, from sinne remitted, even as we truly argue, The night is not, therefore the day is, because darknesse and light are im∣mediate contraries, and the subject must necessarily have one of them.

Lastly, This forgivenesse of sin is described from the subject, in whom it is, viz. in him, in whose heart there is no guile; that is, who doth not cover his sins by not confessing, and not re∣penting of them, as David acknowledgeth he did for a while.

*From the Text I shall raise such Observations as are to my particular scope. As,

First, That forgivenesse of sin is a covering of sin.

This truth deserveth a diligent unfolding, because the mi∣stake about it hath brought forth dangerous errours in two ex∣tremities, The one of the Papist, That because it is covered, Therefore there is no sinne at all in the godly, otherwise God Page  215 could not but see it, and hate it, as Pererius and others argue. The other of the Antinomian, who inferre from thence, That therefore God seeth not sinne, or taketh notice of it in justified persons, as Eaton.

To understand this aright, take notice,* That to cover is a metaphorical expression, and we must not squeeze it too much, lest bloud come out in stead of milk: Some make the metaphor from filthy, loathsome objects, which are covered from our eyes, as dead carcases are buried under the ground; some from garments that are put upon us to cover our nakednesse, some from the Aegyptians that were drowned in the Red Sea, and so covered with water; some from a great gulf in the earth, that is filled up and covered with earth injected into it. Lastly, some make it an allusive expression to the Mercy-seat, over which was a covering, which might signifie Gods grace, through and in Christ, abolishing our sinnes. Hence the Apostle attributes 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to Christ and his bloud▪ which is given to the Mercy-seat; We may not strive for any of these Meta∣phors, they all in the generall tend to shew this, That God when be pardoneth, doth not look upon us as sinners, but deals with us, as if we had never sinned at all: as it is here made blessednesse to have sinne covered, so it is made a woe and mi∣sery, Nehem▪ 4.5. not to have sinne covered, as Nehemiah prai∣eth against Sanballat and Tobiah, This expression is also used, Psal. 85.2.

In the next place we may consider in what sense God doth co∣ver sin when he pardons, and in what he doth not.*

1. God is said therefore to cover sinne from his eyes, because he will not take notice of it in justified persons to punish it with wrath and condemnation, although it be not so covered, as that God doth not see it to be angry with it, and chastise beleevers for it. yet it is so covered, as that he doth not see it to condemn belee∣vers for it. We do not therefore make God to cover sinne (as an Antinomian saith we do) as if a man should cover a thing with a net, where the object is still seen, Honey comb, pag 57. but as to Gods hatred and revengefull condemnation, so it is wholly covered; and therefore those expressions of taking a∣way, blotting out of sinne, &c. do fully imply, that God Page  216 giveth not an half pardon, but that he taketh away the offence, and whatsoever punishment (properly so called) belongs unto it.

2. It doth imply, That God when he hath thus forgiven, deals with a man as no more in that particular a sinner. Therefore Da∣vid after his murder and adultery are washed away, he is as white as snow in respect of those actuall sinnes; and every true beleever repenting, is bound to beleeve, that God doth this gra∣ciously and gloriously to him, That he is no more in Gods ac∣count that loathsome leper and unclean person he was.

It doth imply, That God by degrees and in his due time will cover the beleevers sins, as from his own eyes, so from the be∣leevers eyes. So that the guilt of conscience, those arrows of the Almighty, shall not alwaies stick in his heart. Thus as mans love to another, covers a multitude of sinnes, he will not men∣tion, charge or upbraid the party with them; so doth Gods love cover the multitude of beleevers sins committed by them, dealing with them as reconciled persons, not upbraiding of them but bestowing all encouraging mercies upon them; so that if we improve this phrase of covering sin no further, we shall split on no rock, and yett he soul have as much comfort as it can rati∣onally desire.

*In the next place, hear what it doth not reach to, and where∣in the phrase is abused: As

1. When we dream of such covering of sinne, as that sinne is wholly taken away; so that no reliques of original corruption abide in us. Thus the Papists, We must not (say they) suppose such a covering as if sinne were still there, only God will not impute it, but it is such a covering as is a blotting sinne out. Now for a∣ctual sinne, we grant covering to be a blotting it out; but for original sin, in the lusts thereof, We say, they are still in the god∣ly, and properly sins, only covered, because not imputed to them: for the grace of regeneration, though it cut the hair of sinne, as Dalilah did Samsons, yet it groweth again, as long as the root is there.

2. We may not conceive sinne covered in this sense, as if we by our subsequent good actions did cover sinne, so some have ex∣pounded holy works to be the garment that covers our naked∣nesse, Page  217 but this would be our covering, and not Gods covering▪ whereas the Psalmist attributes it to God, Psa. 85.2. Therefore that Exposition will not hold, which some bring out of Austin, explaining this covering of sinne, as Emplastrum tegit vul∣nus, the Plaister covers the sore, by healing of it: for al∣though healing grace accompany justification, yet it is not justi∣fication.

3. We may not conceive it said to be covered in this sense, As if God when he had pardoned, did not yet still retain anger a∣gainst the persons sinning, and so chastise them. Though this do∣ctrine be much pleaded for, yet Scripture is evident against it. David had sin covered, yet God would not let the sword depart from his house. Thus Job aweth himself against sinne with this consideration, That God would see it in him, and take notice of it, Job 10.14. If I sinne, thou markest me (God seeth sin in Job) and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity; and Cha. 14.16, 17. he saith, God doth watch over his sin, and seal it up in a bag. Let not then the people of God delude themselves into security, by any false doctrine; and what woful conclusions there are of a godly mans peace, when he fals into a grosse sin, I shall handle in another Question.

Neither fourthly, may we conceive of sin covered, in a car∣nall grosse manner, As if there were something interposed between Gods eyes and sinne; as if a mans face were covered with an hat, or a candle put under a bushell. The Antinomians similitude is grosse and carnall, Honey-comb, pag. 275. as a man looking thorow a red glasse, seeth the water all red within it, so God looking upon us in Christ, seeth nothing but the righteousnesse of Christ, and no sin at all; for the reason why our senses judge water red thorow a red glasse, is, because it depends upon the fitnesse of a medium, and that being indisposed, the eye is decei∣ved; but God in looking upon us, doth not depend upon any intervening thing; and indeed Gods seeing of sin in this point, is not so much an act of his understanding, as of his will, decree∣ing to punish sin, or not to punish it▪ So that this similitude doth no waies hold, for God in this matter of forgiving or punishing sinne, is not to be looked upon as a natural agent, but volunta∣ry. So that all these things rightly understood, we may take that Page  218 which is good and comfortable, leaving that which is corrupt and false.

*And if the Question be made, Whether the phrase of covering sinne, make for that errour, That God doth not see sin in beleevers offending?

I answer, No, by no means; for these Reasons,

First, Gods covering of sinne is to be limited only to con∣demnation, as I have proved; Davids sinne was at the same time open to God, and covered; open to fatherly chastisements, covered to revengefull condemnation. God did see it as a Father to be angry with him, not as a Judge to hate him.

2. Because this covering is limited to those sins which are pa, and repented of; not to new sins committed; they are not cover∣ed without a new gracious act of Gods favour. David before this sinne committed that is spoken of in the Psalm, he had his former sinnes covered, but this was not covered, till he did ac∣knowledge it, and then saith he, Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sinne: Though therefore God should not see the sinnes past, yet the new ones committed, they are taken notice of by him.

3. Because though God hath covered them, yet God may, and doth sometimes afflict his people for their sins, so that they can∣not be in every sense said to be covered: But I have spoken large∣ly of this already.

*Two material Objections are to be answered, and then I shall proceed.

*The first is, If sinne be in the regenerate, yet covered and not imputed, How will this stand with the omnisciency, truth and ho∣linesse of God? His omnisciency, for he cannot but see sinne if it be there: His truth, for God, must needs judge of things as they are; if therefore sinne be there, he must judge it to be there, otherwise we make him like the wicked who covers sin, he will not acknowledge it to be there: Now what truth is this, to say of a regenerate man, he is cleansed and washed from all his e∣vil, and yet his evil is in him? This the learned among the Pa∣pists doe much urge, Pererius, Tiriuus, &c. At most (saith Suarez de justificatione) it makes remission of sin to be nothing Page  219 but a remission of the punishment, not of the offence or fault. The very same is urged by Antinomists. Lastly, How doth it consist with Gods holinesse; for he must needs hate sinne in whomsoever he findes it; and therefore for the Saints to have sin in them, and yet God not to impute it to them, seemeth a contradiction.

But to all this the answer is easie. As for Gods omnisciency, none say, but by that God beholds sinne, where it is; and in that sense, sinne is not at all said to be covered, for he know∣eth all in man. As for his truth, God doth judge as the thing is, for as he seeth sinne, so he judgeth sinne to be in them▪ and according to that eternal rule laid down, Psal. 89.32, 33▪ He chastiseth them with the rod, though he take not his loving kindenesse from them; so that God doth not judge things o∣therwise then they are. And as for his holinesse, he is not only angry with their sins, but also would proceed to their eternall condemnation, were it not for Christ, their surety, so that their sins are punished, though not in their own persons. Neither is this a taking away of sin only in respect of the punishment, but of the offence also, God being wholly reconciled with his peo∣ple, though the corruption (which is removed by sanctificati∣on, not justification) is by degrees purged away.

The second Objection is, How can God see sinne, seeing they have Christs righteousnesse, and there being no sin in that,*there∣fore God must look upon them as in Christ, which is without any sin at all?

The answer is, that when we say, Christs righteousnesse is made theirs, it is not to be understood subjectively,* as if it were a quality inherent in them (for then indeed God could not see sin in them) but relatively, he is their Mediatour, and by his obedience they are acquitted, so that the righteousnesse is in Christ, but by faith it becomes theirs, not formally, but as the merit for which God doth justifie them, and God doth account it to them as theirs; now this is no contradiction to be sinfull in our selves, and yet at the same time acquitted by the righteous∣nesse of another. It is true, those expressions of making Christs righteousnesse a formall righteousnesse, or as others, a materi∣all righteousnesse, and those disputations, Whether Christs a∣ctive Page  220 or passive obedience, both or either of them be imputed to us; hath much darkned the Question: whereas if we consider of it, as a relative righteousnesse performed by our Surety in our stead, the matter will be made much clearer: yet I speak not this, as if Christs active obedience were not made ours, as in time may be shewed.

I come to the second Observation out of the Text, which is,

*That those only do esteem pardon of sinne as a blessednesse, who feel inwardly the anger of God for sin.

David here in this Psalm, being deeply wounded with the guilt of his sin, judgeth not his kingdom, his wealth, his conquest over enemies an happy thing, but pardon of sin.

Now the ground of this is, because such is our custom (though it be our weaknesse) to esteem of mercies more carendo quàm habendo, by wanting of them, then having of them. The blinde man earnestly desireth sight. The lame man prizeth sound limbs. A people distressed with warre, and finding the bitternesse of it, commend peace. Thus it is here, a man afflicted and imbittered in his soul because of sin, he doth highly admire forgiveness, and accounts those happy that walk in the sense of Gods favour. Though innocency or freedom from sin may be majus benefici∣um, a greater mercy then pardon and reparation, yet this is dul∣cius beneficium, a more sweet mercy to the sense and feeling of him, who enjoyeth it. Hence that Christ and the Gospel might be exalted, God permitted sin to be, and the Law is on purpose to discover sin, and aggravate it, that Christ and his grace may be the more welcome.

*The Uses of both points together, are,

*1. From the former, Doth God in pardoning, cover sinne? then with what boldnesse may true faith triumph? Why is the godly penitent, as if his sins were alwaies in bloudy characters before God? Why is he, as if there were no bloud of Christ, wherein these Egyptians are drowned? If thou hadst never been a sinner, thy heart would not have trembled. Is not forgiveness making of a sin not to be, as you have heard? So that, as Rachel is mourning for her children, because they are not; so maist thou be rejoycing, because thy sins are not, and although they be not covered out of thy sight, yet if covered out of Gods sight, that is Page  221 thy blessednesse; better have them rise up alwaies in thy consci∣ence, then once before God.

From the second we may be instructed,* who are the bst Preachers of Christ, and the grace of the Gospel, who are Go∣spel-Preachers, even such who make deep incisions and wounds first in mens consciences by the Law. The only way for a Mini∣ster to make his auditors rellish and savour of Christ and grace indeed, is to keep them in a godly sense and apprehension of their infirmities. We are not in our first conversion only to have throbs and pangs after Gods grace, but also this hunger and thirsting after Christ, is to be kept up in the progresse of sancti∣fication: and therefore as those Ministers are to be blamed (if any such) that do only presse duty, discover sinne, but never set forth the fulnesse of Christ: So they also are to be blamed, who only presse such Texts as manifest Gods grace, but never open that issue and fountain of all filth that is within us. Both these tempered together, are like Aarons excellent com∣pound.

The last Use of Exhortation, is,*to be so deeply humbled and tenderly affected within your selves, that all within you may cry out, Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth no sinne. O that every Auditour which heareth me this day, could with the same spirit, affection, and turning of bowels within him, pro∣claim this truth, as David did. What is said of Pauls Epistles, is also true of Davids Psalms, Nunquam Davidis mentem in∣telliges, nisi prius Davidis spiritum imbiberis. You can never ful∣ly understand Davids meaning, unlesse you be possessed with Davids spirit. Now that you may be moved hereunto, consider the motive in the Text, and the means to get it. The motive is blessednesse; a man is never an happy man, till his sinnes be pardoned. What makes hell and damnation, but meerly not forgivenesse? thy wealth, thy greatnesse, thy honours, can∣not bring that happinesse to thee which remission of sins doth. Hence this is the cause of all other blessednesse. And observe, here is a great deal of difference between this place, Blessed is the man whose sinnes are pardoned, and those Texts where he is said to be blessed that feareth alwaies, or he is said to be blessed that walketh not in the waies of the wicked, for in the Text is Page  222 shewed the cause or fountain of blessednesse, viz. remission of sinne; but in other places there is only deciphered, who they are that are blessed. A man that feareth is blessed, but his fear is not the cause of his blessednesse. A man that liveth godly is blessed, but his godlinesse is not the cause of his blessednesse, but his par∣don of sin makes him blessed in all his graces; Thou art blessed, not because thou praiest, hearest, livest holily, but because God doth forgive all thy sins and imperfections in these duties. If therefore your graces, your holy duties are not the cause of your blessednesse, never think your outward mercies can be. The means to obtain this, is in the Text, by having no guile in the heart, that is, by not hiding our sins, but repenting of them, and confessing them to God: For this (saith David) every one shall pray unto thee in an acceptable time; for this, that is, for this remission, and because thou wast so ready to forgive, when I said, I will confesse my sin. Therefore shall every one seek to thee; where by the way, let none abuse that place, vers. 5. Da∣vid said he would confesse, and God forgave it: David did but say it, and God pardoned it; so some have descanted upon it. But to say, there, according to the use of the Hebrew word in some places, is firmly to purpose and decree so resol∣vedly, that he will be diligent in the practice of i. Doe not therefore think that a meer lip-labour is that brokennesse and contrition of spirit, which God requireth as the means to pardon.

Page  223

LECTURE XXVI.


PSAL. 51.9.

Hide thy face from my sinnes, and blot out all mine ini∣quities.

YOu have heard of the peculiar usefulnesse of the Psalms, in respect of our conditions or temptatians. What some Au∣thours (I know not upon what ground) have said of the man∣na, that it had the taste of all delicate meats in it, and gave a re∣spective rellish to what every palate desired; this may be truly affirmed of the Psalms, they have a respective direction, or com∣fort to every ones affliction or temptation. Hence they have been called by some the little Bible, or the Bible of the Bible? for although all the stars be of a quintessntiall matter (as the Philosophers say) yet one star differs from another in glory. And this Psalm among the rest, hath no mean excellency or usefull∣nsse, it being a spirituall Apothecaries shop, wherein are choice antidotes against the guilt and filth of sin, so that every one may say that of this Psalm, which Luther of another, O Psalme, Tu¦eris meus Psalmus, Thou shalt be my Psalm, The occasion of this Psalm is set down very diligently, and punctually in the in∣scription, it was made when Nathan reproved David for his adultery, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. The Hebrew word is translated in the time past, and so those that excuse Naaman, 2 King. 5.18. translate those words, wherein Naaman begs for pardon for his bowing down in the house of Rimmon, in the time past. Thus (pardon thy servant) when my master went into the house of Rimmon-and I bowed my self. And they bring this inscri∣ption of the Psalm to confirm such a translation. We are in this Psalm to look upon David humbledor his grievous sins, as a JobPage  224 sitting upon the dunghil abhorring himself, because of the ulcers and loathsomenesse upon him, or like a wretched Lazarus full of sores, lying at Gods throne, who is rich in mercy. For mercy is the scope of the Psalm, which he praieth for in the negative ef∣fects of it, such as blotting out of his favour, &c. and in the posi∣tive effects thereof, such as creating a new heart, filling him with joy and gladnesse, &c. And this Petition is enforced with several arguments from Gods multitude of mercies, from his confession and acknowledgement, with a ready submission to all Gods chastisements, from the pronenesse of every one to sin, because of that original corruption seated in him, from the good effect this pardon shall work upon him, he will teach transgressours Gods waies, so that his sinnes as well as his graces shall instruct others. My Text is a praier about that negative effect of mercy,* which is expressed in two Petitions to the same purpose.

The first is, Hide thy face from my sins.

*The Scriptures give a face to God in a two-fold sense. There is the face of his favour and his love. This David in the 11th verse, praieth God would not take from him: And there is the face of his anger and his indignation. This David perceiveth upon him, and against him, wherefore he desireth God would hide it from him; So that it is an expression from a guilty per∣son, who cannot endure the just Judge should look upon him; or rather from a childe offending, who cannot bear the frowns of his father, casting his eyes upon him. David hath that filth and guilt now upon him, which he knoweth God cannot behold but with much wrath and indignation, therefore he praieth God would not look on him. You see here David acknowledging, That God doth see and take notice of the sins of justified persons in a most provoked manner.

This praier is expressed to the same sense in the next Petition, Blot out all mine iniquities, wherein consider the mercy praied for, Blot out, a metaphor (as you have heard) from merchants that cancell their debts, or as the Sudoth dissipate and cause the cloud to vanish.

2. The extent of the object, all my iniquities. Whether this ex∣tend to future sins, so that all sins, past, present, and futre are pardoned together, shall be considered in the second place.

Page  225From the first Petition, Observe,*

That God seeth and taketh notice of in a most angry and provoked manner, the hainous and gross sins, which a Believer hath plunged himself into.

For this reason, David praieth God would turn away his eyes, and face from him, even as the sore eyes desire to have the light removed, as being unable to bear it. And this aggravation of Gods seeing it, he mentioneth also, vers. 4. Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight. That God did see it, and was offended, did more trouble him, then the eyes of all the world upon him: So 2 Sam. 11.27. where this History is related, there is this peculiar brand upon Davids sin, that what he had done was evil in the eyes of the Lord; therefore God did see it, and take notice of it, so as to be displeased with it. This Doctrine is worthy of all diligent examination, both because it will be a strong Antidote, to keep Gods people from scandalous gross sins, as also to inform how far in such sins the people of God make a breach upon their peace with God, and claim to the Covenant of Grace. And although this Question hath been vexed in some respects with the scratching claws of the Schoolmen, yet I shall endeavour not to be so ill a seedsman as to sowe among thorns, nor as one of the Ancients alludes, Plantare nemus Aristoteli∣cum juxta altare Dei, Plant Aristotles dark Grove, near Gods Altar.

And for the clearer proceeding in this great Point,* I shall con∣sider the Doctrine briefly in the hypothesi, as it was Davids case, and then in thesi, as it may be any believers condition: for David take notice of two things,

First, The aggravation of his sin.

Secondly, Of the evil befalling him, because of it. Davids sin is at large mentioned, 2 Sam. 11. where you have several aggra∣vations of this ungodly act.

First, He was a King, and so his wickedness was the greater, by how much his person was greater▪ Men in place being like the Sun, which if in an eclipse, causeth much destructive alteration to inferiours.

Secondly, A man advanced by God to special mercies, both temporall and spirituall, and for him to sinne thus, we Page  226 may cry out, What ailest thou, O Jordan, to runne back∣ward?

Thirdly, The nature of the sin was a very gross one, against the light of an Heathens conscience, to deflour his neighbours wife.

Fourthly, It was a trespass against his faithful servant Ʋriah, who was venturing his life to preserve David: This was horrible ingratitude.

Fifthly, This aggravation God addeth, That he had many other wives; and for him, as Nathan wisely reproved him, to go and take the poor mans lamb, who had only that, this was to become very guilty.

Sixthly, Here was great deliberation, and consultation, how to cover the matter, and to make Ʋriah the father of it. O where is Davids heart that it doth not smite him all this while?

Seventhly, To bring this wretched plot about, h sends Ʋriah with letters to Joab for his own destruction; Doth not David here, that which he condemned and prayed against so much in others, lie in wait like a Lion to devour the poor in∣nocent?

Eighthly, His sin becomes more hainous, in that to colour this, he will have Ʋriah, and many other innocent persons set in the fore-front, on purpose to be killed, and afterwards with most transcendent hypocrisie, excuseth it with this, The battel fals alike to all. So that here is a sinne with many sins complicated in it.

Ninthly, When all this is done, David takes Bathsheba to wife, delights in her, and rejoyceth with her.

Tenthly, To make his sinne out of measure sinful, after these horrid sins committed thus against natural light, as well as spiritual, we finde no remorse of conscience, no trouble of heart, till Nathan the Prophet come and arouse him. But pre∣sently upon his Reproof, How doth this Mountain melt like wax before the fire? And therefore let no man encourage him∣self with Davids sin, unless he finde in himself also Davids Re∣pentance.

And therefore in the second place take notice, what way Page  227 God takes to break him, and how much displeasure of God fell upon him.

*First, He hath great terrour and trouble upon him, which he expresseth by the most exquisite torment that is, viz. Broken bones. It was with him, as if all his bones were brayed and pounced together. Thus fearful is it to fall in∣to the hands of the living God, who even to his own peo∣ple is a consuming fire. As the Sunne which useth to dart forth resplendent beams of lustre, by grosse and thick clouds is darkned and obscured; so David who heretofore rejoyced in God, took comfort in his Promises, doth now like Dives beg for one drop of comfort, and findes a great Gulf between that and him, insomuch that it cannot come to him, nor he to it. Now what are all Davids pleasures, all his lustful delights to these wounds of his soul? Hath he not bought Repentance at a dear rate? Let the godly hear this and tremble, and do no such thing.

Secondly, As he found hell thus within him, So God was also really displeased, his sins were uncancelled till he repented. So that Gods displeasure was not only in Davids sense and feeling, but in Gods heart also. As the earth of his own heart was like iron, in respect of the yeelding any fruit of comfort, so the Heavens were like brasse. God had spoke to his soul to be like the mountains of Gilboa, on which no dew of his favour shall fall. Therefore he doth not only pray for pardon, but plenty and iteration of pardon, Multiply to pardon, as vers. 2. I need par∣don again and again, I need a plentiful pardon, because I have sinned many sins in one sin. Now David might justly be more sol∣icitous and fearfull about the pardon of these sins, because there was no particular Sacrifice appointed for murder and adultery, but an expectation of vengeance, either from God or man, but this must not be stretched to the Socinian errours, as before I have shewed.

Thirdly, He found in himself a loathsomnesse, and defiling guilt upon his conscience, whereby like Adam, he could runne and hide himself, that God might not see him. Hereupon he prayeth, Wash me, Cleanse me, Purge me. O how loathsome and abomi∣nable was he in his own eyes: if Davids Righteousness be ac∣counted Page  228 a menstruous cloth, or dung by him; what debasing and abhorring thoughts must he needs have of his sins? He look∣eth upon himself as the Swine wallowing in mire, and the dog licking up his vomit.

Fourthly, He feeleth a spiritual consumption and languish upon him, that he cannot exercise any of those graces that he used to do. Therefore he prayeth for a principal or voluntary spirit, that with delight and strength he may do Gods will. David ari∣seth as Samson when his Hair was cut off, thinking to doe such great exploits, as he had before, but he findes his strength gone.

Fifthly, He discovereth a world of Hypocrisie in his heart, and crieth out of that, praying for truth in the inward parts. He now (probably) fears himself for an Hypocrite, questions whether any truth of grace be in him at all; and certainly it might just∣ly amaze and astonish him, to consider he could do all that wic∣kedness deliberately in cold bloud, without any remorse for a long while. This might justly plunge David into such a Chaos, that he might fear the very pillars and foundations of his soul were shaken.

Sixthly, He had lost all that boldnesse and liberty arising from a good Conscience, in declaring Gods truth, and reclaiming trans∣gressours from their evil wayes, vers▪ 13. Some have said that David in this intervall lost the gift of Prophecie, and making of Psalms. I cannot tell that; but certainly guilt and shame had so sealed up his mouth, that he could not reprove others for murder, adulteries, destructive craft, which he himself was so foully guilty of. It was the Ancients Rule, Quic∣quid dicturs aliis, prius tibi ipsi dic, Speak that first to thy self, which thou art to speak to others. But how could David have any boldness here, till there was a cole of fire from the Altar to sanctifie him? So that all these things duely pondered, you may say, this Sermon is a spiritual-Anatomy-Lecture, wherein Davids sin and punishment hath been so dissected be∣fore you, that every wise hearer may prevent the like desperate disease in himself.

*And now I proceed to the Thesis, or this Doctrine in the general. And this method I shall use: First, Speak of the sins Page  229 briefly the godly may fall into. And then more largely of their relation they stand unto God after the commission of them, till they repent.

And to the former, two things are considerable:*

1. The nature of the sins they commit. And

2. The quality of them, whereby they may be differenced from the sins of reprobates.

For the former. There is no sinne (except that against the holy Ghost) which a justified person, being left to himself, may not fall into, even such sins, that moral men, by the help of a natural conscience only would readily abhor. Thus David with deliberation and consent fals into adultery and murder, sins condemned by Natures Statute-Law: You have Aaron guilty of Idolatry: Josephs brethren the Patriarchs, as much as lieth in them murdering Joseph, and when they have cast him away into the pit, they sit down to eat, which implieth their wonderful security: and we reade not of their Repentance, till many years after, being awakened thereunto by Joseph. Samson, he was like one of the Roman Emperors, a compound of vices and virtues, insomuch that doubt might have been made of his godliness, had not the Scripture put him in the Ca∣talogue of Saints. Peter, although it was a passion of fear that caused his sinne, yet his sinne was very dreadful, to lie, swear, and curse, in the denying of Christ. This was such a sinne that Peter thought it not possible he should fall into it. For first at the maids accusation, by comparing of the Evangelists toge∣ther, he doth not only basely deny himself to be Peter, but ad∣deth, He knew not Christ, yea he knew not what she said: an expression which we use about a thing that we are in the highest manner ignorant of; and this he doth before all them that stood by. In the next place after a little while (which as Mal∣donat computes, must be at least three hours) he denieth Christ again: we might have thought that Peters heart might have troubled him in that space, but in stead of repentance he aggra∣vates his crime, with an oath he denied himself to be Peter; Here was lying against his own conscience, accompanied with perfidiousness against Christ: Then the third time, a little while after, being accused again, he still increased his sin, and Page  230 did not only swear, but curse, that is, devote my self to the horridest judgements that can be, if he knew Christ, and this he did often, as that phrase, He began to curse, seemeth to imply, and his sin will yet rise higher, if that cursing be referred to Christ, that he cursed and anathematized him, and all this while though as some probably think, he heard the Cock crow, yet he repents not till Christ looked upon him, and without question▪ would have denied him as often as the temptation was, had not Christ preserved him.

Thus I have given you Examples of the hainous sins of Gods people, which are not to encourage in sinne, but if duely con∣sidered, a bridle against it. As he said, Plus debeo Thomae, quam Petro, he was more beholding to Thomas doubting, then Peter believing, because by Thomas his doubt, Christs Resurrection was more confirmed: So in some sense, we may more acknowledge Gods Wisdome and Goodness in his chil∣drens fals, then in their Graces; for hereby we are to trem∣ble in our selves at our own weakness, be more careful against sinne; Observe the way they took for pardon, and admire Gods goodnesse, who doth not utterly cast off his prodigal children.

Thus you see there is no kinde of crime, which the peo∣ple of God, through their own neglect, may not fall in∣to. And as for that other Question, Whether they may not frequently commit the same sins? We have examples in Scri∣pture for the Affirmative, onely the greater Doubt is, Whe∣ther after a thorow and deep Humiliation they may relapse in the same sins? But although we scarce have any instances of such in the Scripture, yet Gods command upon us to re∣ceive a brother seventy seven times offending, if he repent, may keep up the heart of such a sinner against despair, because goodnesse and love is in him as in the Ocean; in us, as in the stream only.

*The second thing considerable is, What kinde of sins these are? whether they may be called sins of infirmity, though so atro∣cious in their nature, or raigning sins? Now herein godly Di∣vines have differing expressions, though they mean the same thing. Zanhy in his Thesis of the perseverance of the Saints Page  231 doth industriously assert, That all the sins which elect Believers fall into, are sins of infirmitie. Thus he cals Davids and Peters: His main ground is, Because every regenerate man hath a two-fold principle within, the flesh and the spirit, both which fight one against the other: by which means they are never carried out to a full consent and purpose in any sin they commit. Hence he denieth they can be called raigning sins, or sins against conscience, that waste conscience, or that are from resolved purpose within. He giveth an instance from Jonah, and the Mariners; We know the Mariners had not any intent at first to throw Jonah into the Sea; again they rowed and used all their utmost endeavour to preserve him: Lastly, they pray to their gods, if possibly, they may not be necessitated to drown him. Now in all this, the Mariners, though they did throw him into the Sea, with their will and consent, yet they did it very unwillingly also. Thus, saith he, Jonah, in this respect, is like Christ, or grace in the hearts of Gods people. And first, the people of God have no purpose to cast him out. Again, they use their diligent care in temptations not to do it. Lastly, they beseech and importune God they may never fall so foully: Therefore if at any time they are overtaken, it is with an unwilling willingness. Thus he. Neither is it any marvel if he judge so; When Bucer thought an Elect man, ever before ever he be converted, doth not sin with that full consent as reprobate wicked men do, but have ma∣ny motions to the contrary. Now although Peter in his denial of Christ, might be thought with unwillingness and reluctancy to do what he did, yet it is hard to say, David, who so delibera∣ted and plotted to accomplish his wickedness, did it not with some full consent at that time. And it may seem hard to call all the sins of the godly, sins of infirmity; Therefore others will grant them the name of raigning sins, but with this limitation, that this is not a total raigning: sin raigneth as a tyrant over them, not as a King; and although at some times, as in Davids case, there be no actual resistance made, because all the actual exercise of Grace is suspended, yet the seed of God doth in time revive again, and so doth cast out that usurper: So then the conclusion is, That the gross sins, which some regenerate per∣sons do commit, may be said to be sins accomplished with a full Page  232 consent and delight, and for the time, no actual resistance made by the regenerate part, and so far may be called raigning sins, but because God hath promised to blow up those sparks of grace in the godly, in his due time; therefore they raign but as tyrants, and that for a while, not as Kings, which then pro∣perly is, when sins are customarily committed with an antece∣dent and consequent consent.

*But for the general, That there is a great difference between Sauls sins and Davids, Peters, and Judas's, will appear evi∣dently.

*1. From that principle of supernatural life, which although much weakned, yet is not quite taken away, 1 Joh. 3. He that is born of God, cannot sin, viz. so as Cain; or as one that is of the devil his father, because the seed of God abideth in him. And Paul, Rom. 7. doth excellently describe this in the person of a rege∣nerate man, where some Expositours do not limit the good he would do, or the evil he would not do, to motions and desires only of the heart, but extend it to the outward actions done in the flesh.

*2. There is a difference in respect of God: He doth not whol∣ly cast off the one offending, as he doth the other. Compare Sauls sin, for which God rejected him, and Davids together, and you would think Sauls sin far the less; for Sauls was, be∣cause he spared Agag, 1 Sam. 15. and the best of the spoil, pre∣tending it was for Sacrifice, and he dared not do other for fear of the people, but for this God rejected him. Now Davids was in a more gross sin against the light of nature, whereas Sauls was against a positive command of God only, and was a sin on∣ly, because forbidden, not from itself, yet God sheweth mer∣cy to the one, and not to the other. Certainly, though Gods grace be the great reason of the difference, yet Saul sinned with more contempt and slighting of God, then David did. There was a more bitter root in one then the other.

*3. A difference also may be seen in the consequent. When Da∣vid was reproved, how presently did he melt and condemn him∣self? There could not be such a sudden thaw of Davids heart, if like Nabals it had been like a stone within him. Thus Peter also, as soon as Christ looked upon him, He went out, and wept bitterly.Page  233 It is true, we see Saul and Judas after their wickedness commit∣ted, cried out, They had sinned, but yet it was only for temporal motives, fearing the loss of their honours or fame, and at most, out of a slavish fear of Gods wrath, not from any love of him, or faith in him.

The Use is, If David lie thus in his gore,* and what Michal said falsly concerning him, is now true, hath made himself like one of the vile fellows, let him then become a Pillar of salt to season the godly. Without a gracious solicitude and diligent de∣pending upon God, how quickly may a star become like a dung∣hil? You see that the snakes, and other poisonous creatures, which lie lurking in the holes of ground, when the season is cold, do yet crawl abroad under the hot Sun-beams. And so those sins which thou supposest crucified in thee, may revive upon a warm temptation. Peter could not be perswaded he should ever be plunged into such foul perfidiousness, he thought all the men in the world would sooner do it then he. Now to prevent these scandals, hearken alwayes unto the motions of Gods Spirit. While the Cock croweth, do thou go out and weep bitterly; while the Angel stirreth the pool, do thou presently step in: and if thou art at any time overtaken, continue not in the sin, return presently. The Candle newly put out, if presently blown upon, may be kindled again. The longer in the sin, the more sensless and stupid thy heart will grow; and know that of Bernard to be true, Illud est cor durum, quod non trepidat ad nomen cordis duri, That is an hard heart, which doth not tremble at the name of an hard heart.

Page  234

LECTURE XXVII.


PSA 1.51.9.

Hide thy face from my sinnes, and blot out all mine ini∣quities.

*VVE come in the next place to declare, How far a regenerate man upon the commission of such grosse sins, doth make a breach upon his Justification?

And for the further clearing of this, I shall lay down,

First, What it doth not. And secondly, What it doth.

[ 1] And in the first place, No grosse sin committed by a justified per∣son, doth make void the former pardon of those sins he hath been guil∣ty of. God when he pardons, he pardons absolutely, not with a condition suspended upon our future conversation, which if not performed, his pardon shall be revoked. The Lutheran Divines do generally oppose this Truth; Musculus also in his Common-place, De remissione peccatorum, handling this Question, doth encline to the affirmative, That new grosse sins committed, make void the pardon of all former sins, so that all his by-past iniquities do reviviscere, live again in their guilt and accusation of such a man, Tompson in his Diatriba, pa. 48. Though he plead vehe∣mently for the intercision of a believers Justification upon the committing of grievous and loathsome sins, yet he denieth, That sins once pardoned are ever imputed again, because (saith he) the irrevocability of that Remission doth only depend upon the immu∣tability of Gods counsel, whose gifts are without Repentance. For although (saith he) there is a necessity of Faith and Repentance, that sins be at first pardoned, yet that they should continue or abide pardoned, there is no necessity of Faith; and therefore none are damned for past sins pardoned, upon a defect of new Page  235 Faith and Repentance, when new sins are committed. The School∣men handle this Question, and generally deny, That sins par∣doned ever are imputed again, unless in a certain respect, viz. as far as by-past sins are virtually contained in the following sin, as if by a new sin a mans ingratitude is so great, that he becomes as guilty, as if he had all his former sins incumbent on him. But whatsoever mens judgments are, the Scripture-expressions about pardon of sin, which are, The remembring of them no more, The blotting of them out, and throwing them into the bottom of the sea, &c. do plainly evidence, That God when he pardons a sin, par∣dons it absolutely, and for ever, so that it shall never live again to condemn him here or hereafter.

There are two places of Scripture, that seem to give a check to this Doctrine. The first is, Ezek. 18.24, 26. where God saith, If a righteous man turn away from his righteousnesse, and commit iniqui∣ty, his righteousnesse shall not be mentioned, but he shall die in his sin. Quid clarius? sith Bellarmine: What is more clear then this place? Hence this is strongly insisted upon by Papists, Arminians, Lutherans, as the Achilles.

Now to this place, these Answers are given,

First, That the Prophet speaks not of a truly righteous man, but a pharisaical, bragging man, who hath a conceit of his righ∣teousness, without any reality at all; and such a feigned righ∣teousness may quickly melt away; but this may seem too much forced (though learned men insist on it) partly, because the opposition is made of a righteous man to one really wicked; partly, because it is such a righteousness, which if a man had continued in, would have saved him, he should have lived by it. Others therefore say, The expression is only conditional, and by supposition, if he do this, which doth only imply a posse, if a man be left to himself, not an esse, or that indeed he will do so; yea God useth these conditional comminations, as a san∣ctified means to keep a righteous man from falling. This is a good Answer: but there are others with whom I joyn, that say, The Scripture doth here consider a man as of himself, and what he is in his own power, not what he is by a Covenant of Grace (which is only per accidens, and ex hypothesi) a meer extrinsecal and accidental thing to a man. And now, speak Page  236 of a godly man thus, we may say, that he may fall, and lose the favour of God; for although in respect of Gods predestination and Covenant of Grace, he cannot, yet that is meerly external, and from without. So that the Scripture speaks of a godly man, sometimes in respect of his external, relative condition, as ele∣cted and federated: Thus he is made unchangeable in respect of his state. Again, in other places it speaks of him, in respect of his internals, and what is dwelling in him; and in this sense, He that stands, must take heed lest he fall. And that this is the right interpretation, is plain by the opposition in a wicked mans estate; for there saith the Text, If the wicked leave his wicked∣nesse, and do that which is righteous, he shall live. Here is no men∣tion of Grace at all; Can any from hence infer therefore, a wic∣ked man without Gods Grace, is able to turn to God? No. O∣ther places demonstrate the necessity of that. So that it is plain, these Texts do not at all relate to any thing external and extrin∣secal to a man.

The next place urged for the return of sins pardoned, is, Mat. 18.32, 34. where in the Parable, The Master is said to forgive a servant all his debt, but because the same servant shewed not the like compassion to a fellow-servant, his master was wroth with him, and charged all the debt he had forgiven, upon him again. By which it may appear, That if we after our sins are forgiven, do those things that are very distasteful to God, he will remem∣ber our former sins against us. But the scope of the Parable, which is the right key to open it, is not to shew, That God will remem∣ber sins pardoned for new ones committed, but to manifest, That forgiveness of others is a necessary qualification to be forgiven by God; and that we may not believe God will forgive us, un∣less we forgive others: and this is clear from the conclusion of the Parable, ver. 35. So will not my heavenly Father forgive you, unlesse you from your hearts forgive one another. Besides, every passage in a Parable is not argumentative, but the chief inten∣tion only. Many things are flourishes in the Picture, not li∣neaments.

[ 2] In the second place, Neither doth a justified person so sinning, fall from the Grace of Justification, or his Adoption, he is not cast out of the right of his Inheritance. Whom he loveth, he loveth to Page  237 the end; all this while, Christs intercession is effectual for him. Though he be a Prodigal living with Swine, and upon husks, yet he is a Sonne still, Quod Christus naturâ, nos gra∣tiâ, as Christ is perpetually the Sonne of God by nature, so we in him, and by him, are alwayes the sons of Grace; and the perpetuity or stability of our Justification, is not founded upon any thing in us, but upon Gods will and love, and his sure pro∣mises.

Neither thirdly, Doth he fall from the state of inherent or san∣ctifying [ 3] Grace, no more then imputed; for by Gods gracious Covenant, the principles of Grace are more firmly infixed and rooted in a godly mans soul, then his soul in his body. Ʋt custodiat nos per fidem, custodit in nobis ipsam fidem, That he may keep us by Faith, he keepeth Faith in us, saith a learn∣ed man.

Neither fourthly, Doth a godly man fall into these grosse sins, [ 4] without a merciful ordering of them, even to the godly mans good. Al∣though afflictions may befall a man to his good, yet some have questioned, Whether God suffers a godly man to fall into sins for good, because sins have an inward malignity and poison in their natures, which the evils of afflictions have not. But if Gre∣gory said truly of Adams sin, Foelix culpa, it was an happy fault, because God wrought such a good, the good of a Mediatour, which is a greater good then that sin was; no question but God can over rule the sins of Gods people for their own advantage; as a godly man said, He got more good by his sins, then his Graces, Audeo dicere, &c. (saith Austin de civit. Dei, lib. 13.) I dare be bold to say it, That it is profitable for proud men, to fall in manifest and open sins, whereby they may be ashamed and made loathsome in their own eyes, Salubrius sibi displicuit Pe∣trus, quando flevit; quam sibi placuit, quando praesumpsit. It was better with Peter disliking himself in his weeping, then pleasing himself in his presumption. This therefore God doth to his people; to prevent sin he lets them fall into sin: and as Austin saith, Sectio dolorem operatur, ut dolor dolore tollatur. The cut∣ting of the wound causeth pain, that so pain may be removed by pain, and sometimes venena venenis dispelluntur, poison is dri∣ven out by oison.

Page  238*And thus much for the Negative, we come to the Affirmative; and in the general we say,

A godly man committing such a gross sin, till he doth repent, [ 1] is in a state of suspension from all the effects of Gods Grace in Justi∣cation, though not of abdication, or exheredation. He is un∣der Sequestration, though not Ejection; he is under an interdi∣ction, though not an exile. He is as Absolom, that was cast out of his fathers family, though not from being a son. The Eng∣lish Divines expressed it well in the Synod of Dort, by a leper, who was shut out from his own house, so that although he had a right to his house, yet he had no claim by any law to en∣joy his house: So though a godly man have a right to pardon of sin, yet he cannot claim this as due to him, as long as the guilt of sin abideth on him. Hence that is expounded, Purge me with hysop, as an allusion to the leper, who in such a manner was cleansed, not that this state is to be conceived a third estate be∣tween a state of Justification and Condemnation, but a suspend∣ing of the benefits of the former. In which sense a godly man justly cast out by Church-officers for a sin, is said to have his sins bound in Heaven. And in this respect Zanchy saith, he doth, Quodammodo excidere à gratiâ Dei, and that they are made, quasi inimici, as it were enemies. Thus Perkins also, Upon the com∣mitting of such sins, saith he, God turneth the effects of his grace, into the effects, cujus dam odii, of a kinde of hatred to their sins, so that quodammodo fiunt inimici Dei. Now that the terrour of this condition may more fasten on the godly to make them cautelous against such fals, let us consider what particulars this general doth include.

And first it supposeth a present unfitness for the Kingdom of Heaven, or any gracious Priviledge. There is no aptitude or preparation in a godly man so lapsed, for comfort or salvation: but like the unclean man is to stand aloof off from all this. Now how woful is this to consider, that such a man, who had Gods gracious Scepter alwayes held out, to bid him come into his presence, must now finde the doors and gates of mercy for a season shut upon him! Now the Master of the feast may say to him, How camest thou in here without a wedding Garment? When David sate not according to his custom at the Kings Table, it Page  239 was excused, he had uncleanness upon him. Alas, it is a god∣ly mans aggravation of this guilt, why doth he not apply the Promises as formerly? Why is he not had into the Spouses Wine-cellar? Alas uncleanness is upon him. As Christ said to Mary, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended; we may apply otherwise, the Promise of Grace, Christ saith to thee, Touch me not, lay not hold upon me, for thou art not yet risen out of thy filth.

2. As there is no aptitude for gracious priviledges, So also [ 2] God doth now change all his dealings and administrations towards them. Those effects of love, delight, comfort, assurance and sweetness they had, are now turned into the bitter effects of wrath, displeasure, trouble and grief of soul, sad pangs and convulsions of conscience, so that they have no peace with God nor themselves. Thus their sins swallow them up like Jonahs Whale, and they are, as it were, in the bottome of hell. God is really offended and displeased with them, hereupon their conscience doth truly and sadly accuse them: And all this being set home by Gods Spirit convincing of them of sin in all the ag∣gravations of it, O the groans and agonies their souls must needs conflict with! This David doth evidently teach us in what he felt upon him. Hearken then to Davids cryings and groanings, and take you heed how you abuse the Grace of God, either doctrinally or practically to a secure committing of gross sinne. Be sure (if ye belong to God) your sinne will finde you out; and no Doctrine of free Grace, will be Altar or Sanctuary safe enough for you to hide your selves in. God who was the God of all consolation, is now the God of all sorrow and fear. Thou thinkest on him, and thy meditations are not sweet but trouble∣some. Now its not the Spirit of God, that seals and com∣forts, but of Conviction and Humiliation. Now Christs bloud, which thou despisedst, doth speak bitter things against thee. A drop of Gods anger fals into the conscience of a godly man thus awakened, like a drop of scalding lead into a mans eye. O what comfort do those pleasures, those lusts now afford him? Now he may say of them, as she of her husband, Thou art a bloudy husband.

3. Although he hath a right to the Covenant of Grace, to the Page  240 priviledges contained therein, yet as you have heard, He may not without renewed Repentance claim any of these. He cannot say, my God, my Christ, my Pardon; No, God hath spit in his face, as the expression is to Miriam, and the soul is become filthy and noisome, and she must be washed again, ere Christ will receive her. Though there be a Well of Salvation, yet thou hast no bucket to draw out of it. As long as a godly mans heart stands thus averse from God, and hath a purpose to con∣tinue in sin, all the Promises are like a fountain sealed up, and a Garden enclosed. He is in a worse condition, then the wounded man in the way to Jericho, for not only the Priest and the Levite (the Moral Law) pass by him, but even the good Samaritan, Christ and the Promises pour no oil into his wounds. All the while he applieth comforts to his soul, and supports himself with hopes of Gods favour, he liveth upon spiritual robbery. And he can with no more truth (if we speak of the actual use and application) say of the Promises, then the de∣vil of the world, and the glorious things thereof, All these are mine.

[ 4] 4. By this they incur the guilt of eternal damnation. There is a two-fold guilt, as some distinguish, one potential (which by others is Reatus simplex, a simple guilt) another actual (which by others is Reatus redundans in personam, a guilt falling upon the person. Now it is upon all sides agreed, That by those sins he deserveth eternal damnation. And therefore a godly man so offending, ought to bewail the forfeiture he hath made. If God should deal with him according to that strict rule, Cursed be every one that abideth not in all the things that the Law requi∣reth; where should he appear? But may we not say, they have an actual guilt obliging them to eternal wrath, not absolutely, but conditionally, till they take the means appointed by God for their pardon? I see not but in a sound sense this may be said, for God doth not will to them salvation, while they abide in that state, though at that time he wils to give them such effectu∣al Grace, that thereby they shall recover, and so remove that gulf which is between them and God. So that at the same time God doth will to give them grace to repent and recover, and yet he doth not will salvation to them, till they do recover. Here is Page  241 no contrariety in Gods will, because though this be about the same person, yet not in the same respects: for Gods will not to give salvation while in such an estate, and to give Repentance that he may come out of that estate, do no wayes oppose one another; and because of this later mercy, it is, that we may al∣wayes say, There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. Their sins are never imputed to them for their condemna∣tion, but there is a conditional obliging of them, till they sue out their pardon. So that it is here, as Solomon did with Abiathar▪ 1 Kin. 2.26. Thou art (saith Solomon) worthy of death, but I will not at this time put thee to death.

5. Because of this guilt and demerit of sin, it is, that our Di∣vines [ 5] do say, That if such an one, David (for example) should die before these sins be repented of, he would be damned; For if you sup∣pose a justified person to persevere alwayes in gross and vile sins without reformation, you may as well suppose him to be damn∣ed. Hence there is, as some observe, a two-fold impossibility, There is an impossibility that David elected and justified should be damned; There is also an impossibility, that David a murder∣er and an adulterer should without Repentance be saved; but God by his powerful grace will untie this knot by a certain and infallible recovery out of his sins, for that is a perpetual and sure rule, Election hath obtained, Rom. 11. otherwise, speak of David as in that state before Repentance, we may say, if he had died in it, he would have been damned. Thus Beza, Twiss, &c. Yet Gods grace which was so potent at the first to raise out of the grave of sin how much rather if life be in us, will it quicken us to turn unto God?

6. From hence further it ariseth, That he needeth a particular [ 6] Justification in respect of that guilt, which is to be done away. Some Orthodox and learned Writers, Abbot and others, distinguish of a two-fold Justification, one universal, whereby a man is abso∣lutely received into the grace and favour of God, becoming his Son. A second is particular, whereby sins are remitted to them that are already made the children of God, without which, they would fall from their first benefit of sonship, The one is called, Justificatio simplicitèr. The other, Secundùm quid: and this particular Justification they make to be often repeated. Thus Page  242Peter Martyr, Rom. 3. Lapsis post Justificationem repetitâ denuò Justificatione per fidem condonari. Thus Bucer, Defensio, pag. 85. acknowledgeth an iteration of Justification after we repent, and arise from more grievous sins. Others call it not a particular Justification, but an application of that universal Justification. And certainly Justification doth denote the state of a man, but seeing the Remission of such sins doth not put them into a new estate (for they never fell from that) we cannot so properly call it Justification, and I know not any place where the Scri∣pture cals it so, and it would be very hard to say, That Justi∣fication is re-iterated as often as sin is pardoned. Though there∣fore there may be some difference in the words, yet the matter it self is clear, viz. There is a necessity of the removing of this guilt, that so the person offending may be brought into Gods favour again.

[ 7] 7. Seeing all this is true, then it followeth, That such a man so offending must renew an act of Faith and Repentance. So that the former acts of faith and godly sorrow, will not discharge or ac∣quit from the new sins committed. Therefore lastly, it is a most dangerous errour in practice, to hold, That after a known sinne committed, the first thing a believer is to do, before Repentance or Humiliation, is to believe that that sin is already pardoned. Thus a late Writer, Cornwell in a Treatise called Gospel-repent∣ance, wherein he labours to prove, That a believer entred into the Covenant of Grace, upon the commission of an actual known sin, ought to believe the actual pardon of that sin, before he actually repent of the same. Now although this is to be confu∣ted, when we handle Faith and Repentance, yet thus much we may say, That this Doctrine must needs be very unsound; for first, There is no sin actually pardoned before Repentance, as at large I have shewed; and no sin is pardoned before it be com∣mitted, as in the next Question is to be shewed. So that it would be abominable presumption, yea and falshood to believe such a thing. Hence such a perswasion as this, God hath or will pardon my sins, can bring no comfort or peace to our consci∣ence till we repent; for a Scripture perswasion is, That God enabling me to repent, and to use the means, will vouchsafe pardon, and in this only can I have comfort▪ Besides, the Au∣thor Page  243 makes the last work of Faith, the first; for upon a known sin committed, Faith is to be exercised, first, in the threatnings of God, to believe those due to him. In the next place, Faith is to relie upon Christ for pardon, that he may receive remissi∣on of sins; for as Rivet and Perkins urge well, There is no par∣don offered on Gods part, or received on mans, till he do be∣lieve, and then when these acts are done, God doth many times incline the soul to believe the sin is pardoned. But the pardon of sin must be received by a direct act of Faith, before we can be∣lieve that it is pardoned by a reflex. But this is more largely to be confuted.

Now the Objection may be,* How can sinne thus far prevail in the filth and guilt of it, and yet the man so sinning not fall from his Justification? This will be cleared, if you consider these things.

First, That Justification is an act of God meerly, it is not our act. We are said to be justified, and God he doth justifie. Now Opus Dei non potest irritum fieri per opus hominis, Those acts of God which he doth, we cannot make void, but he ordereth them for their time and continuance, as he pleaseth.

Secondly, Consider, That sin doth not expel the Grace of Ju∣stification, efficiently, or physically, as darkness doth light, or cold∣ness heat, but meritoriously by way of desert. Now God doth not with us according to our desert; when he entered into a Cove∣nant of Grace with us, he so appointed it, that no sin should break the league of friendship, whereas if he had pleased he might so have appointed it, that the least sin should have dissol∣ved this bond; and if sin did expel the Grace of Justification ef∣ficiently, the least sin would have done it. But now, if it was wholly at Gods pleasure to make this state dissoluble or indisso∣luble; and if so, then that neither great sins, or less should break it; and this makes us to wonder, how David in his adultery and murder could be justified, because we prepossess our selves with this principle, That sin doth by a natural necessity expel the grace of God, whereas many Schoolmen are bold to determine, That de potentiâ absolutâ, God might pardon sin, though there were no Repentance, or infused grace at all in a man.

Thirdly, That a particular, partial guilt, is not the immediatePage  244opposition to universal Justification of the person, unlesse it were to abide in him. Justification of a mans person will keep him from being actually condemned, though not from the guilt of con∣demnation. As a guilty person, thrown into prison, is kept from the use of his house, goods, and all comforts, but he is not depri∣ved of them, till he be actually condemned: so a believer falling into gross sins, is deprived of the use of all spiritual comforts, but not cast out of the right of them, because he shall never actually be condemned.

LECTURE XXVIII.


PSAL. 51.9.

And blot out all my iniquities.

THe next thing in this Text to be considered, is the second Petition, which though differing from the former in words, yet is coincident in the matter.

*In this was observable (as you heard) the Petition it self [Blot out my iniquities.]

2. The extent [All] all my iniquities.

Now from hence we may justly take an occasion to handle that Question,*Whether God in pardoning do forgive all sins to∣gether? So that sins past, present and future are remitted toge∣ther, for that is the opinion of some, That as soon as ever a man is actually entered into the Covenant of Grace, all his sins, even future, are actually forgiven, and that they are bound to believe the same, even before they actually repent of any ini∣quity committed. This at large Cornwell maintaineth in his Book of Gospel-repentance. Yea there are some learned and worthy Authours, who seem to encline this way. D. Ames in his Medulla, in the Chapter of Justification, saith, Not on∣ly the sins of justified persons that are past, are remitted, but also in some sort those that are to come, Neither (saith he) can sins past Page  245 and present be altogether and fully remitted, unlesse sins to come be in some sort remitted also. Only he makes this difference, sins past are remitted by a formal application, sins to come only vir∣tually: sins past are remitted in themselves, sins to come in the subject or person sinning. But this in effect to say, they are not remitted, but that God by his Covenant of Grace, will as sins are committed, give Grace to repent, whereby there may be a forgiveness of them. This is to say rather, No sin shall hereafter actually condemn them, rather then to say, they are forgiven. Doctor Twisse, Vindic. Gratiae, pag. 82. de Eu∣rat. lib. 3. Quid si dicam in Justificatione nostra, &c. What if I say, in Justification, we receive the forgivenesse of our sins, not only that are past, but of future also, that is, we are made more certain of their forgivenesse. For (saith he) that internal act of God, whereby he doth remit sins, cannot be renewed in God. Certissimum esse judico, &c. I judge it most certain (as he go∣eth on) to whom God once doth forgive sins, to the same man he for∣gives all his sins whatsoever they are; of which absolution there is indeed a frequent pronunciation iterated to Penitents often in the Scripture. Thus that learned Authour going upon those two grounds, 1. That Pardon of sinne is an immanent act in God. 2. That application of Pardon to us, is no more then the sense and manifestation of that pardon, which was from all Eternity. But the weakness of these grounds hath been already demon∣strated, and we have other Orthodox Writers speaking more consonantly to Truth, denying that future sins are forgiven, before committed and repented of. When Grtius had obje∣cted, That the Protestants Doctrine, was, Peccata condonari an∣tequam fiant, That sins were forgiven before they were commit∣ted, Rivet in his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, pag. 467 replieth, Imo id nos absur∣dissimum credimus, &c. Yea we think such a Doctrine most absurd, and the imputation of it to us, most unjust; For though (saith he) God decreed to pardon our sins from all Eternity, yet the execution of this is not from all Eternity. As God decreed from all Eternity to create the world, yet the world was not from all Eternity. Those that know God hath decreed from Eternity to pardon sinne upon the condition of Repentance. Those that know God hath not decreed the end without the means, will never ascribe to themselves Pardon of Page  246 sin, without these exercises of Repentance. Thus the same Author in the same Book, pag. 533. Absurdum est credere, &c. It is ab∣surd (saith he) to believe a Remission of sins, which are not yet com∣mitted, for neither in the Decree of God is there an actual Remission decreed without Repentance preceding Remission. To this purpose Perkins in his Book of Predestination, There is no actual Pardon (saith he) offered on Gods part to us, nor on our part received with∣out Faith and Repentance. When Thomson in his Diatriba, had made mention of an answer formed by some Author, That in Ju∣stification all sins past, present and future were forgiven, and a justi∣fied person was bound to believe this; Bishop Abbot in his Answer, cap. 24. cals this incommodè dictum, an incommodious expression, and argueth against it.

*Having premised this, I come to lay down the grounds, that sins are not pardoned to a justified person, before they be com∣mitted and repented of, and therefore it is dangerous presumpti∣on to believe such a thing. Only these things must be acknow∣ledged.

[ 1] First, That God when he pardons sins past to those that repent, He forgiveth all them together. God doth not par∣don some, and leave out others. Thus the gracious Promise, Heb. 8. of remembring our iniquities no more, and blotting them all out, is to be thus farre universally interpreted, that all those sins which then are found in the lives of believing per∣sons, shall be removed and taken away. All past sins are forgi∣ven together. And the ground of this Truth is two-fold, part∣ly because the same Grace and love of God which moveth him to blot out one, will also stirre him up for the other. And in∣deed if it were not so, God would have love to a man as his friend, and hatred to him as an enemy, at the same time; where∣as Remission is Reconciliation with God, and therefore every obstacle must be removed, partly this ariseth from the nature of Repentance, for where that is truly for one sin, it is also for all other sins, and then the guilt of all must needs be taken away.

[ 2] Secondly, We must grant, That to speak properly, there is no∣thing future to God, and those things that are not yet to us, they are present to him; For he calleth things that are not, as if they were; Page  247 but although it be thus with God, yet we are not to conceive of things any other wayes, then according to that manner of his di∣spensation, whereby things decreed from Eternity are produced to act in time; and certainly, as sins future to us are present to him, so Repentance also future to us is present to him. And there∣fore Gods Decree for Remission, was also for Repentance, and both are present to him.

Thirdly, This must be granted, That although future sins are [ 3] not pardoned, before committed, yet by the Covenant of Grace, God will so preserve, that as sins are committed, so Grace will be dispen∣sed, that no sin shall actually condemn us. And this may be the virtual Remission of future sins, which some speak of. So that although a justified person may not believe that his sins are par∣doned, which he shall commit, yet he may believe that God will keep him by his power through faith to salvation, and that if he fall in sin, God will renew Repentance in his soul; and our peace of conscience doth not simply arise from hence, That God will pardon our sins, but that he will so preserve us from evil, and lead us into every good duty, that so pardon may be vouchsafed unto us.

These things explained, I come to lay down the Arguments,*Why none should presume, that because of his Justification, all future sins not committed, or present sins not repented of, are forgiven unto him.

The first ground is from those places which presume and ne∣cessarily [ 1] suppose sinne to be committed, before it is pardoned. One place is brought by some learned men, Rom. 3.25. Whom God hath set forth a Propitiation, to declare his Righteousness for the Remission of sins that are past. Here (say they) Remission of sins through Christs bloud, is restrained to sins past; and upon this some argue, Therefore future sins are not remitted. Thus, as I take it, argue Peter Martyr, Hiperius, Domnam; but it is more probable, that by sins past are meant those com∣mitted before Christ came into the world. And Beza, who is followed by other learned men, make 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not to be pardon, but connivance, as if the sense were, God did passe by the sins of our Fathers before Christs coming, and did not manifest his wroth in a Sacrifice expiatory of their sins, till Christ himself Page  248 came and suffered upon the Cross: So he makes this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 here, with that which is called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in Act. 17.30. Therefore I leave this, and urge one or two places more, 1 Job. 2.1. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father. Here we see is intercessi∣on for sin, and a way for Remission; but how? upon a supposi∣tion that sin is, If any man. Ezek. 18.22. speaking of a wicked man that turneth to God, and now shall surely live, he expres∣seth it thus, All his transgressions that he hath committed shall not be mentioned to him. Observe, All that he hath committed, not all that he shall commit. A third place is eminently set down, Jer. 33.8. Where God makes a glorious Promise of the pardon of sin; but take notice to wat sins he limits it, even to those that have been committed, I will cleanse them from all their iniqui∣ty, wherby they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their in∣iquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgres∣sed against me. Its of what they have done, not of what they shall do.

[ 2] A second sort of Arguments, is from the expressions Gods word useth about Pardon; All which do suppose, That sinne goeth before, and that God doth not antidate his Pardon. Such as these are, Remember not iniquity. Now although this be attri∣buted unto God improperly, yet the very sense of the word sup∣poseth, That sins were precedent, and how God by his grace will remember them no more. So the phrase to blot out, sup∣poseth sin was already registred in Gods book. Men do not use to forgive Debts before they be. Throwing them into the sea, what doth this imply? but that sins did appear before, and that in a terrible threatning manner. Covering of sin, How can that be understood, if sin be not with some loathsomnes? Thus we might instance in all the expressions used by Scripture to represent Pardon.

[ 3] Thirdly, This truth may be proved from the necessary qualifi∣cations required in those that have Pardon, which cannot be unless a man have already committed the sin, as 1 Joh. 1.9. If we confesse our sins, he is faithful to pardon. Now confession is alwayes of a thing already extant. How absurd would it be, for a man to go and confess the sins he will commit? This would rather be im∣pudence then humiliation; look over all the confessions made by Page  249 the people of God for themselves, or in the behalf of others, as Davids, Ezrahs, Nehemiahs, Daniels, and you shall observe them all limited to sins that have been done, never extended to what they shall commit. Thus in the old Testament, when any had sinned, they offered sacrifices. There was no sacrifice appointed for a future sin, but only for that which was already committed. Thus to pardon is required forsaking of a mans sin, Prov. 28.13. Now how can a man be said to forsake that which is not, to leave that which is future? especially, as you have heard, re∣pentance is commanded as the way wherein only pardon may be had, now how can repentance be about that which is to come? Can a man repent of any hing but what is past? The two Greek words 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to be wise and understand after the fact is done, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, reditus, a turning again to those whom we have offended, make it as clear as the Sun, that there is no pardon of sin before committed.

Fourthly, There is no promise in all the word of God, made for [ 4] the pardon of a sin before it be committed and repented of. If there∣fore the Word of God give no such encouragement, what pre∣sumption is it to make a faith, that all sins are pardoned, the Gospel-faith? for grant that such a thing were true, and to be beleeved, viz. That all sins are pardoned, yet that could not be the Gospel-faith, for the Gospel-faith is justifying faith: now the object of justifying faith, is not ens complexum, a propositi∣on, such as this is, All my sins are pardoned; but ens incomplexum, a single object, which is Christ himself, received and applied by faith, I am not justified by beleeving my sins are pardoned, but by relying upon Christ for pardon; But this by the way. The strength of the Argument lieth in this, God hath made no pro∣mise for the pardon of a sin before it be committed and repented of. Therefore none may either beleeve or claim such a thing. The grand charter or priviledge for pardon, as it is laid down in the Covenant of Grace, is contained in Jer. 31.34. which is also repeated, Heb. 8.12. Now this Covenant of Grace, as it pro∣miseth pardon of sin, so also a new heart, and actual exercise of grace, so that they shall walk in all Gods waies. Now the way wherein pardon is to be had, is repentance and faith. We must not therefore conceive of the Covenant of Grace, as promising Page  250 pardon and forgiveness, without any qualification in the sub∣ject: this would contradict other places of Scripture. There∣fore in the Covenant of Grace some things are promised abso∣lutely, supposing nothing to go before, such are regeneration, the working of faith in us, giving his holy Spirit to us, and uni∣on with Christ. 2. There are many priviledges in the Covenant of Grace, and those are given, where God hath wrought some former effects of his grace, and suppose them to be: such are Justification, pardon of sin, increase in grace, Glorification, all these things are promised in the Covenant of Grace, but made good where there are the former effects of Gods grace wrought in them. We do not therefre say, God doth not pardon sin, unless repentance go before, as if God needed repentance, as if he could not do it without repentance, as if repentance made God the better, or made him amends. These are idle calumnies cast upon this Doctrine in some Pamphlets. But only God hath appointed one effect of his grace before another in order, and he will not vouchsafe one before he hath wrought the other. As for instance, God hath appointed no unclean thing shall en∣ter into the Kingdom of heaven, God will not give glory where he hath not given grace. If one should tragically ex∣claim upon this, This is to make God need our graces, This is to make grace meritorious with God, This is to be a Papist, a Formalist, to make men rest in themselves; you would presently judge this a vain, weak cavill: No less is it, when we are char∣ged thus, for holding God will not forgive sin but to those that believe and repent. It is not for any worth in what we do, but because God will have an order and a method in his graces, Justification where Repentance is, Glorification where Holiness is. It being not fit to give pearl unto swine, nor childrens meat to dogs.

[ 5] Fifthly, If a man may believe his sins are pardoned, before they be committed, and so before repented of, then he may have full joy and unspeakable boasting in God, while he lieth wallowing in the midst of sins. The reason of the consequence is this, By such an act of faith, we have peace with God, and we glory in him. This floweth, as a proper effect of faith, though it do not alway follow, yet it may follow, and happily it is our weakness, Page  251 if it do••ot. And if so, then it was Davids weakness to b troubled about sin: It was for want of a right considering of the Covenant of Grace, that he had no joy in his heart, and that his bones were broken. The Adversary seeth the necessity of this consequent, and therefore is not afraid to say, That a justi∣fied person, even when sin is most prevalent, and the heart most har∣dened, yet then can glory in Jesus Christ, with a large heart, break∣ing forth into thanksgivings. Cornwel of Gospel-Repentance, pag. 125. How contrary is this to Davids experience, Psal. 32. who, while he humbled not himself for his sin, found nothing but terrour and trouble in his own soul? And certainly this Do∣ctrine must be very distastfull to very gracious heart, which shall make faith and assurance in the glorious effects of it, ami∣cably concording (as it were) with great and grievous sins. And let the Adversary shew such an instance in all Scripture. For as for his example in Paul, Rom. 7. who found himself cap∣tivated unto sin, doing the things he would not, yet giving thanks to God through Jesus Christ: this is clean contrary to him, for Paul did greatly humble himself, and was deeply sensi∣ble of this tyranny of sin, which made him cry out, O miserable man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of sin. So that we cannot with any colour call him an hardened sinner, Somni∣um narrare vigilantis est, said Seneca; and to complain of sin, especially in the first motions and suggestions of it, as Paul did, argues a tender life of grace in him. No less absurd is it, to bring Habakkuk to patrocinate this great errour, for although he said, He would rejoyce in God, and glory in his salvation, Hab. 3.8, 9. in the midst of Gods judgements upon the publike: yet this doth not suppose any personal grievous sins he was fallen into.

Sixtly, If sins be pardoned thus before committed and repen∣ted [ 6] of, then it would be in vain to pray for forgiveness of sin, see∣ing it is already past. This Argument (as before was said) Go∣marus urged against Piscator, explaining that Petition [For∣give us our sins] for the sense and assurance of it only in our hearts. It is true, we may pray for a thing that is past, thus far, for the continuance of it, but not for the thing it self. Although there can hardly be an instance in all Scripture given of such a Petition. We do not reade of any prayer in Scripture that God Page  252 would elect us, and predestinate us, yet that might admit of the same interpretation which they give for pardon of sin, viz. To make us more assured and perswaded of it in our own hearts. Hence when God speaks of pardon of sins, he useth many times the future tense, Jer. 31. I will forgive their iniquities, which if pardoned before, would be very difficult to say; even as hard, as if God should say, I will predestinate and elect such men. It is indeed often said, That when we pray for pardon of sin, we pray for the sense and feeling of it; but let such that interpret so, give any parallel place for such a sense, yet we deny not (as before hath been said) but reductively this may be included in that Petition.

[ 7] Seventhly, If a mans future sins be already pardoned in a ju∣stified man, then in a reprobate man, all his future sins are actually condemned. The consequence is firm upon that rule, Eadem est ratio contrariorum, there is the same reason of contraries. Therefore if a mans future sins be pardoned before they be committed, then a reprobate mans sins shall be punished be∣fore they be. Now how contrary is this to Gods dispensation revealed in the Scripture? Where can we finde any one man punished for a future sin? Were not all the sins men are affli∣cted for in Gods Word, because they had done them, not be∣cause they were to do them? Indeed the Scripture, Matth. 5. sometimes makes the desires and lusts of the soul after sin, to be the sin it self, but that is because they are the proxime and im∣mediate cause of such a sin; but we are now speaking of future sins, that it may be as yet have no preparation at all for them in any cause.

[ 8] Eightly, By what principles the Opponents can prove▪ That God pardons sins future, by the same we can prove, it is because of repentance future. So that still no sin will be forgiven with∣out repentance. For suppose that were a true rule to stand upon, Gods internal will to pardon is an immanent act, and therefore from all eternity, will it not as well follow, Gods internal will to give repentance, is an immanent act, and there∣fore repentance is from all eternity. If another be a true rule, That God hath given us all pardon from eternity, only we have the sense of it, and manifestation in our own souls; may Page  253 we not then say, that we had the grace of repentance from all eternity, but it is declarative in time in our own souls? For although justification be Gods act, and repentance ours, yet we are passive in the infusion of this, as well as justification. I speak not of repentance as an act (which cannot so properly be said to be infused) but of the frame of the soul. If a third rule should be true, That therefore sins are pardoned because the Covenant of Grace saith, it will pardon all; Doth not this hold also for repentance, seeing in the Covenant God promi∣seth to give a repenting heart? Lastly, If God may be thought changeable, because now he pardons, and once he did not; will it not as well hold, because he now gives grace to such a man to repent, and once he did not?

To conclude therefore, it followeth with an equal necessity, That if future sins are forgiven before they be committed, That God also did accept of future repentance before it was practi∣sed, or else if repentance be not received by God, till actually performed; so neither is sin forgiven, till actually committed and repented of.

The result of this whole truth is, by way of Use,* to admo∣nish us, That we make not any Doctrine about grace in the genious and natural consequence of it, to encourage or harden to sin. If the grace of God which hath appeared to teach thee to deny all ungodly lusts, make thee love them the more; If because you are under grace, sin hath therefore dominion over you; If there be goodness with the Lord, and therefore you do not fear him: then know all things work contrary to their nature, and Scripture-directions. All Gospel-grace is a cleansing, purify∣ing, refining property; it is fire to get out the dross; it is wa∣ter to wash away the filth; it is oyl to mollifie the wounds of the soul; it is wine to make the heart glad, and rejoyce in God. Do not while you promise your selves a liberty by grace, there∣in become servants of corruption; more especially let the chil∣dren of God, who have had sweet experience of the Covenant of Grace upon their souls, take heed of fals and relapses. If the Prodigal son after that reconciliation made with his father, af∣ter all that glory and love vouchsafed to him, had again wan∣dered into far Countries, prodigally consumed all his estate, Page  254 living with swine upon husks, How unpardonable and unwor∣thy would this fact have been? No less guilty wilt thou be▪ who hast had the ring put on thee, who hast fed on the fatted Calf, if after this, thou provoke God by gross transgressions. Some have disputed, Whether it be possible for a godly man to be secure in sinning, and more willing to offend, because of Gods gracious Covenant, which will infallibly rescue him out of that sin. But what sin is not possible (except that against the holy Ghost) even to a regenerate man? Take heed then, lest thou love the Gospel, because it hath alwaies glad tidings, and thou canst not abide the precepts or threatnings, because they speak hard things to thee. There may be a carnal Gospeller, as well as a Popish Legalist.

LECTURE XXIX.


ACTS 3.19.

Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.

THe Apostle Peter in this exhortatory discourse of his to the Jews, deals like a wise Physitian:

First, Discovering the danger of the disease.

Secondly, Applying an effectual remedy.

The disease is that hainous sin the Jews were guilty of, in kil∣ling of Christ, the Prince of life. Which sin is aggravated by a threefold antithesis:

1. They delivered up, and denied Christ in the presence of Pilate, when he would have acquitted him.

2. They denied him, though he was an holy and just One.

3. They desired a murtherer to be released rather then him. This is their sin.

In the next place, you have the remedy prescribed in two words, Repent and be converted. Repent, that denotes a change in the heart: and to be converted, an alteration in the outward conversation,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Howsoever it be generally received that Page  255〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth only true and godly sorrow, and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that imperfect and unsound grief which is upon hypocrites, yet this is not universally true, for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is applied to true repen∣tance, Mat. 21.19. & 32. and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to an outward repentance meeerly, Mat. 11.21. The other word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is to be understood reciprocally, Turn your selves, or be turned. This exhortation doth not suppose free-will in us, it only de∣noteth our duty, not our ability. Neither is Grotius his assertion better then Semipelagianisme, when he compareth the will of a man to the mother, and grace to the father, so that as children are named after the father, and not the mother: thus good actions are denominated from grace, not free-will: for in our conversion free-will is neither a totall or partiall cause preope∣rant or cooperant, but the passive subject recipient of that Vim gratiae vorticordiam, as Austin called it, the heart-changing pow∣er of grace. This duty of repentance is urged from the pro∣fitable consequent. Piscator cals it effectu utili, the effect of conversion, which is, that your sins may be blotted out. It is not an inference of causality, but of consequence. Blotting out, is (as you heard) from merchants that expunge their debts, or the Scribe that raceth out those letters which ought not to be in the paper, or the Painter that defaceth those lineaments, which should not be in the Picture.

In the next place, you have the time, when these sins shall be blotted out (that is) when the times of refreshing shall come, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is used Exod. 8.15. Some do not understand this, nor that expression, The times of restitution of all things, vers. 21. of the day of judgement, but of that preservation the elect should have, when the destruction of Jerusalem should be. Hence it is, that they expound the day of the Lord so much spoken of in Peter, and other places, which is said to be com∣ing upon the beleevers, of that time when God came to destroy Jerusalem, but there is no cogent reason to go from the recei∣ved interpretation, which maketh the day of judgement to be the times of refreshing to the godly, for so indeed it is, because then they are eased from all those troubles and oppressions they lay under in this world. Hence our Saviour cals it, The day of our redemption, upon the coming whereof they are to lift up their heads.

Page  256The Observation is,

*That a compleat and full absolution from all sin, is not enjoyed till the day of judgement.

The Beleevers have not a full discharge till then: we are in this life continually subject to new sins, and so to new guilt, whereby arise new fears, so that the soul hath not a full rest from all, till that final absolution be pronounced at the day of judgement.

*Before we shew the grounds whereby it may appear, that the remission of our sins is not fully compleated till then: we must lay down some Propositions by way of a grand work.

First, The Scripture not only in this priviledge of remission of our sin, [ 1] but in others also, makes the complement and fulness of them to be at the day of judgement. Redemption is the totall summe, as it were, of all our mercies, and we are partakers of it in this life, Col. 1.14. Rom. 3.24. Yet the Scripture cals the day of judge∣ment, when we shall rise out of our graves in a peculiar and e∣minent manner, the day of redemption, Ephes. 1.7. Ephes. 4.30. because at that day, will be the utmost and last effects of our redemption. Adoption, that also is a priviledge we receive in this life; yea a learned man (Forbes in his book where he hand∣leth the order of Gods graces) makes adoption (as I take it) to be the first, and to go before justification, yet the Apostle, Rom. 8.23. calleth the last day, the day of adoption. Hence 1 Joh. 3.2. the Apostle, though he saith, We are now the sons of God, yet he saith it doth not appear what we shall be, because the glory God at the last day will put upon us, is so farre tran∣scendent and superlative to what now we are. Thus Mat. 19.28. the last day is also called the day of regeneration unto the people of God, yet in this life they partake of that grace, but because then is the full perfection and manifestation of it, there∣fore the Scripture cals it, the day of regeneration. Even as the Apostle, Act. 13.33▪ applieth that passage of the Psalm to Christs resurrection, This day have I begotten thee, because then was such a solemn and publique declaration, that he was the Son of God. No marvel then, if the Scripture do also call the day of judgement a time, when sins shall be blotted out, because then is the publique absolution of the godly; and according to phi∣losophy Page  257 motions receive their names from the term to which they tend.

Secondly, Howsoever Justification be said to consist in par∣don of sin, yet there is a great difference between the one and the other; for Justification besides the pardon of sin doth con∣note a state that the subject is put into, viz. A state of favour, being reconciled with God. Hence it is, that this state cannot be reiterated often, no more then a wife after that first entrance into the relation is frequently made a wife. In this sense, the Scripture alwaies speaks of it, as connoting a state or condition the subject is put into, as well as a peculiar priviledge vouch∣safed to such. It is true, There are indeed learned men, who think Justification may be reiterated, as you heard, Peter Mar∣tyr, and Bucer. Others call it a continued action, as conservati∣on. But although there is a continuance of Justification, and the godly are preserved in that estate, yet we cannot say, God doth renew Justification daily, as he doth pardon of sin. There are some that think the Scripture gives a ground for a second Justification, or the continuing and encreasing of it, and bring those places, Tit. 3.5, 6, 7. Rev. 22.11. The learned and excel∣lent Interpreter Ludovicus de Dieu, in Cap. 8. of the Romans, vers. 4. largely pleadeth for a two-fold Justification; The first he makes to be the imputing of Christs righteousness to us, re∣ceived by faith, which is altogether perfect, and is the cause of pardon of sins: The second he makes an effect of the former, whereby through the grace of God regenerating, we are con∣formable unto that love in part, and are day by day more and more justified, and shall be fully so when perfection comes: of which Justification he saith these texts speak, Jam. 2.21, 24. Revel. 22.11. Mat. 11.37. 1 King. 8.32. This two-fold Justifi∣cation he makes to differ toto coelo from the Papists, whose first is founded upon the merit of congruity, the second upon the merit of condignity. But the discussing of this will be more proper in the other part, viz. of imputed righteousness. Austin seemeth to hold Justification a frequent and continued act, lib. 2. contra Julianum, cap. 8. When we are heard in that prayer [For∣give us our sins] we need (saith he) such a remission daily, what progress soever we have made in our second Justification. He speaks Page  258 also of a Justification hujus vitae, which he cals minorem the les∣ser; and another plenam and perfectam, full and perfect, which belongs to the state of glory, Tract. 4. in Joannem lib. de spiritu & lit. cap. ultim. But the more exact handling of this will be in the place above-mentioned. It seemeth more consonant to Scri∣pture, if we say, That Justification is a state we were once put into, which is not repeated over and over, as often as sin is for∣given; neither can it admit of increase or decrease, so that a man should be more or less justified, for even David while he was in that state of suspension, was not less justified, though the effects of Justification were less upon him. It is true, in some sense learned men say, Justification may increase, viz. extensivè, not intensivè, as they express it, by way of extension, when more sins are pardoned, not intensively in its own nature. Even as the soul of a man in its information of the body, admits of no increase intensively, but it doth extensively, the more the parts of the body grow, the further doth its information extend. But of these things more in their proper place.

[ 3] Thirdly, Howsoever an absolution shall be compleated at the day of judgement, yet our justification shall not abide in such a way, as it is in this life. Now our Justification is by pardon of sin, and a righteousness without us imputed to us, which is instrumen∣tally applied by faith, but this way shall then cease; for having perfect righteousness inherent in our selves, we shall need no covering. It is true, the glory and honour of all this will re∣dound upon Christ, and he shall not be the less glorified, be∣cause he hath then brought us to the full end of all his suffer∣ings. I know some may doubt whether any righteousness, but that which is infinite can please God, and therefore as some think the Angels were accepted of God through Christ, though perfect: so it may of the Saints in heaven; but I see no ground for this. This seemeth to be undoubted, That the way of Ju∣stification by faith in Christ, ariseth because of our imperfecti∣on and sinfulness remaining in us, and therefore is justificatio viae, not patriae, a justification of us in our way, not when we come to our home.

Fourthly, Although pardon of sin be compleated at that great day, yet this is not to be understood, as if Gods pardon of Page  259 any sin were imperfect, and something of sinne did still remain to be done away. No, those expressions of forgivenes of sin in the Scri∣pture, denote such a full and plenary pardon, that a sin cannot be more remitted then it is. But because we commit new sinnes daily, and so need pardon daily, Therefore it is that we are not compleatly pardoned till then. As also because the perfect par∣don we have here, shall then solemnly and publikely be declared to all the world.

These things thus premised,* I come to shew the grounds or particulars, wherein our pardon of sinne is thus com∣pleated.

And first, In our sense and feeling: For howsoever God pardon a sinne perfectly, yet our faith which receiveth it, is weak. This Jewell is taken with a trembling and shaking hand.* Hence it is that we have not full faith and confidence in our spi∣rits. We may see this in David, though Nathan told him his sinnes were forgiven him, yet his faith was not so vigorous and powerfull, as wholly to apply this to his own soul; and therefore he had much anguish and trouble of heart afterwards; But now, at the last day, all these fears, diffidence and dark∣nesse, will be quite removed out of our hearts. There shall be no more disturbance in our souls, then there can be cor∣ruption in the highest heavens, we shall then have such a gourd as no worm can devour. Our souls shall not then know the meaning of sitting in darknesse, and wanting Gods favour. There will then be no complaints, Why hath the Lord forsa∣ken me? Well may Gods children be called upon to lift up their heads, when such a redemption draweth nigh; and well may that day be called the times of refreshment, seeing the people of God are so often scorched with the fiery darts of Satan.

Secondly, Pardon of sin will at that day be perfected.*Be∣cause all the effects of pardon, will then be accomplished, and not so much as any scars remain, the wound will be so fully healed. Al∣though God doth fully pardon sin, yet the effects of this are de∣laied, many chastisements and sad afflictions are to be under∣gone: howsoever, death it self, and the corruption in the grave must seize upon justified persons; now these are the fruit of sin, Page  260 and howsoever the sting of these be taken away, yet they are not wholly conquered, till that last day, Then therefore may we justly say, Sin is pardoned, when there shall be no more grave, no more death, no more corruption, but all shall be swallowed up in immortality and glory.

*Thirdly, Then, and not till then may we say, remission of sins will be compleated, because then shall no more iteration of pardon be. Here in this life, because the root of corruption a∣bideth in us; there are daily pullulant branches of sinnes, and so frequent guilt is contracted, whereby as we have daily sores, so we need daily plaisters. It is with originall corruption in us, as in that Tree in Dan. 4.14, 15. although the branches be cut off, yet the stump is still in the earth, and that sprouts out too fast by the temptations that are alwaies by it. Hence it is that we alwaies pray, Forgive us our sins, and because of thse failings the Apostle 2 Cor. 5.20. writeth to, and exhorteth the godly Corinthians, who were already reconciled to God, to be further reconciled to him. But then this Petition shall wholly cease, then there will be no serpent to sting us, nor will the eye of ju∣stifying faith to look upon the brazen serpent exalted be neces∣sary any more. The Lord will not only wipe away the tear of wordly grief, but also of godly sorrow at that time. Then, and not till then, will it be true, That God seeth no sin in his children. Then will the Church be without wrinkles, or any spot within her. In this respect it is, the Church of God paieth so earnestly for the Bridegrooms coming. For this it is, They look for, and ha∣sten in their praiers that day.

*Fourthly, At that day will pardon of sin only be compleat∣ed, if you consider the nature of justification. For what is that, but an overcoming the accusing adversary, and clearing of us a∣gainst every charge? Now this is most eminently and fully done in those last assizes. The Syriack word to justifie, is also to con∣quer and overcome, because when a man is justified, he overco∣meth all those bils and indictments which were brought in a∣gainst him; now this is manifestly done in the day of judge∣ment, when God shall before men and Angels acquit and ab∣solve his people: and if the Apostle say in this life, Rom. 6.7. of a godly man dead in Christ, he is justified from his sins, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Page  261 in respect of sanctification, that sin doth not conquer him, but he sinne, how much more will this be true at that day, when all the guilt and filth of sin shall be totally removed? Oh what a glorious conquest will that be over sin, hell and the devil, when the Judge of the whole world, shall pronounce them free from all sinne, and command them to enter into his glori∣ous rest!

Having thus cleared the Doctrine, one Question may be brie∣fly touched upon,

Whether the sins of Gods people shall be manifested at the day of judgement, and God for Christs sake then acquit them?*

There are learned men for the affirmative, They shall be pub∣lished; and there are learned men for the negative. Those that are for the affirmative, they say indeed godly mens sins shall not be examined for their ignominy or confusion, but only that the goodnesse and grace of God may be made the more illustrious, For this they urge these Arguments;

First, Those places of Scripture, which speak of the univer∣sality of the reall objects, and personal: Of the reall; as when it's said, A man must give an account of every idle word, Mat▪ 12.36. 2 Cor. 5.10. an account must be made for every thing done in the body. For the universality of the object personal, 2 Cor. 5. We must all appear before the Tribunall seat.

Again, They urge the opening of the book, which shall be at that day, and that is nothing, but the manifesting of the consci∣ences of men.

Furtther, Many wicked mens sins and godly mens are ming∣led together, and there cannot be a judgement of discussion pre∣ceding that of condemnation, unlesse godly mens sinnes also be produced.

In summe, They think this conduceth more to the setting up of Gods justice, the exaltation of his mercy; neither (say they) will this breed shame to the godly, for in heaven they shall re∣member their sins committed on earth, but without any grief or trouble, yea with joy and thankfulnesse to God, because deliver∣ed from them. Quando{que} laeti recordamur dolorum, said Gregory. We may with joy remember by-past grief.

But those that are for the negative, think this no waies sute∣able Page  262 to Gods goodnesse, that the sins of the godly should then be published, for these grounds following.

First, From the judicial processe, where Christ cals the blessed of his Father to inherit the Kingdom prepared for them; and then enumerateth only the good works they had done; no question they had many sins and failings, but God takes no notice of them.

Secondly, This agreeth best (they say) with those expressi∣ons of Scripture concerning pardon, viz. that God blotteth them out, that they are thrown into the bottom of the sea.

Thirdly, The godly are said not to come into judgement, and there is no condemnation to them, yea, they have already life everlasting.

Lastly, Christ is their bridegroom, their friend, their advo∣cate, and how ill becoming would it be one in such relations, to account or lay open their sins?

Which of these opinions is truest, is hard to say, neither of them have cogent arguments, and the Scripture doth not expre∣sly decide the question, yet the negative seems to have more pro∣bability on its side.

*The Use is, First, Of comfort and glad tidings to the children of God, howsoever in this life they have accusations from with∣in, and from without, yet the day is coming, when they shall have a glorious and publike justification from all objections: Then Satan can no more accuse Joshua for the noisome rags upon him; Then Joseph shall be brought out of the prison freed from all guilt and calumny, and exalted to great glory, and it may be therefore God suffereth thee to be exercised with much guilt and fear here, that thou maist the more long for those daies of refreshment. And as this truth is for their great consolation, so also it demonstrateth their happinesse; That that which is so ter∣rible and dreadfull to wicked men, should be such matter of re∣joycing unto them: when they through horrour should cry for the mountains and hils to cover them, these shall desire the graves and the earth to deliver up her dead, that they may enjoy their Bridegroom. Certainly beleevers are not beleevers in this point as they should be; what an heavenly contempt would it work in them of this present world, what earnest desires, that this Kingdom might at last come? This is their marriage-day, Page  263 the day of coronation. Then death, hell, grave, sin and Satan, are all conquered.

And if the joy and peace, which remission of sin produceth in this life be so exceeding glorious, what will that be when we shall have no more streams but that fountain?

2. Use by way of contrary, To terrifie and arouse wicked men,* for as the godly have but a glimmering, a little pittance in this life, in respect of that fulnesse of glory to be revealed hereafter, so the wicked feel not the least part of that guilt, torment, shame and confusion, which hereafter shall be poured upon them.

There are many mens sins lie asleep, keep no noise either in their own consciences, or before God; but then these lyons, these mastive dogs that lay tumbling at the door, will rise up in rage, and wholly devour: Do not therefore take Gods forbea∣rance for his gracious acquittance; oh do not imbolden thy self with false encouragements, and say, The worst is over; As the Apostle said, these light afflictions were nothing to that eternal weight of glory: so on the contrary may the wicked say; These pangs and wounds of consciences which are felt here, are no∣thing to that eternal weight of sin hereafter. Bernard said, de∣scendamus in infernum viventes, ne descendamus morienes, let us goe into hell while we are alive by a serious meditation, and holy consideration, that we may not go into it, when we be dead, by reall miseries. As the Apostle saith, we are the children of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be; there is more glory then they can conceive: so wicked men are now the chil∣dren of wrath, but it doth not yet appear what they shall be. Oh therefore that ungodly men were as wise as Jonah's mari∣ners, who in the midst of tempests, seeing their ship necessarily sinking, throw away the goods that were a burden, knowing they and their safety could not consist together. Thus are ye to do: throw away thy sins, those heavy burdens that put all into danger, and so maist thou safely arrive at last in heaven.

Page  264

LECTURE XXX.


LUKE 7.47.

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins which are many are for∣given her, for she loved much.

THis Text is part of a famous history, which may well be cal∣led 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, because of the three great things observable in it; 1. Great sinnes. 2. Great repentance and humiliation. . Great love and grace of God through Christ in pardoning: And there is this one peculiar thing well observed about this woman in the history, that whereas divers others addressed themselves to Christ for corporal mercies, this only cometh for spiritual, even for remission of her sins.

*For the better understanding of the text, let us briefly consider the history; and first the woman is described by her quality in∣herent, a sinner, not in a common sense as all are, but in a more notorious manner; and therefore those that mitigate her fault, out of some reverence or honour to her, do not so much encrease her honour (as Maldonat upon the place well obser∣veth) as detract from Christs honour: for the Physicians skill is most commended, where the disease is more desperate. That she was a known great sinner, appeareth, in that the Pharisee wondred at Christ, because he would have any commerce with her. Whether this woman was Mary, Lazarus his sister or no, is hotly disputed by Commentators, but impertinent to my scope. In the next place you have her great repentance expres∣sed, wherein for the generall you may see the Apostles duty accomplished, as she had given her members to be members of iniquity, so now of righteousnesse, insomuch that she is the true looking-glasse of an humble convert. Her humiliation is described: 1. In bringing of a box of oyntment to anoint his feet; not his head (say some) because she thought her self so Page  265 unworthy, she brought indeed an outward visible box of oint∣ment, but she had another invisible and spiritual one, even a con∣trite and broken heart. 2. She stands behinde Christ (as being loathsom in her own eyes) and washeth his feet with her tears; which must suppose that to be true in her, which Jeremiah desi∣reth, viz. Her head to be a fountain of water, but as long as her heart was such a fervent limbeck, it was no wonder to see such precious distillations: Chrysologus upon this fact of hers, saith, The Heavens are wont to water the Earth with rain, but ecce nunc rigat terra Coelum, here the earth watereth Heaven. Lastly, The debasement of her self further appeareth, in making her Hair, heretofore the instrument of her pride and wantonness, now a Towel to wipe his feet. In the third place, Christs love towards her is remarkable, and in the general it is so great, that the Pha∣risee puffed up with his own pride, was offended at it, not consi∣dering, First, That though she had been a sinner, yet now she manifested Repentance. And secondly, That every commerce and communion with a sinner is not forbidden, but that which is of incouragement or consent unto his sin: but our Saviours was like the communion of a Physician with the Patient to heal and cure: Hence our Saviour touched the leper, whom he heal∣ed, yet was not unclean, because he touched him to restore him to health: But as the people murmured because Moses married a Blackmore, so the Pharisees grudged, because Christ shewed mer∣cy to sinners; but Moses indeed could not make the Blackmore white, whereas Christ doth purifie the defiled soul. Now our Sa∣viour doth aggravate his love to her; First, by a diligent enume∣ration of those several acts of service, which she had exhibited to him, not mentioning any of her former sins; and all this he doth with an Antithesis, or opposition to that carriage which the Pha∣risee had presented him with. 2. To convince the Pharisee, he declareth a Parable, that so from his own mouth the Pharisee may judge her love to Christ to be greater then his. In the last place his grace to her is further declared, by pardoning her sins though so hainous, which pardon is first declared unto the Phari∣see in my Text, and afterwards to the woman her self.

In my Text is the first promulgation of her pardon; now be∣cause the words have some difficulty, and the later part is Page  266 brought to prove love to be a meritorious cause of Remission of sins;* two Questions are briefly to be resolved: First, When this womans sins were pardoned? And the Answer is, That as soon as ever she repented in her heart of her evil wayes, and believed in Christ, her sins were forgiven her; for so God doth promise; and this was before she came to Christ, but she cometh to Christ for the more assurance of Pardon, and not only so, but that he should authoritatively absolve her from her sinne; for Christ did more then declare her sins pardoned, as appeareth by the standers by, who with wonder made this question, v. 49. Who is this that for∣giveth sins also? Whereas to declare the forgiveness of sin only, any Minister may do, as we read of Nathan to David, 2 Sam. 12.13. So that her sins were pardoned by God before, at the first time of her Faith and Repentance, but now Christ as the Media∣tor, doth particularly absolve her, and that in her own consci∣ence, therefore he bids her, Go in peace.

*The second Question is, Whether that expression, Much is for∣given her, for she loved much, be causal, as if her love were ante∣cedent, and a cause of her forgiveness; or consequential only, as an effect, or sign of her forgiveness; in this sense, She loved much, be∣cause God did forgive her many sins, not she loved much, and there∣fore God forgave her?

Here is a great and vast difference between these two: many Papists are for the later, the Protestants generally for the former, and there is this cogent reason for it, for that Christ doth not speak of Repentance, or Love which should go before, and be the cause of the pardon of sins, is plain by the Parable he brings of a Creditor, who forgave one Debtor more, another Debtor less: hereupon our Saviour asked the Pharisee, Which of them will love him most? Simon answered, I suppose him to whom most was forgiven: Now of such a love our Saviour speaketh, when he mentioneth the woman, which is clearly a love of Gratitude, Because much was forgiven; not an antecedent love of merit, to procure pardon; so that as from her actions of anointing and wa∣shing his feet, by way of a sign or effect, we gather her Faith and Love of Christ; so by her Faith and Love as by a sign and effect, it may be gathered, that her sins are forgiven her. But you may ask, How could she come to know her sins were forgiven, before Page  267 Christ told her? I answer, By the promise of God made to eve∣ry true Penitent and Believer: though this assurance of hers was imperfect, and therefore admitted of further degrees, where∣as then all this Repentance and Humiliation was not that sinne might be forgiven, but from Faith that they were forgiven: We may observe this,

That the sense and apprehension of pardon of sins already obtained,*doth not beget carnal security, but a further mollifying and hum∣bling of the heart in a gracious manner.

This is a practical truth of great concernment. And for the opening of it, take notice of this distinction, as a foundation,*viz. That there is in Scripture a two-fold Repentance or Humiliati∣on of the soul for sin; the one antecedent, and going before par∣don, and this the Scripture requireth as a necessary condition, without which forgiveness of sin cannot be obtained: of this Repentance the Scripture for the most part speaks, Ezek▪ 14.18, 30. Mat. 3.2. Mark 6.12. Luk. 13.3. Act. 3.19. and generally in most places of Scripture. In the second place there is an Hu∣miliation of heart, and brokenness of soul for sin, arising from th apprehension of Gods love in pardoning, whereby we grieve, that we should deal so unkindely with so good and gracious a God: This, though more rarely, yet is sometimes spoken of in Scri∣pture, as first in this woman, who out of the apprehension of Gods love in pardoning so much to her, did pour out her soul in all wayes of thankfulness. After this manner also was Davids Repentance, Psal. 51. for he was thus deeply affected after Na∣than had told him, His sin was taken away: Although it doth appear by the Psalm also, that he had not as yet that sense of pardon, which did quiet his conscience. This kinde of affecti∣on was also in Paul, 1 Tim. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. 1 Cor. 15.8, 9. in which places the Apostle remembring his former sins, confesseth them, and acknowledgeth thereby his unworthinesse of all that grace and favour he had received; so that the Apostle doth not there humble himself that he may obtain mercy, but because he had obtained mercy. The most eminent instance of this kinde of sorrow and shame, is Ezek. 16.62, 63. where God promiseth to establish his Covenant with them, and then mark the event of this, That thou mayst remember and be confounded, and never open Page  268 thy mouth more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee.

So then both these kindes of Humiliations are to be owned and practised; and therefore it is a false and dangerous error to acknowledge no other kinde of Repentance then the later: The Papists will not acknowledge this later Humiliation at all, be∣cause they deny all Faith and Assurance that a believer may have of his sins in particular: And others, that there is only this later, and therefore the fore-mentioned Author, in his Treatise of Go∣spel-repentance, makes this only Gospel-repentance: but as Go∣spel-faith is not that reflect act of the soul in a man, whereby it is perswaded that Christ is his, but a direct act of taking and re∣ceiving Christ to be ours: so a Gospel-repentance is not that mainly whereby we are humbled, because we receive Gods love to us in pardoning, but principally in that loathing of our selves to obtan pardon: It is therefore great ignorance in that Au∣thor, in his Treatise of Gospel-repentance, when pag. 58. he cals Repentance that goeth before this Faith, viz. that my sins are pardoned, a dead work; as if the Faith that justifieth, and with∣out which it is impossible to please God, were the believing that my sins are pardoned; whereas the Scripture makes it to be, the receiving of Christ, and laying hold on him: and seeing that the object must in order of nature be before the act that is im∣ployed about it, it followeth infallibly, that I must have Justi∣fication, before I can believe I have it: Repentance therefore may be thought to go before a two-fold act of Faith; First, That whereby Christ is laid hold upon and made ours, and so the Re∣pentance that precedeth this, may be called legal and slavish. Or secondly, Before a perswasion that my sins are pardoned, and be∣fore this act of Faith, Repentance must necessarily go, because the Covenant of Grace dispenseth pardon only to such.

*But because I have already spoken enough of the former kinde of Repentance anteceding Remission of sins, vindicating the necessity of it, I shall press upon this later, as being most pro∣per to my Text. And that assurance of apprehension of pardon, doth not beget security, but rather increase godliness, will appear several wayes.

And first thus: Those places which speak of Gods gracious Page  269 Properties, do represent them as grounds of duty, as well as of consolation, Psal. 130.4. There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared: Mark that expression [There is forgiveness with thee:] which implieth forgiveness to be in God as in a fountain, and therefore he doth easily, and plentifully forgive; but lest any Spider should suck poison out of this sweet flower, he ad∣deth, That thou mayest be feared; here is no incouragement to security. Thus Hos. 3.5. there is a gracious Promise of God to his children, that they shall fear him and his goodness. As it is Gods glorious Property to work good out of evil, so it is a most devilish quality to work evil out of good.

2. The Promises of God, they also require an holy and humble walking, 2 Cor. 7.1. The Apostle having in the Chapter before mentioned those glorious Promises in the Covenant of Grace, That he would be our God, and we his sons and daughters, makes this inference, Having those promises, let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness, perfecting holiness in the fear of God: So that here is no danger, as long as we keep close to the genuine use of the Scripture. Thus also Eph. 4.30. Grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed, &c. Where Assurance is so far from incouraging to sin, that by sin it is weakned and destroyed. The more gracious then we perceive God to us, the more humilia∣tion and debasement we finde in our selves. Thus the Apostle Peter, 1 Pet. 1.17. If ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth all men, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. To make therefore doubting, a duty and meritorious, as some Papists have done, is to betray great ignorance of Scri∣pture motives.

3. That Assurance of pardon is ap to kindle spiritual affections in us, is plain, if you consider the nature of such Assurance.*

1. Originally it is wrought by the Spirit of God: as a man by [ 1] the power of Free-will, is not able to do any supernatural good thing, so neither by the strength of natural light, can he discern the gracious priviledges God bestoweth upon him, 1 Cor. 2.12. The Spirit whereby we know the things that are freely given us of God, is opposed to the spirit of the world: If then this perswasion be not the fruit of the flesh, but of the Spirit, is it any wonder▪ that it inclineth us to holy things? Again,

Page  270 [ 2] 2. This perswasion of pardon cometh in the use of those means appointed by God. 2 Pet. 1.10. By giving great diligence in the use of the means, we only come to Assurance. How then can such a per∣swasion of forgiveness cause a neglect of the means?

[ 3] Lastly, That Spirit which doth thus assure, doth work also at the same time, concomitant gracious effects, especially ser∣vent and effectual prayer, Rom. 8. Gal. 3. Now where constant powerful Prayer is, that soul is like a tree planted by the waters side.

*4. That this perswasion of pardon doth inflame much to Ho∣liness, appeareth from the nature and state of those who are in it. They are sons, Now by experience we see, that in an ingenuous son, the more apprehension there is of his fathers tender love and kindeness to him, the more obsequious and serviceable he is; Can we think that the fathers great love to his prodigal son, was not like coals of fire poured on him to melt and thaw him? We rather see jealousies and suspitions of love to breed hatred at last. Hence diffidence worketh despair, and despair hatred of God: It is therefore a special duty lying upon the people of God, to entertain good thoughts of God, and to be perswaded of his loving kindeness to them.

5. That the people of God do yet mourn and abhorre them∣selves for their sins, though perswaded of the pardon of them, ariseth from the sincerity and uprightness of their heart, where∣by they hate sin as sin, and grieve for the dishonour they have put upon God. It is indeed lawful, yea a duty to repent of sin, that it may be pardoned, because the Scripture propounds this as a motive and incouragement to the duty: And it is a vain thing, to affect more high and spiritual strains then the Scripture. But Humiliation of sin, when pardoned, and after the knowledge of the pardon, doth evidently discover an upright heart, that the dishonour of God is more trouble and grief to him, then his own punishment and destruction. Whereby it is, that hedoth so accuse and condemn himself for dealing so wretchedly and frowardly with so gracious a God.

6. That ingenious principle of Gratitude and Thankfulness which reigneth in the godly, will put them upon all these servi∣ces. Godliness in the lives of the godly may be considered two Page  271 wayes: First, as a means wherein they attain to eternal life: Se∣condly, as an expression of Thankfulness unto God. Hence Ʋr∣sine in his Catechism inscribeth that part of Divinity, which con∣taineth our duty, de gratitudine, of Thankfulness. Bern. Ep. 107. Justus quis est, nisi qui amanti se Deo vicem rependit amoris? quod non fit nisi revelante spiritu per fidem aeternum Dei propositum de sua salute. Who is a righteous man, but he that returneth love to God, for Gods loving of him? And how can this be, but by Gods Spirit revealing his purpose of Election, concerning the just mans Salvation?

Use of Instruction, Doth the apprehension of great pardon,* breed great Humiliation, then we may see the necessity of that Ministery and preaching, which doth discover the depth,* length and breadth of sin. They take the best way to set up grace and magnifie Christ, who do amplifie the pollution of sin in us: Now that we may come to be convinced how much God doth for∣give us, two points are much to be insisted upon.

1. The Doctrine of original corruption,* for thereby we shall see our selves guilty of more sins then ever we thought of; a man without this Scripture-light, is like one in a dark dungeon, which is full of Serpents, Toads, and all venemous creatures, but is not able to see any of them, and so thinks himself without any danger at all. If therefore thou wouldst see how much is forgi∣ven, reckon up all the debts thou owest. The mercy and skill of the Physician will then appear, when the worst of thy disease is made manifest.

A second Point much to be pressed, is the pure,*strict and exact obligation of the law, which being set as a pure glass before thee, all thy deformities will appear. In this sense it is good to be a le∣gal Preacher and a legal Hearer often: that so knowing the ho∣liness of the Law, and our imperfection, we may esteem the more of Gods Grace in pardoning so much; As God in the outward passages of his providence doth therefore suffer one trouble to follow another, like so many waves, that so the greater their ca∣lamities have been, his wisdom, power and goodness may be the more conspicuous in delivering of them. Thus it is also in his spi∣ritual administrations, he will not reveal the riches of Grace, but to the poor in spirit, nor will he give ease and refreshment, but to Page  268〈1 page duplicate〉Page  269〈1 page duplicate〉Page  270〈1 page duplicate〉Page  271〈1 page duplicate〉Page  272 those that are heavy laden and burdened. And this is the reason, why a Pharisee, a formalist, a moral man, a self-righteous man, doth not love Christ, as converted Publicans and sinners do.

*Use second of Admonition, to those who have sinned much, and so have had much forgiven them, let such know their expen∣ces of practised grace, must be according to the receipts of justi∣fying Grace. Let such know, the pardon of many sins is a talent to be greatly improved. As thou hast abounded in many sins, and God in many pardons, so do thou in much thankfulness. How thankful would we be to a man who hath delivered us often from a temporal death! but behold a greater love is manifested here. Thou who hast (it may be) been the chiefest sinner of ma∣ny thousands, be now the chiefest Believer of many thousands; If thou hast been a great sinner, and art not now a great actour, and spiritual merchant negotiating for God, fear the truth of thy grace; much love should be like much fire that consumes all dross; quicken up thy self with such thoughts as these, Lord, who was more plunged into sin then I? whose diseases were greater then mine? It may be thousands and thousands for less and few∣er sins then I have committed, are now taking their portion in hell. O Lord, this thy overflowing goodness doth overcome me, oh that I had the hearts of all men and Angels to praise thee.

FINIS.