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Christ came to do in the world, was to bear our iniquities, and to lay down his life a ran. som for our sins. What greater dishonour then can be done to the Lord Jesus, than to ascribe this work to any thing else?'
The ever blessed God, who is perfectly acquainted with the malignant nature of sin, and with its natural tendency to generate in the human heart distrust of all that is said in reference to forgiveness, has mercifully left on record many exceeding great and precious pro. mises adapted to counteract its pernicious ina fluence, and to administer strong consolation to those that have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel. What objection of unbelief has not divine goodness anticipated and completely answered ? and yet how reluctant are we implicitly to regard these answers as affording incontestable proof that there is forgiveness with God, or at least of there being forgiveness for the notoriously profligate. What more common than to hear the awakened sinner reasoning thus : My sins are of so peculiar a nature--the cir.
cumstances attending them so aggravatingmy guilt so complicated nay, there is not a sin that I have not actually or intentionally committed—the Almighty, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, can never forgive such a detestable wretch, much less make him an inheritor of glory,
But what does the God of Israel say to such sinners and to such objections? Does he spurn them from his presence as filthy and loathsome, and consign them to the abodes of everlasting darkness and despair? No; the answer is astonishingly benign and infinitely gracious. Let the sinner hear-attentively hear and rejoice-Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool-1, even I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remenþer thy sins-0 Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found.'
This is the language of mercy and benevolence indeed! Surely we may say with the prophet, Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again ; he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea-Sing, o ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth : break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein : for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.'
We are apt to forget that the grace of God in the promises is not made to such as deserye mercy, but, as one expresses it, to such as want it; not to righteous persons, but to sinners; not to the whole, but to the sick. Such,
therefore, who through the weakness of faith, or the violence of temptation, find it difficult to lay hold on the promises which respect the pardon of sin, and the attaining life and salvation, should remember that the root and principle from whence the promises spring is not from any good within us, but wholly from grace without us--That from the beginning to the end of our salvation, nothing is primarily active but free grace. All the promises of God are made in Christ, and derive their certainty and stability from him in whom they are made--not from us to whom they are made : they are all ratified with the same oath, and purchased by the same blood, and are, therefore, sure to all the seed, and it is neither the magnitude nor the multitude of our sins that precludes hope of forgiveness.'
Turn, therefore, to Christ the strong hoid, thou prisoner of hope! Why sayest thou, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint-The Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit-for a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy RedeemerThe mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed ; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.? In patience, therefore, possess your soul : For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarryFear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name;