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Matti *XV 41. as saying to the wicked at the day of judgment, Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and bis angels, &c. From all which, it plainly appears, that God punishes fome men for their lins in this world, and some in the world to come; and perhaps some finners he punishes in both.
of fin, by punishing the transgreffors, as aforesaid so he is pleas'd, upon proper occasions, to mani. feft his mercy, in forgiving the offender; which forgiveness consists in the remitting or taking away those punishments, which are either inflicts ed upon or threatened to the sinner: and accord ingly forgiveness is likewise two-fold, as it relates to the two kinds of punishment to be remitted or taken away, viz. temporary punishments in this world, and everlasting punishments in the world to come. Thus we read, that because Abah humbled himself before the Lord, the Lord remitted to him the temporal punishment which he had threatened upon Ahab, and his house, and would not bring the evil in bis da;s, 1 Kings xxi. 29. Likewise God was pleased to remit the temporary punishment threatened against the people of Nineveh, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, chap. iii. 10. Thus again we read, that St. Paul was a great offender, in that he persecuted the church of God, and compelled christians to blafpheme, Axls xxvi. II. And yet he declares for himself, that there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness (in another world) which the Lord, the righteous Judge, should give him at the day of: judgment; 2 Tim. iv. 8. and consequently that the everlasting punishment, in another world, which was threatened to, and due for his sins, should be remitted unto him. Our Lord likewile declares, that those, which did blespbeme ihe Fidly
of Niy punithn God was in his de
Goof, Jould not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in the world to come, Matt. xii. 42. From all which, it manifestly appears, that forgiveness of fin is two-fold; first, in remitting or taking an way the temporary punishment inflicted upon, and threatened to men in this world, for their fins; and, fecandly, in remitting the everlasting punishment threatened to the finner in the world to come.
The case of forgiveness being thus stated; the question is, when our Lord said, Son, thy fins be forgiven thee, whether he meant the removing of a temporary punishment in this world, or the remitting of everlasting punishment in the world to come. Now, tho' the words themselves do not determine this matter to either side of the question; yet if we take in the whole story, we shall find it clearly determin'd to the former. For,...
First, This forgiveness was vouchsafed to the man, not only upon the account of his own faith, but also upon the account of the faith of them that brought him. And Jesus seeing [their] faith, &c. that is, Jesus seeing that the persons, which brought the sick man, were strongly persuaded, that he was both able and willing to heal him. (which strong persuasion was evident by their opening the roof of the house, and letting the man down thro' the riling ) he said to the fick man, Son, thy sms be forgiven thee. Now as on the one side, when we consider the terms proposed in the gofpel for the remitting of everlasting punishment, it is very unlikely, and unreasonable, to suppose, that the man was discharged from that punishment, upon the account of other men's faith: lo on the other side it is very likely and rational to suppose, that the man was deliver'd from temporaty punishment, that is, was cured of the palfy, upon the account of the faith of those that brought him; because, as this was an answering the end
of their faith and practice, so it was a proper and suitable means to corroborate and strengthen their faith in Christ. But this will be farther evident, if we consider,
Secondly, Our Lord's question to the Jesus,, upon their supposing him to be guilty of blafphemy. Saith he, Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the
palsy, Thy fins be forgiven thee; or to say; Arises and I take up thy bed, and walk? Our Saviour, in the
exercise of his ministry, cured all sorts of bodily diseases; and in so doing, he had given an abundant proof of his power or ability to forgive or deliver men from the temporary punishments they lay under for their fins. Now, notwithstanding this, the Jews, who catched at every occasion of defaming him, were so unreasonable as to think him guilty of blasphemy, because he said, Son, tły fins be forgiven thee. Upon which, our Lord replied to their reasoning; Wbether is it easier to say to the sick of the palj), Thy fins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? As much as if he had said; which is easier, to cure the man of his disease? or togive a sensible demon. ftration of the truth of that cure? But that ye may know that the Son of mon hath power on earth to work such a cute; he faith to the lack of the pally (that is, to the man which had been fick, and was just then healed) Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. The man's rising and carrying his bed was a fensiblc proof of his being cured of his disease, or of his being forgiven or deliver'd from the temporary punishment he lay under for his fin; and consequently of Christ's being poffeffed with a power to exercise that forgiveness. But this act of his, in rising and carrying his bed, was · not such a sensible proof of the forgiveness of his sins, with respect to everlasting punishment in another world; and consequently, that kind of
forgiveness was not intended by our Saviour. Upon the whole, I think it very manifest, that when our Lord said to the man sick of the palsy, Son, thy fins be forgiven thee; he meant by it, that he was discharged from the temporary punishment (viz. the palsy) which he lay under for his sins; and consequently, that the man was actually cured upon the pronouncing of these words, tho'he did not rise from his bed'cill our Lord required hiin so to do, to give a sensible proof, to the standers by, of the truth of that cure, and of his ability and power to effect it.
This point is farther illustrated by St. James, chap. v. 14. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. Verse 15. And the prayer of faith ball save the sick; that is, it shall be effectual for his recovery from that temporary affliction which he lies under. And the Lord hali reise him up, viz. from that bed of sickness upon which he is laid down. And if he have committed fins, that is, if he have committed such sins for which this affliction is laid upon him as a punishment, they shall be forgiven him. That this is the meaning of St. James, is evident from the suppositions if he have committed sins. ] St. Fames tells us, chap. iii. 2. That in many things we offend all; therefore all have committed sins as well the sick, as the whole, in his account. Confequently, there was no room for him to put this supposition ( if he have committed sins) with ref. pect to sins in general, because all men have done To. And therefore the sense of it is plainly this; if he have committed such fins for which this afAiction is laid upon him, as a punishment in this world, they shall be forgiven him ; that is, his affliction, or the temporary punishment which he lies under for them, Thall be removed. To remit
all be forgivene upon him
the fuppofmeaning of
everlasting punishment to one man, merely up. on the account of the prayer and faith of another inan, is to disregard those terms upon which that, forgiveness is proposed in the gospel; which are the faith, penitence, and obedience of the person forgiven. And therefore, by forgiving his fins, it is reasonable to suppose, that St. James intends the delivering him from the temporary punishment, or affliction he lay under for them, And that this is his meaning, is farther evident by what follows, verse 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be beoled; that is, that ye may be deliver'd from those afflictions which are laid upon you for those faults. The effettual fervent prayer of a righteous. man availeth much ; that is, it availeth much towards the healing of those that are afflicted, as a. foresaid. Verse 17. Elias was a man fisbject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnesily that it might not rain; and it rcined not on the earth by the Space of three years and fix-nonths. Verse 18. And be prayed again, and the beatens gave rain, and the earth brought forth her friuit. Here we see what it was that Elias's prayer was affectual for, not the in micting or removing of everlasting punishment in the world to come, but for the inflicting and removing of temporary punishment here in this world : He prayed earnestly that it miski not rain, and it rained not by the space of three years and fix months; this was a temporary punishment, laid upon the house of Israel, for their fins iv And be prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit? This was forgiveness of sin in this world, or a removing the temporary punishment which the Ifraelites, in this world, Tuffer'd for their fins.