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enmity is abolished: all quarrels are decided: and it becomes not him, to serve God with such suspiciousness as guilty sinners do. Hence we have that expression of the Apostle, Heb. x. 22. Let us draw near to full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience; that is, from a guilty and an accusing conscience: now when the heart and conscience are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, whereby this guilt is taken off, then hath a man good ground to draw near to God, in full assurance of faith.

(4) Pardon of Sin lays a good ground for peace, in a man's

own conscience.

I do not say, that Peace of Conscience is always an inseparable attendant upon Pardon of Sin; for, doubtless, there are many so unhappy, as to have a wrangling conscience in their own bosoms, when God is at peace with them: but this is certain, that Pardon of Sin lays a solid ground and foundation for Peace in a man's own Conscience; and, were Christians but as industrious as they should be in clearing up their evidences for heaven, they might obtain peace whenever they are pardoned. What is there, that disquiets conscience, but only guilt? nothing, but the guilt of sin, doth it: this is that, which rageth and stormeth in wicked men, and is as a tempest within their breasts: this is that unseen scourge, that draws blood and groans at every lash : this is that worm, that lies perpetually gnawing at the heart of a sinner: this is that rack, that breaks the bones, and disjoints the soul itself. In a word, guilt is the fuel of hell, and the incendiary of conscience: were it not for guilt, there were not a more pleasant and peaceable thing in all the world, than a man's own conscience. Now Pardon of Sin removes this guilt; and, thereby, makes reconciliation between us and our consciences: and, therefore, says our Saviour, Mat. ix. 2. to the paralytic man, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee. Might not some say, "This is an impertinent speech, to say to one that was brought to be cured of a sad infirmity of body, that his sins were forgiven him, whilst yet his disease was not cured?" No: our Lord Christ knew, that there was infinitely more cause of joy and cheerfulness to have sin pardoned, than to have diseases cured: to have all calm and serene within, not to have a frown or wrinkle upon the face of the soul, to have all smooth thoughts and peaceful affections; this is some faint resemblance of heaven itself, and is never vouchsafed unto any but where pardon and the sense of it are given to the soul.

(5) He, whose sins are pardoned, may rest assured, that whatever calamities or afflictions he may lie under, yet there is nothing in them of a curse or punishment.

It is guilt alone, that diffuseth poison through the veins, as of all our enjoyments so of all afflictions also, and turns them all into curses: but Pardon of Sin takes away this venom, and makes them all to be medicinal corrections; good, profitable, and advantagous to the soul. See how God, by the Prophet, expresseth this: Is. xxxiii. 24. The inhabitants shall not say they are sick why so? for the people, that dwell therein, shall be forgiven their iniquities. When sin is pardoned, outward afflic tions are not worth complaining of: the inhabitants shall not say, we are sick. A disease then becomes a medicine, when pardon hath taken away the curse and punishment of it,


God hath two ends with respect to himself, for which he brings punishments upon us: the one, is the manifestation of his holiness; the other, is for the satisfaction of his justice. And, accordingly as any affliction tends to either of these ends, so is it properly a punishment, or barely a fatherly chastisement, God intend, by the afflictions which he lays upon thee, the satisfaction of his justice; then, thy afflictions are properly punishments, and they flow from the curse of the Law: but, if the manifestation of his holiness be all he intends by them; then, are they only fatherly corrections, proceeding from love and mercy.

[1] Those, whose sins God hath pardoned, he may afflict for the declaration of his holiness; that they may see and know what a holy God they have to deal with: who, so perfectly hates sin, that he will follow it with chastisements, even upon those, whom his free grace hath pardoned,

[2] God inflicts no chastisements upon those, whom he hath pardoned, for the satisfaction of his justice: and, therefore, they are not curses, nor properly punishments; but only correc tions and fatherly chastisements. Christ hath satisfied the demands of justice for their sins; and God is more just, than to exact double satisfaction for the same offence, one in Christ's punishment, and another in theirs. The Apostle tells us, Gal. iii. 13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us. It is not the evils that we suffer, that makes them curses or punishments, be they never so great; but only the ordination of these evils to the satisfaction of divine justice upon us. And, therefore, Christ, in Scripture, is said to be

made a curse; not simply because he suffered: but because he was adjudged to his sufferings, that thereby satisfaction might be made unto the justice of God,

Hence, therefore, with what calmness and peace may a Pardoned Sinner look upon any afflictions! Though they are sore and heavy, though they seem to carry much of God's anger in them; yet there is nothing of a curse, or of the nature of a punishment: the sting was all of it received into the body of Christ; and now God's righteousness will not suffer him to punish them again in their own persons, whom he hath already punished in their Surety. Imagine what affliction thou canst. Art thou pinched with want and poverty? Dost thou sustain losses in thy estate, in thy relations? Art thou tormented with pains, weakened by diseases; and will all these bring death upon thee, at the last? Yet, O soul, if thy sins are pardoned, here is nothing of a curse or punishment in all this: justice is already satisfied, by Christ's bearing the curse of the Law for thee. Come what will come, it shall not hurt thee, Afflictions are all weak and weaponless: they are only the corrections of a loving Father, for the manifestation of his holiness, and for thy eternal gain and advantage.

Very sad is the condition of Guilty Sinners: for, whether they know it or not, there is not the least affliction, not the least gripe or pain, not the least slight or inconsiderable cross, but it is a punishment inflicted by God upon them, for the guilt of their sins. God is now beginning to satisfy his justice, and these are sent by him to arrest and seize on them: he now begins to take them by the throat; and calls upon them to pay him what they owe him. Every affliction to them is part of payment, and is exacted from them as part of payment. Oh, the vast and infinite sums of plagues, that God will most severely exact from them in hell, where they shall pay to the utmost farthing! There is not the least calamity, that befals wicked and unpardoned sinners, but carries the venom of a curse in it; and is inflicted by God upon them, in order to the satisfaction of his justice on them: which complete satisfaction he will work out upon them in their complete torments in hell.

So much for this time and text.







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