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nate. So that now if any soul, within the dominion of our Saviour, perish for want of the means of salvation, there are no less than three souls, one after another, besides itself, accountable to him for its ruin. Having thus shewn what these regal acts are which Christ hath once for all performed in his kingdom, I proceed,

II. To declare what those regal acts are which he hath always performed, and doth always continue to perform : and these are reducible to four particulars.

First, His pardoning penitent sinners.
Secondly, His punishing obstinate offenders.

Thirdly, His protecting and defending his faithful subjects in this life.

Fourthly, His blessing and rewarding them in the life to come.

I. One of the regal acts which our Saviour always hath, and always continues to perform, is, his pardoning and forgiving penitent sinners; which being one of the articles of our creed, I shall endeavour to give an account of it more at large. The apostle defines sin to be a transgression of the law, 1 John iii. 4. Now the law obliges us under a certain stated penalty to do and forbear what it commands and forbids. Whenever therefore we transgress the law, we are thereby obliged to undergo the penalty it denounces; and this is that which we call the guilt of sin, viz. its obligation to punishment; and it is this guilt which pardon and forgiveness relates to. For to pardon is nothing else but only to release the sinner from the obligation he lies under to suffer the penalty of the law. Now the penalty of the law of God for every known and wilful sin is no less than everlasting perdition; and therefore from this it is that we are released by that pardon and indemnity which the gospel proposes.

So that the pardon or remission of sins, whereof we are now treating, consists in the loosing of sinful men from that obligation to eternal punishment whereunto they have rendered themselves liable by their wilful disobedience to the law of God. Since therefore this pardon consists in the release of offenders from the penal obligation of the law, it must be a regal act; because the obligation of the law can be dispensed with by no other authority but that which made it: and therefore since to make the obligation of the law is an act of regal authority, to release or dispense with it must necessarily be so also; and accordingly forgiveness of sin is in scripture attributed to our Saviour as one of his regal rights, Acts v. 31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and

forgiveness of sins. So that now it is by Christ immediately that our sins are pardoned, and our souls released from those obligations to eternal punishment in which they have involved us : For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, John v. 22. So that now it is by him immediately that the Father judgeth us, i. e. absolves and condemns us; for so, Col. ii. 13. the apostle exhorts them to forbear and forgive one another, even as Christ forgave them. and Col. ii. 13. Christ is said to have forgiven them all trespasses. It is true, forgiveness of sin is in scripture frequently attributed to the Father as well as to the Son : so 1 John i. 9. If we confess our sins, he (i. e. the Father) is faithful and

just to

forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness; and Eph. iv. 32. Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. From whence it is plain, that forgiveness of sin appertains to God as well as Christ, and that both have their appropriate shares in it; and therefore since it is impossible that the same individual action should proceed from two distinct agents, in this act of forgiveness the Father must do something which the Son doth not, and the Son must do something which the Father doth not. They must both of them act an appropriate part in it, and each have a distinct agency from each other. For the fuller explication therefore of this article, I shall endeavour to shew, first, what it is which the Father doth in forgiving sins; and, secondly, what the Son doth.

I. What it is that the Father doth in this act of forgiveness of sin. To which in short I answer, that the Father's part herein is to make a general grant of pardon to offenders, upon such a consideration as he shall think meet to accept, and with such a limitation and restriction as he shall think fit to make; which general grant is nothing else but those glad tidings of the gospel which he proclaimed to the world by Jesus Christ; viz. that in consideration of Christ's death and sacrifice he would freely forgive all penitent and believing sinners their personal obligation to eternal punishment, and receive them into grace and favour. So that in forgiving our sins there are these three things peculiar to God the Father : first, his making a general grant of pardon to us : secondly, his making it in consideration of Christ's death and sacrifice : thirdly, his making it

with those restrictions and limitations of faith and repentance.

First, One thing peculiar to God the Father in forgiving sins, is his making a general grant of pardon and forgiveness to sinners. For the law against which all men had sinned, and by which they were obliged to eternal punishment, was strictly and properly the law of God the Father, who being the first and supreme Person in the Godhead, was consequently always the first and supreme in the divine dominion. Now the divine dominion consisting (even as all other dominions do) of a legislative and executive power, the Father must be supreme in both, and consequently the laws of the divine dominion must be more especially and peculiarly his. And hence it is called the will of the Father, Matth. vii. 21. So in the Lord's Prayer the divine law is in a peculiar manner styled the will of God the Father; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Matth. xii. 50. our Saviour styles it the will of his Father which is in heaven: and elsewhere the commandment of his Father, (vide John xii. 50. Matth. xv. 3, 6. Mark vii. 8, 9.) By all which it is evident, that the divine law, against which we have all offended, and by which we are obliged to punishment, is appropriately and peculiarly the will and commandment of God the Father; and it being so, the right of exacting or remitting the punishment of this law must be peculiarly and appropriately inherent in him. For the penalty of the law is due to him whose law it is, and it is he alone can loose us from it who bound it upon us; so that it was the Father's peculiar, as to give the law, so to indemnify offenders from the penalty

of it; and accordingly we find that public grant of pardon, which through Jesus Christ is made to sinners, is in scripture every where attributed to the Father. So we are told, that it is God who for Christ's sake hath forgiven us, Eph. iv. 32. and that it is God who hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are pastthat he might be just, and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus, Rom. iii. 25, 26. that it was God who was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, 2 Cor. v. 19. and, in a word, that it is God who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John i. 9. Where his being faithful and just plainly refers to some public grant and promise by which he hath obliged himself to penitent offenders. And indeed the whole new covenant, in which this public grant of remission of sins is contained, (vide Heb. viii. 12.) is the act and deed of God the Father; it was he that, in consideration of Christ's death and sacrifice, granted this grand charter of mercy to the world : for seeing it was to the Father that that sacrifice was offered, in consideration of which the new covenant was granted, (vide Eph. iv. 2. compared with Col. i. 20.) the grant of it must necessarily be from the Father. And as it was the Father that made this public grant of remission to sinners, so,

Secondly, It was he that made it in consideration of Christ's death and sacrifice. For so Christ himself tells us, that it was by commandment which he received from his Father that he laid down his life, John x. 17, 18. and when he was going to offer up

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