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PREFATORY NOTICE, AND SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR'S LIFE. The following Treatise, which bymany spiritual christians has been considered the best of Dr. Owen's works, is here divided into chapters, with heads indicating the subject of each, and showing at a glance in the Table of Contents the author's train of thought ; nu- merous repetitions in announcing his subdivisions are also omitted, and obsolete terms and phrases, in many cases, exchanged for others. It is recorded in reference to the origin of this work, that a young man, who afterwards became a minister ofChrist, being under reli- gious impressions, came to Dr. Owen for counsel. In the course of conversation the Doctor asked, " Pray, in what manner do you think to go toGod ?" "Through the Mediator, sir," said theyoung man. To which Dr. Owen replied, " That is easily said ; but it is another thing to go to God through the Mediator, than what many who use the expression are aware of. I myself preached some years when I had but very little, if any, experimental acquaintance with access to God. through Christ, until the Lord was pleasedto visit me with sore affliction, by which I was brought to the mouth of the grave, and underwhich my soul was oppressedwith horror and darkness. But God graciously relieved my spirit by a powerful application of Psalm 130: 4, ' There is Forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared,' from whence I received special instruction, peace, and com- fort in drawing near to God through the Mediator; and I preached thereuponimmediately after my recovery." None who seriously and prayerfully read this Treatise will fail to discover the grounds and the appropriateness of the above appeal to an inquiring youth ; the rich sources from which-the author has drawn Divine instruction, and itsadaptation to the wants of every perishingsoul. The great Owen was born at Stadham, Oxfordshire, England, in the year 1616, and died at Ealing, August 24, 1683, aged 67. He was contemporary with Bunyan, Baxter and Flavel, and shared in the bitter opposition they encountered for their non - conformity. His father being a clergyman, he received an early education, and at twelve was admitted a student of Queen's College, Oxford, where he graduated with honor, and continued the pursuit of study till the age of twenty-one, when new laws and regulations were im- posed on the University byArchbishop Laud, to which he could not Forgiveness.

4 PREFATORY NOTICE. conscientiously submit. He commenced his labors in the ministry at Fordham, whence they were transferred to Coggeshall, and early began to write in defence of the truth. In 1643 he published his trea- tise L° The Duty of Pastors andPeople Distinguished," showing the personal obligations of every believer to aid in spreading " the truth as it is in Jesus," and soon after a treatise founded on two short Catechisms for the benefit of the young. In 1646, being summoned topreach before Parliament, he boldlyproclaimed the doctrines of the cross, and on numerous future occasions fulfilled the same duty with equal fidelity to God and the souls of men. One of these sermonsaintroduced him to Cromwell, who appoint- ed himhis chaplain ; and in 1651 he was elected byParliament to the deanery of Christ Church, Oxford, and soon after was appointed by Cromwell Vice- Chancellorppf that University. He continued his connection with Oxford for nine years until the death of Cromwell, whenhe was displaced. During this period " the change in the cir- cumstances, literature and piety of the University were truly aston- ishing." His labors were great almost beyondparallel, and as suc- cessful as arduous. He also, while at Oxford, often preached before Parliament, and wrote many valuable works, including his treatises on "Divine Justice," on the Socinian Controversy,the " Mortifi- cation of Sin in Believers," on " Communion with God," and on "Temptation." In 1663 he was invited to settle as pastor of a church in Boston, the request being seconded by a respectful letter from the General Court of Massachusetts, and he was afterwards electedPresident of Harvard College, but he declined these invitations, and for several years ministered to a church in London. From the time of his leav- ingOxford to 1676, he published no less than twenty-two different works, among which are the treatises on " Psalm 130," on. " Indwell- ing Sin,"on the " Trinity," the " Sabbath," the " Holy Spirit," and on "Apostacy." A.t length his health declined, and he retired to Kensington, and from thence toEaling, wherehe closed his days in writinghis f0 Me- ditations on the Glory of Christ." On the morning of the day he died, a friend called to tell him the work was put to press. " I am glad to hear it," said the dying christian; and lifting up his hands and eyes, as if transportéd with joy, he exclaimed, " But, O l the long wished-for day is come at last, in which I shall see that glory in an-, other manner than I have ever done, or was capable of doing in this world." His published works comprise twenty-eight large octavo volumes ; the largest work being the Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, which occupied his attention for sixteen years.

CONTENTS. Page PARAPHRASE OF THE PSALM, AND PLAN OF THE WORK, 9 CHAP. 1. The Soul in the depths of sin, . 13 What these depths are, . . 16 Whence it is that believers may be brought intp them, . . . . What sins do this, and their aggravation, . 30 . 22 CHAP. 2. Relief in God alone, 36 Application to God alone, . 37 Earnestness of this application, . . 41 CHAP. 3. God's Marking Iniquity, 48 The soul filled with dread, 51 A sincere sense of sin, . 57 Acknowledgment of sin, . 62 Self condemnation, and justification of God, 65 Danger of resting in, or resting on this state, 67 CHAP. 4. Discovery of Forgiveness, '71 Exposition of the Doctrine of Forgivenêss, 71 No approach to God without it, . 74 Greatness of the discovery of Forgiveness, . 76 Testimonies of Conscience and the law against it, '76 False presumptions of Forgiveness, . . . 83

6 CONTENTS. CHAP. 5. Nature ofForgiveness, Page 89 The gracious heart of the Father, 89 The purpose of his grace, 93 Propitiation in the blood of Christ, 96 Forgiveness promised and applied, . 99 Revealed only to Faith, . 102 CHAP. 6. Supportfrom Forgiveness, 106 Duty to seek assurance, . Confidence of forgiveness in God, without personal assurance, This confidence a great support, 107 . 108 . 110 CHAP. 7. Evidences of Forgiveness, 123 Not revealed in the works of God, but by spe- cial revelation, . . . 124 1. Evidence from the first promise, . . 128 2. " from the institution ofsacrifices, 131 3. + " from God's prescribing repentance, 134 CHAP. 8. Evidences of Forgivenesscontinued, 141 4. Examples ofGod's forgiveness, . . 141 5. His patience towards the world, . . 147 6. The faith and experience of the Saints, . 151 CHAP. 9. Evidences of Forgivenesscontinued, 163 7. God's institution of religious worship, . . 163 8. His making the New Covenant, . . . 174 9. The oath of God, 180 CHAP. 10. Evidences ofForgivenesscontinued, 184 10. God's name as the God ofpardons, . 184 11. The essential properties of his nature, . 189 12. God's sending his Son, 196 13. His requiring forgiveness in us, . . 206

CONTENTS. 7 Page CHAP. 11. Greatness of Forgiveness Prevailing Unbelief, 211 It is greatsuch as becomes God, 211 He has placed his glory in declaring it, . 217 Prevailing unbeliefof forgiveness, . . 219 CHAP. 12. Exhortation to the Belief of Forgiveness, 233 To those who are utter strangers to it, . 234 To those convinced of their need of forgiveness, 244 Earnest expostulation with those who have not accepted ofGod's forgiveness, . 245 CHAP. 13. Rulesfor obtaining Forgiveness, 270 RULE 1. Let Christ be the Judge of your condition, . 271 2. Abhorrence for sin consistent with justifica- tion and peace, . . 278 3. Continuance in waiting on God, . : 288 4. Searchingout ofsin, . 290 CHAP. 14. Rulesfor obtaining Forgivenesscon tinued, 294 RULE 5. Distinction between Unbelief and Jealousy, 294 6. Distinction between faith and spiritual sense, 299 7. Mix not foundation and building work, . 304 8. Heartless complaints a poor substitute for active duty, . . 306 9. Beware of complaining ofGod in distress, 312 10. Improve the least displays of grace, . 316 CHAP. 15. Hinderances to a sense of Forgiveness .ßffiictions, 318 How afflictions lead todistrust of forgiveness, 319 Directions for those inaffliction, 326

8 CONTENTS. CHAP. 16. Hinderances to a sense ofForgiveness " .ßm I regenerated L" Page 332 What regeneration is, 332 Is their real state known to the regenerate them- selves, or to others 3 . 338 This state may be known so far as duty is in- volved, . . . . . . . . 344 Four directions for resolving this perplexing doubt, . . . . 345 Doubts respecting actual holiness, from defects in duty, and from indwelling sin, . . 355 CHAP. 17. Earnest waiting on God, thefruit ofFor- giveness.Nature of this duly, 365 With composureof spirit, 372 Withdiligence, . . . 374 Withconfident expectation. 376 CHAP. 18. Wailing on God only, 383 Absence of God from the soul the,ground of distress, God's glorious being and attributes, . 386 His sovereignty, wisdom, righteousness, . . 395 Our infinite distance fromhim and unworthiness, 405 His blessed promises, . . . . . 413 CHAP. 19. Let all trust in the Lordwith him is plenteous Redemption, 419 The Psalmist's exhortation to hope in God, 422 Encouragement from the Redemption or For- giveness with him, 423 Assured deliverance, . 425 Closing Observations, . 428

THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN, ILLUSTRATED Iîd PSALM CXXX. Paraphrase of the Psalm, and Plan of the Work. 1. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, 0 Lord. 2. Lord, hear my voice, let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. O Lord, through my manifold sins and provocations I have brought myself into great distresses. My iniqui- ties are always before me, and I am ready to be over- whelmed with them, as with a flood of waters ; for they have brought me into depths wherein I am ready to be swallowed up. But although my distress be great and perplexing, I do not, I dare not utterly despond, and cast away all hopes of relief; nor, do I seek unto any other remedy or means of relief, but I apply myself to thee, Jehovah, to thee alone. And in this my application unto thee, the greatness and urgency of my troubles make my soul urgent, earnest and pressing in my sup- plications. Whilst I have no rest, I can give thee no rest : O, therefore, attend and hearken unto the voice of my crying and supplications! 3. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

10 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. It is true, 0 Lord, thou God, great and terrible, that if thou shouldest deal with me in this conditionwith any man livingwith the best of thy saints, according to the strict and exact tenor of thy law, which first re- presents itself to my guilty conscience and troubled soul, there would be neither for me nor them the least expectation of deliverance; all flesh must fail before thee, and the spirits which thou hast made, and that to eternity; for who could stand before thee when thou shouldest so execute thy displeasure 4. But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. But, O Lord, this is not absolutely and universally the state of things between thy Majesty and poor sin- ners; thou art, in thy nature, infinitely good and gra- cious, ready and free, in the purposes of thy will, to receive them. And there is such a blessed way made for the exercise of the holy inclinations and purposes of thy heart towards them, in the mediation and blood of thy dear Son, that they have assured foundations of concluding and believing that there is pardon and for- giveness with thee in the way of thine appointment. This way, therefore, will I, with all that fear thee, per- sist in : I will not give over, leave thee, or turn from thee, through my fears, discouragements and despond- encies; but will abide constantly in the observance of the worship which thou hast prescribed, and render the obedience which thou dost require, having great en- couragement so to do. 5. I wait for the Lord; my soul Both, wait, and in his word do Ihope. And herein, on account of the forgiveness that is with thee, O Lord, do I wait with all patience, quiet- ness and perseverance. In this work is my whole soul

DEPTHS OF SIN. 11 engaged ; even in an earnest expectation of thy ap- proach unto me in a way of grace and mercy. And for my encouragement therein hast thou given me a bless- ed word of grace, a faithful word of promise, wherein my hope is fixed. 6. My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Yea, in the discharge of this duty my soul is intent upon thee, and in its whole frame turned towards thee ; and that with such diligence and watchfulness in look- ing out after every way and manner of thy appearance, .of thy manifestation of thyself, and coming unto me, that I excel therein those who, with longing desire and earnest expectation, wait and watch for the appearance of the morning ; and that either that they may rest from their night - watches, or have light for the duties of thy worship in the temple, in which they most delight. 7. Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. 8..,1nd he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Herein have I found such rest, peace and satisfaction to my own soul, that I cannot but invite and encourage others to take the same course with me. Let, then, all the Israel of God, all that fear him, learn this of me, and from my experience; Be not hasty in your dis- tresses; despond not, despair not, turn not aside to other remedies; but hope in the Lord; for I can now, in an especial manner, give testimony to this, that there is mercy with him suited to your relief. Yea, whatever your distress be, the redemption that is with him is so bounteous, plenteous and unsearchable, that the un- doubted issue of your performance of this duty will

12 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. be, that you shall be delivered from the guilt of all your sins, and the perplexities of all your troubles. My design in the ensuing treatise is to illustrate the teaching of the Holy Ghost in this Psalm, as express- ing, in the experience of the Psalmist and the working of his faith, the state of a soul in itself greatly perplexed relieved through Divine grace and acting towards God and his saints suitably to the displays of that grace: a great designand full of great instruction. To be more particular, we have THE STATE OF THE DISTRESSED SOUL. " Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord." HIS APPLICATION TO GOD ALONE FORRELIEF. "Lord, hear my voice, let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications." HIS DEPRECATION OF GOD'S JUSTICE. "If thou, Lord, shouldest marls iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand i" THE RELIEF FOUND IN GOD'S MERCY. " But there is for- giveness with Thee, that thou mayest be feared." THE ACTING OF HIS FAITH TOWARDS GOD. "I wait for the Lord, my soul dots, wait, and in his word do I trust. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning, I say more than they that watch for the morning." And The acting of his faith TOWARDS THE SAINTS. " Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." The Lord, in mercy, so dispose of these meditations, that both he that writes and they that read may be made partakers of the benefit, relief and consolation in- tended for his saints, in this psalm, by the Holy Ghost.

DEPTHS OF SIN. 13 CHAPTER I. THE SOUL IN THE DEPTHS OF SIN. The state of the soul here represented,.as the basis on which this psalm is built, and which first claims our consideration, is described in the expression, OUT OF THE DEPTHS. Some of the ancients, as Chrysostom, suppose this expression to relate to the depths of the heart of the Psalmist; but the obvious sense of the place, and the constant use of the word in the Hebrew, will not admit of this interpretation : it is in the plural number, depths. It is commonly used for valleys, or any deep places whatever, but especially of waters. Valleys and deep places, because of their darkness and solitariness, are accounted places of horror, helplessness, and trouble. Psalm 23:4, " When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ;" that is, in the extremity of danger and trouble. The moral use of the word, as expressing the state and condition of the souls of men, is metaphorical. These depths, then, are difficulties, or pressures, attend- ed with fear, horror, danger, and trouble. And they are of two sorts : Providential, in respect to outward distresses, cala- mities, and afflictions, " Save me, OGod, for the waters are corne in unto my soul." Psalm 69 : 1. In the He- brew, " I stick in the mire of the deep, and there is no standing; I am come into the depths of waters, and the flood overflows me." It is trouble, and the extremity of it, that the Psalmist thus expresses. He was brought by it into a condition like a man ready to be drowned: being cast into the bottom of deep and miry waters,

14 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. where he had no firm foundation to stand upon, nor ability to come out; as he further explains himself, verse 15. There are also internal depths, depths of conscience on account of sin. " Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps." Psalm 88 : 6. What he intends by this expression the Psalmist declares in the next words, ver. 7, " Thy wrath lieth hard upon rne." Sense of God's wrath upon his conscience, on account of sin, was the deep he was cast into; so, ver. 15, speak- ing of the same matter, he saith, "I suffer thy terrors ;" and ver. 16, " Thy fierce wrath goeth over me :" which he calls water, waves, and deeps; according to the me- taphor already explained. And these are the deeps that are here principally in- tended. Augustine says on the place, " He cries out under the weight and waves of his sins." This the en- suing psalm makes evident. Desiring to be delivered from these depths out of which he cried, he deals with God wholly about mercy and forgiveness; and it is sin alone from which forgiveness is a deliverance. The doctrine also that he preaches, upon his delivery, is that of mercy, grace, and redemption, as is manifest from the close of the psalm; and what we have deliver- ance by, is most upon our hearts when we are delivered. It is true, indeed, that these deeps do often concur; as David speaks, " Deep calleth unto deep," Psalm 42 : 7. The deeps of affliction awaken the conscience to a deep sense of sin. But sin is the disease, affliction only a symptom of it; and in effecting a cure, the disease itself is principally to be heeded, the symptomwill fol- low, or depart of itself. This, in general, is the state of the soul, as described in this psalm, and is as the key to the ensuing discourse, or the hinge on which it turns. Hence we deduce these two propositions :

DEPTHS OF SIN. 15 Gracious souls, after much communion with God, may be brought into inextricable depths and entangle meets on account of sin. The inward root of distresses is principally to be at- tended to in all pressing trials : our sin, as the cause of our afflictions. It is a sad truth that we have proposed for considera- tion : he that hears it ought to tremble in himself, that he may rest in the day of trouble; it speaks out the apostle's advice, " Be not high - minded, but fear ;" Rom. 11 : 20. And "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest, he fall." 1 Cor. 10 : 12. When Peter had learn- ed this truth by woful experience, after all his boldness and forwardness, he gives this counsel to all saints, "that they would pass the time of their sojourning here in fear," 1 Pet. 1 : 17 ; knowing how near, in our great- est peace and serenity, evil and danger may lie at the door. Some few instances of the many that are left on re- cord, wherein this truth is exemplified, may be men- tioned. " Noah was a just man, perfect in his genera- tion, and Noah walked with God." Gen. 6 :.9. He did so a long season, and that in an evil time, amidst all sorts of temptations, " when all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." This Nave an eminency to his obedience, and doubtless rendered the communionwhich he had with God, in " walking before him," most sweet and precious to him. He was a gracious soul, upon the undoubted testimony of God himself. But we know what befell this holy person. He that shall read the story recorded of Noah, (Gen. 9 : 20,) will easily grant that he was brought into inextricable distress on account of sin. His own drunkenness, ver. 21, with 'the consequences of it, provoked the unnatural con- duct of his son, ver. 22; and this leads him to the de

16 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. voting of that son and his posterity to destruction, ver. 24, 25; all which, joined with the sense of God's just indignation, from whom he had newly received that tremendously miraculous deliverance, must overwhelm himwith sorrow and anxiety of spirit. The matter is more clear in David. Under the Old Testament, none loved God more than he, and none was loved of God more than he. The paths of faith and love wherein he walked are, to the most of us, like the way of an eagle in the air, too high and hard for us; yet to this very day do the cries of this man after God's own heart sound in our ears. Sometimes he complains of Lroken bones, sometimes of drowning deeps, sometimes of waves and water- spouts, sometimes of wounds and diseases, sometimes of wrath and the sorrows of hell- every where of his sins, the burden and trouble of them. Some of the occasions of his depths, darkness, entan- glements and distresses we all know. As no man had more grace than he, so none is a greater instance of the power of sin, and the effects of its guilt upon the con- science. But instances of this kind are obvious, and oc- cur to the thoughts of all, so that they need not be re- peated. I shall show, then, What is intended by the depths into which gracious souls, after much communion with God, may fall. Whence it comes to pass that they may so fall; and What sins usually bring them into great spiritual dis- tresses, with some aggravations of those sins. I. WHAT ARE some of the depths into which believers may fall. 1. Loss of the sense of the love of God, which the soul formerly enjoyed. There is a twofold sense of the love of God, of which believers in this world may be made partakers. There is the transient acting of the heart by the Holy Ghost, with ravishing joys, in apprehension

DEPTHS OF SIN. 17 of God's love, and our relation to him in Christ. This, or the immediate effect of it, is called " joy unspeak- able, and full of glory." 1 Pet. 1 : 8. The Holy Ghost shining into the heart, with a clear evidence of the soul's interest in all Gospel mercies, causes it to leap for joy, to exult and triumph in the Lord ; as being for a season carried above all sense and thought of sin; self, temp- tation, or trouble. But as God gives the bread of his house unto all his children, so these dainties and high cordials he reserves only for the seasons and persons, wherein, and to whom, he knows them to be needful and useful. Believers maybe without this sense of love, and yet be in no depths. Again, there is an abiding sense of God's love upon the hearts of those of whomwe speak, who have long had communion with God, consisting in a prevailing Gospel persuasion that they are accepted with God, in Christ. " Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Rom. 5 : 1. This is the root from whence spring all that peace and ordinary consolation of which believ- ers in this world are made partakers. This is that which quickens and enlivens them to duty, Psalm 116 : 12, 13, and is the salt that renders their sacrifices and perform- ances savory to God and refreshing to themselves. This supports them under their trials, gives them peace, hope and comfort in life and death. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." Psalm 23 : 4. A sense of God's presence in love is sufficient to rebuke all anxiety and fears ; and not only so, but to give, in the midst of them, solid consolation and joy. So the prophet ex- presses it, "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will

18 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. joy in the God of my salvation." Habak. 3: 17, 18. And this is that sense of love which the choicest believers may lose on account of sin. This is one step into their depths. They do not retain such gospel-apprehension of it, as to give them rest, peace, or consolation; to influence their souls with delight in duty, or to support in trials. 2. Perplexed thoughtfulness about their great un- kindnesstowards God, is another part ofthe depths of sin- entangled souls. So David complains, "I remembered God, and was troubled." Psalm 77: 3. How came the remembrance of God to be a matter of trouble to him 1 In other places he professes that it was all his relief and support : how comes it to be an occasion of his trouble 1 All hadnot beenwell between God and him; and where- as formerly, in his remembrance of God, his thoughts were chiefly exercised about his love and kindness, now they were wholly engrossed with his own sin and unkindness : this causes his trouble. Herein lies a share of the entanglements occasioned by sin. Saith such a soul in itself: "Foolish creature ! hast thou thus requit- ed the Lord 1 Is this the return that thou hast made to him for all his love, his kindness, his consolations and mercies 1 Is this thy love to him 1 Is this thy kindness to thy friend ? Is this thy boasting of him, that thou hadst found so much goodness and excellency in him and his love, that though all men should forsake him, thou never wouldst do so 1 Are all thy promises, all thy engagements, which thou madest unto God in times of distress, upon prevailing obligations, and mighty im- pressions of his good Spirit upon thy soul, now come to this, that thou shouldst so foolishly forget, neglect, despise, cast him off? Well! now he is gone, he has withdrawn from thee, and what wilt thou do? Art thou not even ashamed to desire him to return1" Thoughts of this nature cut Peter to the heart, upon his fall. The

DEPTIIS OF SIPI. 19 soul finds them cruel as death, and strong as the grave. It is bound in their chains, and cannot be comforted. Psalm 38 : 3, 4, 5, 6. And herein consists a great part of the depths inquired after. For this consideration ex- cites and puts an edge upon all grieving, straitening, perplexing affections, which are the only means whereby the soul of a man may be inwardly troubled, or trouble itself : such are sorrow and shame, with that self-dis- pleasure and selfrevenge wherewith they are attended. And as their reason and object in this case transcend all other occasions of them, so on no other account do they cause such severe and perplexing reflections in the soul as on this. 3. A revived sense of justly-deserved wrath belongs also to these depths. This is as the opening of old wounds. When men have passed through a sense of wrath, and have obtained deliverance and rest through the bloodof Christ, to come to their old thoughts again, to be trading afresh with hell, curse, law, and wrath, is a depth indeed! And this often befalls gracious souls on account of sin. Psal. 88 : 7. " Thy wrath lieth hard upon me," says the Psalmist; it pressed and crushed him sorely. There is a self-judging as to the desert of wrath which is consistent with a comforting persuasion of an interest in Christ. In that the soul finds sweetness, as it lies in a subserviency to the exaltation of grace ; but in this case the soul is left under it without that relief. It plunges itself into the curse of the law and flames of hell, without any cheering support from the blood of Christ. This is walking in " the valley of the shadow of death." The soul converses with death, and what seems to lie in a tendency thereunto. The Lord also, to increase his perplexities, puts new life and spirit into the law; gives it a fresh commission, as it were, to take such a one into its custody; and the law will never, in this world, be wanting to its duty.

`0 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. 4. There are also oppressing apprehensions of tempo- ral judgments; for God will judge his people; and judgment often begins at the house of God. Though God, saith such a one, should not cast me off for ever, though he should pardon my iniquities, yet he may so take vengeance of my inventions as to make me feed on gall and wormwood all my days. "My flesh trem- bleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." Psalm 119 : 120. He knows not what the great God may bring upon him; and having a full sense of the guilt of sin, which is the ground of this whole condition, every judgment of God is full of terror to him. Sometimes he thinks God may lay open the vileness of his heart, and make him a scandal and a reproach in the world. " Oli !" saith he, " make me not the reproach of the foolish." Psalm 39 : 8. Sometimes he trembles, lest God should strike him suddenly with some signal judgment, and take him out of the world in darkness and sorrow; so saith David, " Take me not away in thy wrath." Sometimes he fears lest he should be like Jonah, and raise a storm in his family, in the church whereof he is a member, or in the whole nation : " let them not be ashamed for my sake." These things make his heart soft, as Job speaks, and to melt within him. When any affliction or public judgment of God is joined to a quick living sense of sin in the conscience, it overwhelms the soul, whether it be only justly feared, or be actually in- flicted, as was the case of Joseph's brethren in Egypt. The soul is then rolled from one deep to another. Sense of sin casts it on the consideration of its affliction; and affliction turns it back on a sense of sin. So deep call- eth unto deep, and all God's billows go over the soul; and they do each of them make the soul tender, and sharpen its sense unto the other. Affliction softens the soul, so that the sense of sin cuts the deeper, and makes the larger wounds; and the sense of sin weakens

DEPTHS OF SIti. the soul, and makes affliction the heavier, and so increas- es its burden. In this case, that affliction which a man . in his usual state of spiritual peace could have embraced as a sweet pledge of love, is as goads and thorns in his side, depriving him of all rest and quietness. God makes it as thorns and briers, wherewith he will teach stubborn souls their duty, as Gideon did the men of Succoth. 5. There may be added prevailing fears, for a season, of being utterly rejected by God, of being found a re- probate at the last day. Jonah seems to conclude so, chap. 2 : 4. "Then I said, lam cast out of thy sight :" I am lost for ever, God will own me no more. And Psalm 88 : 4, 5, " I am counted with them that go down into the pit : free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more, and they are cut off from thy hand." This may reach the soul, until the sorrows of heil compass it, and lay hold upon it ; until it be deprived of comfort, peace, and rest ; until it be a terror to itself, and be ready to choose strangling rather than life. This may befall a gracious soul on account of sin. But yet, because this fights directly against the life of faith, God doth not, unless in extraordinary cases, suffer any of his to lie long in this horrible pit, where there is no water, no refreshment. But it often occurs, that even the saints themselves are left for a season to a fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation, as to the prevailing apprehension of their minds. 6. God secretly sends .his arrows into the soul, that wound it, adding pain to its disquietness. "Thine ar- rows stick fast in me, and -thy hand presseth me sore." Psalm 38 : 2. Ever and anon, in his walking, God shot a sharp piercing arrow, fixing it on his soul, that wounded and perplexed him, filling him with pain and grievous vexation. These arrows are God's rebukes.

22 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. " When thou with rebukes dost correct man for ini- quity." Psalm 39 : 11. God speaks in his word, and by his Spirit in the conscience, things sharp and bitter to the soul, fastening them so that it cannot shake them off. These Job so mournfully complains of chap. 6 :4. The Lord speaks words with such efficacy that they pierce the heart quite through; and what the issue then is, David declares, " There is no soundness," saith he, "in my flesh, because of thine anger; nor is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin." Psalm 38: 8. The whole person is brought under the power of them, and all health and rest is taken away. And, 7. Dullness and disability to duty, in doing or suffer ing, attend such a condition. "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up." Psalm 40 : 12. His spiritual strengthwas worn awayby sin, so that he was not able to address himself to any communion with God. The soul now cannot pray with life and power; cannot hear with joyand profit; cannot do good and communicate with cheerfulness and free- dom; cannot meditate with delight and heavenly-mind- edness; cannot act for God with zeal and liberty; can- not think of suffering with boldness and resolution ;.but is sick, weak, feeble and bowed down. Now, I say, a gracious soul, after much communion with God, may, on account of sin, by a sense of the guilt of it, be brought into a state wherein some or all of these, with other like perplexities, may be its por- tion. And these make up thedepths whereof the Psalm- ist here complains. I shall now show, II. WHENCE IS IT that believers may be brought into depths on account of sin. The nature of TILE COVENANT OF GRACE, wherein all believers now walk with God, and wherein lies their whole provision for obedience, leaves it possible for

DEPTHS OF SIN. 23 them to fall into these depths that have been mentioned. Under the first covenant there was no mercy or forgive- ness provided for any sin. He made man upright, and it was necessary that he should be preserved from every sin, or that covenant could in no way benefit him. But it is not so in the covenant of grace : there is in it par- donprovided in the blood of Christ. It is not, therefore, of indispensable necessity that there should be adminis- tered grace in it, effectually preserving from every sin : yet it is on all accounts to be preferred before the other; for besides the relief by pardon, which the other knew nothing of, there is in it also much provision against sin, which was not in the other. 1. There is provision made in it against all and every sin that would disannul the covenant, and make a final separation between God and a soul that hath been once taken into it. This provision is absolute ; God bath taken upon himself to make it good, to establish this law of the covenant, that it shall not by any sin be Jis- annulled. "1 will," saith God, " make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart fromme." Jer. 32:40. This securitydepends not on any thing in ourselves. All that is in us is to be used as a means for the accomplishment of this promise; but the event or issue depends abso- lutely on the faithfulness of God. And the whole cer- tainty and stability of the covenant depends on the effi- cacy of the grace administered in it to preserve men from all such sins as would disannul it. 2. There is in this covenant of grace provision made for constant peace and consolation, notwithstanding the guilt of such sins as, through their infirmities and temp- tations, believers are daily exposed to. Though they fall into sins every day, yet they do not fall into depths every day. In the tenor of this covenant there is a con-

24. FORGIVENESS OF SIN. sistency between a sense of sin unto humiliation, and peace with strong consolation. After the apostle had described the whole conflict that believers have with sin, and the frequent wounds which they receive there- by, which makes them cry out for deliverance, Rom, 7: 24, he yet concludes, chap. 8 : 1, that there is no con- demnation to them : which is a sufficient and stable foundation of peace. So, 1 John, 2: 1, "'These things write I unto you, that ye sin not ; and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Our great business and care ought to be, that we sin not; but yet, when we have done our ut- most, "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." What then shall poor, sinful, guilty creatures do l Why, let them go to the Father, by their Advocate, and they shall not fail of pardon and peace. And, saith Paul, " God is abundantly willing, that we might have strong consolation, who fly for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us." Heb. 6 : 17, 18. What was his condi- tion who fled of old to the city of refuge for safety, from whence this expression is taken'? He was guilty of blood, though shed unawares; and so that he was to die for it, if he escaped not to the city of refuge. Though we may have the guilt of sins on which the law pronounces death, yet flying to Christ for refuge, God has provided not only safety, but strong consolation. Forgiveness in the blood of Christ not only takes guilt from the soul, but trouble also from the conscience ; and in this respect the apostle at large sets forth the excellency of his sacrifice. Heb. 10. 'The sacrifices of the law, he tells us, could not make perfect the wor- shippers; which he proves, because they did never take away, thoroughly and really, conscience of sin, that is, depths or distresses of conscience about sin. But now, saith he, Jesus Christ, in the covenant of grace, bath "for ever perfected them that were sanctified ;" provid

DEPTIhS OF SIN. 25 ing for them such stable peace and consolation, that they should not need the renewing of sacrifices every day. This is the great mystery of the Gospel, in the blood of Christ, that those who sin every day should have peace with God all their days, if their sins fall within the compass of those infirmities against which this consolation is provided. 3. There is provision made of grace to preserve the soul from great and enormous sins, such as in their own nature are apt to wound conscience, and cast the per- son into depths in which he shall have neither rest nor peace. There is in this covenant, grace for grace, John, 1 : 16 ; and abundance of grace, administered from the fulness of Christ : grace reigneth in it, Rom.-6 : 6, de- stroying and crucifying the body of sin. But this provision in the covenant of grace against peace-ruining, soul - perplexing sins, is not, as to the ad- ministration of it, absolute. There are covenant com- mands and exhortations, on the attendance upon which the administration of much covenant-grace depends. To watch, pray, improve faith, to stand on our guard continually, to mortify sin, to fight against temptations with steadfastness, diligence, constancy, are every where prescribed; and that in order to the insurance of the grace mentioned. So Peter informs us, the divine power of God "bath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness." 2d Epistle, 1: 3. We have from it an habitual supply and provision for obedience at all times: also, saith he, verse 4, "He bath given unto us great and precious promises, that by them we might be partakers of the divine nature." , What then, in this blessed estate and condition, is re- quired of us, but that we may make a due improvement of the provision made for us, and enjoy.the comforting influence of those promises that he holds out to us; ver. 5, 6, 7. "Giving all diligence, add to your faith, Forgiveness, 2

26 FOTïGIVî.,".;E58 OF sIN. virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance ; and to temperance, patience ; and to pa- tience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly- kindness, charity :" that is, carefully and diligently attend to the exercise of all the gra- ces of the Spirit, and to a conversation in all things be- coming the Gospel. What then shall be the issue, if these things are attended tog ver. 8. " If these things be in you, and abound, ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is not enough that these things be in you, that you have the root of them from the Holy Ghost, but you are to take care that they flourish and abound ; with- out which, though the root of the matter may be in you, and so you be not wholly devoid of spiritual life, yet you will be poor, barren, sapless, withering creatures, all your days. But now, suppose that these things do abound, and we be made fruitful thereby, why then, saith he, ver. 10, "1f you do these things ye shall never fall." `ghat, never fall into sin 1 nay, that is not the promise ; and he that says, when he bath done all, " that he hath no sin," he. is a liar. Or is it, never fall totally from God 1 no, the preservation of the elect, of whom he speaks, from total apostacy, is not suspend- ed on such conditions, especially not on any degree of then, such as their abounding imports. But it is, that they shall not fall into their old sins, from which they were purged, ver. 9, such conscience - wasting and defiling sins as they lived in, in the time and state of their unregeneracy. Thus, though there be in the covenant of grace, through Jesus Christ, provision made of abundant supplies for the soul's preservation from entangling sins; yet their administration bath respect unto our diligent attendance on the appointed means of receiving them. And here lies the latitude of the new covenant;

DEPTHS OF SIN. ái here lies the exercise of renewed free-will. This is the field of free, voluntary obedience, under the adminis- tration of gospel grace. There are extremes which, in respect to the event, it is not concerned in. To be wholly perfect, to be free from every sin, all failings, all infirmities, is not provided for, nor promised in this covenant. It is a covenant of mercy and pardon, which supposes a continuance of sin. To fall utterly and finally from God is provided against. Between these two extremes of absolute perfection and total apostacy lies the large field of believers' obedience and walking with God. Many a sweet heavenly passage there is, and many a dangerous depth, in this field. Some walk near to the one side, some to the other; yea, the same per- son may sometimes press hard after perfection, some- times be cast to the very border of destruction. Now, between these two lie many a soul-plunging sin, against which no absolute provision is made, and into which, for want of giving all diligence, believers often fall. 4. There is not, in the covenant of grace, provision made of ordinary and abiding consolation, for any under the guilt of sins greatly aggravated, which theyfall into by neglecting the condition ofaboundinggracejust named. Sins there are, which, either because in their own na- ture they wound and waste conscience, or in their ef- fects break forth into scandal, causing the name of God and the Gospel to be evil spoken of, or in some of their circumstances are full of unkindness against God, do deprive the soul of its wonted consolation. How, by what means, on what account such sins came to terrify conscience, to break the bones, to darken the soul, and to cast it into inextricable depths, notwithstand- ing the relief that is provided of pardon in the blood of Christ, I shall not now declare. That they will do so, and that consolation is not of equal extent with safety, we know. Hence God assumes it to himself, as an act

25 . FORGIVENESS OF SIN. of mere sovereign grace, to speak peace and refresh- ment to the souls of his saints, in their depths of sin-en- tanglements. _Isa. 57 : 18,.19. And indeed, if the Lord had not thus provided that great provocation should stand in need of special reliefs, it might justly be feared, that the negligence of believers might possibly produce much bitter fruit. Only this must be observed by the way, that what is spoken relates to the sense of sinners in their own souls, and not to the nature of the thing itself. There is in the Gospel, consolation provided against the greatest as well as the least sins. The difference arises fromGod's sovereign communication of it, according to the tenor of the covenant's administration, which we have laid down. Hence, because under Moses' law there was.a:n exception of some sins, for which there was nó sacri- fice appointed, so that those who were guilty of them could no way be justified from them ; that is, carnally,. as to their interest in the judaical church and polity; Paul tells the . Jews, " That through Jesus Christ was preached unto them the forgiveness of sins, and that byhim all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the lawof Moses." Acts, 13 : 38, 39. There is now no exception of any par- ticular sins, as to pardon and peace ; but what we have spoken relates to the manner wherein God is pleased to administer consolation to the souls of sinning believers. Having shown that the covenant of grace leaves it possible that the souls of believers should fall into in- extricable depths, I proceed more directly to show whence it is that they often do actually thusfall. 1. From indwelling sin, as it remains in the best of saints in this life. For, Though the strength of every sin be weakened by grace, yet time root of no sin is in this life wholly taken away. Lust is like the stubborn Canaanites, who, after

DEPTHS OP SIN. the general conquest of the land, would dwell in it still. Judg. 1: 27. Indeed, when Israel grew strong, they brought them under tribute, but they could not utterly expel them. The kingdom and rule belongs to grace ; and when it grows strong, it brings sin much under; but it will not wholly be driven out. The body of death is not to be utterly done away, but in the death of the body. In the flesh of the best saints there dwelleth no good thing," Rom. 7: 18; but the contrary is there, that is the root of all evil. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, as the Spirit lusteth against the flesh. Gal. 5: 17. As, then, there is a universality in the actings of the Spirit in its opposing all evil, so there is a uni- versality in the actings of the flesh for the furtherance of it. Some lusts or branches of original corruption obtain in some persons such advantages, either from nature, custom, employment, society, or other circumstances, that they become like the Canaanites that had iron chariots ; it is a very difficult thing to subdue them. Well it is if war be maintained constantly against them, for they will almost always be in actual rebellion. Indwelling sin, though weakened, retains all its pro- perties : the properties of a thing follow its nature. Where the nature of any thing is, there are all its natu- ral properties. What are these properties of indwelling sin I should here declare, but that I have handled the whole power and efficacy, the nature and properties of it, in another treatise. In brief, they are such that it is no wonder that some believers are by them cast into depths ; but it is indeed wonderful that any escape them. 2. The power and prevalence of temptation; which because I have also already shown in another discourse, I shall not here farther insist upon. 3. The sovereign pleasure of God in dealing with sin- ning saints must also he considered. Divine love and

30 FORGIVENESS OF SIN. wisdom work not towards all in the same manner. God is pleased to continue peace to some, notwithstanding great provocations. Love shall humble them, and re- bukes of kindness shall recover them from their wander- ings. Others he is pleased to bring into the depths we have been speaking of. But yet I may say generally, signal provocations meet with one of these two events fromGod. 1. Those in whom they are, are left to some signal barrenness and fruitlessness in their generation; they wither, grow barren, worldly, and sapless, and are much cast out of the hearts of the people of God. Or, 2. They are exercised in these depths, from whence their way of deliverance is laid down in this psalm. Thus, I say, God deals with his saints in great variety. Some have all their bones broken, when others have only the gentle strokes of the rod. We are in the hands of mercy, and God may deal with us as seems good un- to him ; but great sins ought to be attended with ex- pectations of great depths and perplexities. III. WIIAT SINS usually bring believers into great spiritual distresses. Sins in their own nature wasting conscience, are of this sort. Sins that rise in opposition to all of God that is in us; that is, the light of grace and nature also ; such are the sins that cast David into depths. Such are the sins enumerated, 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10. "Be not deceived," said the apostle, "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." Certain it is, that believers may fall into some of the sins here mentioned. Some have done so, as is left on record : the apostle says, not those who have commit- ted any of these sins, but such sinners, shall not inherit the kingdom of God ; that is, who live in these, or any

DEPTIIS OF SIN. 31 of these sins, or any like them. There is no provision of mercy made for such sinners. These are sins, which, in their own nature, without the considera- tion of aggravating circumstances, plunge a soul into depths : these sins cut the locks of men's spiritual strength; and it is vain for them to say, We will go, and do as at other times. Bones are not broken with- out pain, nor great sins brought on the conscience without trouble. But I need not insist on these. Some say that they deprive even true believers of all their interest in the love of Godbut unduly ; all grant that they bereave them of all comforting evidence and well- grounded assurance of it. So they did David and Peter, and herein lies no small part of the depths we are searching into. But There are sins, which, though they do not rise up in the conscience with such a bloody guilt as those mentioned, yet, by reason of their aggravations, God makes them a root of disquietness and trouble to the soul all its days. He says of some sins of ungodly men, " As I live, this iniquity shall not be purged from you until ye die." If you are come to this height, you shall not escape, I will not spare you. And there are such provocations in his own people, that he will not let them pass before he hath cast them into depths, and made them cry out for deliverance. Let us con- sider some of them. 1. Sins under signal enjoyments of love and kindness from God are of this sort. When God bath given un- to any one expressive manifestations of his love, con- vinced him of it, made him say, in the inmost parts of his heart, this is undeserved love and kindness ; then, for him to be negligent in walking with God, is an ag- gravation that shall not be forgotten. It is a remark upon the sins of Solomon, that he fell into them after God had appeared unto him twice ; and all sins under,