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their whole salvation, and knowledge and enjoyment of the same are concentrated, are acts and instances of everlasting love. Now it comes to pass, that the inherent sinfulness of God's elect breaks out beyond all our conceptions. I really conceive thus of it: as there is no sin but is included in original sin, and this is one and the same in the elect, as in the non-elect: so there is no one evil it can produce, but it doth. That in the economy of the Lord's holy providence, there is no one sin, take the whole body of the elect, but they fall into the commission of; some in an unregenerate state, and some in a converted state. And the grace of God is displayed in the pardon of each, and every personal sin of the whole election of grace. All the elect do not fall into the same way of sin and sinning, yet, they all fall into actual sin; and, one or other into the very same with the non-elect, except it be into a final rejection and apostacy, denying the Lord Jesus Christ altogether. According to this, my apprehensions are, that the mercy of God, displayed in his pardoning acts, extends to all this. And as the Father laid on Christ the iniquities of us all, and he bore our sins in his own body on the tree; so the blood of Christ, cleanseth the whole election of grace from all sin; and the pardoning mercy of God extends to all these cases. This is grace worthy of God. He pardoneth according to the greatness of his mercy
He is the God of Pardon. He is ready to pardon. He is gracious and merciful. And the title of all his people in our world, is vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared unto glory. His mercy towards them before conversion is very great. It is by the Apostle Peter thus expressed: The Lord is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pet. ch. iii. 9. The breakings forth of everlasting love towards us, at the time of our spiritual quickening, are thus expressed by the Apostle Paul, and thus described; But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved :) Eph. ii. 4, 5. And Peter says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Pet. i. 3. The display of grace in the free pardon of all the sins of the elect, is by us incomprehensible. In the instance before us, it is even so. It is equal to everlasting love; and, is as extensive as the efficacy of the blood and sacrifice of Christ. It is commensurate with the grace and influence of the Holy Spirit. It is here expressed by the Lord God to sinners in the worst of cases; and that, as an act of the good pleasure of the will of the Divine Majesty unto them; I will heal your backsliding.
II. I will speak of the way and manner in which this grace is made known. I will heal your backsliding. This is here before us fully expressed by the Lord God, the Eternal Three in the one, true, living, and ever blessed Godhead. The Scriptures speak of sin as a disease; as containing every thing which can possibly be included under that term. And Christ is spoken of as the only Physician and Healer of such as are infected with, and are the subjects of this most tremendous malady. The account of the wounds he has healed, the diseases he has cured, and the continual virtue contained in his person, blood and righteousness, makes up one grand and material part of the everlasting gospel of his grace. He saith in the same, to each, and every one of his patients, who apply to him for health and cure, I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exod. xv. 26. And here in the text before us, he addresses backsliding Israel, thus: I will heal your backsliding. Now the manner in which this grace is received into the mind, so as to be made known in the heart, is now to be declared. The whole virtue of the blood of Christ is clearly revealed in the word, with all its present and everlasting efficacy. The Lord himself by his word, is pleased to speak to sinners in the word, and by the same; and that upon these very important subjects. I will give some clear Scriptures, as proofs of this. For I will restore health unto thee,
and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord, Jer. xxx. 17.-Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. Jer. xxxiii. 6.—I, even 1, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isaiah, xliii. 25.—I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Isaiah, xliv. 22.-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. Isaiah, i. 18. Now as the Holy Ghost is pleased to work with such Scriptures on the regenerate mind, he brings Christ and the sinner to a blessed meeting with each other; and, hereby the grace of pardoning mercy is received into the mind. Christ is received by the word of truth into the heart. And hereby such a sentence as this, I will heal your backsliding, comes with power and demonstration to the mind, so as to set it at liberty from all legal bondage. This is the way by which Christ makes himself known; when he is first pleased in a manifestative way to make himself known to sinners, belonging to the election of grace. He hereby falls upon their necks, kisses them with the kisses of his mouth, and says, I have loved thee; I am your salvation. And it is by the same
word of his grace, and in the reiteration of the same mercy to his backsliding ones, that they are recovered and brought back again to him. I add to this:
III. In what way, and by what means, they receive the inward sense and benefit thereof. I will heal your backsliding.
As the Lord Jesus Christ is pleased to let in the knowledge of himself on the mind, so as for us to apprehend him, and the exceeding riches of his grace thereby; so it is in this way, and by this means, we receive an inward sense, and the actual benefit of the same. I conceive we cannot receive the balsamic virtue of the blood of Christ into our minds, but by the word. In the right apprehension of what is recorded and testified of the same therein in receiving any of those Scriptures, which have been given as proofs of the Lord's speaking to sinners in his word, and by the very same to their hearts: it is hereby the Holy Ghost is pleased to bring their minds under the mighty power and authority of the same; and, thus they receive an inward sense of the same, and have the real benefit of it. Hereby they know God's everlasting love to their persons in Christ, their own salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, the free and full pardon of all their sins, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, their personal interest in him, and all the benefits and blessings of his great salvation, and per