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fore the eyes of God. Now to put away fin in this fenfe, is fo to take it away, to remove it, as that it is pardon'd, and men acquitted and difcharged from it; but this is impracticable to men, and is the act of God only; as is evident from his promises to remove the fins of his people; from the end of Chrift's facrifice, which was to put away fin for ever, and from the prayers of the faints, who defire that God would take away all iniquity, and receive graciously: But why then is fuch an exhortation given? first to convince men, that the putting away of fin from the eyes of God's vindictive juftice, is abfolutely neceffary to falvation and then that men cannot, by all their ceremonial and moral fervices do this; for 'tis not poffible that the blood of bulls and goats Should take away fin"; as alfo to lead and, direct their views to the facrifice of Chrift, which effectually does it; and without which, to what purpofe is the multitude of facrifices? and vain are all oblations, ver.
III. Ceafe to do evil; which regards either a ceffation from ceremonial works, which being done with a wicked mind, were an abomination to the Lord, ver. 13,14. or an abstinence from outward immorali
" Heb. X. 4.
ties; fuch as heading mrazer preffing the fariences in G Now a nacural na my
from fuch exIN SUED
out fuppofing a power in om te 5 the;
which is fpirita gant of the UK VIETNA ftrable grace of Gai is macie – De verfion.
IV. Learn to do wel, he nor a c justice, beneficence, liberalny and char fuch as are here mention : Set the relieve the oppressed, judge the men, naci for the widow; all which are very cons mendable, and may be performed by men in an unconverted state, and no way micut either against man's paffiveness, or the ne ceffity of God's efficacious grace in the work of converfion.
NUMB, XII. Ifa. i. 18, 19, 20. Come now and let us reason together; though your fins be as Scarlet, they shall be as white as fnow; though they be red like crimson, they fhall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refufe and rebel, ye fhall be devoured with the fword; for the mouth of the Lord bath spoken it.
I. HE eighteenth verfe is confider'd in ftrict connection with the words preceding and following; from whence it is concluded, that to cease to do evil, and learn to do well, to be willing and obedient *, are qualifications for the pardoning mercy of God, and conditions of obtaining it; the promises of pardon, life and falvation being made to persons of fuch characters. But,
1. Let it be observed, that the eighteenth verse may be read in a parenthefis, without any connection with, or dependance on either the preceding or fubfequent verfes; being thrown in on purpose to comfort the people of God, oppreffed with a sense of their fins, whilft he is expreffing his juft refentment and indignation against the fins of others.
* Whitby, p. 181, 242, 298.
2. Admitting it to be in ftrict connection with the context; it contains a free declarıtion of pardoning grace and mercy, without any condition annexed to it; it is not expreffed in a conditional form; it is not faid, if ye cease to do evil, and learn to do well; then, though your fins be as fearlet, they fhall be as white as fnow; nor is it faid, if ye be willing and obedient, then, though your fins be red like crimson, they fhall be as wool; but ye fhall eat the good of the land.
3. God's promife of pardon is free, abfolute, and unconditional; 'tis expreffed in this manner; I will be merciful to their unrighte oufness, and their fins, and their iniquities I will remember no more; and made to perfons guilty both of fins of omiffion and commiffion, who had bought him no fweet cane with money; neither had filled him with the fat of facrifices, but had made him to Jerve with their fins, and had wearied him with their iniquities*.
4. Pardon of fin is never afcribed to any condition performed by men, but to the free grace of God, ftreaming through the blood of Chrift, which was fhed to obta.2 it, and in whole gift it is, being exalted to be a Prince and a becisar, to give repentance unto 【írael, and corgivenes of best; &la which is often gives to perions without
any conditions previously qualifying them for it.
5. Obedience is not the condition of pardon, though a declaration of pardon is an excellent motive to induce to obedience; evangelical obedience springs from, and is influenced by discoveries of pardon, but is neither the cause nor condition of it.
II. It is here promised to fuch who are willing and obedient, that they shall eat the fat of the land; and threaten'd to the disobedient, that they shall be devoured with the fword: From whence it does not follow, that it is in the power of man to do what is fpiritually good, much less that eternal happiness depends upon, or is to be obtain'd by man's obedience: For,
1. The voluntary obedience here encouraged, is to things civil; fuch as to relieve the oppreffed, judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow, ver. 17. which, 'tis allow'd, are in the power of a natural man to perform; and might be reasonably expected, especially from a profeffing people, as thefe were, to whom thefe exhortations were given.
2. What is here promised, is not of a spiritual or eternal, but of a temporal nature; ye shall eat the good of the land, h. e. of the land of Canaan; the poffeffion of which they held by their obedience to those laws of a