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and saying, “ Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." Acts xiii. 38. 66 For 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.” Acts V. 31. “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him, shall receive remission of sins." Acts x. 43. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts iii. 19.
This full proclamation of forgiveness in the name of Jesus, is based on the ground of the New Covenant, ratified in His blood. That covenant is as large, as gracious, and as free, as heart can desire. If we had framed its terms ourselves, we could not have made them more favorable to our own case than God Himself has written them; for the Eternal Jeho vah most graciously promises therein, not only to forgive, but also to forget, the transgressions of His people! "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them : for I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.” Jer. xxxi. 3134, compared with Heb. x. 17, 18. What more, then, can be wanted after this? And yet, alas ! we are slow to believe, and quick to doubt, the forgiveness of our God! And because we cannot find any goodness or worthiness in ourselves, on which to ground our plea for pardon, we are soon apt to give way to despondency and apprehension. Even this state of mind the Lord condescends to meet, by graciously revealing to us another argument of forgiveness, and saying, “ I, even I, am He that blotted out thy transgressions FOR MINE OWN SAKE, and will not remember thy sins.” Isa. xliii. 25. And again, in order to dispel every lingering suspicion of the reality and the fulness of His mercy, He declares in the very next chapter, “I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins; return unto Me, for I have redeemed thee." Isa. xliv. 22. No wonder that Isaiah immediately exclaims, “Sing, 0 ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it. Shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel." Oh, most gracious Lord, “ There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared, and with Thee is mercy and plenteous redemption.” Psa. cxxx. 447. “ Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Micah vii. 18, 19.
How immeasurable, therefore, do we learn, is the nature of that benefit, which the Psalmist has here celebrated. Every form of sin (with but one exception), every degree of sin, even oft-recurring sins, we are here instructed may obtain forgiveness. The readiness, the freeness, and the completeness, of that forgiveness, are put beyond all possibility
of contradiction, for our loving Redeemer promises to "forgive," and to “forget” our iniquities and to "blot out” the records of them from His book, “ for His own sake.” Yea, though they were like a “thick cloud” between us and the sun, He promises to erase them from the face of the heaven, and cause us to bask in the sunshine of the Divine favor ;and though they pressed upon us as an armed host in close pursuit for our destruction, yet would the Lord cast them into the very “ depths of the sea :” and, though they came as an array of accusing witnesses, eager to give in their testimony to our discredit, yet would the Lord "remove" them from us,
as far as the east is from the west," and leave not a single transgression to appear against us within the whole visible horizon !
For this marvellous and immeasurable forgiveness, we are for ever indebted to the gracious Mediator. God gave that Mediator to us in His love; and have we with love accepted Him? The consent of all the parties, concerned in any transaction, is necessary to give it effect each in his own behalf. Reader, you are one of the parties concerned in this transaction, for you committed the sin. Your consent is therefore necessary to give it effect for your salvation : for no man is to be saved against his own will. All God's
people are made “ willing” to consent to this mode of salvation in the day of the Spirit's power. Psa. cx. 3. The transaction between God the Father, and His Son, the appointed Mediator, you can never annul. "If you believe not, yet He abideth faithful.” That work of the Mediator is to stand, and to be admired through all eternity, whether you approve of it or not. To you as a natural man, the great truth of which we here speak, will, alas, appear only as foolishness; for in your own wisdom you will neither understand nor believe it. Therefore you will never be willing of yourself, to append to it the seal of your approbation and adherence. But, oh, let me beseech you, for your own sake,
, to cry earnestly to the Lord God to “ work in you to will and to do” by his good Spirit. Cry to that Spirit to enlighten your mind to know “ the things that are freely given you of God.” . 1 Cor. ii. 12. Intreat of Him to produce in you true repentance and a lively faith, that you may be enabled to confess your sins over the blood of this Mediator, and to believe that God is faithful and just toward Him to forgive your sins for His sake, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. 1 John i. 9.
Better were it for you never to have heard of Christ, than to hear and not to accept of Him. Better far will it be for the poor heathen in the day of judgment than for you. They have never heard of that Saviour whom you reject. But if you reply, that you do not reject Him, and that all that can be charged against you is, that you do not give as much time or attention to his religion as perhaps you might, then the Bible asks, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?" Heb. ii. 3. The neglecting of the salvation, is the rejecting of the Saviour. There is no neutral ground. You must adopt one or other of the two alternatives. If the work of Christ were yet to be undertaken, and if God consulted you whether this Mediator should be appointed or not; there would be room for you to consider the proposal, and either to accept, or to decline it, and propose another. But now that the work has been already accomplished, no room remains but only to accept or to reject the Saviour.
Oh, consider your position! Realize the solemn, but blessed, circumstances, in which the death of Christ has placed you. God, the Great Creditor, has accepted the Surety's payment of your debts; and He has therefore given you into the hands of the God-Man, who has bought you with His blood. This gracious Surety is waiting, and calling, upon you to acknowledge and to embrace Him as your Redeemer. Jesus is stretching out His hand of mercy toward you. He weeps over you, and says, “ Oh that thou wouldst know, even thou at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace, before they be for. ever hid from thine eyes.” “To-day," then,“ while it is called to-day, harden not your heart." God has appointed Christ, and do you refuse Him? God has accepted Christ, and will you reject Him? God laid your iniquities upon His head, and will you not be thankful for such an act of unparalleled mercy ? Ungrateful man! the very least sin would sink you to perdition. O, that you were wise. Take warning ere it be too late. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” An Almighty Saviour with His great salvation is standing at your door. Every blessing it contains, He bids you take, without money and without price. Listen to His gracious word: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and