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forward to return, than he is to receive us into his Embraces. And because we know our felves obnoxious to his fevere Justice, and that he is a God of Truth and Faithfulness, as well as of Mercy and Compaffion, and that he hateth Sin with a perfect hatred; therefore that we might not have the least fufpicion remaining in us of his unwillingness to forgive such high Provocations and Offences as we may have been guilty of, he hath been pleased to fend his only begotten Son into the World, to lay down his Life a Ransom for us, to stand between us and God's Justice, and by his difmal Sufferings and curfed Death to expiate our Offences: fo that we have not only the infinite Goodness of the Divine Nature to trust to, but the Virtue and Efficacy of that Sacrifice which the Son of God made of himself, to plead for our Forgiveness upon our Repentance and Amendment.
Nor was our bleffed Saviour only our Propitiation to die for us, and procure our Atonement, but he is still our Advocate, continually interceding with his Father in the behalf of all true Penitents, and fuing out a Pardon for them in the Court of Heaven: If any Man fin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jefus Chrift the righteous, who deprecates Anger, mitigates Wrath; and not only barely intercedes for us, but with Authority demands the release of his Captives, redeemed by his Blood, by virtue of God's Promife and Covenant.
And in order to the fufficient Promulgation of this his gracious willingness to forgive us upon our Repentance, God hath provided and appointed an Order of Men, to laft as long as the World doth, to propound to Men this bleffed Overture, and in God's Name to befeech Men to be reconciled to him.
Nay, God condefcends to prevent the worst of Men, by manifold Bleffings and Favours, daily obliging them by his Grace and Spirit,and feveral Providences towards them; moving, affecting and awakening the most grievous Offenders to a timely confideration of their ways. Tho highly provoked, yet he begins first with us; fo defirous is he of our Welfare.
He hath not only outwardly proclaim'd Pardon to all that will fubmit, and fent his own Son on this Meffage of Peace; but inwardly, by his Spirit and Grace, he follicites Men to comply with it, even where it is refifted and defpifed he forfaketh not Men at their first denial, he giveth them time to bethink and recollect themselves; he doth not lie at the catch, nor take present advantage against us, but with infinite Patience waits to be gracious to us, hoping at last we shall be of a better Mind: he doth not foon despair of Mens Converfion and Reformation, he yet extends his Grace towards those who abufe, and offers his Pardon to those who flight it. Nothing is more highly pleafing and acceptable to him, than for a Sinner to return from the evil of his ways; nay, which is more yet, he is not only, upon our
Repentance, ready to overlook all that is past, but he hath promifed to reward our future Obedience with eternal Life; fo that we fhall not only upon our Repentance be freed from those dismal Punishments which we had rendred our felves liable to, but likewife receive from God fuch a glorious Recompence, as is beyond all our Conception or Imagination. Now if fuch Love and Kindness of Heaven towards us will not beget fome relentings and remorfe in us, if fuch powerful Arguments will not prevail with us to grow wife and confiderate, it is impoffible any fhould.
Let us all therefore fmite upon our Breasts and fay, O Lord we are highly fenfible of our Folly, of our Unworthiness and foul Ingratitude; for we have finned against thee and done evil in thy fight, and are no more worthy to be called thy Children: but we have heard that the great King of the World is a most merciful King, that he delights not in the death of Sinners, but had rather they should repent and live: we cannot longer withstand or oppose fuch unspeakable Goodness, we are overcome by fuch wonderful Kindness and Condefcenfion, we refign up our felves wholly to the Conduct of his good Spirit, and will never withdraw or alienate our felves from him any more; we will now become God's true and loyal Subjects, and continue fuch as long as we breathe, nor fhall any thing in the World be able to shake or corrupt our Faith and Allegiance to him.
What Punishment can be too fore, what State black and dismal enough for those who contemn all these Offers and Kindneffes of Heaven, who will not by any means be won to look after and have mercy upon themselves, to confult their own Interest and Welfare? What Pity can they expect, who obftinately chufe to be miferable, in despite of all the Goodness of God, and Grace of the Gospel?
The Lord grant, that we may all in this our Day know and mind the things that belong to our everlasting Peace, before they are hid from our Eyes.
1 COR. XV. 35.
But fome Man will fay, How are the
HE Apostle having in the beginning of this Chapter moft firmly established the truth and reality of our Saviour's Refurrection, v. 12, 13. Now if Chrift be preached that he rofe from the dead, how fay Some among you that there is no Refurrection of the Dead? But if there be no Refurrection of the Dead, then is not Chrift rifen. "It can
not now any longer feem an impoffible or in"credible thing to you that God should raise "the Dead,fince you have fo plain and undoubt"ed an example of it in the Perfon of our blef"fed Lord, who having been truly dead and "buried, is now alive, and has appear❜d to many ❝ with the visible marks of his Crucifixion still "remaining in his Body." And to fhew of what general Concernment his Refurrection was, the Graves were opened, as St. Matthew tells us, and many Bodies of Saints who flept, arofe, and came out of their Graves after his T 2 Refur