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Mark i. 4. "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."
Luke xxiv. 47. "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, among all nations, beginning at Jeru
Acts ii. 38. "Then St. Peter said unto them repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Ibid. x. 43. " To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."
Rom. iii. 25. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God."
James v. 15. "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him."
Matt. ix. 6. "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, then saith he to the sick of the palsy; Arise, take up thy bed and go unto thine house."
Ibid. xii. 31. "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be for
given unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."
Ibid. xii. 32. "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him : neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
1 John i. 9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Ibid. v. 17. "All unrighteousness is sin; and there is a sin not unto death."
John xx. 23. "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained."
Acts iii. 19. " 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."
The first five verses above, shew most distinctly, that certain conditions are required to be performed by man to obtain remission of sins. St. Mark states, that John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and St. Luke states, that Christ after his resurrection appeared in the midst of his Apostles, and having opened their understanding, that they should understand the Scripture, says, "that repent
ance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations:" and Peter with the rest of the Apostles being asked by the multitude, what shall we do? Peter said, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost:" and upon another occasion Peter says, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." And St. Paul in confirmation of what St. Peter said, states, in the Romans, that God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. From these authorities we cannot be mistaken, what the conditions are by which remission of sins is to be obtained, as far as these authorities extend, namely, baptism, repentance for and confession of sins, and faith in Christ; these are plain and express conditions, but do not exclude other conditions which may be necessary, these are indispensable.
We will now see by whom and upon what occasion sins have been heretofore remitted: that sins have been remitted to man on earth by Christ himself, there cannot be a doubt, and
this is particularly recorded in the Gospels of St. Matthew and Luke, but these cases were special, and deemed miracles, and as such a strong and convincing argument is to be drawn from them that remission of sins on earth is not general; was it so, there was no cause or ground for these special cases, those persons who had their sins remitted by Christ were told, that they were remitted on account of their faith; if faith remit past sins at the time it is received, these persons would have had their sins remitted as soon as they had faith, and the particular act of remission by Christ was not required, but his statement in the 6th verse of the ixth of Matthew to the multitude present, shews he did it to convince them of his power, and it not only shews his power to remit sins, but it also proves that the sins of those persons who were cured were not remitted before Christ remitted them, notwithstanding they had faith: but surely it will not be said, this took place before the resurrection of Christ, and sins were not remitted through faith till after the resurrection: such a distinction it is conceived will not, cannot be attempted to be supported from any authority in Scripture and if not, the deduction from this argument as necessarily follows, that sins have
a See Matt. ix. 2. Luke vii. 48. 50.
not been generally remitted on earth, but only on special occasions. This argument is most conclusive and unanswerable.
We will now consider what is said in the 23rd verse of the xxth chapter of John, above quoted. Here we find that Christ, after he had in the preceding verse said to his disciples, “ receive ye the Holy Ghost," informs them that they had full power to remit or retain sins; neither cause or purpose is stated; but it cannot be supposed, that Christ would have conferred this special power upon them unless for some great and good purpose, and such as must have been deemed by him both essential and necessary to answer a particular object, or to effect some great end. This is stated in a concise manner, unconnected with any other subject, and so plainly that it is not liable to misconstruction or misconception; these disciples were especially appointed to teach and preach the Gospel, which they did; and one of the principal doctrines which they published and taught was, that man was to have justification by the blood of Christ, through faith; if faith was to justify at the time it was received, and sins were remitted at the same time, for what useful purpose could this power be given? As faith was undoubtedly to be the condition of receiving justification, these faithful disciples would most assuredly not confer