The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 19 (... continued from file 18) The Fifth Petition in the Lord's Prayer 'And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.' Matt 6: 12 Before I speak strictly to the words, I shall notice  That in this prayer there is but one petition for the body, 'Give us our daily bread,' but two petitions for the soul, 'Forgive us our trespasses, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' Observe hence, that we are to be more careful for our souls than for our bodies, more careful for grace than for daily bread; and more desirous to have our souls saved than our bodies fed. In the law, the weight of the sanctuary was twice as big as the common weight, to typify that spiritual things must be of far greater weight with us than earthly. The excellency of the soul may challenge our chief care about it. (1) The soul is an immaterial substance; it is a heavenly spark, lighted by the breath of God. It is the more refined and spiritual part of man; it is of an angelic nature; it has some faint resemblance to God. The body is the more humble part, it is the cabinet only, though curiously wrought, but the soul is the jewel; it is near akin to angels; it is capax beatitudinis, capable of communion with God in glory. (2) It is immortal; it never expires. It can act without the body. Though the body dissolve into dust, the soul lives. Luke 12: 4. The essence of the soul is eternal; it has a beginning but no end. Surely, then, if the soul be so ennobled and dignified, more care should be taken about it than the body. Hence, we make but one petition for the body, but two petitions for the soul. Use 1. They are reproved who take more care for their bodies than their souls. The body is but the brutish part, yet they take more care, (1) About dressing their bodies than their souls. They put on the best clothes, are dressed in the richest garb; but care not how naked or undressed their souls are. They do not get the jewels of grace to adorn the inner man. (2) About feeding their bodies than their souls. They are caterers for the flesh, they make provision for the flesh, they have the best diet, but let their souls starve; as if one should feed his hawk, but let his child starve. The body must sit in the chair of state, but the soul, that princely thing, is made a lackey to run on the devil's errands. Use 2. Let us be more careful for our souls. Omnia si perdas, animam servare memento [If you lose everything, remember to keep your soul]. If it be well with the soul, it shall be well with the body. If the soul be gracious, the body shall be glorious, for it shall shine like Christ's body. Therefore, it is wisdom to look chiefly to the soul, because in saving the soul we secure the happiness of the body. And we cannot show our care for our souls more than by improving all seasons for their good; as reading, praying, hearing, and meditating. Oh, look to the main chance; let the soul be chiefly tended! The loss of the soul would be fatal. Other losses may be made up again. If one loses his health, he may recover it again; if he loses his estate, he may make it up again; but if he lose his soul, the loss is irreparable. The merchant who ventures all he has in one ship, if that be lost, is quite ruined.  As soon as Christ had said, 'Give us daily bread,' he adds, 'and forgive us.' He joins the petition of forgiveness of sin immediately to the other of daily bread, to show us that though we have daily bread, yet all is nothing without forgiveness. If our sins be not pardoned, we can take but little comfort in our food. As a man that is condemned takes little comfort from the meat you bring him in prison, without a pardon; so, though we have daily bread, yet it will do us no good unless sin be forgiven. What though we should have manna, which was called angels' food, though the rock should pour out rivers of oil, all is nothing unless sin be done away. When Christ had said, 'Give us our daily bread,' he presently added, and 'forgive us our trespasses.' Daily bread may satisfy the appetite, but forgiveness of sin satisfies the conscience. Use 1. It condemns the folly of most people, who, if they have daily bread, the delicious things of this life, look no further; they are not solicitous for the pardon of sin. If they have that which feeds them, they look not after that which should crown them. Alas! you may have daily bread, and yet perish. The rich man in the gospel had daily bread, nay, he had dainties, he fared 'sumptuously every day;' but 'in hell he lift up his eyes.' Luke 16: 19, 23. Use 2. Let us pray that God would not give us our portion in this life, that he would not put us off with daily bread, but that he would give forgiveness. This is the sauce that would make our bread relish the sweeter. A speech of Luther, valde protestatussum me nolle sic satiari ab illo. I did solemnly protest that God should not put me off with outward things. Be not content with that which is common to the brute creatures, the dog or elephant, to have your hunger satisfied; but, besides daily bread, get pardon of sin. A drop of Christ's blood, or a dram of forgiving mercy, is infinitely more valuable than all the delights under the sun. Daily bread may make us live comfortably, but forgiveness of sins will make us die comfortably. I come now to the words of the petition, 'Forgive us our debts,' etc. Here is a term given to sin, it is a debt; the confession of the debt, 'our debts;' a prayer, 'forgive us;' and a condition on which we desire forgiveness, 'as we forgive our debtors.' 1. The first thing is the term given to sin; it is a debt. That which is here called a debt is called sin. 'Forgive us our sins.' Luke 11: 4. So, then, sin is a debt, and every sinner is a debtor. Sin is compared to a debt of ten thousand talents. Matt 18:24. Why is sin called a debt? Because it fitly resembles it. (1) A debt arises upon non- payment of money, or the not paying that which is one's due. We owe to God exact obedience, and not paying what is due, we are in debt. (2) In case of non-payment, the debtor goes to prison; so, by our sin, we become guilty, and are exposed to God's curse of damnation. Though he grants a sinner a reprieve for a time, yet he remains bound to eternal death if the debt be not forgiven. In what sense is sin the worst debt? (1) Because we have nothing to pay. If we could pay the debt, what need to pray, 'forgive us'? We cannot say, as he in the gospel, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all;' we can pay neither principal nor interest. Adam made us all bankrupts. In innocence Adam had a stock of original righteousness to begin the world with, he could give God personal and perfect obedience; but, by his sin, he was quite broken, and beggared all his posterity. We have nothing to pay; all our duties are mixed with sin, and so we cannot pay God in current coin. (2) Sin is the worst debt, because it is against an infinite majesty. An offence against the person of a king, is crimen laesae majestatis [the crime of high treason], it enhances and aggravates the crime. Sin wrongs God, and so is an infinite offence. The schoolmen say, omne peccatum contra conscientiam est quasi deicidium, i.e., every known sin strikes at the Godhead. The sinner would not only unthrone God, but ungod him, which makes the debt infinite. (3) Sin is the worst debt, because it is not a single, but a multiplied debt. Forgive us 'our debts;' we have debt upon debt. 'Innumerable evils have compassed me about.' Psa 40: 12. We may as well reckon all the drops in the sea, as reckon all our spiritual debts; we cannot tell how much we owe. A man may know his other debts, but he cannot number his spiritual debts. Every vain thought is a sin. 'The thought of foolishness is sin.' Prov 24: 9. And what swarms of vain thoughts have we! The first rising of corruption, though it never blossom into outward act, is a sin; then, 'who can understand his errors?' We do not know how much we owe to God. (4) Sin is the worst debt; because it is an inexcusable debt in two respects;  There is no denying the debt. Other debts men may deny. If the money be not paid before witnesses, or if the creditor lose the bond, the debtor may say he owes him nothing; but there is no denying the debt of sin. If we say we have no sin, God can prove the debt. 'I will set [thy sins] in order before thine eyes.' Psa 50: 21. God writes down our debts in his book of remembrance, and his book, and the book of conscience exactly agree: so that the debt cannot be denied.  There is no shifting off the debt. Other debts may be shifted off. We may get friends to pay them, but neither man nor angel can pay this debt for us. If all the angels in heaven should make a purse, they cannot pay one of our debts. In other debts men may get a protection, so that none can touch their persons, or sue them for it; but who shall give us a protection from God's justice? 'There is none that can deliver out of thine hand.' Job 10: 7. Indeed, the Pope pretends that his pardon shall be men's protection, and God's justice shall not sue them: but that is a forgery, and cannot be pleaded at God's tribunal. Other debts, if the debtor dies in prison, cannot be recovered: death frees him from debt; but if we die in debt to God, he knows how to recover it. As long as we have souls to distrain on, God will not lose his debt. Not the death of the debtor, but the death of the Surety, pays a sinner's debt. In other debts men may flee from their creditor, leave their country, and go into foreign parts, and the creditor cannot find them; but we cannot flee from God. He knows where to find all his debtors. 'Whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy right hand shall hold me.' Psa 139: 7, 9, 10. (3) Sin is the worst debt, because it carries men, in case of non-payment, to a worse prison than any upon earth, even to a fiery prison; and the sinner is laid in worse chains, chains of darkness, where he is bound under wrath for ever. Wherein have we the character of bad debtors? (1) A bad debtor does not love to be called to account. There is a day coming when God will call his debtors to account. 'So then, every one shall give an account of himself to God.' Rom 14: 12. But we play away the time, and do not love to hear of the day of judgement; we love not that ministers should put us in mind of our debts, or speak of the day of reckoning. What a confounding word will that be to a self-secure sinner, redde rationem, give an account of your stewardship! (2) A bad debtor is unwilling to confess his debt, he will put it off, or make less of it; so we are more willing to excuse sin than confess it. How hardly was Saul brought to confession. 'I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, but the people took of the spoil.' I Sam 15: 20, 21. He rather excuses his sin than confesses it. (3) A bad debtor is apt to hate his creditor. Debtors wish their creditors dead; so wicked men naturally hate God, because they think he is a just judge, and will call them to account. In the Greek they are called God haters. A debtor does not love to see his creditor. Use 1. They are reproved who are loath to be in debt, but make no reckoning of sin, which is the greatest debt; they use no means to get out of it, but run further in debt to God. We should think it strange, if writs or warrants were out against a man, or a judgement granted to seize his body and estate, and yet he was wholly regardless and unconcerned. God has a writ out against a sinner, nay, many writs, for swearing, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, and yet the sinner eats and drinks, and is quiet, as if he were not in debt. What an opiate has Satan given men! Use 2. If sin be a debt, let us be humbled. The name of debt, says Ambrose, is grave vocabulum, grievous. Men in debt are full of shame, they lie hid, and do not care to be seen. A debtor is ever in fear of arrest. Canis latrat et cor palpitat [A dog barks and his heart pounds]. Oh! let us blush and tremble, who are so deeply indebted to God. A Roman dying in debt, Augustus the emperor sent to buy his pillow, because, said he, I hope that will have some virtue to make me sleep, on which a man so much in debt could take his ease. We that have so many spiritual debts lying upon us, how can we be at rest till we have some hope that they are discharged? II. The second thing in this petition is confession. Let us confess our debt. Let us acknowledge that we are in arrears with God, and deserve that he should enforce the law upon us, and throw us into hell-prison. By confession we give glory to God. 'My son, give glory to the God of Israel, and make confession unto him.' Josh 7: 19. Say that God would be righteous if he should distrain upon all we have. If we confess the debt, God will forgive it. 'If we confess our sins, he is just to forgive. ' I John 1: 9. Do but confess the debt, and God will cross it out from the book. 'I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' Psa 32: 5. Let us not confess merely, but labour to get our spiritual debts paid, by Christ the Surety. Say, 'Lord, have patience with me, and Christ shall pay thee all. He has laid down an infinite price.' The covenant of works would not admit of a surety; it demanded personal obedience: but this privilege we have by the gospel, which is a court of chancery to relieve us. If we have nothing to pay, God will accept a surety. Believe in Christ's blood, and the debt is paid. WE have next to consider in these words the petition, 'Forgive us our sins,' and the condition, 'For we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.' Our forgiving others is not a cause of God's forgiving us, but it is a condition without which he will not forgive us. III. We shall now consider the petition, 'Forgive us our sins.' This is a blessed petition. The ignorant would say, 'Who will show us any good?' (Psa 4: 6) meaning a good lease, a good purchase; but the Saviour teaches us to pray for that which is more noble, and will stand us in more stead, which is the pardon of sin. Forgiveness of sins is a primary blessing, it is one of the first mercies God bestows. 'Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you;' that is, forgiveness. Ezek 36: 25. When God pardons, there is nothing he will stick at to do for the soul; he will adopt, sanctify, crown. What is forgiveness of sin? It is God's passing by sin, wiping off the score and giving us a discharge. Micah 7: 18.  The nature of forgiveness will more clearly appear, by opening some Scripture phrases; and by laying down some propositions. (1) To forgive sin, is to take away iniquity. 'Why dost thou not take away mine iniquity?' Job 7: 21. Hebrew, lift off. It is a metaphor taken from a man that carries a heavy burden which is ready to sink him, and another comes, and lifts it off, so when the heavy burden of sin is on us, God in pardoning, lifts it off from the conscience, and lays it upon Christ. 'He has laid on him the iniquity of us all.' Isa 53: 6. (2) To forgive sin, is to cover it. 'Thou hast covered all their sin.' Psa 85: 2. This was typified by the mercy-seat covering the ark, to show God's covering of sin through Christ. God does not cover sin in the Antinomian sense, so as he sees it not, but he so covers it, that he will not impute it. (3) To forgive sin, is to blot it out. 'I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.' Isa 43: 25. The Hebrew word, to blot out, alludes to a creditor who, when his debtor has paid him, blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance; so when God forgives sin, he blots out the debt, he draws the red lines of Christ's blood over it, and so crosses the debt-book. (4) To forgive sin is for God to scatter our sins as a cloud. 'I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions.' Isa 44: 22. Sin is the cloud, an interposing cloud, which disperses, that the light of his countenance may break forth. (5) To forgive sin, is for God to cast our sins into the depths of the sea, which implies burying them out of sight, that they shall not rise up in judgement against us. 'Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.' Micah 7: 19. God will throw them in, not as cork that rises again, but as lead that sinks to the bottom.  The nature of forgiveness will further appear by laying down some propositions respecting it. (1) Every sin deserves death, and therefore needs forgiveness. The Papists distinguish between mortal sins and venial sins. Some are ex surreptione [surreptitious], they creep unawares into the mind, as vain thoughts, sudden motions of anger and revenge, which Bellarmine says, are in their own nature venial. It is true that the greatest sins are in one sense venial, that is, God is able to forgive them; but the least sin is not in its own nature venial, but deserves damnation. We read of the lusts of the flesh, and the works of the flesh. Rom 13: 14; Gal 5: 19. The lusts of the flesh are sinful, as well as the works of the flesh. That which is a transgression of the law merits damnation; but the first stirrings of corruption are a breach of the royal law, and therefore merit damnation. Rom 7: 7, Prov 24: 9. So that the least sin is mortal, and needs forgiveness. (2) It is God only that forgives sin. To pardon sin is one of the jura regalia [royal prerogatives], the flowers of God's crown. 'Who can forgive sins but God only?' Mark 2: 7. It is most proper for God to pardon sin; only the creditor can remit the debt. Sin is an infinite offence, and no finite power can discharge an infinite offence. No man can take away sin, unless he is able to infuse grace; for, as Aquinas says, with forgiveness is always infusion of grace; but no man can infuse grace, therefore no man can forgive sin. He only can forgive sin, who can remit the penalty, but it is God's prerogative only to forgive sin. But a Christian is charged to forgive his brother. 'Forgiving one another.' Col 3: 13. In all second-table sins, there are two distinct things; disobedience against God, and injury to man. That which man is required to forgive, is the wrong done to himself, but the wrong done to God, he cannot forgive. Man may remit a trespass against himself, but not a transgression against God. The Scripture speaks of a power committed to ministers to forgive sin: 'Whose-soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.' John 20: 23. Ministers cannot remit sin authoritatively and effectually, but only declaratively. They have a special office and authority to apply the promises of pardon to broken hearts. When a minister sees one humbled for sin, but afraid God has not pardoned him, and is ready to be swallowed up of sorrow, for the easing of this man's conscience, he may, in the name of Christ, declare to him, that he is pardoned. He does not forgive sin by his own authority, but as a herald, in Christ's name, pronounces a man's pardon. As under the law, God cleansed the leper, and the priest pronounced him clean, so God, by his prerogative, forgives sin, and the minister pronounces forgiveness to the penitent sinner. Power to forgive sin authoritatively in his own name, was never granted to any mortal man. A king may spare a man's life, but cannot pardon his sin. Popes' pardons are insignificant, like blanks in a lottery, good for nothing but to be torn. (3) Forgiveness of sin is purely an act of God's free grace. There are some acts of God which declare his power, as making and governing the world; others that declare his justice, as punishing the guilty; others that declare his free-grace, as pardoning sinners. 'I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake.' Isa 43: 25. He forgives as when a creditor freely forgives a debtor. 'I obtained mercy.' I Tim 1: 16. I was all over besprinkled with mercy. When God pardons a sin, he does not pay a debt, but gives a legacy. Forgiveness is spun out of the bowels of God's mercy; there is nothing we can do that can deserve it; not our prayers, or tears, or good deeds can purchase pardon. When Simon Magus would have bought the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, 'Thy money,' said Peter, 'perish with thee.' Acts 8: 20. So if men think they can buy pardon of sin with their duties and alms, let their money perish with them. Forgiveness is an act of God's free grace, in which he displays the banner of love. This will raise trophies of God's glory, and cause the saints' triumph in heaven, that when there was no worthiness in them, when they lay in their blood, God took pity on them, and held forth the golden sceptre of love in forgiving. Forgiveness is a golden thread spun out of the bowels of free-grace. (4) Forgiveness is through the blood of Christ. Free grace is the inward moving cause. Christ's blood is the outward cause of meriting pardon. 'In whom we have redemption through his blood.' Eph 1: 7. All pardons are sealed in Christ's blood. The guilt of sin was infinite, and nothing but that blood which was of infinite value could procure forgiveness. But if Christ laid down his blood as the price of our pardon, how can we say God freely forgives sin? If it be by purchase, how is it by grace? It was God's free grace that found out a way of redemption through a Mediator. Nay, God's love appeared more in letting Christ die for us, than if he had forgiven us without exacting any satisfaction. It was free grace that moved God to accept of the price paid for our sins. That God should accept a surety; that one should sin, and another suffer, was free grace. So that forgiveness of sin, though purchased by Christ's blood, is by free grace. (5) In forgiveness of sin, God remits the guilt and penalty. Remissa culpa, remittitur poena [On remission of guilt, the punishment is also remitted]. Guilt is an obligation to punishment, it cries for justice. God in forgiving indulges the sinner as to the penalty. He seems to say to him, 'Though thou art fallen into the hands of my justice, and deserves" to die, yet I will take off the penalty; whatever is charged upon thee shall be discharged.' When God pardons a soul, he will not reckon with him in a purely vindictive way; he stops the execution of justice. (6) By virtue of this pardon God will no more call sin to remembrance. 'Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.' Heb 8: 12. He will pass an act of oblivion, he will not upbraid with former unkindnesses. When you fear that God will call your sins again to remembrance after pardon, look into this act of indemnity, 'Their iniquities will I remember no more.' God is said therefore to 'blot out our sin.' A man does not call for a debt when he has crossed the book. When God pardons a man, his former displeasure ceases. 'Mine anger is turned away.' Hos 14: 4. But is God angry with his pardoned ones? Though a child of God, after pardon, may incur his fatherly displeasure yet his judicial wrath is removed. Though he may lay on the rod, yet he has taken away the curse. Correction may befall the saints, but not destruction. 'My lovingkindness will I not take from him.' Psa 89: 33. (7) Sin is not forgiven till it be repented of. Therefore they are put together: 'Repentance and remission.' Luke 24: 47. Domine, da poenitentiam, et postea indulgentiam [Grant repentance, Lord, and afterwards pardon]. Fulgentius. In repentance there are three main ingredients, all which must be before forgiveness. They are contrition, confession, and conversion. Contrition, or brokenness of heart. 'They shall be like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.' Ezek 7: 16. This contrition or rending of the heart, is expressed sometimes by smiting on the breast; Luke 18: 13; sometimes by plucking off the hair; Ezra 9: 3; and sometimes by watering the couch; Psa 6: 6. But all humiliation is not contrition; some have only pretended sorrow for sin, and so have missed forgiveness; as Ahab humbled himself, whose garments were rent, but not his heart. What is that remorse and sorrow which goes before forgiveness of sin? It is a holy sorrow, it is a grieving for sin, quatenus sin, as it is sin, and as it is dishonouring God, and defiling the soul. Though there were no sufferings to follow, yet the true penitent would grieve for sin. 'My sin is ever before me.' Psa 51: 3. This contrition goes before remission. 'I repented; I smote upon my thigh. Is Ephraim my dear son? my bowels are troubled for him. I will surely have mercy upon him.' Jer 31: 19, 20. Ephraim was troubled for sinning, and God's bowels were troubled for Ephraim. The woman in the gospel stood at Jesus' feet weeping, and a pardon followed. 'Wherefore, I say, her sins which are many, are forgiven.' Luke 7: 47. The seal is set upon the wax when it melts; God seals his pardon upon melting hearts. The second ingredient in repentance is confession. 'Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.' Psa 51: 4. This is not auricular confession; which the Papists make a sacrament, and affirm that without confession of all sins in the ears of the priest, no man can receive forgiveness. The Scripture is ignorant of this, nor do we read that any general Council, till the Lateran Council, which was about twelve hundred years after Christ, ever decreed auricular confession. But does not the Scripture say, 'Confess your faults one to another'? James 5:16. This is absurdly brought for auricular confession; for, by this, the priest must confess to the people, as well as the people to the priest. The sense of that place is that in case of public scandals, or private wrongs, confession is to be made to others; but chiefly, confession is to be made to God, who is the party offended. 'Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.' Confession gives vent to sorrow; it must be free without compulsion, ingenuous without reserve, cordial without hypocrisy; the heart must go along with it. This makes way for forgiveness. 'I said I will confess my transgressions, and thou forgavest.' Psa 32: 5. When the publican and thief confessed, they had pardon. The publican smote upon his breast with contrition, and said, 'God be merciful to me a sinner,' there was confession; he went away justified, there was forgiveness. The thief said, 'We indeed suffer justly': there was confession; and Christ absolved him before he died: 'Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.' Luke 23: 43. These words of Christ may have occasioned that saying of Augustine: Confession shuts the mouth of hell, and opens the gate of paradise. The third ingredient in repentance is conversion, or turning from sin. 'We have sinned:' there was confession. 'They put away the strange gods:' there was conversion. Judges 10: 15, 16. It must be a universal turning from sin. 'Cast away from you all your transgressions.' Ezek 18: 31. You would be loath that God should forgive some of your sins only. Would you have him forgive all, and will you not forsake all? He that hides one rebel, is a traitor to the crown; he that lives in one known sin, is a traitorous hypocrite. There must not only be a turning from sin, but a turning to God. Therefore it is called 'Repentance toward God.' Acts 20: 21. The heart points towards God as the needle to the north pole. The prodigal not only left his harlots, but arose and went to his father. Luke 15: 18. This repentance is the ready way to pardon. 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and return unto the Lord, and he will abundantly pardon.' Isa 55: 7. A king will not pardon a rebel whilst he continues in open hostility. Thus repentance goes before remission. They who never repented can have no ground to hope that their sins are pardoned. Not that repentance merits the forgiveness of sin. To make repentance satisfy is Popish. By repentance we please God, but we do not satisfy him. 'Christ's blood must wash our tears.' Repentance is a condition, not a cause. God will not pardon for repentance, nor yet without it. He seals his pardons on melting hearts. Repentance makes us prize pardon the more. He who cries out of his broken bones, will the more prize the mercy of having them set again; so, when there is nothing in the soul but clouds of sorrow, and God brings pardon, which is setting a rainbow in the cloud to tell the soul the flood of God's wrath shall not overflow, oh! What joy is there at the sight of this rainbow! The soul burns in love to God. (8) The greatest sins come within the compass of forgiveness. Incest, sodomy, adultery, theft, murder, which are sins of the first magnitude are pardonable. Paul was a blasphemer, and so sinned against the first table; a persecutor, and so sinned against the second table; and yet he obtained mercy. I Tim 1: 13. Zaccheus, an extortioner, Mary Magdalene, an unchaste woman, out of whom seven devils were cast, Manasseh, who made the streets run with blood, had pardon. Some of the Jews, who had a hand in crucifying Christ, were forgiven. God blots out not only the cloud, but the thick cloud, enormities as well as infirmities. Isa 44: 22. The king, in the parable, forgave his debtor that owed him ten thousand talents. Matt 28: 27. A talent weighed three thousand shekels, ten thousand talents contained almost twelve tons of gold. This was an emblem of God's forgiving great sins. 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.' Isa 1: 18. Scarlet, in the Greek, is called twice dipped, and the art of man cannot wash out the dye again. Though your sins are of a scarlet dye, God's mercy can wash them way, as the sea covers great rocks as well as little sands. This I mention that sinners may not despair. God counts it a glory to him to forgive great sins: in which mercy and love ride in triumph. 'The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant,' it was exuberant, it overflowed, as the Mile. I Tim 1: 14. We must not measure God by ourselves. His mercy excels our sins as much as heaven does the earth. Isa 55: 9. If great sins could not be forgiven, great sinners should not be preached to; but the gospel is to be preached to all. If they could not be forgiven, it were a dishonour to Christ's blood; as if the wound were broader than the plaister. God has first made great sinners 'broken vessels;' he has broken their hearts for sin, and then he has made them 'golden vessels;' he has filled them with the golden oil of pardoning mercy. This may encourage great sinners to come in and repent. The sin indeed against the Holy Ghost is unpardonable, not but that there is mercy enough in God to forgive it, but because he who has committed it will not have pardon. He despises God, scorns his mercy, spills the cordial of Christ's blood, and tramples it under foot; he puts away salvation from him. When a poor sinner looks upon himself and sees his guilt, and then looks on God's justice and holiness, he falls down confounded; but here is that which may be as a cork to the net, to keep him from despair - if he will leave his sins and come to Christ, mercy can seal his pardon. (9) When God pardons a sinner, he forgives all sins. 'I will pardon all their iniquities.' Jer 33: 8. 'Having forgiven you all trespasses.' Col 2: 13. The mercy-seat, which was a type of forgiveness, covered the whole ark, to show that God covers all our transgressions. He does not leave one sin upon the score; he does not take his pen and for fourscore sins write down fifty, but blots out all sin. 'Who forgiveth all shine iniquities.' Psa 103: 3. When I say, God forgives all sins, I understand it of sins past, for sins to come are not forgiven till they are repented of. Indeed God has decreed to pardon them; and when he forgives one sin, he will in time forgive all; but sins future are not actually pardoned till they are repented of. It is absurd to think sin should be forgiven before it is committed. The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 20...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-19.txt .