The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 20 (... continued from file 19) If all sins past and to come are at once forgiven, then what need to pray for the pardon of sin? It is a vain thing to pray for the pardon of that which is already forgiven. The opinion that sins to come, as well as past, are forgiven, takes away and makes void Christ's intercession. He is an advocate to intercede for daily sins. I John 2: 1. But if sin be forgiven before it be committed, what need is there of his daily intercession? What need have I of an advocate, if sin be pardoned before it be committed? So that, though God forgives all sins past to a believer, yet sins to come are not forgiven till repentance be renewed. (10) Faith necessarily precedes forgiveness. There must be believing on our part before there is forgiving on God's part. 'To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.' Acts 10: 43. So that faith is a necessary antecedent to forgiveness. There are two acts of faith, to accept Christ and to trust in Christ, to accept of his terms, to trust in his merits; and he who does neither of these, can have no forgiveness. He who does not accept Christ, cannot have his person; he who does not trust in him, cannot have benefit by his blood. So that, without faith, there is no remission. (11) Though justification and sanctification are not the same, yet God never pardons a sinner but he sanctifies him. Justification and sanctification are not the same. Justification is without us, sanctification is within us. The one is by righteousness imputed, the other is by righteousness imparted. Justification is equal, sanctification is gradual. Sanctification is recipere magis et minus [to receive more and yet less]. One is sanctified more than another, but one is not justified more than another; one has more grace than another, but he is not more a believer than another. The matter of our justification is perfect, viz., Christ's righteousness; but our sanctification is imperfect, there are the spots of God's children. Deut 32: 5. Our graces are mixed, our duties are defiled. Thus justification and sanctification are not the same. Yet, for all that, they are not separated. God never pardons and justifies a sinner but he sanctifies him. 'But ye are sanctified, but ye are justified.' I Cor 6: 11. 'This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ.' I John 5: 6. Christ comes to the soul by blood, which denotes remission; and by water, which denotes sanctification. Let no man say he is pardoned who is not made holy. This I urge against the Antinomians, who talk of their sin being forgiven, and having a part in Christ, and yet remain unconverted, and live in the grossest sins. Pardon and healing go together. 'I create the fruit of the lips, peace.' Isa 57: 19. Peace is the fruit of pardon, and then it follows, 'I will heal him.' Where God pardons, he purifies. As in the inauguration of kings, with the crown there is the oil to anoint; so when God crowns a man with forgiveness, he gives the anointing oil of grace to sanctify. 'I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name.' Rev 2: 17. A 'white stone,' that is absolution; and a 'new name' in the stone, that is sanctification. If God should pardon a man, and not sanctify him, it would be a reproach to him. He would love and be well pleased with men in their sins, which is diametrically contrary to his holy nature. If God should pardon and not sanctify, he could have no glory from us. God's people are formed to show forth his praise; but if he should pardon and not sanctify us, how could we show forth his praise? Isa 43: 2I. How could we glorify him? What glory can God have from a proud, ignorant, profane heart? If God should pardon and not sanctify, that would enter heaven which defileth; but nothing shall enter that defileth. Rev 21: 27. God should then settle the inheritance upon men before they were fit for it. 'Which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance.' Col 1: 12. How is that but by the divine unction? So that whoever God forgives, he transforms. Let no man say his sins are forgiven who does not find an inherent work of holiness in his heart. (12) Where God remits sin, he imputes righteousness. This righteousness of Christ imputed is a salvo to God's law, and makes full satisfaction for breaches of it. This righteousness procures God's favour. God cannot love us when he sees us in his Son's robe, which both covers and adorns us. In this spotless robe of Christ we outshine the angels. Theirs is but the righteousness of creatures, this is the righteousness of God himself 'That we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' 2 Cor 5: 21. How great a blessing then is forgiveness? With remission of sin is joined imputation of righteousness. (13) They whose sins are forgiven must not omit praying for forgiveness. 'Forgive us our trespasses.' Believers who are pardoned must be continual suitors for pardon. When Nathan told David, 'The Lord hath put away thy sin,' David composed a penitential psalm for the pardon of his sin. 2 Sam 12: 13. Sin, after pardon, rebels. Like Samson's hair, though it be cut, it will grow again. We sin daily, and must ask for daily pardon as well as for daily bread. Besides, a Christian's pardon is not so sure but he may desire to have a clearer evidence of it. (14) A full absolution from all sin is not pronounced till the day of judgement. The day of judgement is called a time of refreshing, when sin shall be completely blotted out. Acts 3: 19. Now God blots out sin truly, but then it shall be done in a more public way. God will openly pronounce the saints' absolution before men and angels. Their happiness is not completed till the day of judgement, because their pardon shall be solemnly pronounced, and there shall be the triumphs of the heavenly host. At that day it will be true indeed that God sees no sin in his children; they shall be as pure as the angels; then the church shall be presented without wrinkle. Eph 5: 27. She shall be as free from stain as guilt, Satan shall no more accuse. Christ will show the debt-book crossed in his blood. Therefore the church prays for Christ's coming to judgement. The bride says, 'Come, Lord Jesus:' light the lamps, then burn the incense. Rev 22: 20. Use 1. For information. (1) From this word, 'Forgive,' we learn that if the debt of sin be no other way discharged but by being forgiven, we cannot satisfy for it. Among other damnable opinions of the church of Rome, one is, man's power to satisfy for sin. The Council of Trent holds that God is satisfied by our undergoing the penalty imposed by the censure of priests; and again, that we have works of our own by which we may satisfy for our wrongs done to God. By these opinions we judge what the Popish religion is. They intend to pay the debt they owe to God of themselves, to pay it in part, and do not look to have it all forgiven; but why did Christ teach us to pray, 'Forgive us our sins,' if we can of ourselves satisfy God for the wrong we have done him? This doctrine robs God of his glory, Christ of his merit, and the soul of salvation. Alas! is not the lock cut where the strength lay? Are not all our works fly-blown with sin, and can sin satisfy for sin? This doctrine makes men their own saviours, which is most absurd to hold, for can the obedience of a finite creature satisfy for an infinite offence? Sin being forgiven, clearly implies we cannot satisfy for it. (2) From this word "us", 'Forgive us,' we learn that pardon is chiefly to be sought for ourselves; for though we are to pray for the pardon of others, 'Pray one for another,' yet in the first place, we are to beg pardon for ourselves. James 5: 16. What! will another's pardon do us good? Everyone is to endeavour to have his own name in the pardon. A son may be made free by his father's freedom, but he cannot be pardoned by his father's pardon, he must have a pardon for himself. In this sense selfishness is lawful, everyone must be for himself and get a pardon for his own sins. 'Forgive us.' (3) From this word "our", 'our sins,' we learn how just God is in punishing us. The text says 'our sins;' we are not punished for other men's sins, but our own. Nemo habet de proprio, nisi peccatum [No one has anything of his own, except his sin]. Augustine. There is nothing we can call so properly ours as sin. Our daily bread we have from God, our daily sins we have from ourselves. Sin is our own act, a web of our own spinning. How righteous therefore is God in punishing us! We sow the seed, and God makes us reap what we sow. 'I give every man according to the fruit of his doings.' Jer 17: 10. When we are punished we but taste the fruit of our own grafting. (4) From this word sins, see from hence the multitude of sin we stand guilty of. We pray not, forgive us our sin, as if it were only a single debt, but sins, in the plural. So vast is the catalogue of our sins that David cries out, 'Who can understand his errors?' Psa 19: I2. Our sins are like the drops of the sea, like the atoms in the sun - they exceed all arithmetic. The debts we owe to God we can no more number than we can satisfy; which, as it should humble us to consider how full of black spots our souls are, so it should put us upon seeking after the pardon of our sins. Use 2. For exhortation. Let us labour for the forgiveness of sin, which is a main branch of the charter or covenant of grace. 'I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.' Heb 8: 12. It is mercy to feed us, but it is rich mercy to pardon us. Earthly things are no signs of God's love: he may give the venison, but not the blessing; but when he seals up forgiveness, he gives his love and heaven with it. 'Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.' Psa 21: 3. A crown of gold was a mercy; but if you look into Psa 103 you shall find a greater mercy: 'Who forgiveth all shine iniquities, who crowneth thee with lovingkindness;' ver 3, 4. To be crowned with forgiveness and lovingkindness is afar greater mercy than be have a crown of pure gold set upon the head. It was a mercy when Christ cured the palsied man; but when Christ said to him, 'Thy sins be forgiven,' it was more than to have his palsy healed. Mark 2: 5. Forgiveness of sin is the chief thing to be sought after; and surely, if conscience be once touched with a sense of sin, there is nothing a man will thirst after more than forgiveness. 'My sin is ever before me.' Psa 51: 3. This made David so earnest for pardon. 'Have mercy upon me, O God; blot out my transgressions.' Psa 51: 1. If anyone should have come to David and asked him, Where is thy pain? What is it troubles thee? Is it the fear of shame which shall come upon thee and thy wives? Is it the fear of the sword which God has threatened shall not depart from thy house? He would have said, No, it is only my sin pains me: 'My sin is ever before me.' Were this removed by forgiveness, though the sword rode in circuit in my family, I would be well enough content. When the arrow of guilt sticks in the conscience, nothing is so desirable as to have it plucked out by forgiveness. O therefore seek after forgiveness of sin. You may make a shift to live without it; but how will you die without it? Will not death have a sting to an unpardoned sinner? How do you think to get to heaven without forgiveness? As at some festivals there is no being admitted unless you bring a ticket; so unless you have this ticket to show, 'Forgiveness of sin', there is no being admitted into the holy place of heaven. Will God ever crown those that he will not forgive? O be ambitious of pardoning grace. When God had made Abraham great and large promises, Abraham replied, 'Lord, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless!' Gen 15: 2. So, when God has given thee riches, and all thy heart can wish, say to him, Lord, what is all this, seeing I want forgiveness? Let my pardon be sealed in Christ's blood. A prisoner in the Tower is in an ill case, notwithstanding his brave diet, great attendance, soft bed to lie on, because, being impeached, he looks every day for his arraignment, and is afraid of the sentence of death. In such a case and worse is he who swims in the pleasures of the world, but his sins are not forgiven. A guilty conscience impeaches him, and he is in fear of being arraigned and condemned at God's judgement-seat. Give not then sleep to your eyes, or slumber to your eyelids, till you have gotten some well-grounded hope that your sins are blotted out. Before I come to press the exhortation to seek after forgiveness of sin, I shall propound one question. If pardon of sin he so absolutely necessary, what is the reason that so few in the world seek after it? If they want health, they repair to the physician; if they want riches, they take a voyage to the Indies; but if they want forgiveness of sin, they seem to be unconcerned, and do not seek after it: whence is this? Inadvertency, or want of consideration. They do not look into their spiritual estate, or cast up their accounts to see how matters stand between God and their souls. 'My people doth not consider:' they do not consider they are indebted to God in a debt often thousand talents, and that God will, ere long, call them to account. 'So, then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God.' Isa 1: 3; Rom 14: 12. But people shun serious thoughts: 'My people doth not consider.' Hence it is they do not look after pardon. Men do not seek after forgiveness of sin for want of conviction. Few are convinced what a deadly evil sin is, that it is the spirits of mischief distilled, it turns a man's glory into shame, it brings all plagues on the body, and curses on the soul. Unless a man's sin be forgiven, there is not the vilest creature alive, the dog, serpent, or toad, but is in a better condition than the sinner; for when they die they go but to the earth; but he, dying without pardon, goes into hell torments for ever. Men are not convinced of this, but play with the viper of sin. Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness, because they are seeking other things. They seek the world immoderately. When Saul was seeking after the asses, he did not think of a kingdom. The world is a golden snare. Divitiae saeculi sunt laquei diaboli [The riches of the world are the snares of the devil]. Bernard. The wedge of gold hinders many from seeking after pardon. Ministers cry to the people, 'Get your pardon sealed;' but if you call to a man that is in a mill, the noise of the mill drowns the voice, that he cannot hear; so when the mill of a trade is going, it makes such a noise, that the people cannot hear the minister when he lifts up his voice like a trumpet and cries to them to look after the sealing of their pardon. He who spends all his time about the world and does not mind forgiveness, will accuse himself of folly at last. You would judge that prisoner very unwise that should spend all his time with the cook to get his dinner ready, and should never mind getting a pardon. Men seek not after forgiveness of sin, through a bold presumption of mercy; they conceive God to be made up all of mercy; and that he will indulge them, though they take little or no pains to sue for their pardon. True, God is merciful, but withal he is just, he will not wrong his justice by showing mercy. Read the proclamation: 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious; and that will by no means clear the guilty.' Exod 34: 6, 7. Such as go on in sin, and are so slothful or wilful that they will not seek after forgiveness, though there be a whole ocean of mercy in the Lord, not one drop shall fall to their share. He 'will by no means clear the guilty.' Men seek not earnestly after forgiveness out of hope of impunity. They flatter themselves in sin, and because they have been spared so long, therefore think God never intends to reckon with them. 'He hath said in his heart, God has forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.' Psa 10: 11. Atheists think either the judge is blind or forgetful; but let sinners know that long forbearance is no forgiveness. God bore with Sodom a long time, but at last rained down fire and brimstone upon them. The adjourning of the assizes does not acquit the prisoner. The longer God is taking the blow, the heavier it will be at last, if sinners repent not. Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness through mistake. They think getting a pardon is easy, it is but repenting at the last hour, a sigh, or a 'Lord, have mercy,' and a pardon will drop into their mouths. But is it so easy to repent, and have a pardon? Tell me, O sinner, is regeneration easy? Are there no pangs in the new birth? Is mortification easy? Is it nothing to pluck out the right eye? Is it easy to leap out of Delilah's lap into Abraham's bosom? This is the draw-net by which the devil drags millions to hell, the facility of repenting and getting a pardon. Men do not look after forgiveness through despair. Oh, says the desponding soul, it is a vain thing for me to expect pardon; my sins are so many and heinous that surely God will not forgive me. 'And they said, There is no hope.' Jer 38: 12. My sins are huge mountains, and can they ever be cast into the sea? Despair cuts the sinews of endeavour. Who will use means that despairs of success? The devil shows some men their sins at the little end of the perspective-glass, and they seem little or none at all; but he shows others their sins at the great end of the perspective, and they fright them into despair. This is a soul-damning sin. Judas's despair was worse than his treason. Despair spills the cordial of Christ's blood. The voice of despair is, Christ's blood cannot pardon me. Thus you see whence it is that men seek no more earnestly after the forgiveness of sin. Having answered this question, I shall now come to press the exhortation upon every one of us, to seek earnestly after the forgiveness of our sins. (1) Our very life lies in getting pardon. It is called the 'justification of life.' Rom 5: 18. Now, if our life lies in our pardon, and we are dead and damned without it, does it not concern us above all things to labour after forgiveness of sin? 'For it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life.' Deut 32: 47. If a man be under a sentence of death, he will set his wits to work, and make use of all his friends to get the king to grant his pardon, because his life lies upon it; so we by reason of sin are under a sentence of damnation. There is one friend at court we may make use of to procure our pardon, namely, the Lord Jesus. How earnest then should we be with him to be our Advocate to the Father for us, that he would present the merit of his blood to the Father, as the price of our pardon! (2) There is that in sin that should make us desire forgiveness. Sin is the only thing that disquiets the soul. It is a burden, it burdens the creation, it burdens the conscience. Rom 8: 22; Psa 38: 4. A wicked man is not sensible of sin, he is dead in sin; and if you lay a thousand weight upon a dead man he feels it not. But to an awakened conscience sin is a burden. When a man seriously weighs with himself the glory and purity of that Majesty which sin has offended, the preciousness of that soul which sin has polluted, the loss of that happiness which sin has endangered, the greatness of that torment which sin has deserved, to lay all this together, surely must make sin burdensome: and should not we labour to have this burden removed by pardoning mercy? Sin is a debt, 'Forgive us our debts.' Matt 6: 12. Every debt we owe, God has written down in his book. 'Behold, it is written before me,' and one day God's debt-book will be opened. 'The books were opened.' Isa 65: 6; Rev 20: 12. And should not this make us look after forgiveness? Sin being such a debt as we must eternally lie in the prison of hell for, if it be not discharged, should we not be earnest with God to cross the debt-book with the blood of his Son? There is no way to look God in the face with comfort, but by having our debts either paid or pardoned. (3) Nothing but forgiveness can give ease to a troubled conscience. There is a great difference between having the fancy pleased, and having the conscience eased. Worldly things may please the fancy, but not ease the conscience. Nothing but pardon can relieve a troubled soul. It is strange what shifts men will make for ease when conscience is pained, and how many false medicines they will use before they will take the right way for a cure. When conscience is troubled, they will try what merry company can do. They may perhaps drink away trouble of conscience; perhaps they may play it away at cards; perhaps a Lent-whipping will do the deed; perhaps multitude of business will so take up their time, that they shall have no leisure to hear the clamours and accusations of conscience; but how vain are all these attempts! Still the wound bleeds inwardly, their heart trembles, their conscience roars, and they can have no peace. Whence is it? The reason is they go not to the mercy of God, and the blood of Christ, for the pardon of their sins; and hence they have no ease. Suppose a man has a thorn in his foot, which puts him to pain; let him anoint it, or wrap it up, and keep it warm; but till the thorn be plucked out, it aches and swells, and he has no ease; so when the thorn of sin is in a man's conscience, there is no ease till it be pulled out. When God removes iniquity, the thorn is plucked out. How was David's heart finely quieted, when Nathan the prophet told him, 'The Lord hath put away thy sin'! 2 Sam 12: 13. How should we therefore labour for forgiveness! Till then we can have no ease in the mind. Nothing but pardon, sealed with the blood of the Redeemer, can ease a wounded spirit. (4) Forgiveness of sin is feasible, and may be obtained. Impossibility destroys endeavour; but, 'There is hope in Israel concerning this.' Ezra 10: 2. The devils are past hope; a sentence of death is upon them, which is irrevocable; but there is hope for us of obtaining pardon. 'There is forgiveness with thee.' Psa 130: 4. If pardon of sin were not possible, it were not to be prayed for; but it has been prayed for. 'I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant.' 2 Sam 24: 10. And Christ bids us pray for it 'Forgive us our trespasses.' That is possible which God has promised, but God has promised pardon upon repentance. 'Let the wicked forsake his way and return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.' Isa 55: 7. Hebrew, 'He will multiply to pardon.' That is possible which others have obtained; but others have arrived at forgiveness, therefore it is obtainable. Psa 32: 5. 'Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.' Isa 38: 17. (5) Forgiveness of sin is a choice and eminent blessing. To have the book cancelled, and God appeased, is worth obtaining, which may whet our endeavour after it. That it is a rare transcendent blessing, appears by three demonstrations: First, if we consider how this blessing is purchased, namely, by the Lord Jesus. There are three things in reference to Christ which set forth the choiceness and preciousness of forgiveness:  No mere created power in heaven or earth could expiate one sin, or procure a pardon, but Jesus Christ only. 'He is the propitiation for our sins.' I John 2: 2. No merit can buy out a pardon. Paul had as much to boast of as any man, his high birth, his learning, his legal righteousness; but he disclaims all in point of justification, and lays them under Christ's feet to tread upon. No angel, with all his holiness, could lay down a price for the pardon of one sin. 'If a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him?' I Sam 2: 25. What angel durst be so bold as to open his mouth to God for a delinquent sinner? Only Jesus Christ, who is God-man, could deal with God's justice, and purchase forgiveness.  Christ himself could not procure a pardon without dying. Every pardon is the price of blood. Christ's life was a rule of holiness, and a pattern of obedience. He fulfilled all righteousness. Matt 3: 15. Certainly his active obedience was of great value and merit; but that which raises the worth of forgiveness, is that his active obedience had not fully procured a pardon for us without the shedding of his blood. Our justification therefore is ascribed to his blood. 'Being justified by his blood.' Rom 5: 9. Christ did bleed out our pardon. There is much ascribed to his intercession, but his intercession had not prevailed with God for the forgiveness of one sin had he not shed his blood. It is worthy of notice, that when Christ is described to John as an intercessor for his church, he is represented in the likeness of a Lamb slain, to show that Christ must die and be slain before he can be an intercessor. Rev 5: 6.  Christ, by dying, had not purchased forgiveness for us if he had not died an accursed death. He endured the curse. Gal 3: 13. All the agonies Christ endured in his soul, all the torments in his body, could not purchase a pardon except he had been made a curse for us. He must be cursed before we could be blessed with a pardon. Secondly, forgiveness of sin is a choice blessing, if we consider what glorious attributes God puts forth in it. He puts forth infinite power. When Moses was pleading with God for the pardon of Israel's sin, he spoke thus: 'Let the power of my Lord be great.' Numb 14: 17. For God, forgiving sin is a work of as great power as to make heaven and earth, nay, a greater. When he made the world, he met with no opposition; but, when he pardons, Satan opposes, and the heart opposes. A sinner is desperate, and slights, yea, defies pardon, till God, by his mighty power, convinces him of his sin and danger, and makes him willing to accept of pardon. God, in forgiving sins, puts forth infinite mercy. 'Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy.' Numb 14: 19. It is mercy to have a reprieve; and if there be mercy in sparing a sinner, what mercy is there in pardoning him! This is the flos lactis, the cream of mercy. For God to put up with so many injuries, to wipe so many debts off the score, is infinite favour. Thirdly, forgiveness of sin is a choice blessing, as it lays a foundation for other mercies. It is a leading mercy. It makes way for temporal good things. It brings health. When Christ said to the palsied man, 'Thy sins are forgiven,' he made way for a bodily cure. 'Arise, take up thy bed and walk.' Matt 9: 6. The pardon of his sin made way for the healing of his palsy. It brings prosperity. Jer 33: 8, 9. It makes way for spiritual good things. Forgiveness of sin never comes alone, but has other spiritual blessings attending it. Whom God pardons, he sanctifies, adopts, crowns. It is a voluminous mercy, it draws the silver link of grace, and the golden link of glory after it. It is a high act of indulgence. God seals the sinner's pardon with a kiss. And should not we, above all things, seek after so great a blessing as forgiveness? (6) That which may make us seek after forgiveness of sin is God's inclinableness to pardon. 'Thou art a God ready to pardon.' Neh 9: 17. In the Hebrew it is, 'A God of pardons.' We are apt to entertain wrong conceits of God, that he is inexorable, and will not forgive. 'I knew thee that thou art an hard man.' Matt 25: 24. But God is a sin-pardoning God. 'The Lord merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.' Exod 34: 6, 7. Here is my name, says God, if you would know how I am called, I tell you my name, 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful, forgiving iniquity.' A pirate or rebel, that knows there is a proclamation out against him, will never come in; but, if he hears that the prince is full of clemency and there is a proclamation of pardon if he submit, it will be a great incentive to him to lay down his arms and become loyal to his prince. See God's proclamation to repenting sinners, in Jer 3: 12: 'Go and proclaim these words, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful.' God's mercy is a tender mercy. The Hebrew word for mercy signifies bowels. God's mercy is full of sympathy, he is of a most sweet, indulgent nature. 'Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive.' Psa 86: 1. The bee does not more naturally give honey, than God shows mercy. But does not God seem to delight in punitive acts, or acts of severity? 'I will laugh at your calamity.' Prov 1: 26. To whom does God say this? See verse 25. 'Ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof' God delights in the destruction of those who despise his instruction; but a humble penitent breaking off sin, and suing for pardon, he delights in. 'He delighteth in mercy.' Mic 7: 18. But though God be so full of mercy, and ready to forgive, yet his mercy reaches not to all; he forgives such only as are elected, and I question my election. No man can say he is not elected. God has not revealed to any particular man that he is a reprobate, excepting him only who has sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost; which thou art far enough from who mournest for sin, and seekest after forgiveness. The thought that we are not elected, and that there is no pardon for us, comes from Satan, and is the poisoned arrow he shoots. He is the accuser: he accuses us to God that we are great sinners; and he accuses God to us as if he were a tyrant, one that watches to destroy his creatures. These are diabolical suggestions; say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.' It is sinful for any to hold that he is not elected. It would take him off from the use of means, from praying and repenting; it would harden him, and make him desperate. Therefore pry not into the arcana coeli, secrets of heaven. Remember what befell the men of Bethshemesh, for looking into the ark. I Sam 6: 19. Know that we are not to go by God's secret will, but by his revealed will. Let us look into God's revealed will, and there we shall find enough to cherish hope, and encourage us to go to God for the pardon of our sins. He has said in his Word, that he is 'rich in mercy,' and that he does not delight in the destruction of a sinner. Eph 2: 4; Ezek 18: 32. Jurat per essentiam. Musculus. He swears by his essence. 'As I live, saith the Lord God I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.' Ezek 33: 11. Hence he waits long, and puts off the sessions from time to time, to see if sinners will repent and seek to him for pardon. Therefore, let God's tender mercies and precious promises encourage us to seek him for the forgiveness of our sins. (7) Not to seek earnestly for pardon is unspeakable misery to such as need forgiveness. It must needs be ill with that malefactor that has not pardon. The unpardoned sinner, who lives and dies such, is under the greatest loss and privation. Is there any happiness like the enjoyment of God in glory? This is the joy of angels, the crown of saints glorified, but the unforgiven sinner shall not behold God's smiling face; he shall see God as an enemy, not as a friend; he shall have an affrighting sight of God, not beatific; he shall see the black rod, not the mercy-seat. Sins unpardoned are like the angel with a flaming sword, who stopped the passage to paradise. They stop the way to the heavenly paradise. How doleful is the condition of that soul which is banished from the place of bliss, where the King of Glory keeps his court! The unpardoned sinner has nothing to do with any promise. The promises are mulctralia evangelii, the breasts that hold the sincere milk of the word, which fill the soul with precious sweetness. They are the royal charter: but what has a stranger to do to meddle with the charter? It was the dove that plucked the olive branch; it is only the believer who plucks the tree of the promise. Till the condition of the promise be performed, no man can have right to the comfort of it; and how sad is it not to have one promise to show for heaven! An unpardoned sinner is continually in danger of the outcry of an accusing conscience. An accusing conscience is a little hell. Siculi non invenere tyranni tormentum majus [The Sicilian tyrants devised no worse a torture]. We tremble to hear a lion roar: how terrible are the roarings of conscience! Judas hanged himself to quiet his conscience. A sinner's conscience at present is either asleep or seared; but when God shall awaken it, either by affliction or at death, how will the unpardoned sinner be affrighted! When a man shall have all his sins set before his eyes, and drawn out in their bloody colours, and the worm of conscience begins to gnaw, oh, what a trembling at heart will the sinner have! All the curses of God stand in full force against an unpardoned sinner. His very blessings are cursed. 'I will curse your blessings.' Mal 2: 2. His table is a snare; he eats and drinks a curse. What comfort could Dionysius have at his feast, when he imagined he saw a naked sword hanging by a twine-thread over his head? It is enough to spoil a sinner's banquet, that a curse like a naked sword, hangs over his head. Caesar wondered to see one of his soldiers who was in debt so merry. One would wonder that man could be merry who is heir to all God's curses. He does not see these curses, but is blinder than Balaam's ass, who saw the angel's sword drawn. The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 21...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-20.txt .