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Q. WHAT does this article require you to believe?

A. 1st. That the penalty of the sin of Adam, which was entailed upon all his posterity by an offended God, is done away by the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

2dly. That the sins which we ourselves commit so frequently, and so grievously, will be pardoned by our Heavenly Father, on repentance and amendment of life, through the merits and mediation of the same Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus.

Q. What is sin?

A. It is the transgression of the laws and ordinances of God 2. Whosoever committeth sin,


a Quid est peccatum, nisi prævaricatio legis divinæ, et cœlestium inobedientia præceptorum. St. Ambrose, de Paradiso, cap. viii.

transgresseth the law; for sin is the transgression of the law "."

Q. To what sins has this article reference?

A. To all of every description: to sins of omission, as well as commission; in thought, in word, and in deed".

Q. What is the effect of sin?

A. The wrath of God followeth sin, as its sure effect. "The wrath of God," saith St. Paul, "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men "."


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Q. What is the consequence of sin?


A. The certain consequence of sin is a liability to punishment. Whosoever," saith St. Matthew, "is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of (liable to, amenable to, the punishment inflicted by) the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of (the severer punishment inflicted by) the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.' Q. Who forgiveth sins?

A. God alone.

Q. Hath God declared his will to mankind on this subject?

A. Blessed be God; on this subject, of which

1 John iii. 4.

c Rom. iii. 23.

d Rom. i. 18.

e Matt. v. 22.

Luke v. 21.

the importance is to us incalculable, he hath graciously vouchsafed to make known his will very fully.

Q. In what way hath he made it known?

A. He hath revealed it unto us by his chosen servants, the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles. On them he bestowed an abundant measure of his Spirit; to them he vouchsafed the pen of inspiration; and thus endowed with wisdom, and guarded from error, they committed to writing, through the pages of the Old and New Testament, the laws, and ordinances, and dispensations of the Most High.

Q. What do we, by this means, learn in the Bible respecting that most interesting doctrine, the forgiveness of sins?

A. We must here distinguish between the Old and the New Testament; between the covenant of God with the Israelites, which was a covenant of works, and the Christian covenant of faith. With the former, or Jewish dispensation, we have, in such a work as this, no concern, further than as it is connected with, and prepared the way for, the introduction of the Gospel. As to the particular question, however, which we are now discussing, viz. the forgiveness of sins, we perceive such a connection ".

Heb. ix. and x.

: Therefore, in this instance, we must first turn to the Old Testament, where we find that God requireth a propitiatory sacrifice for sin; and that, "without shedding of blood, is no remission." Aaron offered "his bullock for the sin offering, which was to make atonement for himself and for his house ":" he had also to kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins." Elsewhere the Jews were commanded to offer up to God sacrifices for sin, lambs, and calves, and goats, and kids of goats, and turtle doves; wherewith the priests made atonement for the trespasses of the people.

This mode of appeasing the wrath of the Almighty by the blood of victims slain at the altar, was a type of that great and effectual sacrifice of our Redeemer for the sins of all mankind'. It was " a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices "." But the fulness of time being come, "by one offering Christ hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us"." For, says St. Paul else

h Levit. xvi. 6.

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i Levit. xvi. 16.

m Heb. ix. 10.

* Levit. iv. 32. v. 6. ix. 2. xii. 6. Num. vii. 16, &c.

1 1 Peter iii. 18. Gal. i. 4.

" Heb. x. 14, 15.

where," "If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God." Again he says, "In Christ we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins P."

Q. What advantage do we derive from the forgiveness of sins here spoken of?

A. The blessed effects which result from it are incalculably great; they are no other than a removal of the displeasure of the Almighty, and an admission into his favour.

Q. Is this a free gift on the part of our Heavenly Father?

A. Yes; for on our parts it is wholly undeserved.

Q. But was it not purchased?

A. Certainly. It was purchased for us by the blood of Christ.

Q. How then can it be called a free gift?

A. As far as we, who receive it, are concerned, it is a free gift. 1st. Because we did nothing towards the purchase of it. 2dly. Because we had no claim of merit or desert. 3dly. Because it might have been withholden.

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