Jeremiah Burroughs On The Blessedness Of Pardoned Sin -- By: James Davison

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 05:1 (Jan 2013)
Article: Jeremiah Burroughs On The Blessedness Of Pardoned Sin
Author: James Davison

Jeremiah Burroughs On The Blessedness Of Pardoned Sin

James Davison

In 1668, some twenty-two years after Burroughs’s death, a number of his friends published a series of his sermons titled Gospel Remission. The sermons were originally preached by Burroughs immediately after a series on the evil of sin. Taking up this subject at this time was Burroughs’s way of bringing comfort to “such souls who, by the former arguments, have been made apprehensive of the dreadful evil of it.” Indeed, asks Burroughs, “what more seasonable and suitable argument can we now treat of than the blessedness of Pardon of Sin?”1

The Scripture text that formed the basis for this series of sermons is Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” These words, says Burroughs, “are indeed the genuine voice of a true penitent; the very character of a humble penitent soul;…one that has admiring thoughts of the blessedness of the pardon of sin.” Burroughs then goes on to say, “And blessed may your ears be who after hearing of the dreadfulness of sin, may come to hear the blessed doctrine of pardon.” It was Burroughs’s sincere hope that this subject, with God’s guidance, would enable him to present to his hearers “the excellency of those truths contained in this Scripture”; that this subject would “prove…to be to them, ‘as apples of gold in settings of silver’”—a reference to Proverbs 25:11.2

In setting the psalm in its context, Burroughs shows that David, although he had “a monopoly of the comforts of this world,” “the delights of this world,” “the crown upon his head,” and “victories over his enemies,” did not derive his true happiness from these things. On the contrary, “in the midst of all outward good things David enjoyed

in this world, he found his blessedness to consist in this: the pardon and forgiveness of his sins.” From these words Burroughs draws forth the doctrine he will expound and apply, namely, “The blessedness of any man or woman does not consist in the enjoyment of anything in the world, but in the free grace of God forgiving of his sin.” Likewise, “it neither consists in anything we can do or have, but in the free grace of God forgiving of sin.”3

According to Burroughs, quoting Luther, the importance of this doctrine is such that if it is permitted to “lie dead,” then “all the whole knowledge of other tr...

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