In working through Jonathan Edward’s sermon Great Guilt no Obstacle to the Pardon of the Returning Sinner, based on Psalm 25:11, I’ve come to the portion of the sermon where Edwards begins to apply the sermon to his audience. He says,
The proper use of this subject is, to encourage sinners whose consciences are burdened with a sense of guilt, immediately to go to God through Christ for mercy. If you go in the manner we have described, the arms of mercy are open to embrace you. You need not be at all the more fearful of coming because of your sins, let them be ever so black. If you had as much guilt lying on each of your souls as all the wicked men in the world, and all the damned souls in hell; yet if you come to God for mercy, sensible of your own vileness, and seeking pardon only through the free mercy of God in Christ, you would not need to be afraid; the greatness of your sins would be no impediment to your pardon. Therefore, if your souls be burdened, and you are distressed for fear of hell, you need not bear that burden and distress any longer. It you are but willing, you may freely come and unload yourselves, and cast all your burdens on Christ, and rest in him.
In the full context of his sermon, this is such a beautiful climax. Edwards has open the scriptures and expounded on the doctrines of mercy, justice, judgement, wrath, salvation, faith, and repentance. Now, he sums it up in succinct fashion. If you’re a sinner, come to Jesus to receive mercy.