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name and a praise, both in time and to eternity, in this world and that which is to come. O let a sense of his goodness to you, and of your unsuitable returns, humble your hearts before him, and quicken you to diligence, watchfulness and circumspection, through the whole of your remaining days!
Dear Saviour, when my thoughts recal
The wonders of thy grace;
And hide my blushing face.
Shall love like thine be thus repaid ?
Ah, vile, ungrateful heart !
From Jesus to depart.
From Jesus, who alone can give
True pleasure, peace, and reft:
But he, for his own mercy's fake,
My straying foul restores;
The pardon it implores.
Oh! ** ***
Oh! while I breathe to thee, my Lord,
The penitential figh,
And raise my thoughts on high.
Then shall the mourner at thy feet,
With fervour seek thy face;
Is thy restoring grace.
TF the favour of God be the life of his people, it
surely becomes us to inquire, with seriousness and folemnity, whether we ourselves are interested in this great privilege or not. Oh that this weighty concern might be cleared up to the satisfaction of every attentive and solicitous reader! The inquiry of such will be, “ How shall I know that I am in a state of acceptance and favour with God ?" In order to aflist you a little in this case, through the divine blessing, I would beg leave to ask you a few plain questions.
Have you ever been awakened to a sense of God's displeasure against you, because of your offences ? Have you ever been brought under deep conviction, that the Judge and Governor of the world is justly angry with you, as transgressors of his holy laws ? Has the horrible nature of sin ever been opened to your view; so that your souls have been afflicted on account of it? Has the guilt of fin ever laid on your consciences, as a burden too heavy for you to bear? And have you ever been brought to exclaim with the prophet Isaiah, 5. Woe is me, I am undone, because I am a man. of unclean lips."
When David poured out his penitential confessions before God, he spake of a broken heart, and complained of the anguish he felt, as being like that occasioned by broken bones. The arrows of the Almighty ftuck fast in him; there was no rest in his bones because of his sin; he even roared. by reason of the disquietness of his fpirit. Our Lord represents the condition of poor souls, who come to him, as a weary and burdened one. “Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft.” Job complains, that the terrors of God set themselves in array against him. Peter's hearers, when God gave them repentance, were pricked to the heart. Paul had the law opened
to him in such a manner, that his fins revived, and he died; his delusive hopes and comforts were at an end; and the law, which was originally ordained to life, he found to be unto death.
The law is our school-master, to bring us unto Christ; its terrors are usually seen and felt, in some degree, before we experience the grace and comforts of the gospel, An apprehension of divine wrath commonly precedes the discoveries of pardoning love; and sin is made bitter to us, before we taste that the Lord is gracious. We receive not the confolation arising from God's favour, generally speaking, till we have seen ourselves in danger of his everlasting displeasure. The poor sinner perceives that he is in a state of condemnation and ruin, and owns that it is of the Lord's mercy he is alive, and not sent to that place of punishment which his crimes have deserved. His mouth is stopped by the consciousness of his guilt, so that he is convinced it would be just in God to cast him off for
I am far from having any design to fix a standard for the degree of penitential disquietude. The con. victions of some are attended with much more terror than those of others. I am farther still from having any intention to suggest, that a long course of time is necessary for these discoveries. Peter's
hearers were brought to a sense of their sins, and to discoveries of pardoning mercy on the same day, in the same place, if not under the same sermon. The jailor at Philippi saw himself a loft sinner, and rejoiced in the falvation of Jesus the same night.
But I do not find any instance in the word of God, of a man's being filled with the comforts of divine love and favour, who has never had any sense of the evil of fin, or of his own miserable and undone state. That faith does not appear to be of the saving kind, which is not accompanied with repentance from dead works. It is usual for poor finners to have their minds enlightened to see the nature and number of their crimes, and to be filled with awful apprehensions of the dreadful malignity of sin, before they are brought to rejoice in God's favour and pardoning love. “ In that day thou shalt say, O Lord I will praise thee; for though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Behold God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he is also become my salvation.”
I would ask you farther, Have you been convinced that the whole world cannot procure you. an interest in the divine favour? That neither angels