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dispositions then be seriously urged as an excuse? Will any dare to urge them at the day of judgment? No, "every mouth will then be stopped, "and all the world shall be found guilty before "God." I should not in this place have touched upon this controversial subject, had I not observed how greedily this poison is drunk down, and how fatally it operates in stupifying the conscience, flattering the pride, and apologizing for the sloth, of mankind.

Instead of thus abetting, we should endeavour to counteract, these artifices of Satan, and to combat the reluctancy of a sinner's heart, by shewing the absolute necessity of prayer unto salvation; enforcing the invitations to the throne of grace; expatiating on the promises made to all who call upon the Lord; explaining the nature of prayer; directing him in the new and living Way to the throne of grace; answering his objections, obviating his discouragements, representing it as our privilege, and unspeakable consolation; and exhorting him to draw near, and share our happiness: for we may be assured that they, who are thus excited to pray, will in due time "render unto God the praise "of making them to differ."

But I return from this digression. My fellow sinners, you must pray or perish.-Your backwardness to pray should humble you, and stir you up to overcome it, especially by crying unto the Lord to incline your heart by his grace to love

VOL. IV.

I

"Lord

and delight in prayer. Your ignorance should
urge you to begin as the disciples did:
"teach us to pray." You must not yield to cor-
ruption, temptation, or discouragement, but per-
severe in prayer with all sincerity and earnestness.
If you pray aright, you will be very far from trust-
ing in, or boasting of your prayers; for you will
perceive much imperfection and defilement in
them. But though humbled on that account, you
need not despond; your prayers, though broken,
faultering, and feeble, (if you mean what you ex-
press, and desire what you ask,) shall meet with
acceptance through the intercession of Jesus, and
be not only answered but in due season far ex-
ceeded. Especially in this way you must seek
repentance, as the gift of God through Jesus
Christ; using the other means with diligence,
earnestness, and perseverance: and then you will
assuredly be made partakers of that " repentance,
"which is unto salvation not to be repented of."

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CONCLUSION.

HAVING thus gone through the subject, according to the method at first laid down, nothing remains but to close with a few practical observations.

I. I would observe from what has been discoursed, that every species of religion, in which repentance forms no prominent part from first to last, is justly to be suspected, yea, certainly to be condemned, as unscriptural and destructive. There is a great deal of this religion in the world, which often comes recommended by extraordinary zeal for some peculiar doctrines of christianity, and is distinguished by unwarranted confidence and high affections. Men, hearing the gospel, are superficially alarmed on account of their sins, and eagerly look out for comfort. Through inexperience they lie open to Satan's artifice, and are easily imposed on with false comfort, deduced from false principles, exactly suited to their carnal unhumbled hearts. Thus they presume that their sins are pardoned, and their state good; and with this presumption self-love is delighted, and high affections produced: these, expressed in earnest fluent language, create them injudicious admirers:

this flatters and affects them the more, and confirms
them in their confidence; so that they think they
must not, on any account doubt more, after such
experiences. Yet all this is only a land-flood,
that soon subsides. They gradually experience a
decay of affection, and grow lifeless, indolent, and
worldly with their affection their confidence de-
clines, but they struggle hard to exclude doubt-
ings: they call themselves backsliders; allow
themselves to have forsaken their first love; and
groan out Job's complaint, though not at all in
Job's meaning.
"O that it were with me, as in
"months past."
And would a wish suffice, some-
thing might be done; but they have no heart for
greater exertion, To close all, they abuse the
doctrine of final perseverance; take it for granted
that they are saints; expect to be restored as it
were by miracle, whilst they turn a deaf ear to the
voice of Christ, commanding them to "be zealous,
"and repent;" till at length, perhaps, a suitable
occasion and temptation presenting themselves, they
throw aside their profession of godliness.

This is exactly the religion of the stony-ground hearers, who had faith, confidence, and joy, such as they were, but no repentance or humility,' and

• It is very observable how often the words, Every one that "exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself "shall be exalted," are repeated by our Saviour; and how many similar expressions are used by his apostles. This infallibly teaches us, that all appearances of religion are fallacious, so long as the heart remains unhumbled.

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therefore no root in themselves: for it is only by renewing our hearts unto repentance, that the ground is prepared for the reception of the seed, and the production of true faith and holiness, as hath already been demonstrated.

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Let no man deceive you by vain words." Except you are partakers of repentance, and bring. forth fruits meet for repentance, all your religion is vain, your hopes presumptuous, and your destruction inevitable; whatever other attainments, gifts, or experiences you may have to boast of, or to buoy up your confidence. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, and as effectually ruin souls by false religion, as by open ungodliness; and far more unsuspectedly.

II. I observe from what hath been discoursed that great care is requisite in distinguishing betwixt true repentance, and that which is superficial and merely natural.' This is of vast importance,

'Some will, perhaps, be disposed to enquire, why I have not adopted the common distinction betwixt legal and evangelical repentance? As the mode of expression is not scriptural, every one is at liberty to use it or not; and it did not appear to me sufficiently exact or comprehensive for my purpose. True repentance has more respect to the law, as transgressed by sin, and justly condemning the sinner, than any false repentance can have. Whilst on the other hand, men are more frequently seduced into a dependence on a superficial repentance, by unwarrantable presumptions of mercy, and false apprehensions of evangelical truth, than by slavish regard to the law. Natural and spiritual repentance seems to me a preferable distinction. By

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