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wbich attend the scene, are but ill suited to the deep, subdued, enlightened, and heart-felt emotions of a soul, in passing from darkDess to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. The excitement, accordingly, is in most instances as transient, as it is wild and tumultuous. We could name the places, within the circle of our personal observation, and those not two or three only, where conversions of this kind, a few years since, were frequent and many, of wbich scarcely any of them, Methodists themselves being jndges, bare resulted in “fruits meet for repentance.” Nor is this pecu- . liar to the Methodism of this country, or of the present day. It was the case under the conduct of its distinguished founder. In an ac-count of a revival in a school at Kingswood, he says, “ The children were shown a corpse and exhorted to repentance. A number of them immediately covenanted, that they would not sleep until they bad found peace. They prayed all night and the next day, and for several successive days, until all felt their justification. In the evening, all the maids, and many of the boys, not baving been used to so long and violent speaking, (for this had lasted from Tuesday till Saturday,) were worn out as to bodily strength, and so hoarse, that they were scarce able to speak; but they were strong in spirit, and full of joy and peace in believing.” Twelve months afterwards, be wrote in his journal as follows. “I spent an hour with our children at Kingswood. It is strange! How long shall we be constrained to weave Penelope's web! What has become of the wonderful work of grace which God wrought in them last September! It is gone! It is lost! It is vanished away! There is scarce any trace of it remaining." Still, in scenes like these, there are such resemblances of effects wrought by divine influence, that no inconsiderable part of the members of our churches eagerly resort to them, persuade their families to accompany them; and even charge with indifference to the work of God, their more cautious brethren who stand aloof. This we regard as one proof among others of a lamentable want of discrimination in our churches, concerning the nature of christian experience. Were Edwards on the Affections read not, as it was a few years since, many of our estimable members, who are now unconsciously giving their countenance to a spirit of fanaticism around us, would not only desist, but would give to revivals among ourselves, a better direction and a bappier character.
From the Christian Mirror.
Ye servants of Jesus come out from the world,
Awake from your slumbers, for battle prepare;
Your foes who are mighty are seeking your fall;
Now since this contention on earth is begun, ,
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SERMON. Psalm LI. 4.–Againsi thee, thee only, hare I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mighttst be justified when thou speakest, and clear when thou judgesi.
This is the language of true repentance. Happy would it be for those who make the sins of David an apology for their own, if they possessed that other trait of his character which is exhibited in these words. Then, indeed, they would not attempt to palliate their sing, but would feri and confess that they have no excuse to offer, and that unless sovereign mercy interposed, they must be condemned, and that justly. Repentance is our indispensable prerequisite to salvation. It is enjoined upon all men by the command of God, and it is required as the condition of forgiveness and eternal life. It is therefore desirable that the nature of repentance should be understood: and such a practical exhibition of it as here presented, affords the best means of attaining a true knowledge of it. By attending to the feelings and excercises of the penitent king of Israel, we may learn what ought to be the state of our hearts, and wbat it must be, if we exercise true repentance. Your attention is therefore invited to the remarks which are now to be offered on this passage of sacred scripture which I have quoted.
1. David makes the confession: “Against thee, thee only, bave I sinned." That which rendered sin the most odious in his view, and wbicb especially induced hiin to humble himself before God, was, that he saw that sin is committed against God. True penitents always have such a sense of sin, This distinguishes genuine repentance from that which is spurious. It is sorrow for sin on account of its opposition to God, and its hatefulness in his sight. David not only believed that God is boly and infinitels amiable and wortby; but he had complacency in the divine character, he loved God as a holy being; and because he loved him, he hated sin as being opposed to his character, to the feelings of his heart, and to his holy government. Sinners may feel a sorrow for sin, and doubtless often do feel a sorrow for it, which is very different in its nature from that of Darid. When they see that they are in the hands of God, that he hates sin, that they have sinned against him and are liable to be punished with the expressions of his everlasting displeasure, they lament that they have committed sin against him. Sometimes their alarm and distress become very great, their souls are disquieted within them, and they refuse to be comforted. But what is the real cause of their
distress and sorrow? Is it their abhorrence of the nature of sin? I. it that they love the holy character of God, and are conscious that they have offended bim? No. It is their dread of punishment which causes their sorrow for sin. It is the conviction which they feel of their exposure to divine wrath, which makes them tremble in view of their transgressions, and lament that they have incurred guilt. If they could be assured that no punishment would follow, if they knew that after death there was no judgment, and no retributions to the wicked for their sins, they would be wholly relieved, and would go on in the ways of sin with alacrity and delight. It is easy to see, that such sorrow for sin as arises merely from the apprehension of punishment, is in its nature, perfectly selfish, and that it implies no true love to God, or hatred of the nature of sin. But the sorrow which David expressed, and which constitutes true repentance, was not selfish. It resulted from his supreme love to God. It grieved him that he had sinned, because in sinning he had offended the being whom he loved with all his heart. For the same reason we all ought to excercise sorrow for our sins. Our God and sovereign, the author of our being, and the source of all our blesings, is holy. We are bound to him by the strongest natural and moral obligations. It has been our duty, ever since we were capable of knowing and serving him, to render to him the tribute of supreme affection, to seek the promotion of his glory, and to honour his name. But we have alienated our hearts from him. We have practically disowned him as our God. We have set at nought his authority, and returned ingratitude for his mercies. How then ought our hearts to be affected in view of our sins? Ought we rot, and if we ought, should wo not, go to him with the humble confession, "Against thee, thee only have we sinned."?
But why does the penitenç Psalmist say that it is against God · only that he has sinned? Had be not by his sins injured any of his fellow men? Had he not done injury to himself? Yes. He had in a very flagrant manner violated the principles of justice and humanity in relation to others, and had sinned against his own soul, exposing himself to the displeasure of God. But still he regarded bis sins as being hateful principally on account of their being coinInitted against God. If he had injured a fellow man, that man was a creature of God, or subject of his government, and an object of his divine regard: Or if he had sinned against himself, he was bound to regard himself as being not his own, but the property of God, and bound to glorify God in his body and spirit which were God's. Accordingly all his sins, whether committed against God directly, his į fellow men, or himself, were ultimately and principally against God. Thus he veiwed them; and this led him to confess as he did, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” The same view ought we to take, of the sins by which we injure any of our fellow men. Whether we do injury to their persons, their characters, or their property; we ought to consider those whom we injure, as God's creatures, for whom he has done much, whom he preserves and blesses, for whose salvation he has given his beloved Son, whom he commands us to
dove as ourselves. By injuring them, therefore, we sin against God; and on this account chiefly ought we to lament such sins, and repent of them before God.
2. The heart of David was affected by the consideration, that his sins had been committed not only against God, but in the sight of God. “Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil,' (or as in the original) “done evil in thy sight." True penitents fee the import of the truth, that the holy God is a witness of all their moral conduct, that he constantly looks at their hearts; and views, as their final judge, all the thoughts and intents of their hearts. While sinners are careless and indifferent respecting their conduct towards God, they consider not that he is present in every place, and knows all their actions and the feelings of their hearts. If they realized this truth, they could not feel secure while they transgrens bis law and practically bid defiance to his wrath. That which brings home to their minds a conviction of their guilt and danger, is a lively and impressive sense of their dependence on God, their accountableness to him, and of their being under the inspection of his omniscient eye. This view of God all true penitents have, and it causes them to abase themselves in his presence, and with godly
sorrow, to confess to him their sins. Feeling that their hearts are 3. baked and open to the view of God, they desire to be purified in
heart, and to be delivered from the dominion and love of sin. Such - a desire led David to offer the supplications, “Wash me thorough
ly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me * a clean heart, o God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Ex
ternal reformation will not satisfy the consciences or the desires of those who feel a hatred of sin as being committed against God.They deprecate the existence of any impurity of heart, knowing that in his sight, sins of the heart,—the most latent unholy feelings
or designs are offensive; and that he requires bis creatures to be 7 holy in heart as well as in conduct.
3. David acknowledges that the declarations and threatenings of - God towards sinners are righteous and just. He says in his con
fession, “ That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” He knew that God had made fearful denunciations against those who transgress his law. He knew
that he had exposed himself to the wrath which God had threateni ed; but he was far from accusing his Maker of injustice or undue
severity in annexing to his law such a penalty. This is another characteristic of a true penitent. Those who regard sin as an evil only because its consequences to them are painful, feel no true reconciliation to the justice of God in his threatened judgments.
They feel a perfect opposition to the penalty of his law, and would - choose that God should be dishonored, and his law trampled in the
dust rather than that his authority should be vindicated, and his law maintained, by the execution of its penalty upon themselves.They see no excellence in the Divine law or government, or even in God himself, except what secures their own happiness. But those
who are truly humble and penitent, see a divine beauty in the ha- fred of God towards theinselves as sinners, and tbey approve of his