Imágenes de páginas

lyingunder the guilt of atrocious, aggravated, and repeated crimes! Though great profligates often desert the ordinances of God, that they may sin at greater ease, and meet with less resistance; yet, in so numerous an assembly as this, there is reason to suppose there are not a few of the chief of sinners; the rather, that while some desert the ordinances, that they may have ease from within, others attend them as a cover; that they may blind their neighhours, and meet with less suspicion or disturbance from without. How, then, can murderers, fornicators, swearers, drunkards, thieves, and retainers cf unjust gain, hear what hath been said on this subject without trembling for themselves! Hear for your fouls fake; hear for etei nity's fake; hear, I beseech you, for Christ's fake. O that the Spirit of God may carry home the truth, and make it " quick and powerful, sharper thaw a ** two-edged sword," Heb. iv. Ji2. It is aneasy thing for you now to dissemble the sins which men would punish, and even to boast of the sins which men must tolerate-, but hear and remember the two following passages : Heb. iv. 13. "All things are naked, and opened unto "the eyes of him with whom we ht^ve to do;" and, Heb. x. 31- "It is a fearful thing to fall. .into the hands of the living God."

3. In the last place, If any Christian desires to keep his conscience tender and faithful, to have a deep growing and humbling sense of his own sinfulnefs; if he would bar the gate against the entrance of pride, or banish it after it has ob. gained admission; if he desires to walk humbly

and. and watchfully,—let him live as in the presence of God, let him often sist himself at his awful tribunal. It is easy to justify ourselves besore men, who have so little to require, and from whom ib much maybe concealed. The truth is, it is not a great matter to* be able to set the world at desiance. But to look up to that God who litteth upon the throne os his holiness, is of insinitely greater moment, and of insinitely greater difficulty. He trieth the reins and the heart. He abhorreth evil. You fee how Job defended himself against the accusations of his friends, held sast his integrity, and would not let it go; but no sooner did God speak to him in the greatness of his power, than he confesied his vilene/s, and laid his hand upon his mouth. In the same manner, he that would guard against the impositions of a deceitful heart, that would not be abused by flattering friends, or led astray by a mistaken world; that would rather walk in the path of penitence than security; let him live as in the presence of God. And happy, happy they, who take confusion of sace to themselves now, and seek for mercy through the blood of the atonement, in comparison of those who justify themselves now, but shall stand at last with unutterable confusion before the supremejudge, ready to pronounce the irreversible sentence..


Hope of forgiveness with God.

Psalm Cxxx. 4.

But there is forgiveness -with thee; that thou mayst be feared.

AFter considering our own miserable and guilty state, and how little any plea which we can offer will avail before the holiness and justice of God, it is proper to turn our eyes to his mercy, as the only foundation of our hope and peace. This is of the utmost necessity to every penitent. When a fense of sin hath truly taken hold of the conscience, it is so intolerable, that no man can continue long in that condition. When the waves and billows of divine wrath are going over him, he must either fasten upon some ground of hope, or suffer shipwreck upon the rocks of despair. There are indeed, alas that we should be so liable to delusion! many ways of weakening the force of conviction, and obtaining a temporary, imperfect, or false peace. But the only safe and stable ground of hope is the divine mercy. And happy the sinner who obtains such discoveries of its extent and essicacy, as to make him cleave to it with undivided affection, and rest upon it as the anchor of his souL from which he is resolved never to depart.


Believe it, Christians, the more the sinner looks into his'ovvn state, the more real and thorough his acquaintance with. his own heart is, the more he sinds, that not the least ray of hope can arise from that quarter. This is precisely the import of the psalmist's declaration in this passage, taking the one branch of it in connection with the other; as if he had said, When I consider how great and multiplied my transgressions have been, I must stand speechless, and without excuse, before thy holy tribunal, and justify thee, although thou shouldst condemn me. But Lord, thou art a God of infinite mercy. This I six upon as the foundation of my hope. I fee nothing in myself to plead. Thy law accuses me. My own conscience passes sentence upon me. I am not able to support the view of thy justice and holiness. Whither can I fly, but to thy mercy? Here I desire to take refuge, and to my unspeakable consolation there is forgiveness with thee; so that thou mayst and oughtest to be feared. In discoursing further on this subject, which 1 intend to do in a manner entirely practical, I propose, in a dependence on divine grace, to follow this method.

1. I {hall give a brief view of the discoveries which God hath made of his mercy, as the foundation of the sinner's hope; or, in other words, show what reason we have to believe, that there is forgiveness with him.

2. I shall point out the connection between the mercy of God and his fear; or explain the

Vol. I. E import import of this expression, "There is forgive"ness with thee, that thou mayst be feared."

3. I shall make some practical improvement of the subject.

I. First, then, let Us attempt to give'a brief view of the discoveries which God hath made of his mercy, as the foundation of the sinner's hope; or, in other words, shew what reason we have to believe, that there is forgiveness with him. For this purpose I observe, sirst of all, that the patience and forbearance of God towards sinners, in the course of his providence, is the effect of his mercy. Even this affords some faint hope, that there may be forgiveness with him. See the reasoning or the expostulation of Jonah on the respite of the destruction of Nineveh, Jonah iv. 2. "And he prayed unto the Lord, "and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this "my saying, when I was yet in my country? *' Therefore I fled before unto Tarfliish: for I "knew that thou art a gracious God, and mer'* ciful, flow to anger, and ofgreat kindness, and '' repentest thee of the evil." The sentence being suspended, there is time given to apply for pardon, and space for the exercise of repentance, with a peradventure, or who can tell, whether he may not be gracious. We may add to this, his continual benignity and kindness to all his creatures, not excepting the evil, the unthankful, and the unholy. The native tendency of both these is to lead the guilty to repentance, as we are told Rom. ii. 4. "Or despisest thou


« AnteriorContinuar »