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increases their sense of the evil of sin, and their abhorrence of every approach to it.
Presumption, and such views of God's mercy as are taken by the secure, arise entirely from the extenuation of sin. The language of their hearts is, 'Surely this is not so great a matter,
* but God's mercy will forgive it/ If you will either seriously examine yourselves, or observe, with some attention, the discourse of careless worldly persons, you will perceive this very clearly. They comfort themselves whh the thoughts ef their little comparative guilt, rather than of the certainty and greatness of divine mercy. 'I may perhaps,' says one of them, 'have been guilty of such or such sins; but I 'am sure I.never did so or so,' or perhaps as some others who immediately occur to their minds a3 greater sinners than themselves. I cannot help mentioning to you the saying os a prince of our own country, towards the close of ljfe, who had been a remarkable libertine in his younger years r 'I cannot think,' says he *, 'that God will be so hard as to damn a man
* for taking a little pleasure out of the common
In opposition to this, the true penitent sees more than ever his inexcusable guilt as a sinner, but hopes for forgiveness from God, as the effect of his own insinite grace, and the accomplishment of his promise in the gospel. He gives the whole glory of it to him; and ne
• K. Charles U. to Bishop Burtet.
rer ver thinks of diminishing the lustre of his transcendent mercy, by covering or extenuating the offence. Hence secure persons are easily satissied, while true penitents make supplication with strong crying and tears. They are often reconsidering the- promise, and frequently questioning the ground on which their dependence has been placed. Hence also secure persons seek case to themselves from the remonstrances of conscience, by stissing conviction, and offering excuses; but true penitents, by giving full force to the accusation, and pleading the benesit of the remission. To say all in a word, the one struggles hard to be found innocent, the other to obtain mercy.
4. From what hath been said, you may see ef how much moment it is to the Christian tokeep clear views of the mercy of God, as well as of his own interest in it. The moment he loses the comfortable sense of peace with God, his chariot-wheels are troubled, aud he drives heavily. It makes his duty burdensome, and his trials insupportable. And no wonder, since he is not so far left of God as to return to the security of sinners; and at the fame time the source of his inward consolation is like a spring shut up, and a fountain sealed. For what end are the promises of God contained in scripture? why are they put into your hands? why are they repeated in your cars? Why, but for preserving you in that peace which the world cannot give, and which, blessed be God, it cannot take away. Hear what your Saviour fays,
JohnJohn xvi. 33 "These things I have spoken un"to you, that in me ye might have peace. In "the world ye shall have tribulation: but be "of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 5. In the last place, You may see from what hath been said, in what way you may most effectually, and most certainly, preserve your peace with God, viz. By the frequent exercise of penitence and confession. This will shew you the necessity of forgiveness from God. This will constrain you daily to seek for forgiveness from God. Beware of seeking or preserving peace by the extenuation of sin, or by stifling conviction. This may well lead you to sloth and security for a season, which lays the foundation of the bitterest repentance of all; but will never give you the comfort of God's children* He that shutteth his eyes upon his own fins, shall never see the glory of divine mercy. Serious, voluntary, deliberate humiliation, is the true way of promoting both that steadiness in duty, and that peace with God, which ought to be the Christian's supreme desire. "Whatever de-; ftroys self-sussiciency promotes the growth of true piety. The gospel is particularly directed to those that see their necessity. It brings comfort to the mourner, help to the miserable, and mercy to the guilty. It is a great mistake to think, that the contrition and penitence of the children of God is hurtful to their comfort, for it is the very foundation of it; according to that refreshing promise, with which I shall conclude, Is, lxi. j. 2. 3. "The spirit of the Lord
"God is upon me, because the Lord hath a"nointed me to preach good tidings unto the "meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken"hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, ** and the opening of the prison to them that "are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year of "the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our "God, to comfort all that mourn: to appoint "unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto "them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for "mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit "of heaviness, that they might be called trees "of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, '* that he might be glorisied."
i John iii. 23.
And this is his commandment, That -we Jbould be lieve on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.
WE propose, in a little, to draw near t« God in the most solemn act of Christian worship. With what humble solicitude ought we to inquire, whether we are truly intitled to this great privilege, or may hope for acceptance in this important duty. It is the most explicit, and the most public profession we can make of faith in the Redeemer's blood; and therefore none can do it in a proper manner but those who have indeed believed in the Redeemer's name.
Faith in Christ is the great foundation of our peace with God. It is the great principle of our sanctisication. It is the great distinction between the heirs of glory and the heirs of hell: "For he that believeth, and is baptized, shall "be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be "damned." And therefore no subject can be of