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vised her daughter-in-law to cast herself at his feet, and request to be taken into a mar. riage relation with him, because he was her near kinsman. Ruth followed the advice, and did not meet with a disappointment. Have we not far greater encouragement to cast ourselves at the feet of him who volun. tarily became our near kinsman, that in him God might shew forth the exceeding riches of his grace, to all that should believe in his name?
When we are overawed with a sense of God's absolute dominion, and of the displays which he gives of it in the administra. tion of grace, let us comfort ourselves with the thoughts of that infinite condescention, by which he gives us a claim upon that inercy which he delights to glorify in our salvation. In his mercy he hath promised and sworn, that all might have strong con. solation, who flee for refuge to lay hold on the life set before them.
When we hope in the mercy of God re. vealed in his word, the sovereignty of that mercy greatly promotes bur consolation as well as our humility. While we dare not advance any claims founded upon worth in ourselves, the most formidable objections against faith and hope are effectually removed. We are despicable creatures, unwor. thy of the notice of him to whom it is a condescension to behold the cherubim and ser
aphim; but "he hath chosen the most despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to bring to nought the things that are.” We are great sinners. When we are deeply convinced of sin, we will be disposed to think that no sins are like our sins. He will see that what we call our righteousnesses, stand in need of pardoning mercy*as well as our sins. Where shall we find relief under such thoughts of our extreme depravity, but in the sovereignty of divine compassion ? If those sinners only are to be sav. ed whose iniquities are least inexcusable, what will become of me, says the awakened sinner? Whatever excuses others may offer, my mouth must be forever stopped. Unless the mercy of God be sovereignly free, my strength and my hope are perished, not only from myself, but from the Lord. I must be forever cast out of his sight.
But since I know that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, I will look towards his holy temple. He saves great sinners that he may glorify his great name, and therefore I will hope in him. He seeks opportunities to shew the sovereignty of his grace, and where can he find a better opportunity for shewing forth all the shining glories of his boundless mercy and his saving power ? Psal. cxlvii. 11. XXV, 11.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth,
and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James v. 19. 20.
« Thy word is truth,” says our Lord. Every part of the doctrine of God respeca ting either those things which we ought to believe concerning God, or respecting our duty, is truth. We err from the truth, when we depart from the simplicity of the faith that is in Christ, or when our hearts and practice are unconformable to that law which is the rule of our duty.
There are errors from the truth which are not inconsistent with the life of the soul. Such was the error in judginent of those men who did not know, nor were persuaded in the first days of the gospel, that nothing was unclean of itself. The best men
have a law in their members endeavoring continually to bring them into captivity. Yet they have reason to thank God, through Jesus Christ, when with their minds they serve the law of God, although with th flesh they serve the law of sin. }
The errors from the truth, of which the apostle James speaks in this place, are pernicious errors, that hold men under the guilt of sin, and exclude them from eternal life; for “ he who converts a sinner from these errors, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” ::
There are errors in the mind no less fatal to men than gross sins in practice. If we seek salvation by the works of the law, and not by the faith of Christ without works, Christ is of no effect to us, we are fallen from grace. Beware therefore of thinking that errors in judgment may be tolerated when the life is good. How can the life be good, if we are not renewed in the spirit of our minds ?
Beware of saying, that all men are sinners, and therefore we shall have peace, although some parts of our conduct are reprehensible. It is very true that sin dwells in the best men; but it is no less true, that no good man lives in sin. If you mean, that you may be in a state of salvation, although there have been, and may still be, things reprehensible in your conduct, after the most earnest endea.