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precious blood! We forget the price of our redemption, we pour contempt upon him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, when we are not animated with a strong desire to promote the salvation of souls.
66 He shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." What is the inean, ing of these last words ? Who can forgive sins, but God only? or what could procure the remission of sins but the blood of Christ ? We must not, therefore, proudly imagine that we can procure the remission either of our own sins, or the sins of our fellow transgressors, by any thing that we can do. If we had saved as many souls as Paul, and died as many deaths for Christ, and labored more abundantly than all the apostles, neither our labors, nor our sufferings, nor the grateful prayers of - our converts, could cover one of our trans
gressions from the view of our Judge, or entitle us to his favor. After all that Paul did and suffered for Christ, and for the souls of men, he expected his own salvation purely from the exceeding riches of the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. .
But a man may be said to hide sins in the same sense wherein he may be said to save souls from death, for there is an inseparable conection between the pardon of sins, by which they are hidden from the face of God as an avenging Judge, and the salvation of
the soul from death. If the least sin remains marked by God, it must prove fatal to the singer. One sin brought eternal misery upon the angels that fell. One sin of one man brought judgment to condemnation upon the whole race of Adam, 56 Blessed is the man whose iniquit iys forgiven, and whose sin is covered,” Cursed is the man whose iniquity is not forgiven, nor his sin cuvered. He is under a sentence of death, and the wrath of God abideth on him.
He that turns a sinner from the error of his ways, turns him to God through faith in Christ Jesus, and by faith we receive the remission of sins, Acts xiii. 38, 39. If we take this view of the meaning of the passage, we find a similar expression, Dan. xii. 3. 6 They that turn many to righteousness," or as the expression may be rendered more literally, they that make many righteous, or they that justify many. It is the glorious prerogative. of the God of all grace to justify the ungodly. But those ministers or Christians by whom men believe, are blessed instruments in their justification.
What powerful motives are contained in those words, to enforce the duty of laboring for the conversion of our neighbors, who have wandered out of the way of understanding!
They are still in their sins, and consequently under the curse of God, the dominion of Satan, and the power of their lusts. Alas !
how pitiable is this condition! How much worse is our sin than all the fevers, consump. tions, racks, and instruments of destruction, that were ever seen or felt by men! The whole creation groans and travels together in pain, under the weight of that sin which brought death into the world. When men are wandering in the ways of destruction, they lie under the guilt, not of one sin only, but of many iniquities. We are but very young sinners if we have not reason to say, “ Our iniquities are more than the hairs of our head." If by one offence judgment came upon allmen to condemnation, what is the condition of those who arechargeable with ten thousand provocations, many of them dreadfully aggravated, all of them binding faster those chains of the curse, by which the guilty are reserved to the day of wrath, and perdition of ungodly men. · Now, every one who believes in Jesus is completely freed from all transgressions. However numerous, and however aggravated they have been, there is no more condemna. tion to him. God cannot be just without justifying the sinner that believes in Jesus, and he whom God blesses with this glorious privilege, is forever delivered from his Judge. It is God, the judge of all, that justifies him; who is he that condemns him ? Happy is the man who turns the eyes of his fellow sinners to that Saviour, through whom all his sins are forgiven, all his diseases healed, and his
soul, formerly loaded with many curses, is redeemed from going down to destruction.
The following directions may be useful to those who wish to reclaim their neighbors from sin. .
1. Be careful of your own personal religion. Some seamen, in their friendly endeavors to save their ship wrecked fellow mortals, have by rash, though well meant exertions, lost their own lives. When you associate with sinners, that you may have the opportunity of using fit means for their conversion, beware lest they should find means of drawing you into the same errors or crimes with themselves; for 66 a companion of fools shall be destroyed." If you are not sometimes in the company of your erring acquaintances, you cannot reprove or exhort them. But they must not be your ordinary or chosen companions, The physician visits the sick that he may heal them. He does not live, or sleep with them, for then they might communicate to him their distempers.
Those are, of all others, the most likely to do good to their neighbors, who keep themselves most unspotted from the world. Their life is a constant testimony against the wicked. Peter exhorts Christians to have their conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they spoke against them as evil doers, they might, by their good works which they should behold, glorify God in the day of fisitation. The holy life of John had as much effect upon Herod, as the awful eloquence of his discourse.
You must not however think, that if you are left by God to fall into a sin which brings dishonor on your name, you can be of no more use to your fellow men. If you do not give proper evidence of repentance, you cannot expect that your admonitions or reproofs to other sinners will have any other effect chan to bring your own sin to remembrance. But if your repentance be as public, and as evident as your offence, you may deal with sinners more effectually than ever. This was David's hope, when he was humbled before the Lord for his transgression, that when God should bless him with renewed instances of his loving kindness, he would teach transgressors God's ways, and sinners should be turned unto him. Paul had greatly sinned in his unconverted state, and was on every occasion ready to confess the enormity of his sins, and was enabled, from his own experience, to tell sinners what an evil and dangerous thing it was to be an enemy to the cross of Christ. .: 2. Despair not of doing good to obstinate sinners. The servanis of Christ know by experience, that there is an amazing power in those corrupt lusts which naturally reign in the hearts of men, and that divine grace can do wondrous things in recovering men from the