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OF UNCONVERTED SINNERS. 51 spend some time under convictions of sin before he could have a right to believe on Jesus. These words, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” were a sufficient warrant to him, for they were the words of God by the mouth of his servant, and what was said to the Philippian jailor, is said to all who hear the gospel, who read the Bible.
What should hinder you from doing what God commands you to do? from receiving what God gives you to possess ? from putting away an acknowleged sin, the greatest and most dangerous of sins, by which you make God a liar, in rejecting his testimony concerning Jesus Christ our Saviour ? Do you reckon it presumption to comply with the will of God, to accept of a pardon held out to you by infinite grace? You wish to be more deeply humbled. You cannot be too deeply humbled; but you are never sufficiently humbled till you renounce all self dependence, that you may depend wholly on Christ, till you are persuaded that it is safer and better to do what is right in God's eyes, than what is right in your own. You will not, indeed, make a cordial application to the great Physician, without a full conviction that your condition without him is de perate. But you are not already fully convinced, that without him you are undone. Your impressions, you say, of this melancholy truth, are too slight. They may be so. They are so. And the more you know of yourselves, you will be the more disposed to think so; because you will the more clearly discern that your humiliation on the account of sin, is out of all proportion inadequate to the vileness and demerit of your offences. If you refuse to be saved till you know the full extent of your vile. ness and wickedness, and till you think your. selves sufficiently inpressed with the sense of it, you must forever refuse to be saved.
Fear not that your convictions of the vileness and demerit of sin will vanish when you believe on Christ. Your terrors will in. deed be abated or removed, but your sense of your own vileness will be deepened. You will best know what unknown malignity there is in your transgressions, when you know and believe the love of God in Christ Jesus. You will “remember and be ashamcd, and never open your mouth any more, for shame, when God is pacified towards you for all that you have done.”
Do you hope to procure mercy by any thing that you can do, while you refuse to believe on Christ? Know you riot that the mercy of God is absolutely free ? that Christ is the only propitiation? tlat" without faith it is impossible to please God?" and that the wrath of God abideth upon the souls of men, while they refuse to believe on the name of his only begotten Son? “ Today.
therefore, if ye will hear the voice of Christ, harden not your hearts." Let no imagi. nations of your hearts, however plausible, prevail on you to reject the counsel of Christ against yourselves. The gospel, when it produces its proper fruits, casts down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itelf against the knowlege of God, and brings every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.
2. Remember that your strength for this duty is in God, and not in yourselves. “No man can come unto me,” said Christ, “except the Father which sent me draw him.” These words were spoken to an assembly consisting in a great measure of unbelievers. He lets them know that they never would believe on him without light and strength from on high. “ It is written in the prophets, They shall be all taught of God. Every one therefore that hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
Do not think, that a sense of inability in yourselves will be an effectual obstruction to the success of your endeavors. Why did our blessed Lord, who knew how to speak all his words in season, speak of men's natural inability, in a discourse in which he exhorts thein to believe on himself, if it was improper that they should be reminded of their own weakness? Our great loss in every instance of our religious behavior, is that we are apt to trust in ourselves; and when we feel our own weakness, to despond, as if that could never be accomplished which cannot be accomplished in our own strength, At Kadesh Barnea, the children of Israel re. fused to march against the Canaanites, be. cause they wanted courage and strength to fight with the sons of Anak. They would not hearken to Caleb, and Joshua, and Moses, telling them that God would be their strength and their salvation. Thus, through unbe. lief, they came short of the promised rest, “Let us labor to enter into God's rest, that we may not fall after the same example of unbelief.
Many complain that they have often endeavored to comply with God's call to believe on the name of his Son; but an evil heart has still prevailed against them. They do not see therefore what good end will be gained by renewing their endeavors. They find that their strength is but weakness; for when they seek to enter in, they are not able. · Remember what our Lord said to his disciples when they said unto him, “ Who then can be saved ?” “ With men indeed it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." It is God that must work all our works in us. When we forget this impor. tant truth we can do nothing. But when we are weak then we are strong, if we can be persuaded that the grace of Christ is sufficient for us.
"It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” What then! are we to do nothing because God must do every thing in us? For this very reason, we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God that worketh in us.
Your endeavors to lay hold on eternal life have hitherto proved vain, because you have forgotten that God is your strength and your salvation. You say that you have been endeavoring to trust in Christ. For what were you endeavoring to trust in him ? for righteousness, for. pardon, for salvation? But have you considered that you must trust in him for strength as well as for righteousness ? He is your Saviour from sin, as well as from condemnation ; your Saviour from unbelief and impenitence, as well as from those other evils which fill you with grief. Surely in the Lord have I righteousness, say you? But you ought likewise to say, Surely in the Lord have I strength. Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; because the glory of their strength is in him, and in his favor shall their horn be exalted.
Perhaps you will allege, that you would think of your duty with more alacrity if your strength were placed in yourselves, because you would then exert it at your pleasure, and would meet with no disap