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mayeft justly say to me, that I shall never taste of thy supper, or, if I go to it, that it shall not be for the better, but for the worse ; I shall meet with a frown inftead of a smile, a curse instead of a welcome, a breach instead of a blessing. Lord, thou mayest instead of bread give me a stone, and for the cup of the new teltament, give me a cup of wrath and trembling. Thou mayest juftly turn my hard heart into a stone, instead of turning my stony heart into a heart of flesh.”
When thou hast in this manner aggravated thy crimes and condemned thyself, yet do not despair ; but as the poor condemned criminal may cry for mercy, so let a poor, humbled, self-condemned finger, cry to a mercifal God for pity. Say, “ Lord, I am alhamed and confounded at my former madness and folly : I have nothing to plead for myself, except, with the poor publican Aanding afar off, to smite upon my breast, and lift up mine eyes to heaven, and say, “ God be merciful to me a finner.” All my refuge, all my hope, is in the free mercy of God, through Jesus Christ. Lord, make me a monument of free grace to all the ages of eternity. But, alas, I am ashamed to speak of mercy and grace, who have already abused so much thereof, yea, trampled on the blood that should save me. But, Lord, what can I do. or whither sball I go? Should I despair with Cain, or make away myself with Judas ? Oh, no: This, Lord, were to affront thy mercy yet more, and utterly to rejeet the gospel-remedy which thou valuest so highly. This thing I will not do ; but, seeing I have heard lo glorious a report of the mercy of the king of Ifrael, I willeven venture to his throne of grace, where free mercy seigns to pardon abounding fins, and where Jesus Chrift fits to save the chief of finners. Lord Jesus, reach from heaven thy merciful hand, to save me a poor finner, who, like Peter, am ready to fink in the sea of my fins and miseries; that fo the blessing of a heavy laden finner, that is ready to perish, may come on thy head for ever. Lord, save me, or else I perif; walh away the guilt of my many heinous Gins, with the merit of that blood which ran down from thy wounds on the cross, that I am to fee represented in the sacrament, or I am
! . undone,
undone. Lord, I am told of the efficacy of this blood, that it hath a mighty current, and the highest mouna tains of guilt cannot stop its course : Oh, let the blessed experiment be tried on me, as it hath been on thou. fands before me. I am also told, that thou hast sought after many finners while running from thee; nay, fol. lowed them to the very gates of hell with a pardon in thy hand; and, when fatan has been ready to tumble them in, thou haft caught them and brought them back again. And, wilt thou now refuse me, who am seeking after thee? Lord, thou heardit and helped, nay, died for thine enemies, before they cried to thee for help : And, wilt thou now reje& me, who am come to lay down my arms, and cry to thee for mercy ? Hast thou not said, that he that confeffeth and forsaketh his fins, fall find mercy? Thy word was never get known to fail ? Lord, be it to me according to thy word." ;
And, having betaken thyself to Christ thy Surety's merit, humbly plead it with God for thy pardon and acceptance ; fay, “ Lord, I have indeed broken all thy commands; but, hath not my Surety fulfilled them all? I have, alas,' affronted thy justice ; but, hath not my Surety satisfied it? I have deserved thy wrath, but he hath endured it. The chastisement of my peace was upon him: 0 let the merit of his righteousness be upon me. Lord, remember not what I have done against thee; but remember what he hath done and suffered for me. Oh, when I consider thy greatness and my own unworthiness, thy purity and my uncleanness, thy glory and my vileness, I am confounded and discouraged to draw near to thy table : But when I consider thy bounty and goodness, my Saviour's merit, and thy mercy and readiness to forgive, I am encouraged to coine. And, O that I could come with a broken and a contrite heart, which is a pleasant sacrifice to God'!”.
Objec7. “ But, (faith some poor discouraged foul) 1 would fain fet about the work of humiliation, in order to prepare me for the sacrament; but, O my hard heart will not break; alas, it is so hardened and bound up, that I cannot get one tear for fin." 3 K 2.
Ans. Remember that it is Christ, who hath purchased, who hath promised, and who freely bestoweth repentance on poor sinners; therefore go to him and seek it: And, that it may be wrought in you, plead for the blessed Spirit, which he hath also promised, to be sent to take off the scales of blindness from your eyes which satan bath put on, that so you may see rin in its blacknefs and deformity. Cry with Job, What I knew not, teach thou me. O make me to know my transgresion and my fin. God hath ser before you several looking-glasses to represent the evil of sin to you ; O make use of them. You have the glass of God's holy nature, the glass of his holy law, the glass of the damned's torments, and the glass of Christ's sufferings : Look frequently into these. · View the infinite purity and spotlessness of God's natuie; conlider his holy law in its spiritual nieaning and large extent; meditate on the eternal shrieks and howlings of damned fouls : And, in a special manner, behold Christ's bloody agonies for sin. A right look of him whom.ge have pierced, will cause you mourn, Zech. xii. 10. • Come then, O hard-hearted sinner, and behold how thy sins pierced Christ's head with thorns, his hands and feet with nail, his side with a spear, and his heart with sorrows : Behold how they presled him down in the garden, till he (weat blood : Behold how they bound a. heavy cross on his back, till he fainted with the load : Behold how they nailed him to the cursed tree, and made God frown upon him, so that he was forced to. cry out, my God, my God, why haft thou forsaken me? O, canft thou look on Golgotha, or Gethsemane, with dry eyes, or an unconcerned heart ? Canst thou see Christ's eyes weep, and his heart melted like wax within him, and yet thy heart continue hard, and thine eyes dry ? Come, hearken to his dying groans, and look to his bleeding wounds : Think you hear him saying to you, Behold what your fins have donc ! Is there any forrow like my forrow ? 0, wilt thou not say to my hard heart, " What is this that thou haft done? Is not this the Son of God and the King of glory, that thou hast murdered by thy Gins; and wilt thou not be grieved for them ?. Shall the hard rocks rent, the dead earth shake, the
temple's vail rend, the sun vail its bright face, the heavens put on a mourning habit, and the whole creation look fad, when Christ is suffering for thy Gins, and thou the guilty criminal, that shouldst have eternally howled in hell's flames, stand only unconcerned ?” Be astonishord, O heavens, at this ! And let thy hard heart blusla and be alhamed for it. Ah! Ihall the history of Jofeph in the pit move your heart more than that of Christ upon the cross ? Shall the news of the tragical death or sufferings of one of your friends or countrymen among the Turks, move your heart sooner than the death and suff-rings of the innocent Son of God ? O, then, go to God and complain of thy hard heart; take it and lay it before God's promise, Ezek. xxxvi 26. and plead that he would take it away, according to his word, “ Lord, thou curedst all manner of plagues and diseases which were brought to thee while thou wast on earth : ' And haft not thou the same bowels of mercy now in heaven? Surely thy goodness is still the same, thy hinds are not shortened that they cannot fave: Nay, there are holes now in thy hands, to let blessings drop through them the more freely on us. Thou art my only physician, and to thee. I will look for the cure : Lord, nothing will do it but the plaister of thy blood.”
Mourning is absolutely necessary for thee, O communicant, if thou wouldst have the wine of consolation in the facrament. , When did Jacob find God in Bethel, but when he wept and made supplication to God ? Hof. xii. 4. When did Mary meet with Christ, but when shę sought him weeping and sorrowing ? John xx. 11, If you cast out a flood of tears in Chrift's way, he will not be able for his compassionate heart to pass over it, but will turn in and lodge with you.
Objec7. “ Alas! I cannot win to tears for sin. Are. tears absolutely necessary ?”
Ang. They are very desirable where they are ; the penitent's tears are the joy of angels, and the delight of God, he keeps a bottle for them : Bet yet all constitutions are not alike moist; a tender heart may be matched with a dry brain that cannot easily command tears;
and some perhaps may lay more stress on tears than on the frame of the heart that produces them, not minding that God looks more to the inward frame than to the outward expressions. But the truth is, if thou be one that canst get tears for other things, for wordly losies and croffes, and yet can find none for fin, it is a lign the heart is not right. How many, Alas, can weep abun. dantly for the loss of a child, yea, for a horse or cow, and yet have not one tear for the loss of their foul, or of Christ's favour or presence !
Direct. X. Flee to Jesus Christ by Faith, and em
brace him as he is offered to you in the Gospel, before you come to his Table.
NONE have a right to Christ's table, but those who come first to him in the way of faith; for it is a feast designed only for believers."
What hath been said above, concerning the multitude and heinousness of your fins, for which you ought to be humbled and mourn, may ferve to shew your great need of Christ to deliver you from them. Think not that your repentance, confessions, or tears for fin, can any way satisfy the justice of God for it, or merit accept. ance or pardon for you : This were to put these things in Christ's room, that are only means to lead you to him; and to take up with a righteousness of your own, instead of his, that allenarly can atone the justice of God for finners. O then, fee that ye look beyond all to Chrift alone for atonement, righteousness, pardon and falvation, and count all things but dung and loss in respect of him.
Now, since the gospel offers Christ to all that hear it, and the call and command to receive and embrace Christ as a Saviour is given to all and every one, even to the vilest of finners; you have a full warrant to lay hold on him for pardon, and flee to him for mercy: And you heinously fin against God and your own foul, if you neglect to do it. How shall we escope if we negleft so great
salvation, and slight so great a Saviour.