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that you are no infidel, no denier of this Divine book, no speculator or quibbler, then I simply urge upon you here the duty of opening the Bible with the firm conviction upon your mind-"This is the word of God; salvation is here; my Saviour is here set forth; and I must proceed to search in this book for those truths which are to reach my case, those promises that are to relieve my fears, and become the basis of all my hope of salvation. Here is Divine light to instruct my mind, Divine love to cheer my heart, Divine mercy to forgive my sin, Divine grace to renew my soul. If I can but find and appropriate these to myself, I shall be converted, I shall be blessed, and become eternally happy, in defiance of all my sin and guilt, weakness and misery. I will, therefore, come to this Divine volume, as many sick, or blind, or lame, came to the Saviour, saying, 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;' 'Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me;' 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief,'" Matt. viii. 2; Mark x. 47; ix. 24. To quicken your faith in his ability, it will be of importance to impress upon your mind, how wicked and ungrateful it would be in you to harbour one unbelieving thought of his ability or his willingness to save, not men in general, but you in particular. Since his promise of salvation refers to all who both need it and are willing to accept it, and contains no exception against any but the unbeliever and the impenitent, you can have no pretence for supposing yourself excluded from that general proclamation of mercy, which is ratified by the oath of God, and sealed by the blood of Christ. It were an impious reflection upon the wisdom and mercy of God, to suppose that he could have promised forgiveness to
all who repent, and yet have intended to reject any one that might thus apply unto him. The following passages may satisfy you upon this matThey ought to remove all hesitation, and they will, if you are in earnest, and read them aright, that is, with a just view of their design; for undoubtedly they were intended for you, and such "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool," Isa. i. 18. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price," Isa. lv. 1. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon," Isa. lv. 7. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Matt. xi. 28. 'Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink," John vii. 37. The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them," Heb. vii. 25. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1 John i. 7-9. "All manner of sin
and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men," Matt. xii. 31. There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared," Psa. cxxx. 4. Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins," Acts xiii. 38. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins," Col. i. 14. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting," 1 Tim. i. 15, 16.
These passages may suffice as specimens ; but if you have an earnest desire to find more, you have only to open the book, and gather them in abundance for yourself.
3. Prayer is a means which God has appointed, and which you can employ. It is the direct application of your soul to the God of mercy and salvation. This is a privilege which he allows, though you are a rebellious and sinful creature ; but it is a privilege accompanied with two absolute and universal conditions. The first is, that you shall pray as a guilty sinner; as one who has utterly forfeited all claim and right, and who casts himself wholly upon the sovereign mercy of the offended Creator. The principal topics of prayer, in connexion with the present important subject, should be, (first,) the confession of your sorrow on account of sins so many and aggravated that you can never fully express them: (secondly,) you ought to desire of God a still deeper and more just sense of the evil of sin, as committed against the purity, majesty, justice, and goodness
of God (thirdly,) your most earnest entreaties should be put up for strength in your soul to forsake all sin, and to render it increasingly hateful and loathsome to your heart.
Another condition essential to the acceptance of your prayer, is, that you should come to God in the name, and only in the name, of Jesus Christ his beloved Son. It is certain, for it is revealed to us, that no man cometh to God but by Christ Jesus, John xiv. 6; and that no prayer of ours can ever be heard with acceptance, that is not offered to God through this medium. In the name of Jesus Christ you may ask for the Divine gift of faith, by which you will be enabled to lay hold upon the atoning sacrifice; for hope, as the anchor of your soul; for humility, submission, peace of mind, and joy in the Holy Ghost. "I am the way," said our Divine Teacher and Saviour. And the apostle Paul declares, "There is one mediator," intending to imply that there is no other, "between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," 1 Tim. ii. 5.
These being the essential conditions on which you are to avail yourself of the privilege of prayer, I will now proceed to point out more fully what should be the special characteristics of such prayer as should be offered by one wishing for converting grace. It must, then, be particularly directed to a full and frank confession of your sin. Your own reason will convince you, that God is perfectly acquainted with your numerous and aggravated transgressions, that his eye has watched and marked all the depraved workings of your heart, and actions of your life. It is, therefore, but reasonable that you should confess your sins fully to Him, who knows them, and who requires
the confession of them, not to inform him, but to prove your own true conviction of your guilt, and to affect your own heart with a deeper sense of its pollution and misery. Any other kind of confession but this will be unavailing. You will but defeat your own object in praying at all, if you do not make the fullest, frankest, and most humble acknowledgment of sin. It will serve no purpose but the aggravation of your guilt, to conceal or palliate any thing. There must be no extenuation, no concealment; but all must be fully confessed, and truly, sincerely, and penitently deplored by you. Be neither ashamed nor afraid to confess your sins by name to Him that seeth in secret: let their multitude, as the sands on the sea shore, be told; let their aggravation be felt; let their enormity be deplored-all, all will fall short of the reality. You never can enough consider, enough regret, enough confess and repent of your sins. They are, and they ought to be felt as crimes against God, and your own soul; crimes which no tears, no repentance, no sufferings of yours, can ever wash away.
Remember, also, that you have no plea, no argument, no name to mention, why God should forgive your sins, but that name, that plea, which God has himself furnished. The merit of Christ is to be your only plea, and by this alone can you urge your suit before God. Therefore, this must become the foundation of your hope, the great consideration which you are allowed to mention, because God, for Christ's sake, only forgives sin. His precious blood is every where in the Bible set forth as affording hope to the guilty, that they shall be forgiven and accepted. He says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved.” "Behold the Lamb