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4th. They object the words of our Saviour to the young man in the gospel, where he calls Christ good master, asking him, " What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Christ answered,
Why call. est thou me good ?. There is none good, but one, that is God.” Mat. xix. 17.
Answer. And true it is, in our Lord's sense, for comparing men to Christ, (who is God) there is none good; the young man thought he had been speaking to a man like himself, and knew not that he was speaking to the good and gracious Son of the most high God; but if we compare men with men, it must be granted, that there is, was, and will be some good men, women, and children, in that sense and consideration; and our Lord sheweth how we may know these good men, wom. en, and children. “ By their fruits ye shall know them, (says Christ); men do not gather grapes of thorns, nur figs of thistles: a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit; wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” How plain is the doctrine of Christ, if people would but lend an obedient ear, and give him a faithful and sincere heart, and serve him in a pure mind, without deceit o guile, taking up his holy cross (to the corrupt will of man) in true self-denial : the scripture says, “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us ou sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness:" where then is the sin, when God has cleansed us from all unrighteousness? Indeed it is very meet, and our duty to confess our sins; they truly say, that,
5th, “The scripture in sundry places excites us to confess our sins."
Answer. For poor mortals have all sinned, and, by this sinful nature, we are all children of wrath, and this is a strong and mighty motive for us in truth to confess ou ? sins, because God is so just and merciful to forgive and pass by our iniquities; and indeed if the weight of our sins were upon us, and the true sense of the heinousness of sin and evil, it would certainly bow us in deep rever ence and humility before the throne of grace, and melt
spirits into tenderness before the Most High and imErtal Jehovah ; and then it is that he forgives us, and unseth us from all iniquity, and would (according to apostle's doctrine) “ Purify us to himself a peculiar ple, zealous of (and for) good works,” and against . works and words, and thoughts also : and when God -b so cleansed the soul, then, of course, these common, G often repeated, dry confessions, full of sin and putreion, must fall, and we should fear to offend any more.
it be tenderly, and in christian love, asked, how in do our common prayer people go into their closets, privately retire into some secret place, and there pour
their cries and tears to the Almighty, and humbly fess their faults to him alone? I ask, would not such xercise be more acceptable to God, than a popular etition, daily and formally made? This I leave to the sideration of all sober christians, and to the judgent of the truly pious. And how like mockery it looks, as n as they come from their prayers and confessions, they iny of them) will vainly laugh, and be full of idle words
discourse, and some of them curse and swear, and e the awful and sacred name which they have been dressing (or pretending to address) in vain, and profanc 't holy name of God and Christ, which they have been ng
in their devotion, to which I have been an eye and witness, many a time, to the sorrow and grief of my 1, and which hath, in part, occasioned these lines; as 5 hoping it may be a motive to stir up some to more y living, and that the name of God and Christ might glorified, and the precious dear-bought soul saved. t us also remember, that the Holy Scripture doth undantly require and command us to forsake our sins;
2 holy text says, “He that confesseth and forsaketh his is, shall have mercy." 6th. And whereas the apostle John, in his first gene
epistle, chap. i. verse 8, writes, “ If we say we have sin, we deceive ourselves;" from whence it is object, we ought always to confess our sins. Answer. Yes, we should do so whenever we commit y, or knowingly do evil; but when the Almighty hath cleansed us from all unrighteousness, then our sins art done away by the grace of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ
, and we are washed by regeneration; then it cannot be
CE true to say we are miserable and putrefied sinners, when at the same time also Christ hath purified and sanctified his church and people.
That is true which St. John saith, chap. i. verse 10. (when opening and explaining the 8th verse) “ If we say we have not sinned, we make him (i. e. God) a liar;" for that all have sinned? so that it is plain that he speaks of the state of man before he comes to the work of conversion, or to be renewed by grace; for when we come truly to know Christ, and to see and believe in him, then we witness a change from our corrupt and evil nature, and sinful course of life, which is as clear as the shining of 6 the sun without clouds at noon-day, from the same apostle's words, which I shall transcribe for the information and edification of any who may see this.
The first general epistle of John (the beloved disciple of our Lord Jesus) 3d. chap. 6th verse to the 10th : “Whosoever abideth in him (i.e. Christ) sinneth not: whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no 'man deceive you: he who doth righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous: be who commiteth sin, is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doth not righteousness, is not of God (and as above) he who committeth sin, is of the devil.”
This is naked truth, without any covering, and the very sum and substance of pure religion. Oh! that all true christians would lay it to heart, and ponder it in their minds, and then resolve whether they will be siz 'ners to the end of their days, or whether they will repent
, and turn from the evil of their ways; the latter of which that poor mortals may come to witness for themselves is the desire and prayer of my soul.
If it be further objected, “That our Saviour taught his disciples a form ;' he did so; and a glorious form it is ; and they did as they prayed, and were taught of Christ, and so they did it truly, and in true faith, believ. ing they should witness what they said and prayed to be fulfilled. “ Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."
Christ said to some of old, “ Ye are of your father the devil, because his works ye do :” And all sin is his work, and by our works (as above) we are manifest, whether we are the children of God, or of the devil.