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shutteth his eyes from seeing of evil, proves that the root of real religion is in him.
I have said that a true penitent renounces the world. You may reply, I have now given up my youthful follies and vain pursuits. But you have need to be careful how you judge by this rule. A man may quit the circle of fashion, plunge into the tumults of business, and at last sink into the stupor of ease, and indolence, and all the while remain wedded to the world. To be carnally minded, though with a considerable variety of feelings and pursuits, is death. The fever may be followed by a palsy, and the issue be still fatal. The wild worldling and the tame worldling are of the same species. The difference between the youth and age of many persons, is similar to the difference there is between a gay butterfly on the wing, and a sluggish worm grovelling in the dust.
I have said that a true penitent resists the devil, You may reply, This too I have done. Many temptations have been laid in my way with which I have refused to comply. But what made you refuse? It might be your convenience, not your conscience. Some change their sins as they do their clothes, and so wait upon their old infernal master in a new livery.
I have said that the true penitent loves Christ,
and longs to be like him. You may say, I think highly of the Redeemer, and hope to be saved by him. And how is this manifested ? If you have an earthly friend, you burn with indignation to see him ill treated, or hear him slandered and dishonoured. And can you sit unmoved while scoffers blaspheme that worthy name by which we are called? Can
witness dishonour cast upon Christ and his truth without being grieved, and roused to take off the foul reproach ? Is this thy kindness to thy best friend? A real love to Christ, and a desire to be like him cannot be hid, You must shew them in various ways. Now examine yourself by these evidences.
But what shall I say to you, if, by the foregoing pages you are fully convinced that you are yet in a state of impenitence? There is not a moment to be lost. 0, weigh well the worth of your immortal, soul. Set death and judgment before you. Christ stands with open arms ready to receive you. While the gospel sounds, hear
soul shall live. Let not gains and cares entangle you ; let not toys and trifles divert you ; let not errors and yain hopes delude you. Fly, fly without delay to the Redeemer. Are you saying, Lord, I come to thee. Lo! I fall at thy feet, that I may put off the iron yoke of bondage, and put on thy easy yoke of ebedience. I have
opened my mouth and given up myself, and I cannot, I dare not go back. Lord, I will follow thee through pains and changes, through honour and dishonour. I can gladly say amen, may it
Witness ye angels, and second the sol
But remember when you put your hand to the plough you must not stand still, nor so much as look back, but
to the end. If like Peter's, your resolution rests on your own strength, like his it will assuredly fail when the trial comes. Oh look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, that you may be strengthened with all might by his Spirit in the inner man, and so run the heavenly race as to obtain the immortal prize.
3. Observe that if you have some evidences of repentance, you ought not to be always doubting and complaining.
Some sincere Christians are so much engrossed with their fears that they gain little advantage from their hopes. Such persons resemble seamen, so intent in watching the coming storm, as to lose their sheet anchor which should secure them in a hurricane. You may cry out, ( that I had but the proofs of having undergone a thorough change, and I should be happy! Would to God I could speak with the same well-ground. ed confidence which many can. Do not always
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look on the dark side of the cloud. pining life,” said one, " is but a lingering death." Do not always hang your harp upon the willows, or tune it to melancholy strains. 6 Unreasonable fears are the sins of our hearts as well as thorns in our sides : they grieve the Spirit and provoke him to withdraw bis comforting influences."
If you have not so bright evidence of an inward change as some have, be not always poring upon your own state, and labouring to spell out the reality of your personal religion, by the tenure of your frames and feelings. It is useless to cry,
Oh that I had assurance in the same way as Elijah, or Hezekiah, Paul, or John. Having the ordinary means of grace, it is wrong to expect miracles. If the enemy can draw you into doubts and despondencies, so as to entangle the soul, he will triumph in your distress. Let nothing keep you back from the throne of grace, If you doubt whether the work is yet begun, pray that it may be begun. If you cannot go to God with a broken heart, go to him for a broken heart. He waiteth to be gracious, and is exalted to shew mercy. He never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain,
On the Encouragements given to the Penitent.
TĦE Saviour was sent to bind
the brokenhearted, and set at liberty them that were bound. Every word in the gospel speaks encouragement to the humble. But perhaps you may say, I have no doubt that God is gracious to hear the prayer of the penitent, but I fear this is not my character. Some persons can tell the time of their awakening, and even the means which God used for that purpose, but I cannot. They can mention the books, the sermons, or the very texts which touched their hearts, and drew forth the earnest cry, What shall we do? but though I am sensible of my lost condition, it is impossible for me to trace back my concern to any particular season, or instrumental cause. Suppose a man deeply in debt thus to tell his tale to a neighbour, I have long feared that my business and my hooks were in a bad state, but now I am sure it is so. I cannot say exactly when, or by what means I