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his eyes will speak the gratitude of his soul. So when a sinner is Divinely convinced of sin, the pleasures, profits and honours of the world become tasteless as the white of an egg. The lectures of the Philosopher, and the exhortations of the moralist, are insults to his misery. Forgiveness of his sins is the object of his fervent wishes, and this he hopes for only as the effect of • infinite mercy and goodness. Nothing short of infinite compassion can reach his case; but he has heard that with God there is mercy, and • that with him there is plenteous redemption ;' and this report, like a sovereign cordial, cheers his spirit and preserves him from despair. The boundless compassion of Jehovah, and the allcleansing virtue of Emanuel's blood are the only ground of hope to a conscious sinner. Erase these consolatory truths from the book of God, and he must Jie down in black despair and everlasting sorrow.
There is no circumstance of time or place, that renders the performance of the duty of confession unseasonable. For • we ought at all times • humbly to acknowledge our sins before God.' There are those, who think that religion should
† The simplicity of the following lines in the Lamentation of a Sinner, is very beautiful :
Mercy, good Lord, mercy I ask,
* This is the total sum : • For mercy, Lord, is all my suit,
.O let thy mercy come.'
be confined to the church, or at least to the sabbath-day : but these are persons, who do not think that the business of the world is to be confined to the remaining six. For those, who do not carry their religion with them through the six days, on which God has allowed them to attend to their worldly business, will be sure to employ the little portion of time, which God has reserved to himself, in worldly thoughts and conversation, and even carry the world in their hearts to the house of God. These, however, are not true members of our church ; which makes it a part of her Creed, that we ought at all • times humbly to acknowledge our sins before
God.' • In season and out of season, is her motto. Religion with her is daily work. Not that we are bound to be always repeating the confession that follows ; but we are bound to live habitually in the spirit which it breathes, the spirit of self abasement and contrition. Whether we are alone in our closets, or enjoying the society of Christian friends, or engaged in the necessary business of our lawful callings; self-renunciation and self-abasement are always neces. » sary, and never unseasonable.
His own unworthiness and God's mercy, are subjects suitable for a sinner through every hour of the day. • Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in • thine house, and when thou walkest by the way; 6 and when thou liest down and when thou risest
• up.' David could say, my sin is ever before • me;' not on the Sabbath only, or during the hours of public worship. Therefore feeling his constant need of mercy, he makes the following resolution, at evening and morning and at noon • day will I pray. Would you blame a sick man for employing much of his time in the use of means for the recovery of his health? Or a criminal lying under sentence of death for a too frequent employment of the opportunities afforded him of presenting petitions to his Sovereign for mercy? A sinner, who is alive to the importance of the salvation of his soul, needs no comment to explain the Apostle's injunction, pray without ceasing.'
But there are certain seasons, when this duty is peculiarly indispensable ; even those • when
we assemble and meet together for the purposes of public worship. The several parts of public worship, as here described, we shall have occasion more minutely to consider hereafter. They are here introduced to shew, that confession is essential to a right performance of each of them. • We meet together to render thanks for the great • benefits, which we have received at the hands • of God :' But in this we shall fall short, unless a conviction of our demerit stimulate our hearts to gratitude. "We meet to set forth His most wor• thy praise :' but we can never sing with melo
dy in our hearts unto the Lord, until our hearts have been prepared to make melody by convic. tion of sin. It is fabled of the Nightingale, that she sings most sweetly with her breast upon a thorn. The sinner, who has felt most deeply the effects of the fall, will celebrate most gratefully the riches of the grace of God. The new song, mentioned in the Revelation of St. John, could only be sung by those, who were redeemed from the Earth. But redemption can only be duly celebrated by the captive, who has felt the galling chain, who has tasted and remembers the bitter taste of the wormwood and the gall of sin; and who has experienced deliverance thro' grace. • We assemble and meet together to hear God's most holy word,' the sanctifying Gospel of His grace ; which we can never relish, till we feel our need of the blessings it proposes. We also meet to ask those things, which are requisite 6 and necessary, as well for the body as the soul.' But an unawakened sinner, however sensible he may be of his corporeal maladies or infirmities, knows not what is requisite and necessary for his soul. IIe has no desire after pardon, holiness, and communion with God. And even with re. spect to his body, though he feels its wants, yet he looks for a supply to chance, or merely to his own endeavors, and not to God. So that contrition is an essential ingredient in every part of worship
The persuasive to confession is followed by an earnest invitation to prayer, the necessity of which arises from the former act of duty,
Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as 6 are here present, to accompany me, with a pure • heart and humble voice, to the throne of the • heavenly grace.' Who will refuse the invitation ? None but the man, who is so proud and ignorant as to conclude that he has no sins to be forgiven, no wants to be relieved. In the subsequent confession, the congregation is directed to accompany the minister with an audible but • humble voice' expressive of inward compunction. But a pure heart is that which God respects, without which the act of an Automaton would be as acceptable as our's. Purity here is synonymous with sincerity. A man is then sincere, when the language of his lips harmonizes with the feelings of his heart.
O what a mercy it is that there is a throne of heavenly grace' erected for the free access of returning sinners to their offended God! The expression alludes to the mercy-seat, on which God sat in glory between the Cherubim ; and towards which all the prayers of His people, during the continuance of the Jewish economy, were directed to be offered. As that mercy-seat was sprinkled with the typically atoning blood of bulls and goats, this . throne of heavenly grace' has been sprinkled with blood of infinitely greater value. Fear