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And there is still another statement of more liberal import, all the immunities and privileges which he had forfeited by and more emphatic phrase. It is affirmed, that the Lord im- his criminal revolt? Is it a blessed thing for the undutiful puteth not iniquity: When God justifies the sinner, he does child to have his ingratitude and disobedience pardoned, to not impute his iniquity to him-does not place it to his ac- be re-instated in the affection of his offended parent, and recount, and punish it in his person,—but regards his as if he invested with a title to the inheritance of which paternal dishad not transgressed, -treats him as one of unblameable right- pleasure had deprived him? Is it a blessed thing for us to eousness,-bestows upon him those blessings which can only be thus treated by those who are creatures like ourselves, and be bestowed in consideration of the divine law being satisfied, limited in their power of conferring good and of inflicting evil, both in its penal demands and in its active requirements. and whose favour and whose frown shall shortly terminate in And why? Because God has laid upon Christ all the demerit the grave, where they and we must lie down together? And of the sinner,-because that demerit has been expiated by the can it be any thing but blessedness-must it not be blessedsufferings of the surety,—and because, in its place, and by ness inexpressibly and beyond comparison great, to be rescuthe same surety, there has been substituted an obedience, noted from the vengeance, and to be recalled to the friendship, only perfect in itself, but equally authorized and accepted by of that mighty Sovereign, that everlasting Father, whose venhim whose indignation the sinner had incurred. The guilt of geance and whose friendship can not only blast or nourish the sinner is imputed to Christ, who accordingly was made our every earthly comfort, but, what is of infinitely more ima curse for him,' and suffered the just for the unjust:' and portance, affect our eternal destinies, and either exalt us the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner, who ac- to the highest heaven, or sink us down to the lowest cordingly obtains that deliverance from punishment, and that hell? restoration to favour, which God, in the exercise at once of O how sadly do you who are the votaries of a sinful world his holiness and his mercy, confers as the reward of right- mistake your interest and your happiness! You give youreousness so perfect and so meritorious. This is the Gospel selves up to sensual indulgence, or you accumulate sordid method of salvation as unfolded throughout the sacred wri- wealth, or you run from one amusement and one gaiety to antings, and as referred to by the Psalmist in the passage be- other, or you engage in the busy and useful occupations of fore us,---of which the Apostle Paul has given an explanation life, or your pursuits are directed to the objects of a nobler in the fourth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, where he ambition, and all your activities are employed in the field of quotes the very language of David, in order to illustrate his intellectual research: You do all this, and in the midst of it doctrine of justification by grace, through faith in the imputed all, you think yourselves happy; you say that you are happy; righteousness of Christ.

you cannot see that any thing more is necessary to make III. Now the blessing of pardon as thus secured and thus you happy; you wonder that we can ever doubt of your beunderstood, is said to confer happiness upon those who re-ing happy. And yet we must affirm that you labour under a ceive it. . Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, grievous delusion, and that in truth you are not happy. We whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the are aware that happiness is in one sense a matter of feeling; Lord imputeth not iniquity.'

and that we should in vain attempt to persuade you that you Those only who have experienced this blessedness, can are destitute of pleasurable emotions while you are conscious rightly comprehend its nature, and appreciate its extent. But of having them. But still we must say, that you are not even for such as have not had that actual experience, it can- happy. not be difficult to conceive that it is indisputably real and in- You are not happy in comparison. Giving to your peculiar calculably great. Supposing, in the first place, that the sin- enjoyments all the value, and variety, and sweetness that you ner, when he is pardoned, were wholly ignorant of the change can justly claim for them, still you would not think of putting that has been effected in his spiritual condition, still he must, them upon a level with the enjoyments of those who believe beyond all controversy, and beyond all calculation, be pro- and feel that he who is the great fountain of life and happinounced happy: for though not aware of it, he is in fact freed ness has ceased to be angry with them, and that while he has from the condemnation, which, had he remained under it, taken away all their iniquities and all the displeasure that was would have insured his endurance of everlasting misery, and due on account of them, he loves them at the same time so he is in fact brought into a state of reconciliation, which must freely and so fully as to make them heirs of his heavenly ultimately insure his enjoyment of everlasting felicity. And kingdom.' Even in speculation you must allow this to be whatever be the period of his continuance upon earth, and the case; otherwise you must allege that there are no degrees whatever be the anguish which the consciousness of guilt, of happiness, and that the animal which is merely sentient and the dread of God's vengeance may inflict upon him, the is as happy as the angels that dwell on high and excel in time cannot be far distant when this season of distressing ig- strength. And if from speculation you come to experience, norance shall come to an end, and when, in the awards of the the argument is all against you: for though you may still ad judgment day, he shall know, and see, and feel, that the here to your position that you are happy because you think anger of God had been turned away' from him, and that he so, it must be remembered that you are practically acquainted had been invested with a new title to the kingdom of his with nothing more than those gratifications, which are confather.

nected with present and visible and created things, that you Such, however, is the constitution of divine grace that the are ignorant of the delight arising from the exercises of a mind blessedness of the pardoned sinner is not merely in reversion that is at peace with God, and that therefore your testimony and in prospect: it is in a certain measure granted to him and your opinion are not to be credited like the testimony and even now. It not only exists as an attribute of his condition; the opinion of those whose experience has embraced both but it is present with him as a benefit which he is conscious kinds of enjoyment; and has there been any one instance in of possessing, and which affords him heartfelt consolation. which they have not assured us that they never knew what Whenever the Redeemer's righteousness is imputed to him happiness was till they had become partakers of the grace which for his justification, there is simultaneously wrought in him pardons and saves the guilty soul, and does not their united that faith by which he receives and appropriates the imputed voice declare what David declared, when, from his own perrighteousness of the Redeemer, and which imparts to him an sonal feeling, he uttered and recorded the language before us, immediate sense of safety similar to what he would have had • Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is if, in the midst of some temporal danger, he had taken a firm covered, and to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity ?' and decided grasp of one who was both able and willing to But again we say, that if you persist inalleging you are happy, accomplish his deliverance. He also believes the testimony you are happy without reuson. "Supposing your pleasures were of the word of truth, which says, that whosoever has such a less criminal than we fear they often are ; supposing that they faith is justified in the sight of God; and the conclusion were all of the most exquisite and refined description; and which he is inevitably led to draw from this, must more or supposing that they were never interrupted by one pang or one less satisfy him, that to him there is no condemnation, and disappointment, to remind you of their insufficiency ;-we that his escape from it is as certain as the Divine promise is should nevertheless assert that to be satisfied with them, and unequivocal and true. And the grace which justifies him, to count yourselves happy by means of them, is irrational and the faith through which the justification becomes his, and absurd. For know ye not that all this while the wrath operate such a change on his views, and principles, and tem- of God is abiding upon you'on account of your sins? Deny per, that there is borne in upon him the humble hope, or the this, and then your conduct becomes consistent, though your assured confidence of his being the object of God's pardoning condition remains as full of peril as before. But if you admercy. And, with such an impression as this prevailing or mit that God governs the world; that you are responsible to reigning in his mind, can it be doubted or denied that he is him for your actions; that you have disobeyed his law; and blessed? Is it a blessed thing for the rebellious subject to that consequently you are involved in the forfeiture of his faobtain the forgiveness of his sovereign, and to be restored to your and in obnoxiousness to punishment; if you admit this,

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as most of you profess to do—then, in these circumstances, period during which on any supposition they can be yours. can you or should you be happy? Though all the sources of Multitudes among the generations that are passed, lived and indulgence which this world affords were laid open to you, thought and felt as you are doing ; they paid no regard to and though you had not an earthly want unsupplied, nor an the blessedness of which the Psalmist speaks with so much earthly desire unfulfilled, could all this compensate for the emphasis; they wrapped themselves up in the fond persuaevil of being subject to the curse of Almighty God, any more sion that all was well with them, and refused to seek for any than it could be effectual in removing it? Or would not other, or any higher happiness than what they found in the your perseverance in devoting your affections to the gratifica- gratifications of a carnal mind. And where is their happiness tions of sense and time rather tend, by aggravating your guilt now? Did not death bring it to a perpetual end ? Could in the eye of offended heaven, to render your misery more certain the remembrance of it have any other effect than that of inand your folly more conspicuous ? We can conceive nothing creasing the agony of that punishment to which their unformore preposterous in the whole range of human error, no de- given spirits were doomed when they appeared before the ception more gross and melancholy, than for a man to imag-tribunal of their God? And in like manner, will not a few ine and to insist that he is happy, because the world, and its short years put a final period to your boasted felicity? And perishing objects, and its unthinking inhabitants, are smiling will not every indulgence to which you now so eagerly deupon him, while yet the terrors of incensed omnipotence and vote yourselves become as if it had never been? And will of a coming judgment are frowning on his fate. Compared not you then be left to sink into utter perdition, under the with this, the maniac is wise, who, in his dreary cell, and burden of that guilt which now lies so heavy on your souls, with his crown of straw, fancies himself to be the monarch of and notwithstanding which you have the folly and the prethe universe; the slave is right and noble who boasts of lib-sumption to rejoice, as if you, and you alone, were happy? erty, while he dances in his chains; and the sleeping out-o be persuaded but to look forward a little way, that you cast is an object of complacency, when he dreams that he is may see how short your course of worldly enjoyment is, and * rich and increased in goods, and stands in need of nothing, how darkly and wretchedly it must terminate. And then though at that very moment he is in rags, and poverty, and cast your eyes upon the path along which the justified sinner wretchedness, and stands in need of every thing. Yes, my is pursuing his way. It looks to you as if it were through a friends, yours is a sad and delusive dream, when you imagine dreary wilderness; and so it is. But amidst all the sorrows and call yourselves happy; while, whatever may be your and difficulties of that wilderness, he has the favour of a fortemporal circumstances, and whatever may be your temporal giving and reconciled God to uphold and to cheer him; to enjoyments, the sentence of condemnation, pronounced upon be his pillar of cloud by day, and his pillar of fire by night;' you by the righteous Judge, is yet unrecalled; while no voice to fill him with a peace which the world that you serve can from heaven has whispered that your sins are forgiven;' neither give nor take away. And his journey is as short as while Divine justice still asserts and urges its claim against yours; but 0 how diffierently does it terminate! It termiyour guilty souls; and while, from the very scene in which nates in a land of rest, and bliss, and glory, where the joy you are setting up your rest, and boasting that your wine and that he now feels from the sense of God's pardoning mercy, your oil and your mirth abound, there is “a certain fearful shall be freed from all that impairs it here, and where it shall looking for of wrath and fiery indignation to consume you.' be such as to afford the most delightful and the only satisfyO that you could be awaked from this wild and fatal dream, ing illustration of that great truth which we partially expeand that your eyes were open to see the infatuation which rienced upon earth,--that • blessed is he whose trangression besets you!

is forgiven, whose sin is covered, and to whom the Lord imFrom your own case of fancied bliss, look to the case of puteth not iniquity.' those into whose number, for your own sake, we would fondly Let me beseech you then to seek after this happiness with introduce you. They are blessed indeed. They not only have your whole heart. Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber that inward feeling of happiness which you pretend to have; to your eye-lids,' till you have asked and obtained the forgiveand it is not only from its very nature profounder and moreness of your sins. Apply for that blesssing through faith in the satisfying than yours,—but it can endure the test of reflec- atonement and righteousness of the great Redeemer. Pray tion and examination ; it has the approbation of their own that it may be communicated to you in demonstration of the minds impartially sought for, and deliberately conferred ; Spirit,' so that you may feel in your experience that yon and it must commend itself to the approval of every under- have obtained mercy,' and be glad in the possession and standing that is capable of comparing one thing with an- enjoyment of such a privilege. And He who sent his own other, and of forming a sound and unbiassed judgment on Son to be a propitiation for your sins, and is now in him the operations of the human heart. It does not reject any reconciling the world to himself,' will lend a gracious ear enjoyment which God is pleased to bestow; it is not at va- to your petition, and blot out your iniquities, and give you riance with one innocent pleasure of life; and it has no to partake of all the blessings of the everlasting covenant. natural alliance with a single evil for the suffering of which it does not contain an ample recompence. But it is principally and permanently derived from being delivered out of

PART II. the greatest calamity, and from being put in possession of the richest inheritance, that can enter into the lot of an We have considered, in the first place, the uncomfortable immortal being. The more it is considered, the more is its ex- state of a convinced, but still impenitent and unpardoned cellence demonstrated, and the more is its value felt. And it sinner; in the second place, the blessing of pardon itself; and, has this unspeakable advantage, that itş worth and its con- in the third place, the happiness of those who have been so tinuance have no dependance on the fluctuations which belong privileged as to obtain that blessing. to all other enjoyments, but remain untouched and undimin- IV. We come now, in the fourth place, to consider repentished, and are even enhanced and secured by the crosses, ance as connected with the forgiveness of sin. I acknow. and troubles, and disappointments, which denude the sinner ledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid; ! and the worlding of all their blessedness, and overwhelm said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and them in misery and despair. O then, if feeling deceive you, thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' let the deception yield to the dictates of reason, and act upon Confession of sin has no reference to the idea of making the conviction, that if you are happy, you ought not to be God acquainted with our unworthiness. In confessing our happy, lying as you are, under the curse of God: and let it fault to a fellow-creature, one principal part of the act free be the earnest desire of your heart that you may be happy, quently consists in revealing to him what he did not know belike those whose situation the Psalmist describes when he fore, and what he would never have known but for our commusays, 'Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose nication. With God, however, the case is entirely and nesin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord im- cessarily different. He is already intimately and perfectly puteth not iniquity.'

aware of our guilt, of all its extent, of all its particulars, and And should you still be obstinate, and content yourselves of all its aggravations. Confessing to him, therefore, must with the enjoyments that are consistent with an unpardoned mean something else than merely telling him of our unworstate, and go on to live as if you both were, and had reason thiness. It plainly stands opposed to that state of mind in to be, happy, let me just conclude with hinting to you, that which the transgressor is when he is awakened in some

ny principle of reason, or propriety, or experience, measure to see his sinfulness, but not yet sufficiently affected you can be called happy, you are happy only for a moment. with the sight to act according to its influence and tendency: In I allude not to the uncertainty which attaches to every one that state he is sensible that he has committed many iniquiof your earthly pleasures--though even that consideration ties, and he is so far convinced of his demerit and his danger should not be without its influence but I refer to the short as to feel uneasiness from it. But still he labours to per

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suade himself that things are not so bad with him as his other grace that characterises a genuine disciple of Christ. fears would suggest; he tries to believe that such and such The spirit of God cannot be supposed to implant the sentiactions, for which his conscience had been apbraiding him, ment of mercy, and to leave the mind unfurnished with those have, in truth, no moral evil in them; he is ingenious in other excellencies which are equally becoming, and equally devising, and eager in discovering excuses, by which he may necessary, and without which the persons whom it distinpalliate conduct, the ungodly or immoral nature of which he guishes would not be men of God, * furnished unto all good cannot wholly deny; he will not recognize such depravity works.' And the motives which lead to the cultivation of in his heart and life, as should make him tremble for his this moral quality, must, of course, operate to the cultivation safety, and anxious to secure it; he struggles to keep down of justice, temperance, faith, humility, and every remanent every rising of remorse-to check every feeling of anxiety virtue which goes to constitute that character to the possessand alarm; and he strives to satisfy his mind that he has ion of which the promise of salvation is annexed. Now, in not been so disobedient to the law of God, as to subject him like manner, and for a similar reason, confession of sin is tato condemnation and punishment. When, however, his con- ken to signify the whole of repentance. This confession is victions of sin become powerful, his sense of its evil clear not supposed to be a mere verbal or formal acknowledgment and acute, and his consciousness of its burden too oppressive of iniquity, which is perfectly consistent with perseverance in for him to bear, he ceases to take a partial or a flattering view the iniquity which is confessed. It is understood to be sinof his spiritual character. He feels that when he maintains cere and worthy; and that being the case, it proceeds from his comparative innocence he is but deceiving himself with just and Scriptural views of sin; it implies a sacred homage a vain and false imagination. Bitter experience teaches him to the character and the law of God; it is associated with godly that there is no peace to the wicked, even when he is most sorrow and self-abasement; it is quickened by a believing reresolute in speaking peace to his soul.. All his sophistries, gard to the mediation of Jesus ; and it is succeeded by pracand all his stout-heartedness, and all his fond delusions are tical reformation and holy obedience. And, viewed in that overborne by the aspect which his guilt now assumes. And light, and in these relations, it may, with the greatest propriinstead of having recourse to what might be supposed to ex- ety, be spoken of as we speak of repentance itself, and set tenuate his offences or to justify his conduct, he chooses down as bringing along with it the rich recompense which rather to admit that such an attempt is utterly hopeless; he divine benignity has been pleased to attach to the exercise of does homage to the truth, mortifying and humiliating as it is, that comprehensive grace. And we may remark also a pecuthat he is nothing but a great and miserable sinner; and he liar propriety in its being so employed in the passage

before seeks for relief to his agitated or dejected spirit by a free, in- us. For the Psalmist had been speaking of the misery that genuous, and unreserved acknowledgment that he is charge- he experienced in consequence of his • keeping silence, or reable with rebellion against God which exposes him to divine fusing utterance and effect to his convictions of sin; and now indignation, and which it is beyond his power to expiate. that his mind is relieved by adopting an opposite course, and He not only sees the folly of imposing upon himself, by en- giving vent to his feelings in an acknowledgment dictated by deavouring, as it were, to impose upon omniscience; he is not those full and affecting views of his guilt which would teronly alive to the double guiltiness of first sinning, and then minate in a thorough change, he very naturally ascribes to it trying to think that he has not sinned, or has not sinned so as to the substantial character and beneficial results connected with provoke God; he is not only struck with the danger of thus repentance. “I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniputting a veil upon his iniquities, and steeling himself quity have I not hid: I said, I will confess my transgressions against the impression of that unalterable turpitude which unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' belongs to them, and of that coming ruin in which they must Repentance, as expressed by confession of sin, is here uniin this case involve him ;-not only do these things affect him ted with the blessing of forgiveness. And this is a union redeeply, and determine him, instead of struggling any longer cognized and stated throughout the whole of Scripture. The with his convictions, to yield altogether to their impulse, and doctrine of God's word is plainly and unequivocally this,to allow them their full play on his feelings and his fears; that while the impenitent must perish in their sins, the truly he is also encouraged to cherish them by the views which he penitent shall obtain the pardon of their sins, and final admissbegins to take of the grace and mercy of Him against whom ion into the kingdom of heaven. he has sinned, and by the assurances which are held out to We must be very careful, however, to entertain accurate him, that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin,' and notions of the relation which these two things bear to each that the divine compassion extends to the chief of sinners. other. It is not the relation of cause and effect. You do not And, therefore, he pours out his heart in unqualified and undis- obtain forgiveness on account of your repentance. It might guised confession, pleading guilty to every offence which the easily be shown, from the nature of repentance itself, that it holy eye of God has marked in his deportment, anxious that could not procure such a benefit by any worth or virtue or in no one instance, and in no one degree, he should indulge efficacy of its own. But I would just remind you of one esin a mitigated opinion of his delinquencies, and studying to sential truth in the gospel scheme, and in the gospel record ; take the completest survey, and to have the deepest sense, namely, that it is through the blood of Christ that ye have and to make the frankest and the fullest avowal, of that de- redemption, even the forgiveness of your sins. It is for the merit which adheres to him as a hater and a transgressor of sake of what Christ did and suffered, as an atoning sacrifice, the divine law.

that God in his undeserved mercy blots out your iniquities. It is quite evident that confession of sin forms but a part of And any weight given to your own doings in the attainment repentance. It is only one of the steps which the penitent of this mighty boon, is just to detract so much from the riches takes in the course of that transition which he makes, or of of divine grace, and from the merit of the only Saviour, and that change which he undergoes, when he turns from sin unto to evince a spirit which is at once opposed to the gospel God. And yet it obviously stands here for the whole of re- method of deliverance, and most inconsistent with the primary pentance, having the blessing of forgiveness and salvation an- and essential elements of repentance itself. Forgiveness is nexed to it, and intimating the Psalmist's return from that annexed to the exercise of faith, but neither is faith the cause state of guilt into which he had plunged, to the holy princi- of your forgiveness, nor the foundation on which you can rest ples and holy practice which he had criminally abandoned. either your application for that blessing, or your hope of reThis is not uncommon in Scripture.* We read in another pas-ceiving it. It is nothing else than an acceptance of Him who sage besides this, that • if we confess our sins, God is faithful expiates your guilt by the oblation of himself, and procures for and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all un- you by his exclusive merit the pardon that you need. In its righteousness. Such a substitution of a part for the whole proper exercise, it withdraws your regards entirely from yourof repentance, seems to proceed on the same general principle, selves, and fixes them solely on the atoning death and finishaccording to which we often find a single Christian virtue puted work of the Redeemer. And as this faith is a leading for the Christian character at large; as when our Saviour says, principle in the true penitent, every true penitent will lose

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Here sight of all that is in himself, and place his confidence entiremercy stands for every thing which a good man is required to ly in that one sacrifice by which Jesus Christ has taken away possess. And, when properly considered, such a representa-the sins of the world. tion is perfectly correct: For the mercy here spoken of is But still it must not be forgotten that repentance is necesgenuine mercy,-mercy wrought by the spirit of God, and sary-absolutely and indispensably necessary for you. It is governed by right and worthy motives; but this being the necessary for maintaining consistency in God's administration case, we may be quite sure that this grace will not stand towards you—for nothing could be more contradictory to his alone, but will be accompanied and connected with every moral perfection than to make provision for the pardon of your

sin, and to allow you to continue in the love and practice of it. See Lecture III. Part II.

It is necessary to fit you for enjoying his favour and friendship



upon earth, it being impossible for him to hold communion must have the divine help to keep him from falling back into with you, or for you to have any relish for his loving kind- that state of blindness, and insensibility, and degradation ness, while you continued .enemies to him in your minds, from which he has been delivered ; that without it, he would and by wicked works. It is necessary to qualify you for the cease even to feel any desire for the thorough renewal and final employments and the blessedness of the heavenly world, be purification of his character ; that every view of the evil of sin cause these are so holy and immaculate, that an unconverted which he had obtained, would quickly be obscured and lost; man could neither willingly engage in the one, nor have any that all his good resolutions would be feeble and unavailing; satisfaction or complacency in the other. It is necessary in that sin would regain its mastery over his affections and his all these important respects; and we cannot imagine a wilder conduct; that he would assuredly fall back into that state of or more fatal delusion, than for such as have not repented to impenitence, and unbelief, and wickedness, from which he appropriate to themselves the blessedness of those whose was happily emerging. And therefore he prays, that He transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, and to whom who had begun the good work in him, would perfect it until the Lord imputeth not iniquity. We cannot here enter par- the day of Christ ;' would save him from the corruption of his ticularly into the nature and process of that repentance which own heart; strengthen in him all the holy dispositions which you must exercise ; but we would earnestly press upon you he had implanted; fortify him against the assaults of temptathe necessity of having this evidence of your spiritual safety; tion, and the inroads of his spiritual enemies; carry forward and would beseech you to try and examine yourselves in or- the process of his sanctification, and continue to administer to der to ascertain whether you indeed possess it; and never to him that direction and that assistance, that sufficient grace and rest satisfied till in this respect there is no guile in your perfect strength, which would keep him from falling away, heart, and till you can say with the Psalmist, in the full im- and preserve him blameless unto the coming of his Lord. port of his language, • I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and He prays for these things. He prays for them with an armine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgres dour and an earnestness, proportioned to the lively conviction sions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' that he has of their infinite importance and indispensable ne

V. We now come to consider the disposition of those who cessity. He prays for them in the name of that great High are penitent and pardoned to engage in prayer. For this Priest to whom every true penitent in every age has looked shall every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time when as the only foundation of hope. He prays under the influence thou mayest be found.'

of that encouragement which he draws from the goodness of The true penitent may be denominated godly during every God already vouchsafed to him in opening his eyes to the danperiod of his progress; from the first moment that he gets de- ger and misery of his condition, and revealing himself to him cided views of the evil of sin, till he comes to abound in as ready to forgive, and imparting to him some portion of the every good word and work. And at every period of his pro- relief and blessedness which accompany the communications gress, he feels an inclination to pray. Nothing is more na- of his pardoning love. And he prays in a time when God tural to him-nothing more requisite for him-nothing more may be found. He considers that any delay in applying at beneficial to him. Whenever he is thoroughly convinced of sin, the throne of grace would be both idle and dangerous—that his heart instinctively ascends in supplication to the throne no season can be more proper than that in which the hearer of God. He is impressed with an overwhelming sense of the of prayer is himself prompting him, as it were, to the holy evil of sin, in its contrariety to the divine law, and in its ob- exercise—that it is when God, by giving him an affecting noxiousness to the divine wrath. His conscience tells him sense of his guilty and helpless condition, hedges him in to that it cleaves to him, and that it has involved him in dishon- the attitude of devotion, he can with most propriety and with our and perdition. He is aware that there is no deliverance, fondest hope beseech him for deliverance from it-that as his and no safety for him but what must come from that great need of pardon, and sanctification, and all other spiritual blessBeing whose authority he has disobeyed, and whose anger he ings, is both urgent and certain, he would be acting foolishly has incurred. He knows, also, that his offended Maker is as if he did not supplicate these as often as God's providence compassionate as he is holy, and is ready to forgive all that calls him, and as often as God's Spirit stirs him up to seek come to him by the new and living way that he has appoint-them-that life is short in reference to the great work of preed. And thus, not merely urged by his spiritual necessities, paration for eternity, and that he may be suddenly and unexbut encouraged by the divine willingness to supply them, hespectedly withdrawn from the means and opportunities of looks up says, "God be merciful to me a sinner. He be- carrying it on. And, therefore, he prays to God now, which seeches God to save him from going down to the pit'--to is the accepted time'-now, which is the day of salvation ; pardon his manifold iniquities, and thus to speak peace to his and has it as one of his most ardent petitions, that the spirit guilty and troubled soul.

of prayer may be kept alive in his soul, and that he may be Nor is he contented with once offering up this supplication. made as desirous to obtain, as God is willing and able to beHe is too strongly impressed with the magnitude of his guilt stow, mercy to pardon, and grace to help him in his times of and the imminence of his danger; he thirsts too vehemently need.' for the blessing that he has implored; he is too anxious and Are any of you, my friends, living in neglect of prayer ? fearful about falling short of that which he so greatly needs Then be assured that you are neither penitent nor pardoned. and so devoutly wishes for, to be satisfied with such a rare You must be sensible, if you know any thing at all of the and short-lived application to the fountain of mercy. He con- subject, that of the real penitent, it cannot be more truly aftinues to ask for the divine forgiveness and favour with a fer-firmed that he has repented than it may be said, “Behold he vour and an importunity, such as might be expected in the prayeth. The one necessarily leads to, and implies the other. case of one who knew that, if he succeeded, eternal felicity All the discoveries that are made, all the feelings that are would be his, and that if he failed, he must die, and that for brought into operation, and all the grace that is experienever. And while he perseveres in petitioning for mercy to ced throughout the process of the sinner's repentance, and pardon him, he also supplicates grace to help him in his time throughout the life by which that change is succeeded, do of need.' He knows that he is polluted as well as guilty ; plainly and irresistibly dictate the necessity of supplication. that he must be sanctified as well as justified ; that of his own And, indeed, one of the very sins of which he has to repent, strength he can no more do the former than he can do the lat- and one consequently which he must be understood to forsake, ter; that both achievements must be performed by the great is the neglect of this great duty. So that it is quite impossipower of God;' and therefore, he prays, that while he is ble that the repentance which is unto salvation' can have rescued from the curse of the law, he may be also emancipat- taken place, if it has not been accompanied with prayer. And ed from the bondage of corruption, and created again in yet you do not pray! You never went to the throne of grace; Christ Jesus unto good works.'

or if you did, you grew weary of the exercise, and have ceased He is aware, that though God may have accorded to him in a great measure, or altogether to engage in it! And with the forgiveness he has asked, yet that he has continued need all this you flatter yourselves that you have repented, and that of the pardoning mercy he has experiencel; that he is every you may appropriate to yourselves the blessedness of those day sinning against his Maker and Redeemer, and conse-whose transgression is forgiven! What inconsistency! What quently is in daily want of that blessing, which can henceforth presumption! What self-deception is there here! No, my come only from him who at first bestowed it; and therefore friends, repentance and neglect of prayer are quite incompati. he ceases not to intreat it from his merciful father in heaven; ble. Repentance is not more evidenced to the world around and amidst all the prayers that he offers up, he never forgets him by the sanctified life of the penitent, than it is evidenced to ask the repeated forgiveness of his repeated transgressions. to his own mind by that recourse to prayer which it necessaHe is also sensible that the change which has been commen- rily prompts, and which in its turn is requisite for the full acced in bis soul, can no more be carried on and completed, than complishment of his return to God and to the way of salvation. it was originated, by his own independent energies; that he He only is the true penitent-he only is the pardoned peni





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tent-he only is the godly penitent-whose moral change is triumphant strains of David on another occasion, • The Lord attended with, and helped onward by supplication and prayer; is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord who sees in God alone his refuge and his help; and who, ac- is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid ?'-yet it cording to God's appointment, and in the way of his appoint- is in heaven that he expects, and it is to heaven that he looks ment, applies to him for every thing that he needs. This is forward, for that complete deliverance from his troubles which characteristic of the people of God, and it is on this account is necessary to his perfect blessedness, and which he has that we can speak of them as blessed beyond all that careless been taught to regard as the sure and final portion of every and indevout and unconverted sinners can either experience one that is pardoned and reconciled to God. And what are or conceive.

all the blessings that he can be called on to endure in this VI. This leads us to say a few things on the last particu- scene of trial--what all the violence of all his enemies-what lar which we proposed to consider, namely, the security of all the hardships, and privations, and anguish that can be atGod's people in the midst of danger and distress. Surely, tached to his mortal fate—when compared with the great and in the floods of great waters, they shall not come nigh him. glorious 6 redemption that draweth nigh'-by which he shall Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trou- be rescued at once from all sin, and from all misery-by which ble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.' he shall be introduced into a world where no enemy can

This language does not intimate that God's people are to reach him, and where no tempter can harass him, and where be exempted from trials and sufferings. On the contrary, it no evil can befal him, and where, in a sense in which he supposes them to be actually involved in these, as well as at could never use it, and with a joy which could never animate all times liable to them. And, indeed, the history both of him here, he will take up the song of deliverance, and say in the Old and the New Testament church, not to speak of our the company of the redeemed on high, · Unto Him that loved own observation and experience, may satisfy us that though us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath they have a happiness which others know nothing of, and made us kings and priests unto God and his father, to him be cannot appreciate till they feel it, they are exposed to all the glory and dominion for ever and ever! ordinary calamities which afflict the lot of man--that they I trust my friends, that such is the experience felt, and that are often visited with bereavements and sorrows from which such are the anticipations cherished by many of those now the men of the world escape--and that they have spiritual hearing me. The passage that we have been considering extroubles which are peculiar to themselves, and which are fre-presses the sense of safety and the hope of deliverance with quently far severer and more difficult to endure than the worst which the Psalmist was favoured. Then he was in the midst of outward distresses. But herein is their grand distinction, of troubles from which he could not extricate himself, and by that they are supported, and guarded, and saved by Him who which, but for divine help, he must have been utterly destroyed. has all things under his sovereign control, and who says of It expresses what was felt by all the ancient worthies both of his people, He that touches them, touches the apple of the Old and New Testament church, when in the Providence

of God, they were placed in similar circumstances of danger They must pass through a wilderness, indeed, where diffi- and distress. I trust it is no mean recommendation of it culties beset them, where dangers threaten them, where pri- when I tell you that it was a chosen portion of Scripture with vations visit them, where malevolence pursues them. And our forefathers, who, when persecuted for conscience sake, in mauy respects it is more a wilderness to them than it is to and hunted like partridges on the mountains, because they those who are yet. far from God, and far from righteousness.' would not bend their necks to the yoke of bondage, often There is one consideration, however, which takes away from made the sequestered glen and the barren rock echo to their it, in their case, all that can render it gloomy or formidable to voice as they lifted it up to God in this appropriate and pasuch as have to traverse its rugged paths. They are the ob- thetic psalm, and in the notes of their favourite and heartjects of God's love, and from his love, which must constitute touching melodies, conveyed to his listening ear, the sorrows the safety and the happiness of every creature that is privi- which oppressed, the consolations which supported, and the leged to enjoy it, nothing that can possibly happen, whether of hopes which cheered them. And well will it be for you, if good or evil, is able for one moment to separate them. They in every season of calamity you can cherish that confidence enter the wilderness, blessed with the enjoyment and the as- in the mercy of God, and count upon that saving power of surance of his pardoning mercy, and warranted to look to him his which have been the distinction, and the comfort, and the as their reconciled friend. They travel on under his unerring rejoicing of his saints in every period of his church-which guidance and almighty protection. And beyond it lies the will continue to distinguish and uphold them in all future land of promise, into which he will ere long introduce them, generations--and which will have their issue in the purity, and for the felicity of which the toils and troubles of their and bliss, and glory of his unsuffering kingdom. pilgrimage will be overruled to prepare them. The floods of great waters' may surround the Christian, and to the eye of unthinking men, and in the apprehensions of his own timid mind, they may be about to overwhelm him. But his God says to them · Hitherto shall ye come, but no farther;' and he reposes on that love which many waters cannot quench, and which the foods cannot drown.' God is his hiding

LECTURE VIII. place' which he may flee to, when perils menace him, into which his most powerful enemies cannot follow him, Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly and where he is as secure from harm as omnipotence can nation : 0 deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. make him. God 'preserves him from trouble ;' saves him from For thou art the God of my strength : why dost thou cast every disappointment, and from every pain that would injure me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of his essential interests ; blunts the edge of such afflictions as the enemy? O send out thy light and thy truth: let them are allowed to befal him, by imparting help and consolation lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy along with them; and converts thern into blessings, by mak- tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto ing them subservient to his present improvement, and his God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise everlasting happiness. And even when he seems ready to thee, O God, my God. Why art thou cast down, O my fall a prey to the adversities which come upon him, when all soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in things wear the aspect of hostility, and conspire to accom- God; for I shall yet praise him, who

the health of my plish his ruin, and when escape appears to be hopeless and countenance, and my God.-Psalm xliii. impossible, even then God magnifies his grace and his might by compassing him about with songs of deliverance,'---not. It is evident, from the tenor of this Psalm, that David was only delivering him, but making the deliverance so manifest in great difficulty and distress when he wrote it. He speaks to him as to impress him with the sense of his divine inter- of an ungodly nation' against whom he required help_of position, and to fill his heart with gratitude, and his mouth the deceitful and unjust man,' from whom he needed to be dewith praise.

livered of the oppression of the enemy' that caused him to But though even here-in this world of sin and sorrow--go mourning. We should find it difficult, and perhaps might wbich looks as if it were no resting place for the Zionward find it impossible to ascertain, with any degree of certainty, traveller, as if it had nothing for him but trials and tempta- the precise circumstance to which he alludes; but that is no tions and distresses, and as if it would destroy him before he bar to our understanding the general import of the passage, reached the place of his ultimate destination ; though even and to our deriving from it those salutary lessons which it is here he is so much the object of God's providential care and doubtless intended to teach us. We are liable to afflictions upholding grace, that he is always safe, and can employ the similar to those with which the Psalmisi was visited, and



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