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Have you ever been awakened to a sense of God's displeasure against you, because of your offences? Have you ever been brought under deep conviction, that the Judge and Governor of the world is juftly angry with you, as transgressors of his holy laws ? Has the horrible nature of sin ever been opened to your view; so that your souls have been afflicted on account of it? Hảs the guilt of fin ever laid on your consciences, as a burden too heavy for you to bear? And have you ever been brought to exclaim with the prophet Isaiah, ** Woe is me, I am undone, because I am a man. of unclean lips."

When David poured out his penitential confeffions before God, he spake of a broken heart, and complained of the anguish he felt, as being like that occasioned by broken bones. The arrows of „the Almighty stuck fast in him; there was no rest in his bones because of his sin; he even roared by reason of the disquietness of his {pirit. Our Lord represents the condition of poor souls, who come to him, as a weary and burdened one. “ Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Job complains, that the terrors of God set themselves in array against him. Peter's hearers, when God gave them repentance,

, were pricked to the heart. Paul had the law opened

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to him in such a manner, that his fins revived, and he died; his delusive hopes and comforts were at an end; and the law, which was originally ordained to life, he found to be unto death.

The law is our school-master, to bring us unto Christ; its terrors are usually seen and felt, in some degree, before we experience the grace and comforts of the gospel. An apprehension of divine wrath commonly precedes the discoveries of pardoning love; and sin is made bitter to us, before we taste that the Lord is gracious. We receive not the confolation arising from God's favour, generally speaking, till we have seen ourselves in danger of his everlasting displeasure. The poor finner perceives that he is in a state of condemnation and ruin, and owns that it is of the Lord's mercy he is alive, and not sent to that place of punishment which his crimes have deserved. His mouth is stopped by the consciousness of his guilt, so that he is convinced it would be just in God to cast him off for ever.

I am far from having any design to fix a standard for the degree of penitential disquietude. The convictions of some are attended with much more terror than those of others. I am farther still from having any intention to suggest, that a long course of time is necessary for these discoveries. Peter's

hearers

hearers were brought to a sense of their fins, and to discoveries of pardoning mercy on the same day, in the same place, if not under the same fermon. The jailor at Philippi saw himself a lost finner, and rejoiced in the salvation of Jesus the same night.

But I do not find any instance in the word of God, of a man's being filled with the comforts of divine love and favour, who has never had any sense of the evil of fin, or of his own miserable. and undone state. That faith does not appear to be of the saving kind, which is not accompanied with repentance from dead works. It is usual for poor finners to have their minds enlightened to see the nature and number of their crimes, and to be filled with awful apprehensions of the dreadful malignity of sin, before they are brought to rejoice in God's favour and pardoning love. “ In that day thou shalt say, O Lord I will praise thee; for though thou waft angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Behold God is my falvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my fong; he is also become my falvation."

I would ask you farther, Have you been convinced that the whole world cannot procure you an interest in the divine favour ? That neither angels

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in heaven, nor men on earth; that neither riches, honours, gifts, endowments, nor qualifications of any kind, can reconcile you to God? Are you persuaded that thousands of rams, and ten thousands of rivers of oil would be of no avail in this cafe? That should all the holy men on earth unite with the saints in heaven to procure your pardon, they would not prevail ? That should Noah, Daniel and Job, Lot, Moses and Samuel stand up to turn away the wrath of God from you, they would not fucceed? That if all the angels in heaven should intercede for you, their interposition would not be sufficient? Nay, have you been made sensible that your own prayers, tears, fastings, and humiliations cannot atone for the least of

your

of fences ? That nothing wrought in you, or performed by you, can make amends for what you have done amiss, pacify divine wrath, or entitle you to the favour and acceptance of that holy Being against whom you have finned?

He who is under the teachings and guidance of the holy Spirit of God, is fully persuaded, that his own righteousness is but as filthy rags in point of merit; that no qualifications he can bring, will be of any avail; that nothing can give satisfaction to injured justice, but a sacrifice of infinite value; and such is the facrifice which Jesus Chrift has

offered.

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offered. It is the blood of that Lamb of God alone which cleanseth from all fin, who, by one offering, hath perfected for ever them that are fančtified. The finner who is taught of God, dares not approach the divine throne but through a Mediator. He knows that acceptance with him is only in the Beloved ; in whom the Father hath declared him. self well-pleased. He knows that justice must have full satisfaction, and that this is no where to be found, but in the atonement which the Son of God made, when he appeared in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

I will ask you again ; Have you earnestly sought reconciliation with God through the Redeemer? Though there is nothing meritorious in all your feeking, yet this is the appointed mean of coming to the enjoyment of a sense of intereft in the divine favour. If the subjects of an earthly potentate have been guilty of treafonable practices against his throne and government, and he has made it known to them, that he will not be reconciled, except they seek his favour through the mediation of his fon and heir, the offending subjects can have no ground to expect a reinstatement in their prince's favour, so long as they negle&t the appointed way.

Herod was highly displeased with the men of Tyre and Sidon; but they came with one accord to

him,

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