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not forsake them.” The inquiring finner should remember for his encouragement, that it is the office of the Saviour of men, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. .
The convinced finner sees the necessity of God's favour being manifested in turning his heart from sin to holiness. He sees the necessity of repentance, and is conscious of his own inability to produce it in himself. “ Alas!” says he, “ I can no more convert myself, than I could have given myself existence when I had none. I have no power to make my heart new, to make it pure and holy. I feel in myself nothing but disorder, perverseness, and rebellion. What shall I do? Merciful God! do thou thoroughly change and renew my soul, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned. Do all that for me, of thy abundant grace, which is necessary to my everlasting salvation. I am encouraged to alk this, because thou haft, of thy free favour, promised all that I want."
The poor finner, in this case, is led to remember, for his relief, such declarations as the following. “ The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. I will give them an heart to know me, and they shall be
I will put
my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart, a new spirit within you, and will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you an heart of flesh.” Here God of his free favour, has graciously promised what the awakened soul sees to be absolutely necessary to its final safety.
Such a finner wants a sense of interest in the di. vine Redeemer, and in all his faving benefits.
He is fully convinced that there is no salvation for him but in Jesus. “How have I deceived myself," says he, “ in placing my confidence in my own righteousness, which indeed is but as filthy rags ! It is impoflible that that should justify me which is so imperfect and impure as to deserve the abhorrence of my Maker and Sovereign. I now at last fee my own nakedness and wretchedness. Behold, I am vile; I abhor myself, all I am, and all I have; nay, I justly deserve the abhorrence of that holy and righteous Being with whom I have to do. If I have not a righteousness better than my own, a righteousness answerable to the requisitions of the divine law, I am well assured, I cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. When I review my past life, and look into my depraved heart, I am confounded. God is holy, his law is pure, his justice is like a flaming fire against polluted sinners, such
as I am. In myself I have nothing to shelter or protect me, and should sink into despair, were it not for the glad tidings of gospel grace, in which a Saviour is revealed, who is become a furety for finners, an advocate, a propitiatory sacrifice. O for a sense of interest in this precious, this Almighty Redeemer! What would I give, rather, what would I not give for this ! Lord, shew me this favour, and what can I ask more!
“ I see that sinners are made partakers of the fal. vation of Jesus only by believing in him. But faith is the gift of God. How shall I believe in this divine Saviour ? Alas! my unbelieving heart debars me from the consolation of the gospel. I sometimes think I will embrace Chrift, but I seem to want arms to do it. I think I will come to him, but I seem to want feet, and cannot move towards him. I am convinced of my unbelief, and of the want of that faith which is of the operation of God. I see that without such a faith there can be no participation of pardon of sın, no enjoyment of peace with God, no hope of heaven. O that God would graciously work. this faith in me, by his own al. mighty power! Lord, conquer and subdue my un, believing heart,, by the light and power of thyword, and the attractive beams of thy favour!"
In this case, the trembling finner may find some encouragement from such declarations of the divine word as the following. “ I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. A new heart will I give you, and a right fpirit will I
Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. It is written in the prophets, They shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hatlı learned of the Father, cometh unto me. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?”
In a word, the returning finner wants a discovery of his being received into the favour and friendship of God, through Jesus Chrift. This would be worth more to him than all the .world. He is conscious of his crimes, he is oppressed with loads of guilt, and almost overwhelmed with fearful and desponding apprehensions. He trembles to approach the awful Majesty of heaven, but standing afar off, he smites upon his breast, and like the Publican in the temple cries, “ God be mer. ciful to me a finner. Satan, and my own misgiving heart would drive me from thee; but the sense of iny necellity urges me on to seek that relief at thy hand which can be found no where else. Yet
how can such a wretch as I am, expect any token of mercy from thy offended Majesty! I have finned against heaven, and before thee, and am 110 more worthy to be called thy son; yet make me as one of thy hired servants; let me but be taken into thy family, and I shall be happy, though I should occupy the meanest place, and stand in the lowest order. Lord, what shall I say unto thee? Is there yet any mercy for my poor helpless and polluted soul? Shall I ever obtain favour in thine eyes ? O look upon me, and be gracious unto me, for the fake of him who died the lost to save.
“ I will not despair, but endeavour to hope even against hope. Thou, o God, who art infinitely great, art also infinitely good and kind. Thy mercy is above the heavens.' Thou hast had long patience with me, and kept me alive from going down to the pit of destruction, I would hope, with the compassionate design of bringing me to the knowledge of thy great falvation. For whom did Jesus, thy beloved Son, shed his blood; for whom did he agonize and die, but for finners ? Lord, I am a finner, and though my crimes far exceed the crimes of many others, yet I find, in the days of his sojourning here below, he shewed mercy on great finners; they obtained forgiveness, as patterns of future grace to others. O Lord, look