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down upon me with an eye of pity; I am greatly: perplexed between hopes and fears, and know not what to do. If I look at myself, I fee nothing but grounds of discouragement, and of despair. * To. me belongeth confusion of face; but to thee be. long mercies and forgivenesles, through the death of thy dear Son. This is all my hope, the only ground of my expectation of pardon, of peace, and of reconciliation with thee.

" And

* “So numerous are our offences, and so violent our provocations, that, were not the blessed God equally superior to us in goodness, as he is in power; . and in pardoning mercy, as he is in wisdom; we could not have the least ground of hope. Among men, when a breach of private friendship has taken place, the aggreffor, being conscious of the injury he has done, is commonly very backward to admit, that the aggrieved party has any benevolence for him. Thus it is with finners, when their consciences are awakened, in regard to God. Extremely backward they are to admit, that there is forgiveness with God, for such aggravated crimes as theirs. To relieve the diftressed soul, by obviating this very common and pressing difficulty, the Great Soyereign condescends ta. citly to admit, that were he like us, neither pardoning nor sparing mercy would ever be exercised to. wards any of Adam's offspring. But, he is God and Not MAN. His thoughts, relative to pardoning mercy, are not our thoughts; nor his ways, respecting that

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p.) 4.4 ** And is there indeed any hope for a wretch so miserable and forlorn as I am ?. The very potsibility of obtaining favour with thee, alleviates my forrows, and half removes the heavy load which oppresses my soul. Wilt thou be pacified towards me! Let me not deceive myself! Is not this too good news to be true! Have I any warrant from thee, O merciful God, for the hope I am cherish. ing? Yes! I this moment recollect what is written in the scriptures of truth ; “ Let the wicked forsake

his

important affair, like our ways. Offences, comparable to a debt of only fifty pence, are often with difficulty forgiven by us: while he, through the blood of atonement, freely obliterates a debt of ten thousand talents. Among mortals, it is an instance of love extremely rare, that any one should lay down his life, even for a good man, or a public benefactor; but God recommends his love towards us, in that, while we were yet finners, and his enemies, he sent his own Son to die for us. Far from regulating the manifestations of his compaffion according to the puny instances of hu. man kindness; he not only blesses, but astonishes, by the displays of his matchless favour to finners.Yes, God is 'LÓVE; and, therefore, he delighteth in mercy. What, then, could be more encouraging; or what, by necessary consequence, could more strongly authorise, a guilty, perishing wretch, to rely on the Lord Jesus, in whom this boundless mercy

is mani. feited ?" Bootu's Glad Tidings, pag. 26. 27.

his way, and the unrigliteous man his thoughts, let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on hint; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. I will forgive their iniquity, and I will re. member their fins no more. I even I ain he that blotteth out thy transgression for mine own fake, and will not remember thy sins. Whosoever be. lieveth in Jesus shall receive remiflion of sins.

" Lord, on the declarations of thy own mouth I venture my soul's everlasting concerns.

O help me so to believe what thou hast spoken, as that my fears and anxieties may be removed, and my soul be fatisfied of its interest in thy favour which is life.”

Guilty and self-condemn'd I lie,

Before thy awful throne;
I know I have deserv'd to die,

Yet fave me through thy Son.
In his dear name may I partake

The pardon I implore ;
And, for thy fov'reign mercy's fake,

My wand'ring feet restore.

Thy healing grace, O God, impart ;

Relieve my trembling foul;
O let thy favour cheer my heart,

And all my fears controul.

CHAP.

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CHAP. IV.

The Favour of God is Life to converted Persons in

various Circumstances.

HAVING confidered the text as applicable to

the case of sinners at their first conversion, I now proceed to observe,

2. That the favour of God is life to returning backsliders. God's dear children are sometimes permitted to turn aside from the path of duty, to fall into open

acts of sin, or into a course of secret remissness, negligence, and unwatchfulness. When that is the case, divine comforts are suspended, or, in the langưage of inspiration, the Lord hides his face, and leaves the foul in darkness, gloominess, and defpondency. Through the power of indwelling sin, through the violence of Satan's temptations, or through the snares of the present evil world, they forsake the Fountain of living waters, leave their first love, and turn aside after lying vanities, till their hearts being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, they at length, perhaps, are overtaken with faults inconsistent with their chriftian character, or fall into difhonourable and scandalous practices. This is greatly to be lamented. But the good Shepherd restores his wandering theep.

He

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row.

He brings them to a just sense of the evil of their doings, and opens afresh the springs of godly for

He says to them, “ Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, faith the Lord God of hosts." That peace, which ariseth from a view of interest in Jesus, is lost. The grieved Spirit suspends his gracious influences, and the soul is filled with disquietude, distress and anguish.

When this is the case, the man is brought, in deep humiliation, to lament after an absent God, and to cry to him, with the Psalmift, • Restore unto me the joys of thy falvation." To the confolations of God I am now, alas! a stranger. Behold, for peace I have great bitterness! My case is sad and deplorable. When I first gave myself to the Lord, I promised constancy; but I have now forgotten and forsaken him and am quickly turned aside after vain things which cannot profit. . Woe is me, ungrateful wretch that I am! My unkind dealing with God is unparalleled! Who ever turned aside unto folly as I have done ? My guilty conscience now accuseth me, God frowns upon me, all my former fins are set in array against me,

they

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