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The sinner cannot save himself. His past sins are a debt, which he cannot himself pay off. Another must pay it. Trying to be good in future Even when the converted sinner obtains the gift of a new heart, still his good works will fall short, and he will need salvation to be freely given him by Christ.
cannot save us.
This is the truth to which the jailor was brought: and we must all come to the same: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
St. Paul would have a great deal to say, in a short time, on this subject: but the jailor drank in his doctrine eagerly; he took of the water of life freely; and that very night he believed, and was baptized, with his whole house.
Let me now tell you, more particularly, how you may be saved, through Jesus Christ. Remember, that he shed his precious blood to take away your sins. Go then, in confession and prayer, and with faith in his blood, and wash away your sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. Know, also, that your own good works will never be perfect enough to recommend you to God. But he has wrought out a perfect righteousness, in which you may be clothed, if you will accept it. Ask of him to put it on you. Do not go about to establish your own righteousness.
Yet, you must be made holy, if you would be saved. Reflect, that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, and offering his Holy Spirit, to make
you holy, if you will ask him for this gift. Will you not then believe in this Saviour? Will you not accept pardon and peace, through His blood? Do you not desire to be found in Him, and accounted righteous through His righteousness? Will you not love, serve, and pray to this Saviour, who died on the cross for you; and who is now praying in heaven for all who come to Him?
O God, our Creator and Preserver, we may well fall down before thee, confounded, when we remember how carelessly we have walked through the many dangers of our life, forgetful of thee, and unprepared for Judgment. There is but a step between us and death; and yet we have been hurried on by many foolish and hurtful lusts, which, but for thy forbearance, must long since have drowned us in destruction and perdition. We are amazed that we were not suffered utterly to destroy ourselves. Oh! let our cry now be, What must we do to be saved? Who shall pardon and deliver us? How shall we prepare for the great account, which we must shortly give, before thee, the Judge of quick and dead?
We flee unto thee, O Lord, through Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come. We pray thee to break the bonds of sin, wherewith we have been bound; and to undo the snares of Satan, by ich we have been entangled; and so deliver us going down into the pit. Yea, may our souls
delight in thee, as our reconciled Father in Christ. We plead in His name. Blot out our many sins: forgive us all that debt, which we are unable to pay. Bestow on us a living faith: and let thy Holy Ghost, the Comforter, so work in us, that, for the time to come, we may joyfully serve Thee alone; and be at length numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord!
CONVICTION OF SIN.
ROMANS iii. 9-19.
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. OUR Saviour Jesus Christ has said, "The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick:" and
he added, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." The words just read from St. Paul's Epistle are intended to make us know and feel that we are sinners. We are all under sin. People of all ranks and degrees, and of every age and country; men, women, children, are all “under sin." As it is with diseases, some show themselves worse than others; so it is with sin: and therefore the Holy Scriptures here describe several kinds of sin. One, perhaps, may say, "I have not committed this sin:" and another may say, "I have not committed that sin." Still, all have committed some kind of sin; yea, many kinds. All have this dreadful disease in their souls; and all ought to be thankful that there is such a Physician as Jesus Christ, ready to heal them.
Let us attend to the different expressions of St. Paul. And, instead of making excuses, as if we were not the worst of sinners, let us endeavour to find out in what degree we are sinners before God. Whenever we begin to make vain excuses, let us remember the words of St. Paul-that every mouth is to be stopped, so that the whole world may be proved guilty before God. And may the Holy Spirit prepare our hearts, to think humbly of ourselves!
We will consider sins of the heart first." There is none that understandeth." But perhaps you say, "What sin is there in this? I do not understand, because I am no scholar; I am not book-learned." If you are making ignorance your excuse, then
look at the next sentence: "There is none that seeketh after God." Not seeking, shows not caring: here lies your sin. Surely you must confess that this is very sinful;-not to seek God, not to pray to him, not to wish that you knew him. Have you not spent many days of your life (perhaps years) in ignorance and carelessness about God? Would you not think it very sinful in children to neglect their parents? and have not you neglected your Heavenly Father? St. Paul says, "They are all gone out of the way." So, I fear, have you. You have not taken the right way to be instructed. The Bible has been thrown on one side; you have thought it troublesome to go to a place of worship; and you have known little or nothing of prayer. Think, I pray you, of these things. They show, very plainly, that willing ignorance is a sin. Indeed, not to love God, and not to desire the knowledge of His ways, is the very root of all other sins.
And what is the fruit of a life of carelessness? St. Paul says, it is unprofitable: "They are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one." It is a most melancholy sight, to see a whole neighbourhood unprofitable— showing, almost, no signs of religion. Perhaps you may say, "But I do nobody any harm." Alas! how little do we think of all the harm we do! We do harm when we neglect doing good. We help to keep up the general irreligion. By neglecting the Bible, and public worship, we encourage others to neglect them. Day after day men live on in