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“ delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and " come unto me, hear, and your souls shall live, " and I will make an everlasting covenant with “ you, even the sure mercies of David *.” Further, the proposition seems to me necessarily to imply an iinpoflibility in itself. For what is damnation? It is to be for ever separated from, and deprived of, the fruition of God. Is this then, a dutiful object either of desire or acquiescence ? It is to hate God and blaspheme his name, as well as to be banished from his presence. Can this be tolerable to any true penitent? or is it reconcileable to, or consistent with, subjection to his righteous will ? Can any creature be supposed to please God, by giving up all hope of his favour? Or is it less absurd than “ disobeying" him from a sense of " duty,” and “ hating” him from a principle of " love ?”
We must, therefore, carefully separate the acknowledgment of divine justice, and most unconditional subje&tion to the divine sovereignty, from an absolute despair, or giving up all hope in the divine mercy. We have a very beautiful scripture instance of humble, yet perfifting importunity, in the woman of Canaan, who met with many repulses, confessed the justice of every thing that made against her, and yet continued to urge her plea. Neither is there any difference between the * Ifa. lv. 2, 3.
way in which the supplicated of the Saviour a cure for her distressed daughter, and the way in which an awakened finner will implore from the fame Saviour more necessary relief to an afflicted conscience. “ And behold a woman of Canaan 6 came out of the same coasts, and cried unto « him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, " thou son of David, my daughter is grievously « vexed with a devil. But he answered her not " a word. And his disciples came and befought “ him, saying, Send her away, for the crieth 66 after us. But he answered and said, I am not « sent but unto the loft sheep of the house of Il16 rael. Then came the and worshipped him, 66 saying, Lord help me. But he answered and « faid, It is not meet to take the children's bread 6s and cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, ! Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which « fall from their master's table. Then Jesus an“ swered and said unto her, O. woman, great is " thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt *.". I Mall conclude with inentioning an instance of a similar character in a foreigner of eminent stan tion, who had been a great profligate, and afterwards became a great penitent t. He composed a little piece of poetry after his conversion, the leading sentiment of which was what I have recominended above, and in his own language was
* Matt. xv, 22--28. + Dcs Barreaux,
to the following purpose : " Great God, thy “ judgments are full of righteousness, thou takest " pleasure in the exercise of mercy ; but I have “ finned to such a height, that justice demands “ my destruction, and mercy itself seems to lo«s licit my perdition. Disdain my tears, strike " the blow, and execute thy judgment. I am “ willing to submit, and adore, even in perith“ ing, the equity of thy procedure. But on " what place will the stroke fall, that is not coof vered with the blood of Chrift?”
Acceptance of salvation through the cross of Christ.
THE next great step in a finner's change is
* a discovery and acceptance of salvation from fin and misery through Jesus Christ. This is the jaft and finishing step of the glorious work, When this is attained, the change is compleated, the new nature is fully formed in all its parts. The spiritual seed is implanted, and hath taken root; and it will arrive by degrees, in every vessel of mercy, to that measure of maturity and strength, that it pleaseth God each shall pofsess before he be carried hence.
It is easy to see, that conviction of fin which hath been before illustrated, prepares and paves the way for a discovery and acceptance of salva
tion by Christ. Before conviction of sin, or when conviction is but imperfect, the gospel of Christ, and particularly the doctrine of the cross, almost constantly appears to be foolishness. Or if, as sometimes happens, education and example prompts the finner to speak with some degree of reverence of the name, character, and undertaking of a Saviour, there is no distinct perception of the meaning, nor any inward relish of the sweetness of these falutary truths. But those who have been “ wounded in their spirits, 6 and grieved in their minds,” begin to “perceive their unspeakable importance and value. That mystery which was hid from ages and generations, begins to open upon the foul in its luftre and glory. The helpless and hopeless state of the finner makes him earnestly and anxiously enquire, whether there is any way to escape, whether there is any door of mercy or of hope. He says, with the awakened and trembling jailor, “ What must I do to be saved ? Innume6 rable evils have compassed me about, mine “ iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that " I am not able to look up; they are more " than the hairs of mine head, therefore my rs heart faileth me *. I have no excuse to “ offer, nor any shelter to fly to: the works, “ the word, and the providence of God, seem all “ to be up in arms against me, and have in“ closed me as an enemy to him. O how fear-, “ ful a thing is it to fall into the hands of the “ living God! Who shall dwell with devouring “ fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burn" ings? Is there no prospect of relief? Is there “ no balm in Gilead? Is there no phyfician there? « Wonderful has been my past blindness! I « have awaked as out of a dream, and find 66 myself hafting fast to the pit of destruction. " What would I not do, what would I not give, < for good ground to believe that my guilt “ were taken away, and my peace made with “ God?”
* Psal. xl. 12. L 4
With what eagerness and earnestnefs, hitherto unknown, does the finner now enquire after the way to life? With what solicitude does he " go forth by the footsteps of the flock, and “ feed beside the shepherds tents." The fabbaths, and ordinances, and word of God, are now quite different things from what they were before. No more.waste of that sacred time in business or in play. No more ferenity of heart, because he had been regularly and constantly at church, but an astonishing view of the fins of his holy things ; careless, formal, heartless worship. He cries out with the Pfalmift, “ Lord,
if thou houldīt mark iniquity, who shall "s stand.” No more indifferent, nothful, dif