« PreviousContinue »
with you all your sins-all your guilt, and frankly confess both before him that searcheth the reins and the heart. Adopt the supplicatory language of David: 'Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great ;' or, rather, plead nothing in hope of forgiveness, but the blood of him in whose nanie you are exhorted to come with boldness. Stretch forth the hand of faith : lay it on the head of Christ, who is a sin-bearing Saviour, and he will carry all your transgressions into a land of everlasting forgetfulness.
Should you imagine, for a moment, that this merciful High Priest will not receive you as a perishing sinner; attend to his own compassionate words : 'Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out_Were you chargeable with the adultery of David, the murder of Marasseh, the apostasy of Peter, and the blasphemy of Saul; the accumulated guilt of these atrocities could not be urged as an exception to the infinitely gracious declaration. Nay, were' it possible to produce an individual, the turpitude of whose actions would exclude from coming to Christ for mercy; or one that did come, and was afterwards rejected, the wonderfully encouraging assertion would not be true ; nor could it be consistently affirmed, that he is able to save to the uttermost. But the Lord is the God of truth. 'He is not a man, that he should lie ; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? The works of nature may dissolve: nay, they shall certainly perish; but the word of God remaineth sure, and his truth to all generations. The Lord hath graciously declared that he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer: while, therefore, you acknowledge your unworthiness, and enumerate your own wants, remind him of his own promise ; jest he should complain, and say, as he did in another case, “Thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; thou hast been weary of me, and hast not honoured me with thy sacrifices.' No longer doubt the love of Christ revealed for encouragement to the distressed and the guilty : reject the thought as highly dishonourable to
God: and if the risings of hope be depressed by the prevalence of unbelief, pray that you may be enabled to give implicit credit to the testimony of his own word; that you may. be helped to say with grateful confidence, 'I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.'
Your concluding, that there can be no mercy for such a detestable wretch as yourself, arises from ignorance, or inattention to the way in which the infinitely gracious God hath determined to save sinners. He is, remember, the God of salvation ; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.' Instead, therefore, of ransacking the heart for pious dispositions, or of adverting to good works already performed, with a view to forgiveness ; attend to the gracious and instructive language of him that saith, “Thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine helpI, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour.'
· The unworthiness. inseparable from depravity and guilt, is certainly matter of deep humiliation ; but a conviction of this unworthiness, however pungent, ought rather to excite gratitude than despondency; to rouse the tor. por of dejection: to impel the soul to be urgent for mercy, and to engender a hope that the kind hand which discovered the disease, will not long withhold the remedy. The testimony of God speaks louder than the most clamorous conscience; and to this testimony, and this only, you must appeal in determining whether your fears be ill or well founded. If you search into the cause of your distress, it will perhaps be found to arise, not from a consideration of God's unwillingness to pardon; not from any want of efficacy in the blood of Christ to cleanse the most polluted sinner; but from a sense of having nothing to recommend yourself to his favour. It is a conviction of this fact that imperceptibly holds the soul in bondage ; that renders your taking encouragement from God's word altogether impracticable. Should you say, "No sins are like mine ;' let me add, “There is no salva.
tion like Christ's his blood cleanseth from all sin.
If, however, you will not believe while your sins are so great, and your heart so pol. luted; it is probable, were your heart less defiled, and your sins less in number, that you would not believe in Christ at all. You would be more likely to trust in your own heart, and to rely on your own righteousness, instead of believing and trusting in Christ. Great sins and a bad heart, felt and bewailed, should operate in this case like hunger, which becomes an incentive to seek food. If men had clean hearts, it is very likely they would dispose of them otherwise, and rather think that Christ should come to them, than they to him. Instead of a man's poverty making him less desirous of relief, it should make him more importunate. To say, I will not come to Christ because I have great sins, is as if one should say, I will have nothing to do with happiness, if offered, because I have great misery: I will not go to a surgeon for healing, because my wounds are so great: I will eat no