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thou hast broken. By the bones may be understood the hardness of heart, the strength, the strong perverseness which as a bony, stony, iron fence opposed a strong resistance to the gracious illapses of the Holy Spirit. It is as if he had said “ Thy spirit, O God, at length conquers and softens my hard heart, convinces me of sin, and prevails with me to repent. Now therefore forgive me, and restore to me with thy favour joy and gladness.” As conviction of sin, so also peace
of conscience the heart alone is incapable of generating. God must shine upon it with the light of his countenance, to remove the darkness of sin. No joy or gladness will it ever know unless it have well grounded, scriptural hopes of forgiveness of sin. Therefore David prays, (and none that pray truly will ever pray in vain) that God would turn his face from his sins, and renew a right spirit within him. This is God's work. We of ourselves can do nothing. Can we who made these stains blot them out again? Can we leopards change our spots ? purge ourselves with hyssop and be clean? or wash our stained and polluted souls, and make them whiter than snow? No; this is the work of that Holy Spirit which proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put yrithin you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh, and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways
your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your abominations. Christ is our righteousness. We must touch the hem of his garment to be made clean. He maketh sore and bindeth
He woundeth and his hands make whole. He by his Spirit convinceth us of sin before he pardons it. He maketh the bones (the bony, stony heart) to break first, and then rejoice.
My brother, whosoever thou art that hast fallen like David, O learn like David to repent and turn to the Lord. O be not hardened and stupified by sin. Make not the law of unrighteousness your strength. Seek not to drown your shame and sorrow in riot and dissipation. In vain you try to break
your chain; you will but drag it after you. Listen not to the tempter who tempts you to despair of forgiveness, saying that Christ will not receive you. The controversy between you and your God is not hopeless. Has he not said he will forgive all manner of sins if men repent? Has he said he will forgive all sins but yours? Yours also he will forgive if you will but turn to him. O see the sentence against you cancelled. See the hand-writing, the long arrear that was against you nailed to the cross of Christ. Fly then from sin as from a serpent; and if the ser
pent sin has got within your guard and stung you, look to your Saviour lifted up, (of whom the brazen serpent was an emblem,) and you
shall be healed. If he be a jealous God, and his jealousy burn like fire, it shall be quenched by the tears of your repentance. Make
your peace with Him, and he will turn his face from your sins, and make you hear of joy and gladness. Though hope be changed into despair, yet let your prayers ascend, an acceptable sacrifice unto the Lord, and you will soon feel the comfort of God's help, the reviving influence of your Saviour's merits. Though the voice of conscience be loud and clamorous, he will rebuke it as he did the winds, and the sea, saying, Peace, be still. Your case is not singular. The Gospel of Christ is addressed to you as it is to all, as to a sinner, and not as to a righteous person. The angels will rejoice at your conversion as well as at the conversion of the rest of mankind. All have sinned. All must stand trembling at Christ's tribunal. And if he be extreme to mark what is amiss, whose joints shall not be loosed ? Whose knees shall not smite each other?' All have need of perpetual pardon, even those who have the best learned Christ. Their sanctification is not total, but in part. Their affections are regulated and subdued, yet prone to disobedience. Their understanding is enlightened, yet there remains much darkness in it. Their will is rectified, yet there is perverseness in it. They are exalted with the hopes of future
glory, but humbled by this body of death, this burthen of corruption. They are in expectation of the crown of glory, but yet they are in the battle, in the race, fighting and running to obtain the crown.
St. Paul himself accounted himself not to have attained, or to be already perfect. He professes, Brethren, I count not myself that I have apprehended. One thing I do. I forget that which is behind, and endeavour myself to that which is before. Let us drive away despair, and look upwards; confess our sins, and repent. Let repentance reconcile us with Christ; let us listen to none of his enemies; but to his own voice. The Devil and our sins would hold us in bondage, saying “go not to Him; He will give you no rest ;" whereas He himself saith, Come, and I will give you rest. Come, for him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. Olet us turn to Him, for he will then never turn from us ; but will turn his face from our sins, and make us, broken and wounded as we have been with them, to hear of joy and gladness, even that joy and gladness which is of the Holy Ghost, and which is the first fruits and foretaste of his kingdom.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.
EVANGELICAL PROPHECY APPLICABLE TO THE PAR
TICULAR CASE OF EVERY CONVERTED SINNER.
ISAIAH xlii. 16.
I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead
them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
It is long, very long, before we begin to take notice of the providence of God, to acknowledge him in every thing, and to refer every event of our lives to his particular Providence. We yield indeed a listless acquiescence as to the sovereignty of his providence in general ; but this general belief of his providence will give us no comfort while we fail to make the application of it to our own particular case.
The words of the text are part of the prophet's exhortation to rejoice in the Gospel, whether generally, or as to our own particular concern in it. The text concerns us all. I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not. I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make