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hold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.'
In opposition to the freeness of grace, urge neither the number nor the magnitude of your crimes as a bar to forgiveness. This would be to act like the timorous passenger who, in a storm at sea, makes it his only business to tell the waves, and to shriek at the beating of every billow against the ship; instead of imitating the industrious pilot, who hath his hand at the helm and his eye to heaven, and minds more his duty than his danger.' Neither your thinking that pardon cannot be extended to a wretch so vile, nor the depths of your despondency, can be admitted as evidence of your having no interest in divine mercy. Others have known what it is to groan, being burdened; and have cried in anguish of soul, "My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God.' No saint, perhaps, ever experienced more painful anxiety on this account, or exulted more in confidence of future glory, than the psalmist. Will the Lord,' he asks, cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ?-O my God, my soul is cast down within me all thy waves and thy billows are gone over
Yet the Lord will command his loving kindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life-Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me ? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and
Now, unless it can be proved that divine grace is not free for you, and as competent to supply your wants as those of the royal supplicant, your doubts must be groundless. The psalmist had no moral worth to encourage his approach to God for mercy, and on which to place "his dependence for pardon and acceptance. He saw nothing in himself, as Du Bosc expresses it, but ground for despair— The seduction of Bathsheba, the blood of Uriah, and the numbering of his people. He knew, if the Lord were to mark iniquity, that in his sight no man living could be justified. As to the depth of his contrition before conversion, we need say nothing : it is in this case quite sufficient for your encouragement that, though now a saint in glory, he was once a stranger to himself, and his carnal mind enmity to God: and in this awful situation are all the progeny of Adam without exception. The great God beholds from the height of his glory, all of them wandering far from him in the paths of iniquity and of death. Some, wallowing in sensual pleasures; others, delighted with gilded baubles exhibited by the world, to catch the eye and fascinate the heart. Some, grasping after riches as the whole of human happiness ; others, climbing the steep ascent of honour, and of applause: some busied about one thing, and some another; but none that seeketh after God: he is not in all their thoughts. Every thing else' is viewed as desirable and pursued with avidity ; but the one thing needful is ne. glected or forgotten.
But while the objects of discriminating grace are, with others, thus wandering far from their heavenly Father in pursuit of sublunary bliss, he views them with unspeakable compassion; he stops them in their mad career, and says, by his word, or his providence, Hitherto shall ye go, but no farther. He shows them that they are walking in a path that is not good: he turns them back greatly ashamed; and mercifully brings them to the knowledge of himself by a way which they knew not. But who, I ask, are the men whom the Lord thus turns from the errour of their ways, and to whom he graciously makes known the benignity of his heart ? Are such cnly, or principally, the objects of attention who are comparatively moral and devout; who, because, they are less vile than others, are more proud, and think that, in consequence of this negative goodness, they have a right to monopolize the felicities of glory? No; quite the reverse.
Persons of this description are, in conformity to the estimate which they make of themselves, denominated in scripture, whole-just persons that need no repentance ; and before whom, publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven. I came not to call the righteous, said the compassionate Redeemer, but sinners to repentance.
To the same purpose speaks the great apostle of the Gentiles. It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ;' of whom, he immediately adds, I am chief. “Rea turn, saith the Lord, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity ; thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help.' To whom should you carry your complaints ; to whom unbosom · yourself, but to the Father of mercies? There is none else to deliver, and besides him there is no Saviour. Let not the number nor the greatness of your sins excite discouragement. When a profligate woman came to Christ, in the days of his humiliation, no mention was made either of the multitude, or the