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Hence, there is between them also, a connection of certainty. They are indissolubly united-no one ever really enjoyed forgiveness without repentance; and no one ever truly exercised repentance without forgiveness. And hence it follows, that the best way to ascertain our state before God, is not a reference to dreams, and visions, sudden impulses, and accidental occurrences of scripture to the mind-no-but an examination of our character; a comparison of ourselves with the features of pardoned sinners pourtrayed in the gospel. To know whether we are justified, let us inquire whether we are renewed in the spirit of our minds and be assured of this, that he is not the partaker of divine forgiveness, who is not the subject of genuine repentance.

On the other hand-as there is an inseparable connection between these-if you have been humbled for your sins; if your hearts have been broken for them and from them, you should not despair of acceptance; but view this experience as the authorized evidence of divine favor.-Believe in God. He cannot deny himself. And he has said, "he that confesseth and for"saketh his sins, shall have mercy. Let the wicked "forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: "and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have 66 mercy upon him ; and to our God, for he will abun"dantly pardon.'

III. We remark the source of these blessings :-he gives repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Some think repentance a very legal subject, and are ready to condemn the man who preaches it as a stranger to the gospel. But there never was a greater mistake than this. For not to mention that our Lord "came to cali sinners to repentance," and that the apostles "went forth preaching every where that men should "repent"....I would observe that repentance is a subject peculiarly evangelical. The law has nothing to do with repentance....it does not even command it....all it has to do with the transgressor, is to condemn him. It al

lows him neither liberty nor ability to repent....But the gospel gives him both. And indeed, to little purpose would it give us the one without the other. But here is our encouragement....the gospel not only gives us space, but grace for repentance. What in one view is a duty, is in another a privilege and what is commanded is also promised. The broken heart and the contrite spirit is not only sacrifice which he will not despise, but it is also a sacrifice which he must provide !


And he does provide it. He gives repentance unto life. For having ascended up on high, leading captivity captive," he received gifts for men, even for the re"bellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among "them." The chief of these was the dispensation of the Holy Ghost. By his influence the understanding is enlightened, and the conscience awakened; the heart of stone is taken away, and a heart of flesh given ! and sinners before weak, and averse to holiness, are enabled to "walk in his statutes, and to keep his judgments to "do them". Thus the word is rendered effectual; and the events of providence are sanctified: afflictions make them" acknowledge their offence, and the goodness of "God leadeth them to repentance."

And if repentance be not derived from ourselves.... can forgiveness of sins? If the former be a gift....can the latter be a purchase ?...." He gives repentance unto "Israel, and forgiveness of sins." And hence two things follow.

First, if we possess these blessings....we learn to whom we are to address our praise. "Surely shall one "say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.". Secondly, if we want them....we see to whom we are to address our prayers. Betake yourselves to the friend of sinners, and say, "Lord remember me now thou art come "into thy kingdom. Heal me, and I shall be saved, "heal me, and I shall be healed, for thou art my praise. "Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean.".... And hast not thou said, "him that cometh unto me, I will "in no wise cast out." Behold a sinner that wishes to

have nothing more to do with sin. O save him from the bondage of corruption, as well as from the burden of condemnation. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the 'multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.'

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O be induced to do this, and to do this immediately. Here is a Saviour exalted to bless you with all spiritual blessings-and especially to bless you, by turning every one of you away from your iniquities'—and there is no blessing like this. Seek him while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near. there is a time, when if you call he will not answer, and if you seek him early, you will not find him. The season for obtaining these blessings, is short and uncertain. Surely you need not be informed that you are sinners—but the wages of sin is death. While you are strangers to pardon, you are only treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. You are open to all the miseries of life, the sting of death, the torments of hell. Yea, you are exposed to a double condemnation; one from the law which you have transgressed, and another from the gospel which you have despised.—And how is it that you do not lay these things to heart? How is it you do not fear, lest every moment the earth should open its mouth, and your souls go down quick into hell? How will you contrive to sleep to nightwhen you know that if you die in your present state, God is under an oath to destroy you?

But blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.' He is blessed in his duties, for he has an assurance of acceptance, and assistance. He is blessed in his enjoyments, for he tastes the loving kindness of God in them. He is blessed in his trials, for they flow from love, and are designed for his profit. Now he is delivered from the curse, he

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can bear the cross of afflictions. He cannot endure his troubles long, and he does not endure them alone.

Here are some whom he has pardoned. He gave them to see and feel, and confess their sins. He discovered to them the scheme of salvation revealed in the gospel. He enabled them to come with all their unworthiness, smiting upon their breasts, and saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner-and believing they passed from death unto life. They found rest unto their souls. They are now serving him, and they find his yoke easy, and his burden light.

And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth : and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' Amen.



I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds; which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.-Philemon 10, 11.

THE epistles are of three classes. Some are addressed to christians at large-some to particular churches-and some to single individuals.

The epistle before us is of the third class. And as it is inscribed to one person, so it is limited to one subject. It furnishes none of those glaring scenes, which the pencil of the historian requires; but it is full of importance to a christian teacher. It says nothing of the intrigues of statesmen, the contentions of senators, the exploits and mischiefs of heroes, but it yields topics of reflection much more interesting and useful to a serious reader. These are concisely expressed in the

words which I have read.

We will therefore I. state the circumstances of the case to which they refer. And II. deduce some remarks from them for our instruction and edification.

I. The circumstances of the case may be thus briefly stated. At Colosse lived Philemon. He appears to have been a person of some respectability, if not distinction. The apostle calls him a fellow laborer. He had a church in his house; and by his liberality, often refreshed the bowels of the saints.

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With this Philemon, lived a servant whose name was Onesimus. Onesimus like too many servants, was ungodly, though he lived in a pious family, and

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