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that may be properly denominated the least of sinners. The one, indeed, will have much forgiven, and should endeavour to proportion his gratitude to the benefit received ; but the other will, notwithstanding, have to ascribe his salvation to the same source, and be under equal obligation to adore the hand which, if it have not rescued him from the same depths of iniquity, has nevertheless graciously restrained him from the desire, or the opportunity of committing it.
The awakened sinner is apt to imagine that it is great presumption to come to God for pardon in his natural defilement. He, therefore, looks into himself for a pious turn of heart, or for something to recommend him to mercy. But such a conduct is offensive to God. This is not to consider ourselves as possessing nothing—as deserving nothing—as wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' We do that which is pleasing in his sight, when we believe on his Son, Jesus Christwhen we come as sinners for pardon through his blood. This is a practical confession of guilt. It is, in fact, saying, Lord, I am vile ; magnify thy great name in my forgiveness--I am helpless; do thou undertake for mer in myself, I am entirely lost; do thou save me ! Or, in other words I feel and acknowledge, O Lord, that whatever the scriptures have said concerning sin and its consequences, is perfectly just. I see that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour; that there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Therefore, merciful Father, spare, for his sake, a detestable wretch that is completely miserable-glorify thy grace-thy Son -his work-his worthiness-in saving a crimi. nal that deserves to perish. His blood cleanseth from all sin : his righteousness justifieth from all iniquity: O help me to confide in him only—to ascribe to him all the glory of my deliverance from condemnation and from ruin. Suppress—for ever suppress the thought that would attempt to divide or diminish his praise. His own
arm has brought salvation--from henceforth, therefore, let me never lose sight atonement. This is the foundation of my trust, the ground of my confidence ; that by which my faith is strengthened, my hope abounds, and by which I am encouraged to enter daily with boldness into the holiest of all.
moment of my own poverty and wretchedness, nor of the allsufficiency of his
If the Lord have laid our iniquities upon Christ-if he have been made sin and a curse for us-If he have indeed been wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; and have really paid the price of our redemption-surely every attempt to obtain forgiveness in any other way must be highly offensive to the Majesty of heaven.
Thus to act, is not to glorify his wisdom in providing this way of escape from ruin, nor the work of him who is styled emphatically the Way--but to disparage both the one and the other. It is, as the justly celebrated Owen expresses it, to take the work out of Christ's hands and ascribe salvation to other things—to repent. ance-oto duties. Men do not say so, but they
The commutation they make, if they inake any, is with themselves. The work that
Christ came to do in the world, was to bear our iniquities, and to lay down his life a ransom for our sins. What greater dishonour then can be done to the Lord Jesus, than to ascribe this work to any thing else?'
The ever blessed God, who is perfectly acquainted with the malignant nature of sin, and with its natural tendency to generate in the human heart distrust of all that is said in re. ference to forgiveness, has mercifully left on record many exceeding great and precious promises adapted to counteract its pernicious influence, and to administer strong consolation to those that have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel. What objection of unbelief has not divine, goodness anticipated and completely answered ? and yet how reluctant are we implicitly to regard these answers as affording incontestable proof that there is forgiveness with God, or at least of there being forgiveness for the notoriously profligate. What more common than to hear the awakened sinner reasoning thus : My sins are of so peculiar a nature-the cira
cumstances attending them so aggravatingmy guilt so complicated—nay, there is not a sin that I have not actually or intentionally committed the Almighty, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, can never forgive such a detestable wretch, much less make hiin an inheritor of glory.
But what does the God of Israel say to such sinners and to such objections? Does he spurn them from his presence as filthy and loathsome, and consign them to the abodes of everlasting darkness and despair? No; the answer is astonishingly benign and infinitely gracious. Let the sinner hear-attentively hear and rejoice~Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wood, even I am he that blotteth out thy transgres; sions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins-- Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed