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bread because I am ready to starve with hunger. This, surely, is bad logick; and it is not better to argue, Because I am filthy, therefore I will not go to the fountain to be cleansed.
'But, admitting that you are a great sinner, nay, one of the greatest; will your staying away from Christ make your sins less ? Are you so rich as to pay the debt out of your own revenue? or have you any hopes of another surety? Can complaints of a great load, without endeavouring its removal, ease the shoulders that bear it? If your sins be so great, surely the Lord Jesus Christ, who is an almighty Saviour, and who delighteth in mercy, will not lose an opportunity of evidencing both his power and his pity on such a miserable subject: for, if there cannot be so great a sinner as you are, this is the last season he can have in which to display them!
· Ever since the fall of our first parents, all men invariably manifest a strong propensity to cleave to their own righteousness : to something they have performed, or are to perform, in order to final happiness. When a man contemplates the turpitude of his nature, and the imperfection of his conduct, he must, as a moral agent, be conscious of numberless defects ; of being extremely culpable ; and, as he cannot but acknowledge, on reflection, that his pravity has been the result of his own choice, it is quite natural for him to look to future refor.' mation for something that may counterbalance his guilt, and avert the punishment he has réason to expect. Without revelation, he has no other medium by which to obtain forgive. ness : and, if this revelation be neglected or despised, he will not see the absurdity of his conduct; his deceptive hope will keep pace with his diligence ; and, if divine goodness do not interpose, never perceive his mistake till too late to prevent it.
On this principle those Jews acted of whom it is said, “They trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. They had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge: for they, being ignorant of
God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. But, before a man can cordially receive the salvation revealed in the gospel, every pretension to forgiveness, on the ground of human worthiness, must be entirely relinquished. To talk of pardoning one that is innocent, or of forgiving a debt that never was contracted, is absurd in the extreme :' it is, therefore, a part of the Holy Spirit's work to convince the sinner that in his flesh dwelleth no good thing; that his own righteousness is as filthy rags, and that, if he expect to be justified before God, all he has ever esteemed gain, in reference to this grand affair, must be esteemed loss for Christ.
“Heaven,' says the very ingenious Spurstow, stands like a little mark in a wide field, where there are a thousand ways to err from it, and but one to hit it. Yea, though God hath said that there is but one sacrifice by which we can be perfected; but one blood by which we can be purified ; but one name by
which we can be saved ; yet how hardly are the best drawn to trust perfectly to the grace revealed, and to look from themselves to Christ, as the author and finisher of their blessedness? Seeing, therefore, Holy Father, that thou hast made the whole progress of salvation to be in Christ, and by Christ; election to be in him ; adoption to be in him ; justification to be in him; sanctification to be in him ; glorification to be in him ; grant that, whatever others do, I may never choose the light of reason, but the sun of righteousness to guide my feet into the paths of life ; and that, both in life and in death, I may say as that blessed martyr did, None but Christ, none but Christ!
While the awakened sinner surveys him. self, he can meet with nothing but discou.' ragement. If he look within, he perceives that the heart in which he trusted, has turned him aside ; that it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and the fruitful source of all the evils committed in his life. If he advert to actions in which there was ap
parently nothing to blame, but rather every thing to praise, he finds, oą minute inspec. tion, enough to convince him that he imperceptibly sought his own honour, and not the honour that cometh from God only. He feels that he is inwardly defiled; he is convinced that all his duties have been shamefully defective ; he discovers nothing on which he can safely depend for pardon and acceptance. Like the unclean spirit, when dispossessed of his peaceful residence, he turns this way and that; seeking rest, but finding none : and the reason is obvious : he is looking for that in himself which is only to be found in Christ. Peace for a troubled conscience is not to be attained in this way ; nor will the trembling sinner ever experience the inestimable blessing, till his attention be called from himself to the cross-till, as a perishing wretch, he look to him that said, when referring to his own death, “ If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.'
The inquiry of a soul, in this perplexed state, is-How the Judge of the world can,