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never felt their necessity, or seriously and in good earnest applied to him. It were a happy thing, if all among our hearers, who call for evangelical preaching, who quarrel with us when they think we do not preach the Saviour's crofs, the lost state of man, and the doctrine of free grace, were experimentally acquainted with these truths. Many such have only been accustomed to hear the Redeemer spoken of with reverence. They may be able to imitate the language of some of his servants, though they know very little of that brokenness of spirit which ac. companies true repentance. .

But left this should be in any measure mistaken, I must make these two observations :-The first is, that a lively sense, aud deep conviction of fin, is, properly speaking, but a negative mark of true Religion ; giving us to know, that the unhumbled are yet impenitent.--For it is certain, that many have been under very strong convidions, nay, have been driven to the very borders of despair with terror, who yet never were effectually changed, but stified their convictions, and returned to their former security of heart, and carelessness of life.

Secondly, There may be fome, on the other hand, who are truly born of God, in whom, the terrors of conviction have not been very remarkable. This happens most frequently in the case of those, who are called in their infancy, or earlier years, and who have had the advantage of a careful and pious education. It would be destructive of the comforts of God's children, to lay down one prethod in which he always proceeds. He is free and soVereign in the manner of his dealing with sinners ; and foftens some hearts by kindness, as well as others by correction. So that if the end be brought about, we need be less solicitous about the steps of his procedure. Yet I think humility of spirit is inseparable from real Religion;


and if it be less visible in the anguish of repentance, it will be still manifest in the temper of the penitent.

II. Let me now, for the improvement of this subject, lay down a few of the best and most solid evidences of genuine conviction of fin. And,

1. It is a good sign that conviction is genuine, when there is a clear and deep apprehension of the evil of fin, as well as the danger of it. When the mind dwells, not only on the atrocity of particular crimes, but on the aggravation of all fin, as such: When the finner is truly offended with himself, for departing from his Maker's service ; breaking his holy laws; forgetting or despising his innumerable mercies : There may be, and there is of ten an apprehension of suffering, when there is little sense of the evil of fin; but the conviction is then genuine, when it makes the finner not only remember what he has done, but confefs what he has deserved. . 2. It is a good evidence, when the sense of the evil of sin abides and grows, even though the fear of wrath may in a great measure have abated.

It is observable, that conviction of sin usually takes its rise from some gross or heinous acts, which first alarm the conscience; and in such a situation, the attention of the penitent is fixed on nothing else, but the enormities of his life. If this view continues, and produces its effects, he is foon brought to see and confess the inherent vanity of his heart; the worldliness of his affections; and the unprofitableness of his conversation. It is a very common thing, for persons who seem to have some sense of the commission of crimes, to have little or no sense at all of the neglect of duty, and of living daily to themselves. It was a heavy charge, however, brought by the Prophet against Bellhazzar :- And the God in whose hand thy


breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified. Wherever there is true repentance, though there may be the greatest peace of mind, there will be also a deep and growing sense of the evil of sin, and the obliga. tion of being habitually devoted to God. .

3. It is a good evidence, when there is a continued and growing esteem of the necessity and value of the me. diation of Christ.-It was to fave finners that he came. A sense of sin is necessary to our receiving him; and in proportion to its strength, will certainly be our attachment to him. This indeed is the great and vital principle of the spiritual life.--I am crucified with Cbrift, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Cbrift liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God; who loved me, and gave himself to die for me.

4. The best and furest mark of real conviction of fin, is, if it leaves you possessed of a deep hatred and abhorrence of it, and a daily folicitude to fly from it. Some may counterfeit a sense of the evil of fin, to their own hearts ; may have a real fear of its bitter consequences; and even a presumptuous reliance on Christ for pardon; and yet may in some instances adhere to the practice of it.

Floods of tears from such a person avail nothing ; but he hath certainly truly forrowed for fin, who in his practice forfakes it :- that is to say, he is not willingly subject to any known sin,—but says with Elihu, That which I fee not teach thou me: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

III. Let me beseech all ferious persons to improve this subject for the trial of their state. Examine, by the principles above laid down, the reality and the progress of religion in your souls. Have you a growing senfe af

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the evil of fin, and of your own unworthiness ?-- This is at once ao evidence, and a mean of growth in grace. He that thinks least of himself, is highest in God's account ; and the more a believer increases in holiness and real worth, the more he increases in humility. As it is an evidence, it is also a mean of further improvement; for he that hath the deepest sense of his unworthiness and , weakness, will certainly live most by faith, in the merit and grace of his Redeemer.

Therefore, Christians, try yourselves by this important fign : Whether do you, by religious duties, build yourselves up on self-righteousness, or do you only learn by them, how far you fall short of what is incumbent on you? What innumerable evils compass you about ; and therefore, how much have you need of mercy instead of reward? Do you look upon the works of righteousness which you have done, as something, by which you merit at the hand of God; or do you look upon them as the evidence of his own work in you, and for you, and give him the glory, to whom it is due ?

IV. I shall now conclude the whole, with a few directions for producing and preserving this profitable {ente and conviction of sin. And,

1. Let me beg of every hearer the serious consideration of himself and his ways. Many have no sense of their sinfulness, because they have no knowledge of themfelves at all; but go through the world, in uninterrupted thoughtlessness and unconcern. Is there any thing of greater moment than the state of your minds, and your hope towards God? Inattention is perhaps a more uni. versal cause of impiety, than high-handed and obstinate profanity. Would you but serioully consider your ways, and lay to heart the things that belong to your peace, I C2


would count it a hopeful circumstance, and expect you would speedily see your danger, and God in his mercy would lead you to the cure.

2. Give yourselves much to reading and hearing the word of God. The entrance of his word giveth light. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, and correction; but it is particularly necessary for conviction ; for by the law is the knowledge of fin. What wonder, if those who never open a Bible, and seldom enter into the house of God, should be ignorant of their guilt and misery? The word of God shews his right in you, pleads his cause, and challenges your apostacy. It is exceedingly rare that those who have fairly turned their backs upon God's instituted worship, are disturbed in their security; but are suffered to sleep on, till they sleep the sleep of death. But it frequently happens, that those who attend ordinances, even from no higher principle than curiosity, custom or form, find, that the word of God is a fire and hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ; that it is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing, even to the dividing asunder of foul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

3. In the last place, Let me beseech you often to seat yourselves in the immediate presence of God, or rather, frequently to recollect, that you can no where go from his Spirit, or fly from his presence. There is, if I may speak fo, a light and glory in the presence of God, that discerns and and discloses the works of darkness. We may often excuse or palliate our conduct to men, and even hide its deformity from our own view, when we could not juflify it to ourselves, if we reflected, that it is open and manifest in, the fight of God.- If, therefore, there is any thing in your practice, which you are inclined to


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