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not from the law, for this condemns him-not from himself, for he has transgressed the law. Sin deserves punishment, and nothing which he can do, will cancel this desert. If punishment is remitted, it must be by an act of God's mercy. Whether God will exercise mercy in this way, can be known only from his word. His promise that he will pardon the penitent, and meet them who wait for him, is the grand encouragement to repentance, hope and prayer. "Repent for the remission of sins, for the promise is to you."
Returning sinners, in their prayers for pardon may plead God's abundant mercy, the gracious promises of his covenant, and the motions of his spirit within them, giving them these new apprehensions and desires. They may plead that he has begun a good work in them, and excited them to call on his name -that he has sent his Son to redeem the guilty, and through him has shed forth the Holy Spirit. They may plead their own impotence and misery, and his abundant mercy and grace. They may use the humble, hoping language of scripture; "Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.-According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out all my sins. -Save me, for I hope in thee; in thy word do I hope.-Let thy mercy come unto me, even thy salvation according to thy word.-Remember thy word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope."
The readiness with which God accepts the sinner, thus pleading with him, we learn from his declaration in favor of repenting and returning Ephraim. "Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: Therefore my bowels are troubled for him: I will surely have mercy on him."
Encouraged by the calls and promises of God's word, let sinners, under a conviction of their impotence and guilt, repair immediately to God, confessing before him their past iniquities and resolving against them, imploring his grace to turn them, and his mercy to pardon them, and taking hold of his covenant, and pleading, "Thou art the Lord our God."
My friends; we have been attending to a matter of serious consequence, and I am loth to part from you, before you come to a decision upon it. Some of you, I suppose, feel yourselves interested in our subject. You are convinced, that you have departed from God: You are conscious of inward corruptions and outward transgressions. You hear, with painful concern, the threatenings of God against those of your character; you have some sense of your dangerous state, and wish to be saved from it. And you ask, "What shall we do to be saved?"--The answer is, repent and turn to God, that your sins may be blotted out: Then times of refreshing will come. You will say, "We admire, but cannot apply this promise of pardon and comfort; for we know not, that our hearts are turned to God; and we cannot turn them." If this is the state of your minds, then doubtless you have some desire to turn to God-you would think yourselves happy, if you were turned to him, and entitled to his forgiveness. Your duty then is plain: Go to God with Ephraim's petition in your hearts.
I am not now speaking to the thoughtless and sccure. They wish for no advice, for they are content where they are. If one should give them advice, probably they would not take it. What they need is such a view of danger, as may awaken them from their indolence. If their danger were placed before them, perhaps they would not attend to it, nor
be alarmed by it. I wish them, however, to consider it, and lay it to heart. At present, I am speaking to persons of another description-to those who have a view of their danger, and feel a desire of being delivered from it, and brought into a different state. If you feel such a desire, and are conscious of your insufficiency to effect its object, then take with you words, repair to God, and say, "Turn
thou us, and we shall be turned."
Go to him now.
There is no need of delay. You may as well do this, today as tomorrow, and this hour as the next. You ask, "How can we do this?" I ask, how can you help it? What? See your guilt, impotence and danger; and believe that God is gracious and merciful; and not go to him?-Surely you must go. If you forbear, I much suspect you are not in that state of mind, which is pretended. If you were sick and in danger of death, you would call upon God. And what? not call upon him in your pres
You will say, "We can do nothing of ourselves acceptable to God." What then? If you are in the case now supposed, you are not left to yourselves. If God has awakened in you such desires, convictions and fears, as you speak of, then you can go to him. If you have such sentiments, you can express them to a friend, or a minister; and can you not express them to God too? Can you not tell him what you feel, and what you desire ?
"But will God accept us ??? Go, and see. I cannot tell you, how you will pray, and therefore cannot tell you, how you will succeed. This I can tell you, God has not said to you, Seek ye me in vain. Ye shall know; if ye follow on to know the Lord.
"But will God hear our prayers, before we are converted?" This is a question nothing to your
purpose. Surely you will not think yourselves converted, before you have a disposition to pray.: And if you have such a disposition, by no means suppress it, but act agreeably to it. If God has awakened serious sentiments in you, he has gracious designs in your favor; and beware, that you do not oppose them. I cannot tell you, how soon you will find the comforts of religion. You have no right to expect these, until you feel your hearts consenting to God's covenant, and perceive yourselves walking in it. Conversion, you know, is one thing, and the evidence of conversion another. Conversion is the turning of the heart to God; the evidence of this is a patient continuance in well doing; and from this evidence result the comforts of Christian hope.— But look not for the evidence, before you have obtained the thing; nor for the hope, before you have obtained the evidence; nor for the comfort, before you have obtained the hope. Things must take place in their order. What is now before you is to turn to God, and to pray, that he would turn you effectually. And on this point, you must make no delay. Go to him, plead your necessity and his mercy-your impotence and his grace-your unworthiness and Christ's righteousness. Trust not in the value of your prayers, but use them as means of God's appointment. Plead his command, and take encouragement from it, but make not a merit. of the work, which he has begun in you. If your desires and prayers are excited by his spirit striving with you, there is reason to hope he will regard them. Whether you are at present really converted or not, of this you may be sure, God does not abhor the work of his own spirit; and prayers proceeding from the convictions and desires, which his spirit has awakened, are not to be ranked with those prayers which are made in pretence, to devour widows'
houses, and in mere sensuality for the gratification of lust.
God sets hope before you; go, lay hold on it. I leave you with this advice. Humble yourselves before God, and say, Thou hast chastised us, and we were chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou us, and we shall be turned; for thou art the Lord our God.