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“ when he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost,” for our salvation. It is not possible to shew too much regard to him: and those are most likely to attract his favourable notice of their sorrows who love him most. To every penitent, who, like Mary, evinces the strength of his attachment to Christ by the fervour of a grateful heart, he will say,
Thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven: thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace."
9. Once more, then, we entreat you, conscious sinners! approach the Lord of Life and Glory. He stands ready to receive and bless you. Come, with a firm conviction that you have destroyed yourselves by your departure from God, and that you have no strength nor resources left by which you can redeem yourselves 's! Come! and, in a spirit of renunciation, say, 'We will abandon every false confidence, and indulge no hope of salvation but in thy perfect righteousness, O Saviour! To thee, therefore, we fly; convinced that there is efficacy enough in Thy blood to atone for our accumulated sins ;-convinced that Thou canst rescue us from the deserved wrath of God which now impends over our devoted heads, and restore us to His favour;-convinced that thou art able and willing to deliver us from hell, and exalt us to heaven. Convinced that Thou art ever disposed to hear the prayers of those who supplicate thy mercy, we cast ourselves at thy feet, and cry, “Lord, save us, or we perish!” “deliver us from eternal condemnation, and grant us peace !” “redeem us from all iniquity," and say unto our souls, “I am your salvation<x!" So will we study to promote Thy glory, by y Luke vii. 47-50.
yy Hos. xiii. 9. 2 Mat. viii. 25.
z2 Psalm xxxv. 3.
consecrating the rest of our days to thy service, O Lord, our Redeemer.”
Whenever we thus renounce ourselves, and every plea of self-justification, Christ will vouchsafe to us a gracious reception. He will blot out our numberless transgressions, adorn our defiled souls with the “ garments of salvation, and with the robe of righteousness. He will endue us with every spiritual grace and virtue, and make us eminent for usefulness; and at last, when the period of our sojourning here is ended, he will admit us into everlasting mansions, to receive that consummation of joy which his merits have procured for us.
* Isa. Ixi. 10.
ENCOURAGEMENTS HELD OUT TO THOSE WHO SINCERELY
APPLY TO CHRIST FOR SALVATION. John vi. 37. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me ;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. When a man is brought, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to discover his lost condition, and the suitableness of Christ's salvation to rescue him from Divine vengeance, he often feels considerable hesitation in accepting the blessings so freely tendered to him“ without inoney and without price. On the one hand, an overwhelming view of his peculiar guilt, and the aggravations with which it has been marked, “takes such hold upon him, that he is not able to look upa,” much less entertain a consoling hope of finding mercy from a God whom he has so causelessly and ungratefully provoked ; and, on the other, when he contemplates the stupendous love of God in our redemption by Christ, and surveys the dimensions of this ocean of grace, he is lost in wonder and amazement. But, whilst he silently adores its Author, he tremblingly inquires, ' Can such mercy be extended to me? Can I, a hell-deserving rebel, expect pardon of my offences at the hand of God, irom whom I have deeply revolted, or salvation from Christ, whom my sins have crucified ? Is not such mercy too big for one so vile and worthless ? I dare not receive these glad tidings, nor suppose they were intended for me! With suggestions like these, Satan endeavours to hold in captivity those penitent sinners who desire to abjure his authority, and to live henceforth in dutiful subjection to God.
a Psalm xl. 12.
The Ministers of the everlasting Gospel have received a Divine commission to silence such unbelieving objections—to cbviate the scruples, and to answer the most anxious inquiries, of contrite souls who sigh for peace. They are instructed to declare “ that there is a rich, full, free, and everlasting forgiveness with God, that he may be feared ;” and they are directed to invite and beseech the weary and heavy laden to“ hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption 6.” By virtue of this undoubted authority, we proclaim, in the ears of the convinced sinner, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your
Psalm cxxx. 4-7.
ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Agreeably to the tenor of this proclamation, and the whole current of Scripture, we are authorised to assure the vilest and unworthiest of men, that, if they repent, neither the number nor the malignity of their sins shall deprive them of pardon. Did not Jesus save some of those Jerusalem sinners who bathed their hands in his blood ? Did he not also make Paul of Tarsus, and others, monuments of his forgiving love; to encourage even the chief of transgressors, who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting, to confide in his mercy
d? What, then, O penitent sinner! though your trespasses against Heaven be as numerous as the stars in the firmament, oras countless as the drops of water in the mighty ocean ;-what, though the aggravated guilt of your offences should rise like pointed mountains to the skies, and cry for vengeance ;- do you not hear the consoling voice of God, bidding you to cast away your desponding fears, as being no less dishonourable to the plenitude of His grace, than injurious to your own peace and comfort?
“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 wool. Yes, when your sins, however black their complexion, or deep their dye, are washed in the cleansing fountain of Christ's blood', they will instantly lose their defilement; and your soul, once covered with impurity, will be filled with righteousness and peace. Can you doubt this assurance? Then seek the removal of your unbelief, by deriving encouragement from the following considerations, ¢ Isa. lv. 74-10.
1 Tim. i. 11-17. c Isa. i. 18.
" Zech. xiii. 1. John xix. 34.
which are adapted to dissipate your fears, and inspire you with the liveliest hope.
1. Meditate awhile on the character and offices of Christ. Think of his benevolence to men, in freely undertaking to redeem them from hell, when no one else in heaven or earth could have delivered them from its dreadful torments. Think of his love to a guilty world, in leaving the abodes of perfect felicity, where he was caressed by his Father and adored by the holy angels, to become incarnate, that by his doctrine and example he might instruct, and by his obedience and death he might save it. Recollect the insults and reproaches and injurious treatment he received both from Jews and Gentiles. Call to mind the privations and sufferings to which he cheerfully submitted for our salvation. Reflect on his self-denial, hunger, thirst, fastings, and watchings. Think of his unwearied labours in the cause of righteousness; and, laying these facts together, do they not loudly proclaim the Saviour's love to men, and verify the words of Scripture, “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became
poor, through his poverty, might be rich ?”
The offices which Jesus sustains for the salvation of his people may well cheer the drooping hearts of the contrite.
View him in his Priestly character. It was the province of the High Priests to offer the gifts and sacrifices of the people, to pray for and bless them in the name of the Lord. But Jesus, in his Sacer-dotal capacity, has done infinitely more. those who put their trust in him, he shed his own most precious blood, which was accepted of God as
8 2 Cor. viii. 9.