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ed to you.
points of the gospel. Go home, my Christian friend, and ponder very seriously the truth I have now propos
And above all things make it the subject of earnest prayer to God, that he
your under standing, and convince your heart. And if these blessed effects follow, which uniformly distinguish all awak. ened souls: if you are led to cry out under the burthen of sin, as the poor man we read of at Phillippi: “What must I do to be saved?” Acts xvi. 30; or with the Jeru. salem sinners, who were pricked at the heart under the effect of Peter's sermon, and the preaching of the rest of the Aposties, so as to be alarmed as they were, questioning with great earnestness, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Acts ii. 37; in this case I shall hope to be favored with another visit: that having been instrumental to make you sensible of your danger, I may then be commissioned by the same gracious Power to point to the means of safety: and having shewn you your lost state by reason of sin, I may direct you to the way
of salvation, in that "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the worid," John i. 29. But if I hear from you no more on the subject, and your mind shall continue, to the last, unawakened to the truth as it is in Jesus: I shall conclude that that effect hath taken place in you, which is so awfully revealed in Scripture of blinded Isracl: “Go to this people and say, hearing you shall hear, and not understand; and seeing you shall see, and not perceive,” Isaiah vi. 9. My prayers will follow you, that He who alone can open the blind eye, and unstop the deaf ear, may work those blessed effects on your mind, to give you the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. iv. 6,
THREE GREAT POINTS IN RELIGION.
I am glad to see you again, for this renewed visit seems to say, that what I lately proposed to your consideration, hath not been without its effects, but that you are now come for further information on the important subject. And I am led to hope therefrom, that, under the same Divine blessing which must have operated upon my poor endeavor, if any good hath resulted from it, our conference will at length terminate to your advantage, and my joy.
Parishioner. God grant it may! for at present I am truly miserable. You have awakened such distressing apprehensions in my, mind, from what you then said, respecting the sins of my nature, that unless you can afford me relief, I shall be of all men most miserable.
Minister. The Lord, whose gracious office it is, to comfort his people, will, I hope, give you an answer of peace: for he who reproves the heart of sin, can only convince also of the righteousness of the Savior. And He who promised the one, promises no less the other. The same Almighty hand which wounds, is the only hand to heal. I, (says God) even I, am he that comforteth you, Isaiah li. 12. But in the mean time, however distressed you may be, I do not repent of my faithful dealing with you: neither will you, I trust, when we have gone over the whole ground of our subject. Had I desired your immediate approbation, more than your eternal welfare, I might have led you over a more velvet path, but the
end of it would have been the way of death. have imitated the preachers, whom the Prophet describes,who speak smooch things and prophesy deceits. A conduct which seldom fails to procure the praise of men in this world, but as certain to be followed with their loudest and bitterest reproaches, in the world te come. It is an awful thing to heal the hurt of souls slightly, saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace. To skim over the surface of that deadly wound, which sin hath made in our nature, while rottenness is corroding beneath. There can be no doubt, but that it is a more painful operation, to every patient's feelings, to probe the sore to the bottom, but it becomes the only effectual way to a complete cure. I hope, from what you have now said of your present misery, that it arises from the wounds of sin, being laid bare to your view, by the gracious dealings of our God. And if so, depend upon it, that the same Almighty hand which hath :ipped them open, will heal. But I think it must strike you with full conviction, that no man, till he knows and feels his wounds, will be anxious for a cure. Men at ease and freedom may talk of chains, and coolly discourse about the sorrows of slavery: but he, and he only, who hath felt the chain, and groaned under the yoke of it, can say, what it is, or describe that misery of the heart, which ariseth from hope long deferred. Prov. xiii. 12.
Parishioner. Oh! Sir, I feel indeed the chain, and truly groan after a freedom from it. The Lord hath led me to know my utterly lost state by nature, and I have a lively sense of conviction, of what you call, the first leading point of the Gospel. Tell me, Sir, I pray ular. Is there indeed a plan of salvation: is there a method of cancelling the sins of my nature, and obtaining the favor and peace of God?
you have to propose, under the second partic
Minister. Yes! blessed be God, there is Christ is the restorer of our fallen nature, and an all-sufficient Savior for sinners: and as the gracious goodness of our God, hath in his abundant mercy led you to see your want of salvation, I pray God he may lead you to see also, the complete salvation there is in him. I shall be highly gratified indeed, if the Lord will mercifully condescend so far as to make me the index to his will upon this occasion, in pointing to the means by which it may be accomplished. But first let me ask you, whether since our former conversation, and the Lord's convincing you of sin, you have not been endeavoring to find out some plan yourself, in order to recommend you to God, and to do somewhat by way of obtaining your own salvation?
Parishioner. Oh! yes. For after my return home from you, the impression your words made upon my mind, immediately led me to the serious examination of my heart before God; and having made it a subject of prayer, as you recommended, I set about the work with great diligence. I found, upon looking back, that what I had before conceived to be righteousness before God, was full of unworthiness; and that even in my most holy things I was unholy before him. I discovered also, that not only in the past, but even in the present, the same bias to sin was in my nature, that when I would do good, evil was present with me. Such views of the sinfulness of my nature brought tears into
my eyes, and induced much sorrow of heart. Still hoping, however, that those tears would avail before God, and that I could rectify the past, I formed the strongest resolutions of amendment, and determined in myself to begin a new life. But, alas! what the apostle found in his experience, I found in mine, that the good I would, I did not, but the evil that I would not, (in defiance of all my resolutions) that I did. And I have at length discovered, as he did, that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not. And under this conviction of mind, I find myself obliged continually to cry out, in his lamentable words, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Minister. These are humbling views, no doubt, of the miserable, helpless state of our fallen nature; but they are profitable to the soul, and afford strong evidences of the grace of God in the heart; for thus the Holy Givist teaches nis people in order to lead them to the S. vior; and if what you express you really feel, I am very confident it is He which must have revealed these things to your heart. For the unhumbled pride of man, untaught of God, is always fancying that he can do some. thing of himself toward salvation. He fancies he can repent when he pleases; he can form resolutions as he pleases, and put them in practice as he pleases; he can amend his life, make amends for the past by the future, and obtain the favor of God through Christ. But when the Lord condescends to become man's teacher, all these flights of fancy fall to the ground: he then learns that repentance is the sole gift of God; and that a
man might as soon change the color of his hair, or alter the complexion of: is countenance as the complexion of his mind. That the strongest resolutions