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Creator, but confess thy guilt both original and actual. Seek for grace to lie low at his feet; and to accept with joyful heart, those gracious offers of pardon and peace, which are so freely made to thee, through the great propitiatory sacrifice of his wellbeloved Son.
The grace of God when viewed, as it always ought to be, in connection with the wretched state of sinful man, shines like the beauteous rainbow on the darkened cloud. Its lovely hues cheer and delight the mind in the midst of surrounding gloom.
How consoling to a soul bowed down under a sense of guilt, are the following promises : “When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, LIVE; yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE.” Ez. xvi. 6.
Then comes the source of this mercy ;-“I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jer. xxxi. 3.
But how can a polluted creature be pleasing to a pure and holy God? Behold the effects of sovereign grace: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean ; from all your filthiness and from all
your idols will I cleanse you ; a new heart will I give you; and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.” Ez. lvi. 25 to 27.
The safety and perseverance of the redeemed is sweetly declared in the following delightful promise: “I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them; that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put
my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Jer. xxxii. 39–40.
Support and final success -are also promised to the believer under all the various trials and difficulties which he may be called upon to endure in the cause of his covenant God and Saviour.
“ Fear not for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee, with the right hand of my righteousness.” Is. xli. 10.
“When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee; for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel thy Saviour. * Is. xliii. 2.
For the present and everlasting consolation of the believer, a full and free forgiveness of all sin is graciously declared : “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Is. xliii. 25.
“ I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions and as a cloud thy sins-return untome, for
. shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation ; ye shall not be ashamed, nor confounded world without end." Is. xlv. 17. Well may
the ransomed sinner exclaim: “O! Lord I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away and thou comfortest
Behold, God is my salvation ; I will trust and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song ; he also is become my salvation.” Is. xij. 1, 2. " I will extol thee, my God, O! King : and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” Ps. cxlv. 1.
“ Bless the Lord, O! my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O! my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction ; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.” Ps. ciii. 1 to 4.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever. And let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
When I survey the human race,
How vast the love that brought thee down,
Yet, with this crown and purple robe,
Whilst others spurn this matchless love,
Then shall I live in heav'nly rest,
VII. ON THE DECEITFULNESS OF THE HEART.
The word of truth declares, “the heart is deceitful above all
things and desperately wicked : who can know it?" Jer. xvii.
The deceitfulness of the heart is so great, that no human penetration can discover its extent, or detect its various windings.
Fully to know this hidden evil is the prerogative of Jehovah; for when the question is asked, “who can know it?" the important answer is given, “I, the Lord, search the heart and try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings."
The holy, ever blessed Trinity, three persons in one Jehovah, can alone raise man from the ruins of the fall, and restore him to holiness, happiness, and heaven.
7 How vain then are all attempts to new-model the old Adam. Some for this purpose, employ civilization amongst savages, and polite education amongst those in more refined society, Civilization and polite education do indeed improve the mind and manners in respect to worldly matters and social intercourse. The wild savage becomes tame and peaceable, domestic and industrious. But without the sanctifying grace of God, communicated through the faithful preaching of the Gospel, the rude barbarian, though chained by the links of civilization, still retains his nátural darkness respecting the true God; and, his love of sin, in all its hateful deformities.
If we turn our eyes from the civilized heathen, to his superior in the scale of intelligence, the polished and well-educated inhabitant of a christian country, we behold in this latter character, science, taste, politeness; all that can charm the mind and imagination in the brilliancy of wit, strength of intellect, and sportive flights of fancy ; yet even this polished stone cut out of the quarry of nature, and rendered so beautiful by art, is still destitute of real worth, whilst devoid of those qualities which alone can render it precious in the sight of God.
Such a character, the world's idol and the Gospel's bane, is held up as the pinnacle of excellence, whilst utterly abhorrent in the eye of him who seeth not as man seeth; and who hath declared, that, while man looketh at the outward appearance, he looketh at the heart.
Hence we see the necessity of converting grace, whether in the rude, or the more polished parts of the human race. In all, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. In all, sin reigns, till divine love dethrones the tyrant, and brings the humbled sinner to the feet of Jesus.
We cannot have a more convincing proof of the corruption of our nature, than that proneness which we continually feel to rest in the creature, and to find our satisfaction in earthly things.
This alienation of the heart from God, may and often does exist to a most awful extent, under the fair garb of amiability of temper, and the creditable profession of orthodox Christianity. It is therefore possible to be highly esteemed amongst men, and yet be an abomination in the sight of God.
The holy Scriptures declare, that God will not accept of a divided heart. We must love God supremely, or we do not love him at all. We must rest altogether upon his grace as manifested in the gift of his beloved Son, or our partial dependence will be found a delusion.
The language of the Almighty Father is, “my son, give me thy heart." o! happy hour! when the heart is cheerfully and without reserve given to a gracious God.