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And here, reader, I have no need to enquire into thy character, whether thou art moral or immoral, a sober man or a drunkard, a good or bad relation or member of society, a formal worshipper or profane. Granting all that any man can desire, supposing the character of the reader to be decent, amiable, and respectable amongst men, I will endeavour to shew him, and to shew all, their need of repentance.

I. "Because all have sinned, and come short of "the glory of God."-Few in comparison are acquainted with the extent, strictness, and spirituality of the law of God, as taking cognizance of of every thought, word, action, intention, or dis-position of the whole heart and life; requiring absolute perfection in all things, continued in even to the last moment of life. Few keep an exact account of their own thoughts, words, and actions, with reference to this law, as the standard of duty and sin consequently few are sensible in any tolerable degree how numerous, or rather how innumerable, their transgressions are. But most, or all know, that in some instances they have offended God, by doing those actions which he hath forbidden, and leaving undone those which he hath commanded. Surely, reader, thy conscience will excuse me from further evincing this particular. Only listen to this faithful monitor: even now it arraigns, accuses, and condemns thee: and wert

thou guilty only of one transgression, (instead of those millions, which are noted in God's book of remembrance,) and shouldest thou die without repenting of that one sin: as surely as conscience. now condemns thee, so surely will God condemn thee in that solemn day, "when he shall judge the "secrets of men by Jesus Christ." "For if our "heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, "and knoweth all things."

One felony or murder fully proved ensures condemnation, equally with ten thousand. "There

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'fore, by the works of the law shall no flesh be "justified in the sight of God;" because all have sinned: "And by the law is the knowledge of "sin." It takes cognizance of, and condemns, every sin and every sinner; and consequently can justify none, who have once transgressed. But remember, that the number and heinousness of our transgressions, though they add nothing to the certainty, yet will add proportionably to the greatness, of the merited condemnation; and should add to the depth of our repentance. Could that man be found who had once, and but once, and in the smallest instance, failed of obedience, he would need repentance, it would be his duty, nor could he be saved in impenitence. How needful then repentance for him, whose sins exceed in number the hairs of his head, and equal the moments of his life! For him, whose crimes are full of aggravation, and loudly cry



II. The law we have broken is "holy, just and good." There are laws in this land, which condemn the murderer and housebreaker to death, These are reasonable laws, of which none can disapprove, but those who are, or would be, guilty of those crimes. We experience them to be the security of our persons, property, and repose. He, who breaks these laws, is not only condemned by them, but in the judgment of every wise and honest man; and ought in reason to condemn himself like the penitent thief, allowing the justice of the punishment he suffers.'

But Nebuchadnezzar made a law, commanding all his officers and servants to worship a golden image, on penalty of being cast into a furnace of fire: Darius made a law, forbidding any of his subjects to worship God for thirty days, on pain of being cast into the den of lions: and many such laws have the tyranny, caprice, and pride of imperious princes and rulers produced. They are, however, evidently absurd and impious, and every man will abhor them in proportion to his wisdom and goodness. The three pious Jews, who broke Nebuchadnezzar's edict, and Daniel who transgressed that of Darius, were indeed condemned by the laws; but they have been admired for their courage, and constancy in disobedience, by all good men ever since. Nay, the very consciences of their enemies testified for them, that 'Luke xxiii. 41.

they had done nothing amiss. Nor would it have been right for them to have condemned themselves; but rather they might glory in serving God, and keeping a good conscience, in the face of danger and death.

Were the law of God in any degree like those oppressive edicts, we should have cause to be extremely grieved at the hardship put upon us, and alarmed at the sentence denounced against us: but we could not, with any propriety, condemn ourselves, or repent of our transgressions.

We ought not indeed to reply against God: but the absurdity of this presumption arises not so much from the consideration of his irresistible power and uncontroulable sovereignty, as from that of the absolute perfection of his justice and holiness. This we are bound humbly to allow and suppose, even when we cannot perceive it; and to silence all our rising objections by saying, "Shall "not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Yet God condescended himself to argue the matter with those, who thought his ways unequal: he even proposes his conduct in his own government of the world to our consideration, that we may see and adore his justice; and to our imitation, that we may be holy as he is holy: and the day of judgment will clear up all our difficulties, when the righteousness of God will be fully demonstrated, to the universal satisfaction of his holy creatures, and the confusion and silence of all his

enemies. It is indeed blasphemy, to suppose God's law unreasonable, and his government oppressive: but it is a blasphemy congenial to our depraved nature, of which in our hearts. we are all guilty, and of which we are with difficulty cured; for "the carnal mind is enmity against God,-is "not subject to the law of God, neither indeed σε can be."

As therefore no sinner can be truly penitent till he is convinced that the law of God is holy, just, and good; we should first establish this point, in endeavouring to bring sinners to repentance. This is the apostolical method: St. Paul, arguing in the epistle to the Romans against justification by the law; aware of the false conclusions men of corrupt minds would be ready to draw from his reasonings; again and again purposely leaves his main subject, to assert and prove the goodness of the law notwithstanding. With one accord, also, do all the writers of the sacred volume speak honourably of the moral law, expressing their approbation of it, and delight in it; nor is there one exception to this rule. This may shew us the great importance of this part of the subject: and how dangerous some inconsiderate expressions are, into which several good men have been betrayed, in their zeal for that fundamental doctrine, justification by faith alone.

We may be sure, that the law is holy, just, and good; because given by a holy, just, and good

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