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spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Blessed are they that mourn; not outwardly, in acts of fasting and penance, as the Pharisees did, by way of expiating their transgressions; but inwardly, rending their hearts, and not their garments. They who mourn for their sins, for the loss of righteousness, and for the imperfection and unprofitableness of their own endeavours to regain it; for the displeasure of God, and the jeopardy of their own souls: these are blessed, in the sure results of their godly sorrow; as the hardened, senseless sinner is truly miserable, although he knows it not, in his spiritual lethargy and apathy. Sorrow for sin is an argument, that the principle of life is within us; and is, therefore, matter of joy. The Christian grieves, and rejoices that he can grieve; and thus, they that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
It only remains, that I should press upon you the obvious conclusion to be drawn from the words of the text, thus explained; that since the Lord hath respect only to the lowly, while the proud he knoweth afar off;10 since contrition of heart, and humility of spirit, under a sense of sin, are the attractive forces, which bring him down
from the throne of his glory into the fleshly tabernacle of a sinner's breast; our first and most earnest endeavour ought to be, to obtain a clearer and more awakening view of our own sinfulness, that we may be able to say, in the spirit, not of despondency, but of meekness, my sin is ever before me." But this is to be effected by the grace of God, vouchsafed in answer to prayer, Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from my secret faults.12 We must not remain contented with a general and speculative abhorrence of sin; but again and again contemplate its defilement in our own persons, and the fearful denunciations of God's wrath against unhumbled and impenitent sinners, till we are fully sensible of our own individual danger, and reduced to cry out in anguish, O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?13
This it is, and surely nothing short of this, to be "grieved and wearied with the burthen of our sins." But how inconsistent is this with every shade of dissipation, and frivolity, and carelessness; much more with every vicious indulgence, and with a devotion to the things that are in the world. And yet it is by no
11 Ps. li. 3.
12 Ps. xix. 12.
13 Rom. vii. 24.
means inconsistent with a tranquil and considerate cheerfulness; for it is the very disposition and posture of heart, to which the Lord has promised his reviving grace, and that inward, imperturbable peace which he gives, not as the world giveth," and which the world, and all the powers of the world, can never take away.
May He, who came to call-not the righteous, the self-confident, the presumptuous-but sinners, humble, contrite sinners, to repentance and remission of sins, enable us, by his grace, to experience the truth of these difficult, but comfortable doctrines, in our own hearts. May he first convince us of sin, and then cleanse us from its stain; and sanctify us both soul and body by his Spirit; and deliver us from the curse of the law, and from the extreme malediction which shall light upon them that shall be set on his left hand at the great day of account!
14 John xiv. 27.
CHRISTIAN COURAGE AND CONSISTENCY.
2 COR. VI. 14.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth, with an infidel?
THE earlier converts to Christianity, both amongst the Jews and Gentiles, were placed in circumstances of great difficulty and perplexity, independently of the direct persecution which they were frequently called upon to encounter. Their natural affections and sympathies were severely tried, by the sacrifice of friendship, and the interruption of domestic happiness, which were the inevitable consequences of their slighting the ceremonial observances of the law, or
forsaking those heathen superstitions, to which their friends and relations still adhered. It was the obstinacy of human corruption and infirmity, and no defect in the Gospel dispensation, which brought about the fulfilment of our Saviour's melancholy prediction; Think not that I am come to send peace upon earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.' And sharp was that trial of a Christian's faith, which required him, when convinced of the truth as it was in Jesus, to relinquish and abjure, not merely the treasures of the world, or the conveniences of life, but the esteem and affection of those who were nearest and dearest to him, rather than shrink from the profession of his allegiance to Christ, and comply with their prejudices, to the dishonour and obstruction of the Gospel. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.2
From a compliance with the inveterate partialities of their Jewish countrymen, in favour
Matt. x. 34.
2 Matt. x. 37.