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juggle with him, and do not deal so uprightly and sincerely as we ought to do. For I would fain know what State of Life is there that will not yield the same Matter of Excuse for the Faults we are guilty of, What Condition in the World can we imagine ourselves to be placed in, wherein we should not have the same Pretences, and still should have found out some Body, or some Things, besides ourselves, to have borne the Blame of our Sins and Irregularities? No ; all this is still a covering of our Sins, an Unwillingness to find ourselves guilty : Such a Self-Love and Tenderness of our own Ease, as will do us no Good in the World ; for when all is done, he that covereth his Sins Mall not prosper.
Let us now make Application of these Things to ourselves : And what Applicacion can that be but this? If we be all Sin. ners, as, I am sure, there is not one that now hears me but is so, what have we all. to do but to humble ourselves before God, acknowledging that we are miserable sinful Creatures, -and that if he should deal with us according to our Deserts, we must expect nothing but Indignation and Woe?
For, alas ! the very best Actions of our Lives, if they were to be scanned according to the Exactness of his Law, and the Perfection of his Holiness, would yield us but little Comfort, they being all fome way or other faulty. We have nothing to fly
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unto, but the boundless Compassion of our gracious God, (thro’our Lord Jesus Christ) whose Mercy is over all his Works, and is like his Majesty, truly Infinite. To Him therefore let us go. To Him let
To Him let every one of us address himself with the poor Publican, Luke 18. Lord, be merciful to me a Sinner. Let us Job 7:20. say with Job, I have finned; what shall I
do unto thee, O thou Preserver of Men! I
abhor myself in Duft and Ashes. Let us say Luke 15. with the Prodigal, Father, I have finned
against Heaven and before thee, and am no
more worthy to be called thy Child. Let us Pfal. 130. say with David, Out of the Deep do I call to thee, O Lord; Lord, bear my
Voice. If thou shouldest be extream to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? 0 therefore enter not into Judgment with thy Servant, for in thy Sight Mall no Man living be justified. But there is Mercy with thee, therefore thou shalt be feared.
Ah! my Brethren, if we had true Notions of ourselves and of our own Condicion, and made a fair and just Representation to our Minds of God's infinite Holiness and Purity, and of our own Sinfulness and Impurity, we should all be thus affected.
Away therefore with all Thoughts of covering our Sins ; let us on the contrary, with Grief and Sorrow of Heart, expose them. To God, I mean, let us expose them Let us unburden ourselves to him, and
to Repentance. with, Contrition and Devotion acknowledge our own Guilt and beg his Pardon, :
II. And this brings me to my second Enquiry in my proposed Method; viz. What kind of Confession that is, which is made in the Text an Essential part of Repentance'; Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his Sins, shall find Mercy.
For it may be juftly asked, Is Confession any thing else but the telling God that we have offended him? And how comes this to be fo meritorious a Thing? Is not Contrition and Sorrow for Sin of a great deal more Value than this comes to ? - And is not Resolution against Sin ftill more fit to enter the Definition of Repentance ? and yet these Things are not named.
My Answer to this is, That it is very certain that Contrition for Sin, and Resolution against it, are every jot as necessary to a true Repentance as the confessing of it is, But this we are to remember, that Cona fefron, both in the Scripture Notion of it, and in the Reason of the Thing, doth contain and include in it both these Things.
We are much mistaken in the Nature of this Confession, if we make it to be no more than an Acknowledgment, or Repetition, or Enumeration of our Sins before God: (tho' I grant that the Word, in its first and proper Signification, expresses no more) No: This is the least of that which
is implied in this, when it is accounted a Part of Repentance.
If Confession was no more than a particular diftinct Acknowledgment of our Sins to God, then that would be the best Confession that gave the most punctual Account of
the least minute Circumstance that happens in the sinful Action : He would confefs best that could tell beft the Story of his Sins. But, alas! there is nothing in this that can recommend us unto God. When we speak of Confession of Sins as a means of obtaining Pardon for them, we mean by it such an actual Attention to our Sins, and to our Guilt, and such an hearty Acknowledgment thereof to God Almighty, as includes in it both Shame and Sorrow for what we have done, and likewife stedfast Purpose of Heart to do so
To confefs our Sins, is to own with Shame and Confusion of Face, that we have transgressed the righteous Laws of God, and deserve his Wratha and Displeasure, and so far to dislike, to disapprove, and to deteft our own Actions, that we severely purpose never to be guilty of the like again.
We need not be long to seek what kind of Confession that is which my Text speaks of, if we will but attend to what we require of one another in Cafes of Affronts and Offences done to ourselves, Supposing a Man hath done some great Injury to us in Word
or Deed, upon which we are grievously offended with him, so far that we break off all those Terms of Friendship and Amity with the Man which were between us before: He desires to be reconciled to us, and in order to that, common Sense teacheth him to come and acknowledge his Fault; and accordingly he doth fo, and we accept of his Confession as a good Satiffaction : What is it now that moves and inclines us so to do? Is it that he hath told us some Things that we knew not before ? No; for we did sufficiently know all his unhandsome Carriage to us, and that made us out of Charity with him : Is it that he doth in a handsome Speech, and with many Rhetorical Amplifications, set forth the Particulars of the Injury, and tell us what first inclined him, what Neighbour encouraged him, with what Intrigues and Circumstances the whole Business was carried on ? Why in this he may shew himself a very artificial Man in telling a Story : But this alone causeth no relenting in us. He may tell us all this, and in as good Words, by way of Drollery or Defiance: That which works upon us to forgive the Man the Injury that he did us, is purely and solely the Mind with which this Confession is made. We see that he is heartily sorry for what he hath done ; he is ashamed of it, and by this Confession doth what he can to undo it again. He heartily wishes that