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It is doubtless true that some, Hols. One of Israel, as he is and low many we can not say, found in the descriptions of bis who think they come to Goul, Ford, and as his character may are mistaken through the very be inferred froin the duties which unworthy and false apprehen- we are commanded to perform ; sions they have of his nature and they will find that they and wil. into these filse no never came to him, or in other Lions they are drawn by the sin- words, that they never did be. fulness of their own hearts. It lieve he is or exists, as he is deis not the Cod of Israel, it is scribed in liis holy word. not the God of the Christian To please the Lord. we must Church, it is not the God who come to him in the manner apnow is and ever wil be-arlored pointed by his infinite wisdoni. by angels and the spirits of just Surely the Lord may appoint men macie perfect in heaven to the manner in which ii is fit sic.whom they come ; for he is a ners should approach him. His God of períect rectitude, of spot wisdom may determine with less purity, of infinite justice as what temper and in what name wellas forbearance towards those they shall ask his blessing. who have sirned.
And in this point, also, bis Hic is the friend of moral order, word gives the only informatiou in society', and of pure virtue on which dependence can be in the affections of the heart, placed. The reason of depraand in the practices of social ved creatures
may suppose lifc. But the God to whom they many things, and attempi 10 come is 'a fictitious character, justisy then, while it is only informed according to the receit- finite reason and wisdom can d.co ful imaginations of an evil heart. termine, what is Lest. The Through complaisance to them- Lord liath informed us that the seives, in their own imaginations, only acceptable way of coming, they have robbed infinite Deity, is through a mediator who is diof his unchangeable, eternal vine, through his blood which rectitude, his love of holiness hath made an atonement for sin, and his hatred of sin, of that through the righteousness of justice which guards his govern- tis obedience, through iiis inter ment and his glory, and they cession by which our prayers have debased his goodness to and intercessions are made acsomething like their own self- ceptable to the Father, through ish affection. Believing the and hy the aid of the Holy SpirLord to be like themselves, they it, who alone can awaken the can come to him, and delight conscience, sanctify the heari, that he is, imagining him to be and bring us to a reconciliation such that they can explain both with God. It is his sacriace the law and the gospel in a man- for sin, through which alore re ner that is accommodated to can come to tle Father and be their own case ; although they accepted. Endeavor therefore are destitute of Christian char- to see by faith and by repentance, ity, faith and good works. The the efficacy of that blood, which way to undeceive minds in this washeth away the guilt of ali state, is to set befol'c them thel those who sincerely come to the
Father, through the intercession necessary for eternal safety. As of bim, who is declared to be the they have not a love of piebeloved Son, in whom the l'aty, so neither are they pleased ther is well pleased.
with the means of religion The last part of the direction which infiniie wiscloin hath inis of the highest importance, stituted. They neglect the word " diligently seen him.” For of God; their lives are without our encouragement, we may be prayer ; they do not sanctify the lieve, that the Lord will accept, sabbath of the Lord; and they and that he hath a reward for slight the ordinances which he those who come to him in a hath solemniy instituted for our right manner. We have evi- observance. dence of this, not only in the But if we neglect to seek God general scheme of grace con- in the ways of his appointment, tained in the cioctrines of the it is vain to hope that we can gospel ; but, also, in the daily come to him, by faith in the day Lindness of Providence, in the when his help is eminently invitations of the gospel, and in needed. All the duties and inthe admonitions of the Holy stitutions of religion are designSpirit, who, frequently, by his cd for our assistance in going to on operation, sets before us the Lord as our Redeemer, they our need of divine grace. But are also intended to impress uis 10 derive the benefit of these with a sense of the need of uninvitations they must be obeyed. reigned piety, and to cleanse us Those only will be accepted who from that sin which will render seek God diligently. Although us acceptable in his sight. divine grace abounds towards a Thus, my affiicied friend, I sinful world, it is a great error to have given some directions in suppose we share in its blessings answer to your question. “ How without sell-restraint, watch- shall I come to God, how shall fulness, prayer and a diligent I stay myself upon him ?" I hope attendance on the means which your trials will make you inore are instituted to instruct our considerate than you have ever ininds, and preserve us from sin. been before.
One of the most common er Commending you to divine rors of the secure, by wbich grace,
I remain, &c. they hold themselves in the most imminent danger, is, that they can, at any time, turn and come to God acceptably. They Three Dialogues between a Minishave a conviction that religion ter and one of his Purishiners, and the friendship of God are
on the True Princifiles of Relinecessary. They iniend to es gion, and Sulvurion by Jesus
Christ. cape the consequences of transgression, but as piety is at pres
(Concluded from p. 389.) ent disagreeable, as its duties are irksome, as its restraints on DIALOGUE III. their lives are unpleasing, they delay to a future scason, that P. IR, I hope you will not which they have a conviction is
I give you :-but I want your pany ; to talk of myself in a advice very much.
vain empty manner ; lo be greeM. You need make no com- dy after the world; to pass slightpliments, my friend; I should ly over, or entirely neglect praybe glad if all the people in my er and other duties, as a tedious parish would give me the same burden; and to be guilty of othe trouble as you do. But what is er sins. At present, I bless God, the matter ?
it is not so ; but all my thoughts P. I have been for some time are, in a manner, taken up about so as I was never in my life be- the care of my soul, and the fore: I have been afraid I should world to come. be damned. This hath filled me M. I fear you do not know with thoughts and fears, day your heart so well as you imaand night. You had no need to gine. You seem 10 think that caution me against the danger all things are already become of worldly cares and pleasures ; new in you. But be not deceifor wherever I was, or what-ved; such a cage of unclean ever I have been doing, my sins birds, as the heart of every man and hell have still been before is by nature, is not so soon my eyes.
cleansed from its various lusts M. What have you thought of and vile affections. Those that your sins? In what light have seem to be rooted out, are only they appeared to you?
asleep for a season. Be watchÞ. Sins committed many ful therefore, they will one day years ago have now risen in my awake again. Some of them mind, and condemned me. The probably are only exchanged for remembrance of the sins of my others as bad and dangerous, youth has followed me, as if such as pride, presumption, and committed but yesterday. And the like. some awful scriplures that I P. Really, Sir, I have some have heard and read, seem to be fear of that. For you must know, the sentences of my condemna- that one day I was thinking tion. I believe I have thought a what a sinful wretch I was, and hundred times of these words, what would become of me in the “ The wages of sin is death." next world, when these words
M. Have you looked into came strongly into my mind, your heart, and seen and lamen- " I will heal thy backslidings, I ted the corruption there? will love them freely." I am
P. I did not use to understand sure they are somewhere in the what you meant by looking into | bible, but I cannot find them. the heart ; but I think I do now. However, they gave me much I find in myself a strong inclina- comfort, and I have been very tion to many sins, though I am easy ever since. Now, a neigiconvinced that I deserve Goll's bor that I have been talking wrath on account of complying with, tells me, “this is to be with this inclination heretofore. looked on as the work of God," Indeed it is much better with and that I am henceforth to look me than it was. Formerly, I on myself as a converted man. have been led by my own wicked But I fear this would be preheart to delight in idle com
sumption. Now what do you I must tell you; all these feelthink of this?
ings are to be suspected, till we M. I must desire some time see what fruit follows in the to observe your temper and heart and Jife. For, though conduct, before I can resolve these are sometimes owing to this question. The words you the Spirit of God, and come well mentioned are in the prophet, recommended, when, as in your Hosea, chap. xiv. they were, case, they are so closely connectperhaps, spoken more immedi- ed with the word of God; yet ately of the restoration of the the enemy of souls sometimes captive Jews ; but they contain imitates these sensible experiena sweet promise perfecily in the ces in order to deceive. And it. gospel strain, and are therefore is impossible to say how much free for every humble soul to our natural tempers and spirits embrace by faith. The pro- may contribute thereto. phet, you see, verse 1-3, ex P. Pray, Sir, tell me plainly horts the people to repentance what you think of my state. and humiliation for sin : “ () As far as I know of my own Israel, return unto the Lord thy heart, I would not willingly of God; for thou hast fallen by fend God for the whole world. thine iniquity. Take with you I love those that seem to be his words, and turn to the Lord. servants, and would go upon my Say unto him, take away all in- hands and knees to do them iquity, and receive us graciously good, or to make others like for in thee the fatherless find them. I love to hear his word, eth mercy.” Now, as God hath to pray, and to talk of good given you a sense of your sin- things ; and, I think, I could die ful, helpless state, and a desire with pleasure, if it were his will. of turning to him, like this M. Very well.
Thesc are which the prophet describes as good signs. But this is the fer. preparatory to an answer of vor of your first love.' It will peace, I hope the following pro- not always be so with you. So mise belongs to you: “ I will was it with the Israelites after heal their backslidings, I will passing the Red Sea, with the love them freely : for mine an. | Galatians, and with the churcb ger is turned away from him.” of Ephesus. But each of these I hope too that the comfort which grew colder afterwards ; and you found in applying the prom- they were reproved for it. ise to yourself by a particular P. Sir, I believe you know faith, proceeded from the Spirit my danger better than I do myof God : in the same manner as self. Pray, direct me what I I look on that conviction of sin, shall do. which filled you with fear and M. "Strive to make your calself.abasement, when you called ling and election sure," and to mind your sinfulness, and evident both to yourself and othCiod's judgments denounceders, by bringing forth the fruits against sinners, to be the work of rigliteousness in a good conof the same Spirit. “ For it is he versation.” who convinceth the world of sio My first advice is, " walk and of righteousness." But this humbly with thy God." Let
the remembrance of your past you have heretofore been most life of sin and folly still cover you easily beset. If at any time sin with shame. Recollect the ma- prevail against you, do not enny aggravating circumstances deavour to forget it, or hide it in of a life hitherto spent in rebel- your bosom : but go to God im. lion against God; during all mediately ; take shame to your whichi, he daily heaped mercies self; plead the gospel promias, upon you and yours; giving to returning sinners, looking unfood and rainent, health and to Jesus Christ as your all suffistrength ; and continued these cient sacrifice and advocate with mercies to you, while you forgot the Father ; and never cease the hand that gave them, and wrestling with God in praye!, returned evil for good. Hie until he again speak peace 10 spared you in all your provoca- your troubled soul, and fill you tions, and at last opened your with a greater fear of ofending eyes to see your danger, stirred him. you up to avoid it, and now hath As I hope you are now plari. given you a good hope, through ed in God's vineyard, be frutto grace, for obtaining eternal life. ful. Bear on your heart a sense Thus compare together what of God's love to sinners in Jesus God hath done and you deserv. Christ. Consider in particular, ed, and learn humility. Keep a what God hath done for you, ia watchful eye also upon the re. calling you out of darkness mains of indwelling sin still in into his marvellous light." Reyou. And let sinful inclinations, member how you lay fist asleep vain thoughts, backwardness to in sin and fatal security, when duty, and failure in it, teach you God awakened you to see your to be humble and fear. Thus danger and escape it. Think distrusting yourself, look up to what would have been your conGod for continual support, like dition in eternity, if God had a helpless little child, expecting left you to yourself. Think through the medium of Jesus how many still go on in the Christ, tu be assisted in every sume fatal path in which you time of need.
trod. And let the senseof God's My next advice is, “ Keep a dis:inguishing love to you excite conscience void of offence.” If you to some return. « Lore you have wronged any man, bebim, because he first loved you." not ashamed to own it, and ac And let love to your heavenly cording to your power, make Father influence your thoughts
, restilution, that the accursed and words, and actions, thing may not cleave to you. Let your meditations of God Take heed that you grieve not be sweet and frequent. Lift up the Spirit of God by unholy your heart to him that seeth walking, lest you provoke him in secret, and trieth the heart to forsake you. To this end, and reins. Seek a close comwatch over your heart, repress munion with the Father of your its first inclinations to sin, and spirit ; and to this end, endear. be watchful against temptation our to withdraw your thoughts from without ; fixing your eye liom worldly things, and to raise especially on the sin with which your affections from earth