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and ardently sought. "All that" thus "seek, find ;" and all that find him, find saving health, eternal life, and heaven.
Bear your testimony with me, ye children of Abraham and of God, who see the brightness of a Gospel "day and rejoice." Say, what made you first wishfully "look to the hills, whence your salvation is come," and fervently desire to behold the sin-dispelling beams of the "Sun of righteousness?" Was it not the deep dismal night of our fallen nature, which you happily discovered, when, awaking from the sleep of sin, you first saw the delusive dreams of life as they appear to the dying? What was "the Desire of nations" to you, till you felt yourselves lost sinners? Alas! nothing; perhaps less than nothing; an object of disgust or scorn. When "the pearl of great price" was presented to you, did you regard it more than the vilest of brutes an oriental pearl? And as if it had not been enough to look at it with disdain, were not some of you ready to "turn again and rend," after the example of snarling animals, those who affectionately made you the invaluable offer? Matt, vii, 6.
But when the storm that shook Mount Sinai overtook your careless souls, and ye saw yourselves sinking into an abyss of misery, did ye not cry out and say, as the alarmed disciples, with an unknown energy of desire, "Save, Lord, or we perish?" And when, conscious of your lost estate, ye began to believe that he "came to seek and to save that which was lost," how dear, how precious was he to you in all his offices! How glad were you to take guilty, weeping Magdalene's place, and wait for a pardon at your High Priest's feet! How importunate in saying to your King, as the helpless widow, "Lord, avenge me of mine adversary," my " evil heart of unbelief!" How earnest, how unwearied in your applications to your Prophet, for heavenly light and wisdom! The incessant prayer of blind Bartimeus was then yours, and so was the gracious answer which the Lord returned to him; you "received" your spiritual "sight." And O! what saw you then? The sacred "book unsealed! Your sins blotted out as a cloud! The glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ;" and "the kingdom of heaven opened to all believers!" «—
Then, and not till then, you could say from the heart, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief," 1 Tim. i, 15. Then you could cry out with his first disciples, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God," 1 John iii, 1. "We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, whom having not seen we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls," Gal. iii, 26; 1 Pet. i, 8. "We trusted in him, and are helped; therefore our heart danceth for joy, and in our song will we praise him," Psalm xxviii, 8. "To him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever," Rev. i, 5.
And this will be also your triumphant song, attentive reader, if, deeply conscious of your lost estate, you spread your guilt and misery before Him who "came to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and to comfort all that mourn, by giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," f s;uah lxi, 1. "Your sorrow," it is true, "may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning, the joy of God's salvation," and the pardon of your sins. "Having much forgiven," you "will" then "love much," and admire in proportion the riches of Divine wisdom, goodness, justice, and power, that so graciously contrived, and so wonderfully executed, the plan of your redemption. You will be ravished in experiencing that a condemned sinner can not only escape impending ruin, but enter into present possession of a spiritual paradise, where peace and joy blossom together, and whence welcome death will, ere long, translate your triumphant soul to those unseen, unheard of, inconceivable glories "which God hath prepared for them that love him," 1 Cor. ii, 9.
Nor will the blossoms of heavenly "peace" and "joy" only diffuse their Divine fragrancy in your soul; all "the fruits of holiness" will grow together with them, "to the glory of God," and the profit of mankind. And thou wilt not be the last, thou fair, thou blushing humility, to bend all the spreading branches of the "tree of righteousness." No, we cannot be vain, or despisers of others, when we see that we are all corrupted, dying shoots of the same corrupted, dead stock: we cannot be self righteous, when we are persuaded that the best fruit which we can naturally produce is only splendid sin, or vice coloured over with the specious appearance of virtue. We must lie prostrate in the dust, when we consider the ignominious cross where our Divine Surety hung, bled, and died, to ransom our guilty souls.
A genuine conviction of our corruption and demerit, thus striking at the very root of our pride, necessarily fills our hearts with inexpressible gratitude for every favour we receive, gives an exquisite relish to the least blessing we enjoy, and teaches us to say with the thankful patriarch, "I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies;" and as it renders us grateful to God, and all our benefactors, so it makes us patient under the greatest injuries, resigned in the heaviest trials, glad to be reproved, willing to forgive the faults of others, open to acknowledge our own, disposed to sympathize with the guilty, tender hearted toward the miserable, incapable of being offended at any one, and ready to do every office of kindness, even to the meanest of mankind.
Again: no sooner are we properly acquainted with our helplessness, than we give over leaning on an arm of flesh, and the broken reed of our own resolutions. Reposing our entire confidence in the living God, we fervently implore his continual assistance, carefully avoid temptations,
C" idly acknowledge that "the help which is done upon the earth, the Lord doth it himself," and humbly give him the glory of all the good that appears in ourselves and others.
Once more: as soon as we can discover our spiritual blindness, we mistrust our own judgment, feel the need of instruction, modestly repair to the experienced for advice, carefully search the Scriptures, readily follow their blessed directions, and fervently pray that no false light may mislead us out of the way of salvation.
To conclude: a right knowledge that "the crown has fallen from our head," will make us abominate sin, the cause of our ruin, and raise in us a noble ambition of regaining our original state of blissful and glorious righteousness. It will set us upon an earnest inquiry into, and a proper use of, all the means conducive to our recovery. Even the tense of our guilt will prove useful, by helping to break our obdurate hearts, by embittering the baits of worldly vanities, and filling our souls with penitential sorrow. "Before honour is humility." This happy humiliation makes way for the greatest exaltation: for "thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and the heart of the contrite," to "fill the hungry with good things," and "beautify the meek with salvation," Isaiah Ivii, 15.
If these advantages, which exceed the worth of earthly crowns, necessarily result from the proper knowledge of our corrupt and lost estate, who, but an infatuated enemy of his own soul, would be afraid of that self science? Who, but an obstinate Pharisee, would not esteem it, next to the knowledge of Christ, the greatest blessing which Heaven can bestow upon the self-destroyed, and yet self-conceited children of men?
Careless reader, if thou art the person; if remaining unshaken in thy carnal confidence, and supposing thyself " wiser than seven men that can render a reason," thou not only despisest the testimony of the sacred writers, and our pious reformers, laid before thee in the first part of this treatise, but disregardest the numerous arguments it contains, tramplest under foot both matter of fact and common sense, and remainest unaffected by the most dreadful consequences of self ignorance on the one hand, and by the greatest advantages of self knowledge on the other, I have done, and must take my leave of thee.
May the merciful and holy God, whose laws thou dost daily violate, whose word thou hourly opposest or forgettest, whose salvation thou dost every moment neglect, whose vengeance thou continually provokest, and whose cause I have attempted to plead, bear with thee and thy insults a little longer! May his infinite patience yet afford thee some means of conviction, more effectual than that which is at present in thy hands! Or shouldest thou look into this labour of love once more, may it then answer a better purpose than to aggravate thy guilt, and enhance thy condemnation, by rendering the folly of thy unbelief more glaring, and consequently more inexcusable!
U there no balm in GUead? 1* there no physician there! Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered '-Jnimia