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« lieved him not; but the publicans and harlots 66 believed him: and

ye,
when

ye

had seen it, repented not afterwards, that ye might believe.Hence we learn that the general beliet of John's testimony brought the publicans and harlots to repentance, and this repentance prepared them for admission into the Messiah's kingdom by faith in him: and if the Pharisees had repented of their sin, in rejecting the ministry of John, their repentance would have been connected with the same faith in him to whom John bare testimony.-Indeed the office of John Baptist, in preparing the way of the Lord, as the herald of the Saviour to proclaim his appearance and introduce his gospel, is

peculiarly important in this argument.---He first called sinners to repentance, shewed the Jews in general the fallaciousness of trusting in their national privileges, and the Pharisees in particular the emptiness of their forms and external services; he used the proper means of convincing all sorts of persons of their guilt and danger; and then pointed out to them “ the Lamb * of God that taketh away the sin of the world;" " the Son of God,” who “ baptizeth with the “ Holy Ghost :” concluding with this solemn declaration and warning, “ the Father loveth " the Son, and hath given all things into his

hands. He that believeth on the Son hath

everlasting life; and he that believeth not on " the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of 66 God abideth upon him*." And his whole ministry undeniably proves, both that genuine repentance is always connected with saving faith ; and that it is an important part of that “ holiness without which no man shall see the 56 Lord.”

* John iii, 35, 36.

This appears also in a very convincing manner in the singular example of the penitent thief, who upon the cross humbly acknowledged, that he deserved his ignominious and torturing death; while he believed in the Saviour, suspended beside him, for the salvation of his soul from future condemnation. Was there no essential difference in the frame of his spirit, from that of the other thief, who, in the agonies of death, joined the multitude in reviling the holy Jesus? Did this difference arise from any other cause than regeneration? And was not he a partaker of true holiness?

Confession of sin, an essential part of true repentance, is every where represented

represented as inseparable from saving faith, and prepuratory to forgiveness. “ He that covereth his sins shall “ not prosper; but he that confesseth and for“ saketh them, shall obtain mercy *."

say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, 6 and the truth is not in us.- If we confess, our “ sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our “ sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteous

ness +.” “ I acknowledged my sin unto thee, " and mine iniquity have I not hid.--I said, “I will confess my transgressions unto the “ Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my “ sin." “ Wash me throughly from mine

iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin; for I " acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is “ ever before me $." The publican, the prodigal son, the thief upon the cross, and other instances already adduced, exemplify this ingenuous unreserved confession of their sinfulness : nor is there a single case in Scripture, real or parabolical, of a sinner acceptably apply

66 If we

66

* Prov. xxviii, 13. | Ps. xxxii. 5.

+ I John i. 8, 9.

Ps. li, l-5.

66 He

ing to God for pardoning mercy, in which this disposition to glorify him, by a full and free confession, is not implied or expressed. “ looketh upon men; and if any say, I have os sinned and perverted that which was right “ and it profited me not: he will deliver his • soul from going down into the pit, and his “ life shall see the light*.”

No doubt this (as well as all other holy dispositions) may be counterfeited ; and the appearance of humility assumed where the heart remains unhumbled. Thus Pharaoh, Judas, and several others, confessed their sins in a partial, extorted, and reluctant manner. Yet no doubt, if genuine, it implies a right spirit; the proper frame of mind, in which a sinner ought to appear before his offended Lord, being exactly the reverse to a proud self-justifying disposition. He, who ingenuously confesses his sins, gives unto God the honour both of his justice and of his mercy; he expresses approbation both of the holy law and of the blessed gospel; he will. ingly, submits to God's righteousness, and is prepared to welcome a free salvation; he adores the grace, which “ hath abounded towards us, “ in all wisdom and prudence," and glorifies the Lord, as “just, and the justifier of him " that believeth in Jesus." 66 His name

(says the angel) “ shall be “ called Jesus; because he shall save his people " from their sins.” “God, having raised up his " Son Jesus,” says the apostle) "hath sent him

to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." " He gave himself for

us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to pu

rify us unto himself, a peculiar people zealous " of good works." Now let a reflecting person

+ Job xxxiii. 27, 28,

seriously ask himself, whether any one can truly believe in Christ, without in the least understanding this part of his salvation, or desiring the principal blessing which he confers on his people? Can he desire salvation from sin, without the least hatred of sin or love of holiness? Or can there be any hatred of sin and love of holiness in a heart that is entirely unholy ?The views of a newly-awakened sinner may be extremely confused, and the fear of wrath with desires of deliverance from it, may greatly preponderate in his experience: nor should this be condemned as mere selfishness, while salvation from deserved punishment is sought from God's mercy in his appointed way; for even this is direcily contrary to our natural pride and enmity to God; and the desire of happiness is as strong in an holy as in an unholy creature. Indeed the sinner himself in his first application for mercy, may not, during the anxious trepidation of his heart, perceive any thing more than a desire of forgiveness and happiness in the favour of God: yet in reality, every acting of true faith in Christ is connected with some degree of a desire to be delivered from sin, and to be made holy; which will appear to the intelligent observer, in that tenderness of conscience, and dread of relapsing into former evil ways, which are manifested by convinced sinners, in their deepest distress, and which often help the judicious pastor to discriminate between those convictions which arise from spiritual illumination, and the terrors which spring from merely natural principles.

Indeed they, who are well versed in doctrinal discussions, may feel a kind of wish after sanctification, without any hatred of sin or love of holiness, from a conviction that they cannot be saved unless they be sanctified : and thus the common saying, the desire of grace is grace, should be used with caution, or it may aid the enemy to deceive men's souls.--But persons of this description will not sincerely apply to Christ for any part of his salvation, or diligently use the proper means of seeking it. “ The soul of “ the sluggard desireth and hath not: but the " soul of the diligent shall be made fat *." When our Lord invites “ the

weary

and heavy “ laden to come unto him, that they might find “ rest to their souls;" he adds, “ Take my yoke

upon you, and learn of me.” He declares that he will treat all those as enemies, “who “ will not have him to reign over them:" and every scriptural call to sinners implies the same instruction. “ Seek ye the Lord, while he may as be found; call ye upon him while he is near: “ let the wicked forsake his way, and the un

righteous man his thoughts; and let him re66 turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy

on him; and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon t." Certainly the erangeligal prophet had no idea of forgiveness, and the comfort of it, preceding every degree of true repentance and all the works meet for repentance, according to the doctrine maintained by some modern teachers of free salvation. With these Scriptures before us, can we maintain, that any one truly returns to the Lord, by Christ the living Way, and by faith in him, who does not so much as desire salvation from his sins, and renewal unto holiness? And is not a sincere and hearty desire of these blessings itself a genuine part of holiness?

It has been shewn, that humility, repentance, hatred of sin, with sincere desires to be saved from it, and a willing submission to Christ as our King, are inseparably connected with every

* Prov, xiii. 4.

+ Is. ly. 6,7.

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