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solemn thoughts and happy feelings respecting Him. You acknowledge His existence, and you have no objection to hear about Him. But do you live "as seeing Him who is Invisible"-do you know Him, and feel rightly disposed towards Him? You acknowledge that this is not the case. God is not the object whom you habitually regard, and to whom you live. You do not turn to Him, and rest on Him, as the needle turns to the pole, But is not this a clear proof of
and rests there.
Do you love and delight in the Scriptures, and in religious duties ? You know what it is to love and delight in poems and tales of fiction, in company and amusement. But do you love the book of God above all books, and delight in the public and private worship of God? Is not reading the Scriptures a task, a duty, a heavy work? It is customary to go to Church. You practise private prayer: but are you not glad when the duty is performed? Religion is a something to you; but yet you do not know what to make of it: you feel no delight in it; you derive no efficacy from it, you have no taste for it. But is not this a proof of moral disorder of sinfulness?
Do you love and delight in the Lord Jesus Christ-God in our nature? The Bible is peculiarly the revelation of a Saviour. There you have His history. You learn who He is, and what He did. You hear His words. You be
hold His sufferings and death, His resurrection and ascension. You are made acquainted with the characters and offices which He now sustains. He is entitled to our highest love. We are to "honour Him as we honour the Father." Do you know Him, rejoice in Him, and follow Him? Your consciences testify that you do not regard the glorious and gracious Emmanuel as you ought. Is not this a proof of inward moral disorder-of sinfulness?
Do you make the law of God the rule of your conduct, and delight in that law? You speak highly perhaps of practical religion: most persons extol obedience. But what is Christian Obedience? It is conformity to the law of God. He who makes that law his rule of action will not be led and governed by the maxims and examples of the world; nor by the dictates of his own mind, or the devices of his own heart. He studies, loves, obeys, and delights in the law of his God. Is this your case? Do you not rather account the law of God too strict, too rigid, too unsparing? Is not this a proof of moral disorder-of sinfulness?
Do you find that your souls, in their thoughts, feelings, and tastes, delight in spiritual things? Man is known by his tastes. In what do you
find the greatest delight, the greatest relish? You may have an exquisite taste for the magnificent in nature, or for the excellent in art. It is a source of great and of pure pleasure to have this accom
plishment. But there is such a thing as a spi ritual or moral taste and the soul which pos→ sesses it is opposed to all moral deformity, and rejoices in all moral beauty and perfection. If the soul have not a fine and exquisite taste for divine and spiritual things, for uncreated, unchanging, and eternal excellence, so as to find its congenial element in goodness, is it not an undeniable proof that it labours under a moral disorder-that it is a sinful being?
Are you conscious that you desire and strive to please God, to glorify Him, to live for heavenfor eternity? God has made you what you are given you what you have allotted to you your places in society but are you mindful of your talents, of your duties, of the will and design of your Creator? Are you living to the glory of God, the good of man, and for your own salvation? If you are not living thus, you have the clearest proof that the machinery is out of order, that there is a principle of evil within which deranges the whole. Not to live to God and eternity with a conscious decision of the soul, is a demonstration that, whatever we may think of ourselves, we are corrupt and depraved creatures.
I would request you to consider these plain questions and if you rightly meditate upon them, you will, by divine grace, be led to see the real character of man. Whatever be your virtue and amiableness, in whatever estimation you may be
held among men, you are in the sight of the Holy God sinful creatures-yet unfit for His presence→→→ unfit for heaven. You are exempt from gross sin; you are adorned with many excellencies: but there is disorder within-a moral leprosy which man cannot cure. Hence the soul must undergo a change before it can be truly happybefore it is fit for the celestial dwellings. Fear not, my young friends, to entertain this thoughtto cherish this conviction. It is one of those that lies at the threshold of piety. Religion is only a notion, a fancy, a mechanism, until internal and external sin is known and felt: and he who rightly sees and feels his sinfulness of heart and life, will seek, and, through the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, he will find salvation for his soul.
"Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.
Holy and Blessed God, I acknowledge that I am a sinful creature. If I have been kept from
acts of gross sin, I ascribe this to Thy great goodness: but yet I am the sinful offspring of a sinful ancestor. My nature is defiled; I have failed in doing my duty; and I have in numberless instances transgressed Thy holy and righteous laws. If I look to my mind and heart, what can I account them but regions of darkness, folly, and vanity! I may be admired by those around me, and I may admire myself: but when I think of Thee, who art the Holy One, I can only say, Have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner. Mercifully deliver me, I beseech Thee, from all delusion, and cause me to know by the light of Thy truth, and to feel by the power of Thy grace, what I am in myself, and before Thee. How have I hitherto trifled! How have I hitherto deceived myself! I have regarded myself as one who is good and excellent, and who has need of nothing. But I bless Thee for being called to consideration, and to the serious examination of myself. O deliver me from ignorance and error, from hardness and stupidity and death. Give me, O Lord, the sound mind and the contrite heart: and instead of trifling any longer, may I lay serious things to heart-humble myself before Thee, and repent in dust and ashes. Give me a heart to pray, and graciously hear and answer my petitions. Thus, O Lord, be gracious unto me, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.