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hence, the more closely he applies it, the more danger, as it must inevitably, and in every instance, lead him to a wrong result. The case with this man is much as it was with the apostle previous to conversion ; he is “ alive, without the law;" and he needs to experience the same change with the holy apostle, and to have it accomplished by the same means. He needs the commandment to be set home upon him, that a sense of sin may be revived in his heart, and he may see himself to be spiritually dead. He needs first to understand the law, that he may come to a knowledge of his sins.

Still further to illustrate the principle under consideration, and show how, under all circumstances, the views which persons entertain of themselves correspond with those which they have of the law, we may suppose another case: it is that of a man who believes that God requires something more of his creatures than mere forms; that he has enjoined a spiritual religion; one involving a change of the affections, demanding a degree of separation from the world, and conferring on those who enjoy it much mental peace; and to the possession of this inestimable treasure he trusts he has attained. He has passed through a process of what he conceives to be awakening and conversion; has made a public profession of his faith ; feels that he has done, and is doing, all that is necessary; and is for the most part well satisfied with himself and with his prospects. Of course he feels none of that deep humiliation and self-loathing which characterized the experience of Job, and David, and Isaiah, and Paul, and can hardly account for the painful anxieties and humbling consessions of some eminent Christians in modern times ; but he thinks he understands what religion is, endeavors to live up to its requisitions, discovers but few remaining deficiencies, and is not often disquieted on account of his sins. It would be superfluous for me to say, that I consider this man's experience altogether spurious and deceptive. The case has been introduced for the purpose of showing how inadequate views of the Divine law may lead to unfounded hopes, and to a false and Pharisaical peace, not only in the mere formalist, but in those who profess to believe, and to be interested, in experimental godliness. Indeed, the danger of deception at this point is as great, to say the least, as at any other ; and false hopes entertained here may be even more difficult to be dispelled than those which are founded on grosser conceptions of the nature of the Divine requirements. They cannot be dispelled in either case, until the law of God comes home with light and power to the slumbering conscience, and effectually teaches the deluded subject of them that he is “ dead in trespasses and sins.”

What is the law of God, of which so much has been here said ? A plain question this, and a vitally important one. What is the law of God? The following passages may be said to comprise the whole of it:-“ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." " Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do; do all to the glory of God.Wherefore glorify God, in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” These are specimens of the Divine law-comprehensive specimens—which may in truth be said to comprise it all. And whoever considers them attentively, candidly, and seriously, must perceive, in a moment, that they comprise very much. In comparison with such a law, what are external relative duties, the customs and decencies of social life? and what is a decent outward respect to the services


of religion ? No more, my friends, than a drop to the ocean! No more than an indivisible point is to the immensity of space! That holy law, which the Psalmist describes as “ exceeding broad,” spreads all over performances such as these, and covers and swallows them all up. We must love God, at all times, in all places, and with all the heart. We must fear and serve him, and him only, constantly and for ever. We must glorify him in all our faculties of body and of soul, so that whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do,—even the most common actions of life, such as eating, and drinking, and ministering to our bodily necessities,—all must be done to the glory of God. This is the standard by which we are to decide upon our characters here, and according to which we must be judged in the future world. We cannot alter it if we would ; for it is immutable as the eternal throne. Heaven and earth might sooner pass away, than one jot or tittle be taken from this holy law. We may spin out as many theories, and frame as many inventions, as we please; they are all as things of naught, and can never supersede, for a moment, the holy and unchangeable law of God. is Let, then, the man who is living upon his relative and social duties, and superficial observances, and thus laying the flattering unction to his soullet him throw away the false standards of character which he has adopted, take the rule which God has given him, and faithfully apply it. The application may cause him pain and alarm, but let him not shrink back. He must come to this rule sooner or later, and he had better come honestly to it in

" True,” he may say to himself, “I have endeavored to be just and honest in my intercourse with others; I have the reputation of being a good neighbor, and a good member of society ; I have even assumed the Christian profession and name ;-but is this all that God requires of me? This is all I have to offer ;-is it enough? The Divine law, I find, reaches to the heart; and it becomes me carefully to look within, and see what has been passing there. Has the love of God reigned within me; or the love of self and the world ? Have I been serving God, or myself? Has it been my habitual, predominating purpose to glorify God, or to promote my own supposed interest and happiness? In all I have done, have I kept God in view, and acted from a regard to his authority and glory? Or have I not often forgotten him, thought little of him, and lived much as though there was no such Being ?"

Let the self-righteous and self-confident deal with themselves after this manner, taking the holy law of God as it stands, and fearlessly and faithfully applying it to their souls; and they cannot long be altogether blinded in respect to their true characters. 6. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes ;" and if they take it and use it as they ought, it will, it must enlighten them. They will soon see how the case stands with them. In the great extent of the Divine requirements, reaching to the thoughts, the affections, to all the secret springs of action, and requiring that the love of God move and direct all; the sinner will see the number and extent of his transgressions. He will see ten thousand things to be sin, which he never supposed were sin before. His transgressions will rise up to view one after another, till, like black and gloomy clouds, they completely overwhelm him. He will find them to be, like the stars in the sky, or the sands on the ocean shore, innumerable.

In the inviolable strictness of God's law, and in the awful sanctions by

wash away

which it is enforced, he will see that not one of these innumerable transgressions is a trifle. Every sin he has committed is a great sin, imposing a debt which he cannot cancel, imprinting a stain upon the soul which he cannot

What, then, he may well exclaim, is the amount of them all! What the insupportable burthen which they all impose! What the crimson stains imprinted by them all!

In the perfect purity and propriety of the law of God, the convicted sinner will come at length to see, that his sins are as base and detestable as they are numerous and great. He is not only ruined and lost, but guilty and vile. He cannot now bear a view of his own character. With humbled Job, he begins 10 “ abhor himself, and repent in dust and ashes." ! Bring now the Savior before this weeping, trembling, relenting, though almost despairing penitent; let in a ray of light from Calvary upon his dark, and troubled, and tossed soul ; and Oh how he will catch it! With what earnestness and gratitude will he greet it! It will be to him as life from the dead! He feels now his need of a Savior-his perishing need; he sees the Savior presented to be just what he needs; and with emotions unutterable he casts himself upon his mighty arm. And can it otherwise be than that the Savior, thus embraced, will be precious to him? precious incomparably beyond all others ?

The inimitable Cowper relates, that for months after his conversion, he could not speak or bear the name of Jesus without weeping. The very mention of this precious name would at once melt him into a flood of tears. And, my friends, th was no enthusiasm in this. Why ould not weep? And why should not every Christian weep, when he thinks of the dying love of Jesus, and of his own infinite indebtedness to this bleeding love? Why should not every Christian weep, when he thinks from what merited degradation and misery he has been delivered, and to what glorious hopes and prospects he (an unworthy sinner) has been exalted, through the sacrifice and sufferings of a bleeding Savior ?

The subject to which we have attended is one of great interest and importance in its application to several classes of persons; and, in the first place, to professing Christians. Would you, my brethren, be engaged, active, growing, useful Christians? Do you desire and pray, that your love may be ardent, and your repentance deep, and your faith strong, and your zeal constant, and your hopes substantial ? You will then cultivate an intimate and thorough acquaintance with your own hearts. And in order to this, you will look into them often, in the clear light of God's holy law. Remember that this is your standard ; carry it always with you ; apply it frequently, and apply it with an unsparing hand. Thus, you will see, and feel, and lament your deficiencies. You will grow in a knowledge of your sins. And growing in this important knowledge, you will grow in every thing which stands connected with it; will grow in humility, grow in penitence, grow in faith, grow in love, and in all the graces and virtues of the Christian. Your course will thus be triumphant and happy, while you press onward and mount upward in your preparation for eternal rest.

There may be some present who have been aroused from carnal security -in whose minds the slumbers of sin have been broken—but who think that they are not yet sufficiently convinced of sin, and have not that deep and painful sense of it which is necessary, in order to their conversion and salvation: This subject, my friends, addresses itself to you. If you need more deep and thorough convictions, you here see how they are to be obtained. Acquaint yourselves fully with the law of God. Study it, think of it, understand it, and measure and judge yourselves by it. By the law is the knowledge of sin." If you have not yet come to a knowledge of your sins, it is because you have not tried yourselves faithfully, and by the proper standard. You have not yet searched

your deceitful hearts to the bottom, and brought home the commandment with light and power. Begin now to deal more faithfully with yourselves. Be willing to know the worst of your case. And humbly implore the Divine Spirit to search you as with candles, and set your sins in order before your eyes.

There may be those present-it would be strange if there were not whose sins have never given them any trouble, and who feel no concern respecting the future destiny of their souls. They have endeavored to live decently-have never done any thing which they think very criminal consider themselves as good as their neighbors--and why should they be troubled or afraid ? Just so, my friends, the apostle reasoned and comforted himself in his state of blindness and stupidity, while he was “ alive without the law.” He regarded himself as very moral, very religious ; and who had more reason to hope than he ? But you will remember, that if Paul had not become an altered man-if he had lived and died in this state of formality, he must inevitably have perished. So he judged himself afterward, and do not think me uncharitable when I say, that unless you become very different persons from what you are at present-unless you wake up to new views respecting your character and wants, you too must perish. For, secure and blinded in your sins, feeling in no need of a Savior, spurning at the offers of his bleeding love, and trusting to the works of your own hands-how can you expect salvation, on the ground of the gospel? How shall you be brought to repentance, while you feel that you have done little or nothing to repent of ? And how shall you come to Christ for help, or entreat his mercy, while you do not feel that you need the one or the other? What remains, then, persisting in your present course, but that you must flatter and dream life away, and never awake to the reality of your condition, till you wake up in eternity ?

But why persist in the course you are now pursuing? Why not begin to think, reflect, and be wise in season? Why not awake now? Why not take the holy rule which God has given you, apply it to your deceitful hearts, and bring out the result? Such a trial, if faithfully undertaken and accomplished, may terrify and distress you, but it cannot injure you. It may, and it will, destroy all your carnal peace; but this

peace must be destroyed, before that peace of God, which passeth all understanding, can be the portion of your souls. It will open your eyes to new views of your character, destiny, and wants, and will lead you to pray, as the beggar did, “ Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” And the moment you utter this prayer in truth and sincerity, that Jesus who had mercy on the imploring beggar will doubtless have mercy upon you. He will wipe away your tears, and wash out your sins, and comfort

you with consolations of which the world are ignorant. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul ; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ; the statutes of the Lord are right, REJOICING THE HEART.”


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