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and obedience will be exercised with temptation. Watch and pray that ye yield not to these temptations. Secure as you may think yourselves at this moment, beware of trusting to your own resolutions, or of depending on your own strength, but « let him that standeth “ take heed lest he fall.” On God alone build with a pure and unswerving trust. Put all your hope and confidence on the Almighty Guardian and Shepherd of Israel. Place your soul in the keeping of Him who never slumbers nor sleeps, and who alone can give the victory, and can present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.— Amen.
ON CONFESSION OF SIN.
PROVERBS xxviii. 13.
He that covereth his sins, shall not prosper ; but whoso confesseth them, shall have mercy.
NOTHING can be more clearly revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures, than that « all men have sinned, and come short of “ the glory of God.” The uniform experience of all ages, and the admonitions of conscience in every breast, bear witness to the melancholy truth. Sinless obedience is an attainment to which the most eminent saint while on this earth can lay no claim : for there is not a just “ man upon earth, that doeth good and 6 sinneth not."
Should any, then, be so far puffed up with pride, so self righteous, as to arro
gate to himself perfection or infallibility, the voice both of Nature and Revelation loudly proclaims the falsity of all such pretensions. Widely different were the sentiments of the pious Job
this subject : “ If I justify myself, mine own “ mouth shall condemn me; if I say " perfect, it also should prove me per“ verse."-Hence, it appears, that confession of sin is a duty which is not only perfectly consistent with our present state, but one which the best and the wisest of men have ever judged due to their Maker. “ He that covereth his sins shall not prosper ;
but whoso confesseth them shall « have mercy."
In farther discoursing, it shall, under the divine blessing, be
my endeavour, 1. To describe the nature of the duty here recommended, of making confession of sin unto God,-and,
II. To illustrate the argument which is set forth in the text, to encourage us to the performance of this duty.
I. It is not my intention to spend time in refuting the arguments employed by the Church of Rome, for pressing such
texts as this into the service of auricular confession, i. e. the private acknowledge ment of the sins of the people to the priest. It is well known, that this
practice, instead of being serviceable to the interests of religion, has opened a door to all manner of licentiousness, and has been prostituted to serve the vilest of purposes. By this stratagem the designing and rapacious rulers of that church become acquainted with the private circumstances and secret transactions of their people, and fail not to make use of this information for keeping them in awe, while they are carrying on schemes for maintaining and extending their own wealth
This practice, too, must, in the way
in which they manage it, have a mighty tendency to render the great precepts of religion of no effect, and to corrupt the manners of the people. For when once men are made to believe that they have it in their power at any time, and at an easy rate, to obtain a full pardon of all their sins, the strongest check upon vice is removed, and the utmost freedom is presented for the unlimited indulgence of every vicious passion. It
cannot, however, be denied, that both public and private confession unto men, may in many cases be not only warrantable and innocent, but highly useful and expedient. Public and scandalous offences require public acknowledgment, and public satisfaction made to the society to which such offence has been given: And in some cases private confession to a faithful minister of Christ, or to some friend or person of superior knowledge and sanctity, may
necessary for unburdening a troubled conscience, and for obtaining comfort and direction for future conduct.
But none of these is the confession spoken of in the text.
It is God's prerogative, and God's only, to forgive sin, and to him, therefore, confession must be made, if we would look for the blessing annexed to this duty. As it is not confession unto men, therefore, but unto God that is here meant, so neither is it the end and design of this duty to inform God of our sins, as if he were ignorant of the least of them. No, my friends, he is fully acquainted with all our ways; he knows the very thoughts of our hearts