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quish our hold of it. The disposition manifests itself in an endless variety of ways, amongst all descriptions of character, from the highest example of worldly correctness, down to the veriest wretch that disgraces the society of a jail. All have their righteousness, some positive good, or some negation of evil, which, however little it recommends them to fellow-creatures, they flatter themselves may have its weight with God, to disarm his vengeance, and procure them some portion of favour. Such is the infatuating power of this principle, that the very last thing which a sinner can be induced to give up is this inveterate attachment to something in himself as his recommendation to God.

But all unbelief that arises from this source has in it, if there be truth in the Bible, the very spirit and essence of rebellion. Surely, in the ear of every holy being, the self-righteousness of a sinner must sound as the very strangest possible anomaly and contradiction. It is the first duty of a sinner, instead of attempting self-justification, to

confess his guilt, and plead for mercy; and with humility, and gratitude, and joy, to accept that mercy in the way in which his offended Maker has been graciously pleased to offer it. To spurn at this, is to add to the spirit of rebellion that of the foulest ingratitude. The justly offended Sovereign was under no obligation to provide means of recovery for sinful men. "He and his throne would have been guiltless," had he left them to perish. Yet he has wrought in their behalf such wonders of mercy, as make us, by their very magnitude, incredulous of their reality. From what the power of God has done, we infer that there is nothing but what involves a contradiction which it cannot do. As all the effects of creative power must necessarily be finite, we can have no proof but such an inferential one, of power that is infinite. But we have higher and more direct evidence of infinite benevolence. It has actually bestowed a gift of infinite value: for "God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in


him might not perish, but have everlasting life." This is a gift of which the worth can never be estimated, for it is truly and properly divine and the bestowment of it ought to draw from the inmost soul of every one who hears of it the simple but deep-felt utterance of apostolic praise-" Thanks be unto God for his UNSPEAKABLE GIFT.” Men profess to be charmed with the scripture assurance, that God "delighteth in mercy:" and yet, in rejecting the grace of the gospel, they reject the grand manifestation of its truth; and, by their reliance on themselves, and their attempts to recommend themselves to God, and make out some claim upon him, by their own doings, they deprive the gospel of its very nature, as a revelation of mercy. Pure mercy is of its very essence: and, though, for securing the honour of divine justice, it is mercy through a Mediator, yet this does not render the mercy the less entirely gratuitous to the sinful creature. And he who will not consent to the utter renunciation of dependence on his own fancied

merits, and to be a debtor to mercy alone, is in the full spirit of opposition to the God of the Gospel.

And is there, think you, no evil in that state of heart, that prevents a sinful creature from bowing his spirit to the mercy of his justly offended God?—that disposes him to spurn away the offers of sovereign grace, and refuse to be its debtor?-vainly to fancy that he can be his own Saviour, and make good his title to heaven ?—Is it not right that a sinner should be a suppliant ?—that his pride should be abased?-his highmindedness laid in the dust?—that, instead of coming to God with the lofty port of the self-justifying pharisee, he should come with the "broken and contrite spirit" of the publican, crying "God be merciful !"—not presenting a claim, but petitioning for a favour; -not appealing to justice, but imploring clemency? Is it not as it ought to be, when, before the spotless purity of that God who "is light, and in whom there is no darkness at all," he sees, and feels, and owns, every


thing about himself to be defective and tainted, all unworthy the acceptance of such a Being, and when he throws himself at the footstool of the eternal throne,-the throne of the Divine holiness,-self-condemned, and pleading the name and the merits of the pointed Mediator ?-Is not all this what really becomes a sinner? Is not this his proper posture, his proper temper, his proper petition, his proper plea? Ought not such a creature to take shame to himself, and to give God the glory? And must it not come from an "evil heart," that such a creature cannot bring himself to the humiliation of an unconditional surrender? It is the very first thing to which a sinner is called,—(and is it not the very first thing to which he ought to be called?)-to submit to mercy. The religion of a sinner must begin with this. It is the first right feeling in his heart towards the God with whom he has to do. If God has revealed himself to sinners, the religion of sinners must regard him as so revealed; and if he is revealed as exercising

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