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They call him “ Almighty”-able to save; and “Merciful"--willing to deliver. They tell him that,“ like lost sheep, they have erred and strayed from the ways

which he had prescribed. They declare that they have given way to their natural corruption by “ following too much the devices and desires of their own hearts.” They acknowledge that they have, in general, broken and “offended against bis holy and eternal laws.” They confess that they have, in particular, committed that violation by sins of omission, in “ leaving undone those things which they ought to have done ;” and by sins of commission, in doing those things which they ought not to have done.” And they declare, as a general consequence of such repeated iniquity, that there is unsoundness in all their hearts, that a spiritual disorder has grown over and oppressed their souls, and that “there is no health in them." Like the Jews, in that great and magnificent solemnity which they held after the re-building of their temple, (and which is described in the ninth chapter of Nehemiah,) as we approach unto the presence of our God to offer unto Him the sacrifice of our common worship and our common praise, while we perceive a countless multitude of mercies on His part for which our gratitude is greatly due, and which the history of former times unfolds to our sight, we find nothing in the retrospect of our past lives but the records of continued sin. “Thou,” said they, at the conclusion of a long list of blessings, “ thou camest down upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven,” and “ madest known unto them thy holy sabbath,” and “gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst." “ But,” they proceeded, at the beginning of a longer catalogue of their transgressions —" but our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments.

And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them.”*

And we too can literally say, in reviewing the various relations, past and present, in which we have stood, and still stand, with regard to God, that we have nothing in His conduct to trace but mercy, nothing in ours but ingratitude. He indeed hath promised, by the gospel of his son, to work for us a far greater miracle than he did for Israel ---the eliciting a fountain of pure devotion from the stony rock of man's hardened heart—the sending down the mannah of his grace upon the barren wilderness of his perverted soul. He hath promised to give us every blessing that a reasonable creature can desire, to arm us against present trial, to lead us to future joy, to satisfy all the wants of an immortal soul, to invest it with a glory like his own; but, against grace, against mercy, against a thousand opportunities of repentance, we have sinned and offended still. We were naturally, indeed, as sheep without any keeper, scattered abroad, and faint and desolate ;* nay, we had before, like them, gone astray; and such had still been inevitably our lot, but for that unmerited mercy which “ laid on Christ the iniquities of us all,” and raised up for us a shepherd willing and able to deliver. + But even that good shepherd--so aggravated is the offence, so dreadful the infatuation of those who sin against the gospel promises-even that “good shepherd,” though he had laid down his life for the sheep, we have now forsaken. We have fled from him, like his apostate disciples, in the humiliation of the cross. We have “strayed from his ways” even when the bitterness of that death was past--when he has spoken most comfortably of mercy and deliverance, and when he has offered to raise us with himself from the bondage of the flesh and the captivity of the grave, and to lead us to a glory like his own. * Matt. ix. 30; Mark vi. 34. † Isaiah liji. 6; 1 Peter ii. 25.

* Neh. ix. 13, 14, &c.

He hath offered too, by his blessed gospel, to rescue us from the yoke of our corrupt and rebellious nature, to introduce us, even in this world, by a new birth, to a fresh state of being a new and spiritual life-a life of holiness, and joy, and peace,

, which man cannot give or take away ; but we have chosen rather to cherish our bonds, and to. follow still the devices and desires of our wicked hearts. He has given us for our guidance a plain and written law, but against that law, as against himself, we have still persisted in offending And even while the great Physician of our souls has propounded unto us a remedy for all our spiritual infirmities, we have yet to acknowledge that--in the very presence of the Saviour of life, in the very light of that Sun of Righteousness which hath arisen with healing on his wings-by our own neglect, with the means of restoration within our reach, “there is,” even yet, “no health in us.” We have still to confess that, though Christ is ready to deliver, the tongue of the dumb man sings not,

and " the eyes of the blind are not opened"* yet. Nay, we have the more melancholy truth to declare, that the leper whom he hath cleansed, hath forgotten His mercy; that the tongue of the dumb man which he hath loosed

* Isaiah xxxv. 51.

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and unchained, hath blasphemed his name; that the

eyes of the blind, and ears of the deaf, which he hath rescued from darkness and from silence, have turned themselves away to the delusions of the world, and have refused to look upon the glory, or to listen to the words of Him who roused them from their torpid slumber.

Nor let any one, be he amongst the best and the most upright of men, presume to imagine, even though his own conduct may seem to bear a favorable comparison with that of those about him, that the language of this confession is too strong to describe the utter unworthiness which, of himself, man must ever bear in the sight of God. Many and various are the palliations by which, to our own eyes and those of others, we are wont to soften and extenuate the criminality of our offences against heaven : many and various too are the gradual encroachments by which even a sense of personal merit strives to intrude itself upon the humblest heart. Before the partial tribunal of the world, judging only by comparison, and accustomed to look for its exemplar and standard of right to models falling far short of the great pattern of infinite perfection, a vast crowd of the less crying, and, what seem to be, the more venial transgressions, (and amongst them, a multitude of secret sins

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