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wanting in every precept. If a duty be required, it is omitted, or imperfectly discharged; if a sin is described, the root of it at least is in me. But this is not all. I am guilty, without an adequate feeling of guilt. I am helpless, and yet not sufficiently conscious of my weakness.
When I look even at a single day, O what sins thickly crowd in every part. In the morning, what cold and distracted prayers! at meals, what love of self-indulgence! in conversation, what idle and vain words! in business, what disregard of the glory of God! Sometimes, what ardour in earthly things; or, at others, what sloth and negligence! In company, what neglect of souls ! in evening devotions, what sluggishness and drowsiness! in all, what forgetfulness of God!
O once crucified Lord! I would look on thee, and mourn. Here, in these sins, I see the nails that pierced thy sacred hands and feet; here is the spear that penetrated thy side; here the crown of thorns that tore thy sacred head! While looking at thy cruciI be taught to hate and forsake
Psalm xxv, 11. For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon
mine iniquity, for it is great.
Not only are my sins more than I can number, but their aggravations are very great. They have been committed after I have professed myself a follower of the only Saviour, and though I knew that the world would take advantage of my failings to blame my religion, and thus put him I serve to open shame. They have been committed wilfully, repeatedly, deliberately, and after solemn vows and prayers.
Gracious Father! what shall I say before thee! I would not extenuate nor cover my guilt, but freely acknowledge how deeply I have sinned. Neither dare I doubt of the extent of thy mercy; but, О what, save the blood of thine only Son, could cleanse away such sins as mine, and that very blood shews me more the greatness of my guilt. If thou hadst been hard and severe,
and without love, my sins had not then been so aggravated; but thou hast encompassed me with mercies, and I have forgotten, forsaken, and rebelled against him, whose very name is Love !
But I cast myself, holy Saviour, sinful as I am, on thy atonement. My only hope is in thy name. O that that promise may belong to me, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow : though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Then shall I praise thee with joyful lips.
Psalm li, 4. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.
However I may have offended against my fellowcreatures, my peculiar and aggravated offence, in all that I have in any way done wrong is, that I have violated thy law, and been guilty of rebellion and ingratitude towards thee. My soul, think then on thy sins against thy God. Muse on them, in silent sorrow, till the stony heart within be broken and softened. Consider, the holy and perfect Jehovah has seen all thy secret thoughts, and words, and ways; the pure and spotless Redeemer has been dishonoured by thy inconsistencies; the blessed Spirit has been grieved and resisted by thy wilful indulgence of sin.
But, O God, according unto the multitude of thy
tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. On thee
Thongh I have griev'd thy Spirit, Lord,
To plead the merit of thy Son.
Deut. viii, 2. Thou shalt remember all the way which
the Lord thy (iod led thee, these forty years, in
the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee. I cannot but be humbled, I cannot but sigh from the bottom of my heart, when I look back on my past conduct, and truly estimate it. Sin, that destructive enemy, has ever lodged in
heart. That base and ruinous evil has ever had an oppressive influence over my actions. The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, ah! whither have they led me! they have brought me to rebel against my Creator and my Redeemer, and have debased me to the service and slavery of Satan! I have long groaned under this burden of sin, and shall I remain in this state? Alas! the root of this evil lies too deep, and is too wide spread, entirely to be eradicated while I remain in the body. But, hereafter, o blessed period! I hope for perfect freedom. In the mean time, much may be
done. Let me not faint; but, in the strength of the Lord, renew my exertions, going to the precious fountain where polluted souls are washed and made clean, and blessing God for the opportunity now afforded of receiving strengthening grace at his table.
Heb. xii, 1. The sin that doth so easily beset us.
It sometimes appears as if not one sin, but many sins beset me. There is not only one evil spirit to be expelled; their name is Legion, for they are many!
Self-indulgence in case, in appetite, in neglect of duties, continually assails me, and often I yield to the temptation. Thus have heavenly-mindedness, and the higher graces of the Christian, been weakened, or hindered.
Vain glory also besels ine. I seek the approbation of man, without reference to God. I do good to be seen of men. Ah! how pleased am I to be thought good, or great, by my fellow creatures, not considering how little they can know the real truth, and how little their judgment avails before God. However, in my purposes and desires, I renounce this; in my life I am continually influenced by it. Through this I do not speak of religion, and through this I do speak of religion. It is astonishing to see how apt this is to mingle with all I do, or leave undone. It is a disease which infects the thoughts, words, and actions, of every day.
Lord, I want a meek, humble, and lowly heart. One caring not for the applause of man, but desiring above all things a good conscience, and iby favour, O that I may ever walk humbly with thee, my God, and receive my Saviour into a meek, submissive, and contrite heart.
Covet ousness is another evil that works in my heart, in various ways. I seek worldly instead of spiritual riches, as if earthly things could make me happy without the presence, and love, and blessing of God. Deliver me from this idolatry,
Self-righteousness also mingles with all my doings. I fear I often fix my hope more on duties than on Christ. I see if the Lord were to give me more holiness and love, I should be in danger still of building my hopes on grace received, and not thinking of the God of all grace. However evangelical in my sentiments, is it not manifest to me that I am in danger of, in some measure, still seeking to be justified by the law; that I dare not trust all with Christ-all on Christ? O the evil heart of unbelief!
Lord, I humble myself before thee, in the conviction of these my manifold sins, imploring pardon and healing, through the blood of Christ.
Job xxix, 2.
O that I were as in months past, as in the
days when God preserved me!
I feel often disposed, in times of despondency, on looking back on the first impressions of religion on my heart, to say, O that I could regain that sweet peace of mind which I once possessed, when I could lay down with a joyful hope that if it pleased God to call me out of this world, I might awaken in his glorious presence, among friendly angels, and the kind and loving spirits of just men made perfect. When God was always graciously present to my mind on awaking, and I thought I saw a father's tender love in every thing about me, and in every thing that arose ;