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and fo much blood was fhed. Reason indeed could have told them that these means were unavailable; that the blood of bulls and of goats, and the afhes of a heifer, could never take away fin. But reason could not affure them, that any other means, that even their repentance, would be effectual to that end. Here Revelation fteps in to our aid. The Gofpel affures us, that the wrath of God is not only averted from men, that He is not only reconciled, but also that he is a God in Chrift reconciling the world unto himself. The gate of mercy is fet open by the blood of Jefus; and an inheritance that is incorrup tible, undefiled and that fadeth not away is promifs ed to all those who fincerely repent of their fins, to all who believe and obey the Gofpel. He that confeffeth and returneth fhall find mercy. The facrifices of God are a broken heart and a contrite spirit; a broken and a contrite heart the Lord will not defpife. Thus faith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity," whofe name is Holy, I dwell in the "high and holy place, with him alfo that is of a hum"ble and a contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my "word." Seeing then that the favour of God, and all the bleffings of the new covenant, are promised to true repentance, will you by your impenitence and unbelief cut yourselves off from these bleffings? When fuch strong confolation is offered, will you not fly for refuge to the hope fet before you? When heaven is opened for your reception, will you refuse to enter in? When the fruits of the tree of life are prefented to you, will you not put forth your hand, and take and eat and live for ever?...
A third motive to repentance is the affiftance of
the Spirit which the Gospel offers. Christianity is called the miniftration of the Spirit. The effufion of the Holy Ghoft on the day of Pentecost upon the Apostles, which enabled them to speak all languages and to work miracles, was extraordinary, and intended to ceafe with that age. But the heavenly Comforter still abides with all the difciples of Chrift, to guide them into all truth, and incline them to the practice of every duty. The prophet Zechariah, foretelling the glory of the latter days, or times of the Meffiah, fays, "It fhall come to pass in those days, "that I will pour out upon the house of David, and "c upon the inhabitants of Jerufalem, the spirit of
❝ grace and of fupplications, and they fhall look upon " me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn " and be in bitternefs." The fpirit of grace and of fupplication then poured out abundantly, fhall impress men with forrow and contrition for their fin; fhall incline them to renounce their former finful ways, to repent of their past tranfgreffions, and to walk in newness of life. This operation of the Divine Spirit upon the mind, does not impel men to action by mechanical influence, and obstruct the exercife of their natural powers. The grace of God does not turn man into a machine. It draws him, as the Scripture happily expreffes it, with the cords of love, and with the bands of a man. It acts in fuch a manner as is adapted to the powers of a rational being, and to the liberty of a free agent. When fuch gracious aids are offered to us, when the Spirit of God ftrives in order to reclaim and inform us, it must be a high aggrava
tion of our wickednefs to refift his operations,
and by our hardness and impenitence of heart, to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. What more could the good hufbandman have done to his vineyard than he has done? He calls upon you to repentance by the voice of nature; he calls you by the voice of reafon; he calls you by the voice of Providence; he calls you by the voice which spake from heaven: he fends down his Holy Spirit to second these Divine calls, to help your infirmities, to enlighten your darkness, to ftrengthen your feeble powers, and to work in you both to will and to do that which is his good pleasure. Not only does he prepare the crown of glory, but he also affifts you to fight the good fight, and to finish your course, that you may obtain that crown. Not only does he open the heavens to receive you, but he also stretches out his hands to conduct you thither. And if, after all, you refift his Holy Spirit; if you counterwork his faving plan; if you defeat the efforts of mercy, the labors of heaven used for your recovery, your guilt is upon your own head, your ruin is owing to yourselves, with your own hand you push yourselves over the brink into the pit of utter perdition.
In the fourth place, as an inducement to repent ance, confider the crofs of Chrift, who fuffered the punishment due to our fins. How great must be the evil of fin, and how ftrong the obligation for us to repent of our fins, when fuch a facrifice was requi red in order to expiate our guilt, and atone the wrath of Heaven. Burnt-offerings, thousands of rams, and ten thousands of rivers of oil, the first-born of
fered up for the tranfgreffion, the fruit of the body for the fin of the foul, could not fuffice. The Lamb of God could alone take away the fin of the world. Look then on him whom thou haft pierced, and mourn. Every groan that he utters, every tear that he sheds, every drop of blood that he pours, calls thee to repentance. View him ftretched out on the cross, groaning under the pains of death, inclining his bleffed head,and addreffing his laft words. to you," Sinners, behold your Saviour! behold him "who was perfecuted by Satan and by wicked men ;
behold him who was forfaken by God; behold "this head which was crowned with thorns; be
hold thefe hands which were nailed to the tree; be"hold this fide which was wounded with the fpear; "behold the blood that flows from every part; fin
ner, it was fhed for you!" Canft thou, O man! behold that scene without emotion? Canft thou continue impenitent in the practice of thofe fins, which brought thy Saviour to that painful and ignominous death?
Lastly, It is another motive to repentance, that God "has appointed a day in the which he will judge the "world," as is mentioned in the verfe following the text. That the foul of man furvives the body, that there is a state of rewards and punishments beyond the grave, has been the general belief among all nations. Teftimonies, of this truth every where abound. Whether we turn to the east or to the west; whether we confult the history of ancient or of modern times; whether we liften to the accounts of the old world or of the new, we are prefented with proofs. and evidences of this important doctrine. How this
opinion came to be fo general, as to form an articlé in the popular creed of all nations, is a question of fome difficulty. To thofe who have no guide but the light of nature, and who have no fupernatural aids to affift the efforts of their own understanding, the arguments on both fides feem to be fo equally balanced, that, upon principles of reafoning, it is almoft impoffible to come to any determination.
But, in all inquiries concerning human nature,we ought to attend to the heart more than to the understanding. Man is oftener guided by fentiment and feeling, than by abstract reasoning. Almighty God hath endowed us with a sense of moral good and evil. He hath placed within us a principle of confcience, which paffeth judgment upon human actions, approving the good, and condemning the bad. This tells us, that in the Divine administration it ought to be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked. In confirmation of this, we fee that by the original appointment of Heaven, and in the daily course of Providence, there is no peace to the wicked, and that they have great peace who love the laws of the Lord. At the fame time, we frequently observe in the course of human affairs, that the lot of the wicked falls to the righteous. We fee many inftances in life of good men depreffed,and of bad men exalted; of vice holding a fceptre, and virtue pining in chains. How often have we feen the best of men reduced to eat the bread of forrow, and drink the waters of affliction, whilft the worthlefs and the infamous have rioted in the abundance of life, and enjoyed what their hearts could with. When fuch' fcenes are presented to our eyes, our heart rifes with