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shall have occasion more minutely to consider hereafter. They are here introduced to shew, that confession is essential to a right performance of each of them.

• We meet “ together to render thanks for the great “ benefits which we have received at the hands “ of God;” but in this we shall fall short, unless a conviction of our demerit stimulate our hearts to gratitude. “ We meet to set forth “ His most worthy praise;" but we can never sing with melody in our hearts unto the Lord, until our hearts have been prepared to make melody by conviction of sin. It is fabled of the nightingale, that she sings most sweetly with her breast on a thorn. The sinner who has felt most deeply the effects of the fall, will celebrate most gratefully the riches of the grace of God. The new song, mentioned in the Revelation of St. John, could only be sung by those who were redeemed from the earth. But redemption can only be duly celebrated by the captive who has felt the galling chain, who has tasted and remembers the bitter taste of the wormwood and the gall of sin, and who has experienced deliverance through grace.

66 We “ assemble and meet together to hear God's “ most holy word,” the sanctifying Gospel of his grace; which we can never relish, till we feel our need of the blessings it proposes.

We also meet “ to ask those things which are “ requisite and necessary, as well for the body “ as the soul." But an unawakened sinner, however sensible he may be of his corporeal maladies or infirmities, knows not what is

requisite and necessary for his soul.” He has no desire after pardon, holiness, and communion with God. And even with respect to his body, though he feels its wants, yet he looks for their supply to chance, or merely to his own endeavours, and not to God. Contrition is therefore an essential ingredient in every part of worship.

The persuasive to confession is followed by an earnest invitation to prayer, the necessity of which arises from the former act of duty.

Wherefore, I pray and beseech you, as many “ as are here present, to accompany me, with “ a pure heart and humble voice, to the throne “ of the heavenly grace.” Who will refuse the invitation ? None but the man who is so proud and ignorant as to conclude that he has no sins to be forgiven, no wants to be relieved. In the subsequent confession, the congregation is directed to accompany the minister with an audible but “ humble voice,” expressive of inward compunction. But “ a pure heart” is that which God respects, without which the act of an automaton would be as acceptable as our's.

Purity here is synonymous with sincerity. A man is then sincere, when the language of his lips harmonizes with the feelings of his heart. O what a mercy is it, that there is “ a throne of heavenly grace” erected for the free access of returning sinners to their offended God! The expression alludes to the mercyseat on which God sat in glory between the Cherubim, and towards which all the prayers of His people, during the continuance of the Jewish æconomy, were directed to be offered. As that mercy-seat was sprinkled with the typically atoning blood of bulls and goats, this " throne of heavenly grace” has been sprinkled with blood of infinitely greater, value.

Fear not, conscious sinner, to draw near, to confess and supplicate: He is not a Being of inexorable wrath, displaying the terrors of His justice in the consuming fire of Sinai, but God reconciled in Christ, whom thou art invited to approach. Come, lay thy hand upon the head of the (true) sin-offering, and it shall be accepted for thee, as a full atonement for all ESSAY III.

thy sins. *

* Levit. i, 4.

On the General Confession.

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RAYER is the motion of the heart towards

God. It is the breath of the regenerate soul, the result of Divine life communicated from above. The language of the lips is not essential to its nature. The Omniscient Friend of sinners, to whom it is addressed, discerns the secret and yet unformed desire. But various reasons may be given, why, on certain occasions, and for certain persons, it is expedient to clothe the desires of the soul in words, even when in secret they appear before the throne of grace. In the public assembly it is absolutely necessary; otherwise the great end of our religious associations would be frustrated. There an individual must be the mouth of all, for the prevention of confusion, and for the promotion of edification. In a general confession of sin, however, it seems proper that every private worshipper should accompany the minister “ unto the throne of “ the heavenly grace," not only " with a pure “ beart," but also with a humble voice, saying « after bin,"

Almighty and most merciful Father; we “ have erred and strayed from Thy ways like “ lost sheep. We have followed too much the « devices and desires of our own hearts. We “ have offended against Thy holy laws

We VOL. I.

“ have left undone those things which we ought “ to have done; and we have done those things “ which we ought not to have done; and there

is no health in us. But Thou, O Lord, have

mercy upon us miserable offenders : Spare • Thou them, O God, which confess their " faults: restore Thou them that are penitent; “ according to Thy promises declared unto “ mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, " O most merciful Father, for His sake, that " we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and “ sober life, to the glory of Thy holy name. " Amen."

The titles by which God is addressed in Scripture, are not used promiscuously and at random, but are adapted to the subject with which they are connected. *

It would be easy to shew the truth of this remark by a reference to a variety of passages. Probably the same observation will hold good with respect to the service of our church. When we use the confession before us, we come before God as cri. minals that deserve punishment. What, then, are those attributes of Deity to which, on such an occasion, it becomes us to have recourse? Does not the Omnipotence of Jehovah prove that He has no need of us, and that He can suffer no loss by our annihilation ?-that He is able, on supposition that the whole race of mankind were, according to their just deserts, to be “ punished with everlasting destruction “ from the presence of the Lord and from the

* Thus, Jehovah is never used in connection with a relative pronoun. But the relatives are always joined to some name that refers to the covenant of grace.

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