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such things as God has forbidden, to keep us from ruining ourselves; or by omitting such duties as He has commanded, in order to fit us for happiness when we die.
So that if either the fear of God's displeasure, or a love of Him who has been so good to you, will weigh with you, you will most heartily condemn yourself for every thing you have done contrary to His will and command.
You will also beg Him most earnestly to forgive you what is past; and you will promise and resolve, through His grace and help, not wilfully to offend Him again.
And, lastly, you will not forget to pray for His grace every day of your life; without which your best resolutions will come to nothing.
are sinners, and cry, Lord, forgive us; and this too often without any great concern or purposes of amendment. But this you will not think sufficient, when you seriously consider that the end and punishment of sin are not to be seen in this life.
If, therefore, you stand in any fear of the judgment of God, set yourself seriously to consider your past life; see whether you have not lived, or do not now live, in any known sin, or evil habit; for example, of lying: or swearing: or drinking: or filthy talking: of uncleanness: of keeping loose and profane company: of following unwarrantable pleasures and diversions; or of leading an idle, useless, sinful life.
If this has been your case, resolve to break off all these, and all such-like evil ways, which are dis
That is that repentance concerning which you are required to examine your-pleasing to God; conself, before you go to the Lord's Supper.
Most people, it is true, are ready to own that they
demn yourself for having so desperately broken the commands of One who can destroy both body and
soul in hell: consider the vows that are upon you, and despise not the goodness and forbearance of God, which is designed to lead you to repentance.
If you ask when you are to begin this necessary work (if it is not already begun) the answer
short: the very moment you ask the question ;and this, because if you find an unwillingness in yourself to set about it now that unwillingness will every day increase: very probably you will never repent, unless God by His judgments, or by the sight of death, shows you your sad error, when it may be too late to be of any real use to
Blessed be God, who by His grace, and by the voice of His Church, hath called me to repentance! Discover to me, O Thou Searcher of hearts, the charge that is against me, that I may know, and confess, and forsake the sins I have fallen into. Give me that true repentance, to which Thou hast promised mercy and pardon, that I may amend where I have done amiss, and that iniquity may not be my ruin. And, O blessed Advocate, who ever livest to make intercession for us, I put my cause into Thy hands; let Thy blood and merits plead for me, and by Thy mighty intercession procure for me the pardon of thou mayest say unto me, my past offences: that as Thou didst unto the penitent in the Gospel, Thy sins are forgiven; so that I may go with a quiet conscience to Thy holy Table. Amen.
Concerning the Purposes you are to make of leading a NEW, that is, a CHRISTIAN LIFE
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God accepts of our repentance on this condition only, that we may afterwards glorify Him by an holy Christian life.
And as He delivered the people of Israel from bondage, not that they might do what was right in their own eyes, but that, becoming an holy nation, they might be an honour to their deliverer:1 even so Christ has redeemed us from the bondage of sin and Satan, that He might redeem us from this present evil world, and purify unto Himself a people zealous of good works.
And as the former perished, that is, all such as did not answer the end of their deliverance, so most surely shall we do,
1 Deut. xiv. 2.
Your duty to God, your neighbour, and yourself, you have known from a child: be assured of it, you will meet with temptations from the devil, the world, and your own corrupt heart, both to neglect and transgress the commands of God.
It will be absolutely necessary, therefore, that you arm yourself betimes, both with holy resolutions, and with this holy Ordinance, which you are preparing to go to, that you may be able, through the grace of God, to go on in the way of salvation.
Now YOUR DUTY TO GOD is,-To believe in him, to fear and to love him, with all your heart and soul; forasmuch as you stand indebted to Him for all you have, or
value, or hope for in this or the next life.
Do but consider how you would behave yourself, if you were but half so much obliged to any man on earth; How dearly would you love him! How often would you think on him! How would you strive to please him! How would you be grieved if you should be so unhappy as to offend him! How soon and earnestly would you beg his pardon, to be restored to his favour!
Now, if you thus love God, it will appear in such instances as these: you will have a very great regard for every thing that belongs to Him: you will not use His Name to any idle or wicked purpose: you will religiously observe the day consecrated to His honour and service; you will carefully attend the house and worship of God;-and behave yourself with reverence and devotion, while you are in His presence: you will hear His word with
attention, and have a great regard for His ordinances, and for the persons whom He hath appointed to administer them.
If you truly fear God, you will part with any thing as dear as a right hand, or a right eye, rather than provoke Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
If you believe Him to be the Fountain of all good, you will pray to Him daily. And if you put your whole trust in God, as it is your duty to do, you will endeavour to be pleased with all his dealings with you, you will never murmur at the ways of His providence, nor suffer your heart to fret against the Lord. And especially, you will never attempt to better or secure your condition by any evil ways: believing assuredly, that God can and will make you full amends in the next life, for what you want or suffer in this, in submission to His will. Lastly, your duty is to
be thankful to God. The way to be so is, to look upon every mercy you receive, as the gift of God; every danger you escape, as owing to His care and providence; every good thought, every good purpose, every occasion of doing good, as the effect of His good Spirit.
Think, and act, and purpose, thus: and it will be as natural to thank God for all the dispensations of His providence, as it is for you to beg any blessing from Him, which you stand in most need of.
Stop awhile, until you have considered these things, and until you have expressed your sense of them in this following prayer:
This is indeed the first and great command, to love Thee, O God, with all our heart: for on this depends our salvation. But even this must be the gift of Thy grace; for this grace I now apply to
Thee, to make my love and fear of Thee the governing principle of my whole life:-that I may always do what I believe will please Thee; that I may carefully avoid what I know will offend Thee: and that I may live as having Thee the constant witness of my thoughts, words, and actions.
Give me a stedfast faith in Thy word and promises; a firm trust in Thy power. Let the fear of Thy justice keep me from presumption, and a sense of Thy goodness from despair. Defend me from all those bewitching snares which destroy our love of Thee: from worldly cares; from sensual and sinful pleasures; from evil company; from foolish diversions; and from every thing that may make me forget that Thou alone art worthy to be feared and loved. Grant me these mercies for Thy Son Jesus Christ His sake, whose love and death we are going to commemorate. Amen.