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The next Thing you are to inquire into is, Whether you have A LIVELY FAITH in GOD'S MERCY THROUGH CHRIST?
OW because so very much depends upon our having such a faith, the Holy Ghost has given us all the arguments, all the assurance, that our hearts can desire. God so loved the world that he spared not his own Son (saith the Apostle) but gave him up for us all. Can there be a greater, a surer pledge of the love of God for his poor creatures? He made Him to be sin (that is, a sin-offering): He delivered Him to death in our stead. Can we, after this, doubt of, or distrust the mercy of God?
Observe the method St. Paul takes to confirm our faith, by giving us the strongest proofs of our acceptance with God. God, said he, commendeth
1 Rom. viii. 32.
his love to us, in that while we were enemies, we were reconciled to Him by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." What may we not, after this, hope for from God.
In short, Jesus Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Through him we have peace with God.3 This is the only foundation of our faith, our hope, and confidence. He is our Sacrifice, our Mediator, our Advocate; the knowledge of which ought to remove all occasions of despair and fear, from the displeasure of God.
Indeed, if we should attempt to go to God, without an interest in
2 Rom. v. TO. 3 Rom. v. I.
Christ, we could hope for nothing but to be rejected: but when we go to Him as redeemed by His own Son, and represent to Him, as we do in this holy Sacrament, what He has done and suffered for us, we approach Him as entirely reconciled to
But then you must remember, that He gave Himself for us, and hath redeemed us from the power of the devil for this end, that He may purify | unto Himself a people consecrated to His service. -Consecrate, therefore, yourself to Jesus Christ, and, with faithful Abraham, stagger not at the promises of God; but go to this sacrament with a full assurance of faith, that God will pardon your sins, and give you all the graces you shall stand in need of. Only remember, that this faith itself is the gift of God, and must be prayed for, for Christ's sake; which you may do after this manner.
I beseech thee, O God, by that love which moved thee to give thine own Son for lost mankind, give me a faith in Thy promises for His sake, as firm as Thy word, on which my faith is grounded: and let me never presume upon Thy gracious promises, without sincerely endeavouring to perform the conditions on which they were made, and without being zealous of good works, for which we were redeemed. May the remembrance of our Saviour's love, and of Thy great mercy, be seasonably present with me, to keep me from despair! And may my faith in Thy promises support me in the hour of death! May my Redeemer be my refuge, His blood and merits plead for me, that I may have my lot and portion with those whom He hath purchased with His most precious blood! Amen.
Whether you have a thankful Remembrance of Christ's Death :-This is the next thing you are to inquire into
No bear some proporTOW this will always
tion to the sense you have of the evil He has delivered you from, and the blessing He has by His death procured for you. Consider, therefore, yourself as a poor, sinful, lost, undone creature, without a Redeemer. Consider, what that Redeemer has done for you: what He did and what He suffered, when He took upon Himself to answer for the sins of men.
Consider that He was the Son of God; that He had done no wrong, neither was guile found in His mouth; notwithstanding this, being to answer for sinners, He was treated and punished as a sinner deserves to be: He was despised! set
at nought! persecuted and rejected by His own people, whom He came to redeem !
He was betrayed by His own disciple; falsely accused! unrighteously condemned! unmercifully scourged!-had a murderer preferred before Him!-Was crucified as a malefactor and, in the very midst of His torments, was most inhumanly reviled!
Consider the reason of all this; it was not only to satisfy the justice of God for the sins of men, and procure their pardon upon their repentance and future obedience: but also to show mankind what treatment sin and sinners, who have rebelled against their Maker, do deserve; and to teach us, when
God orders or permits us sinners to undergo such indignities and afflictions in this our state of trial, that we ought to take our cross patiently as our Redeemer did; and be content, and even pleased, to fulfil the will of God, in following His example in His sufferings in this life, that we may be partakers of His glory in the
In the next place, consider the blessing which Jesus Christ hath by His death obtained for us. He hath delivered us from the great power which the devil had over mankind, by procuring us grace to resist and overcome him. He hath prevailed with God to overlook the untowardness of our nature, to pardon our greatest offences upon our true repentance; and being by His death reconciled to God, we have, for His sake, free liberty to apply to Him, as children to a Father, for what we stand in need of.
He has also obtained for us the assistance of an Almighty Spirit, to enable us to know and to do what is necessary to fit us for heaven and happiness: and He has prevailed with God that these shall be our certain portion, if we are not wanting to ourselves. In one word, Jesus Christ has entirely freed us from all fears of what may come hereafter, if it is not purely our own fault. The most unlearned Christian may know what is required of him. The greatest sinner may depend upon pardon on his repentance. The weakest Christian may rely upon all necessary assistance: and the meanest Christian is sure not to be overlooked.
By all which you may perceive what thanks you owe to God for your great and good Redeemer, and for what He has done and suffered for you; which you will do well to express in some such manner as this.
Give me leave, O God, to mention before Thee the death of Thy Son, and the infinite blessings I have received thereby; add this to all Thy favours, I beseech Thee, that I may never forget these mercies; never forget to be thankful for them; but that I may preserve the remembrance of them in the manner in which He hath ordained. I thank thee, O God, for that word in which Thou hast caused these Thy mercies and
His example to be recorded. Make me truly sensible of that love which brought Him down from heaven, and how sad our condition was, which required such a sacrifice. May I learn by His patience, humility, selfdenial, and resignation, what virtues are most acceptable to Thy Divine Majesty !— And may
I take Him for my Lord and Master, and Teacher, and Example; and dedicate myself to Thee, and to Thy service, for His sake! Amen.
The last inquiry you are to make is, Whether you are in Charity with all the World?