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is a sight of sin; which must be seen clearly and convictingly. First, clearly. It is not a confused sight of sin that will serve the purpose: it is not enough to say, “it is my infirmity—we are all sinners.” This is the ground on which we mistake our evils, and reform not our ways. A man must search narrowly, and prove his ways, as the goldsmith does his gold, in the fire. “ I considered my ways,” said David, “and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” In the original it is, “I turned my sins upside down.”
He looked over all his ways:
and this clear sight appeared in two particulars. First, a man must see his sin nakedly, in its own colours. We must not look on sin through the medium of profits and pleasures, for these are exaggerated in our estimation by the enemy of all good: rather let us consider sin in its consequences, especially at that awful period when we shall have done with the things of time, and be called upon to receive a reward according to the deeds done in the body, when “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish,” will be the never ending portion of all who have not obeyed the truth but obeyed unrighteousness.
A man must look on sin in the venom of it; and this you may partly do if you compare it with other things, and partly, if you look at it as it is in itself. First, compare it with those things that are most fearful and horrible; as the situation of condemned spirits. Then propound this to your heart, what
are those pains that the lost endure ?—You cannot but quake at the contemplation of then.. Yet the least sin you ever did commit is a greater evil in its own nature than the greatest torments of the damned. Secondly, look at sin simply as it is in itself. What is it but an open opposition to God himself ? A sinful creature joins sides with the devil, and comes in battle array against the Lord of Hosts ! I pray you, consider this, and say, “ What a sinful wretch am I, a poor worm of the earth, to stand in defiance against God, submit myself to the devil, and
the Almighty!" Secondly, sin must be seen convictingly; that it may be to us what it is in itself; and that discovers itself in these two particulars :- First, when whatsoever sin is in general, we confess it the same in our own souls. It is the cursed distem per of the heart! Howsoever we hold the truth in general, yet when we come to our own sins, we deny the particulars. The adulterer confesseth the danger and filthiness of that sin in gross, but he will not apply it to himself. The rule therefore is, arrest thy soul, whosoever thou art, of those sins particularly, whereof thou art guilty. To this end say,“ are pride, and drunkenness, and uncleanness such horrible sins? O Lord, it was my heart that was proud and vain; it was my eye that was wanton, and my imagination that was unclean. Lord, here they are.” Then bring thy heart before God. Secondly, when the soul sits down, under the conviction of sin, and
seeks no shift to oppose it. The minister saith, “God hates such and such a sinner;" “ and the Lord hates me too,” saith the soul, “ for I am guilty of that sin.” Thus, many a time when a sinner comes into the congregation, if the Lord pleases to work on him, the mind is enlightened, and the Minister meeting with corruptions as if he were in his bosom,—answers all his cavils, and takes away all his objections. With that the soul begins to be in amaze, and saith, “ If this be so, as it is for ought I know ; and if all be true that the minister saith; then, the Lord be merciful unto my soul! I am the most miserable sinner that ever was born!"
You that know not your sins, that you may see them convictingly, get you home to the law, and look into the requirings thereof, and then enumerate all your sins in order : thus, so many sins against God himself, in the first commandment; against his worship, in the second ; against his name, in the third ; and against his sabbath, in the fourth. All our thoughts, words, and actions have been sin, able to sink our souls into the bottom of hell.Secondly, that you may see them clearly, consider their effects, both in their doom and in its execution. Only to instance in their doom. Methinks I see the LORD of heaven and earth, and the attributes of God appearing before him—his mercy, his goodness, his wisdom, his power, his patience and long suffering; and all these appeal to sinners, and say, “ mercy hath relieved you; goodness hath
wisdom hath instructed you; power hath defended you ; patience hath borne with you; long suffering hath endured you! Now all these bid you
adieu! Farewell, ye unhappy souls ! you must go hence, and have your fellowship with lost spirits. Mercy shall never more relieve you; goodness shall never more succour you; wisdom shall never more instruct you; power shall never more defend you ; patience shall never more bear with you, nor long suffering endure you.” And then shall you go to endless, ceaseless, and remediless torments, where you will ever remember your sins, and say, “ my covetousness and pride were the cause of this--I may thank my sins for this.”
” 0 think of these things, I beseech you sincerely; and be willing to see and forsake your sins here, to prevent this sight hereafter.
Is it possible that such a meditation should pass without some tincture on our spirits ? If my ears shall hear that sound, and if my eyes shall behold those sights; is it not time for me to lay these things to heart, that I may be found faithful in well-doing? As sure as I have this book in my hand, I must be one of those that will hear the sound of the trun pet; and away I must go, from the mouth of my grave, wherever I may be buried; to the clouds where Christ doth sit. How could I rise O my God! Bring this home to my soul! 0 where is my lamp, and where is my oil! Are all ready? Am I ready and prepared to nieet the Lord in the air ?
AIMING AT HEAVEN. “ When the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet : and before him shall be gathered all nations." “ The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels in flaming fire; taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “ They shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” He shall place the good on his right hand, and shall say unto them, “Come ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” He shall say to the wicked on his left hand “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” “ I saw the dead,” says the Apostle, “ small and great, stand before God : and the books were opened ; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and every bondsman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us fron the face of Him that sitteth on the throne; and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath