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Ananias and Sapphira, for that in another case, they lyed unto God and kept back a part, Acts v. And he is no true penitent, that desires to hide any sweet morsel under his tongue, and is not willing to take shame to himself for every known sin.
4. Be very particular in your confession, opening out your spiritual fores before the Lord, Pfal. li. 4. I have done this evil in thy sight. "Josh. vii. 20. I have finned, and thus and thus have I done. To confess the several kinds of your fin in general, without descending to particulars, is too superficial work on fuch an occasion. The particular abominations of your heart and life, are raised up in meditation, to be laid before the Lord in humble confession. I fuppofe you to be at this work in a secret place, where you may freely utter before him, what it would not be proper you should say in the hearing of others. No doubt, a great deal of freedom may be used in secret prayer, in narrating of thoughts and actions, with the designation of time, place, and persons, so as may tend to one's deeper humiliation ; which would not be to edification, in fo
Now, in order to your being the more full and particular in your confession, I would recommend the fame method and order to be observed therein, as in the review of your fins. I believe, that, so doing you will find the advantage of it. Go orderly through the several periods of your life, and through all the ten commandments, making your confession; where also you may take in the confession of public fins, always so as may best tend to the further humiliation of yourself. In a special manner, be very particular as to the signal miscarriages of our life: and aggravate your guilt, acknowledging the aggra. vating circumstances thereof. And unto the confeffion of your known sins, against all the ten commandments, add a humble acknowledgment of a large void
and blank to be left for your unknown sins against every one of them ; which you can by no means fill up, but the all-knowing God can; for who can una derstand his errors? Pfal. xix. 12. And confidering the commands of the perfect law, as binding you to embrace the gospel, confess your atrocious guilt in finning against the remedy of fin, therein revealed, ofiered and exhibited unto you.
5. It will be profitable, that all along through your confeffion, you approve of the law as boly, just, and good, Rom. vii. 12. For as black doth best appear, when fet by white; fo fin appears moft clearjy in its native hue, exceeding sinful, when fet over against the pure, holy, just, and good command.
As for example, when you are to confess your fins against the first commandment, you may fay to this purpose, “ Lord, thou commandest me, faying, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
I acknowledge, this thy command is most just and “ reasonable in itself, and most good for me. It was “ thou alone who made me, thou alone haft preserve "ed me. I never needed another god befides thee, “ and none but thçe could ever do the part of a god
to me.-Thou didft magnify thy rich grace, in “ condescending to be in Christ a God to me a mioft “ wretched creature. Nevertheless, over the belly ll of this law of love, my duty, and my interest, I “ have had many other gods before thee: I have fet
up my cursed felf in thy room and ftead,-made the “ vain world my god,&c." And fo in other cases.
6. Eastly, Let your confeffion be closed with selfcondemning, self-emptying, and a look of faith.
1st, Condemn yourself, as did the returning prodigal, Luke xv. 1$. Father, I have finned against hea. ven, and before thee, Ver. 19. And am no more wor thy to be called thy fom. As you looked to the com. mandments before, and confessed your fin; fo look now to the threatenings and curse of the law, and
confess your just deserving. Read there your deferved doom, and pass fentence against yourself. No. thing is more natural, than that now you call your. self fool and beast, for that you have followed the wild-fire of your corrupt inclinations, to the miring of yourself thus in fin and guilt; and have broken over the hedge, where now you find the serpent biting you. And here,
(1.) Confess you deserve no good, but all evil, in time. If the cause of your fast be some evil you are at present smarting under, acknowledge God to be just, very just in it. If it is some stroke threatened, and hanging over your head, confess that you well deserve it should fall on you in its full weight. If it is light that you want, confess you deserve to be left in darkness: or whatever be the mercy you come to make fupplication for, acknowledge from the heart, that you have forfeited it. Surely, in case your uncircumcised heart be humbled, you will accept of the punishment of your iniquity, Lev. xxvi. 41. And then if your sins have found you out, you will own the procedure against you to be righteous and holy: if your broken bones smart, you will say it is just : if the Lord has turned his former smiles into frowns, mixed your comforts with gall and wormwood, fouring them so as to set your teeth on edge, blasted your enjoyments, and squeezed the fap out of them, you will after confession of sin, fay from your very heart, My folly makes it so.
(2.) Confess you deserve eternally to perish, and that it is of the Lord's mercies you are not consumed, Lam. iii. 22.; that God might in justice wrap you úp in the filthy garments of your sin, and cast you out of his sight, into the lake burning with fire and brim. Stone, as the fittest place for such a sinful lump. Acknowledge yourself to be, in yourself, a wretched creature, justly under the curse and condemnatory sentence of the law, having nothing to say for yourA 24
self, at the bar of justice, why it may not be fully executed against you, a self condemned, as well as a law-condemned sinner, Pfalm li. 4. Whatever your state be in the fight of God, it is altogether just, that your libel against your self be not concluded without this.
2dly, Be emptied of yourself, in humble and hearty acknowledgment of utter inability to help yourself. Having taken a view of the load of fin lying upon you, and laid before the Lord the particulars of your burden, with the finking weight thereof, acknowledge that it is quite beyond your power to move it from off you. Say from the heart, “ Lord, here is a load of guilt lying upon me, which “ by no doing or fuffering of mine can be moved; “ here is a mighty power of sin I am no more able
to grapple with, than a little child with a giant; a “ dead weight I can no more remove, than I can
remove a mountain, · If thou leave me under it, at
as thou justly mayst, I perish."
This is true humiliation, where the poor broken finner lies at the Lord's feet, sensible that he is bound with ten thousand cords of guilt, but unable to loose the weakest of them; that his soul is preyed upon, and like to be devoured, by a fwarm of living lufts, yet unable to kill or fbake off any of them. . If we are duly humbled, our humiliation will be care ried thus far; for it is the ruin of many, that they see not the absolute need of the blood of Christ, for removing of their guilt ; and far less, the absolute need of his Spirit, for breaking of the power of fin in them.
Lastly, Let there be a look of faith out of the low dungeon, look uñto God in Christ, and say, God be merciful to me a finner, Luke xviii. 13. And turn thou me, and I Mall be turned, Jer. xxxi. 18. Tell him, that, since according to his holy gospel, there is yet hope in Israel concerning this thing, you
muft and will take the benefit of the gospel-proclamation of grace and mercy, and lay hold on the horns of the altar: and therefore, tho’your weight be heavier than mountains of brals; you do, with humble confidence, at the Father's bidding, lay it wholly over on the blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Chrift, trusting thereon allenarly for remission of sin, fanctification, and complete falvation.
Now, as to the two directions last mentioned, I mean not, that what is proposed in either of them, muft needs be done all at once, without intermission. You may use them, as you are best able to reach them. It is not very likely, that those who spent one fourth part of the day in confessing and worshiping, Neh. ix. 3. did make but one confession continued without intermission. So you may make such intermission in either or both of them, as you find necessary. Christian prudence must direct in the matter, to use the means, so as may best conduce to the end.
DIRECT." VIII. After confeffion of fin, apply yourself to the duty of personal covenanting, explicit entering into, or renewing covenant with God, by taking hold of God's covenant of grace, in express words. That this is a necessary part of the work of a personal faft, may be gathered from Jer. 1. 4. and Neh. ix, 38. both cited before. And it is clear from the nature. of the thing; for to what purpose fhall men layopen their wounds before the Physician of souls, if they mind not to put themselves in his hand for cure, in the way of the covenant? or how can they pretend to mourn for, fin if they are not to enter on the way of reformation? A time of perfonal fafting is a time for the runaway to return to his duty, and to set matters right again, that were put wrong by turning aside from God and his way.' And one un