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est, and take the most permanent hold on our nature. But the text instructs us, that even offenders upon these points may be conducted by the Spirit of God, as heart-broken penitents, to the Cross of Christ; and that, if really found there, with a deep hatred of the sins over which they mourn, they shall be accepted, and pardoned, and sanctified, for the sake of Him who for these also has paid the ransom of his own precious blood.

2. The only remaining truth to which I shall advert as taught by the text is, that self-righteousness—a mere pharisaical religion-a religion of negatives, of cold neutrality in the service of the Lord-a religion of dead and unmeaning forms --a religion of hollow profession - a religion which promises much, and accomplishes nothing--a religion which serves, perhaps, to win us our own esteem, and, possibly, the approbation of a select number around us; but which neither leads us to the Cross of Christ, nor teaches us to pray for his Spirit, and adorn his doctrine -- that such a religion is often as strong a barrier in the way to heaven, as

crimes even of the deepest dye and most alarming character. “These " profligates, says our Lord to the chief priests and elders, “ enter the kingdom of heaven before you."-Brethren, it matters comparatively little what it is that stands between us and a deep conviction of guilt, a simple dependence upon Christ for salvation, and an implicit devotion of ourselves to fulfil the whole will of God. Whilst any thing so stands, we must remain far from God, far from the contrition and faith of the Gospel, far beyond the limits of its promises -and therefore, far from the kingdom of heaven. He who would be his own saviour, becomes inevitably his own destroyer. He who discards the Redeemer on earth, shall be cut off from him for ever in heaven.

And now nothing remains for me but to address a few words to the two classes of persons to whom the text has thus especially drawn our attention.

In the first place, then, am I not justified by the foregoing statements, in saying even to the worst man in this assembly -

to the oldest offender - to the individual who may

have sunk from crime to crime, from one stage of profligacy to another,

Vile as you have been, repentance, even in your case, is not impossible. Happy indeed had it been for you, that you had never thus offended - that, in the morning of life, and before the habits of sin had struck their deep roots into the soul, you had sought the feet of your Redeemer, and there had breathed out the prayer of lowliness and love, for acceptance

nd grace, and a fitness for heaven, and a title to its immeasurable joys. Many are the pangs which would then have been spared you. Many mountains of difficulty which now cross your path, would not have arisen. Your conflict would not then have been, as it now is, with habitual as well as with original corruption. Nevertheless, deep as your guilt is, and great as are the obstacles in your way, there is no ground for despair. The throne of mercy is still accessible : conversion is possible. God is a " Father,” and even now his language to you is,

6 0 Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me

وور

is thine help :" “Return”-and“ I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you.”. “I will forgive your iniquities, and remember your sins no more.”-“ It shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto” you, “ Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto

you,

• Ye are the sons of the living God.”'

And finally, let me address myself to that class of persons who have hitherto substituted a nominal for a real religionthe profession of the lips for “ the life of of God in the soul.” I am persuaded that many such persons are offenders as much from error in opinion as from hypocrisy of heart; and, wherever this is the case, it is but right to give them credit for their sincerity, for their desire to be right, for every word and action which has the sanction, though the mistaken sanction, of their conscience. Let us not despise their offering to the Lord, though it bear not the clear stamp of the sanctuary, and the image and superscription of the Master they desire to serve. But I would, nevertheless, remind such persons of the awful caution suggested by the text, that their nominal religion may prove as substantial and inveterate a barrier in their way to God, as even the profligacy of the avowed transgressor. They also must acknowledge their guilt—they must come as transgressors to the foot of the Crossthey must seek as a gift what they can never claim as a reward—they must act on the truth of the declaration, “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” But it is no heavy yoke which I am laying upon you.

You also have a father in heaven. You have a friend who will not despise or forget your honest, though mistaken, endeavours to do him honour. You “ have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”—Therefore “come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that” ye mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

Brethren, as a dying man, speaking to dying men-as one who may never be permitted to meet you again till we are assembled by the trumpet of the archangel-as one who will have to give a so

may obtain

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