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will be convinced ; and if they are convinced, that they never will be converted. They know that while they continue under the entire dominion of a heart full of selfishness and deception, they will love to deceive themselves and to be deceived and will resist every thing that is said to them, or done for them to undeceive them. Though, at one time and another, they may put on promising appearances, by the occasion of change of circumstances, yet they know not what they may be, or what they may do in time to come. For there is no deception, in respect to sentiment or practice, that they are not liable to believe and pursue. They see their feet stand on slippery places, and are fearful they will soon slide into destruction. In this light, they view sober, regular sinners ; and in this light, they view the vain, trifling and profane., And it would be well, indeed, if christians were more concerned about sinners than they are ; and they would be more concerned about them, if they were more concerned about themselves. Let all search and try their hearts ; for it is vain to try to conceal them. God says he knows them. “1, the Lord, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and ar. cording to the fruit of his doings.”

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SERMON XIV.

GOD KNOWS THE HEARTS OF SINNERS.

I. JOHN, 111. 20.--- For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

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Since there is an essential distinction between saints and sinners, it is of great importance that both should I know their peculiar character. Saints are those, who have been born of God and are the children of God

; but sinners are those, who have not been born of God, and are under the entire dominion of an unholy heart. In order, therefore, that saints may know that they are saints, and that sinners may know that they are sinners, the apostle describes the peculiar character and conduct of saints, and the peculiar character and conduct of sinners in a very plain and intelligible manner. And then he tells them that they both may know whether they have been born of God and are the children of God, or not, by the description he has given of saints and sinners. “Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence to. wards God. But if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”The plain meaning of the apostle is this. If those, who call themselves christians, are conscious of having such exercises of heart as belong to the christian character, they may know that they are the children of God; but if they are conscious of having directly BOR

trary affections of heart, they may know that they are not the children of God, but are in the state of nature, and dead in sin. For if their conscience condemn them, God, who knoweth all things, does certainly condemn them as graceless sinners. This amounts to saying,

That God knows the hearts of sinners better than they do themselves.

Sinners know something about their own hearts, otherwise they would never feel self-condemned ; but they do not know so much about them, as they might know : for they endeavor to misinform, or silence conscience, which would, if properly consulted and allowed to speak, condemn them for every evil imagination of their evil hearts. Conscience always judges of the moral exercises of the heart according to evidence.This sinners know, and therefore to prevent its bring. ing in a verdict against them, they either misinform it, or neglect to consult it. Open, profligate, hardened sinners restrain conscience from speaking, and stifle all sense of remorse and self-condemnation. Moral sinners take a different course, and endeavor to pacify conscience, by their amiable conduct and sophistical reasoning, as Paul did before his conversion. He made his conscience believe, that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus ; and that he was doing God service, while he was persecuting the Church of Christ. By some such means as these, sinners try to live in ignorance of their own hearts ; and all secure sinners generally attain their object. Though it is true, that their hearts sometimes condemn them, notwithstanding all their efforts to ward off convictions. No sinners, however, whether moral or immoral,

whether secure or awakened, know so much about their own hearts as God does, who is greater than their hearts, and knows all things. For,

1. God has a more extensive view of the exercises of their hearts, than they ever have.

« The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all imaginations of the thoughts.” He knows their down-sitting and uprising. He understands their thoughts afar off. He compasses their paths and is acquainted with all their ways.

He knows all that passes in their hearts and drops from their lips every moment. They have a multitude of moral exercises, of which they take no notice, while passing through their minds

;--and many of those of which they do take notice, they soon forget. So that when they endeavor to recollect the past exercises of their hearts, it is but a very small number of the whole, that they can possibly remember. Who can recollect all his internal exercises and external actions for days, for weeks, for months, for years

The minds of men are too weak and feeble to take such an extensive view of their hearts and lives. But God not only sees and marks all the thoughts, words, and actions of every sinner, but remembers them all. This is what all sinners are extremely prone to forget, for which God justly blames them.--Though they cannot remember all their sins, yet they ought to remember that God remembers them all.... Hence he complains of them and says---“ They do not consider in their hearts, that I remember all their wickedness." But even God could not remember all the wickedness of sinners, if he did not remember all the exercises of their hearts and all the motives of their conduct through every moment of their

past ?

lives. If these were all reckoned up, they would amount to an immense multitude, more than the old, or even the young, could enumerate and distinctly comprehend. Though this be not possible with men, yet it is possible with God, who numbers the hairs of our heads and the stars of heaven and calls them by their proper names. It is, therefore, a very serious and interesting truth, which sinners are capable of understanding and remembering that God knows and remembers all the moral exercises of their hearts; and consequently all their wickedness in thought, word, and deed. His knowledge of their hearts is therefore, unspeakably more extensive than their own.

2. God sees all the moral exercises of their hearts at one intuitive and comprehensive view, which is a far more perfect knowledge of them, than they ever have. They gain all the knowledge they have of their hearts gradually and slowly, which renders it extremely imperfect. They cannot trace the whole series of their moral exercises intuitively and spontaneously. The most, that they can do, is to recollect some of the exercises of their hearts, which they have had at different times and under different circumstances. They may possibly recollect some of the moral views and exercises, which they had in childhood, some which they had in youth, some which they had in manhood, and some which they have had in later periods of life. But after all, they cannot recall but a very few of the innumerable thoughts, purposes and affections, which have occupied and gained the attention of their hearts. And even this interrupted and disconnected view of their hearts, they have gained gradually and slowly, which can give them but a very faint and imperfect

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