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sackcloth, and ropes on their heads, in the most humiliating posture. In it there is,
(1.) Sorrow for sin, a kindly sorrow for the offence and dishonour done to a holy gracious God, Zech. xii. 10. formerly cited, defacing his image, transgressing his law, grieving his Spirit, and furnishing spear and nails to pierce a Sa
(2.) Shame, a holy shame for sin, Rom. vi. 21. What fruit had ye in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?' They see now their spiritual nakedness, pollution, disappointed expectations from sin, and reproach discovered, which fill the soul with blushing.
(3.) Self-loathing, Ezek. xxxvi. 31. Then shall ye re member your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations.' They see a fulness of sin in them, and the complicated aggravations of their sin, which make them to smite on their breast, as the publican did, Luke xviii. 13. as deserving to be pierced through the heart it bred in; to smite on the thigh, as Ephraim did, Jer. xxxi. 19. as if he desired to break the legs that carried him out of God's way.
(4.) Penitent confession, Jer. iii. 13. accusing and condemning themselves.
2. Conversion, or returning. Of which there are two parts.
1st. Turning away from sin, 2 Tim. ii. 19. To repent of sin, and continue in the habitual practice of it, is a contra diction. They turn from it,
(1.) In heart, by a hearty and sincere hatred of it. Psal. cxix. 104. I hate every false way.' They hate it as an evil, the worst of evils, worse than sufferings. They hate it sincerely as sin, universally and irreconcileably. They look on it as God does, as that abominable thing which he hates,
(3.) In their life and conversation; they get clean hands. [1.] They turn from the gross pollutions of the outward man, in the habitual practice of these, Psal. xxiv. 3, 4. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.' A profane life is the mark of an impe nitent state, Gal. v. 21. They which do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God.' The true godly may make gross slips; but if they be habitually gross in their lives, there is no difference betwixt Christ's sheep and the devil's goats. [2.] They are tender with respect to sins of common infirmity, making conscience of words and action, as Paul did, Acts xxiv. 16. Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.' What others count light, they will count great: even these as burdens to them, which they groan under, and as iron fetters they would fain be freed of, Rom. vii. 24. 'O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
2dly, Turning to God. By faith man returns to God as a portion, by repentance as a Lord and Master, like a runaway servant. And he returns,
(1.) To God himself. Sinners departing from God, dislike not only their service, but their Master, Luke xix. 14. But returning they are disposed to love him and like him as a Master.
(2.) To his duty to God, Acts ix. 6. to the practice of every known duty, and spirituality in duty. This is new obedience, which a penitent turns to, [1.] In full purpose, Psal. cxix. 106. no more doubting whether to fall in with it or not, or delaying or putting it off any more. [2.] In sin. cere endeavours, Acts xxiv. 6.*
Inf. 1. An impenitent heart is a sad sign of a lost state, Rom. ii. 5. While thou livest so, thou art far from God; and if thou die so, thou art lost for ever.
2. That repentance which is not evangelical and true, is little worth. You must have more than Judah's repentance, if ever you see heaven.
3. To pretend to repentance, and never forsake sin, is
4. To leave sin, and not take up the contrary duties, is not repentance.
5. Go to the Lord by faith for the grace of
A large and particular account of the nature, author, neceffity, &c. of repentance, may be seen in feveral discourses in a volume of the author's fermons, firft published in 1756, which were preached only two or three years before he delivered this difcourfe; which may partly account for the brevity of it.
OF CHRIST's ORDINANCES IN GENERAL.
ISA. xii. 3.-Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
HIS song looks to the days of the gospel, wherein Christ having come and purchased salvation, the tidings of it are carried through the world in the gospel, and it is communicated to Jews and Gentiles through the means of grace. Here we have,
1. A benefit to be had in the church, water, i. e. gospel grace, the benefits of Christ's redemption, as suitable to needy, fainting souls, as water to the thirsty. See John iv. 14. and vii. 37.
2. The way of its communication to poor sinners. It is to be drawn out of the wells of salvation. These are gospel-ordinances, the wells in this valley of Baca for the life of souls, and refreshment of spiritual travellers. All the elect capablé to draw, do draw out of them. This is the sense, whether the allusion be to the wells in the wilderness for the Israelites, or to the Jews fetching water out of the spring of Siloam at the feast of tabernacles in the night, with mirth and music, to the temple, and pouring it on the altar.
The text furnishes this doctrine.
DOCT. The Lord's ordinances are the wells of salvation to the elect.' Or, The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are, his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.'
Here I shall shew,
I. What is understood by a means of salvation.
III. What makes any ordinance a mean of grace.
IV. To whom are the Lord's ordinances made effectual.
V. Whence their efficacy proceeds.
VI. Deduce an inference or two.
I. I am to shew, what is understood by a means of salvation. It is that by and through which the Lord Jesus doth by his Spirit convey grace and salvation into a soul. That is a mean or mids betwixt the Lord and the soul, which he uses for communication of grace from himself to the soul, 1 Cor. i. 21. For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.' Chap. iii. 5. Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?" The which may be used with expectation of good thereby. These means are some of them outward, some inward; some ordinary, others extraordinary.
II. I come now to shew, what these means of salvation.
1. The inward means is faith, Heb. iv. 2. 'Unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' This ordinarily requires an outward means to work it by. But being wrought, it is the great inward means of communication betwixt Christ and the soul. This is the mean of entering us into the covenant, of repentance, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, &c. It is the bucket whereby one draws the water out of the wells of salvation; and the want of it in most that come to them, makes them go away without water.
2. Extraordinary means are whatsoever the Lord in his sovereign wisdom is pleased to make use of extraordinarily for conveying grace into the hearts of his elect, as he did a voice from heaven for the conversion of Paul, Acts ix. iv. 5. None can limit sovereignty. He may use what means he will, and bring about his purposes of grace by ineans unknown to us. What means the Lord makes use of in the case of elect idiots, such as are deaf or blind, and so incapable of reading or hearing the word, and yet may get grace and be saved, who can determine? Or perhaps he does it without means altogether. But,
3. The outward and ordinary means are the Lord's own ordinances, Rom. x. 14, 15. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall VOL. III. G g
they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent ? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! They are called outward, because they are something without ourselves; ordinary, because though ordinarily the Lord makes use of them for these holy ends, yet he has not tied himself to them, but may work without them, as seems good in his sight, Acts ix. 4, 5. Now these are,
1st, In the general, all the ordinances of God without exception, which he has set up in his church for that end, namely, the word, sacraments, prayer, church-communion or fellowship, Acts ii. 42; which being managed by mutual instruction, admonition, consolation, and watching over one another, are of great use to promote the salvation of souls; church-government, discipline, and censures, Matth. xviii. 17; religious fasting, 1 Cor. vii. 5; singing of psalms, Eph. v. 19; swearing by the name of God, when duly called thereto, Deut, vi. 13; and whatsoever are God's institutions in his church.
2dly, The most special means of grace and salvation are the first three, the word, sacraments, and prayer, Acts ii. 42.
(1.) The word preached or read. This has been a well of salvation to many, and a means of grace, Acts ii. 41. About three thousand souls together drank of this well, and lived. It is the seed which the new creature is formed of; and though a despised ordinance, yet the great means of God's appointment for bringing sinners into a state of grace, 1 Cor. i. 21. forecited.
(2.) The sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper. In both, the people of God have drank to the salvation of their souls, though they are not converting ordinances, but sealing ones, supposing the efficacy of the word to precede; as is evident in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts viii. 39. 1 Cor. x. 16.
(3.) Prayer, public, private, and secret. This is a very special means of grace, and a most ordinary way of commu nion betwixt Christ and a soul. So that one no sooner grows concerned about his soul, but he uses this means, as Saul did, of whom it is said, Acts ix. 11. Behold, he prayeth.' It is a means by which divine influences have flowed plenti