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3. I will arise, and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have linned against Heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy fon. St Luke xv. 18, 19.
10. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord ; for in thy fight shall no man living be justified. Ps. cxliii. 2.
11. If we say that we have no fin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us : but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. St John i. 8, 9.
Early beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in
fundry places to acknowledge and confess our manifold fins and wickedness: and that we should not dif semble, nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God
be preceded by the general judgment; and if you should appear at the tribunal of God unprepared, and without having repented of your fins, yoa muft expect to perilh everlastingly.
9. I will, after the example of the prodigal fon, lying under the oppretion of the guilt and misery which my sins have brought upon me, return to my hearenly Father, and acknowledge the heinousness of them, whereby I have deservedly forfeited his favour and protection.
10 O Lord, do not too severely mark what I have done amiss ;-the word in the original Hebrew signifies, do not enter into judgment with me, or carry me before thy awful tribunal ;-for shouldft thou exact perfett righteousness, the most upright man cannot stand the trial; no man living can expect salvation for his own righteousness, the very best of men cannot expect to be saved by his good works, but mult depend upon thy mercy.
ri. This life being a state which can never attain to perfection, and the very best men being obnoxious to great failings, to say that we are entirely free from the dominion of sin, is altogether false and absurd, it is utterly inconsistent with the truth and fimplicity of our religion : but if we acknowledge our sins before God, and lincerely repent of them, his mercy being equal to his justice, he will pardon us upon our fulfilling those conditions, and will, for the time to come, preserve us from any rortal fin, by affording us the allittance of his holy spirit, which will confirm and establish us in every good work. Rom. xvi. 20.
1. My beloved brethren and fellow christians, the holy scriptures, sbofe authority is acknowledg'd by you, and by all true believers, not
4. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Ver. 17.
5. Rent your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God : for he is gracious and merciful, flow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Joel ii. 13.
6. To the Lord our God belong mercies, and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him : neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws which he fet before us. Dan. ix. 9, 10.
7. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, left thou bring me to nothing. Jer. X. 24. Pf. vi. D.
8. Repent ye; for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. St Matt. iii. 2.
PA RA P H R AS E.
3. O Lord, in the fulness of thy mercy, overlook my tranfgressions : and from my unfeigned repentance, in which I implore thy asistance, blot my iniquities from the book wherein they stand recorded against me.
4. God is better pleased with a sincere repentance, than with the most poinpous oblations which could be made (according to the legal inftitutions for a broken heart) by a broken heart labouring under that dejection and grief which always accompany a fincere repentance. This is a facrifice which will never be rejected by the Almighty like the sacrifices offer'd by wicked men meerly in compliance with form.
5. You must feel a real and deep regret for having offended God, and not think to appease him by external expreflions of sorrow, such as the senting of garments, of which the scripture affords us many instances : for God's graciousness, mercy, tenderness for mankind, and nowness to panish, are high encouragements to finners to hope for pardon upon their return to God: he may likewise be said to repent him of the evil or punishment which he infiicts upon men, in withdrawing is as soon as they delit to offend.
6. So unbounded is the mercy of Almighty God that he is dispos’d to pardon us, tho' we have never so grievously offended him, and tho' we have, as it were, renounced our allegiance to the Divine Being, and declared cpen rebellion against him, by notoriously violating his laws, yet Hill he is ready to pardon us, and offers us the means of reconciliation.
7. O Lord. I beseech thee not to view my faults and imperfections with the severe eye of a judge, but with the indulgence of a merciful father, for I could expect nothing but deftruction Touldft thou proceed with me according to rigid justice. 8 Repent of your fins, and endeavour to be reconciled to God before Chrill's glorious kingdom begins, which is to
9. I will arise, and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy fon. St Luke xy. 18, 19.
10. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord for in thy &ght shall no man living be justified. Pf. cxliii. 2.
11. If we say that we have no lin, we deceive ourselves, 20d the truth is not in us : but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. a St John i. 8, 9.
kundry places to acknowledge and confefs our manifold fins and wickedness: and that we should not dissemble, nor cloke them before the face of Almighty God
PA RA P H R AS E.
be preceded by the general judgment; and if you should appear at the tribunal of God unprepared, and without having repented of your fins, you muft expe& to perish everlastingly.
9. I will, after the example of the prodigal son, lying under the oppretion of the guilt and misery which my sins have brought upon me, retarn to my heavenly Father, and acknowledge the heinousness of them, whereby I have deservedly forfeited his favour and protection.
10 O Lord, do not too severely mark what I have done amiss ;--the Ford in the original Hebrew signifies, do not enter into judgment with me, or carry me before thy awful tribunal;—for shouldit thou exact perfeat righteousness, the most upright man cannot stand the trial; no man living can expect salvation for his own righteousness, the very best of men cap not expect to be saved by his good works, but mult depend upon thy mercy.
11. This life being a state which can never attain to perfection, and the very beft men being obnoxious to great failings, to say that we are eauire!ý free from the dominion of fin, is altogether faise and absurd, it is utterly inconsistent with the truth and fimplicity of our religion : but if we acknowledge our fins before God, and sincerely repent of them, his mercy being equal to his justice, he will pardon us upon our fulfilling rhole conditions, and will, for the time to come, preserve us from any Fortal fin, by affording us the affittance of his holy spirit, which will confim aod eftablish us in every good wolk. Rom. xvi. 20.
1. My beloved brethren and fellow christians, the holy scriptures, pobolc acthority is acknowledg'd by you, and by all truc believers, not
our heavenly Father ; but confess thein with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness
2. And although we ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before God, yet ought we moit chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his moft worthy praise, to hear his most holy word, and to ask those things which are requisite
PA RA PHRASE.
only in the parts which I have just read to you but in their whole tenour, do exhort us to confess unto God our numerous transgressions of his facred laws : besides, it is the height of folly for us to hape to conceal them from the searcher of hearts, from whose piercing fight no secrets can escape. Our guilt would be greatly inhanced by hypocrisy, should we, notwith, standing our many fins, attempt to justify ourselves in the awful presence of the Almighty. It is our duty, as christians, to perform thele three parts of true repentance : first, we should, with an humble and contrite heart, confess our fins before God, like the publican who addressed the Almighty in these pathetic terms—God be merciful to me a finner : fecondly, to this we should add a real and unfeign'd forrow, for having offended the Almighty, and for having justly incurr'd his displeasure: And laftiy, we should, above all, take such a disgust against our fins, as to resolve to forsake them for ever, and to regulate the remainder of our lives according to God's holy law. We need never despair of God's forgiveness, if we repent of our fins in this manner; but we should not presúme that even such a repentance will entitle us to claim impunity of our fins from God; for this we must rely wholly upon that infinite goodness and mercy which is offer'd to us by his son our Saviour Jesus Christ. It is the mystery of redemption alone that can save us ; we cannot hope to have our fins wash'd away, but by the blood of our blessed Lord who suffer’d for us.upon the cross.
2. And altho' we ought at all times, or in those frequent private devotions which are enjoined us by our religion, to perform this duty of confellion, which is so important a part of prayer, it is in a particular mannor incumbent upon us to have recourle to it in the public assemblies of christians, who meet together to acquit themselves of the four great duties enjoined them by religious worthip: first, to return thanks for favours already conferr'd upon them : fecondly, to praise and adore the Almighty for his transcendent goodness: thirdly, to hear God's word read and preached : fourthly, to intreat God to bestow spiritual and temporal bleilings upon them. But without a confession of our sins, and the other effential
parts of truc repentance, we cannot discharge any of these public duries. As long as we remain in our lins we cannoi render an acceptable
and necessary, as well for the body as the soul, 3. Wherefore I pray and beseech you, as many as are here present, to accompany me with a pure heart and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace, saying after me.
A general Confeffion, to be said of the whole Congregation,
after the Minister, all kneeling. LMIGHTY, and most merciful Father.
have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. 3. We have followed too much the devices and de
thanksgiving onto the Lord; we cannot praise and admire his divinc perfections, till we have forfaken our evil courses ; whilft we are endaved to worldly lufts, we cannot be devout hearers of his holy word; nor can wo hope that our prayers will be accepted, whilft the wickedness of our lives render us abominable in the fight of our creator.
3. I therefore, in the most carnett manner, request all of you, who ali ft upon this solemn occasion, to prostrate yourselves before God and address him with fervent prayer, which I, as the minister of God, offer op to the throne of his grace both for you and myself ; I do not perform this daty alone, as the priett did under the Jewish dispensation, and as the papilts, who have imitated them, do at present, but I desire you, who ecjoy higher privileges by virtue of Christ's covenant, to accompany me thither with purity of heart; repeating after me the form of words prefcribd by the church upon this occafion ; intreating you, that you would endeavour to animate your hearts with that warmth, sincerity, and devotion, and be attentive and serious as the worship of God requires; taking care, in all your responses, equally to avoid a loud and clamorous voice, as well as one low and inarticulate, and that you make use only of an humble voice suited to the solemnity of the occalion,
1. O Lord, we make application to thee on account of those attributes of thine, which must dispose thee to pardon finners ; thy Omnipotence, from which we may hope for constant afistance, and thy mercy, which makes thee always ready to afford it to us : being filled with hopes of forgiveness by that relation of fatherhood, which thou haft been plealed to own that thou beareft towards us.
2. We, with the utmost confufion, confess the many fins and errors which we have been surprised into; we have wander'd from the paths of oar duty, and stray'd from the ways which we were directed to walk in by the holy religion which thou hait revealed : and this, according to the comparison of our Saviour, after the manner of those loft sheep that stray from their Mepherds, and are thereby exposed to a variety of dangers.