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bed, or even postpone it to the great day of judgment? Is it not better voluntarily to confess our sins, than to compel God, as it were, to put us to pain, and lay us upon the rack, in order that he may only get the words out of our mouths, “ I am a sinner, I have deserved hell and merited eternal damnation !” O confess your sins voluntarily and willingly before your God and Saviour; honestly tell him in what you have sinned against him, nor hesitate to make a sincere confession before him! Nor ought you to be ashamed of confessing your sins before those, whom you have offended by your sins, and to whom you have set a bad example by your sins. Let each confess to the other his sin, wherein he may have particularly offended, calumniated, circumvented, prejudiced or injured, or caused him any other sorrow.
I cannot omit to mention, what I have myself frequently experienced, that persons who were on their death-beds, and had certain sins on their consciences, but would not humble themselves and divulge them, lay in great distress and disturbance, and no one knew that it was distress of conscience; but as soon as they had open-heartedly told and humbly confessed what oppressed them, they were at ease, they obtained peace of heart, and a free access to grace. O, my friends, do not carry your load of sins so secretly! Let us confess our sins; let us no longer torment, hate, and stand so opposed to our own souls, as to be willing always to conceal and be silent respecting our sins; but let us consider what belongs to our peace.
Observe, however, that when we acknowledge and confess our sins, it must be done in a proper manner; the confession must be united with true repentance, a heartfelt sorrow, and a contrition and brokenness of heart. The mere saying, “ We are all sinful mortals,” is not the true acknowledgment and confession of sin; the superficial and frigid thinking to ourselves, “I am sorry that I have sinned, that I have done this or that,” is not true repentance. And if thou art truly sorry for it, examine thyself well, why thou art sorry, why thou repentest of having sinned. Art thou sorry merely because thou hast degraded thyself with thy sins before the world and mankind-because thou hast injured thy body or thy property by an irregular course of life ? Art thou sorry merely because thou art punished on account of thy sins ?-all this is not true repentance; such a repentance is of no avail in the sight of God. Thou must be sorry, heartily sorry for having sinned, only because thou hast with thy sins and thy transgressions offended thy God, the great, the holy, and righteous God, and hast grieved thy faithful Saviour who loves thee so cordially. This ought to grieve thee; this ought to pierce thee to the heart; this ought deeply to pain thee; to cause thee tribulation and anguish, and impel thee to abhor thyself and sin, and acknowledge thyself worthy of damnation. It is of this nature that our sorrow and repentance ought to be, and from hence that it must arise,
But if our sorrow and repentance, and if the distress we feel is to be beneficial to us, and to make
for our peace : they must impel us at the same time to Jesus, so that we take refuge solely and wholly in him, who alone can blot them out, and who alone can save us from our sins. A believing recourse to Jesus, promotes our peace, and enables us to attain peace. Many a man is very conscious of his sins, and confesses his sins, and even grieves on account of his sins; but he is frequently deficient in taking refuge with Jesus. Many a one keeps his eye fixed only constantly on the bundle of his sins; he sees the burden, the wretchedness, and the misery of them; he complains, and continues complaining, and still does not take refuge with Jesus. Nay, whilst thus continually complaining, he again becomes slothful; the impression, the anxiety, and distress at length passes away; the man then still complains with the mouth in a listless manner, and no amendment is perceived. O this does not belong to our peace, we must hasten with our sins to Jesus, otherwise we shall find no peace!
Many a one seeks to comfort himself with the sorrow which he has once endured on account of his sins, and says to himself, “at such and such a time I was so affected, so moved, that I even shed tears.” And then consoles himself with the idea, that he is no longer a natural man. But though it is well, beloved soul, that thou hast been alarmed, yet has thy alarm, have thy sins driven thee to Jesus? If not, it avails thee nothing. Being grieved and distressed on account of our sins is nothing meritorious ; I cannot carry this to account; this is insuf
ficient of itself to afford me peace. My mere weeping, alarm, and grief avails me not; in order that it
my peace, 1 must take refuge with Jesus, who can alone blot out my sins. Only Jesus, Jesus and his blood can benefit me.
O let no one suffer himself to be deterred by the multitude and greatness of his sins, and be restrained thereby from having recourse to Jesus ! Jesus by the shedding of his blood, has accomplished a perfect atonement for the sins of the whole world, Now, if any one had committed all the sins which have ever been or are still committed by the greatest sinner, he ought not on that account to despond and despair, nor let himself be deterred from taking refuge with Jesus ; for the blood of Jesus is more than sufficient for the atonement and forgiveness of his sins. Hasten therefore to Jesus, ye penitent hearts ! Hear how our dearest Saviour calls to you : “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, I will receive you; in me alone will you find rest and peace
for your souls; you can find it no where else.”
We must not, however, have recourse to Jesus in such a manner as to remain in self-security, and merely superficially think Christ has paid my ransom, the blood of Christ is the atonement for all my sins; and thus appropriate it to ourselves merely in idea :: O no, dear friends, this will not do; this is not the refuge, which brings us peace! Taking refuge presupposes a feeling of necessity, the sight of danger, from which the individual cannot save or
deliver himself, and therefore he seeks help and protection from some other quarter, from some one in whom we have confidence, that he is able to aid and assist us, that he is willing to help us, and upon whom we can depend, that he will also do it. The nearer we are to such help and protection, the sooner we can receive assistance. Now the feeling of our necessity, the sight of the extreme danger of our souls must exist in us, before we look about for a refuge ; and then it is, that we must flee to Jesus. Who else can help us but Jesus ? Who is more willing to help than Jesus ? And who is nearer to us than Jesus ?
Every poor and penitent heart, therefore, ought to turn away its appetite and desire from all its sins and all its wretchedness, and fix it on the grace which is so near to it, on Jesus who is so intimately present; upon that love, that abyss of love which is open to us, and brought so near to us in Jesus, saying, “O Lord Jesus ! have compassion upon me! O set my heart at rest ! let my sins be blotted out by thy blood. O let me find favour in thy blood !"
We must then not grow weary in inwardly hungering, groaning, and longing after Jesus, and for grace and mercy. And when Jesus should even appear to act as a stranger towards us, and as if he would not hear us and deliver us from our distress, we must only persevere, like the Canaanitish woman, and continue steadfast ; our dear Saviour cannot refrain, he will certainly help us, and grant us every thing that belongs to our peace. Jesus, who drew near to us, even whilst we were