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all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed; Judge the fatherless; plead for the widow. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your abominations.- For behold this self-same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort; what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Joel 2. 12, 13. Is. 1. 16, 17. Ex. 36. 31. 2 Cor. 7. 11. || Acts 2. 37, 38. Jer. 7. 2-7.
Have you exercised that sorrow which is after a godly sort? Have you brought forth fruits meet for repentance?
41. Is the humble and contrite heart peculiarly acceptable in the sight of God?
The sacrifices of GoD, are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O GOD, thou wilt not despise.- The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.For all those things háth mine hands made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. Ps. 51. 17. and 34. 18. and 147. 3. Is. 57. 15. and 66. 2. || and 61. 1-3. Luke 18. 9--14.
Has your heart been broken for sin and healed by the mercy of the Gospel?
42. What promises are connected with weeping for sin?
But to the king of Judah, which sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, as touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation, and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord. They that
sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. 2 Kin. 22. 18, 19. Ps. 126. 5, 6. || Jer. 50. 4, 5. and 31. 9. Luke 6. 21—25. Can you plead these promises? Is sin your grief?
43. What is faith, “the faith of God's elect ?” (h)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.- Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. Trust ye in the Lord forever for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. Heb. 11. 1, 3, 6. John 14. 1. Is. 26. 4. || Heb. 11. 32-34, 39, 40, 13 -16. 1 Pet. 2. 17. Mat. 8. 8-10.
Do you live by faith on the Son of God? Does your faith purify your heart and life?
44. Are we justified in the sight of God by works, or by faith?
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in the sight of GoD: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Do we make void the law through faith? GOD forbid : yea, we establish the law. Rom. 3. 20, 27, 28, 31. || Gal. 2. 16. Rom. 4. 2-8.
How do you expect to be justified before God?
45. Are not good works commanded?
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in GoD, might be careful to maintain good works: these things are good and profitable unto men.- For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed GOD, and it was impu
(h) See Appendix, Note H.
ted unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Tit. 3. 8. Eph. 2. 10. Jam. 2. 20-24. 2 Tim. 2. 21. Mat. 5. 16. Col. 1. 10. John 15. 8. Heb. 10. 24. 2 Pet. 1. 5-11. 1 Cor. 15. 58.
Have you felt good works to be both your duty and privi lege? Have you experienced their profitableness?
46 Will works be brought into Judgment?
For WE MUST ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.- For GOD shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before GOD; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. 2 Cor. 5. 10. Eccl. 12. 14. Rev. 20. 12, 13. Job 34. 10, 11. Is. 3. 10, 11. Mat.
What works have you to be brought into judgment? Are you labouring for GOD?
47. Does not God estimate works by the state of the heart from which they proceed?
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts. To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. A high look, and a proud heart, and the ploughing of the wicked, is sin.- the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Prov. 21. 2-4. Jer. 17. 10. || 1 Sam. 16. 7. 1 Chron. 29. 17. Rev. 2. 23.
Is your heart right in the sight of God? Have you frequently inquired how your heart appears to God?
48. Is salvation of debt or of Grace? (i)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.- Not by works of righteousness, which
(i) See Appendix, Note I.
we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly; through Jesus Christ our Saviour: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Eph. 2. 8-10. Tit. 3.5-7. || Eph. 1. 7. and 2. 5-7. Rom. 5. 20, 21.
Do you love the soul-humbling doctrines of salvation by grace?
49. Are not all who enjoy the light of the glorious Gospel, called, invited, and entreated, freely and cordially to accept of salvation?
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am GOD, and there is none else.- Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine, and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. And the Spirit and the bride say, come, and let him that heareth say, come, and let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely. Is. 45. 22. and 55. 1, 2. Rev. 22. 27. || Ez. 18. 21, 22. Is. 1. 18-20. and 2. 10.
How inexcusable must you be if you fail of salvation?
50. Has God any pleasure in the misery and destruction of the wicked, in itself considered?
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD; and not that he should return from his ways and live. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of GOD leadeth thee to repentance?- Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 2 Pet. 3. 9. Ez. 18. 23. Rom. 2. 4. Ez. 33. 11. Is. 30. 18. 1 Tim. 2-4. and 1. 14, 15. Ez. 18. 32.
The PURPOSES of GOD are the rule of HIS conduct, his commands the rule of ours. Do you approve the secret will of GOD? Are you in any measure conformed to his revealed will? 51. What is the tenor of the covenant of grace?
Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul
shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.- For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a GOD, and they shall be to me a people. Is. 55. 3. Heb. 8. 10. || Jer. 31. 33. and 50. 5. Gen. 17. 7. Ps. 103. 17, 18.
Have you by faith embraced the precious covenant in which GOD engages I WILL, and ye SHALL? Have you a stable hope
52. Who is the Mediator of the NEW covenant, or covenant of grace?
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. For there is one GOD, and one Mediator between GoD and man, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Heb. 8. 1, 6, 8, 12. 1 Tim. 2. 5, 6. || Gal. 3. 19, 20. Heb. 7. 22. and 12. 24, 25. Is. 42. 6.
Do you look to GOD for blessings, only through this glorious Mediator? Do your prayers and praises ascend in his name?
53. Is Christ both able, and willing to save penitent sinners of every description?
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.- For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.- For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.- Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. 1 Tim. 1. 15. Heb. 7. 25, 26. Col. 2. 9. Rom. 3. 25. || John 1. 1, 14. and 10. 25, 30. Is. 45. 22, 23. Rom. 3. 24-26. Phil. 2. 9-11.