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fore, a moral necessity of sinners humbling themselves before him, in order to obtain his special and everlasting favour. Besides,

2. It is impossible for sinners to receive divine mercy, before they take their proper places, and are willing to sink as low as divine justice can sink them. If it were possible for God consistently to pardon and receive them into his favour, before they humble themselves for their sins, yet they could not receive pardon and acceptance from the hand of God, as an expression of mere merey. God cannot shew mercy doning, where he cannot shew justice in punishing. If God cannot justly punish sinners forever for their sins, then he cannot display mercy in saving them from everlasting punishment. And if sinners do not see and approve of his justice in punishing them, they cannot see and cordially acknowledge his mercy in pardoning their transgressions, and saving them from future and eternal misery. It is true, they might be glad, if God would not inflict upon them an unjust and undeserved punishment, but they could not consider his withholding punishment as an act of mercy, It is, therefore, indispensably necessary, that they should humble themselves in his sight, before he lifts them up. They must voluntarily sink themselves, before they can submissively desire him to save them from sinking forever under his just displeasure. They must of their own accord lay their necks on the block, before they can sincerely plead to be saved from death. Though they can, while totally unhumbled, talk about the mercy of God, and in words plead for mercy; yet they cannot cordially accept of bis mercy, until they see and love his justice, and freely resign themselves into his hands, to save or destroy, as shall be most for his glory. The humility, which God requires of sinners, even necessity of sinners exercising such humility or self-abasement, in order to obtain divine mercy. For,

1. God cannot consistently receive them into his favour before they voluntarily humble themselves for their transgressions in his sight. They have hated, disobeyed, and opposed him, without a cause. They have despised and rejected the Son of his love. They have grieved and quenched his holy Spirit. They have abused his goodness and forbearance, and rendered themselves objects of his holy displeasure. He cannot, therefore, consistently with the purity of his nature and the dignity of his character, receive them into his special favour, until they freely and of their own accord abase themselves before him. Though Christ has made atonement for their sins, so that justice may be displayed in their forgiveness; yet God cannot forgive them, consistently with his honour and dignity, until they freely and voluntarily take their proper places before their righteous and injured Sovereign. This is agreeable to the common sentiment of mankind, in regard to the proper conduct of the offended towards offenders. The prince will not forgive the subject, the superior will not forgive the inferior, nor will any person forgive another, until the offender manifest humiliation and self-abasement. And it much less becomes the supreme Majesty of heaven, to forgive the transgressor, until he humbles himself before him, and sincerely cries like the publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” If God should return to sinners before they return to him, he would humble himself before them, instead of their humbling themselves before him. He cannot deny himself nor give his glory to another. He can no more act below his dignity, than he can act contrary to his wisdom, hcliness, or justice. There is, there

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fore, a moral necessity of sinners humbling themselves before him, in order to obtain his special and everlasting favour. Besides,

2. It is impossible for sinners to receive divine mercy, before they take their proper places, and are willing to sink as low as divine justice can sink them. If it were possible for God consistently to pardon and receive them into his favour, before they humble them. selves for their sins, yet they could not receive pardon and acceptance from the hand of God, as an expression of mere merey. God cannot shew mercy in

pardoning, where he cannot shew justice in punishing. If God cannot justly punish sinners forever for their sins, then he cannot display mercy in saving them from everlasting punishment. And if sinners do not see and approve of his justice in punishing them, they cannot see and cordially acknowledge his mercy in pardoning their transgressions, and saving them from future and eternal misery. It is true, they might be glad, if God would not inflict upon them an unjust and undeserved punishment, but they could not consider his withholding punishment as an act of mercy. It is, therefore,indispensably necessary, that they should humble themselves in his sight, before he lifts them up. They must voluntarily sink themselves, before they can submissively desire him to save them from sinking forever under his just displeasure. They must of their own accord lay their necks on the block, before they can sincerely plead to be saved from death. Though they can, while totally unhumbled, talk about the mercy of God, and in words plead for mercy; yet they cannot cordially accept of bis mercy, until they see and love his justice, and freely resign themselves into his hands, to save or destroy, as shall be most for his glory. The humility, which God requires of sinners, as the condition of pardoning mercy, is not an arbitrary, but an indispensable condition. It is founded in the character of sinners, and cannot be separated from them. Their guilt calls for humility, and they cannot be released from exercising it, if they are eventually saved. Mercy cannot come to them in any other channel, than that of humility, because God cannot grant, and they cannot receive mercy, before their hearts are humbled. And there is no humility but .

. that which consists in self-abasement; which can prepare them to receive mere mercy from the hand of God, who may in strict justice doom them to everlasting destruction.

İMPROVEMENT. 1. If humility essentially consists in self-abasement for sin; then we may safely suppose, that neither God the Father, nor the Lord Jesus Christ ever exercised any affection, which may be strictly called humility. These divine persons never had the least occasion of humbling themselves for any unwise, or unholy, or improper conduct towards any created or uncreated object in the universe. David, indeed, under a lively and solemn sense of the divine Majesty, exclaims, “Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high! Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” These expressions naturally convey the idea of condescension, which is stooping; but not the idea of humility, which is degrading. It becomes the supreme Being to condescend or stoop to his creatures, but not to abase or degrade himself before them. And as it was the design of the Psalmist to exalt, and not to degrade the Deity, we ought to interpret his expressions agreeably to his plain and obvious meaning. These observations will equally apply necessary, in order to accept of pardoning mercy, and, indeed, in order to enjoy the happiness of heaven. For how could they be happy in seeing God treat other sinners according to their deserts, if they were never willing that he should treat them in the same manner? Or how could they say, “Amen, Alleluia," while they saw “the smoke of the torments of the damned ascendįng forever and ever," if they were never willing to lie down in everlasting sorrow?

Judas and Paul were once both sinners and deseryed to be destroyed; Judas for betraying Christ; and Paul for persecuting him in his followers. But Paul was saved and Judas was rejected. Suppose, these two remarkable persons should meet, and Judas should ask Paul, whether he was ever willing that God should cast him off, and treat him according to his deserts? What answer can we suppose, that Paul would give to this pertinent and solemn question? He must say, either that he was, or that he was not, willing that God should cast him off forever. If he should say, that he never was willing that God should cast him off forever; would not Judas reply, Paul, you and I are perfectly agreed in our sentiments and feelings upon this solemn subject, for I was never willing, that God should cast me off forever. There is only a circumstantial difference between us. Let God only put me in your place, and you in my place, and I shall love and praise him as you do, and you will hate and blaspheme him as I do. Could Paul deny these consequences of being unwilling to be cast off forever? But if Paul should say to Judas, I remember the time, when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. I then said, the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. And ever since that time, I have delighted in the law of God after the inward

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