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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 son. St Luke XV. 18, 19.
10. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified: Pf. 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. 1 St John i. 8, 9.
1. Early beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us in
U sundry places to acknowledge and confess 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 A SE. versal judgment, and should you be summoned thither, without having first repented of your fins, you can expect nothing but perdition.
9. I will follow the example of the prodigal son, and pressed down with the guilt and misery which my sins have brought upon me, return to thy heavenly Father, and acknowledge the heinous offences whereby I have justly forfeited the relation which he bore unto me.
10. O Lord, do not call me ftri&tly to an account for my actions, or, according to the Hebrew phrase, do not go to law with me, or carry me before thy tribunal ; for shouldit thou view all things thro' the rigour of thy justice, the most virtuous inan's life cannot stand the test, nay, every man living must be indebted to thy mercy for being acquitted.
11. This life being a state fo very imperfect, that we are all subject to great failure ; to allert that we are in a state of perfection and entirely free from fio, is a notorious faldhood, and a thing unbecoming the truth and amplicity of our religion : bur if we acknowledge our fins before God, and fincerely repent of them, God, out of his faithfulness and justice, will, upon our complying with those conditions, perform the promise he made us on that behalf, by pardoning them: and will prelerye us, for the future, from any gross fin, by granting us the affittance of his Holy Spirit, which will confirm and establish us in every good work.
1. My dear fellow christians, the holy scriptures, for whose authority you and ail true believers profess the highest veneration, not only in the Several passages which I have just read to you but in several other places, exhurt us to confess unto God the innumerable violations of his sacred laws, whereof we are guilty: add to this, that it is the heighth of folly for us to hope to diffemble, or extenuate them, so as to deceive the all-searching
our heavenly Father ; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. 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 afsemble and meet together, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at
: PA RA P H R AS E. eye of God, who sees the real nature of every thing. Nor should we be guilty of fo vile an act of hypocrisy, as, notwithstanding our manifold fins, publicly in the church, in the presence of God and his holy angels, to stand upon our justification : but if we discharge the duty of fincere christiansy we must perform these three parts of true repentance : first, with an humble and lowly heart make confession of our fins to God, with a dejection of spirit, and a confusion equal to that of the publican, who stood afar off, and would not lift up his eyes to heaven : secondly, to this we should add a true penitent sorrow of mind, for having offended so good a Being, and brought ourselves into such great danger : finally, all these confiderations should give us such a disgust against our fins, as to make us form a resolution to pay an uniform obedience to the laws of God for the time to come, If in this manner we repent of our fins, we shall have just grounds to hope, that God will pardon them. But ftill we should not intagine that even a repentance, fo circumftantiated, will give us any elaim to merit, whereby we may be intitled to impunity of our fins : for that we must be indebted to the infinite goodness and mercy of God, reached out to us in the mystery of our redemption, and by the sufferings of our blefied Saviour Jesus Christ.
2. And tho we ought at all times, or in those more frequent courses of private devotion, which are enjoined us by our religion, to discharge this duty of religion, as it is one of the most important parts of prayer; it cannot be denied, that there is a more particular reason for making use of it in the rolemn asemblies of chwistians in the church, where they meet together to perform the four great parts of religious worship; first, thankrgiving for favours and mercies already received : secondly, praises and adorations of the perfections and goodness of the Almighty : thirdly, hearing the word of God read and preached : fourthly, petition or defiring of God both spiritual and temporal blessings. But we cannot sightly discharge any of these public dutics. without the confeffion of our lins, and the other neceffary parts of true repentance. As long as we continue to abuse the mercies of God, we cannot thank him as we ought : we cannot praise and admire his excellencies, of which, in an voregenerate state, we can have but a faint idea ; whild we retain all our carnal affections, we cannot devoutly listen to the word of God : nor can we hope that our prayers will prove acceptable, when by the wickedness of our Hves, they ałc fendered an aboinination unto God.
3.- I there
his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the foul. 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 Confelhon, to be faid of the whole Congregation,
after the Minister, all kneeling. 1. ALMIGHTY, and most merciful Father. 2. We
A have erred and strayed from thy ways like loft sheep. 3. We have followed too much the devices and de
P A B A P H R A S E. 3. I therefore earnefty desire of every one of you, (whether laymen or clergymen) to address yourselves with me to God, in fervent prayer ; which I, as God's minister, offer up to the throne of his grace, both for myfelf and you ; this I do not do alone, as the priests were wont to do under the Jewish dispensation, in which circumstance they have been imitated by the papists, but I desire you who are possessed of higher priviledges, by virtue of Christ's covenant, to accompany me thither; repeating after be the words prescribed by the church on this occasion : in treating you, at the same time, to manifelt in your devotion, fincerity, attention, and gravity, the genuine effects of a pure heart, and to behave in every respect in a manner worchy the devout worship of God; taking particular care in your responses as well to avoid a loud, clamorous voice, as an inarticulate motion of the lips ; and that you use a low and humble tone of voice pro-. perly adapted to this folemnity.
3. O Lord, we address ourselves unto thee on account of those attributes of thine, which incline thee to pardon Inners, thy Omnipotence, by which thou art endowed with sufficient power to help us; and thy mercy, whereby thou art always ready to do it: having likewise a confideat expectation of forgiveness from that relation of facher-hood, which thou dos bear to us, as thou art pleased thyself to acknowledge.
2. We must, to our shame, acknowledge that we have, by our fios of forprise and infirmity, erred and deviated from the path of our duty, and at other times stray'd and made larger excursions from chofe ways which the holy religion, by thee revealed, has chalked out to us to walk in; and this, to use the comparifon of our Saviour, after the manner of loft Theep that ftraggle from their thepherd, and are thereby exposed to innumerable dangers.
; We acknowledge that we have too frequently yielded to those unlawful desires, to which we have been prompted by our corrupt nature and Eriginal depravity
sires of our own hearts. 4. We have offended against thy holy laws. 5. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done ; 6. And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. 7. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. 8. Spare thou, them, O God, which confess their faults. 9. Restore thou them that are penitent; 10. According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. T. And grant, О most merciful Father, for his fake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life; To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
PARA P H R A SE.. 4. To these we have added many actual transgressions of thy holy laws, which we were so ftri&ly bound to obferve.
5. We morcover acknowledge ourselves to have been guilty of various kinds of actual sins, being chargeable with many sins of omission, by neglecting the several duties commanded us.
6. And many sins of commission, by wilfully doing what we were exprefly forbid, so that every part of our fouls is infected with sin, and they are, as it were, attacked with an universal disease, (for we can hope for no health or salvation from ourselves.)
17. We therefore have recourle to thy goodness, O God, for a deliverance from this load of our fins, and, after the example of the penitent publican, intreat thee to be merciful to us finners.
8. Remit therefore, we pray thee, the punishment due to our fins, upon our confession of and sincere repentance for them.
9. And, upon our being truly penitent, refore us to the place which , we formerly held in thy favour, and which, by our disobedience, we have
forfeited, let us partake of the benefits of thine elect saints, from whole priviledges unrepenting finners are excluded.
10. According to the promises thou hast made us in the charter of the gospel delivered to us by Jesus Christ.
11. We therefore beleech thee, () gracious God, not for the sake of any faint or angel, but for the sake of thy beloved Son, in whose name, when we ak any thing, thou haft promised to give it, (7 ohin xvi. 23.) to afford us such a powerful asistance of the grace of thy holy Spirit, that, for the future, we muy panctually discharge all the parts of our christian duty: that we may live a godly life, by paying a devout wor-fhip to the Almighty: that we may live righteously, in doing all acts of charity and justice to our neighbour : and soberly, in performing all the duties of temperance, chaitiiy, and other virtu.s which are centered in ourselves : nor do we ask this to reflect any honour upon ourselves, or to acquire any merit by such a religious life, but only that the greater glory
The Absolation, or Remision of Sins, to be pronoựnced by the
Priest alone, standing ; the People still kneeling. 1. A Lmighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
A who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power and commandment to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their fins : He pardoneth and abfolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. 2. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit ; that those things may please him, which we do at this present, and that the reft of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; fo that at the last we may come to his eternal joy, through Jesus Chrilt our Lord. Amen. .
PA RA P H R AS E.. may be ascribed to thy goodness, whereby we expect to have those dispostions and habits wrought in us.
1. The omnipotent God, who is poffeffed of the fole power over all things, both in beaven and earth, and who does not desire that any finner should perish everlastingly, (Ezek. xviii. 28.) but rather, that repenting of his fins, he should obtain everlasting happiness; for which end he has empowered and commanded the ministers of the gospel, (Matt. xviii. 18. Z obw xx. 33.) to declare remillion of sins, to those who are truly penitent: be therefore, by the mouth of his minifter; pronounceth pardon and absolution to every one of you, that is duly qualified for it; in order to obtain this, he requires of you a true repentance of your fins, and a sincere belief of his holy gospel. Mark. xy. Aets xx, 21.
2. To the end therefore that we may obtain the benefit of this holy or, dinance, let us pray to God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gitt, 10 afford us the grace of true repentance ; and at the same time the ahliance of his Holy Spirit ; for norhing but the illumination of this blefied Spirit, which helps our infirmities, can' render our devotion acceptable unto him. The affiftanre of his Holy Spirit is likewise neceffary, to prevent us from returning again to our sms, and to make our fouls, waich have formerly been polluted with many vioes, shine with that purity and holiness which are required of us by the gospel : so that, when the hour of death approaches, we may hope to enter into the joy of the Father, thro' the merits and mediation of Jefus Christ our bieffed Saviour ina Redeemer.