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the evidence of his miracles : John, x. 37. “ If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not : but if I do, though ye believe me not, believe the works." What fairer appeal could be made ? Could more be done to challenge inquiry, or place the question upon the right ground ?
Lastly ; in the xvth chap. and 24th verse, our Lord fixes the guilt of the unbelieving Jews upon this article, that they rejected miraculous proof, which ought to have convinced them ; and that, if they had not had such proof, they might have been excusable, or, comparatively speaking, they would not have had sin. His words are very memorable; “ If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin.”
It appears, therefore, that, as well in the answer to John's messengers, as in the other
passages of his history and discourses which resemble this, our Lord acted a part the most foreign and distant from the part of an impostor or enthusiast that can possibly be conceived. Was it for an impostor or enthusiast to refer messengers who came to him, to miraculous works performed before their eyes; to. things done upon the spot; to the testimony of their own senses.
6 Shew John those things which
do see and hear.” Would, could any other than a prophet come from God do this? In like manner, was it for any other than a divine messenger to bid his very disciples not believe in him, if he did not these works; or to tell unbelievers, that if he had not done among them works which none other man did, their unbelief might have been excusable ? In all this we discern conviction and sincerity, fairness, truth, and evidence.
ON INSENSIBILITY TO OFFENCES.
Psalm xix. 12, 13.
Who can tell how oft he offendeth ? 0
cleanse thou me from my secret faults. Keep thy servant also from presumptuous sins, lest they get the dominion over me.
HESE words express a rational and af
fecting prayer, according to the sense which they carry with them at first sight, and without entering into any interpretation of them whatsoever. Who is there, that will not join heartily in this prayer ? for who is there that has not occasion to pray against his sins ? We are laden with the weight of
“ The remembrance of them is grievous to us; the burden of them is intolerable.” But beyond this, these same words, when they come to be fully under
stood, have a still stronger meaning, and still more applicable to the state and condition of our souls; which I will endeavour to set before
You will observe the expression, my secret faults: “O cleanse thou me from
my secret faults.” Now the question is, to whom are these faults a secret ? to myself, or to others ? whether the prayer relates to faults which are concealed from mankind, and are in that sense secret ? or to faults which are concealed from the offender himself, and are therefore secret, in the most full and strict sense of which the term is capable ? Now, I say, that the context, or whole passage taken together, obliges us to understand the word secret in this latter sense. For observe two particulars. The first verse of the text runs but in what way and to whom secret ? to himself undoubtedly: otherwise the secrecy could have been no reason or cause of that difficulty. The merely being concealed from others would be nothing to the present purpose : because the most concealed sins, in that sense, are as well known to the sinner himself, as those which are detected or most open; and therefore such concealment would not account for the sinner's difficulty in understanding the state of his soul and of his conscience. To me
66 Who can tell how oft he offendeth ? O cleanse thou me from my secret faults.” Now, to give a connection to the two parts of this verse, it is necessary to suppose, that one reason, for which it was so difficult for any man to know how oft he offendeth was, that many of his faults were secret ;
appears very plain, that the train of the Psalmist's thoughts went thus:- He is led to cast back his recollection upon the sins of his life; he finds himself, as many of us must do, lost and bewildered in their number and frequency; because, beside all other reasons of confusion, there were many which were unnoticed, unreckoned, and unobserved. Against this class of sins, which, for this reason, he calls his secret faults, he raises up his voice to God in prayer. This is evidently, as I think, the train and connection of thought; and this requires, that the secret faults here spoken of be explained of such faults