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given a sufficient Evidence of all Things which we are concerned to know, there is no room to expect or hope for such kinds of Admonition. He sent the greatest Person of the other World to us, his own Son, and sent him too from the Dead: He has come himself down to us in Signs and Wonders and mighty Works; And why he should send a Man from the Dead to tell you, what is legible in the Book of Nature, what He, his Son, his Apostles and Prophets have already told you, you that can give the Reason, give it.
DISCOURSE III. 604606006060606000000*60
Psalm xix. 12. Wbo can understand his Errors? Cleanse thou
me from secret Faults.
1934 HE only Method of coming to **** in the distinct Knowledge of our
* T * Sins, and to a due Sense of ***** them, is Self-examination; and #yaztez5**
3231* therefore it is, that you are so frequently exhorted to enter into yourselves, to converse with your own Hearts, and to search out the Evil which is in them. But often it happens that this Method, after the fincerest and most laborious Inquiry, leaves Men under great Dissatisfaction of Mind, and subject to the frequent Returns of Doubts and Misgivings of Heart ; left something very bad may have escaped their Search, and,
for want of being expiated by Sorrow and Repentance, should remain a Debt upon their Souls at the great Day of Account. As in temporal Concerns, Men often know, that by a long Course of Prodigality, and many expensive Vanities, they have contracted a great Debt upon their Estates, and have brought themselves to the very Brink of Poverty and Distress, and yet, when they try to think and consider of their Condition, find themselves utterly unable to state their Accounts, or to set forth the Particulars of the Debt they labour under ; but the more they endeavour to recollect, the more they are convinced that they are mere Strangers at home, and ignorant of their own Affairs : So in spiritual Concerns likewise, Men who have been long acquainted with Vice, and long Strangers to Thought and Reflection, when they come to be sensible of the Danger of their Condition, and to set themselves seriously to repent, know in general that they have a heavy Weight of Sin and Guilt upon their Souls; but yet the Particulars, though many and heinous, which they are able to recollect and charge themselves with distinctly, fali vely short of the Sense they have of their Condition, and do by no means fill up
that which they know to be the Measure of their Iniquities. And hence it is, that after the most careful Examination of themselves, and the most folemn Repentance for all their known Sins, they do not always enjoy that Peace and Tranquillity of Soul which they expected, and had promised themselves. as the blessed Fruits of Contrition; but suffer extremely under uncertain Hopes and Fears, not being able to satisfy themselves that their Repentance was perfect, which they know was formed upon a Knowledge of their Sins that was very imperfect.
The holy Psalmist had this Sense of his Condition, and felt how unable he was sufficiently to acknowledge his own Guilt before God, when he broke forth into the Complaint with which the Text begins, Who can understand bis Errors? or, as it runs in the Translation which is more familiar to us, Who can tell how oft be offendeth? In this Distress his only Refuge was to the Mercy of God, confeffing, with the greatest Humility of Heart, that his Transgreffions were not only more than he could bear, but even more than he could understand: Cleanset hou me from my fecret Faults. Whenever Men entertain Doubts of their own Şincerity and due Performance of reli