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we cannot, must not, incur such enormous, such aggravated guilt. There is nothing in the universe can do us any good but mercy; all blessings are curses if we are destitute of this. Interested in mercy, nothing can harm us; no losses can impoverish, no sorrows can overwhelm. Henceforth, then, let the divine character be our study. If Jehovah is to us a God of pardons and the Father of mercies, then there can be no manifestation of his name, but what shall discover fresh glories; for there are no shades in his character. Let us seek, henceforth, by living on his bounty, to enjoy still more and more of his complacent love. “For the Lord delighteth in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy."

A sweet but solitary beam,

An emanation from above,
Glimmers o'er life's uncertain dream,

We hail that beam, and call it -- love !

“ But fainter than the pale star's ray,

Before the noontide blaze of day,
And lighter than the viewless sand,
Beneath the wave that sweeps the strand,
Is all the love that man can know,-
All that in angel-breast can glow,-
Compar'd, O Lord of Hosts! with thine,
Eternal — fathomless -- divine.
That love, whose praise, with quenchless fire,
Inflames the blest seraphic choir ;
Where perfect rapture reigns above,
And love is all --- for THOU ART LOVE.

DALE.

24

CHAPTER II.

MERCY CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE DIVINE , NATURE, ATTRIBUTES, PURPOSES, AND MORAL GOVERN.

MENT OF GOD.

“O Love ! beyond conception great,

That form’d the vast stupendous plan!
Where all divine perfections meet,
To reconcile rebellious man!

There wisdom shines in fullest blaze,
And justice all her rights maintains,
Astonish'd, angels stoop to gaze,
While mercy o'er the guilty reigns.”

Life is a subject fraught with mystery. We cannot comprehend our own being, though fully conscious of it, and living in the full enjoyment of it. “Nothing is more sure than that I exist; I need no one to demonstrate this to me, and no one can tell me how I exist. In what part of me dwells the immortal soul? What is the mysterious link between spirit and matter? And how does the one act upon the other ? These are questions none can answer. Thus

“Thought wanders up and down, at home a stranger; O what a miracle is man to man.'

Therefore “ I will praise thee, O God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ; marvellous are

thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well,” Psalm cxxxix. 14. Animated dust would praise thee; a worm of the earth would adore thee; a renovated sinner would love thee, would praise and magnify thy holy name, for being, and for new being. What am I, O Lord ? As a creature curiously wrought by thy power; as a new creature, marvellously restored by thy mercy. By my body I am united to the universe of matter, by my spirit to the universe of mind, and by a new and divine nature to thyself, the fountain head of existence; a member of Christ's body, of his flesh and of his bones, and in him and by him, one with thee, my almighty Creator, and gracious Father.” Thus might the believing soul soliloquize and triumph, while musing on the mystery and certainty of life. The subject eludes our search, and yet invites inquiry. There are also many mysteries connected with life in its lower departments. Reason is soon nonplussed by plants and animals; how the one vegetate, and how the other are animated, we know not; and the wisest men have confessed their ignorance, while they have felt that God's ways, even in his meanest productions, were past finding out.

But these observations apply with still greater force to life, as existing in its great source, in the living God, compared with whom all creatures and things are but as shadows. Nothing is more certain than that God is, but how he exists, none can tell. We use the term essence, but how little do we understand by it. We reverently receive the divine testimony, “that there are three who bear record in heaven, and that these three are one;” but how unfathomable are the

subjects of the trinity and unity, as applied to the infinite God.

“Reason may grasp the massy hills,

And stretch from pole to pole;
But half thy name our spirit fills,

And overloads the soul.

“In vain our haughty reason swells,

For nothing's found in thee,
But boundless inconceivables,

And vast eternity."

The divine attributes and counsels, and the righteous administration of God are also full of mysteries. This caused one, whose mind loved to dwell on this overwhelming subject, to cry out with mingled reverence and rapture, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” But as amidst all the mysteries connected with our own existence, we have a full consciousness of its reality, and possess a thousand pleasures in this consciousness; so, amidst all the mysteries of God's nature, personalities, perfections, counsels, and operations, there is one thing most certain that he is a God of mercy; and when we know this by divine teaching, all God is becomes a source of blessedness to us. His nature is merciful; the springs of mercy lie in the deep profound of the incomprehensible essence. The divine persons each sustain offices expressive of mercy. The divine attributes all cluster round mercy, and view her triumphs with complacency. The purposes of God are purposes

of mercy, and “though clouds and darkness are round about him, and righteousness and judgment are the basis of his throne,” yet “mercy and truth go before his face,” Psalm xcvii. 2, lxxxix. 14. In proof of this, when beloved John saw the throne of God, and the Lamb, Rev. iv. he beheld " a rainbow round about the throne.” This was the token of the covenant of mercy, and intimated that the whole of the divine character and administration, as considered with reference to the church, were encompassed by mercy. The rainbow would never have been round about the throne, if the Lamb had not been in the midst thereof; but seeing both are there, we may “come with boldness to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy,and see more glorious sights than Moses saw, and hear a more glorious revelation than he heard. The footstool of mercy is the only proper and profitable situation for a sinner; he must come there first as a penitent for mercy, next as a supplicant for blessings, and then as a contemplatist on God's character. These contemplations will satisfy and sanctify, they will humble and elevate, they will strengthen the soul to walk with God, and meeten the soul to dwell with God. Then we shall realize that all our blessings are derived from him, (for spiritual communion is sure to be accompanied with heavenly communications,) and shall give him the glory accordingly.

If we have succeeded in proving from scripture in the former chapter, that God is naturally and essentially merciful, then have we something to guide us in our further inquiries into

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