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ment, honor, and life, is yours, believers, through the revelation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God ?"
“ How sweetly flow'd the Gospel's sound,
From lips of gentleness and grace,
And joy, and reverence, fill'd the place.
To heaven he led his follower's way;
Unveiling an immortal day.
“Come wanderers, to my father's home,
Come all ye weary ones and rest,
THE TRIUMPHS OF DIVINE MERCY, IN THE CALLING AND
PARDON OF SINNERS. THE NATURE OF REPENTANCE DESCRIBED. THE COMPLETENESS OF FORGIVENESS UNFOLDED. RETROSPECTIVE VIEW OF THE ACTS OF MERCY.
“ Mercy, my Judge, mercy I cry,
With blushing cheek, and bleeding eye:
“ Oh, hear a suppliant heart, all crush'd
And crumbled into contrite dust!
What a comfortless, desolate, pitiable creature is man, without an interest in forgiving love and mercy! I contemplate my body, and see divine skill and workmanship: I consider my soul, and find an immortal principle, capable of great enjoyments : I look around me, and see a beauteous world, covered with proofs of the divine goodness: but one word pours desolation over the whole; it is Sin. I am a sinner. This sad fact fills me with wretchedness, and the world with woe. He then who would be my friend indeed, must tell me how sin may be got rid of. The
arm that would lift me up to joy, must first take away iniquity. Such a friend is the Bible such an arm of omnipotence, is the cross of Christ. When faith rests upon that word, and embraces that cross, then comes honor instead of shame, holiness instead of sensuality, strength instead of weakness, hope instead of despondency, and heavenly peace instead of tormenting guilt. Guilt is an enemy both to holiness and happiness; we cannot "serve God without fear,” unless delivered from the hand of our enemies; we are prone to forget this, and only to think that guilt hinders our own joy, and so only affects ourselves; but this arises from our selfishness, and proneness to leave God out of our thoughts. Guilt makes us weak, and keeps us at a distance from God; it gives us wrong views of his character, and so it is an enemy to holiness. Mercy flowing forth in forgiveness, and taking away guilt, is therefore the friend of holiness, and the promoter of the divine glory.
Most persons who give eternal things any concern, and who make any profession of religion, have some general and indefinite ideas concerning the necessity of forgiveness; but still they go on without any clear views of its nature, or any personal experience of its power. There are two things which it is very difficult to persuade persons are true; the one is, that they really need forgiveness; that is such forgiveness as the Bible reveals, through such a medium as the cross, and for the ends that God proposes to accomplish; the other is, to persuade convinced sinners that they are welcome to all the blessings of mercy, that the God they have provoked can forgive
them, and get himself glory thereby. The careless, worldly sinner, goes on presuming on an indefinite, unfelt, something; and the wounded heart goes on desponding, notwithstanding the mercy he needs, and which is altogether suited to his case, is constantly ringing in his ears. God in his word has made large provision to suit both these cases, may his good Spirit make the contemplation of this glorious subject effectual to the humbling of the stout-hearted, and the comforting of them that mourn.
It is but seldom that the scriptures make make mention of departed spirits revisiting this world, and it is remarkable that on one of these unfrequent occurrences, the mysterious visitant bore testimony to the utter nothingness and entire sinfulness of man. “Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, shall mortal man be more just than God ? Shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly : how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth ?” Job iv. 15 — 19. Alas! man will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead; but still calls his webs, garments, and his refuge of lies, a secure hiding place. But while a spirit from the invisible world came to shew man his need of mercy — to convince him that he was a weak, erring, sinful, perishing being; the Lord of angels and creator of spirits came down to shew the penitent there was mercy for him ; and by words of unequalled tenderness, actions of unparalleled compassion, and blood of invaluable value, to shew how mercy could and would “restore to the outcasts health and cure, and reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” The object of this chapter will be to shew to sinners, that they need mercy; to the mourning heart, that there is mercy for him ; and to the believer, that he “should glorify God for his mercy,” by trusting it most simply, expecting largely from it, and praising him continually for it. How encouraging is that declaration, " The Lord delighteth in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy;” and the more simple and fervent our hope is, the more complacently doth God regard it. Some convinced sinners hope in that mercy as the drowning man lays hold on the rope, there is a connection between him and it, and he is secured by it, but he is still tossed on the billows,* while the hope of others may be likened to the calm and unsuspecting child, reposing on its mother, drawing nourishment from her bosom, supported by her arms, and gazing with rapture on her
*“For the most part, we are as it were ready rather to steal forgiveness of God, than to receive it from him, as one that gives it freely and largely. We take it up, and lay it down, as though we would be glad to have it, so God did not as it were see us take it, for we are afraid he is not willing we should have it indeed.
“Go with your half-forgiveness, limited conditional pardons, with reserves and limitations, to the sons of men, it may be it may become them; it is like themselves : that of God is absolute and perfect, before which our sins are as a cloud before the east wind and the rising sun."