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himself. And now too, even where the Scrip. tures are circulated, men evince their ignorance of what God calls mercy, by disbelieving the tidings of his FREE pardon, and supposing that they muft do something in order to avert his indignation. These differ from the former only with respect to the nature and quantity of that which is to be done ; a difference which is fully accounted for in what the externally diffused light of the gospel has forced upon their minds, and which but little affects the characters of their respective Gods.
Turn your eyes then to that glorious and only view of the mercy of God, which is set forth in the revelation of his love to sinners; to a people amongst the rebellious fons of men, whom he foreknew, and whom he determined, in the counsels of infinite wisdom and fovereign grace, to redeem from among men, to separate from an ungodly world, and to make fons and daughters of the Most High.
Behold his mercy, when he chose them in Christ Jefus before the foundation of the world, not appointing tbem unto wrath, but to obtain falvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, as vessels of mercy, prepared of himself unto glory; having predestinated them unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the GOOD PLEASURE of HIS WILL,-that in the ages to come he might Jhew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kinda ness towards them, through Christ Jesus.
Behold his mercy, when he brings them to the knowledge of the truth, sending unto them the Holy Ghost to testify of the lowly Jesus, that he is Christ, the Prince and Saviour; of the reputed child of a carpenter, that he is the Son of the living God; Thus giving them that repentance (or
new mind) which credits the testimony of his name, and discovers his glory in the face of Jesus Chrift; Thus delivering them from the dominion of the God of this world, and translating them into the kingdom of his dear Son; THUS diffufing throughout their fouls just and lively apprehenfions of his love that passeth knowledge, fo that it is foed abroad in their hearts, and causes them to rejoice in hope of the glory of God; Thus implanting in them every gracious principle, whereby they will be constrained to walk, not as others walk, in the vanity of their mind-and alienated from the life of God; but having their conversation in heaven,-as children of light,—as servants of righteousness, -as followers of God.
Behold the Divine mercy exercised during the ensuing life of believers, while they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. He is their shepherd, therefore they shall not want; He is their fhield, therefore their enemies shall not triumph over them. In all their affliction He ministers to them confolation, makes darkness light before them, and crooked things straight, fo that even in tribulation their hearts are filled with peace and joy. He chasteneth them for their fins, but will not take his loving-kindness from them; and calls off their minds from creature dependance, to cleave to Himself, the Rock of ages. He strengthens thein with all might in the inner man, in times of temptation makes a way for them to escape, causes them to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering, -and leads them in the paths of righteousness for his name's fake. In short, the more the people of God consider his dealings towards them, the more will they understand and approve the words of the Psalmist, All the paths of the Lord are mercy,
and truth, unto such as keep his covenant and his teftimonies.
Behold his mercy, when he calls them not of this present world, which is a waste and howling wilderness, and receives them into his kingdom of glory, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary be at reft. Long before, they had been bought with a price ; and now their Lord claims them as his own, and takes them to himself. Ere this, it was undoubtedly true that all things were theirs,—and they were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which was the earnest of their inheritance ; but now they enter upon the purchased podelion, and hope is fucceeded by full enjoyment. In the world they had tribulation; they were tried, they were chaftened, they were afħicted; persecution, shame, and reproach followed their steps : but now God mall wipe away all tears from their eyes, heaviness and forrow and fighing ihall be no more, and henceforth for ever thall glory, honor, and peace, rest upon them. In life, they had known in part, and had seen as through a glass, darkly; but now they know even as they are known, and see their Redeemer face to face.--Bleffed are the dead which die in the Lord! The eternal Cod is their sure refuge and everlasting portion. They shall find in his presence fulness of joy, and at his right hand pleasures for evermore.
Once more, behold the mercy of God towards his people, in that stupendous work which exhibits and vindicates his character as the just God and Saviour ; in the death of his Son, whom He did not spare, but gave up freely, as a jacrifice for fin, that, mercy and truth thus meeting toge» ther, righteousness and peace thus embracing each other, He might .proclaim to the ends of the earth that Name which is as ointment poured forth, I will be gracious to WHOM I WILL be gracious, and I will few mercy on WHOM I WILL
few mercy, In this one act of mercy we view the source of all the other manifold mercies of God. This is the foundation laid in Sion, whereupon rests the declaration and fulfilment of all the exceeding great and precious promises of the gospel. In the Lord Jesus Christ, when he poured out his foul unto death, the promised fountain was opened for fin and for uncleanness. The blood, which was then thed, cleanseth from all fin, and avails to the perfecting for ever of them that are sanctified. By his obedience unto death, He hath so magnified the law, and made it honourable, that the fulness of the Divine good pleasure rests upon him. Had the Father found no object worthy of his complacence, there would have been either no Glory to God, or no Good will towards men; either his perfections which stand opposed to fin, had difappeared, or his indignation had burned like fire that none can quench. One of these fuppositions could not have been realized, and so there had remained for finners nothing but hopelefs ruin, had not the Son of Man been lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Now indeed, while we look to the cross of Christ, we are persuaded, that all things are posible with God, and may say, Who is so great a God as our God ?-that pardoneth iniquity, and paseth by the transgresjon of the remnant of his beritage ;--for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption, and He shall redeem Ifrael from all his iniquia ties.
Here we shall rest a while, and that in each reader's breast, believing admiration would
fill up the pause,) for Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can shew forth all his praise? Surely, in vain would time be prolonged, in vain would words be multiplied : “ Come then, expreslive silence, muse his praise.”
D. (To be concluded.)
2 Peter, chap. iii. part of ver. 9. The Lord is not willing that any pould perish,
but that all fould come to repentance.
It is a very common practice to separate these words from the reinainder of the verse to which they belong, and to present them to hearers or readers totally out of that connection from which alone their import can be ascertained, as if they formed an aphorism, independent of any Scriptures either precedent or subsequent. By this mode of proceeding, those who have adopted it, have found out a sense for the passage, as different from its real meaning, as it is opposite to the tenor of the Scripture testimony. As this, however, is the commonly received interpretation, we shall first state and refute it, and then declare that which we conceive the inspired penman intended to convey. The persons alluded to, fuppofe it to declare the benefits of Christ's salvation as alike bestowed upon all mankind, so that in whatever sense that falvation is the gift of God to ANY, in the same sense