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him perfect in every good work to do his will,
aspire. These are spiritually the same as those contained in that promise (partly temporal and partly spiritual) which God sware to our father Abraham, 'that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear in righteousness and holiness before him all the days of our life. And in consequence the penitent may be humbly confident that the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, will make
working in him that which is well pleasing in his sight. But I forbear ; for who can describe aright all the mercy and truth which flow to the obedient servant of God from the condescending terms of the covenant of grace? Let me rather, in concluding the review of this inexhaustible subject,
ENCOURAGE THE TREMBLING PENITENT TO ACT ON THE VIEWS WHICH IT UNFOLDS. Many are the fears and misgivings of the heart which is pierced with an acute sense of its sins, and has not yet apprehended the full mercy of the Gospel. It is difficult to treat such a case with sufficient tenderness. I am aware of the unnumbered sources of uneasiness and hesitation
# See Heb. vi, 13-18.
which are opened by an accusing conscience. The terrors of God's holy law penetrate the soul. The view of the Cross is at best obscure and distant. Death and eternity impend. Present imperfections aggravate the malady. In such circumstances, to conceive of the real glory of God in forgiving sin, and to rise to the hope of the Gospel, is a mighty task. It demands an effort to which a weak faith is unequal. Let then the agitated soul proceed step by step in advancing towards this high and indispensable attainment.
I do not ask you then to rejoice in believing. I do not ask you to ascertain your interest in the Everlasting Covenant. I do not require you in the first instance even to apply to yourself the encouragements which have been offered under the second head of the discourse. I simply call on you to VIEW THE PARDONING MERCY OF GOD GENERALLY, as it is exhibited in the Scriptures, and as it has been displayed in his dispensations towards his church in every age. own case be now supposed to be out of the question. Believe only that God pardoneth iniquity, that he passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage, that he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Stop for a season at this point, and fill your mind with the astonishing theme. Do not hurry from the contemplation. Imbibe the reviving
truth. Implore the Holy Spirit to impress it upon your heart. Let this pervade your whole soul, that there is forgiveness with God that he may be fearednot, that you are forgiventhat is a distinct question--but that there is such forgiveness revealed in the cross of Jesus Christ, that all are invited to partake of the blessing, and that God delighteth in mercy.
Proceed in the next place a single step further. Allow that POSSIBLY YOUR SINS MAY BE PARDONED, AND YOUR CASE RELIEVED.
I ask only this.
Admit that PERHAPS it may please God to turn and have compassion on you. This consideration will greatly support your alarmed and distracted heart. Say only with the Prophet Joel, Who knoweth if God will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him? Or with the penitent Ninevites, Who can tell i God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? In each of these instances the very possibility of deliverance excited some measure of hope. Be encou raged in the same manner. Let these reflections support your mind. Rest in them till faith is strengthened for a further effort. Cast yourself with this probability, with this incipient hope, at the feet of the Saviour. Say with Jacob in another case, Peradventure he will accept me; or with Esther, If I perish, I perish.
But why should the humble penitent hesi
tate to go still further? WHY SHOULD HE NOT CHERISH A FULLY ASSURED HOPE. OF BEING PARDONED AND ACCEPTED? What! has God so loved the world as to give his own Son to die for sinners, and will he spurn you from his feet? What! does he delight generally in mercy, and will he reject you? What! has he unfolded a marvellous scheme of redemption, issued unlimited offers of pardon, invited all to repent and turn to him, and will he not welcome you when you pant for his salvation? Surely such suspicions are dishonourable to the divine character, and are the effect of unbelief and temptation. Surely they can be calculated only to drive you to utter despair. Surely they come from the Tempter, who was a murderer from the beginning. Surely there never was a single instance of the God of mercy refusing to hear and answer prayer. Dismiss then such dejecting thoughts! Arise, penitent, and let me lead you to the footstool of salvation. Lift up your drooping head. See your heavenly Father looks upon you in love. His face is all benignity and grace. Confess before him your sins, plead his invitation, cast yourself on his mercy.
Hark! he says, Thy sins are forgiven thee; he bids thee go in peace; he assures thee that he is reconciled, he embraces and accepts and consoles thee! Believe the stupendous blessing. It may seem too great for you to receive, but it is not too great
for God to bestow. His mercy is his glory. He is beyond compare in his forgiveness, as in all his other benefits. Celebrate then his praises ; adore his matchless grace; exclaim in admiring gratitude, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for kim; yea the poor and needy from him that spoileth him? Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity—because he delighteth in mercy? The very sense you entertain of the value and necessity of the blessing; the holy wonder itself at pardoning mercy which fills your heart, is some evidence of your interest in it. Soon shall your faith be more confirmed. Soon shall you see that God has indeed had compassion on you. Soon shall you experience in your growing sanctification that he has subdued your iniquities; soon believe with joy that he has cast all your sins into the depths of the sea. Nor shall you be long ere you can contemplate as yours all the truth and mercy promised to the fathers from the days of old; and feel your interest in the covenant of grace with all its benefits and blessings. In the mean time, adore your Saviour; wait his pleasure; celebrate his praise; live to his tgbry; and commend to others his mercy. Honour him by a holy and humble life and temper; and exercise towards the miserable around you the forbearance you have