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mighty,' He has a supreme and indefeasible right over all creatures and things. He, who made the law and enacted the penalty, may, if He please, and it be consistent with His own glory, dispense with the obligation to punishment, restore the rebel to His favor, and reinstate him in every privilege. The creditor only has power to cancel a bond. Blessed be His name! He, to whom we owe ten thousand talents, with His own hand tears the hand-writing that is against us.* That God, against whose supreme authority our rebellions have been pointed, Himself proclaims our pardon. Very remarkable are the consolatory words, which He speaks by His prophet, . I, even I am He that blotteth out thy • transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.'t
A conscious sinner, so soon as he hears the intimation of forgiveness, will be led to inquire, how can God absolve a wretch like me, without exposing His own glorious attributes of holiness and justice to an impeachment ? And surely it might be expected that ten thousand such guilty worms, as I am, should be left to perish, rather than that a stain should be affixed to the character of the ever blessed God. Must not His justice find satisfaction ? Must not the dishonor done to His holy law by my transgressions be re
paired ? Must He not be just, as well as merciful, in all his acts ? Such inquiries must be acceptable to the Searcher of all hearts, since they manifest an enlightened mind, and a concern for His glory. Blessed be God, we are not left to our own conjectures for an answer to them : for, while me are assured that without shedding • of blood there is no remission ;* we are also informed by our church from the word of God, that He is the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ. Here mercy and truth meet together ; righteousness and peace kiss each other.'t In the covenant of grace provision is made for the honor of every attribute of Deity; so that God, considered as the Father of our Lord Je• sus Christ can be · just,' and at the same time • the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. He • is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
* Hebr. ix. 22. + Ps. LXXXV. 10. "When Cbrist appeared in our nature the * promise was fulfilled, and truth sprang out of the earth. And now righteousness, looking down from Heaven, beheld in him eve ery thing that she required ; an undefiled birth, an holy life, an innocent death, a spirit and a mouth without guile, a soul and a body without sin. She saw, and was satisfied, and returned to • earth. Thus all the four parties met again in perfect harmony : . truth ran to mercy, and embraced her. Righteousness to peace, and kissed her. And this could only happen at the birth of Jesus, in whom the tender mercy of our God visited us, and who is • the truth ; who is made unto us righteousness, and is our peace. • Luke i. 78. John xiv. 6. 1 Cor. i. 30. Eph. ii. 14.'----Bishop Horne's Comment on the Psalms.
cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The only begotten Son of God has paid the utmost farthing of our debt. Forasmuch as the children of God are o partakers of flesh and blood, He also took 6 part of the same;' that, as our elder brother, He might restore them to the family of heaven. Through our relation to Him, His Father is become our Father. Let the scrupulosity of the sinner's conscience be ever so great ; though his mind be tumultuously agitated, like the ocean in a storm, this view of absolution is enough to remove every doubt, and reduce the tempest in his bosom to a perfect calm. O what ample provision does the gospel make for our security from condemnation, and for our comfort in a heartfelt persuasion of it! Well might Jehovah say by His prophet, · Behold I lay in Zion for a foun
dation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner• stone, a sure foundation ; he that believeth shall • not make haste.'* This is a basis, on which too much weight cannot be laid. 0 with what feelings of heart should the sinner receive the message, which the minister brings to his ears, since it is derived from “ the Father of our Lord • Jesus Christ ! Surely the language of every
* Isai. xxviii. 16. comp. 1 Pet. ii. 6. x977°83 shall not hurry hither and thither, as persons in perplexity, shall not be confounded.'
penitent soul must be, so soon as his ears have welcomed the joyful tidings, “what shall I ren« der unto the Lord for all His benefits towards • me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.'t
Lest the conscience of a sinner should still be distressed through fear of a mistake, and apprehension of its consequences in a matter of such high and everlasting importance, a most confirming declaration is added ; that God desireth
not the death of a sinner, but rather that he • should turn from his wickedness and live.' This is a quotation from the word of God by the prophet Ezekiel.* Mercy is the darling attribute of God, in which he seems most to delight. He is said by David to be full of compassion. When Moses desired to behold the Divine glory, memorable is the answer that was given him : • I will make,' not all my power, my holiness, my justice, but all my goodness to • pass before thee ; and I will proclaim the name • of the Lord before thee, the LORD, the LORD • God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and • abundant in goodness and truth.'t It may be asked, what is it that excites Divine compassion? This inquiry may be resolved in one word; it is
+ Psa. cxvi. 12, 13.
misery, We esteem, we love our rich and
prosperous fellow-creatures, if there be any thing in them which challenges our esteem and love; but we do not pity them. Our compassion is reserved for those, who are in trouble, sorrow, need, « sickness, or some other adversity.' The great Author of all being loves His angels, and the • spirits of just men made perfect ;' but He does not pity them, because they have no miseries to call His compassion forth. Men therefore, considered as fallen and miserable, are the objects of this Divine attribute. Let us employ a moment in contemplating the present state of man, as rendering him the object of Divine commiseration.-He is such, if considered with respect to his bodily miseries. Many, very many are the distresses of human nature, even of an external kind. Sin has introduced diseases, dangers, and wants without number. Well might Seth call his first-born son by a name expressive of our present sad condition.* It might be supposed,
* Gen. iv. 26. Min a man, thus called from the infirm, ' wretched state, into which he fell by sin. This the believing • Seth ackaowledged in the name of his first-born. Comp. Job "ir. 2, and xv. 14. Ps. viii. 4, and ix. 19, 20, Isa. li. 7. In Gen. sv. 1, 2, we read, “ in the day that God created man, mota
in the likeness of God made He him: male and female created • He them, and called their name TN Adam in the day when
they-were created.". This pame importing their being created * in the likeness of God, as to holiness, happiness, and immortali.