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But I may this moment, if I please, become the friend and favourite of God." And he had no sooner uttered these words, than they both resolved upon quitting the world, that they might give up all the remainder of their days to religion.

Holy men in former ages did wonders in conquering the world and themselves; but we, unhappy degenerate drowsy creatures as we are, blush to hear that they did what we cannot or will not do. We are indeed inclined to disbelieve the facts, and rather choose to deny their virtues, than to confess our own indolence and cowardice.

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Ver. 1. Blessed is the man whose transgression is for

given and whose sin is covered.

Oh! the pure, the overflowing, the incomparably sweet fountain of scripture !

“ Hence light we draw, and fill the sacred cup*.”

Whereas the springs of philosophy in human affairs, are not very clear, and in divine they are quite turbid and muddy; which one of the greatest orators and philosophers among them all freely confesses. “ I think, says he, we are not only blind to true wisdom, but are very dull and slow of apprehension even in those things which seem to be discerned and understood t." Nor is this to be wondered at ; for there would be little difference between things human and divine, if the dim eye of our reason were sufficient to discover their secrets. One of the ancients excellently says,

66 If

you examine

* Hinc lucem haurire est et pocula sacra.

+ Mihi non modo ad sapientiam cæci videmur, sed ad ea ipsa, quæ aliqua ex parte cerni videantur, hebetes et obtusi. Sen.

things ever so accurately, you will never be able to discover them if God keeps them vailed *.

It would be a vain and ridiculous labour to light up a great number of lanthorns and torches, and go out and look for the sun in the night; but when the appointed hour of morning comes, he rises, as of his own accord, and freely manifests himself by his own lustre, to every beholder. The wisest of the heathens undertook to find out the supreme Being, and the supreme Good; but wandering through the devious ways of multiplied errors, they could attain to neither : Nor was it the least of their errors, that they sought them as two different things, when it is most certain that both are united in one: For it is the only and ultimate happiness of man to be united to that first and supreme Being and Good, from which he drew his original. But since there has so sad a distance and disagreement arisen between God and man, by our deplorable apostasy from him, there could not be the least hope of attaining that union, did not infinite goodness and mercy propose the full and free pardon of our offences : $o that the true determination of this grand question about happi. ness, is evidently that, Blessed and happy is that man whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered. Innocence was the first means of obtaining happiness ; which being once violated, the only plank that can save us after our shipwreck,

αν τα θεια κρύπτοντος θεά

* 'Αλλ' και


Μαθούς αν ' α παντ’ υπεξέλθους σκοπών, Soph.

is repentance and remission; which two things the whole scripture assures us, that the divine wisdom has connected, as with an adamantine band. And this Psalm which is now before us, is a signal declaration of it, which since it inculcates so grand a topic of religion, augiav dóžav, may well be stiled as it is Maschil, a lesson of instruction : For as St Au. gustine well observes, “ That is instruction indeed, which teaches us that man is not saved by the me. rit of his works, but by the grace of God*."

Blessed.] Or O! blessed man! or O! the feli. city of that man! and to denote the most entire supreme and perfect blessednesst. He only has attained to complete felicity, whose numerous debts are all remitted, though far from being able to pay them, he could not so much as reckon them up; and blessed is he that knows it, as the Proverb is, “ No man is happy but he who thinks himself sot."

The man whose iniquity is forgiven.] as the word is nesevi, it might be rendered, Blessed is the man who is eased of the heavy burden of his sin. A burden indeed too heavy for the strongest man upon earth ; a burden so dreadfully great, that God's angels are not able to stand under it; for many

of the chief of them were pressed down to hell by it,

* Qua intelligitur non meritis operum, sed Dei gratia hominem liberari.

+ As the elephant, to denote its vast bulk, is spoken of in the plural number, Behemoth.

# Non est beatus qui se non putat

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and can rise no more. But though no giant on earth or in heaven could bear it, a lamb subjected himself to it. But it was a lamb without blemish and without spot, burdened with no load of his own sin, nor stained with the least spot of pollution, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, who is himself God, is he ο αίρων την αμαρτίαν τε κόσμε, who takes away all the sins of the world, as one sin, taking the burden upon himself, he bears it and carries it away.

Covered.] That sinners may more clearly apprehend, and more easily and firmly believe a thing which seems so difficult to admit, as the free and full remission of sin ; it is painted out by various beautiful expressions and figures in the sacred Scriptures, washing, cleansing, blotting out, scattering like a cloud, entirely forgetting, casting into the bottom of the sea, and here by that of taking away and covering ; and by that phrase which explains both, of not imputing them, and this expression of covering them, is with great propriety added to the former phrase of lightening the sinner of the burden of them; and that there may be no fear of their returning again, or coming into sight; when God has not only taken the heavy load from our shoulders, but for ever hidden it from his own eyes, and the vail of mercy has taken it away; that great covering of divine love, which is large enough to overspread so many and so great of fences. Thus it does as it were turn away the penetrating eye of his justice, which the most

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