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Now, it is very true that these motives mercy. Now what is mercy? Mercy, may be apprehended only by his in- of course, supposes that the person finite wisdom, and that those motives who receives it has no right to it. may be approved only by his infinite There is no meaning in saying you benevolence. And why? Because are bound to show mercy. We
may, we bave no wisdom to see them, and with great propriety of language, say, because we have no love to perform You are bound to give me my rightand to delight in them; but still, God you are bound to pay me my debtsees them all, and although now they you are bound to discharge my oblimay be unseen by us, they may be gation ; but it is incompatible with brought to light in heaven, and, the very essence of language, to say, perhaps, they are the perfect light you are bound to shew mercy. Why? of day to those spirits that are in Because mercy implies spontaneousglory. God, whenever he acts as a ness in its offer, and destitution of sovereign, acts perfectly—he is good rightful claim in the recipient of it. to all—he is unjust to none-he gives If that be true, we come to this conevery being in the universe his right.clusion, that if men now are saved by Why? because he must give himself mercy alone, and if mercy implies his right. He is benevolent and gra- the want of claim on the part of man, cious, and merciful, in the acceptation God might not have saved one soul, of the text. Why? Because he can and yet have been just. I wish this do this, without at all infringing the to be written on every mind. This is rights of his own throne, without at the impression, and the impression is all sullying the lustre of his eternal very natural to us in the present state perfections.
of being, that God is bound to show Now, respecting the sovereignty of mercy. Man foolishly says, what! God, allow me to observe, that the not kind! A parent not showing very perfections of the Deity qualify mercy! What is that to the point ? him to act as a sovereign. He needs If God had only a parental character, not the instruction and direction of there would be something in that the mind; he acts from his own spon- mode of reasoning; but the Parent of taneousness. What! can a Being of man is the Judge of man—the parentof infinite wisdom ask counsel of those man is the Lawgiver of man—the Pawhom he charges with folly? Can rent of man is the keeper of order the eternal Fountain of Light receive throughout the whole universe : and any accession of knowledge from it indicates a waut of benevolence those whose minds are comparatively | in a parent to show mercy to a perdark, and whose minds his own know- verse and foolish and angry child, ledge kindles? Certainly not; and thereby bringing blame on the whole God, having thus no external being family. When the benevolence of to counsel him—God, having the dis- Deity shines forth ; it treats man, as position to act us a sovereign, draws a man; and while he does this in his forth the excellence of his own cha- complex character as a righteous racter. As I have said, we may not judge, and likewise as a merciful see it now; but it will be seen. His Saviour, God might have left us, as very nature and being are guarantees he left angels, to perish. And what to us now, that all he does is right, is the declaration of the Bible respectand all he does is benevolent. ing them? God hurled them down to
Hence, I observe, in the second chains and darkness, reserved until place, that God might not have exer- the great day; and can any spirit in eised any sovereignty in the way of darkness say, I have been unkindly treated ? Not one ; they acknowledge, is a real exercise of sovereignty, and I loved this, I pursued this, I have of sovereignty alone, in the salvation brought this on myself, I have re- of man, is evident, not only from belled against the authority of heaven, scripture doctrines, but from scripture and thus I am deservedly punished. facts. Allow me to name a few; and
But, thirdly, in reference to the those few, I consider, will throw some sovereignty of God, I observe that it light on the whole subject. The chadoes real positive good. So that there racters shall be quite familiar. Take, is an actual increase of excellence for example, Manasseh, perhaps one and of happiness in the universe, on of the most unlikely crowned heads account of it. Suppose, for one mo- in Jerusalem to be a candidate for ment, that God had not exercised his heaven. He was religious and educasovereignty as he might have done ; ted; he had early instruction; butnotthere was nothing in his nature to withstanding this he opposed God, he bind him to act as a sovereign; but demolished his altars, he persecuted his in that he has done it, we observe, prophets, he actually set up an image that the consequence is, an actual in- in the house of God; filled the streets crease of real happiness and of real of Jerusalem with innocent blood, he excellence in the universe. There went on with madness to destruction, are more excellent characters in con- until, all at once, this man turns resequence of this; and as there are pentantly to the God whom he opmore excellent characters, there are posed, and whose altars he had demolikewise more contented and more lished, and sought for mercy. Please happy beings, in point of number, in to account for it. There are others the universe of God. It has been as familiar to your mind. The maleoften remarked, and, allow me to re- factors who had the honor of suffering iterate it now, what has sovereignty at the same time as our Saviour sufdone? Injury to no demon, injury to fered on the cross--we may naturally no mortal man ; good to all, because suppose in the beginning, though I God, when he promotes good, must would not carry on the supposition, aim at producing a good which will we may naturally suppose in the behave, ultimately and indirectly, a res- ginning that they were similarly situpect to the whole of his government. ated at their birth. This is a fact,
Fourthly, I observe, that while it both were criminals; this is a fact, does this good, it leaves the sinner both were detected: this is a fact, just where he wxs. Some men, as both were condemned ; this is a fact, the Apostle in the ninth of Romans both were crucified; this is a fact, intimates, quarrel very much with the both upon the cross reviled the Son sovereignty of God, which is well ; of God, who stood between them ; but why should this be the case? We and this is a fact, that one confessed ask the question again. Has it in- his crime, justifies the character of the jured any one? If that cannot be Lord Jesus, reproves his companion, proved, why should any one complain asks for mercy, and dies in the full against it? Angels in heaven do not; assurance of salvation. How is this but, in accordance with the benevo- to be accounted for? There is anlence of their nature, it is said, that other instance as familiar, and, perthey rejoice when one sinner is con- haps, more so still, I mean Saul of verted. The sinner is converted in Tarsus ; his character is known to us consequence, and on account, of the all. He was brought up at the foot exercise of sovereignty.
of Gamaliel, and so imbibed all the But, finally, we observe, that there | prejudices of the Jewish religion. He soon began to persecute Chris- Now, without advancing one argutianity; he was proof against argu- ment more, let me ask you simply, ments, against persuasions, and against do you think you have the resources entreaties; and he was mad in tramp- of salvation under your own control? ling on the peace of the church, and Here is another question—do you in opposing the counsel of heaven, as really think that God is bound to it appears afterwards. But we see save you? Is it your decided opinion the very same individual publishing that unless God brings you to heaven the Gospel, which he had himself op- he will act very inconsistently with posed with so much violence. Now, his own character? I have heard with where is the cause for it? For there horror, some say that they stand on must be causes for effects in the moral a higher basis than God, in conseworld, as well as in the physical quence of what they call the covenant world. There cannot be an effect of redemption, and that God is bound without a cause—there is the effect, to save them. Such theology is not what is the cause? The cause must to be fouud in the Bible. God made exist: this is a principle in morals a covenant, and he will accomplish as well as in physics. Sir Isaac the whole covenant. But what is the Newton founded his whole system on basis of the covenant? We come this. Here is the effect; it must have back to that; if we look to the desa cause ; and then does the cause ex- cription given to it by the prophet of ist or not? Here is a most astonish- Isaiah, he says; “ It is the loving ing effect, which has thrown light on kindness of God.” It is the loving the whole Christian dispensation, and kindness of God which is the great has written two-thirds of the New pillar on which the economy of reTestament! Here is a miracle of demption stands; and unless we are grace! Here is an effect! Show me led to seek the mercy of God, as the the cause! Was it the persuasion of means and the end of our salvation, friends ? No, they persuaded him we take decidedly hostile views of not to change his religion. Was it God. I should like to know what is the fear of his enemies? He threw the difference between this view of contempt upon them, and had a God, and some of the physical views thought of extirpating them all. Was which were maintained by philosoit the love of gain? Nothing but dark phers, saying, that God was bound to poverty, with a meagre countenance, do this thing, and bound to do another looked him in the face-nothing but thing, in the state of the universe, he the frown of his own companions- was bound to act by laws which he nothing but persecution-nothing but himself had made. the flames of martyrdom. What was My brethren, God is a Sovereign, it then? Methinks I hear him from the and I hesitate not, though I tremble throne of heaven, pouring forth his with awe when I say it, God might voice in reply to the question, as he this instant blot out the whole unionce said in this world, “ By the grace verse, and go back to his own eterof God I am what I am.” And is not nal solitude, in which he was, before that plainly the case? And that is not the earth was made. Pride in an a peculiar expression, you have it angel ruined him ; pride in man will throughout “ By the grace of God I ruin him too; and we have not yet am what I am ;” and pointing to his learned the nature of the Christian own wicked character, as a sinner, he system, unless we have learned to say adverts, again and again, and glories Grace, grace, grace," from beginin the grace of God.
a doctrine of grace, let me fear the seven days, you have sinned another goodness of the Lord; it becomes me to month, and another month ; you have fear eternally. “We having received sinned for three hundred and sixtya kingdom that cannot be moved ; let five days; and heaven knows it, you us have grace that we may worship know it, and you have not wept three God with reverence and godly fear, hundred and sixty-five times for sin ; for our God is a consuming fire.” you have not prayed fervently from
And let me conclude this subject, by the heart that God may save your saying, let US FEAR, THEN, BECAUSE soul three hundred and sixty-five OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS AWFULLY AUG- times. And oh, let me add, if this be MENTED. Our gratitude to God ought your situation, to-night, let it be borne to correspond to the character of the in mind, that there is a great probablessings which we have received. bility, as I intimated a little time ago, Our exertions for the good of others in discussing this subject, that you ought to correspond to the value of will die soon. Sinner, pause ! sinner, the blessings that we enjoy ; and the pause! God, I repeat it, is not bound account which we must give to God, to give you mercy when you like to at the last judgment, will precisely ask for it. Who, seeing a pit, would correspond with what we now possess.
“ Deliver me!” I never Soon, brethren, we must all stand saw a man in my life, with a few there; and oh, let me say—and I hope exceptions, who in dying became I say it with a degree of compassion not anxious for his soul. Now this is for those who are, perhaps, still this not the cry of love, it is the terrific very night, strangers to the gospel-cry of slavish fear. Is this the cry of if you are determined to go to perdi- a child to a father? No, it is the cry tion, which I hope is not the case, of a criminal, daring the frowns of you cannot do it without trampling his judge. Is this the cry of a soul on the highest attribute of divinity- that is anxious to ascend up to enjoy you cannot do it without spitting in heaven? No, but it is the cry of a the face of the Son of God—you can soul that dreads eternal torment. not do it without crucifying him afresh Brethren, let us ask for mercy while -you cannot do it without treading it may be liad ; God is near to-day, under foot the very blood which he he may not be to-morrow. Toshed. And oh ! let those remember morrow, you say ; to-morrow to read that do despite to the spirit of grace, our Bible-to-morrow to pray-toand do trample on the blood of the morrow to repent.—To-morrow you covenant, that there is nothing but an may have other work to do-toawful fury of indignation for them ; morrow you, perhaps, may have to and that they are treasuring up wrath stretch your limbs on your bed and against the last great day, the day of die — to-morrow you may, perhaps, the righteous judgment of God. You have to leave us, and appear before have sinned for one day, you have the tribunal of Christ-to-morrow sinned the next, and your sin increases you may be weeping in misery, or in, what may be termed, a compound singing in glory. — “ To-day, if ye ratio ; not only is there an increase of will hear his voice, harden not your sin, but to-day you have more motives hearts.” And oh! thou God of comto repent than you had yesterday, to- passion and love, send down thy morrow,
and so on for ever. So that if Spirit and melt the heart, that there a man thus continues to add sin to sin, may be new hearts, and that the how great a catalogue is there! You grace of Jesus may be magnified in have sinned one day, you have sinned | us, living and dying. Amen.
Isaiah, v. 12.-" The harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine are in their feasts ;
but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.”
If there be any thing that can add to rise from the grave with him, who is our wickedness in being insensible to “the resurrection and the life," and the tender mercies and loving kind- dwell forever with him in the mansions nesses of the Lord, it is the encourage- of never failing blessedness. From the ment of that insensibility at a time foundation of the world—from the when we are more peculiarly called casting forth from Eden of our disupon to remember them.
obedient ancestor, has this mountain Now, of all the possible events which of mercy stood alone, unshaken and an imagination the most brilliant unchanged, amidst the deluge of the ran conceive to be among the bless- earth, the ruin of empires, and the ings showered down from an offended furious but baffled assaults of the God to his rebellious creatures, there Prince of darkness. Alone and isois none, which the most impassioned lated, undiminished of one iota of its poetry can depict, or the deepest brightness, its glory, or its strength, philosophy discover, that will not be it shall stand amidst the breakings up for ever lost and forgotten in the stu- of a rent and shattered world: and pendous scheme—the glorious mani- while the shrieks of the damned shall festation of love, which brought down be rising above the tumult of destrucfrom on high, the only begotten of tion, there will be clinging to it then. the Father, to tabernacle in the flesh, The multitude who, in faith, are clingto suffer and to die—in order that we, ing to it now ; and who, with garredeemed and pardoned by the terri- ments purified in the blood of the ble sacrifice, might be rendered once Lamb, and hosannahs bursting forth more fit for the Paradise from which from their gladdened hearts, shall, our own wicked and apostate nature then, unscathed, unhurt, await the had driven us : that the dominion of promised summons that shall join Satan in our hearts, might be des- them for ever to their Lord! 0, troyed; and, our souls rescued from brethren, here was a love manifested the habitation of the fallen, we might for sinners !—a love of which sinners