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" though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be “ made as white as snow; though they be red like "crimson, they shall be as wool;" which is a

-- Second illustration to this purpose; namely, the express declaration which he, who cannot lie, so often condescends to make to us in scripture: when the Almighty would give us a description of himself, the great characters of good, merciful, and long suffering, shine forth with

pe: culiar lustre; we find Moses, in the book of Exodus, frequently preferring this petition, “ Lord, “shew me thy glory;" and what is the answer to this, wherein does God himself make his chief glory to consist? why, in being “ the Lord, the “ Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffer. *ing, and abundant in goodness and truth, keepking mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity,

transgression, and sin. I am he that blotteth “out thy transgressions, and will remember thy ".sins no more; let the wicked man forsake his

way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, * and let him return unto the Lord, and he will

mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon :” and lest guilty sin. ners, from a consciousness of their repeated proYocations against him, should be tempted to call in question the goodness of God, he is graci:


ously pleased to confirm it even with an oath:

Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, “ I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, s but that the wicked turn from his way and “ live.” Hence, likewise, are those expressions of grief and reluctance to punish, when the sins of individuals, or of communities, have rendered judgments, general or particular, absolutely necessary: “ How shall I give thee up?" does the Almighty exclaim in the most affectionate manner over his ancient people, whose sins were grown to such a pitch as to equal, if not exceed, those of the sinful cities which God overthrew with fire and brimstone out of heaven-“ how

shall I give thee up, how shall I make thee, so whom I have loved and favoured so much, an “ eternal monument of my displeasure? Mine

heart is turned within me, my repentings are « kindled together; I will not execute the fierce“ ness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy - thee, for I am God, and not man, the Holy • One in the midst of thee.” But the strongest proof of this goodness and long-suffering is in the

Third place, that wonderful patience which God exercises toward sinners who reject the calls of the gospel. God has, in Christ Jesus, expressed the highest instance of goodness toward us, which even infinite goodness can discover; when by sin, we had ruined ourselves, rendered ourselves obnoxious to eternal wrath, and were wholly unable to make restitution and atonement, or to avert the curse, “ God pitied us in our low and « lost estate, and laid our help upon one mighty to save;" gave“ his only begotten and well be$ loved Son to the death for our sakes, that we “ might not perish, but have everlasting life;" and was it not reasonable to expect, that such a dispensation of mercy would have been embraced with eagerness, with rapture, by the wretched posterity of Adam, with as much joy as a pardon is received by a criminal under sentence of death, at the place of execution? What then remained upon the rejection of this scheme of salvation by a mediator, but the instant execution of the penalty of the broken law? “ These mine enemies “ that would not that I should reign over them,

bring them out and slay them before me;" what had the guilty criminal to expect," but a “ certain fearful looking for of judgment, and

fiery indignation to destroy God's adversaries?” But blessed be God, that “ his ways are not our

ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts!-that “ he is God and not man.” He is unwilling to take any denial, but “ stretches out his hands all

day long to a disobedient and gainsaying peo, "ple,” nay, day by day renews his offers_“Un“ to you, O man, I call, and my voice is to the sons s of men-how long will you be blind to your “ own most important, your eternal interests? “ how long will you embrace your own destrucs« tion? wherefore will you spend your money 5 for that which is not bread, and your labour « for that which satisfieth not? O foolish crea“tures and unwise! shall I call so often with

mercy, pardon, and happiness in my hand, and s call in vain-are you then obstinately resolved $c to perish, are you in love with your own ruin? “ O yet, bethink yourselves ere it be too late, be “ entreated by the bowels of mercy, to have pity

upon your own souls; behold, I am ready to receive

you as my dear children; I will heal your “ backslidings, I will love you freely, and my

anger shall be turned away from you.” Such, my friends, is the tender and affectionate language in which our offended God this day addresses his rebellious creatures, and though repeatedly refused, and repulsed, " he still waiteth “ to be gracious.” To conclude this head, have we not all an experimental proof of the goodness and forbearance of God, every one in his own particular case, were God as ready to punish us as we are to offend, what must have been our situation long before this time? “ It is of the

« Lord's mercy that we are not consumed ;" it is because “ his compassion faileth not,” that we are alive before him as at this day-he has invited us sometimes by mercies, sometimes by judgments, he now invites us by the terrors of the law, and by the allurements of the gospel; he has visited us year by year, not for three or four, but some of us for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, in expectation of fruit; and though in too many cases he has found none, yet all that time he has spared, pitied, and admitted to further trial. This is our situation at present, and many of us, God knows, may be in the last stage of our probation; the next visit may be of a very different nature: and does it not then highly concern each of us for himself, to put the question which the trembling disciples did upon another occasion, “ Lord, “ is it I: Lord, is it I?" O God, of thy infinite mercy forbid ; let the language of our hearts be,

through thy grace, we will henceforth devote “ ourselves to thee, we will this very instant em« brace the Saviour, and through his strength be “ stedfast and immovable, always abounding “ in the work of the Lord,” I now proceed to the


Third particular; namely, the justice and severity of God against the impenitent, in his com

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