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Mic. vii. 18-20. Who is a God like unto thee, that par

doneth iniquity, and palleth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have conpassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities ; and thou wilt cajt all their fins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hajt sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

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EVERY work of God should lead our thoughts up to its great author

The prophet had prayed that the Jews might be restored to their own land

God had promised that he would grant them such a deliverance from Babylon as he had before given to their ancestors from Egypt

The prophet immediately elevates his thoughts from the deliverance to the author of it, and breaks forth in admiration of his mercy- ,

His devout acknowledginents lead us to consider

God's mercy

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I. In its rise

God has had at all times a “ chofen remnant" in the world

[They were very few in the days of Noah, or of Abraham

In our Lord's day they were but « little flock”-
The apostle's description of them is fiill as true as ever —
These, however, are esteemed as God's “heritaged”]
Towards these He exercises peculiar mercy

[He “passes by their tranfgreslions” with much longsuffering

Though he feels anger against them, “ he retains it not for ever

He“ pardons their iniquities,” giving them repentance unto life-]

In

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a Ver. 14

b Ver. 15--17.
c Pl. ciii. Lo

d Pf. xxxiii. 12

c Rom. xi. 5. f Pf. vii. 12.

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In so doing he is actuated only by his own love and mercy

[There is not any thing in his elect that can merit bis favour

But he “delighteth in mercy,” and would gladly exercise it towards all &

The iniquities of the wicked are a'burthen to him _
He waits to be gracious unto themi-
lle deliberates long before he calls them offk__
When he rejects them finally, he does it with reluctance'.

He is often fo troubled for the obitinate, that he refolves for his own fake to reclaim them by a fovereign exercise of almighty power

When he has prevailed on a finner, he exults for joy ---
And thus it is that he faves the rempant of his heritage

What reason then have they to exclaiın, “ Who is like unto thee?”-]

The mercy thus freely manifested is worthy of admiration also II. In its progress

God continues to act with astonishing forbearance towards them

[They are, alas ! too prone to back lide from himThey often provoke him to withdraw himself from them I..

But he leaves them not eternally to take the fruit of their misconduct

He “has compassion on them,” remembering they are but duft

He “ turns to them again" after hiding himself for a little feason'

He reltores to them the light of his countenance

llow interesting and endearing is this description of his claracter !

How must every saint adopt the church's confession: !-]

Ile pledges himself not only to pardon, but to “ fubdue their iniquities [He will not suffer fin to have dominion over them

He

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21.

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& Judgment is called “his frange work, his jl range act," IS. xxviii.

” Il Ezek. xxxii. 11. lai. i. 141.24. Amoş". 13. i lsai. XXX. 18.

k livf. vi. 4.

i Luke 1.3.41. on Jer, ill. 19.

" Zeph. ini. 17. See also the parables of the shepherd, the wonian, the father, Luke xv. o Itai. xlii. 25.

D Deut. XXXII. 20.

4 Pr. ciii. 14. "Ifai.liv. 7, S. Sve a striking declaration to this effect, 11. lvii

. 16-19.

t Rom. vi. 14. s Lam. iii, 22.

He hides bis face in order to em bitter fin to them
He turns to them again to encourage their opposition to it
He renews their strength when they are fainting
And gradually perfects in them the work he has begun-

Who can survey this progress of mercy, and not exclaim « Who?” &c.-]

But the full extent of God's mercy can only be seen III. In its consummation

Sin cleaves to the Lord's people as long as they are in the body-

Flence they have daily occasion for renewed forgiveness But soon their pardon shall be final and complete

[God overthrew the Egyptian host in the Red Sea« There was not so much as one of them left”. So will God “ caft bis people's fins into the sea ” He will cast them “all” without one single exception

And that “ into the depths” from whence they thall never rife

If the Ifraelites fo rejoiced in seeing their enemies dead on the shore, how will Christians in their final victory over fin!-]

God will fulfil to them his promises in their utmost extent

[The promises as made to Abraham and his feed were mercy"

The confirmation of them to Jacob and to the church was « truth"

They have been established with the sanction of an And these “promises” will be fulfilled “ to all the feed "

Soon will “ the head-stone be brought forth with shoutings," &c. *

How will every glorified foul then admire the divine

What energy will a fight of fins forgiven, of backNidings healed, of glory bestowed, give to the exclamation in the text!

May this view of the subject be realized in our perience !-] APPLICATION

[Let the careless confider against whom their fins are committed

6 oath”

mercy !

ex

Will

* Ifai. xl. 29-31,

* Zech. iv. 7.

Will they never pause, and exclaim, lite Jofeph ?

Let the penitent reflect on the descriptions given of God in Scriptureza

Nor let them judge of him by the dictates of fenfe 2*
Let the fincere believer apply to himself that congratulation
And let him adopt that triumphant boasi

y Gen. xxxix. 9. a Ifai. lv. 8, 9.

3 Neh. ix. 17. Ifai. lv. 7.
b Deut. xxxii. 29. 1:14: Ifai. xxv. 9.

XCVI.

THE CHARACTER, DUTY, ANU PRIVILEGE OF

CHRISTIANS.

Col. ji. 6, 7. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the

ii Lord, fo walk ye in him ; rooted and built up in hin, und stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

.

THE greatest joy of a faithful minister is to fee Iris people flourish

The apostles were eminent examples to us in this respecta

St. Paul was as folicitous for the welfare of those whom he had only heard of by report, as for those who had been converted by his ministry

Hence he took occafion from what they had atumined to urge them on to increaling watchfulness and affiduity I. The Christian's character

Chrift is the great gift of God to mankind

When we believe on him we are faid to receive hinn

The diftinguithing character of Christians is, that they have received hiin Freely

[The pride of our hearts makes us backward to accept God's offers-

2 St. Paul was no less comfor ied with the piety of lome, 2 Cor. vii. 4. than he was grieved with the want of it in others, Rom. i8. 2,

b Col. ii. 1, 5. Gal. iv. 19. See also 3 John 4.

a Jobni, 126,
John iv. 10.
VOL. 1.

Mv

price”

a

We would gladly earn, if possible, an interest in his favour But we must receive him “ without money, and without

, The Christian, from a sense of indigence, is willing to do this

He accepts this gift as the moft unworthy of mankind B-] Fully

Some would embrace his facrifice, and reject his lawsOthers would obey his commands, and fel alide his atonement

But the true Chriftian receives him alike in all his offices

He relies on him as “ Christ, Jesus, the Lord," i. e. as his prophet to teach, his priest to atone, and his king to govern-] Deliberately

[Many close with the offers of the gospel precipitatelyHence - in time of temptation they fall away But the true Christian has “ counted the cost".

He knows what he is to expect in a tempting, persecuting world

He is determined to follow his Lord on the terms prescribed --]

In consequence of his character he stands engaged to ferve God in a peculiar manner II. His duty

The Christian is often represented as a pilgrim

And Christ is his “way” to the country to which he is travelling

Agreeably to this idea his duty is to “walk in Christ” In conformity to him

[Believers are not at liberty to tread their former paths' The Lord Jesus is to be their pattern and example

His zeal for God should be the object of their constant imitation"

His love to them should be the measure of their love to others

In every difpofition they should firive to resemble him

Their obligation to this arifes from their character and profeffion Pa

In

f Ifai. lv. 1.
Matt. xvi. 24, 25. See also Matt. xiii. 46.
John xiv. 6.

• Mic. vi. 6, 7.

1 1 Pet. iv. 2.
• 1 John iii. 26.

& Eph. iii, 8.
i Heb. xi. 13.
mi Pet. ii. 21.
P i John ii. 6.

Jobn iv. 34

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