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afford them space for repentance.--Farther; of all the characters of the Deity under which he is pleased to exhibit himself to us, there is none he seems so much to delight in, as that of good and merciful : indeed the whole united scheme of creation, providence, and redemption, is one continued display of these darling, these endearing attributes. When he would give us a description of himself, it is mercy, mercy in all the different ways of expression: “ The Lord, the Lord God, “ merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and “ abundant in goodness and truth ;"_“ Shew“ing mercy unto thousands, forgiving iniquity,

transgression, and sin.”-“ I am he that blot"teth out thy transgressions, and will remem“ ber thy sins no more." Add to all this, the express, the repeated declarations he so often condescends to make to this purpose:“ Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the un

righteous man his thoughts, and let him return “ unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon “ him, and to our God, for he will abundantly

pardon. The mountains shall depart, and the “ hills be removed, but my kindness shall not de

part from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath

mercy upon thee.”_"Can a woman forget * her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they

may forget, yet will not I forget thee.” And that there may be no room to doubt, he is graciously pleased to confirm it with an oath: “ Say “ unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I “ have no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; “ but that the wicked may turn from his way “ and live.Hence, likewise, those expressions of grief, and reluctance to punish when the sins of nations, or of individuals, have rendered

punishment absolutely necessary; as in that by the prophet Isaiah: “ Why should ye be stricken

any more? ye will revolt more and more;” or that tender and affectionate exclamation: How “ shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I de“ liver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as “ Adonah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? My “ heart is turned within me, my repentings are “ kindled together.” Surely, then, we have the greatest reason to conclude with the prophet; “ the Lord doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve “ the children of men.” I am to enquire

Secondly, into the more obvious causes and ends for which the Almighty lays his afflicting hand upon the children of men. The first and most obvious cause, and which indeed is the ground of all, is sin, “ that evil and abominable

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thing which the Lord hateth,” and cannot overlook even in those he loves best : that fatal leprosy has overspread the whole earth, wherever there are men, there also is guilt, and consequently there must be also punishment. “ Where

fore," then, “ doth a living man complain, a

man for the punishment of his sins ?” There is a peculiar beauty in that question in the context; it seems to imply this :-“ Dost thou still live, “ oh man! has God been so gracious as yet to

spare thee in spite of all thy provocations

against him? art thou still out of hell, the just « reward of all thy wickedness ? and darest thou " to murmur at a little temporary punishment, “ which, had strict justice been rendered thee, “ should have been infinite and eternal ? how "canst thou presume to complain, when God

punishes thee so much less than thy iniquities “ deserve ?” Most of the miseries which befal men, are, indeed, the natural, the necessary consequence of sin, though we do not consider the interposition of a righteous governor of the world. Thus we see remorse and beggary necessarily follow extravagance and prodigality. Intemperance is constantly accompanied with diseases. Infamy and contempt are the ordinary and natural reward of falsehood and fraud: these vices have in their own nature a tendency to produce such effects, were there no intelligent Being who presides over the universe, to inflict them, in the character of a just. judge so that, generally speaking, the miseries of men are the actual prodụctions of their own hands; in other cases, where the particular causę is not so evident, yet still the universal cause sufficiently manifests the wisdom and justice of the divine administration. As all have “sinned and come short of the glory of God," so all are liable to punishment, for that same God. who displays himself to us, under all the glorious titles of mercy and goodness, in order to check the presumption of sinners, subjoins to these that he “ will by no means clear the guilty.” That sin may not go unpunished, not only his enemies, but his dearest children must suffer, nay, his own eternal and well-beloved Son must bleed. What then art thou, O man! against whom the Almighty may have stretched out his hand, who darest to murmur at the dispensation? art thou still in thy sins, at enmity with thy Maker, bidding defiance to both his power and his goodness; and dost thou think it strange if enraged Omnipotence, if offended patience and mercy at last rise up against thee, and wound thee in thy conscience, thy person, or thy enjoyments, and make thee to feel something of that eternal vengeance thou despisest? How much

less is it than thou deservest, seeing thou art not yet finally miserable, seeing thou art yet an object of mercy. Or, art thou a child of God, an heir of eternal life and glory, having “fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before you," and is God making you to “ eat the bread and • drink the water of affliction?”. Ask thy heart, O believer, is there not a cause? Do not many remains of corruption still adhere to thy soul? dost thou not daily offend against light and against love, by carelessness and remissness in duty, by actual and frequent deviations from the paths of righteousness, into “ those ways, where“ in destroyers go?"-Think then on the dreadful cause of all thy sufferings, and of all the misery that is in the world, and marvel not if offended holiness and love should sometimes make thee to feel how evil and bitter a thing it is to depart from the Lord. Remember, at the same time, that it is the express will and appointment of your heavenly Father, that “ through manifold tribu“ lations ye should enter into the kingdom of 6 God;" and for your comfort in tribulation, rest assured that the “ light afflictions which are but

for a moment, are working for you a far more “ exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Adore the wisdom, the justice, nay, the mercy of the severest dispensations of Providence toward thee,

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