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rows, reformations, religious duties and performances, religious joys and comforts: a looking wholly away from them, and trampling on the same, saying, with the prophet, We are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Proper views of ourselves, and the experience of what we are inherently in ourselves, as the subjects of all the sinfulness, corruption, and evil, contained in the first Adam's apostacy from the Lord, which we inherit as being in him, as our public head when he fell; will lead us to despise ourselves, to renounce ourselves, and to say as backsliding Israel here doth, Neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. Our salvation is the fruit of everlasting love; it is a system of grace, whereby all the covenant mercies of Godhead are magnified, revealed, and made known to the elect of mankind; and it is all suited to them as sinners. The Mediator, and head of the everlasting covenant, is most divinely fitted, and exactly suited, to each, and every individual of his believing ones. They are all of them members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. All the treasures of grace, and all the riches of mercy, are stored up in him. It hath pleased the Father that in him, as Mediator, should all fulness dwell. In the words of our text, these persons make these acknowledgments: In thee the fatherless findeth mercy. This is very
expressive and emphatical. It is to sinners in the uttermost need that Christ is a Saviour. And according to the divine procedure, he generally in his teachings by his Word and Spirit, makes such sensible of their exceeding sinfulness, and entirely lost and helpless condition. So that the words before us, not only contain their inward experience, but the very confession of their lips. We will no more trust in ourselves, or in any works of ours, we will betake ourselves to thy free grace alone. For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy:-and in thee only. The mercy of God, in Christ Jesus, suits the most desperate case which can be found out of hell. And whose sinful cases can be worse, than those of God's backsliding children? who, after having tasted that the Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, have cast off fear, and restrained prayer before God! yea, what is more tremendous, some who have had fellowship with the Lord, in his pardoning mercy; yet, through the influence of sin, and the deceit of their own hearts, have fallen again and again into the actual commission of constitutional evils. And this after having most solemnly bewailed themselves before the Lord over and over again, with the utmost sincerity. Such can never be recovered from these cases, or lifted up towards the Lord in faith and hope, but by free grace alone. And where shall we look for it, if we do not find it in these words? In thee the fa
therless findeth mercy. Which expressions are suited to point out the exceeding greatness of divine compassion. The fatherless need it. They are spoken of in the Scriptures, as having the eye and compassion of the Lord remarkably exercised towards them. Therefore the words are here used, to convey the idea of God's mercies to his people, in the worst cases they can possibly be in. Hence the Psalmist says, Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm ciii. 13, 14. When it is given us to apprehend Christ as most exactly suited to us, and the whole of our case of sin and misery, and to apprehend ourselves, just as we are, and feel and know ourselves to be, this brings us to converse with Christ, and close with him as sinners with a saviour. This leads us to say, Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God. In thee the fatherless findeth mercy. As there is no sin or sinner, can surpass the grace of Christ, so there is no sin or sinner for whom Christ died, but shall be the subject of Jehovah's pardoning grace and mercy. Neither shall there ever be any sort or kind of sin, be it backsliding, yea, let the same be increased as it may, but the pardoning mercy of God, and the blood of Christ, shall everlastingly exceed it, and bear it all down, and cover and blot it out: and the true manifestative knowledge of this, will
lead the Jews when they partake of it, to cry out, He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities, and will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. The Lord bless what hath been delivered. Amen.
HOSEA XIV, v. 4.
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
THE free grace of God, in the person and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one grand subject of the volume of divine inspiration. As most closely connected herewith, we have the heart of our heavenly Father opened unto us, in the declarations of his free, royal, and incomprehensible mercy. This as far surpasses our sins and sinfulness, as his self-existing Godhead, does our creature capacities; if it were not so, the revelation he has made of himself in Christ Jesus, would not suit our present exigencies: for sin is sin: we are the subjects of it: we have been the committers of the same, and we can never undo what we
have done. Yesterday can never be recalled; neither can we annihilate our past or present sinful acts. All things are naked and open unto the eyes of him, with whom we have to do. The pardoning mercy of God exceeds all the sin and sinfulness of the elect. The proclamation of the same, in the written word, goes beyond all their sin. The freeness and full expressions made use of by God himself, exceed all which could ever have entered into the mind of men or angels to have conceived. And it is only by the right knowledge of the same, that any poor sinner, brought to a real knowledge of himself, can renounce all self-dependance, and rest in the Lord alone, for everlasting life. Yet, there are none, let their professions of Christ be what they may, if they have not been brought under the mighty power, authority, and influence of the doctrine of free grace and pardoning mercy, but will be raising their objections against it, and will be full of slandering against those unto whom it is given to set forth the same. The one will be insisting on it to be dangerous to the souls of men, to be dwelling upon freeness of divine pardon, of all sorts and kinds of transgressions through the blood of the Lamb: that this is the way to encourage men in their sin, and not the way of bringing them out of their sins, to loathe, abhor and forsake them: that such doctrines are dangerous, and such preachers are to be suspected. Whereas the doctrine is ac