these univerfal declarations of mercy? On what ground fhouldst thou judge thy felf excluded, when a Manaffeh, a Saul, and the finners of Jerufalem have been accepted? "He that thinketh his fins more or greater "than the mercies of GOD, muft think that "there may be more evil in the creature than "there is goodness in GOD."" Away with fuch an imagination. Let nobler and more delightful fentiments poffefs thy breast. Look upon thy fins, to be truly humble on the account of them: but think on the mercies of GOD, on his manifold mercies, which are great, that thy hope in them may abound. While the tears of godly forrow flow, let tears of joy mingle with them, of joy in the thought that your fins will be forgiven. Another inftruction arifing from this fubject is, Secondly, That we be merciful, as God is merciful. This leffon ought to come with great weight to our minds: for it is the leffon, which CHRIST himself hath taught us to draw from this fubject Nay he hath made the exercise of a forgiving fpirit the ground and condition of our obtaining forgiveness.

" If

Archbishop Tillotson.





ye forgive men their trefpaffes, your hea"venly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither " will your Father forgive your trefpaffes." How happy, how confoling is it, that "GOD is merciful and gracious, long-fuf'fering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, tranfgreffion, and fin." All our hopes, our falvation, are involved in this, his name. Here is our refuge under a fense of guilt: here is our fecurity against deserved punishment. Feeling as we must, if we be in any degree fenfible of our true character, our need of the divine pardon; indebted, as we are, to God's tender mercies, fhall we indulge in an unrelenting temper? Shall we withhold from others that comfort and happiness, which our heavenly Father is fo willing to communicate to us? If it be an excellence of the divine nature to be merciful, can it be otherwise than a glory to ours? How can we presume to implore the forgiveness of heaven, which we ourselves, deny to men? The offences committed against ourselves bear no proportion, in weight or

Matt. vi. 14, 15.

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number, to those which we have committed against GoD: no more proportion, to borrow the expreffive comparison of our LORD's parable, that an hundred pence to ten thousand talents.

Yet how high do we suffer our resentments to rife! how long do we permit them to last! Every little foible is heightened into a great crime every crime is confidered as unpardonable. With great difficulty are we brought to forgive an offending brother; fcarcely are we prevailed upon to admit an apology for him. Who would think that the irreconcilable brother and neighbour, or the implacable parent, had any faith in the mercies of GOD, or any expectations from them? In fuch a state of mind, what expectations hath either a right to entertain? The words of the apostle carry great terror in them to fuch. "He "fhall have judgment without mercy, who "hath fhewed no mercy." Awful are the words of CHRIST: "with what measure ye "mete, it shall be measured to you again." These denunciations should fink deep into our minds. He cannot be in a right frame of


P James ii. 13.

9 Matt. vii. 2.

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fpirit, whose heart requireth to be awakened and fubdued by these alarming declarations. The ingenuous mind will be sweetly drawn and allured to the exercife of forgiveness by the contemplation of the divine mercies. The joyful proclamation in the text, while it kindles hope in his bofom, will gently constrain him to be, in his own sphere," merciful and "gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodnefs and truth."

Laftly, let us cultivate, in our hearts, an admiring, grateful fenfe of the divine clemency and mercy. It is a moft amiable, pleasing idea of GOD which the text exhibits. The counfels of divine wisdom are wonderful: the effects of the divine power are grand and fublime: awful is the juftice of GOD: holy and reverend is his character, as the LORD and Judge of the world. But the Lord GOD, "merciful and gracious, flow to anger, and "plenteous in mercy," is a name that invites our contemplation, and inspires us with love and joy. Our earth, and the manners of men, fet before us nothing to be compared with the loving-kindnefs of GOD, which is exceedingly great towards us.

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"The ways of GOD are not as our ways, "nor his thoughts as our thoughts: but as "the heavens are high above the earth, so are "his ways above our ways, and his thoughts "above our thoughts.' His mercy is great "above the heavens." He freely pardoneth fin. He forgiveth our innumerable offences. He earnestly defireth the converfion of the finner; He foliciteth our repentance, and befeecheth us to be reconciled. He hath pursued various measures for the recovery and salvation of mankind. He hath fent CHRIST JESUS to accomplish his merciful purposes, and spared not his beloved Son; but gave him up to "redeem us from all iniquity," and to bring us within the exercife of his forgiving mercy.

How excellent is this loving-kindness! How precious are the thoughts of GOD towards us! Reflecting upon this mercy, can you otherwise than admire it? Admiring it, do ye not feel a strong impulse to extol and praise it? It is furely the burden of your grateful fongs, the theme to which you tune your nobleft anthems. Let us call upon one another to magnify the mercy of GOD. Let

Ifaiah lv. 8, 9.

s Pfalm cviii. 4.

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