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thorough persuasion of the clemency of the offended party. On this account, probably, it is, that the declarations of the mercy of God, to the truly penitent, are so remarkably full and explicit in the scriptures, insomuch that no doubt can possibly remain with respect to it.

At the very time of the promulgation of the law of Moses, which is deemed to be the most rigorous of all the divine dispensations, when Moses waited in mount Sinai with the second tables of stone, immediately after that most aggravated offence of the Israelites in making the golden calf, the divine being makes the most folemn declaration of his mercy imaginabie, Ex. xxxiv. 5. &c. “And the 56 Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with “ him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. " And the Lord passed by before him, and pro“ clained, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful " and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in

goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thou" sands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and « fin.”

When Mofes foretels the final dispersion of the Israelites, in consequence of their idolatry, and other vices, he at the same time gives them the moft folemn assurances of the divine favour in case of their repentance. I shall quote two remarkable passages for this purpose, Deut. iv. 25. &c. “ When “ thou shalt beget children, and children's chil

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“ dren, and falt have remained long in the land, " and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven

image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do ; “ evil in the fight of the Lord thy God, to pro6 voke him to anger : I call heaven and earth to “ witness against you this day, that ye shall soon

utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to poffefsit: ye shall not prolong

your days upon it, but thall utterly be destroyed. " And the Lord thall scatter you among the na“ tions, and ye shall be left few in number among “ the heathen, whither the Lord fhall lead you. " And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's “hands, wood and stone, which neither fee, nor " hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence “ thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt “ find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart " and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribu“ lation, and all these things are come upon thee,

even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord " thy God, and thalt be obedient unto his voice : " (for the Lord thy God is a merciful God) he “ will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor

forget the covenant of thy fathers which he « sware unto them.” Deut. XXX. I. &c. “ And “ it shall come to pass when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, “ which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call “ them to mind, among all the nations whither the

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" Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return “ unto the Lord thy God, and thalt obey his voice « according to all that I command thee this day, " thou and thy children, with all thine heart and “ with all thy foul: that then the Lord thy God « will turn thy captivity, and have compassion “ upon thee, and will return and gather thee from “ all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath “ scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out « unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence « will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from “ thence will he fetch thee. And the Lord thy « God will bring thee into the land which thy fa. " thers poflefled, and thou shalt poffef; it, and he “ will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy « fathers.”

To these promises Daniel had recourfe, when he made confession and prayer to God on the behalf of Israel, during the Babylonith captivity, Dan. ix. 8. &c. " O Lord, to us belongeth cono fusion of face, to our kings; to our princes, « and to our fathers, because we have finncd « against thee. To the Lord our God belong « mercies and forgiveness, though we have re66 belled against him.” The prophet Jeremiah also repeats the same promises of mercy and restoration, with a view to the same case, Jer. iii. 12. &c.“ Go and proclaim these words toward the “ north, and say, Return, thou backsliding If

66 rael, “ racl, faith the Lord, and I will not cause mine

anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful, faith “ the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever... “ Turn, O backsliding children, faith the Lord, for I ain married unto you: and I will take

you " one of a city, and two of a family, and I will " bring you to Zion."

The declarations of divine mercy to penitent offenders, upon a great variety of occasions, in the course of the Jewish history, and especially in the book of Psalms, and of the prophets, who wrote in times of great degeneracy, are remarkably emphatical; and to give us the stronger foundation for our confidence in the divine mercy it is always represented as arising from himself only, from that love and compassion which is essential to his nature, and which he bears to all the works of his hands. We cannot so much as collect from any of them the most distant hint of its arising from any foreign confideration whatever ; and this was certainly a matter of the greatest consequence; since a suspicion of this kind would tend to beget an idea of uncertainty, or partiality in the distribution of the

divine mercy

Indeed every idea of this nature seems to be expressly excluded in several passages of scripture, as in that declaration which the divine being makes by the prophet Isaiah, xliii. 22. &c. “ Thou hast “ not called upon me, O Jacob, but thou hast

66 been He hath not dealt with us after our fins: ૮

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“ been weary of me, O Israel. - Thou haft made “ me to serve with thy fins, thou hast wearied me 66 with thine iniquities. I, even I am he that os blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, " and will not remember thy sins.” David, it is evident, had no other idea when he prayed for the forgiveness of his sins, Pf. xxv. 6. &c. “ member, O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy " loving kindnesses, for they have been ever of 6 old. Remember not the fins of my youth, nor

my transgressions ; according to thy mercy re“ member thou me, for thy goodness fake, O Lord. « Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will " he teach finners in the way. The meek will he “ guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach “ his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy << and truth, unto such as keep his covenant, and “ his testimonies. For thy name's Sake, O Lord, “ pardon mine iniquity: for it is great.”

On this most important and agreeable subject, I shall quote a few more passages, Pf. ciii. 8. &c. « The Lord is merciful and gracious, flow to an. ger,

and plenteous in mercy. He will not al“ ways chide: neither will he keep his anger for

nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. " For as the heaven is high above the earth : so “ great is his mercy towards them that fear him. “ As far as the east is from the west : so far hath


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