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« he removed our transgressions from us. Like as 66

father pitieth his children : so the Lord pitieth " them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame : 66 he remembereth that we are dust.” Pr. lxxxvi. 5. " For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to for“ give.” If. lv. 6. &c. “ Seek ye the Lord while “ he may be found, call ye upon him while he is

near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the “ unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him re" turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy

upon him, and to our God, for he will abun“ dantly pardon." Ez. xxxiii. 11. " As I live, " saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the « death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn " from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from “ your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house 66 of Israel ?” v. 14. &c. " When I say unto " the wicked, Thou shalt surely die: if he turn “ from his fin, and do that which is lawful and “ right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give

again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes " of life without committing iniquity; he thall

surely live, he shall not die. None of his fins " that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto 66 him : he hath done that which is lawful and

right, he shall surely live.” Ez. xviii. 31. &c. “ Caft away from you all your transgressions,

whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit; for why will ye “ die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure “ in the death of him that dieth, faith the Lord « God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”

66 die, 16 claimed 66 ful,

These passages certainly express more than a willingness, they discover a most earneft defire in the divine being, that finners should repent and be happy. I shall therefore close these quotations with only one more from Micah vii. 18. &c. " Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth 6 iniquity, and passeth 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 compassion

upon us : he will subdue our iniquities: and " thou wilt cast all their fins into the depth of the « sea."

The mercy of God appears not only in such full declarations as there, but likewise in the history of his conduct, as recorded in the Old Testament. As often as the Israelites repented, after suffering for their frequent apostacies, so often did they find mercy. This was the case, in a remarkable man. ner, with king Manasseh, and also with Ahab; nor was this grace confined to the Israelites. The inhabitants of Nineveh obtained the same favour on the same equitable terms; for upon Jonah's proclamation, that within forty days Nineveh should be destroyed, we read, Jonah iii, 5. &c. that « the people of Nineveh believed God, and pro

« claimed a fast, and put on fack-cloth, from the “ greatest of them even to the least of them; and " that the king of Nineveh arose from his throne, «6 and laid his robe from him, and covered him « with fack-cloth, and fat in afhes. And he s6 caused it to be proclaimed, and published “ through Nineveh, (by the decree of the king « and his nobles) saying, Let neither man nor beast, “ herd nor Aock, taste any thing; let them not « feed, nor drink water. But let man and beast “ be covered with fack-cloth, and cry mightily “ unto God: yea, let them turn every one from s his evil way, and from the violence that is in « his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and

repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, “ that we perith not? And God saw their works, "s that they turned from their evil way, and God “ repented of the evil that he had said that he would “ do unto them, and he did it not.” Jonah him. self was displeased that his prediction was not literally fulfilled; but the acknowledgement which he makes why he was unwilling to undertake the commiffion, is much to our present purpose, ch. iv. I. &c. " But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and “ he was very angry. And he prayed unto the “ Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not " this my saying, when I was yet in my country? " Therefore I Aled before unto Tarshish : for I “ knew that thou art a gracious God, and merci

ful, flow to anger, and of great kindness, and “ repentest three of the evil."

The above-mentioned declarations of mercy to the penitents were delivered under the Jewish dispenfation, and no perfon will imagine that they were restricted under the gospel. John the Baptist, the fore-runner of our Lord, our Lord himself, and alfo his apoftles, all opened their respective commisions with the doctrine of repentance for the remiffion of fins, Matt. iii. 1, “ In those days

came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilder“ ness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the “ kingdom of heaven is at hand: and v.

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance." Ch. iv, 17:

" From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It is not poflible to give a more striking or more beautiful illustration of the propitious nature of the divine being, than our Lord has done in the parable of the prodigal son, in which we are informed, Luke xv. 17. that as soon as this profligate youth came to himself, and to a resolution to return to his father, and to fay, “ Father, I have finned against heaven, and (6 before thee, and am no more worthy to be called " thy fon; that, when he was yet a great way off, « his father saw him, and had compassion, and « ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." The Lord's prayer, and the illustration of it by

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our Lord himself, Matt. vi. 14. allures us, that if we forgive men their trespasses, our heavenly father will also forgive us. The same doctrine is repeated and enforced by him in his parable of the king who took an account of his fervants, one of whom owed him ten thousand talents. Matt. xviii. 23.

The apostle Peter, at the close of his first fpeech, to a great multitude of Jews, who were affembled on the report of the first great miracle that was wrought after the ascension of our Lord, viz. the effufion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, says, Acts ii. 38. Repent, and be bap. “ tized every one of you, in the name of Jesus “ Christ, for the remiffion of sins." The same apostle, speaking of the divine being, says, 2 Pet.

“ God is not willing that any should “ perish, but that all thould come to repentance; and to quote no more, the apostle John says, i John i. 8. &c.

“ If we say that we have no fin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to “ forgive us our fins, and to cleanfe us from all " unrighteousness.”

jii. 9.


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