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of such providence or providences. They were sent and managed by mighty power to do thee good. God himself hath joined himself to this chariot, yea, and so blessed it that it failed not to accomplish the thing for which it was sent.
CONDESCENSION OF GOD.
Notwithstanding there is such a revelation of God in his word, in the book of creatures, and in the book of providences, yet the scripture says, "Lo, these are parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him;" so great is God above all that we have read, heard, or seen of him, either in the Bible, in heaven, or earth, or sea, or what else is to be understood. But now that a poor mortal, a lump of sinful flesh, or, as the scripture phrase is, poor dust and ashes, should be in the favor, in the heart, and wrapped up in the compassions of such a God! O amazing; O astonishing consideration! And yet, "this God is our God for ever and ever, and he will be our guide even unto death."
MERCY OF GOD.
As God has mercies to bestow, and as he has designed to bestow them, so those mercies are no fragments or the leavings of others, but mercies that are full and complete to do for thee what thou wantest, wouldst have, or canst desire. As I may so say, God has his bags that were never yet untied, never yet broken up, but laid by him through a thousand generations for those that he commands to hope in his mercy.
I tell you, sirs, you must not trust your own apprehensions nor judgments of the mercy of God; you do not know how he can cause it to abound: that which seems to be short and shrunk up to you, he can draw out and cause to abound exceedingly. There is a breadth and length and depth and height therein, when God will
please to open it, that for its infiniteness can swallow up not only all thy sins, but all thy thoughts and imaginations, and that also can drown thee at last. "Now unto him that is able," as to mercy, "to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
This therefore is a wonderful thing, and shall be wondered at to all eternity, that the river of mercy, that at first did seem to be but ancle deep, should so rise and rise that at last it became "waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over." Ezek. 47:5.
GOD THE JUSTIFIER.
The first cause of justification before God dependeth upon the will of God, who will justify because he will; therefore the meritorious cause must also be of his own providing, else his will cannot herein be absolute; for if justification depend upon our personal performances, then not upon the will of God. He may not have mercy upon whom he will, but on whom man's righteousness will give him leave; but his will, not ours, must rule here, therefore his righteousness and his only. So then, men are justified from the curse in the sight of God, while sinners in themselves.
GLORY OF GOD IN REDEMPTION.
In redemption by the blood of Christ, God is said to abound towards us in all wisdom. Here we see the highest contradictions reconciled; here justice kisseth the sinner; here a man stands just in the sight of God, while confounded at his own pollutions; and here he that hath done no good, hath yet a sufficient righteousness, the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ."
The justice of God is here more seen than in punishing all the damned.
The mystery of God's will is here more seen than in hanging the earth upon nothing; while he condemneth Christ though righteous, and justifieth us though sinners, while he "maketh him to be sin for us, and us the righteousness of God in him."
The power of God is here more seen than in making heaven and earth; for, for one to bear and get the victory over sin when charged by the justice of an infinite Majesty, in so doing he shows the height of the highest power; for where sin by the law is charged, and that by God immediately, there an infinite Majesty opposeth, and that with the whole of his justice, holiness, and power; so then, he that is thus charged and engaged for the sin of the world, must not only be equal with God, but show it by overcoming that curse and judgment that by infinite justice is charged upon him for sin.
When angels and men had sinned, how did they fall and crumble before the anger of God! They had not power to withstand the terror, nor could there be worth found in their persons or doings to appease displeased justice. Here then is power seen: sin is a mighty thing; it crusheth all in pieces, save him whose Spirit is eternal. Heb. 9:14. Set Christ and his sufferings aside, and you neither see the evil of sin nor the displeasure of God against it; you see them not in their utmost. Jesus Christ made manifest his eternal power and godhead more by bearing and overcoming our sins, than in making or upholding the whole world. 1 Cor. 1: 24.
The love and mercy of God are more seen in and by this doctrine than any other way. Here is love, that God sent his Son-his darling-his Son that never offendedhis Son that was always his delight! Herein is love, that he sent him to save sinners-to save them by bearing their sins, by bearing their curse, by dying their death, and
by carrying their sorrows! Here is love, in that while we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly'
GOD A FATHER.
O how great, a task is it for a poor soul that comes, sensible of sin and the wrath of God, to say in faith but this one word, Father! I tell you, however hypocrites think, yet the Christian that is so indeed finds all the difficulty in this very thing; he cannot say God is his Father. O, saith he, I dare not call him Father. And hence it is that the Spirit must be sent into the hearts of God's people for this very thing, to cry Father; it being too great a work for any man to do knowingly and believingly without it. When I say knowingly, I mean knowing what it is to be a child of God and to be born again; and when I say believingly, I mean for the soul to believe, and that from good experience, that the work of grace is wrought in him. This is the right calling of God, Father; and not as many do, to say in a babbling way the Lord's prayer by heart. No, here is the life of prayer, when in or with the Spirit, a man being made sensible of sin and how to come to the Lord for mercy, he comes, I say, in the strength of the Spirit, and crieth, Father. That one word spoken in faith, is better than a thousand prayers in a formal, cold, lukewarm way.
Naturally the name of God is dreadful to us, especially when he is discovered to us by those names that declare his justice, holiness, power, and glory; but the word Father is a familiar word; it frighteth not the sinner, but rather inclineth his heart to love and be pleased with the remembrance of him. Hence Christ also, when he would have us to pray with godly boldness, put this word Father into our mouths, saying, "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven;" concluding thereby that in the familiarity which by such a word is intimated, the children of God
may take more boldness to pray for and ask great things. I myself have often found that when I can say but this word, Father, it doth me more good than when I call him by any other scripture name.
It is worth your noting, that to call God by his relative title was rare among the saints in Old Testament times; but now in New Testament times, he is called by no name so often as this, both by the Lord Jesus Christ himself and by the apostles afterwards. Indeed the Lord Jesus was he that first made this name common among the saints, and that taught them in their discourses, in their prayers, and in their writings, so much to use it; it being more pleasing to, and discovering more plainly our interest in God, than other expression. For by this one name we are made to understand that all our mercies are the offspring of God, and that we also who are called are his children by adoption.
FAITHFULNESS OF GOD.
Faithfulness in him that rules is that which makes Zion rejoice, because thereby the promises yield milk and honey. For now the faithful God, that keepeth covenant, performs to his church that which he told her he would. Wherefore our rivers shall run and our brooks yield honey and butter. Job 20:17.
Let this teach all God's people to expect, to look, and wait for good things from the throne. But O, methinks this throne out of which good comes like a river, who but would be a subject to it? who but would worship before it?
PRESENCE OF GOD.
God's presence is renewing, transforming, seasoning, sanctifying, commanding, sweetening, and lightening to the soul. Nothing like it in all the world: his presence · supplies all wants, heals all maladies, saves from all dangers; is life in death, heaven in hell, all in all.