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displayed in two particulars, namely, in the glorification of every believer, and in the exaltation of the human nature in the person of Christ, to a height transcending that of sinless angels. That the Lord should spare, and even recover and bless a portion of our guilty race in this life is a miracle of mercy; but that He should recompense their poor services, and permit them to enter into his joy, and cause a portion at least of them to shine as the stars for ever and ever, is a mercy which
well be celebrated not with lute and harp merely, but with that most melodious of all instruments, in the estimation of Jehovah, a well tuned and grateful heart. I do not mean to
say that man's services empower him to claim reward ; but simply that grace bestows one. And though man might well be content to be as the angels, notwithstanding that saying of the Apostle, “ Know ye not that we shall judge angels,”—a saying which seems to imply that he shall be raised above them, yet the human nature of the Saviour, now exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, is crowned with glory and honor, exceeding that of the highest archangel; so that all the angels of God worship it, not with an unwilling mind, such as animated Haman when constrained to pay honor to the hated Mordecai, but with alacrity and cheerful. ness, rejoicing that He, who for the suffering of death was made a little lower than the angels, is now exalted so high above them, that unto Him every knee must bow, of things in heaven, and things on the earth, and things under the earth. And was it not merciful in Jehovah, even though the sins of mankind so grieved Him, that it repented Him that He had made them, not only to make all whom grace hath saved and restored as the angels that never sinned, but to exalt the human nature in the person of the Saviour far above them-far above angels, principalities, and powers, and every name that is named ?— Yes, not only has man cause to say,
“ The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy;" but also to add, “Thy mercy is great above the heavens: it endureth for ever."-As an improvement I would say,
1. Seek mercy. The Lord is merciful, and is sometimes found of them that seek him not, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus. This, however, is the exception: the rule is, “Seek the Lord : for ye shall find Him, and mercy with Him, when ye shall seek Him with all your heart.” But remember, dear brethren, there is only one way in which God can be found, as a God of mercy. I know that many lean upon the mercy of God, and lean upon it to their eternal ruin. They say in their hearts, “ The great God is merciful : therefore he will not punish sin.” But whilst I freely admit that God is merciful, I would remind such persons, that God has punished sin; and that it is simply because He hath punished sin that He now hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and compassion on whom He will have compassion. Yes, dear brethren, if God had not laid upon his dear Son, the iniquity of us all, --if He had not made him drain the cup of trembling to the dregs, mercy and truth could not have met together, God could not have been merciful to the sinner. It is only, then, when guilty and miserable man comes unto God by Jesus Christ, with a truly penitent and believing heart, that God can be merciful unto him, and bless him, and cause the light of his countenance to shine upon him. Have you, dear brethren, sought mercy in this way? If not, the wrath of God still abideth on you— you are yet in your sins. You are, however, yet in a world where mercy may be found. In hell, mercy is not known; but the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord. Seek mercy then-seek it with your whole heart-seek it in the all-prevailing name of Christ, and you who were not the people of God, shall become his people—you who had not obtained mercy, shall obtain mercy.
Exercise mercy. The disciple should be as his Lord, not in trials only, but in graces. If then the Lord delighteth in mercy, so also ought his followers. Be it your care, to keep this duty ever in view. Instead of cherishing a revengeful disposition towards those that have wronged or injured you, be merciful unto thembe ready to forgive them, not seven times merely, but seventy times seven-be anxious even to do them good, not that you may heap coals of fire on their heads, but that ye may be merciful even as your Father in heaven is merciful. Instead of turning away from him that is in want, like the good Samaritan, be ready to relieve his pressing necessities; and like Him who ever sought to speak a word in season to those who came unto Him, endeavour to pour the oil and wine of Gospel consolations into his soul. Thus will you be like your Father who is in heaven; for He is merciful-He causeth his sun to shine upon the evil and the good—He sendeth his rain upon the just and upon the unjust.
Lastly, extol mercy. The Lord commanded the recovered demoniac to tell unto his friends and neighbours the great things which God had done for him; and in like manner, He still requires every one that hath obtained mercy, to make known his mercy, that others may be encouraged to seek it.
Be mindful, then, of the will of God in this matter. Opportunities are never wanting to those that seek them; and though you may seem to speak in vain, your words are had in remembrance with God, and may prove, even to those who seem at the moment to listen to them with indifference, as seed corn cast on the waters, which is found after many days.
HEBREWS xii. 16, 17.
“ LEST THERE BE ANY FORNICATOR, OR PROFANE
PERSON, AS ESAU, WHO FOR ONE MORSEL OF MEAT SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT. FOR YE KNOW THAT AFTERWARD, WHEN HE WOULD HAVE INHERITED THE BLESSING, HE WAS REJECTED: FOR HE FOUND NO PLACE OF REPENTANCE, THOUGH HE SOUGHT IT CAREFULLY WITH TEARS."
This passage has been singularly misinterpreted by a divine of no inconsiderable eminence, lately deceased, who has based upon it a discourse, much admired by many, on unavailing repentance. That divine evidently understood the words of St. Paul to mean, that Esau, though a sincere penitent, found no acceptance with God, whereas they merely imply, that Esau found no place for a change of mind in his father Isaac, respecting the blessing which he had unconsciously bestowed on his brother Jacob, though he sought it carefully with tears. To say that real repentance is ever unavailing, or to affirm that grace will be withheld from those who carefully seek it, is clearly unscriptural : for the Son of God has not only said, “ Ask and ye shall have,” but he has solemnly declared, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” I grant, indeed, that persons may so ask, and so repent, as to reap no advantage, either from their prayer, or from their change of mind; for He with whom they have to do, is a Being unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid. They may, for example, ask without any earnest desire to have; and in such a case, may reasonably anticipate, that the saying, “ He filleth the hungry with good things, but the rich he sendeth empty away,” will be verified in their own case. They may also change their mind, and even their course, from motives which have no tendency to promote the divine glory,—from pure selfishness, or from a desire to escape impending suffering or apprehended loss; whilst their love of sin, and their disregard of God are unabated : thus proving that their repentance is a repentance to be repented of, rather than unto salvation. This was the case with the remarkable character whom St. Paul here brands as a fornicator and profane person, and to whose history, I purpose, with God's help, to call your attention on this occasion.
Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and the twin brother of Jacob, was the child of prayer. For nearly twenty years after their marriage, his parents were not blessed with any offspring; so that nothing but strong faith could have enabled Isaac to be confident, that the promise made to Abraham his father, namely, “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore," would be fulfilled in his own descendants. He had, it is true, the case of Abraham and Sarah, unto whom a child was given in their old
nor does he ever appear to have thought of that unlawful expedient, the multiplication of wives, to which his father had recourse. The dear bought experience of Abraham, and the persecution to which he himself had been subjected in his youth from Ishmael, the issue of his father's second, and unlawful marriage, would, no doubt, have a strong tendency to