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"looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." They admire his excellences, and feel his goodness. They have seen him in the sacrifice of the cross; and on Calvary have complied with a demand so long resisted before: "My son, give me thy heart." There are many dear to them on earth, and more in heaven; but they can say, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee!" For though they do not love him perfectly, they love him supremely. There is no one they so fear to offend. There is no one whose favour they so long to enjoy: "His lovingkindness is better than life." Their eyes run down with tears because men keep not his law. They delight to speak good of his name, and recommend him to others; while they glory in the success of his cause; and holding themselves at his disposal, ask, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

It cannot be otherwise, if his word is the faithful word; for he has promised it. He has said to every believer, "I will surely do thee good. All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Here is the rule by which he has bound himself to act towards his people. And that his conduct has been conformable to these assurances even their enemies have been judges. They have frequently been so struck with the displays of his goodness, as inwardly to venerate the godly, and to commend their condition. "Verily, there is a reward for the righteous.'

II. HIS MERCY IS THE SOURCE OF ALL THE GOODNESS THEY EXPERIENCE. It is not necessary so set aside compulsion; for Deity can suffer no impression from external power: and what is constrained has no value in it. But the great opponent of mercy is merit: and for this, man, who is naturally as proud as he is poor, will always strive to find a place. And yet where will he find it? Only in the creed of ignorance, and presumption: not, I am sure, in the testimony of the Scriptures, or in the language of believers. They "look to the rock whence they were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence they were digged." They know that it was the mercy of God alone that brought them in the state which now attracts his regard, and inspired them with all those dispositions in which he delights: "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us; by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Nor is their consciousness of unworthiness confined to their natural condition; but since they have known Gol, or rather have been known With what pleasure do they look back, and of him, they see enough in their daily walk compare the words of his mouth with the and temper, in their non-improvement of works of his hands; "as we have heard, so means and privileges, yea, in their very du- have we seen, in the city of our God!" What ties, to convince them that mercy is the prin- Ebenezers have they reared as they passed ciple of God's conduct towards them. Hence, along; inscribing on each, "Hitherto hath as they are spared from year to year, they the Lord helped me!" How often, among exclaim, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we all their complaints of themselves, have they are not consumed, because his compassions looked up, and said; "Thou hast dealt well fail not." Hence, in their sufferings, they see with thy servant, O Lord!" Time would fail that they have no right to complain; but much me, to specify all the instances in which he reason to acknowledge under the severest has been used to deal mercifully with them. trials, "He has not dealt with us after our-He has been accustomed to appear for them sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniqui- in their temporal exigences; and though they ties." If they pray, it is with the sentiment have not had the miracle of the ravens, and of Daniel: "We do not present our suppli- the meal, they have had the mercy: "Their cations before thee for our righteousness, but bread has been given them, and their water for thy great mercies." If they hope, it is a has been sure; and he has blessed their bread

How amiable are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." Thus it is said, "All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed." But they themselves are the best judges of the Divine conduct towards them. They can judge spiritually; and see mercy in dispensations which may appear to the world as the effects of wrath.


What a character does Paul give of Onesiphorus; of his charity, and fortitude, and zeal; yet he prays, The Lord grant that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day!" Even he needed mercy, and would need it to the last, and then more than ever. And where is the man, however holy, that would think of " that day," and not sink into despair and horror, but for the prospect of mercy! "If thou, Lord shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand!"

III. THE LORD HAS BEEN ALWAYS ACCUSTOMED TO DEAL MERCIFULLY WITH THEM. It is not a single, casual, occasional exercise; but a well known and invariable dispensation, to which David refers: "Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.'




and their water."-He has been accustomed
to indulge them, peculiarly with his own pre-
sence, when creatures have failed them by
death, or weakness, or perfidy: so that they
could say,
"Nevertheless the Lord stood by
me: I am not alone, because the Father is
with me."-He has been accustomed to coun-
teract their fears, and surpass their expecta-
tions When they said in their haste, "I am
cut off from before his eyes;" he has "heard
the voice of their supplication, when they
cried unto him: at even-tide it has been light:
he has turned the shadow of death into the
morning." What appalled them in appre-
hension they endured with cheerfulness: "as
the sufferings abounded, the consolations"
more than counterbalanced them; and their
greatest gains sprang from their greatest
losses.-He has been accustomed to bear with
their ignorance and weakness; to "help their
infirmities;" to "uphold them with his free
Spirit;" to "show them his power and glory
in the sanctuary" to say to their souls, "I
am thy salvation." But where shall I stop?

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All his dealings with his people have been nothing but mercy. He was merciful to them when he frowned, as well as when he smiled. When he denied, as well as when he indulged. When he took away, as well as when he gave. What use ought we to make of this?


This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his trouble" They looked unto him, and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed."— He never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." But,


V. WE SHOULD BE ANXIOUS TO SECURE THE MERCY THAT IS PECULIAR TO THEM; and not be satisfied with his common kindness. “Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name."

God is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works. The sun is called his sun; and he makes it to shine upon the evil and upon the good; and sendeth his rain upon the just and upon the unjust. David had received from God a crown-and so had Pharaoh long before him. David had geniusso had Ahithophel, who hung himself. Natural talents and earthly possessions and enjoyments are common to the righteous and the wicked; and no man can infer the love or hatred of God from them-David prays for those benefits which are tokens for good and pledges of Divine friendship.

Again. He knew that as ordinary mercies were not distinguishing, neither were they satisfying. The greatest abundance of them cannot fill the void within; and tell the immortal mind to rove no more. There is no true peace nor joy but as we are able to say of the God of all grace, "Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.'


IV. HIS MERCY TOWARDS THEM SHOULD ENCOURAGE US TO IMPLORE MERCY FOR OURSELVES. "Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name." "I ask nothing but what thou hast been in the constant practice of giving. I come after millions, every one of whom has said, 'It is good for me to draw near to God. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.'


Beggars naturally love to go to a door where others have been successful, especially where none have ever been sent empty away. This, indeed, is never the case among men. No earthly benefactor, however disposed, can afford universal relief. But we have every thing to inspire our application at "a throne of grace." In what he has done through every age, we see his resources and his bounty. We see "the same Lord over all, and rich unto all that call upon him."-And we know that he is unchangeably the same. "His hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear." -And we know that all those who have been saved and blessed by him, had no more to recommend them to his regards than we have, but originally stood before him "wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."-We go a step further, and we say, that one end God had in view in showing

them mercy was to excite our application, and to pull up despair by the roots. And hence the characters of many of those who have found mercy. In acts of grace among men, the principal offenders are always excepted; and the reason is, not only because they are more deserving of punishment, but their pardon would be dangerous, by being so exemplary: but God has, in every age, called and saved some of the vilest of the vile; and so far from his wishing to conceal it, one of these ringleaders, in his name, says, "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." When convinced of sin, and feeling our desert, and urged to seek for the greatest of all blessings, from him whom we have offended and provoked; it is not a little encouragement we need. And have we not everlasting consolation and good hope through grace? Let us think of the gift of his dear Son. Let us remember the promises and invitations of the Gospel. Let us reflect upon the examples of his grace. Let us consider the invariableness of his regard to prayer


Yea, temporal blessings may even draw us astray, and become our sin and ruin. Hov many are there now in hell cursing their success in business, because it set their affections

on things below; their honour, because it flattered their pride; their plenty, because it fed their passions and lusts" The prosperity of fools shall destroy them."

that run the race that is set before them, and fight the good fight of faith. Therefore he will not expect, nor desire, the Divine blessing without prayer: for it has always been God's way to make his people sensible of their wants, and to give in answer to prayer. Therefore he will not expect nor desire to reach heaven without difficulties for his people have always had to deny themselves, and take up their cross. If they have not been chosen in the furnace of affliction, they have been purified. God had one Son without sin, but he never had one without sorrow: "he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." "Yes," says the suppliant before us, "secure me their everlasting portion, and I am willing to drink of the cup they drank of, and to be baptized with the baptism they were baptized with. I want no new, no bypath to glory. I am content to keep the King's high road. "Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that fear thy -I ask no more."


To which we may add, that these outward blessings, however good in themselves, are not durable. They are "the meat that perisheth." They are "the treasure that moth and rust can corrupt, and thieves break through and steal." They are "but for a moment." 66 "O give me," says the man likeminded with David, "give me the meat that endureth unto everlasting life. Give me the 'treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.' Tell me that the eternal God is my refuge, and that underneath are the everlasting arms.' What are the wants of my body to the necessities of my soul! Not only is every thing here going, but-I am going! I am a dying creature; I have nothing, if I have not a hope beyond the grave. I want pardon. I want holiness. I want the ear-namenests of the Spirit. I want a better country. There are those who feel a peace which passeth all understanding; and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

'Where is the shadow of that Rock
That from the sun defends thy flock?
Fain would I feed among thy sheep,
Among them rest, among them sleep.'

I conclude by observing, that with regard to some of you this prayer has been answered. You are not able, perhaps, to ascertain precisely how it was at first awakened in your bosom: but it was awakened; and made you to differ from others, and from yourselves. From that hour it has been the prevailing petition; nor has it been offered in vain-He has looked upon you, and been merciful unto you, as he useth to do unto those that love his name. Be not afraid to acknowledge it. Be humble, but be grateful; and say, to the praise and glory of his grace, "Thou hast

'Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name." "

Lastly. WE SHOULD BE CONTENT IF GOD DEALS WITH US AS HE HAS ALWAYS DEALT WITH HIS PEOPLE. While he could not be satisfied with any thing less than their por-given me the heritage of those that fear thy tion, David asks for nothing better; he implores no singular dispensation in his favour, no deviation from the accustomed methods of his grace. "Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.' This was the disposition of Paul: "if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." He did not prescribe, but submit. The end was every thing; the way he left, with a holy indifference, to God. And it is always a good proof that your convictions and desires are from the operation of the Spirit when you are willing to conform to God's order. What is this order? It is to dispense his blessings connectedly. It is never to justify without sanctifying; never to give a title to heaven without a meetness for it. Now the man that is divinely wrought upon will not expect, or desire the one, without the other. Therefore he will not expect or desire the blessing of God without obedience: because it is always God's way to connect the comforts of the Holy Ghost with the fear of the Lord; and, if his children transgress his laws, to visit their transgressions with a rod. Therefore he will neither expect nor desire his blessing without exertion: for it has always been God's way to crown only those


I hope some of you are beginning to make this prayer your own. The world does not appear to you now as it once did; your con"nexion with it is loosened, and you long to form an alliance with a better. You wish to be companions of them that fear God. And what should hinder you? They will receive you with delight; they are all saying, "Come with us, and we will do you good; for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel." "And I will receive you, and be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." If he is not with us, he is not far off; for "the Lord is nigh unto them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." But he is with you. It is he that has excited the desire you feel; and "He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

But what can we say to those who never yet in earnest made the prayer of David their own! In a little time, you must leave all your possessions and enjoyments, relations and friends, to enter an eternal world, and

to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. Then you will see the value of what you now despise. Then the mercy peculiar to his people will appear the one thing needful. Then the saved of the Lord will shout, "0 give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever!" While you will exclaim, O that we had prized that mercy, and sought after it when it was attainable!


Then, alas! it will be too late. But it is not too late at present. You are yet in the land of the living. With the Lord there is mercy; and with him there is plenteous redemption. Be prevailed upon to seek him while he may be found, and to call upon him while he is near.-You will not say, I know not how to seek him. Jesus is the way. Prayer is the breathing of desire. Even words are not necessary to inform Him who searches the heart, and knoweth what is the mind of the spirit. But you are furnished with words. Borrow language that has never been refused; avail yourselves of petitions which have been crowned with infinite success. Pray, with the prodigal, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before thee, and am not worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants." Pray, with the publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Pray, with sinking Peter, "Lord, save: I perish." Pray, with the king of Israel, "Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name."



The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.-John iv. 14.

it is the grace of God; it is the water of which our text speaks-"The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

What a complex character is here! How abased, and yet how glorious! How poor, and yet how rich! How dependent, and yet how all-sufficient!-Yes; by him who is now saying to the woman of Samaria, "Give me to drink," are all the regions of heaven peopled! All that are brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, acknowledge that he redeemed them. All that are saved, own that in him they have righteousness and strength. All that are replenished, whether living under the Law, or under the Gospel, Ir is a mark of true wisdom to value ob- look to him as the only source of their sup jects according to their real worth. It is child- plies, and exclaim, "Of his fulness have all ish, it is foolish, to be taken with toys and we received, and grace for grace." And be trifles. And yet who has not incurred this it remembered, that after all he has communireproach? How many things not only in-cated he remains the same. For his fulness vite, but, alas! engross our attention, which is not the light of a lamp, which, however are by no means essential, or even important large, shines, not far, and is soon extinguishto our welfare! We ought to be ashamed ed; but the light of the sun, which, after of the impression they make upon us. They shining for ages, and blessing so many myare unworthy of our hopes and fears; joys riads with his beams, shines with undiminishand sorrows and angels must blush to see ed vigour. His fulness is not the resource of what exertions and sacrifices rational and a vessel, which, however capacious, will by immortal beings make, in order to gain vani- frequency of application be soon exhausted; ty and vexation of spirit. but the fulness of a fountain, which, though always running, is always full.

In addition to this sufficiency, we may remark his appointment. He has not only a fulness to relieve all our wants, but he has it for this very purpose. “Having ascended up on high, he received gifts for men, even for the rebellious also." "Him hath God exalt

My dear hearers! many things are desirable, and some things are useful; "but one thing is needful," absolutely needful; needful to every character; needful in every condition and in every period; needful for life and needful for death; needful for time and needful for eternity. It is genuine religion;

Observe, I. ITS DONOR: "I shall give him." II. ITS RESIDENCE: "It shall be in him." III. ITS ACTIVITY: "a well of water springing up." IV. ITS TENDENCY: “into everlasting life."

I. And who is THE DONOR? Yonder poor man, who has not where to lay his head; who is relieved by the alms of widows; who is seen weary with his journey, and asking the refreshment of a cup of cold water! And does He profess to have the disposal of the blessings of salvation?-Yes; the water that "I shall give him."

And it is not profession only. Nothing disgraces a man more than his undertaking what he is unable to accomplish, and promising what he cannot bestow. But our Saviour raises no visionary expectations. He can more than realize every hope he excites. He is mighty to save. He is able to save to the uttermost. He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. He obtained eternal redemption for us; and, as the reward of his obedience unto death, he was invested with the whole dispensation of the Spirit: "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell."

ed with his right hand, to be a Prince and a-Especially in one so dear. It is indeed Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and painful to be under obligation to an enemy, forgiveness of sins." but not to a friend. To one we love, the burden of gratitude is a pleasant load. Saviour Jesus! we love thee above all-to Thee we owe all our salvation, and all our hopes. And we rejoice to think that through eternal ages we shall be bound to serve thee, and exclaim, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

II. ITS RESIDENCE. "The water that 1 shall give him, shall be in him."

The internal principle of religion is not to be opposed to external practice. Some tell us, as they are out of sight, that their hearts are good; though their lives are not quite what they ought to be. But a good heart will be accompanied and evinced by a good life: "a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good things." It is in vain to tell us of your experience; and refer us for proofs of your religion to a number of views and feelings beyond our reach

your religion is to be visible; your light is so to shine before men that they may sec your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We must also notice his disposition. In the gifts which God bestows upon his creatures, he has in view, not only the good of the receiver, but the welfare of others. Our talents, therefore, whatever be their nature or degree, are to be considered as so many obligations to usefulness. For instance-a man has wealth; but of this wealth he is the steward, and not the proprietor: he has it to feed the hungry; to clothe the naked; to instruct the ignorant; to spread the Scriptures; to send forth missionaries: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate"-But he is selfish and ungenerous: he refuses to give, or he gives with reluctance; while he expends his money in extravagance, or hoards it up in the miser's bag; and thus the wise and kind design of Providence is eluded. But donation falls in with the Saviour's disposition. He is fit to be intrusted with unsearchable riches. He has a heart to give-"his heart is made of tenderness; his bowels melt with love." He is in his element, as well as in his office, while he relieves the distressed. This ability to succour was "the joy set before him:" for this," he endured the cross, and despised the shame." He was willing that his soul should be made "a sacrifice for sin"-if he could "see the travail of his soul." Accordingly he was assured that his death would not be in vain; that his benevolence should be completely gratified: all nations being blessed in him, and all nations calling him blessed.

And did any, in the days of his flesh, address him in vain? Had one suppliant only been repulsed or sent empty away, the rejection would have been a source of despondency in every age of the world; we should have feared that our case resembled his. But what pretence has any one now to perish in despair; when he says, by his conduct as well as by his word, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out. Whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely!"

Yet, divine things must be known and felt before they can govern us. Christian experience, therefore, precedes Christian prac tice; and internal principle is essential to real godliness. Without this there will be no course of consistent, unvarying obedience; and if there was, yet there would be no value in it; for the action devoid of the motive is nothing. Here, therefore, God begins: he begins with the heart; and I admire the way he takes to secure holiness and good works.. To purify the streams he cleanses the fountain; and to make the fruit good he makes the tree good. You cannot gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles: you may, indeed, tie a cluster of grapes, or figs, to a thorn, or a thistle-but they do not look natural there-they do not live there: and both the ligature and the fruit will in time rot off. You may fasten feathers to a wing, and a wing to a bird: but the bird can only fly by wings growing out of his body, and feathers growing out of his wings. Surely a man is never so likely to avoid all sin as when he is mortified to it; or to obey God, as when he delights in his law after the inward man. The religion of some people is all external, and we may arrange them in four classes.

Here then, we see, to whom in all our necessities we are to betake ourselves. It is to Him, who is able, who is appointed, who is willing, who is delighted to supply us. And how much better is it to proclaim such a Source of relief as this, than to lead men to rely upon themselves!—And what, but pride, can make me revolt at such a doctrine? Why should I wish to be my own saviour any more than my own creator? Why am I not satisfied, in grace as well as in nature, to "live

The religion of the first depends on external occurrences. It may be compared to a stream produced by a storm, instead of being supplied by a spring. The man is seized with sickness, and is alarmed-he sends for

and move and have my being," in another? the minister: he prays; he resolves; he pro

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