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it is but a reasonable service, for he hath given you more than you can give back to him ;* walk holily, steadily, cheerfully as becomes these mercies, do much for God who hath done so much for you ; let nothing discourage or disquiet your spirits, since you have mercies, sure mercies to lodge in your bosoms. Why should that soul be sad that enjoyeth an interest in the Father of consolations, the Purchaser of salvation, and comforting Spirit ? Sure mercies are calculated to create solid comfort and assurance for ever. O Christians, learn the lessons much inculcated, to walk worthy of your vocation and relation to God and his kingdom.t
5. Act as under obligation for these mercies. They cost Christ dear to purchase them, do not you think any thing too dear to do or endure for promoting or preserving of them; kindness is very endearing to a grateful heart; your pains cannot be spent to better purpose than in the cause of God; we must always be paying our debt, though we can never fully pay it, we must be behindhand with God, but let a soul under the sense of mercies spend and be spent for God. You sow not in a barren soil; as showers of mercy promise your fruitfulness, so an abundant crop of mercy will be your sure reward, and in your saddest seasons you shall have the richest harvest of mercy. If Christians knew what grapes of celestial Canaan they should taste in their wilderness sufferings for Christ, they would not be so afraid of them as they are. These mercies run most freely and sweetly when other streams run dry. Fear not sufferings, mercies will meet and support you.
6. Plead these mercies for your posterity; though you should leave your children thousands a-year, yet, these covenant mercies will be the best portion; you cannot ensure your estates to your heirs, but these are sure mercies; so that if you take hold of God's covenant, plead it, and live up to it, you shall have the benefit of these yourselves, and some, at least, of your children and successors shall enjoy the same mercies, for God will remember these unto a thousand generations : though he be not bound to every individual soul of your natural offspring, yet the Scripture fully shews that this is the surest way to obtain a portion for your children; tell God they are more his than yours, you are but nurses for his children; tell the Lord that you must die and leave them, but he lives for ever, and entreat him to be their loving, everlasting Father; tell him that though you leave them something in the world, yet that is neither adequate nor durable ; but these sure mercies will not fail them—and comfort your hearts for your house and family with the last words of David, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. O labour to transmit to future generations, your title to the favour of God, as the two tribes and a half did to future ages by their altar Ed.—Josh. xxii. 24, 28. *
* Rom. xii. 1. + Col. i. 10. Eph. iv. l. 1 Thess. ii. 12.
7. Breathe after a full possession of these sure mercies, they are from everlasting to everlasting; follow them to the spring in admiration and thankfulness, and follow this stream of covenant mercies to the ocean of eternity. Indeed, the streams are, in time, to the sons and daughters of men, but the origin is without a beginning in God's eternal thoughts of love, and the issue is without end in his everlasting embraces in heaven. O long to see the end : if these mercies be so sweet here, what will they be in heaven, in their proper element, as it were! O that blessed state, that paradise of pleasure, that joy of our Lord, Abraham's bosom, a house not made with hands, a city with out foundations,
* See 1 Chron. xxviii. 9.
a crown, a kingdom ! such things are the happy result of these sure mercies of David. Do these mercies bring forth such felicity ? O happy lot, that my soul hath an interest in these sure mercies ! but how long shall my soul be kept from the full possession of these mercies? when shall I come and appear before God ? how long shall I sojourn in Meshech, and be detained from my Father's plenteous table above? shall a captive long for his deliverance, and a young heir for his full inheritance ? and shall not my soul long to be with Christ above? shall my body be so weary, and hath not my soul more cause to be weary of its burden and absence from home ? shall creatures groan, and shall not I, much more, to be delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God ? * shall the Spirit and the bride say come, and shall not my soul that hears these things, echo, come ? shall he say, himself, I come quickly, and shall I not answer, Amen, even so come Lord Jesus ? f Come, Lord, I long to see the end of these wonders of grace; I much desire to enjoy those mercies which eye hath not seen, ear heard, or heart conceived, after another manner than here I am capable. Come, my God, I beseech thee shew me thy face; and because none can see thy face and live, let me die that I may see thy face, and be swallowed up in the ocean of mercy, whither these covenant mercies flow. Dear Lord, either come down to me, or take me up to thee; “ make haste my beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of spices. I
* Rom. viii. 19-23. + Rev. xxii. 17–20. # Song viïi. 14.
THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID ARE CALCULATED TO
ENCOURAGE BELIEVERS, AND TO EXCITE THEIR GRATITUDE.
VII. FROM the subject which has been discussed, encouragement, comfort and refreshment may be derived. Here is an abundant spring opened to revive all the heirs of promise ; but because I want room, and because much of that which hath been already delivered, tends this way, I shall rather improve it, to excite the people of God and heirs of promise to the great and delightful duty of thankfulness.
And here I might enlarge upon the nature, use, comfort and acceptance of the duty of praise in the account of God and men; but I must wave that, and only insist on some few particulars that concern the nature of these mercies, which may engage us to be thankful, which are these:
1. They are free mercies; they may be had without money or price, saith this prophet-free grace was the fountain, cause, and origin of these; he had mercy because he would have mercy; nothing moved his bowels of mercy on our part-free grace had no impulsive cause but itself. When you are to purchase these mercies, the price is fallen to just nothing—he gives liberally and upbraids not.* O what cause of thankfulness and admiration !
2. They are costly mercies. This doth not contra
* Quanti, O homines, profiteremini vos esse empturos, si salus æterna venderetur? ne si Pactolum quidem, qui totus aureo, ut est in fabulis fluit fluento, quis dederit, pro salute justum pretium numeraverit. Clem. Alex. Adm. ad Gentes.
dict the former—they are costly to Jesus Christ, but free to us ; they are purchased with the warmest blood in the veins of the Son of God ; yea, he thought his dearest heart blood well bestowed to purchase these sure mercies; he sees of the travail of his soul and is well satisfied; the fruits of his purchase are the joys of his heart ; he thinks these worth all his pains, pain and suffering ; God the Father is well pleased and accounts these mercies a valuable fruit of his son's purchaseand shall not we be thankful ?
3. They are extensive mercies, deep, high and broad, they have all the dimensions of greatness, Psalm xxxvi. 5, 6; these mercies can fetch up a drooping, despairing soul out of the grave, yea, out of hell—be the soul sunk as low as sin can depress it in this world, these mercies can recover it, and raise it out of the grave and pit of silence, and save to the uttermost.* O what a long arm of mercy hath been reached forth unto your troubled hearts in your low estate ! and doth not this deserve thankfulness?
4. They are designed mercies, purposely designed, aimed and intended to set forth the riches of grace the infinite contrivance of the blessed God, to magnify the riches of his love to sinners. It is true, God intended to set off his power, wisdom, justice and truth, but he hath magnified his mercy above all the rest of his name; it is beyond the greatest of his works, all the attributes of God are set very high, but mercy sits on the chief throne; he declares to angels and saints what he can do for wretched man. O advance free grace.
5. They are dignifying mercies. Such honour have
* Aquæ quo sunt profundiores, eo sunt puriores, quoniam et crassa et terrea materia in profundum depressa est hinc profunditatem aquarum bibere. Ezek. xxxiv. 18.