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thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? The beam or splinter in our own eye will be found too painful to allow of our curiously searching for the mote or dust in the eye of our brother. How severely does our Saviour reprove those who are censorious with respect to others. Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. If we study perfection under our Divine Teacher, we shall be low in our own eyes, and disposed to extenuate, rather than to magnify, the faults of others. And if, in a comparison of ourselves with others, there be a distinction imagined in our own favour, we shall be sensible that Divine grace alone has made us to differ from the vilest; and therefore we shall be ready to say, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory; for Thy mercy and for Thy truth's sake.^ This lesson Christianity teaches us, by setting before us a Divine model for our imitation, the perfection of which we cannot possibly reach; but at which the more we aim, in dependence on Divine grace, the more similarity to it shall we attain. In our Lord Jesus Christ we have a Teacher and an example worthy of our closest regard and attention. His instructions are brought to our view in His holy word, which He has revealed to us; and which He still explains to the hearts of His people by His Holy Spirit. And His example also has been set before us in the record of His holy life on earth, which has been written by His disciples and evangelists, under Divine inspiration. The more we learn of Him, and the more we imitate Him, the more happy and holy shall we be. May He by His grace enable us to sit at His feet for instruction; and in our lives and conduct to copy His bright example. Then we shall know the truth43 of God, and adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour,44 to our own comfort and to His glory.
42 Psalm cxv. 1.
We are to direct our attention, in the
Second place, To the exhortation contained in the text. It makes mention of one point in particular, in which the Divine example is proposed for our imitation. It says to the children of men, your Father is merciful. The word rendered merciful, describes one whose bowels
yearn with pity and compassion. This is the character of our heavenly Father. His bowels yearn with pity and compassion towards His sinful creatures, the children of men.
What a proof of it has He afforded in the gift of His beloved Son to become our Redeemer and Saviour. What compassion to His lost creatures was manifested in the gift of His only-begotten Son to assume the nature of man, in order that He might obey and suffer all that was needful for magnifying the law of God ; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.45 The mercy of God is the wonderful theme of the gospel. It proclaims that He delighteth in mercy ; 6 and that He is willing to extend it to all, who, being made sensible of their need of it, seek it in the way that He has appointed. We ought to dwell on this delightful theme with hearts overflowing with gratitude and love; while we read, He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ?:7
43 John viii, 32.
44 Titus ii. 10.
To this subject our attention is specially directed by the holy ordinance of the Lord's Supper, in which we commemorate the sufferings endured by the Saviour of the world, when He gave His soul to be an offering for sin, when He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities ; and poured out His soul unto death.49 With what humility and self-abasement should this reflection fill us, that sin, with which we are so deeply infected by nature, is so great an evil, that God could not pardon it, without an adequate reparation to the honour of His holy law. This could
45 Johnïïi. 16. 46 Mic. vii. 18. 47 Roin. viii. 32. 48 Isa.liii. 5,10,12.
not be made by fallen man, nor by any of the created intelligences which surround the throne of glory. None but the Son of God in human nature, Immanuel, God with us, God manifest in the flesh, could finish the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness. 49 No man could redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, that he should still live for ever and not see corruption.50 No angel of light could endure the wrath of God due to sin. For the angels that sinned are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Christ the Son of God alone was able to redeem us from the curse of the law, by being made a curse for us ; He alone was able to deliver us from the wrath to come; for He alone had power to lay down His life, and to take it again ,51 He alone could meritoriously die for our sins, and rise again by His own power for our justification. Let us ever commemorate His dying love and rising power with grateful hearts; and rejoice
and rejoice in the declaration which He has made, I am He that liveth, and was dead ; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Let us trust in His mercy, that our hearts may rejoice in His salvation.
49 Dan. ix. 24.
50 Psalm lxix. 7, 9. 51 John x. 18. 52 Rey. i. 13.
The Apostle John, having spoken of the love of God in the gift of His only-begotten Son to be our Redeemer, the propitiation for our sins; adds, Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.53 This coincides with the exhortation in the text: Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. If the mercy of God in Christ Jesus has reached our hearts, its powerful influence must be exhibited to His glory in our life and conduct. Whenever Divine mercy is manifested to the soul, it humbles the sinner before God. This is its invariable effect; so that it may safely be asserted, that the man who does not humbly implore Divine mercy, is not a partaker of it. The mercy of God vouchsafed to the soul, will always humble the sinner at the footstool of the throne of
grace. The reception of Divine mercy cuts off all selfrighteous dependencies, all pretence of justifying ourselves before God; so that the believer in Christ sees that he has no other hope or plea for pardon and salvation, but the sacrifice of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.5+ Having this ground of confidence, he draws nigh to God, being accepted in the Beloved, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,55 to receive pardoning mercy, that he may enjoy peace of conscience; and to
53 1 Jolin ji. 2. iv. ll. 54 John i. 29.
55 Ephesians i. 6, 7.