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ceffity of these, and cry to God, day and night, for ftrength to carry you to Chrift in the way of faith.

Secondly, As to thofe that have been longer under the hands of Christ, and yet are still in troubles, and cannot obtain peace, but their wounds bleed ftill, and all they hear in fermons, or do in the way of duty, will not bring them to reft; to fuch I only add two or three words for a close.

First, Confider whether you ever rightly closed with Christ fince your first awakening, and whether there be not fome way of fin, in which you still live: if fo, no wonder your wounds are kept open, and your fouls are ftrangers to peace.

Secondly, If you be confcious of no fuch flaw in the foundation, confider how much of this trouble may arife from your conftitution and natural temper, which being melancholy, will be doubtful and fufpicious; you may find it fo in other cafes of lefs moment, and be fure Satan will not be wanting to improve it.

Thirdly, Acquaint yourfelves more with the nature of true juftifying faith; a mistake in that hath prolonged the troubles of many if you look for it in no other act but affurance, you may eafily overlook it, as it lies, in the mean time, in your affiance or acceptance. A true and proper conception of saving faith would go far in the cure of many troubled fouls.

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Fourthly, Be more thankful to fhun fin, than to get yourselves clear of trouble it is fad to walk in darkness, but worse to lie under guilt. Say, Lord, I would rather be grieved myself, than be a grief to thy Spirit. O keep me from fin, how long foever thou keep me under forrow. Wait on God in the way of faith, and in a tender spirit towards fin, and thy wounds fhall be healed at laft by thy great Physician.

Thanks be to God for Jefus Christ.

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Containing the Second Motive to enforce the general Exhortation, from a fecond Title of CHRIST.

Luke i. 72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and remember his holy covenant.

HIS fcripture is part of Zechariah's prophecy, at the

fore

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runner of Chrift: They are fome of the first words he fpake af-
ter God had loofed his tongue, which, for a time, was struck
dumb for his unbelief. His tongue is now unbound, and at li-
berty to proclaim to all the world, the unfpeakable riches of
mercy through Jefus Chrift, in a fong of praife. Wherein note,

The mercy celebrated, viz. redemption by Chrift, ver. 68.
The defcription of Chrift by place and property, ver. 69.
The faithfulness of God in our redemption this way, ver. 70.
The benefit of being fo redeemed by Chrift, ver. 71.

The exact accomplishment of all the promises made to the fathers in fending Chrift, the mercy promised into the world, ver. 72. "To perform the mercy promised to our fathers," &c. In these words we find two parts, viz.

1. A mercy freely promiled.

2. The promifed mercy faithfully performed.

First, You have a mercy freely promifed, viz. by God the Father, from the beginning of the world, and often repeated and confirmed in feveral fucceeding ages, to the fathers, in his Covenant-tranfactions.

This mercy is Jefus Chrift, of whom he speaks in this prophecy; the fame which he ftiles "An horn of falvation in the

houfe of David," ver. 69.

The mercy of God in fcripture, is put either for,

1. His free favour to the creature. Or,

2. The effects and fruits of that favour.

It is put for the free and undeserved favour of God to the creature, and this favour of God may respect the creature two ways, either as undeferving, or as ill-deferving.

It respected innocent man, as undeferving for Adam could put no obligation upon his benefactor. It refpecteth fallen man, as ill-deferving. Innocent man could not merit favour, and fallen man did merit wrath: the favour or mercy of God to both is every way free; and that is the firft acceptation of the word mercy but then it is alfo taken for the effects and fruits of God's favour, and they are either

1. Principal and primary: or, 2. Subordinate and fecondary.

Of fecondary and fubordinate mercies, there are multitudes, both temporal, respecting the body, and spiritual, respecting the foul; but the principal and primary mercy is but one, and that is Chrift, the first-born of mercy; the capital mercy, the com prehenfive root-mercy, from whom are all other mercies; and therefore called by a fingular emphafis in my text, The mercy, ie the mercy of all mercies; without whom no drop of saving

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mercy can flow to any of the fons of men; and in whom are all the tender bowels of divine mercy yearning upon poor finners. The mercy, and the mercy promifed. The firft promife of Chrift was made to Adam, Gen. iii. 15. and was frequently renewed afterwards, to Abraham, to David, and, as the text (peaks, unto the fathers, in their respective generations.

Secondly, We find here alfo, the promised mercy faithfully performed: "To perform the mercy promited." What mercy foever the love of God engaged him to promife, the faithfulness of God stands engaged for the performance thereof. Chrift, the promised mercy, is not only performed, truly, but he is alfo performed, according to the promife in all the circumstances thereof, exactly. So he was promised to the fathers, and just fo performed to us their children: Hence the note is,

Doct. That Jefus Chrift, the mercy of mercies, was graciously promifed, and faithfully performed by God to his people. Three things are here to be opened:

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First, Why Christ is ftiled the mercy.
Secondly, What kind of mercy Chrift is to his people.
Thirdly, How this mercy was performed.

First, Chrift is the mercy, emphatically fo called; the peerlefs, invaluable, and matchlefs mercy: Because he is the prime fruit of the mercy of God to finners. The mercies of God are infinite; mercy gave the world, and us, our being; all our protections, provisions, and comforts, in this world, are the fruits of mercy, the free gifts of divine favour: But Chrift is the first and chief; all other mercies, compared with him, are but fruits from that root, and streams from that fountain of mercy; the very bowels of divine mercy are in Chrift, as in ver. 78. according to the tender mercies, or, as the Greek, the yearning bowels of the mercy of God.

Secondly, Chrift is the mercy, because all the mercy of God to finners, is difpenfed, and conveyed through Chrift to them, John i. 16. Col. ii. 3. Eph. iv. 7. Chrift is the medium of all divine communications, the channel of grace; through him are both the decurfus et recurfus gratiarum; the flows of mercy from God to us, and the returns of praise from us to God. Fond and vain, therefore, are all the expectations of mercy out of Chrift; no drop of faving mercy runs befide this channel.

Thirdly, Chrift is the mercy, because all inferior mercies derive both their nature, value, sweetness, and duration from Chrift, the fountain-mercy of all other mercies.

First, They derive their nature from Chrift; for out of him, thofe things which men call mercies, are rather traps, and fnares,

than mercies to them, Prov. i. 32. The time will come, when the rich, that are christless, will with, O that we had been poor! And nobles, that are not ennobled by the new birth, O that we had been among the low rank of men! All these things that pafs for valuable mercies, like cyphers, fignify much when fuch an important figure as Chrift ftands before them, elfe they fig nify nothing to any man's comfort or benefit.

Secondly, They derive their value, as well as nature, from Chrift: For how little, I pray you, doth it fignify to any man to be rich, honourable, politic, and fuccefsful in all his designs in the world, if, after all, he must lie down in hell?

Thirdly, All other mercies derive their fweetness from Christ, and are but infipid things without him. There is a twofold fweetness in things; one natural, another spiritual: Those that are out of Chrift can relish the firft, believers only relish both: They have the natural fweetness that is in mercy itself, and a fweetness fupernatural, from Chrift and the covenant, the way in which they receive them. Hence it is, that some men taste more fpiritual sweetness in their daily bread, than others do in the Lord's Supper; and the fame mercy, by this means, becomes a feast to foul and body at once.

Fourthly, All mercies have their duration, and perpetuity, from Chrift; all chriftless perfons hold their mercies upon the greatest contingencies, and terms of uncertainty; if they be con tinued during this life, that is all: There is not one drop of mer cy after death. But the mercies of the faints are continued to eternity; the end of their mercies on earth, is the beginning of their better mercies in heaven. There is a twofold end of mer. cies, one perfective, another deftructive; the death of the faints perfects and completes their mercies, the death of the wicked deftroys and cuts off their mercies: For thefe reafons, Christ is called the mercy.

Secondly, In the next place, let us enquire what manner of mercy Chrift is; and we fhall find many lovely, and tranfcendent properties to commend him to our fouls.

Firft, He is a free, and undeferved mercy, called upon that account, The gift of God, John iv. 10. And to fhew how free this gift was, God gave him to us when we were enemies, Rom. v. 8. Needs must that mercy be free, which is given, not only to the undeferving, but to the ill-deferving; the benevolence of God was the fole, impulfive cause of this gift, John iii. 16.

Secondly, Chrift is a full mercy, replenished with all that answers to the wishes, or wants of finners; in him, alone, is found whatever the juftice of an angry God requires for fatisfaction, or the

cy,

neceffities of fouls require for their fapply. Chrift is full of merboth extensively, and intenfively: in him are all kinds, and forts of mercies; and in him are the highest and most perfect degrees of mercy; "For it pleafed the Father, that in him thould "all fulness dwell," Col. i. 19.

Thirdly, Chrift is the feafonable mercy, given by the Father to us in due time, Rom. v. 6. In the fulaefs of time, Gal. iv. 4. a feasonable mercy in his exhibition to the world in general, and a feasonable mercy in his application to the foul in particular; the wifdom of God pitched upon the best time for his incarnation, and it takes the very propereft for his application. When a poor foul is diftreffed, loft, at its wits end, and ready to perish; then comes Chrift: All God's works are done in season, but none more feafonable than this great work of falvation by Christ.

Fourthly, Chrift is the neceffary mercy, there is an abfolute Beceffity of Jefus Chrift; hence in fcripture he is called the "bread of life," John vi. 48. he is bread to the hungry; he is the "water of life," John vii. 37. as cold water to the thirty foul. He is a random for captives, Mat. xx. 28. a garment to the naked, Rom. xiii. ult. Bread is not fo neceffary to the hungry, nor water to the thirty, nor a ranfom to the captive, nor a garment to the naked; as Chrift is to the foul of a finner: The breath of our nostrils, the life of our fouls, is in Jefus Chrift.

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Fifthly, Christ is a fountain-mercy, and all other mercies flow from him: A believer may fay with Chrift, "All my fprings are in thee;" from his merit, and from his fpirit, flow our redemption, juftification, fanctification, peace, joy in the Holy Ghoft, and bleffedness in the world to come: that day fhall there be a fountain opened, Zech. xiii. 1.

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Sixthly, Chrift is a fatisfying mercy; he that is full of Christ, can feel the want of nothing. "I defire to know nothing, "but Jefus Chrift, and, him crucified," 1 Cor. ii. 2. Christ bounds and terminates the vaft defires of the foul: He is the very fabbath of the foul. How hungry, empty, and straitned, on every fide, is the foul of man, in the abundance and fulness of all outward things, till it come to Chrift? the weary motions of a reflefs foul, like thole of a river, cannot be at rest till they pour themfelves into Chrift, the ocean of bleffednefs.

Seventhly, Chrift is a peculiar mercy, intended for, and applied to a remnant among men; fome would extend redemption as large as the world, but the gofpel limits it to thofe, only, that believe; and thofe believers are, upon that account, called

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