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Evil way, then he repented him of the Evil that he bad said he would do unto them, and he did it not.

Nay, but it is not any turning unto God, that will fuffice neither : We must turn * even unto him, and with all our of Heart : * Veraciter, inWords very Emphatical, and which iegraliter. Lyr. offer to us two great Conditions, which mercer. are absolutely necessary to render our

t Revera, Ex Conversion every way such as it ought mulaté. Drus.

animo, mon fito be.' First, That it must be hearty serio

ac bona fiand sincere : There must be nothing of de. Grot. the Hypocrite mix'd with it ; our Souls must go along with our outward Performances; and these penitential appearances be the true Declarations of that real, inward sorrow, which we feel in our Hearts for our Offences. For God is not a Man, that he should be mocked. Psal. xliv. 21. He sees into our very Souls, and knows iChron xxviii the secrets of all the Children of Men, 9. And Secondly, That it must be intire, Rom. viii. 27. and without reserve : As we must be forry for every Sin we have already committed, so we must resolve against ever committing any for the time to come ; For God is of purer

Eyes than to behold the least Iniquity; Habı i. 13. and if our Repentance be fincere, so Shall we be too. The same Piety which moves us to hate any Evil, will equally fill us with an Aversion against all. And if we desire to continue but in one offence, it is because that we do truly repent of

So that now then if we will answer the design of this day; if we will render our Fast such as the Lord has chosen, and has promised to reward with the Blessing's both of this life, and of that which is to come, we must not think it enough that we comply

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with the outward Ceremonies and Thew of Repena tance, but we must indeed resolve to bring forth the Fruits of it. Whilst we address our selves to God for Pardon, we must take heed to dispofe our Souls in such a manner, that we may be fit to receive it.

And if we thus improve the great Solemnity of this day, we shall not fail to meet with a favourable

acceptance at the Throne of Grace, Joel it. 18. God will be jealous for his land and pity

his People : He will perfect the great Deliverance he has begun for us, and once more

render us the fear and terror of all Deut. ii. 25 our Enemies round about us. Our

Faith, which has so often triumph'd as ver all the Arguments of its Adversaries, shall now no less triumph over all their black Designs to root it out, and to destroy it; and shew to all the World, that though for our Tryal God may sometimes permit the Winds to blow, and the Floods to rise, and the Storms to beat against our Church, yet has he

. . founded it on that Rock that shall never Matth.xvj.18. fail; Nor shall the gates of Hell, either

the Power of France, or the Cunning of the Jefuit, or the Malice of Both, ever be able to prevail against it.

And this brings me to the other thing I am to Speak to : Our Encouragement to this Duty.

Faith

!!. For God is Gracious and Merciful, flow to an

ger, and of great Kindness, and repenteth him of the Evil.

It is not at all needful for me to enter on any particular Explication of all these Abributes, and shew what Arguments every one of them affords to engage us to Repentance. Two things in general there are,

which will at first sight arise from them to excite us to it ; viz.

First, The Goodness and Mercy of God to the greatelt Sinners upon their Repentance: God is Gracious and Merciful, and of great Kind

ness.

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Secondly, His unwillingness to pronounce aoy
Judgments at all against them, and his readiness to
recal them, if they repent :
He is flow to Anger, and repenteth him of the

Evil.

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And First, Of the Goodness and Mercy of God to the Greatest of Sinners upon their Repentance : He is Gracious and Merciful, and of great Kind

ness.

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When God proclaimed his own Name in the midst of the People of Israel, we read Exod. xxxiv. that he chose to do it, not so much in the terrible Attributes of his Majesty and Power, as in the soft Idea's of his Mercy and Goodness. The Lord, the Lord God, Merciful and Gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in Goodness and Trutb ; Exod. xxxiv: keeping Mercy for thousands, forgiving 6, 7. iniquity, and transgression, and sin. And if we look into all the following Representations which he makes of himself, whether by his Holy Prophets under the Legal, but especially by our Blersed Saviour and his Apostles under the Christian Dispensation, we shall find there is no Charaéter he so much delights in, as that of being good and Gracious, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Repentance, 2 Pet. iii. 8.

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And now what more forcibleEncouragement can any one desire to bring him to Repentance, than to be thus assured of the Goodness and Mercy of God to the greatest of Sinners, if they Repent ? That he will not only forgive him upon his return, but will even assist him with Grace and Strength in the doing of it.

That he desires not the death of the most profigate Offender, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live. In a word, That he has promised forgiveness, without exception, to the most wicked Men upon their Repent ance; so that if they will but get break off their evil Course, and keep his Statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, they figall furely live, they shall not die, Ezek. xviii. 21.

Many are the ways, and excellent the Methods that God has taken to convince us of his Mercy, and the time would fail me to enter on a particular Çonfideration of them.

Sometimes he declares not only that he is ready to pardon us if we repent, but that he even desires we should repent, that he may forgive us. And left his Word should not be sufficient, he confirms that defire with an Oath, Ezek. xxxiii. 11. As I live, faith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the Wicked, but that the Wicked turn from bis way and live : Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die, o House of Israel?

Sometimes he Expostulates with us in the way of Reasoning, to lee if by that means he may be able to bring us to consider his Love and Affection to

us, Ifai. i. 16. Wash ye, make ye clean, Isai i. 16. put away the Evil of your doings from

before mine Eyes ; cease to do evil, learn 17, to do well. Come now, and let us rea. Son together, saith the Lord : Though your Sins be

her Expoftulates means he may aion to

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221
as Scarlet, they shall be white as Snow ;
though they be red like Crimson, they sai. i. 18.
Shall be as Wool.

If he Exhorts us to Repentance, he always does it
upon this Promise, That he will Pardon us, if we
repent. If we turn from our Sins, Ini-
quity fhall not be our ruine.

Ezek.xviii. 30,
If he threatens Judgments, yet still
he keeps a reserve for Mercy to triumph over Fudg-
ment; and will rather be thought inconstant in his
most peremptory Decrees, than inexorable to Re-
penting Sinners. Thus he commanded Jonah to go
to Nineveh, and to pronounce an utter Destruction
against it. He fix'd the very time too,
Yet forty days, and Nineveh Mall be a- Jonah i;i. 4.
verthrown. But what now was the
issue of all this? Were they utterly destroy'd, ac-
cording to this Prophecy ? Nay, but on the contra-
ry, God was yet intreated for them, and spar'd them.
So we read, ver. 10, the City believed,
and feared God, and turn'd from their
Evil way: And God repented of the E-
vil that he said he would do unto them, and he did
it not, Jonah 3.

And what must the Consequence of all these Re-
flections be, but to engage us not to despise the Good-
ness of God, whereby he thus graciously invites us
to Repentance ; but co conclude with Holy David,
Psal. cxxx. 3. If thon, LORD, shouldst be extream
to mark what is done amiss; O God, who may abide
st? But there is Mercy with thee, therefore shalt tbox
be feared.

And what I have now said of God's mercy in General, will yet more hold in the other part of this Character, wherein is set out to us in Particular,

Secondig,

IO.

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