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poor weak potsherds of the earth, to dash ourselves against this Rock of Ages? Indeed, we can neither resist his power, nor escape his hand: and, therefore, since we must necessarily sooner or later fall into the hands of God, let us, by true repentance and an humble acknowledgment of our sins and vileness, throw ourselves into his merciful hands; and, then, to our unspeakable comfort, we shall find that he will extend his arm of mercy to support us, and not his hand of justice to crush and break us.
I, EVEN I, AM HE, THAT BLOTTETH OUT THY TRANSGRESSIONS FOR MINE OWN SAKE, AND WILL NOT REMEMBER THY SINS.
J.N the "foregoing verses, we have a heavy accusation drawn up against the people of the Jews: in which they stand charged both with sins of omission and of commission.
By the one, they shewed themselves weary of God; and, by the other, God became weary of them.
"Thou hast not called upon me.....nor brought me thy burntofferings, nor honoured me with thy sacrifices but thou hast
been weary of me, 0 Israel: as it is in 22d and 23d verses. Thou thoughtest my commands grievous, and my service burdensome: and though, as thou art my sworn servant, I might compel thee to work; yet I have borne with thy sloth, and suffered my work to lie undone. 1 have not caused thee to serve with offerings, nor wearied thee with incense: as it is in the 23d verse. Nay, as if rejecting my service had not been indignity enough, thou hast even brought me into a kind of servitude; even me, thy Lord and Master: thou hast wearied my patience; thou hast loaded my omnipotency: Thou hast made me serve with thy sins; thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities;" v. 24. And what could we now, in reason, expect should be the close of so heavy an accusation, but only as heavy a doom and sentence?" Thou hast brought me no sacrifices: therefore I will make thee a sacrifice to my wrath. Thou hast not called upon me; and, when thou dost call, I will not answer. Thou hast wearied me with thy sins: and I will weary thee with my plagues."
But there is no such expected severity follows hereupon: but, /, even I, am he, that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. The like parallel place we have concerning Ephraim: Isa. lvii. 17, 18. He went on frowardly in the way of his own heart: Well, says God, I have seen his ways: and, what! with the froward, shall I shew myself froward? no: but, I have seen his ways, and I will heal him.
Here is the prerogative of free grace; to infer pardon there, where the guilty themselves can infer only their own execution and punishment. It is the guise of mercy, to make strange and abrupt inferences from sin to pardon.
The words are a Gracious Proclamation of Forgiveness; or, an Act of Pardon passed on the Sins of Men: and contain in them Three things.
First. Here is the Person, that gives out this pardon; and, that is, God: accented here by a vehement ingemination, /, even I am he.
Secondly. Here is the Pardon itself; which, for the greater confirmation of our faith and hope, is redoubled : I, even I, am he, that blotteth out thy transgressions and will not remember
Thirdly. Here are the Motives, or the impulsive cause, that prevailed with God, thus to proclaim pardon unto guilty malefactors; and, that is, for his own sake. / am he, that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake.
First. As for the First particular, I, even I, am he; we may observe, That God seems more to triumph in the glory of his pardoning grace and mercy, than he doth in any other of his attributes.
/, even I, am he. Such a stately preface must needs usher in somewhat, wherein God and his honour is much advanced. Is it therefore, " I am he, that spread forth the heavens, and marshalled all their host; that hung up the earth in the midst of the air; that breathed forth all the creatures upon the face of it; that poured out the great deeps, and measured them all in the hollow of my hand; that ride upon the wings of the wind, and make the clouds the dust of my feet?" This, though it might awe and amuse the hearts of men, yet God counts it not his chiefest glory; but, I, even 1, am he, that blotteth out transgressions, and forgiveth iniquities.
So we find, when God condescends to shew Moses his glory, he proclaims, not the Lord, great and terrible, that formed all