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SERMONS

ON THE

HUNDRED AND NINETEENTH PSALM.

BY THE

REV. THOMAS MANTON, D.D.

WITH

A COMPLETE ALPHABETICAL TABLE, DIRECTING TO THE PRINCIPAL

MATTERS CONTAINED THEREIN.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

"All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and

in the Psalms, concerning me."-LUKE xxiv. 44.
Hic Psalmus est tantò præstantior, quantò prolixior.--Muis.

THIRD EDITION.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,

BY WILLIAM HARRIS, D.D.

SECOND THOUSAND,

LONDON:
VILLIM BROWN, 130, OLD STREET, ST. LUKE.

DOCTRINE.—That God's best servants have no other and no better plea, than that God would deal with them in mercy.

First, Because there is and can be no merit on the creature's part towards God, according to the rule of justice. Adam in innocency could impetrare, not mereri. It was his grace to covenant with the creature, when innocency and purity did adorn our nature; how much more since the fall, and the distance between God and us hath been so widened by sin! What merits, must be indebitum and utile. It must be indebitum. When our righteousness was perfect, yet still due, by virtue of our relation to God as creatures; and paying of debts deserreth no reward. The lawyers tell us, Nemo consequitur præmium, quod facit ex officio debitum. We are bound, and do but our duty; but God is not bound to us. All that the creature hath, and is, and can do, it oweth to God, and hath received it from him; and God is in such a degree of excellency above us, that he cannot be obliged. Where there is so great a disparity of nature and being, there is no common right to make him obnoxious, to make it justice to any action of ours to reward us. Aristotle denied children could requite their parents, and merit from them, and that the obligation of merit is only between equals; certainly, not between God and men. There was nothing which bound him necessarily to reward his creature, but his free covenant. Again, that which merits must be utile, profitable to him from whom we challenge reward. If we be never so righteous, the benefit is ours, not God's: he is not beholden to us, useth us not out of indigence, but indulgence; not as if he needed anything, but we need his blessing. When we have done all, we are unprofitable servants; and, “My goodness extendeth not to thee” (Psalm xvi. 2). God giveth all, receiveth nothing from us. The beam oweth all to the sun, the sun nothing to the beam.

Secondly, Because, since the fall, there is no claiming but by the covenant of grace and mere mercy. A sinner cannot expect anything, but upon terms of mercy. The covenant of works supposed us innocent and holy, and bound us so to continue; so that the law knoweth not how to do good to a sinner. Once a sinner, and for ever miserable; it leaveth no room for repentance. So that now there is no hope for the best, according to the rule of strict justice; but only according to the law of mercy. In the new covenant, there are special differences from the law of works.

1st, That there is not only grace, but mercy and grace too. In the first covenant, there was grace, but no mercy: grace doth all things gratis, freely; but mercy pitieth the miserable: therefore, till sin and misery entered, there could be no room for mercy. There was grace in that covenant; for it was of grace that God did enter into covenant with man at all, and of grace that he did accept man's perfect obedience, so as upon performance of it to make him sure of eternal life. But now, in the new covenant, God doth show mercy and grace too; and grace in the most rich and glorious manner. Mercy and grace too in this way of salvation, in that there is hope for a sinner, a plank cast out after shipwreck. And grace in the richest and most glorious manner : partly, for the design and end that was driven at, it was the glory of grace: “To the praise of the glory of his grace" (Eph. i. 6); and partly, the ground of it was founded upon the infinite mercy of God and the infinite merit of Christ. The infinite mercy of God: mercy is the infinite goodness of God, flowing out freely to the creature, without any moving cause or worth on the creature's part to expect it: “ It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. ix. 16). And the infinite merit of Christ: “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David” (Isa. lv. 3); “ And give thee for a covenant of the people” (Isa. xlii. 6); and, “I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people” (Isa. xlix. 8). David, that is Christ, the seed of David: all the mercies of the covenant are exhibited in and by him, in whom the covenant is made with us, and made good to us (2 Cor. i. 20). And he is given for a foundation; that is, the foundation of a new and better covenant. And partly, because of the terms wherein it is dispensed, which is not unsinning obedience, but a sincere owning of Christ, unto the ends for which God hath appointed him. So that, in effect, a thankful acceptance of a free discharge, is all that we do for paying the debt, or to make way for our acceptance with God: “ Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed” (Rom. iv. 16). And, “By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. ii. 8). By the grace of faith, we lay hold upon, or apply to ourselves, Christ and all his benefits; and that faith God giveth us by his mere grace, not exhibited by any work of others. The whole work of salvation, from its first step in regeneration to its last step in glorification, doth entirely flow from God's free grace, and not from any worth in us. So that this being the end, grounds, terms of the new covenant from first to last, mercy doth all on which our hope dependeth. We must claim by mercy.

Thirdly, As there is no merit in the best saints, so there is much demerit; and, as there is nothing to induce God to be good to us, so there is much to hinder him, much that standeth in his way: yet God will do us good: “I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him” (Isa. lvii. 18). He taketh motives from himself to pity, when he might take occasion to punish. There are many sins to be forgiven both before and after conversion. We are not only undeserving, but ill-deserving. It was much that God would take us with all our faults, when he first drew us into acquaintance with himself, and entrust us with a stock of grace; but, after he hath done that, we still are faulting and sinning: yet now there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ” (Rom. vii. l); notwithstanding the relics of corruption, and its breaking out.

Fourthly, From the temper of the saints, their humility. None have such a sight and sense of sin as they have, because their eyes are anointed with spiritual eye-salve. They have a clearer insight into the law: “ After that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh" (Jer. xxxi. 19). They are enlightened by God's Spirit : the least mote is espied in a glass of clear water. None are so acquainted with their own hearts and ways, as they who often commune with their own hearts, and use self-reflection. Others, that live carelessly, do not mind their offences; but they that set themselves, do more consider their ways; none have a more tender sense of the heinousness of sin. She loved much, wept much, because much was forgiven her (Luke vii.). Some are of a more delicate constitution; the back of a slave is not so sensible of stripes, as they that have been more tenderly brought up. The beams of the sun shining into a house, we see the dust and motes in the sunbeams, which we saw not before. They profess as Jacob, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of

SERMONS

ON THE

HUNDRED AND NINETEENTH PSALM.

BY THE

REV. THOMAS MANTON, D.D.

WITH

A COMPLETE ALPHABETICAL TABLE, DIRECTING TO THE PRINCIPAL

MATTERS CONTAINED THEREIN.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

"All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and

in the Psalms, concerning me."-LUKE xxiv. 44.
Hic Psalmus est tantò præstantior, quantò prolixior.-Muis.

THIRD EDITION.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,

BY WILLIAM HARRIS, D.D.

SECOND THOUSAND.

LONDON:
WILLIAM BROWN, 130, OLD STREET, ST. LUKE.

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