William Gadsby Sermons (Complete)

53 The Church Remembered In Her Low Estate

A Sermon Preached By William Gadsby At Zoar Chapel, Great Alie St., London, On behalf Of The Aged Pilgrims’ Friend Society, On Thursday Evening, May 25th, 1848.

“Who remembered us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”—Psalm 136:28

Jehovah, as the God of nature, chose the seed of Abraham, by Sarah his wife, as a special people distinct from all other nations of the world. He remembered Abraham, and made a covenant with him; he chose him, and separated him from his idolatrous people, and brought him into a strange land. And when in after days his posterity were sunk and degraded, and had become slaves in the drudgery of brick-making, the Egyptians having made their tasks heavy, they groaned and sighed unto God, and were brought into a very low state indeed; but God remembered them, and the covenant which he had made; and when the time was fully come that they should be delivered, he said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task makers, for I know their sorrows, and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” Poor creatures! They thought God had neither heard nor observed them; but “his mercy endureth for ever;” and therefore he came, in his own time, for their help and salvation.

Now it appears that Moses, who was honoured as the chosen instrument in God’s hand of delivering the people out of Egypt, had such a faith and confidence on this point that God had designed and purposed him for the work that he set about it forty years before God’s time came. He was so very zealous that he ran upon the errand and imagined that the people would run with him too and that he should very soon deliver them out of the hands of their Egyptian taskmasters. Instead of which, God sent him to College for forty years in his own experience; and the little learning he had obtained in his head in Egypt was of no use to him. in this College. He was not taught here the study and use of different languages; but he was taught the plague of his own heart, and the glory and majesty of God! But when the time was indeed come that God would really deliver his people, through him as his servant, instead of running before he was sent, as before, he was now full of excuses, and tried to get away from it, saying, “Lord, send I pray thee by the hand of him whom thou wilt send, but do not send me, for I am not eloquent.” There was not a word spoken about the want of eloquence when he wanted to run before God had sent him; but when God’s time had arrived for him to do the work, it made a wonderful difference in his feelings. He must now go and be the instrument in delivering God’s people, and he now feels the solemnity and importance of it. But still, notwithstanding, the bondage and misery of the people are increasing; they are sunk exceedingly low, even almost to desperation, and are nearly without hope; yet God remembered them, and brought them through their oppressions and sorrows, because “his mercy endureth for ever.”

Now this people were a typical nation; they were types of God’s spiritual people, his elect, his chosen family; and his dealings towards them in the wilderness are typical of the wonderful deliverances which he works in and for his spiritual people. And as such, I shall now endeavour, as God shall graciously be pleased to enable me, to make a few remarks from the words before us, as applicable to God’s elect family, of whom it is said, he “remembered us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

We might take up considerable length of time in pointing out the persons intended by the word “us;” but we will omit it in this part of the subject, as, if the Lord will, we shall meet with it in another branch of the discourse; and, therefore, we will notice,

I. The low estate.
II. God remembering them in this low estate.
III. The reason assigned: “For his mercy endureth for ever.”

I. The low estate. Now this low estate may be considered in three bearings: 1. The estate into which God’s elect are plunged by the Fall in their Adam relation, as they stand before God; 2. This solemn estate, this low condition, this awfully low estate, as it is made manifest in their consciences, and as they are brought to feel it; 3. Then, if they live long after God has been pleased to manifest his remembering mercy to their consciences, they will have to feel a third low estate, which is a Babylonish captivity, a going from Jerusalem down towards Jericho, and a falling among thieves, where they will be stripped, and wounded, and left half dead, and where they would be quite dead, only God takes care of their life, which is hid in Christ; and while they are in this state, they will find they are no more capable of helping themselves, or extricating their souls from it, than they are of pulling down the skies, or creating a world; but God, in the riches of his grace and mercy, remembers them in this low estate, because “his mercy endureth for ever.”

1. Then let us notice the Adam Fall. We all stand guilty before God there, as law-breakers. Every particle of God’s law is directly against us. And if God is holy, just, righteous, and good, he must, upon the ground of his holy, just, righteous, and good law, condemn us as traitors and rebels; for “we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Sin has ruined every particle of the image of God in which he originally created the conscience; it has laid us low, and sunk us down so low that the devil himself has as much holiness as any unregenerate man under sin; and God solemnly declares in his Word, that “whatsoever the law says, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God;” not only to bring us in guilty, but to keep us guilty before him. Now every sinner is cursed by the law of God, if it be but for an evil thought; and if you could prove that you had never committed a criminal act, yet the principle of sin which is in you, and the thoughts which proceed from it, are sufficient to damn your soul for ever! So low is your estate, so awfully low, that if hell were opened to your eyes, and you could see the bottomless pit; if you could even behold the flames issuing out of it, and smell the sulphur and the brimstone, and hear the groans of the damned, you are sunk so low, and gone so far away, and indeed are in such an awful condition, that you have not the least power to help yourselves. But there are some men who tell us that man has it in his power to regenerate his own soul, to repent, to believe, and to save himself. But I do not scruple to say that every minister who says so is a minister of the devil, be he whom he will. He has not his message from God; he never knew either the mystery of the law or the mystery of the gospel, nor has he ever had his conscience enlightened by the blessed Spirit. But now, in this low estate we all lay, for there is no difference; and the apostle asks this question under the teachings of God, “What, then? Are we better than they?” Are we, the disciples and followers of Jesus, better than the ungodly? Am I, Paul; or is John, or Peter, or Timothy, or James, or any of us, or all of us, better than they, whose damnation is just? He says, “No, in nowise; for we have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles, that we are all under sin.” Sin, therefore, has leveled the whole of the human race. It has laid them low and brought them into an awfully low condition. And what renders the case so totally desperate, as it respects the creature, is, that what the Lord says, speaking by the prophet Jeremiah, we find to be the truth, that “the wound is incurable;” neither men nor angels can cure it. O what a low estate this is to be in! But, perhaps, there may be some in this assembly to-night who are ready to say, “We go to church, and have the commandments repeated every Sunday, and at the end of each we say, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law!’“ But the Word of God says, “He that offends in one point, is guilty of all!” The law once broken is broken for ever, and there can be no longer any keeping of it; consequently, if God be true, there is no help in us, nor can there be any possibility of sinful man keeping God’s holy law. Has the Lord ever made any of you to feel it so? Has he ever mowed you down in your hearts, and brought you to feel yourselves really ruined, lost, and undone? Some poor creature may say, “I really have but little expectation of keeping the law; but still I think if I could keep it, and do something to please God, I might have some hope;” which is as much as to say if you could save yourself, then the Lord Jesus Christ need not come to help you! Why, bless you, if you are made low in your feelings, and brought to see what a poor ruined, wretched sinner you are, and your heart is directed by the blessed Spirit to say, “Lord, have mercy upon me, and manifest thy pardoning love and the precious atoning blood of the Son of God to my soul,” there would be hope indeed for such a one as you are; but in vain attempts to keep the law there is no hope; for that cuts all down to despair and leaves us without any hope whatever. O what a very low estate every man by nature is in!

But there are some professors here, who may be living very cheerfully in this low estate. You can sing and rejoice, go along merrily, and follow your vain amusements; and others of you may perform your religious duties, as you call them, trying to bring God in debtor to you; and you have a kind of satisfaction that all is well and right, when in reality you are living in an awful state of delusion, have never been delivered from Satan’s service, are sleeping on the borders of destruction, and will at last sink to hell, if grace prevent not. But, if it be the sovereign pleasure of God, may this be the time for him to circumcise your heart, and cause you to feel the state you are in, that you may have to rejoice in his mercy, and say, “Who remembered us in our estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

But, secondly, when God makes manifest this truth in the conscience, O what a low estate the poor creature gets into then! Now I remember, when a youth, I was not without solemn and awful twangs of conscience, expecting hell would open her mouth and let me in; and yet I do not believe that God’s Spirit had quickened my soul at that time; and though I was terribly alarmed about wrath, hell, and condemnation, I could commit sin, and take pleasure therein, in order to get rid of and to stifle my miserable feelings; and many a time I have endeavoured to sing my misery away and insult God with my hardness of heart, while at the same time the terrors of hell were in my conscience. And I often wonder now that God should have put up with my impudence, with such an incarnate devil, but it was because “his mercy endureth for ever.” But when the Lord was graciously pleased to quicken my soul, being then just turned seventeen years of age, and show me something of what sin was, I really feared it then, and a turn in my mind took place of a very different kind. I was brought to feel now that my sins were against a holy, just, and good God; that I had not merely to be alarmed for the consequences and punishment due to sin, but that I had to stand before the bar of infinite purity, and give an account of my awful practices, which made my soul solemnly to tremble at the Word of God, and before the glory of his majesty! It is one thing to be alarmed at sin through the fear of going to hell, and quite another sensibly to feel it as against a holy, just, and good God, and that the soul is accountable to him for it. And while I remained in this state, all the efforts I used to extricate myself only seemed to make my case worse; for every step I took appeared as though the Lord had designed to open a fresh wound in my conscience, and only to let me experience more deeply the abominable and loathsome disease of sin. And O what a low estate is this for a poor sinner to be in, without a single ray of satisfactory hope of ever receiving the blessings of salvation!

But some will say, “Then you should pray, repent, and believe, and attend to religious duties, and then you would get peace and comfort.” But, alas! I found I had no power of my own either to pray, repent, or believe. I have long since come to a point about what some people call “the duty of all men to believe,” and I say it is a doctrine of devils and calculated to harass and sink the child of God into feelings of hopeless despair. I found myself helpless, and utterly unable to practice duty-faith, and felt that I should as certainly sink to hell with duty-faith as with duty-works. And when at any time you are told to “believe,” and it is your “duty to believe,” and that “Jesus Christ died for sinners, and as all mankind are sinners, so they may all believe in him, be saved, and become completely happy, if they like;” I say, all such statements are a lie, and such happiness is nothing but the devil’s happiness, and he communicates it on purpose to delude the souls of millions; all which a person may have without possessing one spark of real gospel grace. But when the gospel of God comes home to the heart, it comes “not in word only, but also in power, and in much assurance.” Do not, then, deceive yourselves with the deceits and delusions of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But the point is, have you been brought in guilty, and made to feel and groan over your low estate, without any power to help or raise yourself up from this destitute condition, and unable to pray yourself out of it? Have you ever appeared to be sunk and lost in nature’s ruin, both God and conscience seeming to be against you, and that all the prayer you have consists of nothing but sighs and groans on account of what you feel? If you have been here, it is a blessed token, though you may not know it at the time, that the Holy Ghost is fulfilling his covenant engagement, in making intercession in your heart with groanings that cannot be uttered.

But, thirdly, after God makes manifest his remembering mercy and the riches of his pardoning grace, and gives a little faith in Christ, bringing sweet hope and peace in the conscience, we go on happily for a while, and think that all troubles are ended. I remember how it was with me. My soul seemed so sweetly wrapped up in God’s pardoning mercy, and I thought he had so blessed me for evermore that I should always possess this peace and joy, and never know sorrow again. Poor wretch! So foolish was I, I began to throw my religion about every body’s ears, and tell it unto every one. But before long, it all appeared to leave me, and I sank in ruin and misery; and when in this solemn low estate of wretchedness, my religion seemed to be nearly at an end. I knew what it was to go from Jerusalem, the vision of peace, and go down to Jericho, the world, and to feel stripped, wounded, and robbed. I was soon stripped of all my sweet enjoyments of the Lord’s salvation, robbed of peace in my conscience; my joy all fled, every limb of the spiritual man was wounded, and instead of delight and joy in my soul, I was filled with sadness and mourning.

O what a low estate is this for the soul to be in,—when all enjoyments are gone, all peace and happiness gone, no access to the Lord, and no smile from his sacred presence! Why, my case now appeared to me to be more desperate than when I lay under the sentence of death at the first instance. “Nay,” say some; “I cannot believe that.” Well, I tell you how it was with me while I was in that condition. In the first distress of my soul, I knew nothing of the joy of the light of the Lord’s countenance. I knew nothing of sweet intercourse with Father, Son, and Spirit. I knew nothing of unbosoming my soul to God, and of God unbosoming his eternal love and grace to me. But when brought into this backsliding state, I found my soul to sink deeper into distress, and to come into a much lower estate. There are some who say there can be no backsliding; but every child of God knows that it is a lie! I say, when they are brought into this backsliding state, there is no joy from this vision of peace, until it is revealed again through the precious blood of the Lamb. But O what a low estate is this to be in! We look backward at our past experience, but cannot see the Lord there, and the enemy says it was all a delusion; we go forward to God’s promises, but we cannot cast anchor there, and dare not say that it belongs to us; we go to the left hand, where God works, for and in his people, but it does not seem to be there, nor can we get any rest or peace for our souls; and we look on the right hand, at the finished work of the Son of God, and though it appears very glorious, yet we cannot get joy or comfort there either; so that of ourselves we cannot find it, and are ready to say, “O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat, and order my cause before him.” But while in this condition, we are in a low estate; death, darkness, gloominess, and sorrow are our chief companions. If we attempt to be cheerful, we cannot, and if we attempt to be happy, we cannot; but at last the Lord will appear for the relief of the soul. “He raiseth the poor out of the dust, he lifteth the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them to inherit the throne of glory.” But while we are on this low ground, we feel it to be a low place, and a dreadfully low place indeed it is! But “he remembereth us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

II. But we pass on to God’s remembrance of them in their low estate. First, he remembered the elect of God in one blessed body, when he considered them ruined in the fall, and lost in Adam the first, lost in his transgressions and our own too; and he remembered them so in his own love as to enter into a covenant for them, in his distinct Persons and distinct Personalities, to save them from perdition; and Jesus covenanted to come into their law-place and circumstances, to deliver them from the horrible pit, to accomplish salvation for them, and to open a way whereby all the claims of law and justice should be satisfied, all the perfections and attributes of God honoured, and a glorious redemption opened up for them in the blessed Redeemer, in the Person of God’s dear Son. The Lord Jesus Christ also remembered them in his own blessed time, when he took into union with his Godhead their nature, and stood in their law-place and stead; when he died for poor ruined guilty sinners, for poor broken- hearted sinners; and when he stood up for them between insulted justice and their insulting souls; and took their precious cause, and all the cares connected with it, into his own hand. O what a remembrance was this! “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin;” and that we might have a complete salvation, he makes us “the righteousness of God in him.” What a wonder of wonders! For if he had merely put away sin, if he had only been the destruction of sin, taken our offences away, and left it there, what an astonishing display of lovingkindness and mercy would that have been! But he has not only put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and been the destruction of it, but, O for a tongue to speak it forth! He hath given his life a ransom for sinners to bring them to God; he hath fulfilled all the requirements of law and justice for them; he hath arrayed them in the majesty and glory of his righteousness, and they stand complete m him. And thus he demonstrates how blessedly he remembers us. He “remembers us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.” I do not wonder at the psalmist being led by the blessed Spirit of God to rejoice in language like this: “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance; in thy name shall they rejoice all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” Here we see how he remembers us, and we discover that it flows from the loving heart of God from eternity. O the matchless and astonishing mercy of the Lord! “Who hath remembered us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever!”

Again. His glorious Majesty, the eternal Trinity in Unity, hath so remembered us as to lock us up for ever in the heart of Christ, and to make everything everlastingly secure in him, that so he should raise up his elect to holiness, to happiness, to God, and to eternal glory; that they should be enabled to meet every trial and temptation they are called to contend with in the wilderness, as well as finally to overcome all their enemies, and that they should be more than conquerors through him that hath loved them; that all their necessities and wants should be supplied out of his fulness; that nothing should do them any real hurt; that this is secured in the heart of Jesus; that all the blessings they receive flow to them from him, which are called the “sure mercies of David,” and secured in the Lord the Redeemer, who is David’s Lord and David’s Son. Thus “he remembered us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Again. When the Lord is speaking unto his children by his servant Isaiah, he says, “Come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live.” But who is it that he is speaking to? Such as are in want of mercy, and are full of wants and necessities. It is not to the decent Pharisee, nor to those who always have faith at their command, who can come with a price in their hand, and can pray and get promises when they please; it is not for those who feel themselves rich and increased in goods, and know not that they are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; but it is for those who are without money and without price; who are humbled before God, and are in need of his mercy; it is to them he says, “Come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live.” Some say, in these words the prophet is addressing dead sinners. But can the dead do any work? Can they arise and perform living acts? No indeed. Then they must belong to the people of God, those whom the Holy Ghost has quickened, who are poor, sensible, needy sinners, drawn by his power to the dear Redeemer, to all those who have spiritual faith given to them, and who are led to Christ for life and salvation; these shall hear the voice of mercy, and their souls shall live, and live well too; for they shall eat of the Bread of God, and they shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness. Thus he will feed the soul and cause it to rejoice; and “he will make an everlasting covenant with them, even the sure mercies of David;” for “he hath remembered them in their low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

“Well, but,” some may say, “how does the Lord remember us when we are sensibly in this low estate?” What Christ has accomplished as our Head, by the appointment of God the Father, the Spirit reveals to us as our necessities may require. The Trinity in Unity remembers the church of God; for each glorious Person has a solemn part to perform in the great work of salvation; and, therefore, David could sing and rejoice, saying, “God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid;” for a covenant God, Father, Son, and Spirit, is my salvation. And when the poor child of God is brought manifestively into this low estate, feelingly to have his hope cut off, and he wants to experience afresh the forgiveness of his sins, through another application of the blood of Jesus to his conscience, and to know that justice is satisfied on his account; I say, all the while he is thus a stranger to peace, feeling his props cut away, the blessed Spirit remembers him in this low estate by giving him grace to cry out for mercy, and by inspiring groans, sighs, and bitter cries in his heart for the revelation of God’s mercy to his soul. Perhaps some are ready to say, “It cannot be that the Lord will remember such a wretch as I!” But if the Lord had not remembered you, and had thoughts of mercy towards you, there would be none of these feelings in your heart; the Lord the Spirit would not have indicted these things in your conscience; but it is evident that he remembers his people by thus communicating to them in a time of need a little help, by giving them a little peace, a little prop to raise up their sinking spirits, and giving power to feel a little pure breathing towards Zion. And really, when the poor heart feels a little breathing to the Lord, a little relief, and a little fresh communication of his mercy, well he remembers the hand that gives it to him; and this little peace in the Lord Jesus Christ will keep the soul from sinking; it will prop up the mind, and cause it to say, “Who can tell but that the Lord will have mercy up on me?” Thus he remembers his people by keeping them poor in spirit. In all the backwardness they feel in going to a throne of grace, all the perplexities they are the subjects of, Satan’s fiery darts and suggestions, with the fear of giving up their hope, and throwing up all for lost; yea, in the midst of all he remembers them still; he keeps them in the hollow of his hand, and all hell cannot drag them out! Why, bless you, the Lord is always with his people; and in this way he makes it manifest that he remembers them in their low estate. Many times they would give up again and again, if he did not hold them up.

But perhaps some poor soul present is saying, “Well, I do not know what to make of myself! I get nothing to satisfy my mind. I cannot be happy in myself, either with my religion or without it, and I cannot tell what the issue of it will be. Many times I think I must give it up altogether!” Why do you not give it up then? “O,” says the soul, “I do not know.” Then I will tell you. Because it is the Lord’s work; for had it been your own, you would have given it up long ago; but as it is the Lord’s work, he remembers you in your low estate, and you are now brought to feel your wretchedness and misery, and to cry out to the Lord for help and deliverance. He remembers you so as to keep you to this point; and because the life of God is in you, the breath of life is going back to the fountain of life from whence it proceeded, and mercy is now springing up in your conscience.

But the Lord remembers the soul more especially when his blessed Majesty reveals directly to the conscience of the poor soul the glorious Person and precious blood and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe when the child of God is favoured with real spiritual faith to apprehend and lay hold of Jesus as his dear Saviour, and is privileged to see the dignity of his Person, and feel an interest in his great salvation, he will have a much greater degree of consolation. But some of the Lord’s people would give worlds to be able to say that Christ loved them, and had eternally saved them; but though they dare not use such language, yet they cannot give up the point. They will still be seeking to the Lord to have these things made clear to them. Here it is seen that he remembers them by keeping them to the point, anxiously pleading with the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would reveal to them that he has shed his precious blood for them; and, in the Lord’s own blessed time, he will give such a faith in the atonement of Jesus, so apply it to the conscience and speak it home to the heart with such power, saying, “I am thy salvation,” as shall give peace to the soul and make it full of joy. Christ and the conscience now are in sweet peace together. Christ appears to the heart just suited to its wants, and the sinner feels Christ to be all that he desires; and here the two have but oneheart, while the soul is thus under the divine unction of the Holy Spirit. O what a time of remembrance is this, when the Lord brings the soul thus sweetly to enjoy these feelings, and to say with the apostle, “He loved me, and gave himself for me!” And when the riches of his mercy are so manifested to his heart, he proves it to be a solemn and a glorious remembrance, and he rejoices in the sweetness of the truth that “he remembered us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

But we must pass on and notice further, that in our low estate of backsliding he also remembers us. Now, have you ever been there? I know there are some persons who say that all the doubts and fears, and exercises of mind the children of God are the subjects of, they can do very well without them. Well, one thing I can say most certainly, that I do not envy them either their feelings or their state; and I tell such professors that there is no case of which I should be more jealous than of theirs. Depend upon it, God will make the consciences of his people tender. And when the dear child of God falls into a state of backsliding, and the world gets hold of him, while family troubles increase upon him, he sinks into such a low estate that every little trouble is too much for him, and everything he meets with fills him with dismay. He has no sweet enjoyment of the Lord’s presence, but is harassed and buffeted by a tempting devil, and perhaps temporal things are going back with him also; in addition to which he feels a nature which serves him worse tricks than the devil himself. “Nay,” some are ready to say, “you do not mean to say, worse tricks than the devil?” Yes, I do; for our vile nature will do things which the devil cannot do. Therefore, the poor soul is so tossed about in his feelings in this backsliding state that he knows not what to do. But the Lord remembers him still, even when he dare not say that he remembers the Lord. How does he then remember him? By giving him now and then a solemn check, a pull-back, a rebuke; and when the poor wandering affections are about entering into forbidden paths, there will be something come powerful to the conscience, and say, “Whither art thou bound? Will the pursuit of it carry rest to thy soul?” And the wanderer will be constrained to cry out, “Lord, keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins.” By and by there will again be a fresh seeking and panting in the mind after carnal objects, but the blessed Spirit will convince of sin, and ‘bring back the heart with such a cry as this, “Lord, help me!” For the poor soul feels now that he wants his mighty and saving help to raise him up from this low estate, or he might sink to rise no more! But now, all these checks, rebukes, and pull-backs; all these sighs, groans, and cries, arise from God’s remembering mercy, and are an evidence that the Lord remembers him with the favour that he bears to his chosen. Therefore, in his own blessed time, he will remember him by manifesting the tenderness of his heart, and the sympathy of his soul towards him; and he says to the poor backslider, “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still. Therefore my bowels are troubled for him. I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” What heart- work is this, when the Lord comes thus, and reveals his grace! O how it melts the heart, softens the stubborn feelings, and brings the soul to say, “There is no God like unto my God! There is none can be compared unto him! He is so full of pity, of compassion, and of long-suffering! And who hath remembered me in my low estate, because ‘his mercy endureth for ever!’“

I well remember once being in a state of backsliding, and brought into great want in my feelings; and while reading Ezek. xvi., everything seemed to tell me that I was the very person there described; that I was the guilty, vile creature there set forth; and though I had never been suffered to commit carnal fornication (nor does the passage mean that), yet I found that I had committed spiritual fornication, and I sank many fathoms low in my mind, and saw the desperate wickedness of my nature in a way which I had never done before. And O! When the Lord comes in thus powerfully, what a change is wrought in the mind! How it quiets the soul when he says, “That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee.” And when God thus speaks, grace breaks in upon the soul, and matchless mercy overwhelms the mind! O what a holy joy I found at this time! There was a sweet serenity in my heart, a confounding of all my reasoning powers, and I was brought to wonder at God’s overwhelming grace and mercy toward me. And m thus revealing himself to my soul, I felt it to be a solemn remembrance indeed! And I tell you what, poor child of God, there is nothing so solemn, or so blessed, as for the Lord to shame you out of sin by pouring in of his mercy, and melting down the soul under a sense of his goodness!

III. But to conclude. The reason assigned for God’s remembrance is, because “his mercy endureth for ever!” O what a prop this is! May the Lord set it up, and make it more powerful in the sinner’s conscience! Mercy endures! Well, if mercy follows us, surely we shall need this mercy through all the wilderness, and we shall never be without a feeling sense of our need of mercy! But O the matchless grace! God’s “mercy endureth for ever!” What, then? Does God keep mercy for thousands? Yes, he does; for “mercy is built up for ever!” He hath everlastingly locked up an abundance of mercy in the heart of Christ, and hath opened up in him a fountain of mercy for poor broken-hearted sinners, because “his mercy endureth for ever!”

May the Lord the Spirit make manifest in our souls the abundance of this mercy, and his name shall have the praise. Amen.