Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

150 FOURTH SERMON God out of his free love doth heal them of it. First, he teacheth them what to ask, and then he tells them what he will give. Thus we find conversion and healing joined together. " They shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be entreated of them and shall heal them," Isa. xix. 22. " Return, ye backsliding children, I will heal your backslidings," Jer. iii. 22. Men, if they be injured and provoked by those whom they have in their power to undo, though they return and are ready to ask forgiveness, yet many times, out of pride and revenge, will take their time and oppor- tunity to repay the wrong. But God doth not so, his pardons, as all his other gifts, are without upbraid- ing: as soon as ever his servants come back unto him with tears and confession, lie looks not upon them with scorn but with joy ; his mercy makes more haste to embrace them, than their repentance to return unto him, Luke xv. 20. then out comes the wine, the oil, the balm, the cordials ; then the wounds of a Saviour do, as it were, bleed afresh to drop in mercy into the sores of such a penitent. O though he be not a duti- ful, not a pleasant child, yet he is a child ; though I " spake against him, yet I remember him still, my bowels are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy upon him," Jer. xxxi. 20. The Lord greatly com- plains rf the inclination of his people to backsliding, and yet he cannot find in his heart to destroy them, but expresseth a kind of conflict between justice and mercy ; and at last resolves, I am God and not man ; I can as well heal their backsliding by my love, as revenge it by my justice ; therefore " I will not ex- ecute the fierceness of mine anger, but I will cause them to walk after the Lord," Hos. xi. 7. 10. Yea, so merciful he is, that even upon a hypocritical conversion, when his people did but flatter and lie unto him, and