Reynolds - BX5133.R42 S4 1831

178 FIFTH SERMON understanding to look higher, or to value things that are more excellent; but his father knowing better what is good for him, bestows on him education, trains him unto learning and virtue, that he may be fit to manage and enjoy that inheritance which he provides for him : so, " We know not what to ask as we ought," Rom. viii. 26. and when we do know, our spirits are much straitened, we have but a finite and narrow love unto ourselves. But God's knowledge is infinite, and his love is infinite, and according unto these are the distributions of his mercy. Even the apostle himself when he was in affliction and buffeted by the messenger of Satan, and vexed with a thorn in the flesh, besought the Lord for nothing but that it might depart from him ; but God had a far better answer in store to the apostle's prayer, and purposed to do more for him than he desired, namely, to give him a sufficiency of grace to support him, and to magnify his strength in the infirmity of his servant, 2 Cor. xii. 9. When the prophet had encouraged men to seek the Lord, and to turn unto him, and that upon this assurance, that he will not only hear petitions for mercy and forgiveness, but will multiply to pardon, that is, will pardon more sins than we can confess, (for with him there is not only mercy, but plenteous re- demption, Psa. cxxx. 7.) he further strengtheneth our faith and encourageth our obedience unto this duty, by the consideration of the thoughts of God, to wit, his thoughts of love, mercy, and peace towards us ; " My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord ; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts," Isa. lv. 7 -9. He can pardon beyond our petitions, because his thoughts of mercy towards us