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Proverbs 16, 6-15

Proverbs 16, 6-15

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Published by glennpease
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


Prov. xvi. 6 - 15.
REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


Prov. xvi. 6 - 15.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 25, 2013
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PROVERBS 16, 6-15REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.Prov. xvi. 6 - 15." By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; and by the fear of the Lordmendepart from evil. When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh evenhisenemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousnessthangreat revenues without right. A man's heart deviseth his way: but theLorddirecteth his steps. A divine sentence is in the lips of the king; his mouthtransgresseth not in judgment. A just weight and balance are theLord's; allthe weights of the bag are his work. It is an abomination to kings tocommitwickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteouslips arethe delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right. The wrath of theking is as messengers of death ; but a wise man will pacify it. In thelight of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as the cloud of the latterrain."Two things are necessary to be noticed in regard to the lan-guage of the first of these verses, in order to our arriving atthe true interpretation of it, and the principle of harmonybetween it and other parts of Scripture : -1. The word here translated "purged" is the same withthat so rendered in other places, and is the word whichstrictly and properly signifies expiation ox atonement: and -2. Mercy and truth, being here put generally, may meanmercy and truth either as exercised on the part of God or as
 
practised by men.iSow, as we have already said, there is not a sentimentmore directly in the face of the entire tenor of the word of God,than the sentiment, that the practice of " mercy and truth,"on the part of men, can operate as an atonement or expiationfor the guilt of their sins. It is a very favourite sentiment ;but one which no man can hold, and, with any consistency,78 LECTURE XiAiprofess to believe the Bible. I do not deny, that tiit, o>, an .donment of unrighteousness and oppression, and the adop-tion of the principles and the practice of truth, justice,and mercy, may be a means of averting temporal cala-mities - suspending the execution of them for a time, oreven removing them altogether; - as when Daniel said toking ebuchadnezzar , " Wherefore, king, let my counselbe acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteous-ness, and thy iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor ; if itmay be a lengthening of thy tranquillity," Dan. iv. 27.And were it not for the use of the proper word for expiation,and the general unqualified form in which the statement intins verse is made, such an interpretation might have beenadmissible. We might have restricted the application othe words to the manner in which the God of mercy andtruth - the God who himself " delighteth in mercy," and who"requireth truth in the inward parts" - manifests his re-gard to the practice of these virtues by Ins creatures. Thereis a scriptural sense too, in which mercy and truth, and thekindred graces, impart confidence towards God : - but it isonly as evidential of interest in the salvation by grace whichthe divine word reveals ; it is neither as meritorious, nor asexpiatory. It is obviously in this way that we are to inter-pret the language of James, " He shall have judgment with-out mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoicethagainst judgment," Jam. ii. 13. The best commentary on"mercy rejoicing against judgment" - that is, imparting
 
peace, security, and joy to the soul before God the Judge -is the Saviour's own description of the solemn transactionsof the judgment-day.* The works of mercy He describes,as done to "his brethren" for his sake, were done from loveto Mm, and consequently from faith in him. They are thusgraciously stamped with his approval, and, as evidence of those who did them being his, are interposed between themand condemnation. But in this there is nothing of expia-tion or atonement.* Mat. xxv. 34-36, 40.PROVERBS XVI. 6-15. 79The purging away, or expiation of sin, is invariably, in theScriptures, put upon a different ground. There is but oneexpiation - typified by all the ancient sacrifices, and offeredup, in the fulness of time, on Calvary. To suppose the faith-fulness and kindness of one man to another to expiateguilt, is to set aside the entire scheme of the divine Saviour'smediation.I regard "mercy and truth" here as having referenceto God, - to the exercise and manifestation of these perfec-tions of his character, in the scheme of human redemption.This view is strongly supported by such passages as these." Mercy and truth are met together ; righteousness and peacehave kissed each other." " Who is a God like unto thee,that jDardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of Ins heritage ? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again,he will have compassion upon us ; he will subdue our ini-quities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and themercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathersfrom the days of old." " The law was given by Moses, butgrace and truth came by Jesus Christ."'*

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