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" In thee the fatherless findeth mercy." — Hosea xiv. 3. It is a painful affliction to be deprived of a father, especially of a wise, judicious, and kind father ; yet it is a common calamity. There are now thousands of families that have no head, and tens of thousands of children who have no father. To them the Lord speaks in His word, and proclaims Himself the " Father of the fatherless, and the judge of the widow." To them He condescends and proposes to fill the father's place, saying, " Wilt thou now from this time cry unto me. My Father, thou art the guide of my youth." He is "the helper of the fatherless." In Him " the fatherless findeth mercy." They have lost the parent whose business it was to care for, guide, educate, comfoit, protect and train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. o other creature can fill a father's place, but the Lord can. He has a father's heart and a father's ej'e ; and " He relieveth the fatherless and the widow." He is that suitable friend, that present iielp, that wise counsellor, which they need ; and He has mercy for the fatherless. They stand especially in need of mercy, and
THE FRIE D OF THE FATHERLESS. 259 He has every variety of mercy, which He will illustrate and display in the experience of every fatherless child which seeks Him in sincerity and
truth. Men may appear deficient in mercy, even toward the fatherless ; but God, our God in Jesus, will display the greatest kindness and compassion to such. This renders Him so amiable, suitable, and glorious in the estimation of His people who know Him ; it is His sweetest attribute, beautiful as the morning light, measureless as the waters of the ocean, boundless as illimitable space, refreshing as the early dew, and glorious as the noon-day sun. Mercy is like His nature, pure, lovely, and eternal. Mercy is suited to all the wants of the fatherless ; it is free, full, and meets every case. Reader, art thou a fatherless child ? The Lord speaks to thee. He assures thee He has mercy ^or thee, He gives thee His word that thou shalt find mercy in Him. He has pardoning mercy, which will suit thy sinfulness ; mercy that will blot out thy sins, and remove them from thee as far as the east is from the west. He has delivering mercy, which will meet thy misery ; mercy which Avill deliver thee from the power of sin, the bondage of Satan, the curse of the law, the fear of death, the terrors of judgment, and all the troubles which may fall upon thee on earth. His mercy is tender mercy, which will suit thy sickness, the sickness of thy soul. He will sympathise
260 THE FRIE D OF THE FATHERLESS. with thee, pity thee, and manifest the greatest forbearance and love. His mercy is so tender, that it Avill not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax. It will encourage the weak desire, fan the feeble spark into a flame, and take the will for the deed. His mercy is supplying mercy, to meet your wants and defects. It will
supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches, which are in Christ Jesus. Whether thy wants be temporal or spiritual. He will supply thee. He will give thee grace and glory ; and no good thing will He withhold from thee, if thou walkest uprightly. It is also sanctifying mercy, \o suit your impurity. It will wash you in the laver of the word, and in the fountain of a Saviour's blood ; it will teach you to wash your robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It will sanctify your troubles, and make all things work together for your good. It is rescuing mercy, which will appear for you, and deliver you from all the dangers which may line your way, and at last present you faultless before the throne of God. In a word, it will meet every case, circumstance, and condition in which it is possible for you to be placed ; and it will more than fill a father's place. Reader, will you not seek this mercy ? It is in God. It is promised. It is for the fatherless, yea, for all who are destitute. Oh, may you obtain this mercy I Or, if you have obtained mercy, let me exhort you to dwell much
THE FRIE D OF THE FATHERLESS. 261 on this excellent attribute of your God. Review God as all-sufficient in every state. To plead mercy against your dejection, and to trust in the mercy of the Lord for ever. May we all imitate our God, who is the friend of the fatherless. « While thus I seek protecting power ! Be my vain wishes kill'd ; And may this consecrated hour With better hopes be fill'd. Thy love the powers of thought bestow'd ;
To thee my thoughts should soar ; Thy mercy o'er my life has flow'd : — That mercy I adore I In each event of life, how clear Thy ruling hand I see ! Each blessing to my soul how dear, Because conferr'd by Thee. In every joy that crowns my days, In every pain I bear, My heart shall find delight in praise, Or seek relief in prayer. When gladness wings my favour'd hour. Thy love my thoughts shall fill : Resign'd when storms of sorrow lower. My soul shall meet thy will. My hfted eye without a tear, The lowering storm shall see ; My stedfast heart shall know no fear :— That heart shall rest on Thee."
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