The Mercy of God
James Smith, 1842
"Your mercy, O Lord, endured forever!" Psalm 138:8
Few things that relate to religion are more talked of,
and but few less understood — than the mercy of God. It is indeed . .
a fountain of consolation,
a spring of happiness, and
a source of comfort —
to all who rightly enter into it.
But we can derive correct information in reference to the subject, only from the Word of God; that is, God's revelation concerning Himself; and from it alone we can learn the true nature of His mercy.
It is common to say, "God is merciful" — and it is a glorious truth; but how am I to know that He is, or will be merciful to me? This is the great question. God is JUST — as well as merciful. And He is AS just — as He is merciful. Both justice and mercy are in Him alike infinite.
Whenever God designs to be merciful — He discovers, reveals, and makes manifest His mercy by His acts. When He was determined to manifest His mercy in the loftiest manner to His people — then He gave His only-begotten Son; hence we read that it was, "through the tender mercy of our God; that the day-spring from on high has visited us." Luke 1:78. And when He shows mercy to a sinner, He regenerates that sinner's soul, quickens him to a life divine, and begets him to a living hope; therefore the Apostle says, "According to His mercy, He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5. And again, "God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins — has quickened us together with Christ — by grace are you saved!" Ephesians 2:4, 5. So also the Apostle Peter, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 1 Peter 1:3.
Divine mercy reveals to the soul, through the teachings of the Holy Spirit — the willingness of God to pardon. Divine mercy leads the conscious sinner to seek pardon through the blood of the cross — and God graciously bestows it according to His word. "The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression!" And Moses said, "Pardon, I beseech you, the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your mercy!"
Where God shows mercy, He inspires prayer in the heart, enables the soul to petition, and sends down a merciful answer. Mercy received, makes a man faithful to his God, to his conscience, and to the truth. Paul obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. 1 Corinthians 7:25. Mercy received, makes its possessors merciful, pitiful, and kind; "Blessed are the merciful. for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7
Mercy received, leads the soul that trusts in it, to rejoice in Christ's salvation; I have trusted in your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." Psalm 13:5. It begets thankfulness, and leads out the soul in praise; I will sing aloud of your mercy in the morning." Psalm 59:16. It brings satisfaction; "Oh, satisfy us early with your mercy." Psalm 90:14. It preserves the tried, distressed, and perplexed Christian, from fainting under the trials, temptations, and distresses that he meets with; "As we have received mercy, we faint not." 2 Corinthians 4:1.
Mercy received, plants a desire in the mind to glorify God in heart, lip, and life; "That the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy." Romans 15:9. It engages the Lord to lead, befriend, and guide them; "He who has mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them." Isaiah 49:10. It prevents us from falling into snares, despair, and Hell; "The God of my mercy shall prevent me." Psalm 59:10. It compasses the soul about, to protect, secure, and supply it with all necessary good; "He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about." Psalm 32:10. And the man that tastes its sweetness, feels its power, and sees the provision it makes, with his own interest in it, can say, "Surly goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6.
Mercy is an attribute of God, which is exercised towards the miserable; it flows to us in our miserable estate, through the person, work, and sacrifice of Christ; it is revealed in the blessed Bible; and God the Holy Spirit gives us to seek it and find it.
Mercy appears in all the Lord's conduct towards us — and all our blessings flow from this sweet ocean! Pardon, peace, provision, fellowship, comfort now, and glory by and by — are founded in, and are the effects of, the covenant mercy of God. The man that is interested in the mercy of God, is a happy man; all that God appoints, permits, and allows to take place, is mercifully designed to benefit and advantage him. God is for him, Christ pleads his cause, and he need not fear what man can do unto him.
The mercy of God is free, inviting, and sufficient; the
word of God says, "He who follows after righteousness and mercy, finds
righteousness, and honor." Proverbs 21:21. Reader, have you obtained
mercy? I do not ask, Have you heard, read, or talked about mercy; but, Have
you obtained it? The Apostle speaks of some, "who had not obtained
mercy — but now have obtained mercy;" 1 Peter 2:10. Has mercy brought . . .
life to your soul,
peace to your conscience,
and spiritual joy to your heart?
Have you sought mercy? Are you living to the praise of mercy? Are you looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life?" Jude 21. Have you reason, from the word of God, to believe that you shall find mercy cf the Lord in that day? Do you feel your need of mercy? if so, the door of God's mercy stands open all day, to the poor and the needy, who knock by the way. No sinner was ever yet empty sent back, who came seeking mercy for Jesus' sake."
You have nothing to discourage you — but everything on your side; true, you may feel unworthy; so did Jacob, Gen 32:10. You may think that God's mercy is clean gone forever; so did Asaph, Psalm 8. You
may be grown old in sin before you have thought of seeking; so was the thief on the cross; but yet he found. God has revealed Himself as "The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3. Jesus is very merciful, and slow to anger. He is a merciful High priest. Hebrews 2:17. Jehovah — Father, Son, and Spirit delights in mercy; and will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Micah 7:8, Matthew 9:11
And in reference to those who seek Him, it is said, "I
will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their
iniquities will I remember no more." Hebrews 8:12. But if you are living
careless, indifferent, and impenitent — remember, God is only merciful on
earth. In judgment, in Heaven, and in Hell — he is JUST, but not MERCIFUL.
If you live and die unacquainted with the power, sweetness, and glory of
divine mercy — you will find . . .
judgment without mercy;
wrath without favor; and
torment without cessation!
Your doom is to be cast into a lake of fire; which is the second death. Rev. 20:14. The gnawing worm of a guilty conscience shall not die, neither shall the fire be quenched, Isaiah 66:24; but you will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of your torment will ascend up forever and ever! Rev. 14:10, 11.