It Will All End in Mercy!
James Smith, 1856
I seldom pay any attention to dreams; indeed I have seldom any dreams worth paying attention to. But we are told, "For God does speak — now one way, now another — though man may not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds" Job 33:14-15.
In a dream, sometimes useful thoughts are suggested, and profitable matter for meditation may be found. The other night I had a dream, the particulars of which are not important, nor do I distinctly remember them all — but at the close of it, as if a voice sounded loudly in my ears, I heard the proclamation, "It will all end in mercy!" and again a second time, "It will all end in mercy!"
I awoke, with the words powerfully impressed on my mind, producing a sweet sensation in my soul; and several times since, when reflecting on subjects of interest, and trying subjects — the words have rolled over the mind, "It will end in mercy. It will all end in mercy!"
Well, I believe this, in my best moments. I feel confident of it; not because I heard the words in my dream, though that seems to impress them on my memory — but because I find the same truth in God's Word. We know that "all things work together for good." "The Lord shall bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness." "The end of the righteous shall be gladness." And this comforting truth is very strikingly illustrated in the history of God's people, even the most tried of them.
"It will all end in mercy!" It did so in Joseph's case. He was cast into the pit, where no doubt he had many painful thoughts and gloomy forebodings. He was sold for a slave, and all the ties of relationship were sundered, and the endearments of home exchanged for foreign habits and menial employments. He was sorely tempted, and his principles were put to the most searching test. He was falsely accused, unrighteously condemned, and imprisoned. Here the iron entered into his soul. A cloud hung over him for years. Providence appeared, to have set him up as a mark for its arrows. He saw no bright light in the cloud. Many sore temptations no doubt harassed his spirit, many distressing fears agitated his soul. God seems to have forgotten to be gracious, and to have shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure.
The trial was not only sharp — but it was long, and I dare say it appeared to him very singular. But it all ended in mercy. Pharaoh's servants are imprisoned, they dream, and Joseph interprets; the interpretation proves correct; nevertheless, "the chief butler forgot Joseph." But Pharaoh dreams — his wise men are confounded — Joseph is remembered — the dreams of the monarch are solved — the prisoner is liberated, honored, and raised to great dignity. He is the savior of Egypt and the savior of his father's house. The family is reunited, and exquisite joys are realized. "It all ended in mercy!"
The Lord's way was in the sea, and his path was in the deep waters, and his footsteps were not known. But, though clouds and darkness were round about him — justice and judgment were the pillars of his throne. "It will all end in mercy!"
It did so in Job's case. Cast down from the highest pinnacle of wealth and dignity, into the low depths of poverty and pain, God and man seemed to have united against him. His property is destroyed or stolen — his children are cut off with a stroke — his wife alienated from him — and his servants treat him with contempt. His friends mistake his case, and, instead of comforting, they accuse, misrepresent, and irritate him. His body is full of disease, and his soul is full of grief. His patience fails him. His trials increase upon him. I'ora considerable time a dense, dark cloud covers him. But it all ended in mercy. His graces are strengthened by exercise — his character is cleared by his God — his property is doubled to him — and his latter end was more blessed than his beginning. We have heard of the patience of Job, we have seen the design of the Lord, and we discover that he is full of pity and of great mercy. His way was in the whirlwind and in the storm; the clouds were the dust of his feet. Reason was bewildered, sense was confounded, faith was tried, and knowledge was increased and became experimental, and it all ended in mercy."
"It will all end in mercy!" It did so in David's case. From the day be was anointed to the kingdom, and an especial honor put upon him by God, his troubles began. His was a path of tribulation. From the monarch on the throne, through all classes of his subjects, he fouhn enemies and oppression. In his own family, in his own hear', he met with the bitterest sorrows. Time would fail us particularly to notice "the times that went over him." He sunk in deep waters. He was hunted like a partridge on the mountains. He was an outlaw, and often within a step of death. Pew have had a greater number, or a greater variety, of trials than David. From friend and foe, from God and man, from saint and Satan, his trials at different times proceeded. Often did his heart fail bim, and faith appeared ready to expire — yet all ended in mercy. He filled the throne. He was overwhelmed with a sense of God's goodness. He died in the bosom of infinite love. Never did he sing so sweetly as when heart and flesh were failing.
Tried, troubled, doubting, fearing Christian — come with me to his dying couch, look at the marks of death's fingers on his pale face — he is grappling hand to hand with the King of Terrors. But does his courage fail him now? Does he tremble, as he wrestles with the foe? Oh, no! Listen, listen to his dying song! "Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?" Oh, it all ended in mercy — and a blessed ending it was.
"It will all end in mercy!" It did so in Hezekiah's case When Sennacherib came up against him, blaspheming his God, threatening his destruction, and filling his mind with terror — it was a day of trouble, of rebuke, and blasphemy. Flushed with victory, filled with pride, and boasting of his successes — the haughty Assyrian general filled Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem with alarm. It brought monarch, prophet, and people upon their knees; they pleaded, they prayed, they prevailed. The angel of death received a commission; that powerful agent went forth to execute it, and in one night the ground was covered with one hundred and eighty-four thousand dead corpses! What a sight! Surely the godly must have exclaimed, "You are terrible in your doings toward the children of men." But as far as Hezekiah was concerned — it all ended in mercy.
So when the prophet announced to him that he was required to set his house in order, for he would die and not live — his soul was cast down within him, for his purposes were broken off — yes, the very thoughts of his heart. But he fled to the mercy-seat, he pleaded with God, and fifteen years were added to his life. But for his trials — he would have never known the power of prayer, the sweetness of deliverance directly from the hand of God, nor enjoyed such proofs of God's infinite love. It all ended in mercy!
But we must cite no more instances from Scripture. Who is there that cannot look around, and see instances in which God has made the wrath of man to praise him; in which losses, crosses, trials, troubles, difficulties, and disappointments — have all ended in mercy?
The most lovely prospects are seen from lofty hills — and preceded by the toilsome, wearying ascent. The sweetest enjoyments are after the greatest trials — and are often preceded by doubts, fears, faintings, and false conclusions. No one enjoys health — like the person who has suffered from a long, debilatating, painful sickness. No one enjoys the sweets of liberty — like the man who has suffered from unrequited toil, chains, and imprisonment. No one will enjoy Heaven — like the poor tempest-tossed, troubled, and afflicted believer. The darkness of the night — adds to the splendor of the morning; and the barrenness of winter — adds to the productiveness of spring. Before honor is humility — so before our sweetest mercies, we often endure our bitterest affliction.
Just so we find, in every Christian experience, that however numerous his troubles, however rough his path, however, dark his nights, however short his days, however severe his conflicts, however painful his fears, however gloomy his forebodings — they all ended in mercy!
And now, beloved reader, let me speak to you, as the voice that spoke to me in my night's dream. If you are a believer in Jesus, whatever may be your present difficult circumstances, however trying, however perplexing, "It will all end in mercy!" You may not think so now. You may be writing bitter things against yourself. You may be misinterpreting the designs of God's providence. You may be doubting the precious promises of God's holy Word. But, notwithstanding your mistakes, your doubts, your fears, your false conclusions, "It will all end in mercy!"
You do not think so, nor did Joseph once, nor did Job once, nor did thousands once — who are now in glory.
But they were mistaken — and so are you!
They judged by appearances — and so do you.
They changed their minds — and so will you.
All your troubles are appointed in infinite love.
They are all weighed out by sovereign goodness.
They are all limited, as to time, by perfect wisdom.
There is no 'chance' in what happens to the Christian.
Everything is divinely arranged and appointed!
Cheer up, my poor weary fellow-traveler! You will soon arrive at Home, and then you will see clearly and enjoy sweetly the blessed truth — that to the believer "all will end in mercy!"
Take comfort, poor afflicted fellow-Christian! Your afflictions are God's furnace, in which He is refining you! He is only fitting you to occupy a mansion in Heaven, and to sing the sweet and everlasting song — the theme of which will be, "It all ended in mercy!"
Fear not, poor feeble, fickle, faltering follower of Jesus!
Though your faith is weak,
though your fears are strong,
though your doubts are painful,
though you conclude that your case is singular and your condition hopeless — "the year of release is at hand," and then . . .
your doubts will expire,
your fears will flee away,
your groans will be silenced,
your feeble hopes will be realized,
for "It will all end in mercy!"
My brother, are you in poverty, persecution, or bodily sickness? Cheer up! Your light shall soon "break forth as the morning!" Write it down in your memorandum book, or impress it upon your memory, or, what is better still, pray the Holy Spirit to give you the sweet inward assurance of the fact, that "It will all end in mercy!"
But if these lines are read by a lost sinner, a thoughtless, careless, hardened sinner, I dare not say to him that "all will end in mercy." No, all may end in judgment in your case! All your present pleasures, pursuits, hopes, and prospects, may end in "weeping, in wailing, and gnashing of teeth!" All may end in the fearful sentence, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into everlasting tire, prepared for the devil and his angels!"
Yet as careless as you have been, as thoughtless as you have been, as hardened up to this moment as you are — if you will seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near; if you will as a wicked man forsake your ways, and as an unrighteous man your thoughts, and return unto the Lord — then he will have mercy upon you, and our God will abundantly pardon you!
Yes, yes, my fellow-sinner, begin at once; go upon your knees, confess your sins, plead the blood of Jesus with the Father, for the pardon of all your sins, seek the gift of the Holy Spirit to sanctify your nature, and make you fit for Heaven! Renounce self, trust in Jesus, fly "to the hope set before you in the gospel," and then to you, even you, I say, "It will all end in mercy!"