James Smith, 1860
Mercy is that perfection, or property in the divine nature, which prompts and moves the Most High God to pity, sympathize with, and do good to poor lost sinners. Mercy can only he shown to the miserable. Mercy never can be claimed by any. It is exercised freely by God, in his divine sovereignty. But in God it can only be exercised in accordance with divine justice. Indeed if God shows mercy — it must be godlike. If God shows mercy — he must do it wisely, justly, holily; maintaining the rights of his government, and preventing the injury of any of his creatures.
Let me meditate a little on divine mercy, and cry out with Moses, "O satisfy me early with your mercy." Psalm 90:14. The mercy of God, his covenant mercy, which is revealed in and flows through Jesus, is a satisfying portion; and those who possess it, have cause to rejoice and be glad all their days.
Our quickening and regeneration are to be traced to the mercy of God, for "according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit." It is then that we obtain mercy, and are prepared to say, "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, has quickened us together with Christ." God's abundant mercy, begets us to a lively hope, and fixes the eye and the heart on an incorruptible inheritance.
Our pardon flows from mercy too, as the Lord proclaims, when he publishes his name. "The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy — forgiving iniquity and transgression." How freely he pardoned us, when we first confessed our sins, and pleaded the Savior's blood — and how often has he pardoned since. As Moses said of Israel, "You have pardoned them from Egypt until now:" so has the Lord pardoned us from day to day, from our first cry for mercy until now.
Mercy brought Jesus down to visit our world, purge away our sins by his blood, and set us in the way of his steps. Mercy, through Jesus, delivered our souls from the lowest hell; and from that day it has compassed us about, and followed us every step of our journey! It has delivered us from dangers and foes, and preserved us from fainting under our trials, and healed all our backslidings until now. It never fails, being from everlasting to everlasting, it perfects its work, and secures to us the kindness of our God. For, thus says the word, "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you."
Mercy, the sweet mercy of God, has always been our friend — for us it acted when the covenant was made; for us it wrought when Jesus died; for us it pleaded when we cried for pardon; and for us it has appeared in a thousand ways! Without it, faith would expire, hope would die, and all prospect of heaven would fade away! But with it, every grace shall flourish, every foe be conquered, and every trial shall work for our good. Blessed, blessed forever, be God for his mercy!
May that mercy satisfy us with its abundance, its variety, and its immutability. May that mercy sanctify us more deeply, render us more heavenly, and fill us with joy and peace. In mercy we will trust; from mercy we will expect; and of mercy we will sing. For mercy we will seek, because it is connected with life, righteousness, and honor; and for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ we will look, for it will end our sorrows, wipe away our tears, and fill us with joy and glory!