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Spirit teaches such persons to look out of themselves, to an object exactly suitable to their case. He directs them to the divine mercy-a never failing spring of comfort—to that mercy, which reacheth from eternity to eternity-and which confers its richest favours, not for the worthiness of the receiver, but to the praise of the grace of the giver. Here he would have them fix their eyes, and expect relief to their hearts. Out of the fulness of mercy they may always receive grace for grace ; for the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him. Every word is weighty. Meditate upon it, O my soul, and may the consideration of each lead thee to exalt that mercy of God, which is over all his works.
JEHOVAH is the word here rendered Lord. It is the incommunicable name, expressive of the incommunicable nature of the Godhead. It signifies the peculiar manner of the divine existence, which is in, and of itself, underived, and independent. O how happy is it for thee, that there is mercy in the self-existent Godhead, and that every perfection in it will be for ever exalted, even justice itself, for the exercise of mercy. May the Holy Spirit teach thee more of its nature, and make thee daily more acquainted in thine experience with its free grace and free gifts.
MERCY is that perfection in Jehovah, which disposes him to save miserable sinners: not a blind
mercy, such as infidels dream of_but consistent with the honour of his law, and exercised to the glory of his holy precepts and of its just sanctions: therefore mercy and truth are so often mentioned together in scripture. God will not shew any mercy to sinners, but such as tends to establish his truth. Not one of his words can be broken, nor can one tittle of them ever fail. He will be justified in all his sayings, and clear when he is judged. He will be true and just, whenever he is merciful: his mercies being all covenant-mercies, and all given in, and through Christ Jesus: All men are by nature children of wrath, and only they, who are
chosen and called in Christ Jesus, are saved from wrath. These are vessels of mercy. His mercy
is to them the love of a tender parent to his miserable children. He pities them, and determines to save them from their sins, in due time he quickens them, gives them eyes to see, and hearts to believe his love to them in Jesus, as the apostle witnesses—“ God who is rich in mercy, for « his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we
dead in sins, hath quickened us together with 66 Christ.”
But for what reason, and upon what account, is he merciful to them? His mercy has no motive, but his own will. The objects of his mercy are corrupt fallen creatures, deserving his wrath, even as others; and therefore he does not deal with them upon the footing of desert. If he shewed them mercy for any fore-seen works of theirs, because he knew they would repent and believe ths gospel, and walk worthy of it, mercy would then be turned into justice, and would lose both its name and its nature. Whereas he saith unto Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. It is from mine own freedom and sovereignty, that I have mercy on any sinners. The cause is in myself, and not in them. I have compassion, on whom I will. It is from mine own mere love, that I have determined to be gracious to them; and my love has determined to save them, and the
also in which I will save them. I have appointed the end, and the means at the same time. Of mine own motion and good will I have resolved to give my Son for them, and my spirit to them, that they may repent and believe the gospel, and walk worthy of it, and so I may bring them through my tender mercies to eternal salvation. If this was not the case, how could the description be true, that mercy is FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING. The
of God knows no variableness, nor shadow of turning. It is always the same. His fatherly heart has entertained thoughts of mercy towards them: for when he shews
them mercy, it is said to be according to the eternal purpose, which he had purposed in Christ Jesus-not for their merits, but for his mercies sake, not for what they have any claim to, but for his own name's sake. He gives all for mercy, and he would have all the glory returned to the mercy of the giver. What he gives, that he continues, and according to covenant engagements. Covenant mercies are sure mercies. 66 I will “ make an everlasting covenant for you, sayshe, even the
sure mercies of the beloved." They have already been made sure to him. He is now in full possession of every promised mercy. And he has received them, not as a private person, but as the head of the body, the church. He keeps them for the use of his churchmembers. And as sure as the crown is
his head, so surely will it be upon every one of their heads : for they are in the same covenant with him whose sure mercies reach from eternity to eternity. O what a view is here open to the eye of faith? Mercy always purposing, and in due time bestowing its free blessings upon sinners -mercy, without beginning, and without ending. The holy Spirit often calls upon us to behold it in this light : for he has not celebrated any of its divine properties, so much as this. It is frequently the noble subject of thanksgiving in the Psalmist's hymns. He has dedicated the 136th entirely to the praise of mercy, and going through the works of nature, providence, and grace,
he ascribes them one by one to that mercy, which endureth for ever. O happy, thrice happy objects of it! What was in the heart of the Father of mercies towards you from everlasting, will be so to everlasting. His sure mercies are yours. His compassions towards you fail not. Whatever you want for your successful walk he has promised to give you. Be not discouraged then. He will supply all your wants, not for your sakes, but for his mercies sake. Are you sensible of your unworthiness? That's well. Mercy is for such. It can have no glory, but from such, as you.
Trust it, and be assured you will find that it endureth for ever and ever.
If a doubt should arise in your mind-it is true, mercy in God, cannot fail, but the exercise of it towards me may fail: I may so walk as to deprive myself of all claim and title to it. The Psalmist has given a direct answer to this ill grounded suspicion. He says the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
UPON THEM THAT FEAR HIM. This is their character: they fear their God. Once there was no fear of God before their eyes; but now they know him to be their Father. The Spirit of adoption has given them joy and peace in believing it. Hence a holy filial fear rules in their hearts, and influences their walk. While it operates thus; and as obedient children they fear to offend their loving Father, and desire to please him in all things, what ground have they to suspect that his mercy towards them should fail ?
But may they not cease to fear him, and then he will cease to be merciful to them ? No, blessed be God. He has made ample provision in this case, “ I will put
my fear, says he, into their hearts, and they SHALL nor depart from me.” This fear is one of the fruits of the Spirit which he produces in all the children of God. And they have it from him as a covenant blessing, which is full security for its continuance. It is one of the graces provided for them in Jesus by the Father's immutable love. “I will give them, says he,
heart and one way; that they may fear me FOR “ EVER!" The Holy Spirit is the guardian of this never failing fear. It is his office to put it, and then to keep it in their hearts. He has the whole charge of it, and therefore he has promised to abide with them for ever, that they may fear the Lord all the days of their lives.
How exactly suited is this scripture to the case of the tempted christian! What a full provision is there made in it for his safety and peace ! God has mercy for him
and plenteous redemption-mercy reaching from everlasting to everlasting-always kind to the miserable. Mercy and misery are related as sin and salvation. There is not any thing, which a sinner can want, but mercy has a supply for him-a promised, a covenant, a never failing supply. It is a Father's mercy, which will never leave his children, and the same mercy will not suffer them to leave him. His mind is fixed upon shewing them
mercy for ever and ever : and therefore he gives them his Spirit to abide with them, and to dwell in them. He abides with them, and they live: he dwells in them, and they walk in the fear of God. And by the supply of the Spirit they go on, till they finish their course with joy.
By meditating upon this scripture the believer is set at liberty. Though his faith staggered a little, yet the trial of it has done him good. He has learned an useful lesson, and gained much experience by it. His reflections
upon what has passed in his mind are such as these
O how foolish was I to forget the atonement and righteousness of my dearest Immanuel, in whom alone I have pardon and acceptance! How base was I, and ungrateful! I was tempted to expect that in myself, which I can have only in him. Vile legal creature that I am, I abhor myself for behaving so, ill to my best friend. What good can I have, but what I first receive from him ? I agree with the apostle, that in me, that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. I am a very sink of sin, and of all uncleanness. I deserve mercy no more than the devil does. And yet I was looking out for some good quality in myself, on account of which God might be merciful to me. Whereas I am now satisfied he has no mercy, but in Jesus. All his mer. cies are covenant mercies; given from mere grace, and given to miserable sinners--not to make them self-admirers, but to humble them- not to lead them to think that they can bring God in debt to them for his own gifts, or for the right use of them, which is a.