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THE PERPETUITY OF DIVINE MERCY, As seen IN THE
RICH PROVISION MADE FOR THE SANCTIFICATION, CONSOLATION, PERSEVERANCE, AND ETERNAL SALVATION OF BELIEVERS.
“O who shall in thy presence stand,
Or match omnipotence ?
And pluck the sinner thence.
Thou wilt victorious prove;
“ His compassions fail not;" so sung the afflicted prophet, as he sat among the desolations of Jerusalem ; and the glorious fact brought a full tide of consolation into his distressed bosom. Despair, ingratitude, forgetfulness, were all put to flight; and hope, thankfulness, and humility, took possession of his heart. He felt himself a living being who had deserved to die; he felt himself possessed of an immortal life, who had merited eternal death; he saw sorrows around him, vast and mighty as the heaving ocean; but he viewed mercy presiding over the tempest, and saying to each angry billow, “hitherto shalt thou go, but no farther.” He saw the mercies of God lay around as plentiful and free as the morning dew, beautiful and cheering as the morning light, and he sung with holy triumph, “ It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Lam. iii. 22 – 24.
Compassions ! his compassions ! How full of sweetness is this word; it includes patience, pity, mercy, love; it has respect to man as helpless, afflicted, and sinful. Divine compassion harmonizes with all the other attributes of God, and engages them all in the cause of its objects; it comes to us through human sympathies, and is discovered in mighty, condescending, and gracious acts-in suitable, comforting, and consoling words. This compassion never fails the soul it takes in hand; it never stops short of the goal it first proposed to reach; it acts like itself. Thus Jesus, when on earth, had compassion on the multitude, and he fed them to the full; when he saw the widow weeping over the bier of her son, he had compassion on her, and gave her back her child blooming with life and health; he had compassion on the blind men, and he gave them sight; and he tells us that when the father of the prodigal saw him a great way off, he had compassion on him; the wanderer did not, as he desired, merely gain the servant's place, but the kiss, the robe, the ring, the feast, and above all, the father's smile
Divine compassion is the constant cmpanion of all mercy's children; in the darkest night,
the deepest sorrows, and the most trying duties, the eye of faith can discern the beamings of her countenance. What Israel of old realized, God's people still prove, “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old," Isaiah lxiii. 9; and therefore sing with holy wonder, “I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness towards the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving-kind. nesses." Verse 7.
If then God's character be such as we have represented — if mercy be his nature - if all his perfections are glorified by mercy if Christ has at an infinite expense opened such a channel for mercy to flow and if the believer has re. ceived that mercy- has been disinherited of his transgressions, and put into possession of God's favor and image, we may well ask “what shall be the end of these wonders ?” and “what shall we render to the Lord for all his benefits towards us ?'' What glory shall be ours hereafter? What gratitude should be ours now? We who have found grace in God's sight, may with confidence look " for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life;” and thus, by looking at mercy in and by Jesus, “keep ourselves in the love of God," Jude 21; every saint may with cheerful hope say “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in
the house of the Lord for ever,” Ps. xxiii. 6; and with holy triumph sing, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” Ps. cxxxviii. 7,8.
We have endeavoured in the course of these remarks on divine mercy, to keep three things prominently in view. That mercy hath its rise in the eternal love of God; that its object is to secure his glory; and also to advance the interests of holiness. We have seen that God can only make us happy by making us holy, and that it is his determination to do both, and that by so doing, and doing it in such a way, he expresses his great love, and glorifies his holy name. All who have felt his mercy, sympathize with him in these his wise and holy designs, and while they rejoice that “he hath delivered their souls from death, their eyes from tears, and their feet from falling," they determine in his strength to walk before God in the light of the living." They prize his mercy not only because it brings them from the horrible pit to the rock of ages ; but because it orders their goings, and they desire to walk according to the rule of his holy gospel, that peace and mercy may be continually on them. Gal. vi. 16.
We are also taught that all the objects of mercy are interested in all the grace and love of God. As mercy received its objects from the hand of love, so it gives them back to love again ; and when they need mercy no longer to restore, to comfort, and to pardon, love shall continue to lavish out its stores upon them, and there will be throughout eternity a perpetual remembrance of mercy's triumphs, which will sweeten every blessing love bestows. Not but that mercy being natural to God, is eternal as his love; but as “the Son hereafter will become subject to the Father, that God may be all in all,” yet will the Son remain eternally the mirror and medium of Deity; so when“the days of our mourning shall be ended," and there are no more any tears for mercy to wipe away, love will be all in all ; will be the glory which will pervade and fill the temple which mercy has erected. But we will close these observations by a few remarks on what mercy dues for its objects, on their way to that endless bliss. From the gate of pardon to the portal of glory, we may trace her wondrous doings, and still find occasion to sing “his mercy endureth for ever."
I. We have already referred to some of the names and titles taken by the God of mercy, In filling up these he manifests the tenderness, plenitude, and eternity of his mercy. These names are the dwelling place of the saints, their strong tower, refuge, hiding place, home, and sanctuary. We might also refer to the various offices and relations which Jesus, "the mercy promised,” the “consolation of Israel” sustains and fills up; and likewise to the rich provision made in the undertakings and offices of the sacred Spirit. O what treasures of mercy are there in that word Comforter ! As Comforter the Spirit supplies the place of Christ. To do this he must possess and manifest all the meekness,