November 7, 2013

Thomas Watson (c.1620–1686) on God's Kneeling Mercy

Use 2. Believe in this Mercy, Psal. 52. 8. I trust in the mercy of God for ever. God's Mercy is a Fountain of Salvation, what greater Encouragement to believe than God's Mercy. God counts it his glory to be scattering Pardons; he is desirous that sinners should touch the golden Scepter of his Mercy, and live. And this willingness to shew Mercy appears two ways:

1. By his intreating of sinners to come and lay hold on his Mercy; Rev. 22.17. Whosoever will, come and take the water of life freely. Mercy woes sinners, it even kneels down to them. It were strange for a Prince to entreat a condemned Man to accept Pardon. God saith, poor sinner, suffer me to love thee, be willing to let me save thee.

2. By his joyfulness when sinners do lay hold on his Mercy. What is God the better, whether we receive his Mercy or no? What is the Fountain profited that others drink of it? Yet such is God's goodness, that he rejoyceth at the Salvation of sinners, and is glad when his Mercy is accepted of. When the Prodigal Son came home, how glad was the Father? and he makes a Feast to express his joy. This was but a Type or Emblem, to shew how God rejoyceth when a poor sinner comes in, and lays hold of his Mercy. What an encouragement is here to believe in God, he is a God of Pardons, Nehem. 9.17. Mercy pleaseth him, Micha 7.18. Nothing doth prejudice us but Unbelief. Unbelief stops the current of God's Mercy from running: It shuts up God's Bowels, closeth the Orifice of Christ's Wounds, that no healing Vertue will come out, Matth. 13.58. He could not do mighty works there because of their unbelief. What dost thou not believe in God's Mercy? Is it they sins discourage? God's Mercy can pardon great sins, nay, because they are great, Psal. 25.11. The Sea covers great Rocks as well as lesser Sands; some that had an hand in crucifying Christ, found Mercy. As far as the Heavens are above the Earth so far is God's Mercy above our sins, Isa. 55.9. What will tempt us to believe, if not the Mercy of God?
4. To Sin presumptuously, to know what is good, yet not to do it, is hainous, because it is Ingratitude: 'Tis an high Abuse of God's Kindness; and God cannot endure, or all Things, to have his Kindness abused. God's Kindness is seen in this, that he hath acquainted the Sinner with his Mind and Will; that he hath not only instructed him, but perswade him, made mercy stoop and kneel to the Sinner; he hath Wooed him with his Spirit, that he would flee from Sin, and pursue Holiness: Kindness is seen in this, that God hath spared the Sinner so long, and not struck him dead in the Act of Sin: Kindness in this, that tho' the Sinner hath sinn'd against his Conscience, yet now, if he will repent of Sin, God will repent of his Judgments, and the white Flag of Mercy shall be held forth, Jer. 3.1. Thou hast played the Harlot with many Lovers; yet return again to me, said the Lord. But the Sinner is of a base morose Spirit; he is not melted with all his Love; but his Heart, like Clay, hardens under the Sun. Here's an apparent Abuse of God's Kindness; and God cannot endure to have his Kindness abused. The Vulture draws Sickness from Perfumes; so the Sinner contracts Wickedness from the Mercy of God. Here's high Ingratitude!


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