Tag Archives: Mercy

“Prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away” by John Newton

“One trial abides with me: a body of sin and death, an inward principle of evil, which renders all I do defective and defiled.

But even here I find cause for thankfulness, for with such a heart as I have, my sad story would soon be much worse if the Lord were not my keeper.

By this I may know that He favours me, since weak and variable as I am in myself, and powerful and numerous as my enemies are, they have not yet prevailed against me.

And I am admitted to a throne of grace, I have an Advocate with the Father. And such is the power, care, and compassion of my great Shepherd that, prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away.

When I am wounded, He heals me.

When I faint, He revives me again.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 170.

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“I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour” by John Newton

“Near the end, William Jay visited his friend Newton, who was then barely able to speak.

But Newton said: ‘My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.'”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 401.

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“His grace can soften the hardest heart” by John Newton

“O praise the Lord with me, for He has done great things for us, and I trust He will do yet more in His own set time, and in His own way, which must be the best.

What shall I say of Old Seventy-Eight? I thank the Lord, my health is remarkably good. I eat, drink, and sleep well. But my sight, hearing, and recollection greatly fail me. I can seldom remember what I saw, heard, or said, but two hours before.

Yet when in the pulpit, I am not often much at a loss. I still preach as long, as loud, as often, as formerly, and my auditory are still willing to hear me. The church was never more thronged, nor the hearers more attentive.

Indeed I am a wonder to many and to myself. I am a stranger to sickness and pain; but there is a cloud over my spirit, a nervous affliction so that though I am mercifully supported, and have some daylight in the path of duty I take but little comfort in anything.

I walk in comparative darkness but I am encouraged, and in some measure enabled, to stay myself in the Lord, and to trust in Him, as my God (Isaiah 50:10).

Perhaps this depression may be owing in part to old age. I often compare myself to Barzillai (2 Samuel 19:31-38), who, when he was but a little older than I, had lost all relish for what is called pleasure.

But, precious Bible, what a treasure!

Blessed be the Lord, I can see that my acceptance, and perseverance, do not depend upon my frames or feelings, but upon the power, compassion, care and faithfulness of Him, who in the midst of all the changes to which we are exposed in this wilderness state, is unchangeably the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

O what a horrid wretch was I when on board the Harwich, on the coast of Africa, and too long afterwards. Surely no one who did not finally perish was ever more apparently given up to a reprobate mind!

I am a singular and striking proof, that the atoning blood of Jesus can cleanse from the most enormous sins, that His grace can soften the hardest heart, subdue the most obstinate habits of evil, and that He is indeed able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

Lord I believe, O help me against my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I have been, yea to this day, I am a chief sinner, and yet I am permitted to preach the truth I once laboured to destroy.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 396-397.

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“The unspeakable and incomparable gift of the Father” by John Murray

“If the Father did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up to the agony and shame of Calvary, how could He possibly fail to bring to fruition the end contemplated in such sacrifice.

The greatest gift of the Father, the most precious donation given to us, was not things. It was not calling, nor justification, nor even glorification.

It is not even the security with which the apostle concludes his peroration (Rom. 8:39). These are favours dispensed in the fulfilment of God’s gracious design.

But the unspeakable and incomparable gift is the giving up of His own Son. So great is that gift, so marvellous are its implications, so far-reaching its consequences that all graces of lesser proportion are certain of free bestowment.

Whether the word ‘also’ is tied to ‘with Him’ or to the term ‘freely give’, the significance of ‘with Him’ must be appreciated. Christ is represented as given to us—the giving up for us is to be construed as a gift to us.

Since He is the supreme expression and embodiment of free gift and since His being given over by the Father is the supreme demonstration of the Father’s love, every other grace must follow upon and with the possession of Christ.”

–John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (vol. 1; The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968), 326.

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“You have much more reason than angels to shout with joy” by Jonathan Edwards

“Let those who have been made partakers of this free and glorious grace of God, spend their lives much in praises and hallelujahs to God, for the wonders of His mercy in their redemption.

To you, O redeemed of the Lord, doth this doctrine most directly apply itself: you are those who have been made partakers of all this glorious grace of which you have now heard.

’Tis you that God entertained thoughts of restoring after your miserable fall into dreadful depravity and corruption, and into danger of the dreadful misery that unavoidably follows upon it.

’Tis for you in particular that God gave His Son, yea, His only Son, and sent Him into the world.

’Tis for you that the Son of God so freely gave Himself.

’Tis for you that He was born, died, rose again and ascended, and intercedes.

’Tis to you that there the free application of the fruit of these things is made: all this is done perfectly and altogether freely, without any of your desert, without any of your righteousness or strength.

Therefore, let your life be spent in praises to God.

When you praise Him in prayer, let it not be with coldness and indifferency.

When you praise Him in your closet, let your whole soul be active therein.

When you praise Him in singing, don’t barely make a noise, without any stirring of affection in the heart, without any internal melody. Surely, you have reason to shout and cry, ‘Grace, grace, be the topstone of the temple!’

Certainly, you don’t lack mercy and bounty to praise God; you only lack a heart and lively affections to praise Him with.

Surely, if the angels are so astonished at God’s mercy to you, and do even shout with joy and admiration at the sight of God’s grace to you, you yourself, on whom this grace is bestowed, have much more reason to shout.

Consider that great part of your happiness in heaven, to all eternity, will consist in this: in praising of God, for His free and glorious grace in redeeming you.

And if you would spend more time about it on earth, you would find this world would be much more of a heaven to you than it is. Wherefore, do nothing while you are alive, but speak and think and live God’s praises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Glorious Grace,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720–1723 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 10; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1992), 10: 399. Edwards preached this sermon on Zechariah 4:7 when he was 19 years old.

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“He drank the cup of suffering to the last drop” by Herman Bavinck

“The state of death in which Christ entered when He died was as essentially a part of His humiliation as His spiritual suffering on the cross. In both together He completed His perfect obedience.

He drank the cup of suffering to the last drop and tasted death in all its bitterness in order to completely deliver us from the fear of death and death itself.

Thus He destroyed him who had the power of death and by a single offering perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, Volume 3, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 417.

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“It is free mercy that every day keeps Hell and my soul asunder” by Thomas Brooks

“‘Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy,’ (Matthew 5:7). Mercy is a commiserating of another man’s misery in our hearts, or a sorrow for another man’s distress, or a heart-grieving for another man’s grief, arising out of an unfeigned love unto the party afflicted.

Or more plainly thus: mercy is a pitying of another man’s misery, with a desire and endeavor to help him to the uttermost of our ability. The Hebrew for godly, חסד, chasid, signifies gracious, merciful.

The more godly any man is, the more merciful that man will be. ‘Blessed are the merciful,’ that is, blessed are they that show mercy to others, out of a deep sense of the mercy of God to them in Christ.

Blessed are such who show mercy out of love to mercy, out of a delight in mercy.

Blessed are such as show mercy out of love and obedience to the God of mercy.

Blessed are such as show mercy to men in misery, upon the account of the image of God, the glory of God that is stamped upon them.

Blessed are such as extend their piety and mercy, not only to men’s bodies, but also to their precious and immortal souls.

Soul-mercy is the chief of mercies. The soul is the most precious jewel in all the world; it is a vessel of honour, it is a spark of glory, it is a bud of eternity, it is the price of blood, it is beautified with the image of God, it is adorned with the grace of God, and it is clothed with the righteousness of God.

Such are blessed as show mercy to others, from gracious motives and considerations.

It is free mercy that every day keeps Hell and my soul asunder.

It is mercy that daily pardons my sins.

It is mercy that supplies all my inward and outward wants.

It is mercy that preserves, and feeds, and clothes my outward man.

It is mercy that renews, strengthens, and prospers my inward man.

It is mercy that has kept me many times from committing such and such sins.

It is mercy that has kept me many a time from falling before such and such temptations.

It is mercy that has many a time preserved me from being swallowed up by such and such inward and outward afflictions.

Such as show mercy out of a design to exalt and glorify the God of mercy, such who show most mercy to them to whom God shows most mercy: these are blessed, and shall obtain mercy.”

–Thomas Brooks, “A Cabinet of Jewels,” The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 271-272.

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