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“The depths of our misery can never fall below the depths of mercy.”

Richard Sibbes

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Harmony of Justice and Mercy

Such diverse excellencies are expressed in [God] towards men, that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards the same object; as particularly these three, justice, mercy, and truth. The same that are mentioned in Psalm 85:10, “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested as in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of God’s justice, in that, when he had a mind to save sinners, he was willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their salvation should be to the injury of the honour of that attribute. And as he is the Judge of the world, he doth himself exercise strict justice; he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked in judgment. Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed in him! And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been and are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he be the just Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Saviour of the world. Though he be a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life of sinners. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26).

Jonathan Edwards, WJE, 1:682–683.

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Matchless Mercy

That God should be reconciled after such a dreadful breach as the fall of man made, is wonderful; no sin, all things considered, was ever like to this sin: other sins, like a single bullet, kill particular persons, but this, like a chain-shot, cuts off multitudes as the sand upon the sea-shore, which no man can number.

If all the posterity of Adam in their several generations, should do nothing else but bewail and lament this sin of his, whilst this world continues, yet would it not be enough lamented; for a man so newly created out of nothing, and admitted the first moment into the highest order, crowned a king over the works of God’s hands, Psal. 8:5. a man perfect and upright, without the least inordinate motion, or sinful inclination: a man whose mind was most clear, bright, and apprehensive of the will of God, whose will was free, and able to have easily put by the strongest temptation: a man in a paradise of delights, where nothing was left to desire for advancing the happiness of soul or body: a man understanding himself to be a public, complexive person, carrying not only his own, but the happiness of the whole world in his hand: so soon, upon so slight a temptation, to violate the law of his God, and involve himself and all his posterity with him, in such a gulf of guilt and misery; all which he might so easily have prevented! O wonderful amazing mercy, that ever God should think of being reconciled, or have any purposes of peace towards so vile an apostate creature as man.

—John Flavel
Works, 2:54.

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Mercy in Christ Alone

The Son of God is “the true Light, which lights every man that cometh into the world.” Therefore whoever does not acknowledge Christ and believe in Him, and does not make Him his own, is and remains a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3) and of damnation, no matter what he is called or what he is. But if man is to find mercy, Christ alone must be the means. He alone makes us paupers rich with His superabundance, expunges our sins with His righteousness, devours our death with His life, and transforms us from children of wrath, tainted with sin, hypocrisy, lies, and deceit, into children of grace and truth. Whoever does not possess this Man possesses nothing.

—Martin Luther
“Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1-4” in Works, 22:130–131.

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Unexpected Mercies

Much of the pleasantness of a journey lies in unexpected views and scenes which burst upon the traveller as he climbs a hill or descends into a dale. If he could see all at once, one long, unvariegated avenue, it would become weary walking for him; but the very freshness and novelty of the events, adventures, and contingencies constantly occurrent, help to make life exciting, if not happy. I thank God for many a mercy which has come to me fresh from the mint of his providence. I could not have imagined that such a well-timed godsend could have come to me in such an unexpected manner: it had all the marks of novelty about it as if the Lord had been pleased to coin it and put it into my hand.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flashes of Thought (Passmore and Alabaster, 1874).