“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
“The quality of mercy is not strained:
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed—
It blesses him that gives, and him that takes.
’Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.…
It is an attribute to God himself.
How shall thou hope for mercy, rendering none?”
Mercy is in complete harmony with justice, if not identical with that attribute. It is true there may be instances when the human mind will be perplexed, and the human heart distressed, by an apparent discrepancy,—pity drawing one way, and a strong sense of duty urging the other. In such cases, however, there need be no irreparable breach, if the mercy be true mercy, and the justice pure justice. Still, these qualities may become so alloyed in conventional forms, and so confused to our conceptions, that there will be a seeming conflict. But, essentially, absolutely, they are at one, and become antagonistic only when this or that parts with something of its true character. We may be assured that unmerciful justice is unjust, and unjust mercy unmerciful.
Mercy In Action
Some have to labor hard with their niggardliness in order to be kind; but the blessing lies not only in doing a merciful act, but in being merciful in disposition. Followers of Jesus must be men of mercy; for they have found mercy; and mercy has found them.
The mere passive quality of mercy, inactive and inoperative, does not reach the full meaning of the passage. The translation might well be, the actively benevolent, not exclusively in alms-giving, although that is embraced in the sense, but generally in doing all in their power to promote the happiness and welfare of others. The highest type of Christian virtue is found in that spirit of self-consecration which surrenders all to the cause of the Redeemer, and labors with unremitted zeal for the spiritual welfare of immortal souls. Such shall obtain mercy. They cared for the happiness of others, their own happiness shall be cared for by their heavenly Father.
JOHN J. OWEN
That the end why God shows mercy to you more than others, it is that you might do good to others; why would God have some poor, some rich, but that he might crown patience in others, and mercy in another.
They must be not only well-disposed towards their enemies, but must be merciful to them just as their heavenly Father is merciful—and must take pity on all people.… As a further expression of mercy, we must give to everyone who is needy, and we must do so in conformity with the highest demands of love, so that it may be to the honor of God and profitable to the one who is in need. To the generous giver will be liberally given—in full in eternity, but even in measure in this life, as God so ordains it. All the blessings which a person receives here and will receive hereafter are gifts of grace from God, not founded upon man’s merits. But nevertheless, the Lord also teaches that there will be conformity between the measure of “reward” and the faithfulness of the person concerned (cf. Matt. 25:31–46).
The mercies of God are dispensed out of the treasury of his goodness, wrought by the art of his wisdom, effected by the arm of his power.
The most successful and distinguished in the kingdoms of this world are too often the revengeful and implacable, the clement and forgiving being, as it were, disqualified for such distinction by this very disposition. But in my kingdom it shall not be so. Happy, already, in the prospect of its prompt erection, are the merciful, the very class so shamefully neglected in all other kingdoms, but in mine to be treated according to their nature.
J. A. ALEXANDER
Thou art sought, and thou seekest. As thou dealest with thy seeker, even so will God deal with his. Thou art both empty and full. Fill thou the empty out of thy fulness, that out of the fulness of God thine emptiness may be filled.
All mercies have their duration and perpetuity from Christ; all christless persons hold their mercies upon the great contingencies and terms of uncertainty; if they be continued during this life, that is all: there is not one drop of mercy after death. But the mercies of the saints are continued to eternity; the end of their mercies on earth, is the beginning of their better mercies in heaven. There is a twofold end of mercies, one perfective, another destructive; the death of the saints perfects and completes their mercies; the death of the wicked destroys and cuts off their mercies.
Now it is believed, and rightly so, that all mankind will be presented before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive the things according as he has done in the body, whether good or bad. Therefore I may perhaps say something bold: if what is ineffable and invisible be capable of being apprehended by thought, then one can even now perceive the blessed reward of the merciful. For the gratitude of souls who have received kindness towards those who have shown them mercy surely remains beyond this life in life eternal. What then is likely to happen in the hour of reckoning, when those who have received kindness will recognize their benefactor? What will his soul feel when grateful voices joyfully reclaim him before the God of all creation? Will he need any other beatitude added, who in so great a theatre is applauded for all that is best?
ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA
Divine mercy is free sovereign mercy; it is not purchased at all; not purchased even by Christ’s work, far less by our own. Christ’s mediation is not the price of mercy: it is the channel through which mercy finds its way to the sinner in consistency with justice. And faith is not the price of mercy either; it is the appointed way in which the sinner enters on the enjoyment of mercy.
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