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a’ Brakel on General Mercy

September 16, 2007

The Mercy of God In man mercy is related to grief, sorrow, and pity. Such, however, is not the case with respect to God. Mercy, being the merciful God Himself, is an essential attribute whereby God is inclined to come to the aid of a creature in his misery. Even though a miserable one is the object of the manifestation of divine mercy, misery is nevertheless not the motivating cause of God’s mercy, but it issues forth from the goodness of God, which in its manifestation towards a miserable one is denominated as mercy. When God revealed Himself to Moses, He called Himself merciful (Exo. 34:6). The Lord Jesus refers to this mercy as an example worthy of imitation. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).Divine mercy is either general or special in nature. The general manifestation of mercy extends to all the works of God, unconverted persons inclusive. “His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psa. 145:9). The Lord Jesus showed compassion towards all sorts of miserable persons (Mat. 14:14; Mark 6:34). The special manifestation of mercy extends to the elect who therefore are called vessels of mercy (Rom. 9:23). Since the manifestation of this mercy is purely volitional in nature–“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Rom. 9:15)–1t is also inexpressibly great. This is not only because it extends from generation to generation (Luke 1:50), but also because of its intensity and magnitude. It therefore is emphatically referred to as great mercy: “According to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope” (1 Pet. 1:3). It is further stated that God is rich in mercy, “But God, who is rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4). God is spoken of as a God of multiple mercies. “The Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). God’s mercy is referred to as being tender. “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us” (Luke 1:78).

Wilhelmus a’ Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, 1:125-6.


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