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William Jenkyn (1613-1685) on the Mercy of God: General and Special

July 24, 2009

Jenkyn:

Two things are here principally contained. 1. A duty; “1ooking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ:” where he sets down, 1. What was to be regarded; “the mercy of Christ.” 2. How it was to be regarded by “looking for” it. 2. An inducement encouraging to the performance of that duty; eternal life.”

In the first branch two thin are to be explained. I. What the apostle means by “mercy,” and “the mercy of Christ.”

2. What by “looking for” it.

1. What is meant by “mercy,” to eleos. I have discoursed on those words, ” Mercy to you,” p. 26, 27. To avoid needless repetition, I only say, that mercy as attributed to man is such a sympathy or compassion of heart as inclines us to relieve the miserable. But as attributed to God and Christ in glory, as here, it notes either,

1. A gracious disposition or in for sympathy and compassion, they are not, as learned Zanchius observes, essential

to mercy in itself, but accidental to it, in regard of our present state.

2 The effects and expressions of mercy, or the actual helping of us out of our distresses; and so God is said to have mercy on us, and show mercy to us.

Now these effects of mercy are either common or special. Common, such as are afforded to all men and creatures, Psal. cxlvii. 9; Luke vi. 36, &c. Special, bestowed upon the elect, who are the vessels of mercy, and who only have the inward effects of mercy, in preventing and following grace; the outward, in justifying and glorifying mercy bestowed upon them. And thus mercy is principally to be taken in in this place, and that peculiarly for those gracious expressions and discoveries of mercy which shall be shown toward the faithful in acquitting and delivering them at Christ’s second coming, or coming to judgment. And this is called mercy in Scripture, 2 Tim. i. 18, where the apostle, speaking of Onesiphorus, says “that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.” And deservedly it is so called…

William Jenkyn, An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude (London: Samuel Holdsworth, Paternoster Row, 1839), 346.

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