“All the mercy in the creature is derived from God, and is but a drop of this ocean. The mercy and pity a mother hath to her child is from God.
God is called, ‘The Father of mercies,’ (2 Cor. 1:3) because He begets all the mercies in the world. If God hath put any kindness into the creature, how much kindness is in Him who is the Father of mercy?
God’s mercy, as it makes the saints happy, so it should make them humble. Mercy is not the fruit of our goodness, but the fruit of God’s goodness.
Mercy is an alms that God bestows. They have no cause to be proud who live upon the alms of God’s mercy. ‘If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head,’ (Job 10:15). All my righteousness is the effect of God’s mercy, therefore I will be humble, and will not lift up my head.
Mercy stays the speedy execution of God’s justice. Sinners continually provoke God, and make His fury come up in His face (Ezek. 38:18). Why is it that God does not presently arrest and condemn them? It is not because God cannot do it, for He is armed with omnipotence. It is because of God’s mercy.
Mercy gets a reprieve for the sinner, and stops the speedy process of justice. God would, by His goodness, lead sinners to repentance. It is only mercy that saves the sinner.
I might shew you several species or kinds of mercy: preventing mercy, sparing mercy, supplying mercy, guiding mercy, accepting mercy, healing mercy, quickening mercy, supporting mercy, forgiving mercy, correcting mercy, comforting mercy, delivering mercy, and crowning mercy.
God’s mercy is free. To set up merit is to destroy mercy. Nothing can deserve mercy, because we are polluted in our blood. We may force God to punish us, not to love us: ‘I will love them freely,’ (Hos. 14:4).
Every link in the chain of salvation is wrought and interwoven with free grace.
Election is free: ‘He hath chosen us in Him… according to the good pleasure of His will,’ (Eph. 1:4-5).
Justification is free: ‘Being justified freely by His grace,’ (Rom. 3:24).
Salvation is free: ‘According to His mercy He saved us,’ (Titus 3:5).
Mercy is free. If God should show mercy only to such as are worthy, then He would show none at all.
God’s mercy is an overflowing mercy. It is infinite: ‘Plenteous in mercy,’ (Ps. 86:5); ‘Rich in mercy,’ (Eph. 2:4); ‘Multitude of Thy mercies,’ (Ps. 51:1).
The vial of wrath doth but drop, but the fountain of mercy runs. The sun is not so full of light as God is full of mercy.
God hath morning-mercies: ‘They are new every morning,’ (Lam. 3:23). God hath night-mercies: ‘In the night his song shall be with me,’ (Ps. 42:8).
God hath mercies under heaven, those we taste of; and in heaven, those we hope for.
God’s mercy is eternal: ‘The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting,’ (Ps. 103:17). It is repeated twenty-six times in one psalm, ‘His mercy endureth forever,’ (Ps. 136).
The souls of the blessed shall be ever bathing themselves in this sweet and pleasant ocean of God’s mercy. God’s anger to His children lasts but a while (Ps. 103:17), but His mercy lasts forever.
As long as He is God He will be shewing mercy. As His mercy is overflowing, so it is everflowing.”
–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1692/1970), 95-96.