The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
by John Flavel
File 13
(... continued from file 12)

Sermon 11. 
Containing the Second Motive to enforce the general Exhortation, 
from a second Title of Christ. 
Luxe 1: 72. 
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and remember his 
holy covenant. 
    This scripture is part of Zechariah's prophecy, at the rising 
of that bright star, John, the harbinger and fore-runner of Christ: 
They are some of the first words he spake after Gad had loosed his 
tongue, which, for a time, was struck dumb for his unbelief. His 
tongue is now unbound, and at liberty to proclaim to all the world, 
the unspeakable riches of mercy through Jesus Christ, in a song of 
praise. Wherein note, 
    The mercy celebrated, viz. redemption by Christ, ver. 68. 
    The description of Christ by place and property, ver. 69. 
    The faithfulness of God in our redemption this way, ver. 70. 
    The benefit of being so redeemed by Christ, ver. 71. 
    The exact accomplishment of all the promises made to the 
fathers in sending Christ, the mercy promised, into the world, ver. 
72. "To perform the mercy promised to our fathers," &t. In these 
words we find two parts, viz. 
    1. A mercy freely promised. 
    2. The promised mercy faithfully performed. 
    First, You have a mercy freely promised, viz. by God the 
Father, from the beginning of the world, and often repeated and 
confirmed in several succeeding ages, to the fathers, in his 
    This mercy is Jesus Christ, of whom he speaks in this prophecy 
the same which he stilts "An horn of salvation in the house of 
David," ver. 69. 
    The mercy of God in scripture, is put either for, 
    1. His free favour to the creature. Or, 
    2. The effects and fruits of that favour. 
    It is put for the free and undeserved favour of God to the 
creature, and this favour of God may respect the creature two ways, 
either as undeserving, or as ill-deserving. 
    It respected innocent man, as undeserving, for Adam could put 
no obligation upon his benefactor. It respecteth fallen man, as ills 
deserving. Innocent man could not merit favour, and fallen man did 
merit wrath: the favour or mercy of God to both is every way free; 
and that is the first acceptation of the word mercy: but then it is 
also taken for the effects and fruits of God's favour, and they are 
    1. Principal and primary: or, 
    2. Subordinate and secondary. 
    Of secondary and subordinate mercies, there are multitudes, 
both temporal, respecting the body, and spiritual, respecting the 
soul; but the principal and primary mercy is but one, and that is 
Christ, the first-born of mercy; the capital mercy, the 
comprehensive root-mercy, from whom are all other mercies; and 
therefore called by a singular emphasis in my text, The mercy; i.e. 
the mercy of all mercies; without whom no drop of saving mercy can 
flow to any of the sons of men; and in whom are all the tender 
bowels of divine mercy yearning upon poor sinners. 'The mercy, and 
the mercy Promised. The first promise of Christ was made to Adam, 
Gen. 3: 15. and was frequently renewed afterwards to Abraham, to 
David, and as the text speaks, unto the fathers, in their respective 
    Secondly, We find here also the promised mercy faithfully 
performed; "To perform the mercy promised." What mercy soever the 
love of God engaged him to promise, the faithfulness of God stands 
engaged for the performance thereof. Christ, the promised mercy, is 
not only performed truly, but he is also performed according to the 
promise in all the circumstances thereof, exactly. So he was 
promised to the fathers, and just so performed to us their children: 
Hence the note is, 
    Doct. That Jesus Christ, the mercy of mercies, was graciously 
         promised and faithfully performed by God to his people. 
    Three things are here to be opened. 
    First, Why Christ is stiled the mercy. 
    Secondly, What kind of mercy Christ is to his people. 
    Thirdly, How this mercy was performed. 
    First, Christ is the mercy, emphatically so called: the 
peerless, invaluable, and matchless mercy: Because he is the prime 
fruit of the mercy of God to sinners. The mercies of God are 
infinite; mercy gave the world and us our being; all our protection, 
provision, and comforts in this world are the fruits of mercy, the 
free gifts of divine favour: but Christ is the first end chief; all 
other mercies, compared with him, are but fruits from that mot, and 
streams from that fountain of mercy; the very bowels of divine mercy 
are in Christ, as in ver. 78. according to the tender mercies, or as 
the Greek, the yearning bowels of the mercy of God. 
    Secondly, Christ is the mercy, because all the mercy of God to 
sinners is dispensed and conveyed through Christ to them, John 1: 
16. Col. 2: 3. Eph. 4: 7. Christ is the medium of all divine 
communications, the channel of grace, through him are both the 
decursus et recursus gratiarum; the flows of mercy from God to us, 
and the returns of praise from us to God. Fond and vain therefore 
are all the expectations of mercy out of Christ; no drop of saving 
mercy runs beside this channel. 
    Thirdly, Christ is the mercy, because all inferior mercies 
derive both their nature, value, sweetness, and duration from 
Christ, the fountain mercy of all other mercies. 
    First, They derive their nature from Christ; for out of him, 
those things which men call mercies, are rather traps and snares, 
than mercies to them, Prov. 1: 32. The time will come when the rich 
that are christless, will wish, O that we had been poor! And nobles, 
that are now ennobled by the new birth, O that we had been among the 
low rank of men! All these things that pass for valuable mercies, 
like cyphers, signify much when such an important figure as Christ 
stands before them, else they signify nothing to any man s comfort 
or benefit. 
    Secondly, They derive their value as well as nature from 
Christ: For how little, I pray you, does it signify to any man to be 
rich, honourable, politic, and successful in all his designs in this 
world, if after all he must lie down in hell? 
    Thirdly, All other mercies derive their sweetness from Christ, 
and are but insipid things without him. There is a twofold sweetness 
in things; one natural, another spiritual: Those that are out of 
Christ can relish the first, believers only relish both. They have 
the natural sweetness that is in mercy itself, and a sweetness 
supernatural from Christ and the covenant, the way in which they 
receive them. Hence it is, that some men taste more spiritual 
sweetness in their daily bread, than others do in the Lord's supper; 
and the same mercy, by this means, becomes a feast to soul and body 
at once. 
    Fourthly, All mercies have their duration and perpetuity from 
Christ; all christless persons hold their mercies upon the greatest 
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. For these reasons, Christ is called the mercy. 
    Secondly, In the next place, let us enquire what kind of mercy 
Christ is; and we shall find many lovely and transcendent properties 
to commend him to our souls. 
    First, He is free and undeserved mercy, called upon that 
account, The gift of God, John 4: 10. And to shew how free this gift 
was, God gave him to us when we were enemies, Rom. 5: 8. Needs must 
that mercy be free, which is given, not only to the undeserving, but 
to the ill deserving; the benevolence of God was the sole, impulsive 
cause of this gift, John 3: 16. 
    Secondly, Christ is a full mercy, replenished with all that 
answers to the wishes, or wants of sinners; in him alone is found 
whatever the justice of an angry God requires for satisfaction, or 
the necessities of souls require for their supply. Christ is full of 
mercy, both extensively, and intensively; in him are all kinds and 
sorts of mercies; and in him are the highest and most perfect 
degrees of mercy; "For it pleased the Father, that in him should all 
fulness dwell," Col. 1: 19. 
    Thirdly, Christ is the seasonable mercy, given by the Father to 
us in due time, Rom. 5: 6. In the fulness of time, Gal. 4: 4. a 
seasonable mercy in his exhibition to the world in general, and a 
seasonable mercy in his application to the soul in particular; the 
wisdom of God pitched upon the best time for his incarnation, and it 
takes the very properest for its application. When a poor soul is 
distressed, lost, at its wits end, and ready to perish, then comes 
Christ. All God's works are done in season, but none more seasonable 
than this great work of salvation by Christ. 
    Fourthly, Christ is the necessary mercy, there is an absolute 
necessity of Jesus Christ; hence in scripture he is called the 
"bread of life," John 6: 41. he is bread to the hungry; he is the 
"water of life," John 7: 37. as cold water to the thirsty soul. He 
is a ransom for captives, Mat. 20: 28. a garment to the naked, Rom. 
13. ult. Bread is not so necessary to the hungry, nor water to the 
thirsty, nor a ransom to the captive, nor a garment to the naked, as 
Christ is to the soul of a sinner: The breath of our nostrils, the 
life of our souls is in Jesus Christ. 
    Fifthly, Christ is a fountain-mercy, and all other mercies flow 
from him: A believer may say with Christ, "All my springs are in 
thee;" from his merit, and from his spirit, flow our redemption, 
justification, sanctification, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost, and 
blessedness in the world to come: "In that day shall there be a 
fountain opened," Zech. 13: 1. 
    Sixthly, Christ is a satisfying mercy; he that is full of 
Christ, can feel the want of nothing. "I desire to know nothing but 
Jesus Christ, and him crucified," 1 Cor. 2: 2. Christ bounds and 
terminates the vast desires of the soul: He is the very sabbath of 
the soul. How hungry, empty, and straitened on every side is the 
soul of man in the abundance end fulness of all outward things, till 
it come to Christ? the weary motions of a restless soul, like those 
of a river, cannot be at rest till they pour themselves into Christ, 
the ocean of blessedness. 
    Seventhly, Christ is a peculiar mercy, intended for, and 
applied to a remnant among men; some would extend redemption as 
large as the world, but the gospel limits it to those only that 
believe; and those believers are upon that account called a peculiar 
people, 1 Pet. 2: 9. The offers of Christ indeed are large and 
general, but the application of Christ is but to few, Isa. 53: 1. 
The greater cause have they to whom Christ comes, to lie with their 
mouths in the dust, astonished and overwhelmed with the sense of so 
peculiar and distinguished a mercy. 
    Eighthly, Jesus Christ is a table mercy, suited in every 
respect to all our needs and wants, 1 Cor. 1: 20. wherein the 
admirable wisdom of God is illustriously displayed; "Ye are complete 
in him," (saith the apostle) Col. 2: 20. Are we enemies? He is 
reconciliation: Are we sold to sin and Satan? He is redemption: Are 
we condemned by the law? He is the Lord our righteousness: Has sin 
polluted us? He is a fountain opened for sin, and for uncleanness: 
Are we lost by departing from God? He is the way to the Father. Rest 
is not so suitable to the weary, nor bread to the hungry, as Christ 
is to the sensible sinner. 
    Ninthly, Christ is an astonishing and wonderful mercy; his Name 
is called wonderful, Isa 9: 6. and as his name is, so is he; a 
wonderful Christ: His Person is a wonder, 1 Tim. 3: 16. "Great is 
the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh.* 
    His abasement is wonderful, Phil. 2: 6. His love is a wonderful 
love; his redemption full of wonders; angels desire to look into it. 
He is, and will be admired by angels and saints to all eternity. 
    Tenthly, Jesus Christ is an incomparable and matchless mercy; 
"as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved 
among the sons," (saith the enamoured spouse) Cant. 2: 8. Draw the 
comparison how you will betwixt Christ and all other enjoyments, you 
will find none in heaven nor on earth to equal him: He is more than 
all externals, as the light of the sun is more than that of a 
curdle: Nay, even the worst of Christ is better than the best of the 
world; his reproaches are better than the world's pleasures, Heb. 
11: 25. He is more than all spirituals, as the fountain is more than 
the stream. He is more than justification, as the cause is more than 
the effect; more than sanctification, as the person him self is more 
than the image or picture. He is more than all peace, all comfort, 
all joy, as the tree is more than the fruit. Nay, draw the 
comparison betwixt Christ and things eternal, and you will find him 
better than they; for what is in heaven without Christ, Psal. 73: 
25. "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" If Christ should say to the 
saints, take heaven among you, but as for me I will withdraw myself 
from you; the saints would weep, even in heaven itself, and say, 
Lord, heaven will be no more heaven to us, except thou be there, who 
art by far the better half of heaven. 
    Eleventhly, Christ is an unsearchable mercy; who can fully 
express his wonderful name? Prov. 30: 4. Who can tell over his 
unsearchable riches, Eph. 3: 8. Hence it is that souls never tire in 
the study or love of Christ, because new wonders are eternally 
rising out of him. He is a deep which no line of any created 
understanding, angelical or human, can fathom. 
    Twelfthly, and lastly, Christ is an everlasting mercy; "the 
same yesterday, to day, and for ever," Heb. 13: 8. All other 
enjoyments are perishable, time-eaten things; time, like a moth, 
will fret them out; But the riches of Christ are durable riches, 
Prov. 8: 18. The graces of Christ are durable graces, John 4: 14. 
All the creatures are flowers, that appear and fade in their month; 
but this Rose of Sharon, this Lily of the Valley never withers. Thus 
you see the mercy performed with its desirable properties. 
    Thirdly, The last thing to be opened is the manner of God's 
performing his mercy to his people; which the Lord did, 
    1. Realty and truly, as he had promised him. 
    2. Exactly agreeable to the promises and predictions of him. 
    First, Really and truly; as he had promised, so he made good 
the promise. Acts 2: 36. "Let all the house of Israel know 
assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, 
both Lord and Christ." 
    The manifestation of Christ in the flesh was no phantasm or 
delusion, but a most evident and palpable truth. 1 John 1: 1. "That 
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have 
looked upon, and our hands have handled." A truth so certain, that 
the assertors of it appealed to the very enemies of Christ for the 
certainty thereof, Acts 2: 22. Yea, not only the sacred, but profane 
writers, witness to it; not only the evangelists and apostles, but 
even the heathen writers of those times, both Roman and Jewish, as 
Suetonius, Tacitus, Plinius the younger, and Josephus the Jewish 
antiquary, do all acknowledge it. 
    Secondly, As God did really and truly perform Christ the 
promised mercy, so he performed this promised mercy exactly 
agreeable to the promises, types, and predictions made of him to the 
fathers, even the most minute circumstances thereof. This is a great 
truth for our faith to be established in: let us, therefore, cast 
our eyes both upon the promises and performances God, with respect 
to Christ, the mercy of mercies. See how he was represented to the 
fathers long before his manifestation in the flesh; and what an one 
he appeared to be when he was really exhibited in the flesh. 
    First; As to his person and qualifications, as it was foretold, 
so it was fulfilled. His original was said to be unsearchable and 
eternal, Micah 5: 2. and so he affirmed himself to be, Rev. 1: 11. 
"I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." John 6: 31, 32. 
"Before Abraham was, I am." His two natures, united into one person, 
were plainly foretold, Zech. 13: 7. The man my Fellow; and such a 
one God performed, Rom. 9: 5. His immaculate purity and holiness 
were foretold, Dan. 9: 24. "To anoint the most Holy;" some render 
it, the great Saint, the Prince of Saints; and such an one he was 
indeed, when he lived in this world. John 8: 46. "Which of you 
convinceth me of sin?" His Offices were foretold, the prophetical 
Office predicted, Deut. 18: 15. and fulfilled in him, John 1: 18. 
His priestly office foretold, Psal. 110: 4. fulfilled, Heb. 9: 14. 
his kingly Office foretold, Micah 5: 2. and in him fulfilled; his 
very enemies being judges, Matth; 27: 37. 
    Secondly, As to his birth, the time, place, and manner thereof 
were foretold to the fathers, and exactly performed to a little. 
    First, The time prefixed, more generally in Jacob's prophecy, 
Gen. 44: 10. When the sceptre should depart from Judah, as, indeed, 
it did in Herod the Idumean: More particularly in Daniel's seventy 
weeks, from the decree of Darius, Dan. 9: 24. answering exactly to 
the time of his birth; so cogent and full of proof, that Porphyry, 
the great enemy of Christians, had no other evasion, but that this 
prophecy was devised after the event: Which yet the Jews (as bitter 
enemies to Christ as himself) will by no means allow to be true. 
And, lastly, the time of his birth was exactly pointed at in 
Haggai's prophecy, Hag. 2: 7, 9. compared with Mal 3: 1. He must 
come while the second temple stood; at that time was a general 
expectation of him, John 1: 19. and at that very time he came, Luke 
2: 38. 
    Secondly, The place of his birth was foretold to be Bethlehem 
Ephrata, Micah 5: 2. and so it was, Matth. 2: 5, 6. to be brought up 
in Nazareth, Zech. 6: 12. "Behold the man whose name is the Branch." 
The word is Netzer, whence is the word Nazarite. And there indeed 
was our Lord brought up, Mat. 2: 23. 
    Thirdly, His parent was to be a virgin, Isa. 7: 14. punctually 
fulfilled, Matth. 50: 20, 21, 22, 23. 
    Fourthly, His stock, or tribe, was foretold to be Judah, Gen. 
49: 10. and it is evident, saith the apostle, "that our Lord sprang 
out of Judah," Heb. 7: 14. 
    Fifthly, His harbinger, or forerunner was foretold, Mal 4: 5, 
6. fulfilled in John the Baptist, Luke 1: 16, 17. 
    Sixthly, The obscurity and meanness of his birth were 
predicted, Isa. 53: 2. Zech. 9: 9. to which the event answered, Luke 
2: 12. 
    Thirdly, His doctrine and miracles were foretold, Isa. 16: 1, 
2. 35: 4, 5. the accomplishment whereof in Christ is evident in the 
history of all the evangelism. 
    Fourthly, His death for us was foretold by the prophets, Dan. 
9: 26. "The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself:" Isa. 53: 
5. "He was wounded for our transgressions." And so he was, John 11: 
50. The very kind and manner of his death was prefigured in the 
brazen serpent, his type; and answered in his death upon the cross, 
John 3: 14. 
    Fifthly, His burial in the tomb of a rich man was foretold, 
Isa. 53: 9. and accomplished most exactly, Matth. 27: 59, 60. 
    Sixthly, His resurrection from the dead was typed out in Jonah, 
and fulfilled in Christ's abode three days and nights in the grave, 
Matth. 12: 49. 
    Seventhly, The wonderful spreading of the gospel in the world, 
even to the Isles of the Gentiles, was prophesied of, Isa. 49: 6. to 
the truth whereof we are not only the witnesses, but the happy 
instances and examples of it. Thus the promised mercy was performed. 
    Inference 1. If Christ be the mercy of mercies, the medium of 
conveying all other mercies from God to men; then in vain do men 
expect and hope for mercy of God out of Jesus Christ. 
    I know many poor sinners comfort themselves with this, when 
they come upon a bed of sickness; I am sinful, but God is merciful: 
and it is very true God is merciful; plenteous in mercy; his mercy 
is great above the heavens; mercy pleaseth him; and all this they 
that are in Christ shall find experimentally, to their comfort and 
salvation. But what is all this to thee, if thou art christless? 
There is not one drop of saving mercy that comes in any other 
channel than Christ to the soul of any man. 
    But must I then expect no mercy out of Christ? This is a hard 
case, very uncomfortable doctrine. Yes, thou mayest be a Christless, 
and covenantless soul, and yet have variety of temporal mercies, as 
Ishmael had, Gen. 17: 20, 21. God may give thee the fatness of the 
earth, riches, honours, pleasures, a numerous and prosperous 
posterity; will that content thee? Yes, yes, if I may have heaven 
too: No, neither heaven, nor pardon, nor any other spiritual or 
eternal mercy may be expected out of Christ. Jude, ver. 21. 0 
deceive not yourselves in this point; there are two bars betwixt you 
and all spiritual mercies, viz. the guilt of sin, and the filth of 
sin; and nothing but your own union with Christ can remove these, 
and so open the passage for spiritual mercies to your souls. 
    Why, but I will repent of sin, strive to obey the commands of 
God, make restitution for the wrongs I have done, cry to God for 
mercy, bind my soul with vows and strong resolutions against sin for 
time to come: will not all this lay a ground work for hope of mercy 
to my soul? No, this will not, this cannot do. 
    First, All your sorrows, tears and mournings for sin cannot 
obtain mercy; could you shed as many tears for any sin that ever you 
committed, as all the children of Adam have shed upon any account 
whatsoever, since the creation of the world; they will not purchase 
the pardon of that one sin; for the law accepts no short payment; it 
requires plenary satisfaction, and will not discharge any soul 
without it; nor can it acknowledge or own your souls to be such. The 
repentance of a soul finds, through Christ, acceptance with God, but 
out of him it is nothing. 
    Secondly, All your strivings to obey the commands of God, and 
live more strictly for time to come, will not obtain mercy. Matth 5: 
20. "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of 
    Thirdly, Your restitution, and reparation of wrongs you have 
done, cannot obtain mercy. Judas restored, and yet was damned. Man 
is repaired, but God is not. Remission is the act of God, it is he 
must loose your consciences from the bond of guilt, or they can 
never be loosed. 
    Fourthly, All your cries to God for mercy will not prevail for 
mercy, if you be out of Christ, Matth. 7: 22. Job 27: 29. A 
righteous judge will not reverse the just sentence of the law, 
though the prisoner at the bar fall upon his knees, and cry, Mercy. 
    Fifthly, Your vows and engagements to God for time to come 
cannot obtain mercy; for they being made in your own strength, it is 
impossible you should keep them; and if you could, yet it is 
impossible they should obtain remission and mercy: should you never 
sin more for time to come, yet how shall God be satisfied for sins 
past? Justice must have satisfaction, or you can never have 
remission, Rom. 3: 25, 26. and no work wrought by man can satisfy 
divine justice; nor is the satisfaction of Christ made over to any 
for their discharge, but to such only as are in him: therefore never 
expect mercy out of Christ. 
    Inf. 2. Is Christ, the mercy of mercies, greater, better, and 
more necessary than all other mercies: then let no inferior mercy 
satisfy you for your portion. 
    God has mercies of all sorts to give, but Christ is the chief, 
the prime mercy of all mercies; O be not satisfied without that 
mercy. When Luther had a rich present sent him, "he protested God 
should not put him off so:" and David was of the same mind, Psal. 
17: 14. If the Lord should give any of you the desires of your 
hearts in the good things of this life, let not that satisfy you, 
whilst you are Christless. For, 
    First, What is there in these earthly enjoyments, whereof the 
vilest men have not a greater fulness than you? Job 21: 7, 8, 9, 10, 
11. Psal. 17: 10. and 73: 3, 12. 
    Secondly, What comfort can all these things give to a soul 
already condemned as thou art; John 3: 18. 
    Thirdly, What sweetness can be in them, whilst they are all 
unsanctified things to you? enjoyments and sanctification are two 
distinct things, Psal. 37: 16. Prov. 10: 22. Thousands of 
unsanctified enjoyments will not yield your souls one drop of solid 
spiritual comfort. 
    Fourthly, What pleasure can you take in these things, of which 
death must shortly strip you naked? You must die, you must die; and 
whose then shall all those things be, for which you have laboured? 
Be not so fond, to think of leaving a great name behind you: it is 
but a poor felicity (as Chrysostom well observes) to be tormented 
where thou art, and praised where thou art not: the sweeter your 
portion has been on earth, the more intolerable will your condition 
be in hell; yea, these earthly delights do not only increase the 
torments of the damned, but also prepare (as they are instruments of 
sin) the souls of men for damnation, Prov. 1: 32. "Surely the 
prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Be restless, therefore, 
till Christ, the mercy of mercies, be the root and fountain, 
yielding and sanctifying all other mercies to you. 
    Inf. 3. Is Christ, the mercy of mercies, infinitely better than 
all other mercies? Then let all that be in Christ be content, and 
well satisfied, whatever other inferior mercies the wisdom of God 
sees fit to deny them. You have a Benjamin s portion, a plentiful 
inheritance in Christ; will you yet complain? Others have houses, 
splendid and magnificent upon earth; but you have "an house made 
without hands, eternal in the heavens," 2 Cor. 5: 1. Others are 
clothed with rich and costly apparel, your souls are clothed with 
the white, pure robes of Christ's righteousness. Isa. 61: 10. "I 
will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: 
for he has clothed me with the garment of salvation, he has covered 
me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself 
with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." Let 
those that have full tables, heavy purses, rich lands, but no 
Christ, be rather objects of your pity, than envy: it is better, 
like store cattle, to be kept lean and hungry, than with the fatted 
ox; to tumble in flowry meadows, thence to be lead away to the 
shambles. God has not a better mercy to give than Christ, thy 
portion; in him all necessary mercies are secured to thee, and thy 
wants and straits sanctified to thy good. O! therefore, never open 
thy mouth to complain against the bountiful God. 
    Inf. 4. Is Christ the mercy, i.e. he in whom all the tender 
mercies of God towards poor sinners are, then let none be 
discouraged in going to Christ, by reason of the sin and 
unworthiness that are in him: his very name is mercy, and as his 
name is, so is he. Poor drooping sinner, encourage thyself in the 
way of faith; the Christ to whom thou art going, is mercy itself to 
broken hearted sinners moving towards him in the way of faith; doubt 
not that mercy will repulse thee; it is against both its name and 
nature so to do. Jesus Christ is so merciful to poor souls that come 
to him, that he has received and pardoned the chiefest of sinners; 
men that stood as remote from mercy as any in the world, 1 Tim. 1: 
15. 1 Cor. 6: 11. Those that shed the blood of Christ, have yet been 
washed in that blood from their sin, Acts 2: 86, 87. Mercy receives 
sinners, without exception of great and heinous ones. John 7: 37. 
"If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink." Gospel 
invitations run, in general terms, to all sinners that are heavy 
laden, Mat. 11: 28. When Mr. Bilney the martyr heard a minister 
preaching at this rate, O thou old sinner, who hast been serving the 
devil these fifty or sixty years; dost thou think that Christ will 
receive thee now? O! said he, what a preaching of Christ is here? 
Had Christ been thus preached to me in the day of my trouble for 
sin, what had become of me? But, blessed be God there is a 
sufficiency both of merit and mercy in Jesus Christ for all sinners, 
for the vilest among sinners, whose hearts shall be made willing to 
come unto him. So merciful is the Lord Jesus Christ, that he moves 
first, Isa. 62: 1, 2. so merciful, that he upbraids none, Ezek. 18: 
22. so merciful, that he will not despise the weakest, if sincere, 
desires of souls, Isa. 13: 3. so merciful, that nothing more grieves 
him than our unwillingness to come unto him for mercy, John 5: 40. 
so merciful, that he waiteth to the last upon sinners to shew them 
mercy, Rom. 10: 21. Mat. 23: 37. in a word, so merciful, that it is 
his greatest joy when sinners come unto him, that he may show them 
mercy, Luke 15: 5, 22. 
    Object. But yet it cannot enter into my thoughts that I should 
obtain mercy. 
    Sol. First, thou measure God by yourselves, 1 Sam. 24:19. "If a 
man find his enemy, will he let him go well away?" Man will not, but 
the merciful God will, upon the submission of the enemies to him. 
    Secondly, You are discouraged, because you have not tried. Go 
to Jesus Christ, poor distressed sinners; try him, and then report 
what a Christ thou findest him to be. 
    Object. But I have neglected the time of mercy, and now it is 
too late. 
    Sol. How know you that? Have you seen the book of life, or 
turned over the records of eternity? Or do you not unwarrantably 
intrude into the secrets of God, which belong not to you? Besides, 
if the treaty were at an end, how is it that thy heart is now 
distressed for sin, and solicitous after deliverance from it? 
    Object. But I have waited long, and yet see no mercy for me. 
    Sol. May not mercy be coming, and you not see it? Or have you 
not waited at the wrong door? If you wait for the mercy of God 
through Christ, in the way of humiliation and faith, and continue 
waiting, assuredly mercy shall come at last. 
    Inf. 5. Has God performed the mercy promised to the Fathers, 
the great mercy, the capital mercy, Jesus Christ; then let no man 
distrust God for the performance of lesser mercies contained in any 
other promises of the scripture. The performance of this mercy 
secures the performance of all other mercies to us. For, 
    First, Christ is a greater mercy than any other which yet 
remains to be performed, Rom. 8: 32. 
    Secondly, This mercy virtually comprehends all other mercies, 1 
Cor. 3: 21, 22, 23. 
    Thirdly, The promises that contain all other mercies, are 
ratified and confirmed to believers in Christ, 2 Cor. 1: 20. 
    Fourthly, It was much more improbable that God would bestow his 
own Son upon the world, than that he should bestow any other mercy 
upon it. Wait, therefore, in a comfortable expectation of the 
fulfilling of all the rest of the promises in their seasons. Has he 
given thee Christ? He will give thee bread to eat, raiment to put 
on, support in troubles, and whatsoever else thy soul or body stands 
in need of: The blessings contained in all other promises are fully 
secured by the performance of this great promise; thy pardon, peace, 
acceptance with God now, and enjoyment of him for ever shall be 
fulfilled: The great mercy, Christ, makes way for all other mercies 
to the souls of believers. 
    Inf. 6. Lastly, How mad are they that part with Christ, the 
best of mercies, to secure and preserve any temporal lesser mercies 
to themselves! Thus Demas and Judas gave up Christ to gain a little 
of the world; O soul undoing bargain! How dear do they pay for the 
world, that purchase it with the loss of Christ, and their own peace 
for ever! 
       Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, the Mercy of mercies. 

The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
(continued in file 14...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flamt-13.txt