PRAYER FOR MERCY A SEASONABLE
DUTY IN TIMES OF SIN AND WRATH.
"O Lord, in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2"
This subject was handled in two Sermons. The first was preached on Sabbath, October 12, 1735, at the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper at Queensferry; and enlarged upon at Orwell, on the Tuesday thereafter, at the meeting of a Presbytery. The next was delivered at Abbot’s Hall, on Saturday the 18th of said month, being the preparation before the Sacrament.
I hope we are come to this place to seek mercy at the hand of God, and to compass his altar of mercy. There is no hope for miserable sinners, but in a merciful God; a God sitting upon a mercy-seat, sprinkled with the blood of Christ. But yet it is hard and very rare to see any rays of mercy in a dark day, wherein the sky is covered with clouds of wrath. And indeed, if we expect a merciful meeting with God today, or at this occasion, we need that clear eye of faith, that can look through the dark clouds of wrath, and say, with the prophet here, “O Lord in wrath remember mercy.” This text is a branch of the first part of Habakkuk’s prayer here; wherein this good prophet is making intercession for the Church in his day, which was a day of great sin, a day of great anger. The first part of this verse points at the report made by God to the prophet, concerning the destruction to be brought upon them by Babylon. This had a double effect upon him. 1. It made him tremble at the thoughts of it: “O Lord, I have heard thy speech and was afraid.” God’s wrath, even at a distance, is terrible to a tender soul. 2. It put him to his prayer; and so should all the tokens of divine anger. Here you have his prayer and his plea.
1. You have his prayer: “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years.” By God’s work here, we may understand his Church and people. All people are God’s workmanship; but the true members of his Church invisible, are his work in a peculiar manner, and his work by way of eminency; but here they are fallen into a dead sleep; “Revive thy work,” the work of grace in the hearts of thy people, and thy work of reformation in thy Church. Revive it in the midst of the years. By the years, may be understood any time within the term of the seventy years’ captivity. In the midst of these dark and dreadful years, make known thy name, for “Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself.” Make known thy power, thy pity, thy promise, thy providence in the safety and welfare of the Church. This prayer was several ways answered: particularly by God’s owning the three children in the fiery furnace, and humbling Nebuchadnezzar in the midst of the years of the captivity.
2. We have his plea, containing also a sum of his prayer, here again resumed in short—viz., “In wrath remember mercy.” The plea is mercy, not merit. These words comprehend as many purposes as there are words.
(1.) The sad case they were in, held out by the word wrath; they were under the heavy tokens of God’s wrath.
(2.) The suitable remedy or cure; the only cure for that case is mercy; the mercy of God in Christ.
(3.) The application of that cure here sued for: “Remember mercy. The prayer of faith is a putting God in remembrance of his mercy in Christ; and in this way the remedy is applied.
(4.) The season wherein this remedy is sought, and this plea is used, “In wrath;” in a time when wrathful dispensations compass us about, and fearful tokens of his anger.
We propose to speak to this last branch of the text, because I think it comprehends the former petition, “In the midst of the years;” that is, in this wrathful time, “Revive thy work, and make it known;” that is, “Remember mercy,” make it known in reviving and restoring us.
Observation: “That in wrathful times wherein God’s Church and people are under many tokens of his anger and displeasure, it is most seasonable for them to plead with him, that he would remember mercy.”
This we find was the constant practice of the Church and people of God: “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy loving-kindness; for they have been of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; but, according to thy mercies, remember thou me; for thy goodness sake, O Lord,” (Ps. 25:6-7). In a day of wrath, when it is said of enemies, “They devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling-place,” we have this petition, “O remember not against us former iniquities; let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us; for we are brought very low,” (Ps. 89:7-8). Thus, He prays that God’s anger and fury might be taken away from Jerusalem; and that the Lord would cause his face to shine upon his sanctuary; and adds “O my God, incline thine ear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name; for we do not present our supplications before thee, for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies,” (Dan. 9:17-18). Thus David also, When deep called unto deep, and all his waves and billows had gone over him, he adds, “Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the day-time; and in the night my song shall be with him, and my prayer unto the God of my life,” (Ps. 42:7-8). And when out of the depths he cries to the Lord, he looks to mercy, saying, “There is forgiveness with thee. Yea, with the Lord there is mercy. Let Israel hope in the Lord,” (Ps. 130:1, 4, 7).
When God calls his people to the prayer of faith, he enjoins them to put him in remembrance; “Put me in remembrance, let us plead together,” (Isa. 43:26). When God is pleading against us, by his dispensations, he allows us to plead with him, by supplication; and to put him in remembrance even of his mercy; “In wrath remember mercy.” Not that God is capable of forgetfulness: but when we put him in mind, we put work in his hand; and he loves to be employed: and when he shows mercy, he is said to remember his holy promise, and covenant, and mercy; “He remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies,” (Ps. 105:8, 42; 106:45). But to offer all the instances to this purpose, would take up too much time.
The method we propose, for illustrating this proposition, through divine aid, shall be as follows:—
Enquire when may a time be said to be wrathful?
What are the instances of mercy we need to seek, at such a time?
What is imported in the Lord remembering mercy; and in our praying that he would do so?
Show that it is both seasonable and reasonable to plead that he would remember mercy in wrathful times.
Make application of the whole subject.
I. We are to enquire when may a time be said to be wrathful-like? “In wrath remember mercy.” What are the tokens of God’s wrath that a people may be under, that denominates it a wrathful time? I only premise, That wrath is either to be considered as vindictive, towards all the enemies of God; and thus it comes for demanding satisfaction of the Christless soul, and as so many drops of vengeance, before the deluge of wrath be poured out: or, it is to be considered as fatherly towards the children of God; and so it comes for correction, chastisement, or trial. When wrath comes upon a visible church, towards the wicked therein, it is judicial; but towards the invisible church, it is paternal, and for chastisement. Now, we might give many instances of a wrathful-like time; such as,
1. A sinning time is a time of wrath; when iniquity abounds, and the love of many is waxen cold; when the Lord gives up a generation to their lusts, saying, “They are joined to the idols, let them alone. My people would not hearken; Israel would have none of me; therefore I gave them up to the lusts of their own hearts.”
2. A sleeping time is a time of wrath; when wise and foolish virgins are slumbering and sleeping; and security is universal; “As in the days of Noah, when they were eating and drinking, and marrying, and giving in marriage, till the deluge of wrath came upon them.”
3. An erring time is a time of wrath; a time wherein errors of all sorts abound, and God gives up men to strong delusions, to believe a lie; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they may be saved, they are left to receive and embrace errors, that they may be damned; “That all may be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness; giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” When grievous wolves enter in to destroy the church of Christ not sparing the flock: and when little foxes as well as great ones, spoil the vines and the vineyards; and yet no due care exercised to take the foxes, and to try and cast them out, and say, “They are apostles, and are not; but are found liars.”
4. A time of apostasy and falling away of professors, when the pillars of the house of God, are, as it were, bowing and bending: when Christ is saying to his few followers, in effect, “Will ye also go away?” And when there are few to stand in the breach, and to put hand to the Lord’s work, as it is said, (Jer. 10:20-21).
5. An hiding time, wherein there is occasion to say, “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself,” &c. When his people go forward, but he is not there; backward, but they cannot see him; on the right and left hand, but they cannot behold him. When, not only in a little wrath, he hideth himself, for a small moment; but in great wrath he hideth himself for a long time: and standeth not behind our wall, near at hand, and ready to come in; but standeth at a great distance, and, as it were, at the back of the mountains. When the Comforter, that is to relieve our soul, is far away. When we see not our signs, nor see the power and glory of God in the sanctuary. When he seems to cast off his people, to forsake and forget them. When he withholds his Spirit, his enlightening, quickening, nourishing, and cherishing grace; and says, in effect, “Behold your house is left to you desolate.” When he lets loose the evil spirit, and Satan’s temptations and delusions, saying, “I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets.” When he leaves a people so far, as that they forsake him, and break his covenant; and then he forsakes them, and his anger breaks forth; that they have occasion to say, “Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not amongst us?” (Deut. 31:16-17).
6. A dead time is a time of wrath; a time wherein the work of God is under a dreadful decay and the things that remain are ready to die. This especially seems to be that token of God’s wrath, intended here in the text, where the prayer is, “Lord, revive thy work.” And if it is enquired, How doth this death and spiritual deadness appear? Why this deadness is evident when the word and rod of God doth not awaken us; but we remain stupid both under mercies and judgments. This deadness is evident, when sin doth not affect or afflict us; but we go on securely in an evil course, and make a sport of sin. This deadness is evident from our unconcernedness for the future, and taking no care to be delivered from impending wrath. This deadness is evident from our being regardless of all religion, and religions duties; careless whether we hear and pray, or not; and begin to entertain contemptible thoughts of religion and religious persons; and have no exercise of spiritual senses, no motion heaven-ward, or God-ward.
These are some evidences and effects of the Lord’s anger and absence; for, as his favor is life, and his loving-kindness is better than life; so his fury and anger is death, and worse than death. Death among the wicked and deadness among the godly are the sad fruit of his anger and our sin: for, as “The wages of sin is death,” either of body or soul, or both; so, “If we live after the flesh, we shall die.” In a word, as it is the anger of the Lord that weakens and kills us; kills our souls, kills our comforts, and kills our zeal and concern about spiritual matters: so it is the anger of the Lord that divides us; divides our hearts, divides our tongues, divides our judgments, divides our counsels. And it is the anger of the Lord that wastes us; it wastes our souls, wastes our bodies, wastes our substance, wastes our days and years, and consumes us insensibly; as well as exposes us to terrible outward calamities, confusions, and disorders, in church and state.
II. The next thing proposed in the method was, To enquire what are the tokens of mercy we need to seek, amidst such are the tokens of anger; “In wrath remember mercy.” What mercy? I am of opinion, that the mercy here especially intended, is the reviving-mercy sought after in the preceding part of the verse; “O Lord, revive thy work.” Now, there is a twofold reviving that is here imported; and hence a twofold mercy that a dead languishing church and people need to seek after. 1. Sin-subduing mercy, in order to a life of peace with God, in opposition to his wrath and anger. 2. Soul-healing mercy, in order to a life of fellowship with God, in opposition to his absence and hiding.
1. People need, in a time of wrath and anger, to seek sin-pardoning mercy, in order to a life of peace with God, whose favor is better than life. Hence we find, in a time of great wrath and indignation, this pardoning mercy implored; “O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee; by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small,” (Amos 7:2). Here the prophet makes pardon his great petition, in a time of judgment; “O Lord, forgive:” it is not, remove the stroke, but, forgive the guilt that brings it on, and provokes God to smite; especially to smite with spiritual judgments. Let our punishment be what it will, it is our wisdom to get the sense of the guilt of sin; till guilt be set home, and impressed upon the conscience, we will never pray to purpose. To tell a story of the divisions, errors, heresies and evils of the land; and the danger it is exposed to, by a foreign enemy, will be to little purpose, if we are never sensible of the guilt of them, so as to cry for the removal of national and personal guilt. And if any inquire, Why should pardon and forgiveness be sought, in times of wrath and judgment? Why, because pardon of sin speaks a man in favor with God; and a sense of pardon speaks a man’s assurance of divine favor: and his favor is life; yea, it is worth ten thousand worlds: “Blessed are they, whose transgressions are forgiven,” (Ps. 32:1). Because, also, safety is secured, when forgiveness is granted; “Lift up the light of thy countenance. Cause thy face to shine, and so we shall be safe,” (Ps. 4:6). Because the sting of all afflictions is removed, when pardon is granted; yea, the sting of death too, and the sting of wrath, in so much that it is not vindictive wrath, but fatherly. And hence, in that case, the soul can conclude, that affliction is kept upon him for good; “By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is the fruit of all, to take away sin.” Therefore pardoning mercy is to be sought: “In wrath remember mercy.”
2. Soul-healing mercy is another part of the reviving to be sought for, to a sinful land and people, in a time of wrath and anger. As we cannot have peace with God, without forgiveness, through the blood of Jesus; so we cannot have fellowship with God, without healing, particularly the healing of holiness and conformity to him, in some degree; and the healing of comfort and satisfaction in him, in some measure. This healing mercy is the great thing that the Lord’s children use to seek after, in a time of wrath and judgment; “Heal me, O Lord; for I have sinned against thee,” (Ps. 41:6). “O God, thou hart cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again. Thou hast made the earth to tremble, thou hest broken it; heal the breaches thereof, for it shaketh,” (Ps. 60:1-2). This is one of the greatest mercies can be showed, in the midst of wrath, when the Lord saith, as it is; “For the iniquity of his covetousness I was wroth, and smote him: I hid me and was wroth; and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart; but yet I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comfort to him, and to his mourners,” (Isa. 57:17). There are many promises of this healing mercy to encourage prayer for it; “I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord,” (Jer. 30:17). He takes his name from this healing work of mercy, “I am the Lord that healeth thee.” He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up all his wounds. And this healing mercy brings in a train of other mercies with it; “Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun; and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound,” (Isa. 30:26). Therefore, the great suit and supplication, in such a time of wrath should be that the Sun of righteousness may arise with healing in his wings: then life and health comes in to the soul.
When this healing mercy comes, then cometh a sense of our dead condition, If ever God revive us, he will make us know our deadness; if he put sap in our dry bones, he will make us know our dryness: if he pardon, he will make us know our guilt. When this merciful reviving comes, then cometh a longing after him; he prepares his way into the soul, by creating a longing in his people’s heart, and a panting after him, (Ps. 42:1). When this reviving comes, then cometh a spirit of mourning: he makes them meet him weeping; “They shall come with weeping,” (Jer. 31:9). “Going and weeping,” (Jer. 50:4-5). Weeping for their old and late sins; weeping for their bold and daring sins, their sins against light and conscience, their sins upon small temptations, and their sins that are accounted small in the world. When this reviving comes, then cometh a spirit of supplication, (Zech. 12:10). And thereupon follows the opening of the fountain, and the purging of his house, and causing the false prophet, and the unclean spirit to cease out of the land. When this reviving comes, then cometh a stop to the tokens of his wrath; “He stayeth his rough wind in the day of his east wind,” (Isa, 27:8). He casteth away the rod that he smote withal. When this reviving comes, then cometh many tokens of his love, instead of wrath. Sweet embraces; his left-hand being under their head, and his right-hand embracing them. Sweet intimations of peace and pardon; “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Sweet cordials, with kindly words, looks, and smiles: He speaks comfortably to Jerusalem. Sweet communications of his mind, and of the secrets of his covenant; “Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do? “He speaks no more in parables, but plainly; giving them to know the mysteries of the kingdom. Then the righteousness of Zion goes forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. Then his people, being brought out of the horrible and miry clay, have their feet set upon a rock, and their goings established, and a new song put in their mouth, even praises to their God, (Ps. 10:2-3). Then doth the daybreak, and the shadows fly away, in a great measure, and the tabernacle of God is with men. Holiness and comfort take place, instead of sin and sorrow.
These are the effects of his remembering mercy, by pardoning, healing, and reviving his people; and also reasons for seeking this mercy.
III. The next general head of method was, To enquire what is imported in the Lord’s remembering mercy, and our praying that he would do so. Here we may consider the import of it in a threefold view. 1. Actively, as it is God’s act. 2. Objectively, as it is our plea. 3. With reference to the season, viz. God’s remembering mercy in the midst of wrath:
1st, We may view the import of it actively considered as it is God’s act. What is it for God to remember mercy? It doth not suppose oblivion or forgetfulness in God, as if he was capable of forgetting the perfection of his nature; no: he can no more forget mercy, than he can forget himself. But there are three ways he may be said to remember mercy.
1. When he hath thoughts of mercy; “I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” And then it follows also, “Ye shall call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me; and I will hearken unto you,” (Jer. 29:11-12). In time of wrathful dispensations, we are ready to think that God hath no thoughts of mercy: but even then he saith, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, (Isa. 55:8). For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an outcast, saying, This is Zion whom no man seeketh after,” (Jer. 31:17).
2. He may be said to remember mercy, when he speaketh words of mercy: though he bringeth to the wilderness, yet he speaketh comfortably, (Hos. 2:14). He remembers when he speaks comfortably to Jerusalem, and cries to her, that warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, (Isa. 40:2). When the Lord remembers mercy, he speaks it both outwardly into the ear, and inwardly into the heart; “God hath spoken once; yea, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God; also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy,” (Ps. 62:11-12). He speaks it once into the ear, by the word; but he speaks it again, and that is twice, when, by his Spirit, he speaketh it into the heart; then, indeed, the heart rejoiceth: “God hath spoken in his holiness, I will rejoice.”
3. He may be said to remember mercy; when he doth acts of mercy; such as these I have mentioned already in the instances of his pardoning and healing mercy. Thus he remembers mercy when he shows or manifests mercy: and when he exercises mercy in manifold acts, fruits, and effects of his mercy. Now then the prayer, that he would remember mercy, respects his merciful thoughts, merciful words, and merciful acts in the midst of wrath.
2dly, We may consider the import of it objectively; as it is our plea: “Remember mercy.” Many deceive themselves with a false hope in the general mercy of God, and are ignorant of mercy, as it is the plea of faith. There are these twelve things contained in the plea of faith, when we plead that God would remember mercy.
1. We plead he would remember the place of mercy, what place it hath in his heart, and what place it hath in his Christ. Hath it not such a place in his heart, that it is his delight? “He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy,” (Micah 7:18). As we are by nature children of wrath: so he is by nature merciful: his mercies are called his bowels; “Through the tender mercies of our God;” in the margin it is, “Through the bowels of God,” (Luke 1:78). Thus James 5:11, he is called, POLYSPLAGCHNOS, FULL OF BOWELS. MERCY IS MOST NATURAL TO HIM; AND THEREFORE IT IS MOST NATURAL FOR HIM TO SHOW MERCY. HATH IT NOT SUCH A PLACE IN CHRIST, THAT HE IS SAID TO BE THE STOREHOUSE OF MERCY AND GRACE? “MY FAITHFULNESS AND MY MERCY SHALL BE WITH HIM, (PSALM 89:24); GOD WAS IN CHRIST,” (2 COR. 1:19). AND OF ALL THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD IN CHRIST, MERCY IS MENTIONED AS THE MOST TRIUMPHANT, REJOICING OVER JUDGMENT; “GOD WAS IN CHRIST, RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF MERCIFULLY. THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL-PLEASED; OR, MERCIFUL, AND MERCIFULLY APPEASED,” (MATT. 3:16). WHEN WE PLEAD HE WOULD REMEMBER MERCY, IN HIS HEART AND IN HIS CHRIST WHO IS THE DARLING OF HIS HEART, IN WHOM HIS SOUL DELIGHTS.2. We plead he would remember the ground and reason of mercy; and that is mercy itself: “God saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” (Rom. 9:15). Though the immediate ground of God’s manifesting mercy, is for Christ’s sake; yet the primary and original ground is for mercy’s sake; for mercy provided a Christ, a Saviour, a Redeemer: he shows mercy for mercy’s sake. The supreme cause of divine love is divine love itself; so God saith to Israel. “The Lord loved Israel, because he loved them,” (Deut. 7:7- 8).
3. We plead he would remember the channel of mercy, and how it vents through a propitiation, to the honor of justice, (Rom. 3:25-26). We may plead that he cannot wrong his justice by showing mercy, since he hath found a ransom, and “Set forth Christ to be a propitiation, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sin.” Hence when we plead he would remember mercy, we plead he would remember Christ, and a mercy-seat sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Christ is called the mercy, by way of eminency: “The mercy promised to our fathers,” (Luke 1:72). And it is a strong plea for faith, when pleading that he would remember mercy, that he would remember Christ, and not forget what he hath done; and how he hath done and suffered, and satisfied; and finished his work; and what he is still doing: and so that he would both remember mercy for mercy’s sake, and remember mercy for Jesus’ sake; yea, mercy in Jesus, so as to accept in the Beloved; since mercy in this channel, brings glory to every other attribute: here is grace reigning through righteousness unto eternal life.
4. In pleading he would remember mercy, we plead he would remember the covenant of mercy, and the promise of mercy, sealed by the blood of mercy, the Mediator of the covenant; and how he hath made a covenant with his chosen, and said, “Mercy shall be built up for ever,” (Ps. 89:2-3). Though indeed, if his children break his law, he will visit their iniquities with rods, &c., yet nevertheless he hath said, “My loving-kindness will I not take from him,” nor consequently from his seed; nor suffer my faithfulness to fail: my covenant will I not break; nor alter the word that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David,” (Ps. 89:30, 37). And hence, when he performed the mercy promised to the fathers, he is said to remember his holy covenant, (Luke 1:72). O sirs, it is a strong plea, in the midst of wrath, that he would remember his covenant and promise remember the word on which he hath caused us to hope, as a word sealed by the blood of Christ, and yea and Amen in him. And indeed, you cannot go safely to a communion-table, without the plea in your mouth, in your heart. For Christ saith of the sacramental cup, “This cup is the new-testament in my blood.” It is a cup of promised mercy, purchased and secured by my blood.
5. In pleading this mercy, we plead he would remember the dignity of mercy, and the glory and grander of it, as what he exalts and magnifies, above every other letter of his name; “I will praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and thy truth; for, thou has magnified thy word above thy name,” (Ps. 138:2): that is, thy word of grace, mercy, and loving-kindness; which truth is engaged to accomplish, this mercy thou hast magnified above all thy name and dignity; as it were above all thy perfections. Though the Lord consults the honor of all his perfections, in the method of salvation through Christ; yet he consults their honor with this view, that especially mercy may be manifested, dignified, magnified, and aggrandized: therefore, faith saith, Lord remember the dignity and grander of mercy.
6. In pleading this mercy, we plead the dimensions of mercy; the height, depth, length, and breadth of mercy, as well as love, spoken of, (Eph. 3:18). The dimensions of our sins are great; and we cannot magnify sin too much, unless we magnify it above the mercy of God in Christ. O sirs, this divine mercy is as high as heaven, as deep as hell, as broad as time, and as long as eternity! Here is an ocean without bank or bottom.
7. In pleading this mercy, we plead he would remember the associates of mercy; or its companions and concomitants, with whom it hath struck hands and made up a blessed agreement; “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” (Ps. 85:10). There was a seeming odds and contrariety between mercy and justice: Mercy saying, Pity and save the sinner; Justice saying, Damn and destroy him: but now, in the death and satisfaction of Christ the Surety, the blood thirsty sword of justice hath drunk to infinite satisfaction, and hath no more blood to demand. The truth of God, in the threatening of the law, denouncing death and damnation to the sinner, is vindicated, by this substitution of Jesus in our room. Mercy and truth having met and kissed each other. We have not only mercy to plead, but the associates of mercy, and so may plead mercy for justice’s sake, mercy for the sake of truth and holiness, mercy for the sake of all her associates and neighbor attributes that they may be glorified with her.
8. In pleading his remembering mercy, we plead he would remember the riches of his mercy: the Lord is said to be rich in mercy, and to show the exceeding riches of his grace, (Eph. 2:4, 7). O what a strong plea is it that God accounts mercy, beyond all things else, to be his riches the men of this world count gold and silver their riches: but God accounts his being merciful his being rich, and being communicative of his mercy to poor sinners.
9. In pleading his mercy, we plead he would remember the multitude of his mercy; this is frequently the church’s plea; “According to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions,” (Ps. 51:1). And in Psalm 106:7. Israel is challenged for their not remembering the multitude of his tender mercy; and it is said, “He remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercy,” (v. 45). We may as soon number the stars of heaven, as the multitude of divine mercy: and this we may set against the multitude of our sins, when we plead, that in wrath he would remember mercy.
10. In this prayer, we plead that he would remember the objects of mercy. It is not himself that is the object of his mercy; but man, miserable and sinful man: “The kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared,” (Titus 3:4). But the love of God and the mercy of God in this differs: that whereas God himself, as well as man, is the object of his love: for he loves himself, and so is the greatest object of his love; but God himself is not the object of his own mercy; God hath no need of mercy, and is incapable of mercy for himself. What a comfortable plea is this, that the mercy which God accounts his chief riches and treasure is what peculiarly concerns us, and our good and salvation! Hence we may make our own misery a plea in prayer; because this is the proper object of divine mercy: therefore, it is called, “His kindness towards us through Christ,” (Eph. 2:7).
11. In this prayer, we plead that he would remember the qualities of his mercy: that his mercy is like himself, great and infinite mercy; hence the church so frequently in scripture pleads the greatness of his mercy, and sets it against the greatness of their sins; “For his merciful kindness is great towards us,” (Ps. 117:2). Thy mercy is great unto the heaven,” (Ps. 57:10). Nay, “Thy mercy is great above the heaven,” (Ps. 118:4). We may plead that his mercy is free, mercy: and, indeed, if it did not exclude merit, and were not free, it could not be so properly mercy. We may plead that his mercy is sovereign mercy; regarding neither the worthiness nor unworthiness of the creature. We may plead that it is ancient mercy; with reference to eternity, that it is from everlasting; and with reference to time, that it is of old; saying, “Lord, thou halt been our dwelling place in all generations: thou hast been favourable to thy land:” and so we may plead upon former mercies, saying, “Where is the sounding of thy bowels, and of thy mercies towards me? Are they restrained?” (Isa. 63:15). We may plead not only the antiquity, but the perpetuity of his mercy; that “His mercy endures for ever:” he hath commanded the house of Israel and the house of Aaron to say, “His mercy endureth for ever.” We may plead the immutability of his mercy. Whatever changes befall us: yet “He is God, and changeth not; therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
12. In this prayer, we plead the kinds of mercy; the various sorts of mercy. We may plead that he would remember his conquering and overcoming mercy; that can conquer our enmity, conquer our guilt, conquer the curse of the law, and all the wrath we deserve. That it is preventing mercy; that can and must prevent our faith, prevent our repentance, and prevent our prayers: otherwise we will never believe, or repent or pray; hence, as it is mercy that comes over mountains, so it is called mercy found of them that sought him not. That it is following and pursuing mercy; still following those whom it prevents and prevails upon: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me,” (Ps. 23:6). Even when the soul forsakes God, grace and mercy will follow the soul, and bring it back, otherwise it would run to ruin. Again, that it is forgiving mercy, saying, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness: their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” And that it is a forthcoming mercy, saying, “My grace shall be made sufficient for thee; and my strength shall be made perfect in thy weakness.” In a word, all kinds of mercy are with God; and we are to plead the variety of his mercy. There is no sin or misery, but God hath mercy for it, mercy of every kind; and among others, uniting mercy; “I will give them one heart, and one way,” (Jer. 31:39). And as there is no disease but God hath a remedy for it; so there is no misery but God hath a mercy for it. He hath in himself a treasure of all sorts of mercies, divided into several promises in scripture, which are but so many boxes or chests of this treasury. If thy heart be hard and untender, he hath tender mercies and melting mercies; if thy heart be dead, he hath quickening mercy: if polluted, he hath purifying mercy: if thou art sick, he hath healing mercy: if sinful, he hath all-sanctifying mercy; if sorrowful, he hath all-comforting mercy; if lost and miserable, he hath all-saving mercy. As large and various as your wants are, more large and various are his mercies; so that we may come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need, and according to our need, (Heb. 4:16). O what a rich product is to be had out of the womb of mercy! And, O how many powerful pleas and arguments are there in this one Remember mercy! All the mercies that are in his heart, he hath transplanted them, as it were, into several beds, in the garden of the promises, where they grow; and we are allowed to pluck these flowers, by pleading the mercies contained in these promises which are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus to the glory of God. O sirs, be entreated to come to the mercy of God in Christ.
3dly, We may view the import with reference to the season of God’s remembering mercy, viz., “In the midst of wrath remember mercy.” Now, What is it for God to remember mercy in the midst of wrath? Why, the Lord may be said to remember mercy in the midst of wrath, in the following respects:—
1. When he imbitters sin to his people which is the procuring cause of wrath, and weans their hearts from it: “By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is the fruit of all to take away sin.”
2. When he humbles them under his mighty hand; makes the rod of correction drive away the folly that is bound up in their hearts; and brings them to confess that it is an evil and bitter thing to depart from the living God.
3 When he makes them search and try their ways; to inquire what meaneth the heat of his great anger; and induces them to turn to the hand that smiteth them: to seek the Lord of hosts while he may be found; and to pour out a prayer when his chastening hand is upon them.
4. When he enables them to exercise faith and patience, and other graces in the time of anger and wrath, and to justify God in all his procedure; for, “Tribulation and the trial of faith worketh patience; “and to acknowledge that he punisheth us less than our iniquities deserve; and therefore to bear the indignation of the Lord because we have sinned.
5. In a word, God may be said to remember mercy in the midst of wrath, when he only corrects them in measure; when he stays his rough wind in the day of his east wind; when he grants them some little reviving in their bondage, and supporting cordials in these wrath-like dispensations; and favors them with any secret interview with his gracious presence, and lets them see any love-designs that he has in these afflictions.
Thus much may suffice for the third thing proposed, viz., the import of the Lord’s remembering mercy in the midst of wrath, and our praying that he would do so.
IV. The fourth thing proposed was, To show that it is both seasonable and reasonable to plead, that he would remember mercy in the midst of wrath, and wrathful times. This will appear evident, if we consider these six particulars.
1. It is both seasonable and reasonable to do so, because we are warranted of God to plead his promised mercy, at all times, and especially in the midst of wrath; “For this will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them,” (Ezek. 36:27), compared with, “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify, me,” (Ps. 50:15) There needs be no other reason; and there can be no higher reason, than the will and authority of God; his command obliging us to plead with him, and put him in remembrance, (Isa. 43:26).
2. It is seasonable and reasonable, in the midst of wrath to plead he would remember mercy, because wrathful dispensations are ordered of God, for this very cause, to stir up his people to seek after him, and plead for his merciful return; “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offences, and seek my face; in their affliction they shall seek me early,” (Hosea 5:15). And, indeed, seldom do we seek him in earnest, till the rod be made use of, and the way be hedged up with thorns; then we begin to say, “I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now,” (Hosea 2:7).
3. It is seasonable, because as this hath been the way of God’s people, in their distress and under wrathful dispensations to fly to his mercy; so it is God’s way toward his people, to show mercy to them in their greatest extremity of distress. He makes their time of need, his time of love; their time of misery, his time of mercy:
“I called upon the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place,” (Ps. 118:5). Their experience hath it to say, “Many a time I was brought low, and he helped me. He brought me out of the horrible pit and miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
4. Necessity makes it both seasonable and reasonable: in the midst of wrath the people of God see their need of mercy; and see mercy to be mercy indeed: when all the waves and billows of God’s wrath are flying over them, then it is time for the Lord to work, for his church and people, as the psalmist saith, “It is time for thee, O Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law,” (Ps. 119:126). It is time for us to pray and plead for mercy; and it is time for God to work mercifully, when clouds of wrath are gathering, and showers of wrath are falling.
5. It is then reasonable and seasonable to plead he would remember mercy, because, in the midst of wrath, we are apt to conclude, that he hath forgotten mercy, and to say with Zion, “The Lord hath forsaken me, my God hath forgotten me,” (Isa. 49:14). Then it is that unbelief is ready to affront and deny the mercy of God: and to conclude he hath laid aside his merciful nature, saying, “Will the Lord cast off for ever? Will he be favorable no more? is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore hath he forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercy?” (Ps. 77:7-9). In time of affliction and wrathful days, they are ready to think mercy is drowned in the ocean of wrath; therefore it is seasonable, in time of wrath, to plead he may remember mercy.
6. It is seasonable, because then faith hath sure and clean ground to go upon, when in wrath we plead mercy. A time of wrathful dispensations, and killing and slaying providences, is a proper time for faith to step in and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” To believe mercy in the midst of mercy, is no great matter; but to believe mercy in the midst of wrath, is a great matter and argues strong faith. A time of contradiction is a time for faith. If we believe the promise, when Providence seems to contradict the promise in appearance, it is, like Abraham, to be strong in the faith, giving glory to God. Under a sense of guilt, to believe pardon—under a sense and feeling of wrath, to believe mercy, and plead that God would remember mercy, is the very season for faith to act; and then God gets the glory of his mercy, and we the good of it.
V. The fifth thing proposed was, To make application of the subject; which we shall essay with all possible brevity.
Is it so, as has been said, That in the midst of wrath, or wrathful-like dispensations, it is seasonable to plead mercy, and that the Lord would remember it? Then hence we may see,
1st, That it is now a fit time, and proper season for us to plead mercy, and a merciful visit from the Lord, notwithstanding that it is a time of Divine and great wrath, in many respects; a time of great sin and security, great error and blasphemy, of great backsliding and apostasy; a time wherein God hideth himself, and we are dead and senseless, through want of the presence of the living Spirit of the living God. Many are the tokens of the Lord’s anger and absence. How far hath he left ministers and people, ordinances and judicatories, Church and State? How much is the glory departed, our strength gone, our zeal blunted, and black clouds of wrath above our head? And, indeed, there are more tokens of wrath, towards the generation, than I have either time or ability to tell. And many of us, even here under the sad effects of the Lord’s anger, surrounded with symptoms of wrath; witness our deadness and lukewarmness; our coldrife hearing, praying, and praising; our strong and prevalent corruption; our weak and languishing grace, if we have any at all; it may be heavy affliction on the bodies of some, on their friends, families, or concerns; perhaps heavy distress upon the minds of others, through temptations, confusions, fears, damps, and discouragements of many sorts. Well, what shall we do in this case? Shall we turn desperate, and reckon that now no merciful meeting with God is to be expected? Indeed, if God. had revealed nothing from heaven but wrath, we might be hopeless; but now is the fit time to plead he would remember mercy. Now is a fit time to pray for mercy, to cry for mercy, to plead mercy, to believe mercy, to lay hold on mercy, to remember mercy, and to wrestle with God that he would remember mercy: mercy towards ourselves, towards our families, towards the land in general, and to the Church of Christ in particular.
2dly. If we may pray and plead for mercy in the midst of wrath, then we may hopefully plead mercy in the face of all other discouragements whatsoever. Here is a door of mercy opened in the midst of wrath.
Some, perhaps, may be ready to say, “Many things discourage me in prayer, blinds my confidence, and mars my hope.” Why, but here is encouragement to sue for mercy, and to hope and plead for it, in the face of all opposition whatsoever, since we ought to plead mercy even in the face of wrath. This plea will stand well against all deadly, if faith take it up. I shall offer some instances here.
1. You may hopefully plead mercy in the face of old sins, former transgressions, and great iniquities: this we find the Psalmist did; “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to thy mercy remember thou me, for thy goodness sake,” (Ps. 25:7). Here old sins came in view; yet here is faith pleading mercy. Unbelief may tell you so, and so you have sinned; and therefore there is no hope, nothing but wrath to be expected? Nay, but faith may look to the mercy of God in Christ, and say, as verse 11, “For thy name’s sake pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” Great sin should lead to plead great mercy.
2. You may plead mercy in the face of present guilt staring you in the face, as the Prophet Jeremiah did; “Though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake,” (14:7). Present guilt cannot blot out the remembrance of mercy.
3. You may plead mercy in the face of present indisposition for duty. Present deadness and incapacity is the case here; “O revive thy work; in wrath remember mercy.” Expect not that in yourself which only mercy can afford. It may be afflicting that you have no suitable frame of heart. But how soon can mercy frame your heart to holy worship? Quickening mercy is with him.
4. You may plead mercy in the face of dark and angry dispensations as; “How long wilt thou be angry? Shall thy jealousy for ever burn like a fire?” (Ps. 79:5). “How long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?” (Ps. 80:4). The storm of wrath cannot blow away mercy: therefore plead, “In wrath remember mercy.”
5. You may plead mercy in the face of great unworthiness, and fears of communicating unworthily; because mercy regards not our unworthiness, nor waits for our worth, but vents through the worthiness of the Lamb; and therefore you may say, “He is worthy for whom thou shouldest do this.”
6. You may plead mercy in the face of many challenges, for omissions and commissions. You may take with the charge of the law, and the challenge of conscience against yourself, and yet hold your plea, and maintain your argument for mercy: “In wrath remember mercy.”
7. You may plead mercy in the face of strong unbelief and weak faith; in the face of living unbelief and languishing faith; for though this way be saddening to your soul, and sinking to your heart, even unto fainting; yet the mercy of God in Christ being a root, cause, and spring of faith, when he remembers mercy, he revives every languishing grace: “They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine.”
8. You may plead mercy in the face of manifold miscarriages in duty, such as want of faith, freedom, fervor, love, liberty, fixedness of heart, and the like; for though this should be afflicting and humbling, yet the ground of hope and confidence is in the free mercy of God through Christ.
9. You may plead mercy in the face of seeming refusals and harsh answers; when he not only delays to give you the mercy you seek, but seems to deny you, and call you a dog to whom the children’s bread doth not belong, yet he allows for all that, to press in at the door of mercy, saying, “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.”
10. You may plead mercy in the face of real refusals, rejections, and reproofs; for though the door of mercy seem to be shut and barred, and though he may justly reject you forever, and keep you long at the back of the door, yet he can soon open the door, and grant you access to his presence. And though he should not, it becomes you to wait on him who saith, “He will not contend for ever, neither will he be always wroth; lest the spirits should fail before him, and the souls that he hath made.”
11. You may plead mercy in the face of improbabilities; yea, and seeming impossibilities, when there is no appearance of his showing mercy; yet, like Abraham, against hope you are to believe in hope. Dispensations seeming to contradict the promised mercy must not stop our mouth from speaking, nor embarrass our faith; but rather set our prayer on proper edge, and our faith on exercise.
12. You may plead mercy in the face of prevailing iniquity. Surely this should humble and afflict you; and woe to them that live in sin, and presume upon mercy; but when prevailing iniquity begins to discourage you from pleading mercy, shake off that discouraging temptation, and plead pardoning and purifying mercy the more earnestly; for, mercy hath been pled and should be pled, in the face of prevailing sin: “Iniquities prevail against us; but yet as for our transgressions thou wilt purge them away,” (Ps. 65:3).
In a word, you may plead mercy in the face of all temptations to the contrary, from whatever airth. Though the devil should suggest to you that your pleading will bring a curse instead of a blessing, and that God hath decreed the contrary to what you ask, yet God’s revealed will being the rule of your duty, and his revealed mercy, through Christ, being the ground of your hope, you are to have no regard to these wicked suggestions “In the midst of wrath,” in the midst of woes, in the midst of all the sin and misery you can be surrounded with, as long as you are out of hell, there is ground to plead, “Lord, remember mercy.”
But possibly one may say, What if I do not plead regularly and successfully so as to prevail? Why, if you plead so as your plea shall be regarded,
(1.) Your pleading for mercy will exclude your presuming upon mercy. The presumptuous sinner pleads mercy as an excuse for his sin; this is not pleading for mercy to his soul, but mercy to his sin; whereas they that duly plead mercy, they plead for vengeance upon their sins.
(2.) The pleading for mercy supposes a sense of sin and misery, and of wrath deserved. They, who have no apprehensions of wrath, will have no due apprehensions of mercy.
(3.) True pleading for mercy excludes all other pleas; the man hath nothing to plead but mercy; he hath no merit of his own to plead, but the merit of hell. If he pleads the merit of Christ, this is the same with pleading mercy; for mercy vents no other way but through the merit of Jesus. The soul dares not plead his duties, prayers, or tears; his frames, affections, enlargements, or good qualifications; no, he hath nothing to plead but mercy.
(4) The true pleader for mercy pleads it at the mercy seat, sprinkled with the blood of Christ: where he sees mercy secured by the blood of the covenant, which makes them the sure mercies of David. Now, would you share of this mercy of God to eternal life? Then, while you plead for mercy, plead upon Christ’s plea, and come in upon his right; and you shall be sure to obtain.
Now, what shall I say to you who never yet truly pleaded mercy, nor fled to the mercy of God in Christ? Alas how miserable are you, that never yet saw your need of mercy! And that are to this day despisers of mercy! What will become of you, if you remain in that case, when death and judgment comes! O Sirs, will you come in yet at the open door of mercy? Would you wish to share of the mercy of God, and avoid the vengeance of God, when grim death stares you in the face, and the awful tribunal appears? Then fly to the mercy of God now. But, say you, Where is the mercy of God? Why, all his mercy is in Christ; “God is in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” There is no mercy in God, out of Christ to any guilty sinner. O then, sirs, come to Christ for the mercy of God; for all the kinds of mercy that you need is in Christ. All the saving mercy of God is in Christ, as a Savior; all the healing mercy of God is in Christ, as a Physician; all the teaching mercy of God is in Christ, as a Priest; all the soul-sanctifying, sin-subduing, and conquering mercy of God is in Christ, as a King; all the rich and supplying mercy of God is in Christ, as the storehouse and treasury of grace, that out of his fullness you may receive, and grace for grace; “My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,” saith God, (Ps. 89:24). And since all the mercy of God is with him, O then, sirs, come: come to Jesus; and so you will share of the mercy of God. If you say, you cannot come; I tell you among the rest, the drawing mercy of God is with him; and therefore he says, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men after me:” and if when he says in his word, I will draw, your heart was saying, Lord draw; draw me; I hope drawing mercy is not far away. O may power accompany the call and offer of mercy in Christ.
Again, As for you who have fled to the mercy of God in Christ, and know what it is to plead mercy, even “in the midst of wrath;” O sirs, go on to plead that he would remember mercy, and to plead it joyfully; whatever tokens of wrath you are encompassed with, it is but fatherly wrath, and mercy is in the midst of it; mercy is in the midst of your afflictions; mercy is in the midst of your temptations; mercy is in the midst of desertions; mercy is in the midst of your reproofs; mercy is in the midst of your sickness and sorrows; mercy is in the midst of your wants and poverty; mercy is in the midst of all your losses and crosses; mercy is in the midst of all the wrath you are under; and hence, in the midst of wrath he will remember mercy; and therefore in the midst of wrath, remember ye his mercy, and do not forget it, though you should see nothing but wrath, (Hab. 3:17-18). But possibly one may say, Why shall I not believe that he is in earnest, when I perceive nothing but wrath in his providence and dealing with me? Yea; you are to believe that he is in earnest correcting you, in earnest chastising you; he is in earnest trying you, or he is in earnest visiting your iniquities with rods, and may be taking vengeance on your inventions: but for all that, never dream that he has forgotten mercy; for “His loving-kindness will he not take away, nor alter the word that has gone out of his mouth.—The mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, nor the covenant of my peace be removed,” (Isa. 54:10). Therefore, upon the strongest ground, you may still plead mercy, and with holy confidence expect it.
2. I would advise you, not only to plead he would remember mercy to yourselves, but mercy toward others. Plead his mercy to all his churches: plead mercy to the, church of Scotland, in the midst of wrathful days: though you should see no particular promise in all the Bible to it, yet if faith can take a general promise, and apply it to a particular church, it will speak mercy to it, because the author of faith never creates any useless act of faith. —Plead mercy to the rising generation, that they may not be carried down the stream of impiety, profanity, and immorality; nor drowned in the deluge of error and infidelity, that is like to overflow the present generation.—Plead mercy to your concerns, to your children, family, relatives, friends, acquaintances, and to all your neighbors about you. —Plead mercy to young communicants, who never trode that path before, that from this time the foundation of the spiritual temple may be laid, the building raised, and the promise made out; “From this day will I bless you(Hag. 2:19).” Let mercy also be pled for old communicants, who are turned, into an easy way of communicating by course, in a carnal, formal, customary manner, for the most part; and who are not at suitable pains to stir up the grace of faith, love, repentance, and other graces, to a lively exercise. —Plead mercy for unworthy communicants, who have approached to God’s altar, and yet have not been prepared according to the preparation of the sanctuary, that the blood they, have trampled upon, may, wash away the sin of unworthy communicating. —Yea, let mercy also be pled for worthy communicants, that goodness and mercy may follow them, and that they may follow the Lord with full purpose of heart, and adorn the doctrine of God their Savior in all things; and that they never be left to be a gain to their profession, nor a reproach to their holy religion. Again,
3. While you plead that the Lord would remember mercy in the midst of wrath, do you yourselves also remember mercy in the midst of wrath. Are you tempted to wrath, and wrathful resentment against your friends, neighbors, brethren, and acquaintances? O sirs, remember mercy in the midst of wrath; remember pardoning and forgiving mercy. With what confidence can you expect that God should remember mercy towards you, notwithstanding your innumerable sins and provocations, if you cannot remember mercy towards others, notwithstanding some real or supposed injuries? How can, you pray that God would forgive your sins, if you forgive not those that sin against you, as you are taught both in your Bible and Catechism? “To the merciful he will show himself merciful. Be ye therefore merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.” If you have beheld the glory of his mercy to you, you will be changed into the same image, from glory to glory; and may I not say, From mercy to mercy?—O remember mercy to all that are about you: mercy to the poor and needy; mercy to the destitute and afflicted; mercy to the souls and bodies of men: not only mercy to their bodies, by acts of bounty, alms, charity, and benevolence, as you know their circumstances require, especially if they be of the household of faith; but also mercy to their souls, by your acts of piety, by your prayers, and counsels, suitable reproofs, and religious example. And even though you should see them surrounded with the tokens of God’s wrath; yet remember mercy towards them; because you expect that in the midst of wrath he will remember mercy towards you. If you remember mercy towards men, it is an evidence that he is remembering mercy towards you.
3. I would advise you to fill your memories with the mercy of God in Christ, and let your mind be a storehouse, to treasure up his mercy in. One of the great reasons why the Lord saith, “Put me in remembrance,” and allows you to plead he may remember mercy is, not that he can forget mercy; but because you are in danger of forgetting it: and by putting him in remembrance of it, you put yourselves in remembrance of it. Unbelief is ready to say, especially in the midst of wrath, “O! hath he forgotten to be gracious? Will he be favorable no more? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? But faith is a reminding the soul of the love and mercy of God, a recognition of his grace and goodness in Christ Jesus. Faith is acted to great advantage by a sanctified remembrance of the mercy of God in Christ: and whenever mercy comes into the believer’s mind, the believer puts God in mind of his mercy, saying, “Lord, remember what thou didst for me at such a time; remember what thou saidst to me: Remember thy word on which thou hast caused me to hope: remember thy promise, remember thy name, remember thy Son’s name, remember thy covenant, remember thy goodness.” If you forget mercy, you will not plead with God to remember mercy: therefore let mercy be much in your heart and memory, that you may be still ready to plead and prevail, even when surrounded with the flood of wrath, saying, “Lord in wrath remember mercy.”