Mercy, and her snow-white throne

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Once on a time, Mercy sat upon her snow-white throne, surrounded by the troops of love…

A sinner was brought before her, whom Mercy wanted to save. The herald blew the trumpet, and after three blasts thereof, and with a loud voice, he said, “0 heaven and earth, and hell, I summon you this day to come before the throne of Mercy, to tell why this sinner should not be saved.” There stood the sinner, trembling with fear….

He knew that there were multitudes of opponents, who would press into the hall of Mercy, and with eyes full of wrath, would say, “He must not, and he shall not escape; he must be lost!”

The trumpet was blown, and Mercy sat placidly on her throne, until there stepped in one with a fiery countenance; his head was covered with light; he spoke with a voice like thunder, and out of his eyes flashed lightning!

“Who art thou?” said Mercy.

He replied, “I am Law; the law of God.”

“And what hast thou to say?” “I have this to say,” and he lifted up a stony tablet, written on both sides; “these ten commands this wretch has broken. My demand is blood; for it is written, ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die.’  —“Die he, or Justice must.”

The wretch trembles, his knees knock together, the marrow of his bones melts within him, as if it were ice dissolved by fire, and he shakes with very fright. Already he thought he saw the thunderbolt launched at him, he saw the lightning penetrate into his soul, hell yawned before him in imagination, and he thought himself cast away forever.

But Mercy smiled, and said, “Law, I will answer thee…

…This wretch deserves to die; Justice demands that he should perish –I award thee thy claim.”

And, O! Oh, how the sinner trembles! “But there is one yonder who has come with me to-day, my King, my Lord; his name is Jesus; he will tell you how the debt can be paid, and the sinner can go free.”

Then Jesus spoke, and said, “Take me, Law; put me in a garden; make me sweat drops of blood; then nail me to a tree; scourge my back before you put me to death; bang me on the cross; let blood run from my hands and feet; let me descend into the grave; let me pay all the sinner owes; I will die in his stead.”

And the Law went out and scourged the Savior, nailed him to the cross, and coming back with his face all bright with satisfaction, stood again at the throne of Mercy, and Mercy said, “Law, what hast thou now to say?”

“Nothing,” said he; “fair angel, nothing.”

“What! Not one of these commands against him?” “No, not one. Jesus, his substitute, has kept them all” has paid the penalty for his disobedience.  Now, instead of his condemnation, I demand, as a debt of Justice, that he be acquitted.”

“Stand thou here,” said Mercy; “sit on my throne; I and thou together will now send forth another summons.”

The trumpet rang again. “Come hither, all ye who have anything to say against this sinner, as to why he should not be acquitted;”

Up comes another –one who often troubled the sinner –one who had a voice not so loud as that of the Law, but still piercing and thrilling –a voice whose whispers were like the cuttings of a dagger. “Who art thou?” says Mercy.

“I am Conscience; this sinner must be punished; he has done so much against the law of God that he must be punished; I demand it; and I will give him no rest till he is punished, nor even then, for I will follow him even to the grave, and persecute him after death with pangs unutterable.”

“Nay,” said Mercy, “hear me;” and while he paused for a moment, she took a bunch of hyssop and sprinkled Conscience with the blood, saying, “Hear me, Conscience! The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses this man from all sin. Now has thou anything to say?”

“No,” said Conscience, “nothing–

“Covered is his unrighteousness;
From condemnation he is free.”

Henceforth I will not grieve him; I will be a good conscience unto him, through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The trumpet rang a third time, and growling from the innermost vaults, up there came a grim black fiend, with hate in his eyes, and hellish majesty on his brows. He is asked, “Hast thou anything against that sinner?”

“Yes,” said he, “I have; he has made a league with hell, and a covenant with the grave, and here it is, signed with his own hand. He asked God to destroy his soul in a drunken fit, and vowed he would never turn to God; see here is his covenant with hell!”

“Let us look at it,” said Mercy; and it was handed up, while the grim fiend looked at the sinner, and pierced him through with his black looks. “Ah! But,” said Mercy, “this man had no right to sign the deed; a man must not sign away another’s property. This man was bought and paid for long beforehand; he is not his own; the covenant with Death is disannulled, and the league with hell is rent in pieces. Go thy way, Satan.”

“NO,” said Satan, howling again, “I have something else to say: that man was always my friend; he listened ever to my insinuations; he scoffed at the gospel; he scorned the majesty of heaven: he is to be pardoned, while I repair to my hellish den, for ever to bear the penalty of guilt?”

Said Mercy, “Away, thou fiend; these things he did in the days of his unregeneracy; but this word nevertheless blots them out. Go thou to thy hell; take this for another lash upon thyself” the sinner shall be pardoned, but thou –never, treacherous fiend!”

And then Mercy, smilingly turning to the sinner, said, “Sinner, the trumpet must be blown for the last time!” Again it was blown, and no one answered. Then stood the sinner up, and Mercy said, “Sinner, ask thyself the question” ask thou of heaven, of earth, of hell “whether any can condemn thee?”

And the sinner stood up, and with a bold, loud voice, said, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” And he looked into hell, and Satan lay there, biting his iron bonds; and he looked on earth, and earth was silent; and in the majesty of faith the sinner did even climb to heaven itself, and he said, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? God?”

And the answer came, “No one; he justified.”

“Christ?” Sweetly it was whispered, “No; he died.” Then turning round, the sinner joyfully exclaimed, “Who shall separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?”

And the once condemned sinner came back to Mercy; prostrate at her feet he lay, and vowed henceforth to be hers forever, if she would keep him to the end, and make him what she would desire him to be. Then no longer did the trumpet ring, but angels rejoiced, and heaven was glad, for the sinner was saved.

—C.H. Spurgeon
Edited for thought and sense

Refuse to restore him? –NOT my child!

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I am reminded of a story… 

…of when the son of a Christian man was guilty of an act of disobedience in the home. Hearing of it, the father quietly but firmly said, “Son, I am pained beyond measure at your conduct.”

“How well,” said that father, “I remember his return from school that day, his quiet knock at the study-door, his clear tremulous utterance, ‘Father, I am so ashamed of myself by reason of my conduct this morning.’

“Refuse to restore him?” said that father. “Unhesitatingly I confess that I never loved my boy more than at that moment, nor did I ever more readily implant the kiss of forgiveness than at that instant.”

“Refuse to restore him?

Disown him?

Have him leave the house, and take another name?

Say that he had no place in the family?

–NOT my child!”

What blasphemy against God is this! Shall we dare to attribute such conduct to our Holy Father in heaven, “who spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all”?

–Henry Varley.

Look With Me on the Catastrophe of the Deluge.

The Deluge ?exhibited 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Look with me as the waters rise till rivers swell into lakes…

…and the sea stretches out her arms along fertile plains to seize their flying population. Still the waters rise; and now, mingled with beasts that terror has tamed, men climb to the mountaintops, the flood roaring at their heels.

Look with me as the waters still rise; and now each summit stands above them, islands separate and surrounded by the sea. Still the waters rise; now crowding closer on the narrow spaces of lessening hilltops, men and beasts fight fiercely for standing-room.

Look, as the thunders roar and lightnings flash, rain descends, and the waters still rise, till the last survivor of the shrieking crowd is washed off, and the head of the highest Alp goes down beneath the wave.

Now the waters rise no more….

Death for once has nothing to do, but ride in triumph on the top of some giant billow, which, meeting no coast, no continent no Alp, no Andes, against which to break, sweeps round and round the world. We stand aghast at the scene; and as the corpses of gentle children and sweet infants float by we exclaim, “Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?”

No! Assuredly not!

Where, then, is His mercy? Look here. Behold the ark; steered by an invisible hand, she comes dimly through the awful gloom. A lonely ship on a lonely ocean, she carries mercy on board, and holds the costliest freight that ever sailed the sea.

Do you know for sure that you are, once and for all, on board God’s great ark? Have you accepted the terms of God’s mercy? Are the stakes any less great? Has not the captain promised that all who come to him, he will in no wise cast out?

Why do you tarry?

I am sure that there is a Christian, a child of God, who feels that their sins are not yet forgiven. Are you that person?

Written by J. C. Ryle.
Edited for thought and space
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Consider, that the forgiveness set before you is a great and broad forgiveness.
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Jesus_Drawing_Cast_First_Stone_Hear what the Prince of Peace Himself declares: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Yes! though your trespasses be more in number than the hairs of your head, the stars in heaven, the leaves of the forest, the blades of grass, the grains of sand on the sea-shore, still they can all be pardoned.  As the waters of Noah’s flood covered over and hid the tops of the highest hills, so can the blood of Jesus cover over and hide your mightiest sins. “His blood cleanses from’ all sin” (1 John 1:7).   Though to you they seem written with the point of a diamond, they can all be effaced from the book of God’s remembrance by that precious blood.  Paul names a long list of abominations which the Corinthians had committed, and then says: “Such were some of’ you: but ye are washed” (1 Cor. vi. 11).

Furthermore, it is a full and complete forgiveness. 

It is not like David’s pardon to Absalom,—a permission to return home, but not a full restoration to favour (2 Sam. 14:24).  It is not, as some fancy, a mere letting off, and letting alone. It is a pardon so complete, that he who has it is reckoned as righteous as if he had never sinned at all. His iniquities are blotted out. They are removed from him as far as the east from the west (Psalm 103:12).  There remains no condemnation for him.  The Father sees him joined to Christ, and is well pleased. The Son beholds him clothed with ‘His own righteousness, and says, “Thou art all fair, .  .  .  there is no spot in thee” (Cant. 4:7). Blessed be God that it is so. I verily believe if the best of us all had only one blot left for himself to wipe out, he would miss eternal life.  If the holiest child of Adam were in heaven all but his little finger, and to get in depended on himself, I am sure he would never enter the kingdom.  If Noah, Daniel, and Job had but one day’s sin to wash away, they would never have been saved.  Praised be God that in the matter of our pardon there is nothing left for man to do.  Jesus does all, and man has only to hold out an empty hand and to receive.

Furthermore, it is a free and unconditional forgiveness

It is not burdened with an “if,” like Solomon’s pardon to Adonijah: “If he will show himself a worthy man (1 Kings 1:52).  Nor yet are you obliged to carry a price in your hand, or bring a character with you to prove yourself deserving of mercy.  Jesus requires but one character, and that is that you should feel yourself a sinful, bad man. He invites you to “buy wine and milk without money and without price,” and declares, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Isaiah 55:1; Rev 22:17) ‘Like David in the cave of Adullam, He receives everyone that feels in distress and a debtor, and rejects none (1 Sam. 22:2).  Are you a sinner? Do you want a Saviour? Then come to Jesus just as you are, and your soul shall live.

Again, it is an offered forgiveness.

 I have read of earthly kings who knew not how to show mercy,—of Henry the Eighth of England, who spared neither man nor woman; of James the Fifth of Scotland, who would never show favour to a Douglas.  The King of kings is not like them.  He calls on man to come to Him, and be pardoned. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men” (Prov. 8: 4).  “Ho, every one that thirsts, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah 4:1) “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink” (John 7:37). “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Oh, reader, it ought to be a great comfort to you and me to hear of any pardon at all; but to hear Jesus Himself inviting us, to see Jesus Himself holding out His hand to us,—the Saviour seeking the sinner before the sinner seeks the Saviour,—this is encouragement, this is strong consolation indeed!

Again, it is a willing forgiveness. 

I have heard of pardons granted in reply to long entreaty, and wrung out by much importunity.  King Edward the Third of England would not spare the citizens of Calais till they came to him with halters round their necks, and his own Queen interceded for them on her knees.  But Jesus is “good and ready to forgive” (Psalm 87:5).  He delights in mercy (Micah vii.18)  Judgment is His strange work.  He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He would fain have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. ii. 4)  He wept over unbelieving Jerusalem.  “As I live;” He says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways: why will ye die?” (Ezek.  32:11).  Ah, reader, you and I may well come boldly to the throne of grace!  He who sits there is far more willing and ready to give mercy than you and I are to receive it.

Besides this, it is a tried forgiveness. 

Thousands and tens of thousands have sought for pardon at the mercy-seat of Christ, and not one has ever returned to say that he sought in vain; sinners of every name and nation,—sinners of every sort and description, have knocked at the door of the fold, and none have ever been refused admission.  Zacchæus the extortioner, Magdalene the harlot, Saul the persecutor, Peter the denier of his Lord, the Jews who crucified the Prince of Life, the idolatrous Athenians, the adulterous Corinthians, the ignorant Africans, the bloodthirsty New Zealanders,—all have ventured their souls on Christ’s promises of pardon, and none have ever found them fail. Ah, reader, if the way I set before you were a new and untraveled way, you might well feel faint-hearted! But it is not so.  It is an old path.  It is a path worn by the feet of many pilgrims, and a path in which the footsteps are all one way.  The treasury of Christ’s mercies has never been found empty.  The well of living waters has never proved dry.

Beside this, it is a present forgiveness. 

All that believe in Jesus are at once justified from all things (Acts 13:38).  The very day the younger son returned to his father’s house he was clothed with the best robe, had the ring put on his hand, and shoes on his feet (Luke 15).  The very day Zacchæus received Jesus he heard these comfortable words “This day is salvation come to this house” (Luke 19:9). The very day that David ‘said, “I have sinned against the Lord,” he was    told by Nathan, “The Lord hath also put away thy sin” (2 Sam. 12:13). The very day you first flee to Christ, your sins are all removed.  Your pardon is not a thing far away, to be obtained only after many years. It is nigh at hand.  It is close to you, within your reach, all ready to be bestowed.  Believe, and that very moment it is your own.  “He that believeth is not condemned” (John 3:18).  It is not said, “he shall not be,” or “will not be,” but “is not.” From the time of his believing, condemnation is gone.  “He that believeth hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).  It is not said, “he shall have,” or “will have,” it is “hath” It is his own as surely as if he was in heaven, though not so evidently so to his own eyes. Ah, reader, you must not think forgiveness will be nearer to a believer in the day of judgment than it was in the hour he first believed!  His complete salvation from the power of sin is every year nearer and nearer to him; but as to his forgiveness and justification, it is a finished work from the very minute he first commits himself to Christ.

Last, and best of all, it is an everlasting forgiveness. 

It is not like Shimei’s pardon, a pardon that may sometime be revoked and taken away (1 Kings ii.  9). Once justified you are justified forever.  Once written down in the book of life, your name shall never be blotted out.  The sins of God’s children are said to be cast into the depths of the sea,—to be sought for and not found,—to be remembered no more,—to be cast behind God’s back (Mic. 52:19; Jer. 1: 20; 31:34; Isaiah 38:17).  Some people fancy they may be justified one year and condemned another,—children of adoption at one time and strangers by and by,—heirs of the kingdom in the beginning of their days, and yet servants of the devil in their end.  I cannot find this in the Bible.  As the New Zealander told the Romish priest, “I do not see it in the Book.” It seems to me to overturn the good news of the Gospel altogether, and to tear up its comforts by the roots. I believe the salvation Jesus offers is an everlasting salvation, and a pardon once sealed with His blood shall never be reversed.

Reader, I have set before you the nature of the forgiveness offered to you. I have told you but little of it, for my words are weaker than my will.  The half of it remains untold.  The greatness of it is far more than any report of mine.  But I think I have said enough to show you it is worth the seeking, and I can wish you nothing better than that you may strive to make it your own.

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0Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  John Charles Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool. Ryle was born at Macclesfield, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was Craven Scholar in 1836.  The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before choosing a path of ordained ministry. While hearing Ephesians 2 read in church in 1838, he felt a spiritual awakening and was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish priest, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings.

jc-ryle-and-charles-spurgeonRyle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue-collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.

The Bride’s Hope of Mercy…

Written by John Hurrion (1731)

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
–Hebrews 7:25 (ESV)

photo_manipulation_pieces_of_a_dreamWhat encouragement is there for us to wait for salvation by Christ…

…to lie at his feet, and hope in his mercy?  The saved are a numberless number, sinners of all ages, sizes, and circumstances: the Savior set forth in the gospel, is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him.  Those who are left to their own wills perish; God works a work which they in no wise believe: they will not come to Christ that they may have life; but those committed to the care of Christ shall come; he makes them willing in the day of his power, by his word and Spirit, and the pastoral rod of his strength.  It is good then to wait at wisdom’s gates; for such as find Christ, find life.  There is encouragement to hope for mercy, if we wait for it, in the way which Christ has prescribed: he has said, “Seek, and ye shall find; search the Scriptures, they testify of me; come to me all ye that are weary, and I will give you rest.”

The Psalmist uses an argument which is grown much stronger since his time:

“our fathers trusted in you, and they were delivered,” Psalm 22:4.  We may say not only the patriarchs and prophets, but the apostles, the primitive church, and multitudes down to this present time, have trusted in Christ, and have been saved by him; therefore “it is good for us to wait and hope for the salvation of the Lord.” It is our business to prove our election and redemption by our effectual calling. If we believe, we shall be saved; if we never do, then there is no salvation for us.  It is a great encouragement that there is a Savior, infinite in grace and merit, who will give the water of life freely, to every one that thirsts; and we have as fair an opportunity as thousands before us, who ventured their souls on Christ, and were kindly received by him.

Let us not sink under the greatest discouragements…

…which we meet with in the course of providence. Valuable and useful instruments are taken away, or laid aside: faithful and able ministers die; but Christ lives still; and blessed be the Rock of our salvation. Christ is mighty to save; and with him is the residue of the Spirit: it is he that made those who are gone what they were; and he can give the same Spirit and gifts to others, or work the same effects, by less able and likely means. We should then cry to the Lord God of Elijah, to pour out more of his Spirit on his ministers and people, that salvation work may be carried on, not by human might and power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. Christ has promised to be with his ministers and people to the end of the world, if they teach and do what he has commanded, Matthew 28:20. Let us then, in his own way, depend upon his promise, and wait for his blessing, who “walks in the greatness of his strength, and is mighty to save; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
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Taken and adapted from, “A Defence of Some Important Doctrines of the Gospel, In Twenty-Six Sermons”, Glasgow, Printed by Andrew Young, 96, Trongate: For William Thomson, 1826.Posted on March 25, 2014 Posted in Election.
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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: JOHN HURRION, (1675?–1731), independent divine, descended from a Suffolk family, was born in 1675, and was trained for the ministry among the independents. About 1696 he succeeded William Bedbank at Denton in Norfolk. There he engaged in a controversy respecting the divinity of Christ with William Manning, the Socinian minister of Peasenhall, Suffolk. He removed to the Hare Court Chapel in London in 1724, but ill-health compelled him to neglect his congregation. In 1726 he was chosen one of the Merchants’ lecturers at Pinners’ Hall. Hurrion was throughout his life a recluse of very sedentary habits. He died on 31 Dec. 1731. He married about 1696 Jane, daughter of Samuel Baker of Wattisfield Hall, Suffolk, and by her he had two sons who survived him; both entered the independent ministry.

Hurrion’s published works include, in addition to several single sermons: 1. ‘The Knowledge of Christ and him Crucified … applied in eight Sermons,’ London, 1727, 8vo. 2. ‘The Knowledge of Christ glorified, opened and applied in twelve Sermons,’ London, 1729, 8vo. 3. ‘The Scripture Doctrine of the proper Divinity, real Personality, and the External and Extraordinary Works of the Holy Spirit … defended in sixteen Sermons, …,’ London, 1734, 8vo. 4. ‘The Scripture Doctrine of Particular Redemption stated and vindicated in four Sermons,’ London, 1773, 12mo. 5. ‘Sermons preached at the Merchants’ Lectures, Pinners’ Hall, London,’ Bristol, 1819, 8vo. 6. ‘The whole Works of … John Hurrion,’ edited with memoir by the Rev. A. Taylor, London, 1823, 12mo, 3 vols.