Psalm 101:1; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 89:14
I will sing of mercy and judgment.
The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty…
Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): God’s mercy is holy mercy.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Mercy and truth―these shall be the heralds that shall announce the coming of the Judge. His truth binds him to fulfill all His declarations; and His mercy shall be shown to all those who have fled for refuge to the hope that is set before them in the Gospel.
WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Mercy and truth meet in the person and sacrifice of the Son. Without the Saviour, we cannot conceive of mercy and truth being displayed by God to the rebellious. We could at least conceive of mercy without truth; but then it would admit the unclean into heaven: we could also conceive of truth without mercy; but then it would cast mankind without exception into hell.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The essential justice of God will not admit of the pardon and justification of a sinner, without a satisfaction; wherefore Christ was set forth to be the propitiation for sin, to declare and manifest the righteousness of God, His strict justice; that He might be just, and appear to be so, when He is the justifier of him that believes in Jesus; and Christ’s blood being shed, and His sacrifice offered up, He is just and faithful to forgive sin, and cleanse from all unrighteousnes, Exodus 34:6,7; Romans 3:25, 26―and so the glory of divine justice is secured and peace with God for men obtained, in a way consistent with it.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): The attribute of justice must be preserved inviolate.
WILLIAM ARNOT: Mercy reigns, not over righteousness, but through righteousness.
JOHN BOYS (1619-1625): His mercy being just, and His justice being merciful.
ABRAHAM WRIGHT (1611-1690): I know that the Gospel is a book of mercy; I know likewise that in the prophets there are many expressions of mercy; I know likewise that in the ten commandments, which are the ministration of death, there is made express mention of mercy, “I will have mercy on thousands,” Deuteronomy 5:10. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if every leaf, and every line, and every word in the Bible were nothing but mercy, it would nothing avail the presumptuous sinner…Therefore, although in Psalm 136 there is nothing but “His mercy endureth for ever,” which is repeated twenty-six times in twenty-six verses: yet mark what a rattling thunder clap is in verse 15―“But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for His mercy endureth for ever.”
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): It was an act of vengeance upon Pharaoh and his host, but it was an act of mercy unto the Israelites.
THOMAS S. MILLINGTON (1821-1906): Is God unrighteous, then, that taketh vengeance? No; this is an act of retribution. The Egyptians had slain the children of the Israelites, casting their infants into the river, Exodus 1:22.
G. S. BOWES (circa 1820’s-1880’s): “Give them according to their deeds,” Psalm 28:4. The Egyptians killed the Hebrew male children, and God smote the firstborn of Egypt, Exodus 12:29,30.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): In that stroke that filled Egypt with anguish, there was conspicuous mercy―even to Egypt; the sharp stroke should have wrought repentance. [And it was mercy] to Israel, they being thus delivered, and their firstborn saved.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): God delights in judgment as well as in mercy.
JOHN WESLEY: Accordingly in Psalm 136:1-26, that clause, “For his mercy endureth for ever,” is subjoined to the thanksgiving for His works of vengeance as well as for His delivering the righteous.
A. W. PINK: From God’s side, it is an act of justice, vindicating His honour. The mercy of God is never shown to the prejudice of His holiness and righteousness―it is an act of equity, when they are made to suffer the due reward of their iniquities. But from the standpoint of the redeemed, the punishment of the wicked is an act of unspeakable mercy―How dreadful would it be, if the present order of things, when the children of God are obliged to live in the midst of the children of the Devil, should continue forever! Heaven would at once cease to be heaven.
JOHN CALVIN: Although God is pitiful and even ready to pardon, yet He does not therefore spare the despisers.
WILLIAM ARNOT: There would be no glory in God’s present compassion, if it had not the full terror of immutable justice behind it to lean upon. Even the divine longsuffering would lose its loveliness if it did not stand in front of divine wrath. You cannot paint an angel upon light: so mercy could not be represented―mercy could not be, unless there were judgment without mercy, a ground of deep darkness lying beneath, to sustain and reveal it…When the day of grace is past, the throne of judgment stands alone, and the impenitent must meet it.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Sins against God’s mercy will bring the greatest and sorest judgments upon men’s heads and hearts. Mercy is God’s Alpha, justice is His Omega.
A. W. PINK: How many there are who say, I do not believe that God will ever cast me into Hell; He is too merciful. Such a hope is a viper, which if cherished in their bosoms will sting them to death. God is a God of justice as well as mercy, and He has expressly declared that He will “by no means clear the guilty.’ Yea, He has said, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God,” Psalm 9:17.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.
ABRAHAM WRIGHT: In our addresses therefore unto God, let us so look upon Him as a just God, as well as a merciful; and not either despair of, nor presume upon His mercy.
JOHN CALVIN: We have then only the true knowledge of God, when we not only acknowledge Him to be the Creator of the world, but when we also fully believe that the world is governed by Him, and when we further understand the way in which He governs it―that is, by doing mercy and judgment and justice.
DUTCH PSALTER (Psalm 36):
Thy mercy and Thy truth, O Lord, transcend the lofty sky;
Thy judgments are a mighty deep, and as the mountains high.
From those that know Thee, may Thy love and mercy ne’er depart,
And may Thy justice still protect, and bless the upright heart.