Forsaking Our Own Mercy

John Duncan

"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy." Jonah 2:8

How are they their own? Not ours in possession, for we are forsaking them, but they are our own mercies that we have a right to - mercies freely offered to us of God in Christ Jesus, in His blessed Gospel. It is thus your own Christ that you neglect. He is in this sense your own in the free offer of God; your own Saviour, the Christ whom God is holding forth and giving in His Gospel to you. The blood on which you trample is the blood in which your own mercies lie, for God hath set forth before every Gospel-hearer Christ as a propitiation through faith in His blood; yes, the atonement, God is holding it out equally to you and to me - redemption, remission of sins, all grace and all glory, Jehovah Himself, the Lord of mercy. He says, "I will be a God unto thee!" He says this unto every Gospel-hearer. The faith of God's chosen finds in the Gospel offer the warrant by which they may lay hold of "their own mercy."

Now think, the lying vanity makes promises to you, and the faithful God in Christ makes promises to you too: on the one hand the lying vanities, on the other your own Jehovah, who is saying, "I will be a God unto you;" your own Saviour, who is saying, "I am stretching out my hands all the day unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." These are your own mercies, and will you forsake them - your own mercies, your own? Oh, at last when you find that you cannot enter into possession of them, when you find that you have lost them by following lying vanities, what misery will it add, that they were your own! Oh, this is sad, very sad! Very sad will it be if any of us perish. Sad to think of our own Bibles which we once had on earth, of our own Sabbaths we once had in Glasgow, of our own Church, of our own Gospel - our own Gospel with the name of Christ in it, carried down in our remembrance, which contained our warrant to lay hold of Christ. And now the door is shut! And there is our own heaven, which we never can enter, the gate of which is shut against us. There is our own Christ, who came and invited us, and would have taken us to heaven. It was once all our own, but we forsook it all. Our God is lost, Christ lost, the Holy Spirit lost; our happiness is lost, our grace lost, our glory lost, our heaven lost, our souls lost, our bodies lost, our Sabbaths lost, our Bibles lost, ourselves lost, all lost! No mercy for us; not a drop to cool our tongue. But oh! plenty of mercy was ours once, but we put that mercy away, we forsook it, would have none of it. O how affecting this thought! There the day of our merciful visitation will be remembered as having been our own, not possessed but given in free gift and offer by God. And had they been pursued! But we have forsaken them. Profane persons! we have sold our birthright.

But blessed be God, this is not yet our state, to none of us is that time yet come. And you, observers of lying vanities, these mercies are yet your own. Oh, you have nothing that you have half such a right to lay hold of as Christ. These mercies are all your own, free to receive, lay hold of, possess, and enjoy. Oh, will you not look after your own mercies? Your own God is preaching peace to you that are far off by the blood of Christ, your own Saviour, whom God is setting forth before you; your own Holy Spirit, that is to say, the Holy Spirit of which God is saying to you that He will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him: the Gospel of your salvation. O compare the lying vanities and your own mercy, and observe not the lying vanities any more! Turn to your own mercies. They are yours yet. Thank God that they are not yet hid from your eyes. O may we all know in this our day the things that belong to our peace. Our own mercies, despised, forsaken, disregarded mercies. Mercies that might, when we forsook them, have been taken out of our way. He might have retracted, cut us off, removed our candlestick out of its place. Know whilst you live, and whilst the Gospel is sounding in your ears, that they are your mercies still. How long we know not, but they are our mercies yet. They may not be ours another moment, unless we turn and receive them. 'Ah!' you will say, 'how! they are ours but in the offer, and we cannot receive them.' Why, the Holy Ghost and all grace are in the promises of God, also offered freely in mercy. You have an old heart, but you have promise of a new heart, of the Holy Ghost, in God's Word.

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