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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 15

Verse 15. For he saith to Moses. Ex 33:19.

I will have mercy. This is said by God when he declared expressly that he would make all his goodness pass before Moses, (Ex 33:19) and when, therefore, it was regarded not as a proof of stern and inexorable justice, but as the very proof of his benevolence, and the highest which he thought proper to exhibit. When men, therefore, under the influence of an unrenewed and hostile heart, charge this as an unjust and arbitrary proceeding, they are resisting and perverting that which God regards as the very demonstration of his benevolence. The sense of the passage clearly is, that he would choose the objects of his favour, and bestow his mercies as he chose. None of the human race deserved his favour; and he had a right to pardon whom he pleased, and to save men on his own terms, and according to his sovereign will and pleasure.

On whom I will have mercy. On whom I choose to bestow mercy. The mode he does not explain. But there could not be a more positive declaration of these truths,

(1.) that he does it as a sovereign, without giving an account of the reason of his choice to any.

(2.) That he does it without regard to any claim on the part of man; or that man is regarded as destitute of merit, and as having no right to his mercy.

(3.) That he will do it to any extent which he pleases, and in whatever time and manner may best accord with his own good pleasure.

(4.) That he has regard to a definite number; and that on that number he intends to bestow eternal life; and,

(5.) that no one has a right to complain. It is proof of his benevolence that any are saved; and where none have a claim, where all are justly condemned, he has a right to pardon whom he pleases. The executive of a country may select any number of criminals whom he may see fit to pardon, or in consistency with the supremacy of the laws and the welfare of the community, and none has a right to murmur; but every good citizen should rejoice that any may be pardoned with safety. So in the moral world, and under the administration of its holy Sovereign, it should be a matter of joy that any can be pardoned and saved; and not a subject of murmuring and complaint that those who shall finally deserve to die shall be consigned to woe.

{p} "I will have mercy" Ex 33:19

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