(James Smith, “Gleams of Grace” 1860)
Many of the Psalms are poetic records of God’s mercy towards His ancient people, calling upon them to bless and praise His most glorious name. Israel’s history forms a mirror in which we see our own spiritual history. Oh for grace, so to read it, meditate upon it, and exercise faith in it–as to permanently profit by it. My eye is now fixed upon one important verse, a record of God’s goodness to them, and equally so of His kindness to us, “Give thanks to the One who remembered us in our low estate; for His mercy endures forever!” Psalm 136:23
OUR CONDITION. LOW. We were not created so–but were brought into it by Adam’s sin, who . . .
ruined us, and
laid us low!
Our own conduct sunk us lower still!
We are now, by nature, so low, that we cannot be lower!
We are now so vile, so weak, that we could not be worse!
Look at man in reference to God–he is God’s determined foe!
Look at man as under the Law–he is condemned, condemned to everlasting burnings!
Look at man in the world–he is its dupe–victimized by its fashions, customs and spirit.
Look at man in connection with Satan–he is Satan’s vassal, Satan’s abject slave–inhabited and influenced by Satan. Not only so, but he is led captive by Satan to do his will!
Look at man–in association with his fellow men–see his craft, cruelty, and covetousness!
Look at man ruling the brute creation–what lack of feeling, care and kindness! Often, man seems to be sunk even lower than they!
GOD’S MERCY. This was . . .
freely fixed upon us,
is very great towards us,
and will always distinguish us.
He remembered us–and sent His Son to redeem us!
He remembered us–and sent His Spirit to quicken us!
He remembered us–and sent His Word to instruct us!
He remembered us–and sent His ordinances to comfort us!
He remembered us–and sent His grace to sanctify us!
He remembered us–and sent His rod to correct us!
He remembered . . .
our guilt–and provided an atonement,
our weakness–and provided strength,
our danger–and provided a refuge,
our destitute state–and provided for us a home in Heaven.
“The One who remembered us.” It was not the exercise of God’s memory merely–but the exercise of His memory influenced by immortal love. It was . . .
a father, remembering his child,
a bridegroom, remembering his bride,
a God, remembering His poor fallen creatures, who were the objects of His love, and whom He had determined to save! Blessed, forever blessed be the Lord, for remembering us in our low estate, for His mercy endures forever!
Mercy is man’s best friend. It is that in God which . . .
looks upon us with pity,
feels for us with sympathy, and
exerts itself for our relief and deliverance.
Divine mercy was personified in Jesus, and wept over us, stretched out its hand to help us, and shed its blood to save us. Mercy never thinks that it can stoop too low to reach us, or do too much to help us, or that anything is too good or too great to confer upon us.
Mercy is God’s darling attribute. He delights in mercy–but it is never said that He delights in wrath, in judgment, or even in power–but He delights in mercy. He delights to display it to His chosen people.
God is said to be . . .
of great mercy,
plenteous in mercy,
abundant in mercy.
His mercy is said to be . . .
great unto the heavens,
multitudinous and tender, and
from everlasting to everlasting!
God’s mercy should be our heart’s theme. We should think of it, speak of it, and sing of it.
We should set God’s mercy against . . .
We should rejoice in its freeness, fullness, and immutability. Let us think more of God’s mercy than of . . .
or our foes.
God’s mercy will . . .
and crown us!
God’s mercy . . .
began with us of its own accord,
came to us unsought and unsolicited,
raised us from our low estate,
has heaped favors upon us,
will not leave us now–but will follow us all the days of our life,
will comfort us . . .
in all our tribulations,
against all our sorrows, and
make us a match for all our troubles!
God’s mercy will crown us at last!
Mercy will accompany us to the dark valley, and through it.
Mercy will conduct us to the Jordan, and over it.
Mercy will lead us up into the holy city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Mercy will place a crown of pure gold, or of sparkling glory, upon our heads, that we may wear it to its honor forever and ever!
O beloved, how will God’s mercy look, when we contemplate it in the light of glory–when from the holy city we look back upon the past, and lift up our voices and sing, “To the One who remembered us in our low estate; for His mercy endures forever!”