Sir Edward Burne-Jones was once walking over the downs with a party of friends during a summer shower. A rainbow glowed gloriously in the sky. "Let me see! I forgot what makes a rainbow?" cried one of the party. "The Lord set His bow in the cloud," replied Sir Edward gravely. And then, after a pause, "There are other reasons given in the books." It is the Lord who created the rainbow, as He made all else in nature. He has invested the rainbow with the singularity of being the symbol of His mercy. The occasion when this was done was after the Flood.
John's vision recorded in Revelation 4 declares that he saw the thrown of God and states "there was a rainbow round about the throne." To see the throne without the rainbow would be no coin fort. The throne is the symbol and assurance of God's holiness and sovereignty. The rainbow round about the throne is the symbol and assurance of the efficacious provisions of grace and love through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is the beautiful reminder that on these grounds God, in the execution of His holy justice, will remember mercy. It is the presence of the rainbow that draws us to the throne.—The Watchman-Examiner.
Christ's mercy, like water in a vase, takes the shape of the vessel that holds it. On the one hand, His grace is infinite, and "is given to every one of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ," with no limitation but His own unlimited fullness; on the other hand, the amount we practically receive from the inexhaustible store is determined by the measure and the purity and the intensity of our faith.
On His part there is no limit but infinity; on our side the limit is our capacity, and our capacity is settled by our desire. His Word to us ever is, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt."—Dr. Alexander Maclaren.
Our life is like the dial of a clock. The hands are God's hands, passing over and over again—the short Hand of Discipline and the long Hand of Mercy. Slowly and surely the Hand of Discipline must pass, and God speaks at each strike; but over and over passes the Hand of Mercy, showering down sixtyfold of blessing for each stroke of discipline or trial; and both hands are fastened to one secure point—the great, unchanging Heart of a God of Love.—Selected.
Richard III went out at twilight to reconnoiter; he found a sentinel fast asleep at the outpost. The king promptly stabbed him in the heart, and left upon his breast a paper with the stern inscription, "I found him asleep and I left him so." What a contrast to the patience and tenderness of the Lord with His sleeping disciples—and with all of us!—Sunday School Times.
A mother sought the pardon of her son from the first Napoleon. The emperor said it was his second offense, and justice demanded his death. "I don't ask for justice," demanded his mother, "I plead for mercy." "But," said the emperor, "he does not deserve mercy." "Sire," cried the mother, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." "Well, then," said the emperor, "I will have mercy." And her son was saved.—Good Company.
There is a place of sweet repose,
From ev'ry tide of stormy woes,
A calm, steadfast retreat;
A shelter from the wind that blows.
And where it is, the Christian knows—
'Tis at the mercy seat.
A place where joys of life abound,
Where we may hear the soothing sound
Of Jesus' voice so sweet,
We know, because of grace redound,
A closer walk with God is found
While at the mercy seat.
Because of prayer when day is done,
Or at the early rise of sun,
We suffer no defeat;
Whene'er we pray through with the Son.
How many are the vic'tries won
Around the mercy seat.—John Caldwell Craig.
In the town of Wishaw there lived an earnest Christian man who became a magistrate. One morning there appeared before him in the court a friend of his youth, who had strayed from the paths of righteousness and had committed an offense against the law of the land. Those who knew the relationship between the two men expected the magistrate to deal with the man mercifully, and they were very much surprised when they heard that the sentence was a heavy fine. But they were more surprised when the magistrate went to the officer of the court, and took from his own pocket the money to pay the fine. He did his duty as a magistrate, and upheld the law, but he also showed something of the mercy of God for his friend when he paid the penalty for his friend. There is little wonder that the law-breaker was broken-hearted in his repentance. Jesus gave Himself for you. Have you given yourself to Him?—Peniel Herald.
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven
Upon the place beneath, It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attributes to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings:
But mercy is above this sceptered sway:
It is enthroned in the heart of kings:
It is an attribute of God Himself,
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.—Shakespeare in Merchant of Venice
(Ps. 106. 1; 107. 1; Luke 18. 13, 14; 1 Tim. 1. 13)