When the sun shines--the ice melts. When the Sun of
righteousness once shines with beams of grace upon
the soul--then it melts in mercy and tenderness.
Mercifulness is a melting disposition whereby we lay
to heart the miseries of others, and are instrumental
for their good. We must chiefly be merciful to the
SOULS of others. Indeed soul-mercy is the chief of
That is a cruel mercy--when we see men go on in
sin, and we let them alone. And that is a merciful
cruelty--when we are sharp against men's sins and
will not let them go to hell quietly.
Fond sentimentality is no better than cruelty.
The surgeon cuts and lances the flesh—but it is in
order to a cure. They are healing wounds. So when
we lance men's consciences and let out the blood of
sin, we exercise spiritual surgery. This is showing
"Rescue others by snatching them from the fire!"
(Jude 23). If a man had fallen into the fire, though
you hurt him a little in pulling him out--he would be
thankful and take it as a kindness. Some men, when
we tell them of sin say, 'O, you are unloving!' No! it
is showing mercy.
If a man's house were on fire, and
another should see it and not tell him of it, for fear of
waking him--would not this be cruelty? When we see
others sleeping in their sin, and the fire of God's wrath
ready to burn them up--and we are silent--is not this
(Thomas Watson, 1660, "The Beatitudes." Public Domain as seen on Grace Gems.)