588. But it is predicated of the Lord that He "repents" and "is grieved at heart" because there appears to be such a feeling in all human mercy, so that what is said here of the Lord's "repenting" and "grieving" is spoken according to the appearance, as in many other passages in the Word. What the mercy of the Lord is none can know, because it infinitely transcends the understanding of man; but what the mercy of man is we all know to be to repent and grieve; and unless a man were to form his idea of mercy according to his own apprehension, he could not have any conception of it, and thus he could not be instructed; and this is the reason why human properties are often predicated of the attributes of Jehovah or the Lord, as that Jehovah or the Lord punishes, leads into temptation, destroys, and is angry; when yet He never punishes anyone, never leads any into temptation, never destroys any, and is never angry. But as even such things as these are predicated of the Lord, it follows that repentance also and grief may be predicated of Him; for the predication of the one follows from that of the other, as plainly appears from the following passages in the Word.
 In Ezekiel:
Mine anger shall be consummated, I will make my wrath to rest, and it shall repent Me (Ezek. 5:13).
Here, because "anger" and "wrath" are predicated, " repentance" is predicated also. In Zechariah:
As I thought to do evil when your fathers provoked Me to anger, saith Jehovah Zebaoth, and it repented Me not, so again I will think in those days to do good unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah (Zech. 8:14, 15).
Here it is said that Jehovah "thought to do evil" and yet He never thinks to do evil to any, but good to all and to everyone. In Moses, when he prayed forbearance of the face of Jehovah:
Turn from the wrath of Thine anger and repent Thee of this evil against Thy people; and Jehovah repented of the evil which He said He would do unto His people (Exod. 32:12, 14).
Here also the "wrath of anger" is attributed to Jehovah, and consequently "repentance." In Jonah, the king of Nineveh said:
Who knoweth whether God will not turn and repent, and turn from the heat of His anger, that we perish not? (Jonah 3:9).
In like manner here "repentance" is predicated because "anger" is.
 In Hosea:
My heart is turned within me; My repentings are kindled together; I will not execute the wrath of Mine anger (Hosea 11:8, 9) where likewise it is said of the heart that" repentings were kindled" just as in the passage we are considering it is said that He "grieved at heart." Repentings" plainly denote great mercy. So in Joel:
Turn unto Jehovah your God; for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy, and repenteth of the evil (Joel 2:13) where also to " repent" manifestly denotes mercy. In Jeremiah:
If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, and it repent Me of the evil (Jer. 26:3),
signifying to have mercy. Again:
If that nation turn from their evil, it shall repent Me of the evil (Jer. 18:8);
where also to "repent" denotes to have mercy provided they would turn. For it is man who turns the Lord's mercy away from himself: the Lord never turns it away from man.