Thomas Watson’s twisted view of God’s “mercy”:
“God’s mercy is one of the most orient pearls of his crown; it makes his Godhead appear amiable and lovely. When Moses said to God, ‘I beseech thee shew me thy glory;’ the Lord answered him, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will shew thee mercy.’ Exod xxxiii 19. God’s mercy is his glory. His holiness makes him illustrious; his mercy makes him propitious.
Even the worst tasted God’s mercy; such as fight against God’s mercy, taste of it; the wicked have some crumbs from mercy’s table. ‘The Lord is good to all.’ Psa cxlv 9. Sweet dewdrops are on the thistle, as well as on the rose. The diocese where mercy visits is very large. Pharaoh’s head was crowned though his heart was hardened” (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, p. 94).
So for Watson God’s unconditional reprobation and active hardening of Pharaoh was meant to mercifully soften Pharaoh while he stubbornly fought against it. To Watson the difference between Moses’ deliverance and ultimate salvation and Pharaoh’s destruction and ultimate damnation was NOT the mercy of God in Christ, but something else altogether. To the unregenerate Watson the sweet dewdrops of God’s mercy are on both “the rose” and on “the thistle.” Clearly Thomas Watson rejects God’s unadulterated mercy in Paul’s epistle.
“For He said to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will pity whomever I will pity. So, then, it is not of the one willing, nor of the one running, but of the One showing mercy, of God. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very thing I raised you up, so that I might display My power in you, and so that My name might be publicized in all the earth. So, then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens. You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? Yes, rather, O man, who are you answering against God? Shall the thing formed say to the One forming it, Why did You make me like this? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory” (Romans 9:15-23).