First, By this word grace, we are to understand God’s free, sovereign, good
pleasure, whereby he acteth in Christ towards his people. Grace and mercy therefore are terms that have their distinct significations; mercy signifies pitifulness, or a running over of infinite bowels to objects in a miserable and helpless condition. But grace signifies that God still acts in this as a free agent, not being wrought upon by the misery of the creature, as a procuring cause; but of his own princely mind.
Were there no objects of pity among those that in the old world perished by the flood, or
that in Sodom were burned with fire from heaven? doubtless, according to our
apprehension, there were many: but Noah, and he only, found grace in God’s eyes; not because that of himself he was better than the rest, but God acted as a gracious prince towards him, savory, significant, and suitable, that this form of speaking is become famous among Christians, and will be used to the end of time and let him share in mercy of his own sovereign will and pleasure.