Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek; for they shall in- 5

smitten by any earthly ills, would idea of Christian meekness. For receive comfort unspeakable from what is called meekness is thought that religion which clears up the by most persons to signify poormysteries of Providence, shows that spiritedness, servility, than wbich a Father's eye watches over all, nothing can be farther from the senand a Father's hand conducts “the timent of Jesus. The meek are the beautiful vicissitude.” Jesus repre- mild, the amiable, the conciliating. sents himself as coming “ to bind up The meek respect themselves too the broken-hearted, to comfort all much to be proud, arrogant, and that mourn, to give unto them beau- quarrelsome, and others too much ty for ashes, the oil of joy for to be either servile, or haughty. mourning, the garment of praise for Jesus was meek, Mat. xi. 29, but the spirit of heaviness.” He invites he vindicated bis rights, John xviii. all that are weary and heavy laden 23. Paul was meek, patient in the to come unto him, and he will give reception of the grossest insults them rest. His exhortation to his and injuries, but he was not taine sorrowing disciples was, to “be of and abject; he rebuked those who good cheer.” Religion opens foun- did him wrong. Acts xvi. 37. tains of never failing consolation, xxiii. 3. Meekness is a nice baland reaches the deepest sorrows of ance of qualities wbich in most the inind. This beatitude, without men run into extremes, either too doubt, was spoken with reference bigh or too low; either into sensito the temper of his audience, as tiveness and anger, or into timidity well as uttered to express an ever

and meanness. It is one of the lasting law of spiritual being. They miracles of Christ's character, that were looking for mirth and revelry. it combined withiv itself, in loving The gay and the light-hearted harmony and unbroken wholeness, would be the most welcome sub- those traits which have been deemjects to the new kingdom, in theired contrary, discordant, and almost judgment. The great Teacher opposite : energy and gentleness; holds up the dispensation to come, high intrepidity and lowliness of in a reversed view, as affording mind; the Lion and the Lamb. comfort to the unhappy and afflict- - They shall inherit the earth. Or, ed. “Not in pride, and plenty, and the land. The Jews in early times mirth; but in a lowly, sorrowing looked upon the land of Canaan as mind, amidst persecution, and the sum of all blessings. To intears, and blood, he saw the ele- herit it was one of their dearest ments, the springs of human bless- hopes, one of the promised favors edness. Study those wonderful of God. The patriarchs dwelt words of his, and see how true it gladly upon the prospect. Gen. xv. is, in the very nature of things, that 7, 8. Ex. xxxii. 13. The whole they only are blessed whoni he pro- nation looked wistsully towards it. nounced so." Mat. xi. 28–30. The expectation cheered them John xvi. 20, 22. James v. 11. through the sea, the wilderness,

and amidst their enemies. It was

a sentiment next in depth and dearEternity mourns that.”

ness to their subsequent longing 5. The meek. We have no word after the Messiah. From this state in our language to express the true of mind grew up a proverbial ex

“ He that lacks time to mourn lacks time

to mend.

6 herit the earth. Blessed are they wbich do hunger and thirst after pression, which, Jesus eriploys: never long satisfied ; denied a few To inherit the earth, or, possess the hours, they create unspeakable disland It means, as its derivation tress. What words, then, in the shows, to obtain the greatest bless- range of language, could more fitly ings, to acquire the highest goods and emphatically express the con

The expression is elsewhere found, stant longings which the good feel coupled with moral traits. Ps. for more goodness, the unquenchaxxxvii. 9, 11. Is. lx. 21. The ble desires of man's spiritual nahearers of Jesus were familiar, ture!They shall be filled.

Here therefore, with his phraseology. again, observe what a strict and How crushing to their eager hopes, grand truth or fact is enunciated in to hear the quality of meekness these words. It is only those who thus extolled to the skies! Not the make goodness their supreme obrevengeful, the military chieftain, ject of desire, who are ever filled, the ambitious leader; not those satisfied, happy, and at peace. Any whose thoughts were on fire with otherobject we may hungerafterand the grandeur of power, the exulta- obtain, but we are not filled. This tion of victory and vengeance; not is the constitution of our nature.” these are blessed, not these shall at- Under this beatitude, as well as the tain to the greatest felicity. The others, it may be observed, that meek, by the very qualities which what Jesus says has the most keen others despise, are the happy ones. and pointed reference to the existThey are free from the evils, sor- ing opinions and feelings of his rows, and losses, which plague the auditors. It was no common-place malicious and passionate. They truism. It was no cold abstraction. have peace. They inherit the earth, His declaration bore directly upon they obtain a universal empire over the views of his hearers, though it the hearts of mankind. They win embodied also a principle true unithe world, which the warrior's versally. He preached to their insword never yet has conquered. most experience, and they felt it, They are meet for the inheritance and were s astonished at his docof heaven. This is the everlasting trine.” They hungered and thirstprinciple of moral existence. It is ed after national renown, individual mournful to see, in history and in pleasures, honors, and riches. They private life, how often it has been wanted a Messiah who might aid violated by those who have aspired them in gratifying their unrighteous to do "some great thing," and wishes. Their desires revolved grasped their ruin in their bliss." about self as a centre. Jesus sought 6. Hunger and thirst after righte- by his startling paradox to turn the

In the Bible, as in all current of their thoughts in another literature, what is spiritual is of direction. Happy, says this proten illustrated by what is animal. found Teacher, are those who are Strong desires are called hunger visited by the most earnest longings and thirst. Truth is called bread, and aspirations after inoral excelmeat, drink. Righteousness means lence; not the worldly-minded, who moral goodness, virtue, holiness. are hankering after political adNo wants are so frequent and im- vancement, and outward-treasures, perious as those of food and drink. and the mad joys of conquest. "A They come continually, and are true desire to know and do the will

[ocr errors]

ousness.

crown.

nona?"

righteousness; for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful; for 7 they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they 8 of God will secure its own end.” pensed with the same. How beau

7. Blessed are the merciful; for tifully the great poet sings they shall obtain mercy. The mercitul are the compassionate, forgiv

The quality of mercy is not strained :

It droppeth as the genile rain from heaven ing, those who feel for others' wants Upon the place beneath ; it is twice blessed : and woes, and seek to relieve them.

It blesseth him that gives, and him that

takes; They stand in contrast with the "Tis mightiest in the mightiest : it becomes hard-hearted, cruel, revengeful, and

The throned monarch better than bis pitiless. Our Saviour here reverses It is an attribute to God himself. a favorite desire of the Jews around How shalt thou hope for mercy, rend'ring him. They panted to take vengeance on their enemies, their Ro 8. Blessed are the pure in heart; man oppressors. They nursed a for they shall see God. Purity of stern and cruel hatred in their heart is insisted on in contradisbreasts. The fury with which it tinction to the outward and cerebroke out and burned, forty years monial purity enjoined by the after, is evidence how thoroughly Scribes and Pharisees, while within it bad taken possession of them. they were full of all manner of Knowing their vindictive temper, moral uncleanness. The pure are Jesus, instead of still farther in- the innocent, the spotless, the holy, flaming it, as they expected and de- the undefiled. Their spirits have sired, goes directly counter to it, not contracted the blots and stains and puts the benediction on the op- of sin, or else they have had them posite quality of mercy. He else- washed white again in the living where advances the same thought. waters that “ flow fast by the oracle Mat. v. 45. vi. 12, 14, 15. xviii. of God."-See God. A figure of 23–35. The merciful will have sense to describe a spiritual state. mercy from both God and man. To see God is to understand his From God, for if we show kind- character, realize his providence, ness and forgiveness, we prove that and to have a close walk with biin. we are deserving of the same our- By purity and faith, we may live selves. By forgiveness we imitate as seeing him who is invisible. him, and assimilate ourselves to The expression perhaps has some his character. A merciful temper allusion to the Jewish rites, as the has in itself an earnest of God's ceremonially pure alone were adfavor. We please him by our sup- mitted to the worship and presence pression of cruel and resentful feel- of God in his temple. Ps. xxiv. 3, ings. He is ready, when he sees 4. In the east, likewise, where such charitable and merciful dispo- monarchs seldom appear to their sitions reigning in our characters, subjects, to see them was accountto do to us as we do to others. ed the highest of honors and privi2 Sam. xxii. 26, 27. Ps. xviii. 25, leges, and equivalent to enjoying 26. From men also, the merciful their friendship. Prov. xxii. 29. obtain mercy. Prov. xi. 17. Or. To see God is to enjoy his favor. dinarily, a person, who cherishes Said Origen: “God has no body, gentle and forgiving feelings to- and therefore is invisible; but men wards mankind, will in the time of of contemplation can discern him need be most likely to be recom with the heart and understanding.

9 shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called 10 the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for 11 righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed

But a defileil heart cannot see God; justly despised, calumniated, imbut he must be pure who wishes to prisoned, tortured, killed. Perseenjoy a proper view of a pure be- cution may consist of other injuries ing.' Heb. xii. 14. As the clear than those upon Jiberty, property, mirror reflects distinctly the objects and life. Reputation may be atplaced before it, so does the pure tacked, odium excited, feelings heart reflect the image of God. lacerated, sincerity and goodness

9. The peacemakers. That is, brought into groundless suspicion. those who are pacific in them- The tongue and the pen can inflict selves, and promoters of peace deeper wounds than the sword, around them. I sound no prepara “All that will live godly in Christ tion of war, Jesus virtually said; I Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 summon you to no fields of car Tim. iii. 12. In the imperfect, mispage; on the contrary, my beatitude judging, prejudiced communities is for the lovers and maintainers of of the freest" lands, a man cannot peace and concord.They shall be act up to his seuse of duty, in morcalled the children of God. The als and belief, “ dare singly to be word called is used, by an idiom of just,” “conferring not with flesh the Hebrew tongue, for the verb to and blood,” without falling upon be. _The sense would be expressed evil tongues. The Apostle told the in English thus :They will be the plain, but sad truth. We ought children of God. Those who re not, of course, to court persecution. semble God in his character, and But if its lighter or heavier blows are beloved and approved by him, fall upon us, for righteousness' sake, are called, in Scripture phraseology, on account of our love and practice his sons, his children. Jesus was of moral goodness, on account of the Son of God in the strongest our religious independence, and dedegree, because he possessed in votion to duty, then happy are we. full those excellencies which se- . Happier we are, unspeakably, than cured his favor. Men, who use their the persecutor ; happier than those influence to allay contentions and who repress honest convictions bepromote peace, peace in families, cause they are unpopular, and who in neighborhoods, in nations, over seek to please men, rather than the globe,and every man may do God.-Theirs is the kingdom of something, many may do much, heaven, “ Here also is a sentiment liken themselves to the divine char- in direct opposition to the prejudi. acter. They vindicate their son ces of the Jews. It must have ship to the God of Peace. They been no slight mystery to them, how are the favored ones of Heaven, the kingdom of heaven was to be. How full of honor, privilege, and long to the persecuted, the despised, joy, is such a relationship! 1 Cor. and the oppressed. In that kingxiv. 33. Rom. xv. 33. xvi, 20. 2 dom they fondly hoped all their Cor. xiii. 11. Phil. iv. 9. Heb. xiii. natural evils would cease, that there 20.

would be ease, and plenty, and 10. Blessed are they which are health, and profound peace, and persecuted, &c. Those that are un- joy. And yet this Teacher, upon

are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be 12

whom all eyes are fixed, to whom illegally and unjustly condemned all are listening, pronounces the to death. The tongue of slander humble, the lowly, and the perse- was also busy against the early cuted, the true and happy posses- Christians. They were loaded with sors of the heavenly kingdom. To charges the most groundless. All us what truth is now unfolded in manner of evil was falsely reported the language of Jesus! They who against them. Their holy doctrines have suffered in the cause of truth were grossly misrepresented. Their and goodness, what a glorious do- innocent ceremonies were tortured minion is theirs! How they reign into crimes. Their benevolent efin the hearts of a grateful posterity! forts were turned into treason to And as believers in the doctrine of the state, and blasphemy to the immortality, we discern them living gods.--Falsely. There is point in in a higher state, and reigning in this word. For, if the allegations the affections of myriads of intel- brought against them had been ligences.

well grounded, they would have 11. When men shall revile you, and been far from being blessed. 1 Pe. persecute you, and shall say all man- ter jii. 13-18. jv. 14-16.– For ner of evil against you. Better, my sake, i. e. in the cause of the every kind of evil against you. The Christian religion. There was no thought of the last verse is here argument more powerful, to conexpanded yet farther. The third vince the world of the truth and person is changed to the second, value of the Gospel in early times, bringing the idea more directly than the meek and patient endurhome to his disciples. Revilings ance of their wrongs by the first were heaped upon Jesus. He was Christians. This won the hearts called a Samaritan, a term of bitter of their most inhuman persecutors. reproach, and was said to be in And cases are stated, where the league with Beelzebub, the prince executioner, moved by their noble of devils. He was accused of be- bearing, suddenly embraced the ing insane, and the pains of cruci- truth, and perished himself by the fixion were sharpened by the scoffs very instrument with which he was of the bystanders. But he reviled about to inflict death upon them. not again. His disciples had to 12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, bear the derision of their enemies, &c. The Jews looked for joys in a the vulgar abuse of the crowd, or temporal, triumphant reign of their the lofty scorn of the philosophers deliverer; Jesus, in overturning and princes of their day. But their their hopes, would not overturn prayer was, “ let not this sin be laid their happiness, but informs them to their charge.” How much no- that they would derive the highest bler and happier these victims of degree of pleasure from the labors the world's ridicule and hate, than and sufferings consequent upon the objects of popular adulation! their adhesion to him. Their reThey were persecuted, prosecuted, ward would not be like the unceras the force of the word suggests. tain favors of princes, but spiritual, They were accused in courts, and secure, and everlasting, laid up in thousands, like the Saviour, were heaven. It would be a reward, not

« ZurückWeiter »