January 3, 2020 by directorfsm
by Thomas Watson, 1660
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Poverty of Spirit (Continued)
If poverty of spirit be so necessary—how shall I know that I am poor in spirit? By the blessed effects of this poverty, which are:
1. He who is poor in spirit—is weaned from himself. ‘My soul is even as a weaned child’ (Psalm 131:2). It is hard for a man to be weaned from himself. The vine catches hold of everything that is near, to prop itself upon. Just so, there is some bough or other a man would be catching hold of to rest upon. How hard is it to be brought quite off himself! The poor in spirit are divorced from themselves; they see they must go to hell without Christ. ‘My soul is even as a weaned child’.
2. He who is poor in spirit—is a Christ-admirer. He has high thoughts of Christ. He sees himself naked—and flies to Christ, to be clothed in the garments of His righteousness. He sees himself wounded—and as the wounded deer runs to the water, so he thirsts for Christ’s blood, the water of life. “Lord!” says he, “give me Christ or I die!” Conscience is turned into a fiery serpent and has stung him; now he will give all the world—for a brazen serpent! He sees himself in a state of death; and how precious is one leaf of the tree of life, which is both for food and medicine! The poor in spirit sees all his riches lie in Christ, ‘wisdom, righteousness, sanctification . . ‘. In every need, he flies to this storehouse! He adores the all-fullness in Christ.
They say of the oil in Rheims, though they are continually almost using it—yet it is never used up. And such is Christ’s blood—it can never be emptied. He who is poor in spirit has recourse still to this fountain. He sets a high value and appreciation upon Christ. He hides himself in Christ’s wounds. He bathes himself in his blood. He wraps himself in Christ’s robe. He sees a spiritual dearth and famine at home—but he flees to Christ. ‘Show me the Lord (says he) and it suffices!’
3. He who is poor in spirit—is ever complaining of his spiritual estate. He is much like a poor man who is ever telling you of his needs. He has nothing to help himself with—he is ready to starve! So it is with him that is poor in spirit. He is ever complaining of his needs, saying, “I want a broken heart—and a thankful heart.” He makes himself the most indigent creature. Though he dares not deny the work of grace (which would be a bearing false witness again the Spirit)—yet he mourns he has no more grace. This is the difference between a hypocrite and a child of God. The hypocrite is ever telling what good he has. A child of God complains of what good he lacks. The one is glad he is so good; the other grieves he is so bad. The poor in spirit goes from ordinance to ordinance for a supply of his needs; he would gladly have his stock increased. Try by this if you are poor in spirit. While others complain they want children, or they want estates—do you complain you wany grace? This is a good sign. ‘There is one who makes himself poor—yet has great riches’ (Proverbs 13:7). Some beggars have died rich. The poor in spirit, who have lain all their lives at the gate of mercy and have lived upon the alms of free grace—have died rich in faith, heirs to an eternal kingdom!
4. He who is poor in spirit—is lowly in heart. Rich men are commonly proud and scornful—but the poor are submissive. The poor in spirit roll themselves in the dust in the sense of their unworthiness. ‘I abhor myself in dust’ (Job 42:6). He who is poor in spirit looks at another’s excellencies—and his own infirmities. He denies not only his sins—but his duties. The more grace he has, the more humble he is—because he now sees himself a greater debtor to God. If he can do any duty, he acknowledges it is Christ’s strength more than his own (Philippians 4:13). As the ship gets to the haven more by the benefit of the wind than the sail—so when a Christian makes any swift progress, it is more by the wind of God’s Spirit than the sail of his own endeavor. The poor in spirit, when he acts most like a saint, confesses himself ‘the chief of sinners’. He blushes more at the defect of his graces—than others do at the excess of their sins. He dares not say he has prayed or wept. He lives—yet not he—but Christ lives in him (Galatians 2:20). He labors—yet not he—but the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10)
5. He who is poor in spirit—is much in prayer. He sees how short he is of the standard of holiness, therefore begs for more grace; Lord, more faith, more conformity to Christ. A poor man is ever begging. You may know by this—one who is poor in spirit. He is ever begging for a spiritual alms. He knocks at heaven-gate; he sends up sighs; he pours out tears; he will not leave the gate—until he has his alms. God loves a modest boldness in prayer; such shall not be turned away.
6. He who is poor in spirit—is content to take Christ upon his own terms. The proud sinner will argue and bargain with Christ. He will have Christ—and his pleasures; Christ—and his covetousness. But he who is poor in spirit sees himself lost without Christ, and he is willing to have him upon his own terms, a Prince to rule him—as well as a Saviour to save him: ‘Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3:8). A castle which has long been besieged and is ready to be captured, will surrender on any terms to save their lives. He whose heart has been a garrison for the devil, and has held out long in opposition against Christ, when once God has brought him to poverty of spirit, and he sees himself damned without Christ, let God propound whatever articles he will—he will readily subscribe to them. ‘Lord, what will you have me to do?’ (Acts 9:6). He who is poor in spirit will do anything—that he may have Christ. He will behead his beloved sin! He will, with Peter, cast himself upon the water to come to Christ.
7. He who is poor in spirit—is an exalter of free grace. None so magnify God’s mercy—as the poor in spirit. The poor are very thankful. When Paul had tasted mercy, how thankfully does he adore free grace! ‘The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant’ (1 Timothy 1:14). It was super-exuberant grace! He sets the crown of his salvation—upon the head of free grace! As a man who is condemned and has a pardon sent him—how greatly he proclaims the goodness and mercifulness of his prince! So Paul displays free grace in its magnificent colors. He interlines all his epistles with free grace. As a vessel which has been perfumed makes the water taste of it—so Paul, who was a vessel perfumed with mercy, makes all his epistles to taste of this perfume of free grace! Those who are poor in spirit, bless God for the least crumb which falls from the table of free grace! Labor for poverty of spirit. Christ begins with this, and we must begin here if ever we are saved. Poverty of spirit is the foundation stone, on which God lays the superstructure of eternal glory!