by Thomas Watson
“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
Gospel Mourning (continued)
What is NOT the right gospel-mourning for sin? There is a five-fold mourning which is false and spurious.
A despairing kind of mourning. Such was Judas’ mourning. He saw his sin, he was sorry, he made confession, he justifies Christ, he makes restitution (Matthew 27). Judas, who is in hell, did more than many nowadays! He confessed his sin. He did not plead necessity or good intentions—but he makes an open acknowledgment of his sin. ‘I have sinned!’ Judas made restitution. His conscience told him he came wickedly by the money. It was ‘the price of blood’, and he ‘brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests’ (Matthew 27:3). But how many are there who invade the rights and possessions of others—but not a word of restitution! Judas was more honest than they are. Well, wherein was Judas’ sorrow blameworthy? It was a mourning joined with despair. He thought his wound broader than the plaster. He drowned himself in tears. His was not repentance unto life (Acts 11:18)—but rather unto death.
An hypocritical mourning. The heart is very deceitful. It can betray as well by a tear—as by a kiss. Saul looks like a mourner, and as he was sometimes ‘among the prophets’ (1 Samuel 10:12) So he seemed to be among the penitents—’And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 15:24). Saul played the hypocrite in his mourning, for he did not take shame to himself—but he did rather take honor to himself: ‘honor me before the elders of my people’ (verse 30). He pared and minced his sin that it might appear lesser, he laid his sin upon the people, ‘because I feared the people’ (verse 24). They would have me fly upon the spoil, and I dare do no other. A true mourner labors to draw out sin in its bloody colors, and accent it with all its killing aggravations, that he may be deeply humbled before the Lord. ‘Our iniquities are increased over our head, and our sin has grown up unto the heavens’ (Ezra 9:6). The true penitent labors to make the worst of his sin. Saul labors to make the best of sin; like a patient that makes the best of his disease, lest the physician should prescribe him too sharp remedy. How easy is it for a man to put a cheat upon his own soul—and by hypocrisy to sweep himself into hell!
A forced mourning. When tears are pumped out by God’s judgements, these are like the tears of a man who has the stone, or that lies upon the rack. Such was Cain’s mourning. ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear!’ (Genesis 4:13). His punishment troubled him more than his sin! To mourn only for fear of hell is like a thief that weeps for the penalty, rather than the offence. The tears of the wicked are forced by the fire of affliction!
An external mourning; when sorrow lies only on the outside. ‘They disfigure their faces’ (Matthew 6:16). The eye is tender—but the heart is hard. Such was Ahab’s mourning. ‘He tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh, and went softly’ (1 Kings 21:27). His clothes were torn—but his heart was not torn. He had sackcloth but no sorrow. He hung down his head like a bulrush—but his heart was like granite. There are many who may be compared to weeping marbles, they are both watery and flinty.
A vain fruitless mourning. Some will shed a few tears—but are as bad as ever. They will deceive and be unclean. Such a kind of mourning there is in hell. The damned weep—but the continue to blaspheme God