January 14, 2020 by directorfsm
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 the RIGHT gospel-mourning? That mourning which will entitle a man to blessedness has these qualifications:
It is spontaneous and free. It must come as water out of a spring, not as fire out of a flint. Tears for sin must be like the myrrh which drops from the tree freely without cutting or forcing. Mary Magdalene’s repentance was voluntary. ‘She stood weeping’ (Luke 7). She came to Christ with ointment in her hand, with love in her heart, with tears in her eyes. God is for a freewill offering. He does not love to be put to distrain.
Gospel-mourning is spiritual; that is, when we mourn for sin more than suffering. Pharaoh says, “Take away the plague!” He never thought of the plague of his heart. A sinner mourns because judgment follows at the heels of sin—but David cries out, ‘My sin is ever before me’ (Psalm 51:3). God had threatened that the sword should ride in circuit in his family—but David does not say, ‘The sword is ever before me’—but ‘My sin is ever before me’. The offence against God troubled him. He grieved more for his treason against God—than the bloody axe. Thus the penitent prodigal, ‘I have sinned against heaven, and before you’ (Luke 15:18,21). He does not say, ‘I am almost starved among the husks’—but ‘I have offended my father’. In particular, our mourning for sin, if it is spiritual, must be under this threefold notion:
1. We must mourn for sin, as it is an act of hostility and enmity against God. Sin not only makes us unlike God—but contrary to God: ‘They have walked contrary unto me’ (Leviticus 26:40). Sin affronts and resists the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). Sin is contrary to God’s nature; God is holy; sin is an impure thing. Sin is contrary to his will. If God be of one mind—sin is of another. Sin does all it can to spite God. The Hebrew word for ‘sin’ signifies ‘rebellion’. A sinner fights against God (Acts 5:39). Now when we mourn for sin as it is a walking contrary to heaven, this is a gospel-mourning.
2. We must mourn for sin, as it is the highest ingratitude against God. It is a kicking against the breasts of mercy. God sends his Son to redeem us, his Spirit to comfort us. We sin against the blood of Christ, the grace of the Spirit—and shall we not mourn? We complain of the unkindness of others, and shall we not lay to heart our own unkindness against God? Caesar took it unkindly that his son, Brutus, should stab him—’and you, my son!’ May not the Lord say to us, ‘These wounds I have received in the house of my friend!’ (Zechariah 13:6). Israel took their jewels and earrings and made a golden calf of them. The sinner takes the jewels of God’s mercies and makes use of them to sin. Ingratitude is a ‘crimson sin’ (Isaiah 1:18). Sins against gospel-love are worse in some sense, than the sins of the devils, for they never had an offer of grace offered to them. Now when we mourn for sin as it has its accent of ingratitude upon it, this is an evangelical mourning.
3. We must mourn for sin as it is a privation; it keeps good things from us; it hinders our communion with God. Mary wept for Christ’s absence. ‘They have taken away my Lord!’ (John 20:13). So our sins have taken away our Lord. They have deprived us of his sweet presence. Will not he grieve, who has lost a rich jewel? When we mourn for sin under this notion, as it makes the Sun of Righteousness withdraw from our horizon; when we mourn not so much that peace is gone, and trading is gone—but God is gone, ‘My beloved had withdrawn himself’ (Canticles 5:6); this is a holy mourning. The mourning for the loss of God’s favor—is the best way to regain his favor. If you have lost a friend, all your weeping will not fetch him again—but if you have lost God’s presence, your mourning will bring your God again.
Gospel-mourning sends the soul to God. When the prodigal son repented, he went to his father. ‘I will arise and go to my father’ (Luke 15:18). Jacob wept and prayed (Hosea 12:4). The people of Israel wept and offered sacrifice (Judges 2:4,5). Gospel-mourning puts a man upon duty. The reason is, that in true sorrow there is a mixture of hope, and hope puts the soul upon the use of means. That mourning which like the ‘flaming sword’ keeps the soul from approaching to God, and beats it off from duty—is a sinful mourning. It is a sorrow hatched in hell. Such was Saul’s grief—which drove him to the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:7). Evangelical mourning is a spur to prayer. The child who weeps for offending his father goes to his presence and will not leave until his father is reconciled to him. Absalom could not be quiet ‘until he had seen the king’s face’ (2 Samuel 14:32, 33).
Gospel-mourning is for sin in particular. The deceitful man is occupied with generalities. It is with a true penitent as it is with a wounded man. He comes to the surgeon and shows him all his wounds. Here I was cut with the sword; here I was shot with a bullet. So a true penitent bewails all his particular sins. ‘We have served Baal’ (Judges 10:10). They mourned for their idolatry. And David lays his fingers upon the sore—and points to that very sin which troubled him (Psalm 51:4). ‘I have done this evil!’ He means his blood-guiltiness. A wicked man will say he is a sinner—but a child of God says, ‘I have done this evil!’ Peter wept for that particular sin of denying Christ. It is reported that Peter never heard a rooster crow—but he fell a-weeping. There must be a particular repentance, before we have a general pardon