Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XII

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

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)
Reminder: The first object of spiritual mourning is SIN; and that twofold, our own sin; and the sin of others

2. As we must mourn for our own sins—so we must lay to heart the sins of OTHERS. Thus we should wish with Jeremiah, that our eyes were a fountain of tears, that we might weep day and night for the iniquity of the times. Our blessed Savior mourned for the sins of the Jews: ‘Being grieved for the hardness of their hearts’ (Mark 3:5). And holy David, looking upon the sins of the wicked, his heart was turned into a spring, and his eyes into rivers. ‘Rivers of tears run down my eyes, because they do not keep your law’ (Psalm 119:136). Lot’s righteous soul ‘was vexed with the filthy lives of the wicked’ (2 Peter 2:7). Lot took the sins of Sodom and made spears of them to pierce his own soul. Cyprian says that in the primitive times, when a virgin who vowed herself to religion had defiled her chastity, shame and grief filled the whole congregation.

Have not we cause to mourn for the sins of others? The whole axle of the nation is ready to break under the weight of sin. What an inundation of wickedness is there among us? Mourn for the hypocrisy of the times. Jehu says ‘Come, see my zeal for the Lord’—but it was zeal for the throne (2 Kings 10:16). This is the hypocrisy of some. They entitle God to whatever they do. They make bold with God to use his name to their wickedness; as if a thief should pretend the king’s warrant for his robbery. ‘They build up Zion with blood; yet will they lean upon the Lord and say, Is not the Lord among us?’ (Micah 3:10, 11). Many with a religious kiss smite the gospel under the fifth rib. Could not Ahab be content to kill and take possession—but must he usher it in with religion, and make fasting a preface to his murder? (1 Kings 21:12). The white devil is worst! To hear the name of God in the mouths of scandalous hypocrites, is enough to affright others from the profession of religion.

Mourn for the errors and blasphemies of the nation. There is now a free trade of error. Toleration gives men a patent to sin. Whatever cursed opinion which has been long ago buried in the church—but is now dug out of the grave, and by some worshiped! England is grown as needon in her religion, as she is antic in her fashions. Did men’s faces alter as fast as their religious opinions, we would not know them.
Mourn for covenant violation. This sin is a flying scroll against England. Breach of covenant is spiritual harlotry, and for this God may name us ‘Not my people’, and give us a bill of divorce (Hosea 1:9).

Mourn for the pride of the nation. {Remember this was written in England in 1660, but is relevant to America and many other counties today} Our condition is low—but our hearts are high. Mourn for the profaneness of the land. England is like that man in the gospel who had ‘an unclean demonic spirit’ (Luke 4:33). Mourn for the removing of landmarks (Deuteronomy 27:17). Mourn for the contempt offered to magistracy, the spitting in the face of authority. Mourn that there are so few mourners. Surely if we mourn not for the sins of others, it is to be feared that we are not sensible of our own sins. God looks upon us as guilty of those sins in others—which we do not lament. Our tears may help to quench God’s wrath!

The saints must be sensible of the injuries of God’s church. ‘We wept when we remembered Zion’ (Psalm 137:1). The people of Israel, being debarred from the place of public worship, sat by the rivers weeping. They laid aside all their musical instruments. ‘We hung our harps upon the willows’ (verse 2). We were as far from joy as those willows were from fruit. ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’ (verse 4). We were fitter to weep than to sing. The sound of song is not agreeable to mourning.

When we consider the miseries of many Christians in foreign parts, who have been driven from their habitations because they would not espouse the Popish religion; when instead of a Bible, a crucifix; instead of prayers, mass; instead of going to church, they should go on pilgrimage to some saint or relic. When we consider these things, our eyes should run down. Mourn to see God’s church a bleeding vine. Mourn to see Christ’s spouse with ‘garments rolled in blood’.

Methinks I hear England’s death bell ring. Let us shed some tears over dying England. Let us bewail our internal divisions. England’s divisions have been fatal. How can we stand, but by a miracle of free grace? Truth has fallen in the streets—and peace has fled. England’s fine coat of peace, is torn and, like Joseph’s coat, dipped in blood. Peace is the glory of a nation. Some observe, if the top of the beech tree be taken off—that the whole tree withers. Peace is the apex and top of all earthly blessings. This top being cut off, we may truly say the body of the whole nation begins to wither apace.

Mourn for the oppressions of England. The people of this land have laid out their money only to buy mourning Though we must always keep open the flow of godly sorrow—yet there are some seasons wherein our tears should overflow, as the water sometimes rises higher. There are three special SEASONS of extraordinary mourning, when it should be as it were high-water in the soul:

1. When there are tokens of God’s wrath breaking forth in the nation. England has been under God’s black rod these many years. The Lord has drawn his sword. O that our tears may blunt the edge of this sword! When it is a time of treading down, now is a time of breaking up the fallow ground of our hearts. ‘Therefore said I, look away from me, I will weep bitterly for it is a time of treading down’ (Isaiah 22:4, 5). ‘A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds . . . therefore turn to me with weeping and with mourning’ (Joel 2:2, 12). Rain follows thunder. When God thunders in a nation by his judgements, now the showers of tears must distill. When God smites upon our back, we must ‘smite upon our thigh’ (Jeremiah 31:19). When God seems to stand upon the ‘threshold of the temple’ (Ezekiel 10:4), as if he were ready to take his wings and fly, then is it a time to lie weeping between ‘the porch and the altar’. If the Lord seems to be packing up and carrying away his gospel—it is now high time to mourn, that by our tears possibly his ‘repentings may be kindled’ (Hosea 11:8).

2. Before the performing solemn duties of God’s worship, as fasting or receiving the Lord’s Supper. Christian, are you about to seek God in an extraordinary manner? ‘Seek him sorrowing’ (Luke 2:48). Would you have the smiles of God’s face, the kisses of his lips? Set open all the springs of mourning, and then God will draw near to you in an ordinance and say, ‘Here I am!’ (Isaiah 58:9). When Jacob wept, then he ‘found God in Bethel’ (Hosea 12:4). ‘He called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face’ (Genesis 32:30). Give Christ the wine of your tears to drink—and in the sacrament he will give you the wine of his blood to drink.

3. After scandalous relapses. Though I will not say that there is no mercy for sins of relapse—yet I say there is no mercy without bitter mourning. Scandalous sins reflect dishonor upon religion (2 Samuel 12:14). Therefore now our cheeks should be covered with blushing, and our eyes bedewed with tears. Peter, after his denying Christ, wept bitterly. Christian, has God given you over to any enormous sin as a just reward of your pride and carnal security? Go into the ‘weeping bath’. Sins of infirmity injure the soul—but scandalous sins wound the gospel. Lesser sins grieve the Spirit—but greater sins vex the Spirit (Isaiah 63:10). And if that blessed Dove weeps, shall not we weep? When the air is dark then the dew falls. When we have by scandalous sin darkened the luster of the gospel, now is the time for the dew of holy tears to fall from our eyes.

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