Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XVIII

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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)

Some HELPS to mourning

Having removed the obstructions, let me in propound some helps to holy mourning.

1. Set SIN continually before you. ‘My sin is ever before me’ (Psalm 51:3). David, that he might be a mourner, kept his eye fully upon sin. See what sin is—and then tell me if there be not enough in it to draw forth tears! I know not what name, is bad enough to give to sin. One calls it the devil’s excrement. Sin is a combining of all evils. It is the spirit of evil distilled. Sin dishonors God—it denies God’s omniscience, it derides his patience, it distrusts his faithfulness. Sin tramples upon God’s law, slights his love, grieves his Spirit. Sin wrongs us; sin shames us. ‘Sin is a reproach to any people’ (Proverbs 14:34). Sin has made us naked. It has plucked off our robe—and taken our crown from us! Sin has spoiled us of our glory. Nay, it has not only made us naked—but impure. ‘I saw you polluted in your blood’ (Ezekiel 16:6). Sin has not only taken off our golden robe—but it has put upon us ‘filthy garments’ (Zechariah 3:3).

God made us ‘after his likeness’ (Genesis 1:26)—but sin has made us ‘like the beasts which perish’ (Psalm 49:20). We have all become brutish in our affections. Nor has sin made us only like the beasts—but like the devil (John 8:44). Sin has drawn the devil’s picture upon man’s heart. Sin stabs us. The sinner, like the jailer, draws a sword to kill himself (Acts 16:27). He is bereaved of his judgement and, like the man in the gospel, possessed with the devils, ‘he cuts himself with stones’ (Mark 5:5), though he has such a stone in his heart that he does not feel it. Every sin is a stroke at the soul. So many sins—so many wounds! Every blow given to the tree, helps forward the felling of the tree. Every sin is a hewing and chopping down the soul for hellfire! If then there is all this evil in sin—if this forbidden fruit has such a bitter core—it should make us mourn. Our hearts should be the spring—and our eyes the rivers!

2. If we would be mourners, let us be orators. Beg a spirit of contrition. Pray to God that he will put us in mourning, that he will give us a melting frame of heart. Let us beg Achsah’s blessing, even ‘springs of water’ (Joshua 15:19). Let us pray that our hearts may be spiritual stills—dropping tears into God’s bottle. Let us pray that we who have the poison of the serpent—may have the tears of the dove. The Spirit of God is a spirit of mourning. Let us pray that God would pour out that Spirit of grace upon us, whereby we may ‘look on him whom we have pierced and mourn for him’ (Zechariah 12:10).

God must breathe in his Spirit—before we can breathe out our sorrows. The Spirit of God is like the fire in a still—which sends up the dews of grace in the heart and causes them to drop from the eyes. It is this blessed Spirit whose gentle breath causes our spices to smell—and our waters to flow! If the spring of mourning is once set open in the heart—there can lack no joy. As tears flow out—comfort flows in! This leads to the second part of the text, ‘They shall be comforted’.

The COMFORTS belonging to mourners

Having already presented to your view the dark side of the text, I shall now show you the bright side, “They shall be comforted.” Where observe:

1. Mourning goes before comfort—as the lancing of a wound precedes the cure. The Antinomian talks of comfort—but cries down mourning for sin. He is like a foolish patient who, having a pill prescribed him, licks the sugar—but throws away the pill. The libertine is all for joy and comfort. He licks the sugar—but throws away the bitter pill of repentance. If ever we have true comfort we must have it in God’s way and method. Sorrow for sin ushers in joy: ‘I will restore comforts to him, and to his mourners’ (Isaiah 57:18). That is the true sunshine of joy—which comes after a shower of tears. We may as well expect a crop without seed—as comfort without gospel-mourning.

2. Observe that God keeps his best wine until last. First he prescribes mourning for sin—and then sets open the wine of consolation. The devil does quite contrary. He shows the best first—and keeps the worst until last. First, he shows the wine sparkling in the glass—then comes the ‘biting of the serpent’ (Proverbs 23:32). Satan sets his dainty dishes before men. He presents sin to them colored with beauty, sweetened with pleasure, silvered with profit—and then afterwards the sad reckoning is brought in! He showed Judas first the silver bait—and then stuck him with the hook! This is the reason why sin has so many followers, because it shows the best first. First, the golden crowns—then comes the lions’ teeth! (Revelation 9:7, 8).

But God shows the worst first. First he prescribes a bitter portion— and then brings a cordial, ‘They shall be comforted pour it upon the mourner. Well then, may the apostle call it ‘a repentance not to be repented of’ (2 Corinthians 7:10). A man’s drunkenness is to be repented of; his uncleanness is to be repented of; but his repentance is never to be repented of, because it is the inlet to joy. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Here is sweet fruit from a bitter stock. Christ caused the earthen vessels to be filled to the brim with water, and then turned the water into wine (John 2:9). So when the eye, that earthen vessel, has been filled with water to the brim, then Christ will turn the water of tears into the wine of joy. ‘Holy mourning,’ says Basil, ‘is the seed out of which the flower of eternal joy grows.’

The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted.

[1] Because mourning is made on purpose for this end. Mourning is not prescribed for itself but that it may lead on to something else—that it may lay a train for comfort. Therefore we sow in tears—that we may reap in joy. Holy mourning is a spiritual medicine. Now a medicine is not prescribed for itself—but for the sake of health. So gospel-mourning is appointed for this very end—to bring forth joy.

[2] The spiritual mourner is the fittest person for comfort. When the heart is broken for sin—now it is fittest for joy. God pours the golden oil of comfort—into broken vessels. The mourner’s heart is emptied of pride—and God fills the empty with his blessing. The mourner’s tears have helped to purge out corruption—and then God gives a cordial. The mourner is ready to faint away under the burden of sin—and then the refreshing cordial comes seasonably. The Lord would have the incestuous person (upon his deep humiliation) to be comforted, lest ‘he should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow’ (2 Corinthians 2:7).

This is the mourner’s privilege: ‘He shall be comforted’. The valley of tears brings the soul into a paradise of joy. A sinner’s joy brings forth sorrow. The mourner’s sorrow brings forth joy. ‘Your sorrow shall be turned into joy’ (John 16:20). The saints have a sorrowful seedtime—but a joyful harvest. ‘They shall be comforted’.

Now to illustrate this, I shall show you what the comforts are, that the mourners shall have. These comforts are of a divine infusion, and they are twofold, either here or hereafter.

They are called ‘the consolations of God’ (Job 15:11); that is, ‘great comforts’, such as none but God can give. They exceed all other comforts as far as heaven exceeds earth. The root on which these comforts grow is the blessed Spirit. He is called ‘the Comforter’ (John 14:26), and comfort is said to be a ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22). Christ purchased peace, and the Spirit speaks peace

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