Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXI

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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)
The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted- Continued

1. Why mourners lack comfort—in regard of GOD. He sees it fit to withhold comfort that he may raise the value of grace. We are apt to esteem comfort above grace, therefore God locks up our comforts for a time, that he may enhance the price of grace. When farthings go better than gold the king will call in farthings, that the price of gold may be the more raised. God would have his people serve him for himself—and not for comfort alone. It is a harlot love to love the husband’s money and gifts, more than his person. Such as serve God only for comfort, do not so much serve God, as serve themselves with God.

2. That God’s mourners lack comfort, it is most frequency in regard of THEMSELVES.

[1] Through mistake, which is twofold. They do not go to the right spring for comfort. They go to their tears, when they should go to Christ’s blood. It is a kind of idolatry to make our tears the ground of our comfort. Mourning is not meritorious. It is the way to joy, not the cause. Jacob got the blessing in the garments of his elder brother. True comfort flows out of Christ’s pierced side. Our tears are stained, until they are washed in the blood of Christ. ‘In me you will have peace’ (John 16:33).

The second mistake is that mourners are privileged people, and may take more liberty to slacken or sin. They may slacken the strings of duty, and let loose the reins to sin. Christ has indeed purchased a liberty for his people—but a holy liberty, not a liberty for sin—but from sin. ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2:9). You are not in a state of slavery—but royalty. What follows? Do not make Christian liberty a cloak for sin. ‘As free, and not using your liberty for a cover-up for evil’ (16). If we quench the sanctifying Spirit, God will quench the comforting Spirit. Sin is compared to a ‘cloud’ (Isaiah 44:22). This cloud intercepts the light of God’s countenance.

[2] God’s mourners sometimes lack comfort through discontent and peevishness. David makes his disquiet the cause of his sadness. ‘Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me?’ (Psalm 43:5). A disquieted heart, like a rough sea, is not easily calmed. It is hard to make a troubled spirit receive comfort. This disquiet arises from various causes: sometimes from outward sorrow and melancholy, sometimes from a kind of envy. God’s people are troubled to see others have comfort, and they lack it; and now in a peeve, they refuse comfort, and like a froward child, put away the breast. ‘My soul refused to be comforted’ (Psalm 77:2). Indeed a disquieted spirit is no more fit for comfort, than a madman is fit for counsel. And whence is the mourner’s discontent—but pride? As if God had not dealt well with him in stopping the influences of comfort. O Christian, your spirit must be more humbled and broken, before God empty out his golden oil of joy.

[3] The mourner is without comfort for lack of applying the promises. He looks at sin, which may humble him—but not at that Word, which may comfort him. The mourner’s eyes are so full of tears that he cannot see the promise. The virtue and comfort of a medicine is in the applying. When the promises are applied by faith, they bring comfort (Hosea 2:19; Isaiah 49:15, 16). Faith milks the breast of a promise. That Satan may hinder us of comfort; it is his policy either to keep the promise from us that we may not know it, or to keep us from the promise that we may not apply it. All the promises in the Bible belong to the mourner—had he but the skill and dexterity of faith to lay hold on it.

[4] The mourner may lack comfort through too much earthly-mindedness. By feeding immoderately on earthly comforts—we miss of heavenly comforts. ‘For the iniquity of his covetousness was I angry, and I hid myself’ (Isaiah 57:17). The earth puts out the fire. Earthiness extinguishes the flame of divine joy in the soul. An eclipse occurs when the moon, which is a dense body, comes between the sun and the earth. The moon is an emblem of the world (Revelation 12:1). When this comes between, then there is an eclipse in the light of God’s face. Such as dig in mines say there is such a damp comes from the earth as puts out the light of a candle. Earthly comforts send forth such a damp as puts out the light of spiritual joy.

[5] Perhaps the mourner has had comfort and lost it. Adam’s rib was taken from him, when he was asleep (Genesis 2:21). Our comforts are taken away, when we fall asleep in security. The spouse lost her beloved when she lay upon the bed of sloth (Canticles 5:2, 6).

For these reasons God’s mourners may lack comfort—but that the spiritual mourner may not be too much dejected, I shall reach forth ‘the cup of consolation’ (Jeremiah 16:7), and speak a few words that may comfort the mourner in the lack of comfort.

Jesus Christ was without comfort, therefore no wonder if we are. Our comforts are not better than his. He who was the Son of God’s love, was without the sense of God’s love. The mourner has a seed of comfort: ‘Light is sown for the righteous’ (Psalm 97:11). Light is a metaphor put for comfort, and it is sown. Though a child of God does not have comfort always in the flower—yet he has it in the seed. Though he does not feel comfort from God, yet he takes comfort in God. A Christian may be high in grace—and low in comfort. The high mountains are without flowers. The mines of gold have no corn growing on them. A Christian’s heart may be a rich mine of grace, though it is barren of comfort. The mourner is heir to comfort, and though for a small moment God may forsake his people (Isaiah 54:7)—yet there is a time shortly coming, when the mourner shall have all tears wiped away, and shall be brim full of comfort. This joy is reserved for heaven, and this brings me to the second particular.

‘They shall be comforted’. Though in this life some interviews and love tokens pass between God and the mourner—yet the great comforts are kept in sore for heaven. ‘In God’s presence is fullness of joy’ (Psalm 16:11). There is a time coming (the daystar is ready to appear) when the saints shall bathe themselves in the river of life, when they shall never more see a wrinkle on God’s brow—but his face shall shine, his lips drop honey, his arms sweetly embrace them! The saints shall have a spring-tide of joy, and it shall never be low water. The saints shall at that day put off their mourning, and exchange their sables for white robes. Then shall the winter be past, the rain of tears be over and gone (Canticles 2:11, 12). The flowers of joy shall appear, and after the weeping of the dove—’the time of the singing of birds shall come’. This is the ‘great consolation’, the Jubilee of the blessed which shall never expire. In this life the people of God taste of joy—but in heaven their vessels shall always overflow. There is a river in the midst of the heavenly paradise which has a fountain to feed it (Psalm 36:8, 9).

The times we are cast into, being for the present sad and cloudy, it will not be amiss for the reviving the hearts of God’s people, to speak a little of these comforts which God reserves in heaven for his mourners. ‘They shall be comforted’.

The greatness of these celestial comforts is most fitly in Scripture expressed by the joy of a feast. Mourning shall be turned into feasting, and it shall be a marriage-feast, which is usually kept with the greatest solemnity. ‘Blessed are those who are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:9). Some understand this supper of the Lamb, to be meant of the saints’ supping with Christ in heaven. Men after hard labor, go to supper. So when the saints shall ‘rest from their labors’ (Revelation 14:13), they shall sup with Christ in glory. Now to speak something of the last great supper.

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