Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXIV

Image result for Beatitudes
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

Christian Meekness (Continued) 
Remembering the overall theme is meek people are blessed people.

Meekness towards MAN; Continued:

[3] Meekness is opposed to REVENGE. Malice is the scum of anger, and revenge is malice boiling over. Malice is a vermin which lives on blood. Revenge is Satan’s nectar and ambrosia. This is the savory meat which the malicious man cooks for the devil. The Scripture forbids revenge: ‘Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves’ (Romans 12:19). This is to take God’s office out of his hand, who is called ‘the God of recompenses’ (Jeremiah 51:56) and the ‘God of vengeance’ (Psalm 94:1). This I urge against those who challenge one another to duels. Indeed, spiritual duels are lawful. It is good to fight with the devil. ‘Resist the devil’ (James 4:7). It is good to duel with a man’s self, the regenerate part against the carnal. Blessed is he who seeks a revenge upon his lusts. ‘Yes, what revenge!’ (2 Corinthians 7:11). But other duels are unlawful. ‘Avenge not yourselves’. The Turks, though a barbarous people, in ancient times burnt such as went to duel, applying hot coals of fire to their sides. Those who were in heat of revenge were punished suitably with fire.

Some may object. ‘But if I am thus meek and tame in bearing of injuries and incivilities, I shall lose my credit. It will be a stain to my reputation.’ I answer: To pass by an injury without revenge is no eclipse to a man’s credit. Solomon tells us it is the glory of a man to ‘pass over a transgression’ (Proverbs 19:11). It is more honor to bury an injury than revenge it; and to slight it than to write it down. The weakest creatures (such as the bee) soonest sting with every provocation. The lion, a more majestic creature, is not easily provoked. The bramble tears. The oak and cedar are more peaceable. Passion imports weakness. A noble spirit overlooks an injury.
Again, suppose a man’s credit should suffer with those whose censure is not to be valued. Yet think which is worse, shame or sin? Will you sin against God to save your credit? Surely it is little wisdom for a man to venture his blood that he may fetch back his reputation, and to run into hell to be counted valorous!

Not but that a man may stand up in defense of himself when his life is endangered. Some hold it to be unlawful to take up the sword upon any occasion—but without question a man may take up the sword for self-preservation, else he comes under the breach of the sixth commandment. He is guilty of self-murder. In taking up the sword he does not so much seek another’s death, as the safeguard of his own life. His intention is not to do hurt—but to prevent it. Self-defense is consistent with Christian meekness. The law of nature and religion justify it. That God who bids us ‘put up our sword’ (Matthew 26:52) yet will allow us a sword in our own defense, and he who will have us ‘innocent as doves’ not to offend others, will have us ‘wise as serpents’ in preserving ourselves.

Though revenge may be contrary to meekness—yet not but that a magistrate may revenge the quarrels of others. Indeed, it is not revenge in him—but doing justice. The magistrate is God’s lieutenant on earth. God has put the sword in his hand, and he is not ‘to bear the sword in vain’. He must be ‘for the punishment of evildoers’ (1 Peter 2:14). Though a private person must not render to any man ‘evil for evil’ (Romans 12:17)—yet a magistrate may; the evil of punishment for the evil of offence. This rendering of evil is good. Private men must ‘put their sword into the sheath’—but the magistrate sins if he does not draw it out. As his sword must not surfeit through cruelty, so neither must it rust through partiality. Too much lenity in a magistrate is not meekness—but injustice. For him to indulge offences, and say with a gentle reproof as Eli, ‘Why do you such things? Nay, my sons, for it is no good report that I hear’ (1 Samuel 2:23, 24), this is but to shave the head that deserves to be cut off. Such a magistrate makes himself guilty.

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