by Thomas Watson
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (v.7)
“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”
A Discourse of Mercifulness
These verses, like the stairs of Solomon’s temple, cause our ascent to the holy of holies. We are now mounting up a step higher. ‘Blessed are the merciful.’ There was never more need to preach of mercifulness, than in these unmerciful times wherein we live. It is reported in the life of Chrysostom that he preached much on this subject of mercifulness, and for his much pressing Christians to mercy, he was called of many, ‘the alms-preacher, or ‘the preacher for mercy’. Our times need many Chrysostoms.
‘Blessed are the merciful’. Mercy stands both in the van and back end of the text. In the beginning of the text, it stands as a duty. In the end of the text it stands as a reward. The Hebrew word for ‘godly’ signifies ‘merciful’. The more godly—the more merciful. The doctrine I shall gather out of the words, which will comprehend and bring in the whole, is this: That the merciful man is a blessed man.
Just so, there is a curse which hangs over the head of the unmerciful man. ‘When his case is called for judgment, let him be pronounced guilty. Count his prayers as sins. Let his years be few; let his position be given to someone else. May his children become fatherless, and may his wife become a widow. May his children wander as beggars; may they be evicted from their ruined homes. May creditors seize his entire estate, and strangers take all he has earned. Let no one be kind to him; let no one pity his fatherless children. May all his offspring die.’ (Psalm 109:6-9). Why, what is this crime? ‘Because he refused all kindness to others’ (verse 16). See what a large vial full of the plagues of God, is poured out upon the unmerciful man! So by the rule of contraries, the blessings of the Almighty crown and encompass the merciful man. ‘The merciful man is a blessed man’ (2 Samuel 22:26; Psalm 37:26; Psalm 41:1). For the illustrating this I shall show, first, what is meant by mercifulness; second, the several kinds of mercy.