Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XLI

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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 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
In how many ways may we be unmerciful to the names of others? Diverse ways (continued)

Second, we are unmerciful to the names of others when we receive a slander, and then report what we hear. ‘You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among your people’ (Leviticus 19:16). A good man is one who ‘has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman’ (Psalm 15:3). We must not only not raise a false report—but not take it up. To divulge a report before we speak with the party and know the truth of it, is unmercifulness and sin. The same word in the Hebrew, ‘to raise a slander’, signifies to receive it (Exodus 23:1). The receiver is even as bad as the thief. It is well if none of us have (in this sense) received stolen goods. When others have stolen away the good names of their brethren, have not we received these stolen goods? There would not be so many to broach false rumors—but that they see this liquor pleases other men’s taste.

Third, we deal unmercifully with the names of others when we diminish from their just worth and dignity; when we make more of their infirmities and less of their virtues. ‘Speak not evil one of another’ (James 4:11). I have read a story of one, Idor, that he was never heard to speak evil of any man. Augustine could not endure that any should eclipse and lessen the fame of others, therefore he wrote those two verses upon his table:

“Whoever loves another’s name to blast,
This table’s not for him; so let him fast.”

Wicked men are still paring off the credit of their neighbors, and they make thick parings. They pare off all that is good. Nothing is left but the core, something which may tend to their disparagement. Unmerciful men know how to boil a quart to a pint. They have a devilish art so to extenuate and lessen the merit of others, that it is even boiled away to nothing. Some, though they have not the power of creation—yet they have the power of annihilation. They can sooner annihilate the good which is in others, than imitate it

Fourth, we are unmerciful to the names of others when we know them to be calumniated yet do not vindicate them. A man may sometimes as well wrong another by silence, as slander. He who is merciful to his brother is an advocate to plead in his behalf when he is injuriously traduced. When the apostles, who were filled with the wine of the Spirit, were charged with drunkenness, Peter vindicated them openly (Acts 2:15). A merciful man will take the dead fly out of the box of ointment.

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