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
In how many ways may we be unmerciful to the names of others? Diverse ways (continued)
Fifth, they are in a high degree unmerciful to the names of others who bear false witness against them (Psalm 27:12). ‘Put not your hand with the wicked to be a false witness’ (Exodus 23:1). ‘Putting the hand’ is taking an oath falsely, as when a man puts his hand upon the book and swears to a lie. This ‘false-witness’ is a two-edged sword. The party forsworn wounds another’s name and his own soul. A false witness is compared to a maul or hammer (Proverbs 25:18). It is true in this sense, because he is hardened in impudence he blushes at nothing and in unmercifulness. There is no softness in a maul or hammer, nor is there any mercy to be found in a false witness. In all these ways men are unmerciful to the names of others.
Let me persuade all Christians, as they make conscience of religion, so to show mercy to the names of others. Be very watchful and tender of men’s good name.
Consider what a sin it is to defame any man. ‘Laying aside all envy and evil speakings’ (Titus 3:2; 1. Peter 2:1). Envy and evil speaking are put together: ‘laying aside’, ‘putting away’, as a man would put away a thing from him with indignation; as Paul shook off the viper (Acts 28:5).
Consider also the injuriousness of it. You, who take away the good name of another, wound him in that which is most dear to him. Better take away a man’s life—than his good name. By eclipsing his name, you bury him alive. It is an irreparable injury; something will remain. A wound in the name is like a flaw in a diamond, which will never die out. No physician can heal the wounds of the tongue!
God will require it at men’s hands. If idle words must be accountable for, shall not reproachful slanders? God will make inquisition one day as well for names, as for blood. Let all this persuade to caution and circumspection. You would be opposed to steal the goods of others. A man’s name is of more worth, and he who takes away the good name of another sins more than if he had taken the the wares out of his shop!
Especially take heed of wounding the names of the godly. God has set a crown of honor on their head, and will you take it off? ‘Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?’ (Numbers 12:8). To defame the saints is no less than the defaming God himself, they having his picture drawn upon them and being members of Christ. Oh think how ill Christ will take this at your hand in the day of reckoning! It was under the old law a sin to violate a virgin, and what is it to calumniate Christ’s spouse? Are the names of the saints written in heaven, and will you blot them out upon earth? Be merciful to the names of others