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
The merciful man shall be rewarded in this life. He shall be blessed —
In his person: ‘Blessed is he who considers the poor’ (Psalm 41:1). Let him go where he will, a blessing goes along with him. He is in favor with God. God casts a smiling aspect upon him.
Blessed in his name: ‘He shall be had in everlasting remembrance’ (Psalm 112:6). When the niggard’s name shall rot, the name of a merciful man shall be embalmed with honor, and give forth its scent as the wine of Lebanon.
Blessed in his estate: ‘He shall abound in all things’. ‘The liberal soul shall be made fat’ (Proverbs 2:25). He shall have the fat of the earth and the dew of heaven. He shall not only have the venison—but the blessing.
Blessed in his posterity: ‘He is ever merciful and lends; and his seed is blessed’ (Psalm 37:26). He shall not only leave an estate behind—but a blessing behind to his children, and God will see that the entail of that blessing shall not be cut off.
Blessed in his negotiations: ‘For this thing the Lord your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand unto’ (Deuteronomy 15:10). The merciful man shall be blessed in his building, planting, journeying. Whatever he is about, a blessing shall empty itself upon him. ‘Wherever he treads there shall be a rose’. He shall be a prosperous man. The honeycomb of a blessing shall be still dropping upon him.
Blessed with long life: ‘The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive’ (Psalm 41:2). He has helped to keep others alive, and God will keep him alive. Is there anything then, lost by mercifulness? It spins out the silver thread of life. Many are taken away the sooner for their unmercifulness. Because their hearts are straitened, their lives are shortened.
Again, the merciful man shall be rewarded in the life to come. Aristotle joins these two together, liberality and utility. God will reward the merciful man hereafter, though not for his works—yet according to his works. ‘I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works’ (Revelation 20:12). As God has a bottle to put our tears in, so he has a book to write our alms in. As God will put a veil over his people’s sins, so he will in free grace set a crown upon their works! The way to lay up—is to lay out. Other parts of our estate are left behind (Ecclesiastes 2:18)—but that which is given to Christ’s poor is hoarded up in heaven. That is a blessed kind of giving, which though it makes the purse lighter, it makes the crown heavier.
You who are mercifully inclined, remember whatever alms you distribute:
You shall have good security. ‘He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord; and that which he has given will he pay him again’ (Ecclesiastes 11:1; Luke 6:38; Proverbs 19:17). There is God’s pledge. Yet here is our unbelief—we will not take God’s bond.
You shall be abundantly repaid. For a wedge of gold which you have parted with—you shall have a weight of glory. For a cup of cold water—you shall have rivers of pleasure, which run at God’s right hand for evermore. The interest comes to infinitely more than the principal. Pliny writes of a country in Africa where the people for every bushel of seed they sow receive a hundred and fifty-fold increase. For every penny you drop into Christ’s treasury, you shall receive above a thousand-fold increase. Your after-crop of glory will be so great that, though you are still reaping, you will never be able to gather the whole harvest. Let all this persuade rich men to honor the Lord with their substance.