Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXVII

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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 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:

[4] Meekness is opposed to EVIL-SPEAKING. ‘Let all evil-speaking be put away’ (Ephesians 4:31). Our words should be mild, like the waters of Shiloah which run softly. It is too usual for passionate spirits to break out into opprobrious language. The tongues of many are fired, and it is the devil who lights the match. Therefore they are said in Scripture to be ‘set on fire of hell’ (James 3:6). Men have learned of the ‘old serpent, to spit their venom one at another in disgraceful revilings. ‘Whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hellfire’ (Matthew 5:22). Under that word ‘fool’, all vilifying terms are by our Savior forbidden. Let us take heed of this. It is hateful to God. God is not in this fire—but in the still small voice (1 Kings 19:12).

Some may say—but did not the apostle Paul call the Galatians ‘fools’? (Galatians 3:1). When Paul uttered those words, it was not by way of reproach—but reproof. It was not to defame the Galatians but to reclaim them; not to vilify them but to humble them. Paul was grieved to see them so soon fall into a relapse. Well might he say ‘foolish Galatians’ in a holy zeal, because they had suffered so much in the cause of religion, and now made a defection and fell off. ‘Have you suffered so many things in vain?’ (verse 4). But though Paul, guided by the Spirit of God, did give this epithet to the Galatians, it is no warrant for us when any have wronged us to use disgraceful terms. Meekness does not vent itself in reviling. It does not retaliate by railing.

‘Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation; but said, The Lord rebuke you’ (Jude 9). Some understand by Michael, Christ—but more truly it is meant of one of the chief of the angels. The contest or dispute between the archangel and the devil was about the body of Moses. Some divines say that when God disposed of Moses’ body, he employed the archangel to inter him so secretly that his burying place might not be known. It is likely if his dead body had been found, the Israelites might have been ready in a preposterous zeal to have worshiped it. The devil opposes the archangel and contends about the dead body—but the archangel ‘dared not’, or, as some read it, he could not endure to ‘bring a railing accusation’. It seems the devil provoked him with evil language, and would fain have extorted passion from him—but the archangel was mild, and said only, ‘The Lord rebuke you’. The angel would not so much as rail against the devil. We may learn meekness of the archangel: ‘Not rendering railing for railing’ (1 Peter 3:9).

Not but that a Christian ought prudentially to clear himself from slanders. When the apostle Paul was charged to be mad, he vindicated himself. ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus’ (Acts 26:25). Though a Christian’s retorts must not be reviling, they may be vindicating. Though he may not scandalize another—yet he may defend himself. There must be Christian prudence, as well as Christian meekness. It is not mildness, but weakness—to part with our integrity (Job 27:6). To be silent when we are slanderously traduced, is to make ourselves appear guilty. We must so affect meekness, as not to lose the honor of innocence. It is lawful to be our own defenders. The fault lies only in this—when we retort injuries with reproachful terms, which is to pay a man back in the devil’s coin

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXVI

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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 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:

2. The second branch of meekness is in FORGIVING of injuries. ‘And when you stand praying, forgive’ (Mark 11:25); as if Christ had said, ‘It is to little purpose to pray, unless you forgive.’ A meek spirit is a forgiving spirit. This is a herculean work. Nothing more crosses the stream of corrupt nature—than forgiving injuries. Men forget kindnesses—but remember injuries. I once heard of a woman who lived in malice, and being requested by some of her neighbors when she lay on her deathbed, to forgive, she answered, ‘I cannot forgive though I go to hell’. Forgiveness is cutting against the grain of human nature. Some can rather sacrifice their lives than their lusts—but forgive we must, and forgive as God forgives. Forgiveness must be:

[1] Really. God does not make a show of forgiveness and keep our sins by him. He ‘blots out’ our debts (Isaiah 43:25). God passes an act of oblivion (Jeremiah 31:34). He forgives and forgets. So the meek spirit not only makes a show of forgiving his neighbor—but he does it from the heart (Matthew 18:27).

[2] Fully. God forgives all our sins. He does not for ‘fourscore write down fifty’—but he gives a full release. ‘Who forgives all your iniquities’ (Psalm 103:3). Thus a meek-spirited Christian forgives all injuries. False hearts pass by some offences—but retain others. This is but half forgiving. Is this meekness? Would you have God deal so with you? Would you have him forgive your trespasses, as you forgive others?

[3] God forgives often. We are often sinful! We run every day afresh upon the score—but God often forgives. Therefore he is said to ‘multiply pardon’ (Isaiah 55:7). So a meek spirit reiterates and sends one pardon after another. Peter asks the question, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ (Matthew 18:21) Christ answers him, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven’ (verse 22).

Some may object that such an affront has been offered, that flesh and blood cannot put up. I answer: ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 15:50). Christians must walk contrary to their natural dispositions, and with the sword of the Spirit fight against the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:24).

Again, you may say: But if I forgive one injury I shall invite more. I answer: It argues a devilish nature to be the worse for kindness; but suppose we should meet with such monsters—yet it is our duty to be ready to forgive (Colossians 3:13). Shall we cease from doing good because others will not cease from being evil? If the more you forgive injuries, the more injuries you meet with, this will make your grace shine the more. Another’s vice will be a greater demonstration of your virtue. Frequent forgiving will add the more to the weight of his sin, and the weight of your glory. If any shall say to me, I strive to excel in other graces—but as for this grace of meekness, the bearing and forgiving of injuries, I cannot arrive at it; I desire in this to be excused. What do you talk of other graces? Where there is one grace, there is all. If meekness is lacking, it is but a counterfeit chain of grace. Your faith is a fable: your repentance is a lie; your humility is hypocrisy.

And whereas you say you cannot forgive, think of your own sin. Your neighbor is not so bad in offending you—as you are in not forgiving him. Your neighbor, in offending you—but trespasses against a man—but you, refusing to forgive him, trespass against God. Think also of your danger. You who are implacable, and though you may smother the fire of your rage—yet will not extinguish it, know that if you die this night, you die in an unpardoned condition. If you will not believe me, believe Christ. ‘If you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses’ (Mark 11:26). He who lives without meekness, dies without mercy!

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXV

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:

[4] Meekness is opposed to EVIL-SPEAKING. ‘Let all evil-speaking be put away’ (Ephesians 4:31). Our words should be mild, like the waters of Shiloah which run softly. It is too usual for passionate spirits to break out into opprobrious language. The tongues of many are fired, and it is the devil who lights the match. Therefore they are said in Scripture to be ‘set on fire of hell’ (James 3:6). Men have learned of the ‘old serpent, to spit their venom one at another in disgraceful revilings. ‘Whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hellfire’ (Matthew 5:22). Under that word ‘fool’, all vilifying terms are by our Savior forbidden. Let us take heed of this. It is hateful to God. God is not in this fire—but in the still small voice (1 Kings 19:12).

Some may say—but did not the apostle Paul call the Galatians ‘fools’? (Galatians 3:1). When Paul uttered those words, it was not by way of reproach—but reproof. It was not to defame the Galatians but to reclaim them; not to vilify them but to humble them. Paul was grieved to see them so soon fall into a relapse. Well might he say ‘foolish Galatians’ in a holy zeal, because they had suffered so much in the cause of religion, and now made a defection and fell off. ‘Have you suffered so many things in vain?’ (verse 4). But though Paul, guided by the Spirit of God, did give this epithet to the Galatians, it is no warrant for us when any have wronged us to use disgraceful terms. Meekness does not vent itself in reviling. It does not retaliate by railing.

‘Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation; but said, The Lord rebuke you’ (Jude 9). Some understand by Michael, Christ—but more truly it is meant of one of the chief of the angels. The contest or dispute between the archangel and the devil was about the body of Moses. Some divines say that when God disposed of Moses’ body, he employed the archangel to inter him so secretly that his burying place might not be known. It is likely if his dead body had been found, the Israelites might have been ready in a preposterous zeal to have worshiped it. The devil opposes the archangel and contends about the dead body—but the archangel ‘dared not’, or, as some read it, he could not endure to ‘bring a railing accusation’. It seems the devil provoked him with evil language, and would fain have extorted passion from him—but the archangel was mild, and said only, ‘The Lord rebuke you’. The angel would not so much as rail against the devil. We may learn meekness of the archangel: ‘Not rendering railing for railing’ (1 Peter 3:9).

Not but that a Christian ought prudentially to clear himself from slanders. When the apostle Paul was charged to be mad, he vindicated himself. ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus’ (Acts 26:25). Though a Christian’s retorts must not be reviling, they may be vindicating. Though he may not scandalize another—yet he may defend himself. There must be Christian prudence, as well as Christian meekness. It is not mildness, but weakness—to part with our integrity (Job 27:6). To be silent when we are slanderously traduced, is to make ourselves appear guilty. We must so affect meekness, as not to lose the honor of innocence. It is lawful to be our own defenders. The fault lies only in this—when we retort injuries with reproachful terms, which is to pay a man back in the devil’s coin.

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.

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXIII

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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 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

We are now got to the third step leading in the way to blessedness, Christian meekness. ‘Blessed are the meek’. See how the Spirit of God adorns ‘the hidden man of the heart, with a multiplicity of graces! The workmanship of the Holy Spirit is not only astonishing—but various. He makes the heart meek, pure, peaceable etc. The graces therefore are compared to fine needlework, which is intricate and various in its textures and colors (Psalm 45:14). In the words there is the duty of meekness—and that duty like the dove, brings an olive leaf in the mouth of it—’they shall inherit the earth’.

The proposition I shall insist on, is that meek people are blessed people. For the right understanding of this, we must know there is a twofold meekness. Meekness towards God, meekness towards man.

 

1. Meekness towards GOD, which implies two things: submission to his will; flexibleness to his Word.

[1] Submission to God’s WILL: when we react calmly, without swelling or murmuring, under the adverse dispensations of providence. ‘It is the Lord’s will. Let him do what he thinks best’ (1 Samuel 3:18). The meek-spirited Christian says thus: ‘Let God do what he will with me, let him carve out whatever condition he pleases, I will submit.’ God sees what is best for me, whether a fertile soil or a barren. Let him chequer his work as he please, it suffices that God has done it. It was an unmeek spirit in the prophet to struggle with God: ‘I do well to be angry to the death!’ (Jonah 4:9).

[2] Flexibleness to God’s WORD: when we are willing to let the Word bear sway in our souls and become pliable to all its laws and maxims. He is spiritually meek who conforms himself to the mind of God, and does not quarrel with the instructions of the Word—but with the corruptions of his heart. Cornelius’ speech to Peter savored of a meek spirit: ‘Now here we are, waiting before God to hear the message the Lord has given you’ (Acts 10:33). How happy is it when the Word which comes with majesty, is received with meekness! (James 1:21).

2. Meekness towards MAN. Basil calls this ‘the indelible character of a gracious soul.’ ‘Blessed are the meek’. To illustrate this, I shall show what this meekness is. Meekness is a grace whereby we are enabled by the Spirit of God to moderate our angry passions. It is a grace. The philosopher calls it a virtue—but the apostle calls it a grace, and therefore reckons it among the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:23). It is of a divine extract and original. By it we are enabled to moderate our passion. By nature the heart is like a troubled sea, casting forth the foam of anger and wrath. Now meekness calms the passions. It sits as moderator in the soul, quieting and giving check to its distempered motions. As the moon serves to temper and allay the heat of the sun, so Christian meekness allays the heat of passion. Meekness of spirit not only fits us for communion with God—but for civil converse with men; and thus among all the graces it holds first place. Meekness has a divine beauty and sweetness in it. It brings credit to true religion; it wins upon all. This meekness consists in three things: the bearing of injuries, the forgiving of injuries, the recompensing good for evil.

1. First, meekness consists in the BEARING of injuries. I may say of this grace, ‘it is not easily provoked’. A meek spirit, like wet tinder, will not easily take fire. ‘Those who seek my hurt spoke mischievous things—but I, as a deaf man, heard not’ (Psalm 38:12, 13). Meekness is ‘the bridle of anger’. The passions are fiery and headstrong; meekness gives check to them. Meekness ‘bridles the mouth’, it ties the tongue to its good behavior. Meekness observes that motto, Bear and forbear. There are four things opposite to meekness.

[1] Meekness is opposed to ANGER. ‘Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools’ (Ecclesiastes 7:9). When the heart boils in passion, and anger (as Seneca says) sparkles forth in the eye, this is far from meekness. ‘Anger resides in the lap of fools’. Anger may be in a wise man—but it residesin a fool. The angry man is like gunpowder. No sooner do you touch him but he is all on fire. Seneca calls anger ‘a short fit of madness’. Sometimes it suspends the use of reason.

How unfitting is rash anger! How it disguises and disfigures! As Plato counseled the great revellers and drinkers of his time, that they should view themselves in a glass when they were in their drunken humor, and they would appear loathsome to themselves, so let a man disguised with passion view himself in the glass, and sure he would ever after be out of love with himself. ‘The face swells with anger, the veins become black with blood’. ‘Let not the sun go down upon your anger, neither give place to the devil’ (Ephesians 4:26, 27). Oh, says one, ‘he has wronged me and I will never give place to him!’ But better give place to him than to the devil. An angry spirit is not a meek spirit. Not but that we may in some cases be angry. There is a holy anger. Only that anger is without sin—which is against sin. Meekness and zeal may stand together. In matters of religion, a Christian must be clothed with the spirit of Elijah, and be ‘full of the fury of the Lord’ (Jeremiah 6:11). Christ was meek (Matt. 11:29)—yet zealous (John 2:14, 15). The zeal of God’s house ate him up.

[2] Meekness is opposed to MALICE. Malice is the devil’s picture (John 8:44). Malice is mental murder (1 John 3:15). It unfits for duty. How can such a man pray? I have read of two men who lived in malice, who being asked how they could say the Lord’s prayer, one answered, he thanked God there were many good prayers besides. The other answered, when he said the Lord’s prayer he left out those words, ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us’. But Augustine brings in God replying, ‘Because you do not say my prayer, I will not hear yours’. Were it not a sad judgement if all that a man ate should turn to poison! To a malicious man all the holy ordinances of God turn to poison. ‘The table of the Lord, is a snare; ‘he eats and drinks his own damnation’. A malicious spirit is not a meek spirit

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXII

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

Gospel Mourning (continued)
The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted- Continued

[1] It will be a great supper in regard of the FOUNDER of this feast—God. It is the supper of a king, therefore sumptuous and magnificent. ‘The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods’ (Psalm 95:3). Where should there be grandeur and magnificence, but in a king’s court?

[2] It will be a great supper in regard of the cheer and PROVISION. This exceeds all hyperboles. What blessed fruit does the tree of life in paradise yield! (Revelation 2:7). Christ will lead his spouse into the ‘banqueting house’ and feast her with those rare viands, and cause her to drink that spiced wine, that heavenly nectar and ambrosia with which the angelic powers are infinitely refreshed.

First, every dish served in at this heavenly supper shall be sweet to our palate. There is no dish here we do not love. Christ will make such ‘savory meat’ as he is sure his spouse loves.

Second, there shall be no lack here. There is no lack at a feast. The multifaceted fullness in Christ will prevent a scarcity, and it will be a fullness without surfeit, because a fresh course will continually be served in.
Third, those who eat of this supper shall ‘hunger no more’. Hunger is a sharp sauce. The ‘Lamb’s supper’ shall not only satisfy hunger—but prevent it. ‘They shall hunger no more!’ (Revelation 7:16).

[3] It will be a great supper in regard of the COMPANY invited. Company adds to a feast, and is of itself sauce to whet the appetite. Saints, angels, archangels will be at this supper. Nay, Christ himself will be both Founder and Guest. The Scripture calls it ‘an innumerable company . . .’ (Hebrews 12:22); and that which makes the society sweeter, is that there shall be perfect love at this feast. The motto shall be ‘one heart and one way’. All the guests shall be linked together with the golden chain of love.

[4] It will be a great supper in regard of the HOLY MIRTH. ‘A feast is made for mirth’ (Ecclesiastes 10:19). At this supper there shall be joy, and nothing but joy (Psalm 16:11). There is no weeping at this feast. O what triumph and acclamations will there be! There are two things at this ‘supper of the Lamb, which will create joy and mirth. First, when the saints shall think with themselves, that they are kept from a worse supper. The devils have a supper (such an one as it is), a black banquet. There are two dishes served in—weeping and gnashing of teeth. Every bit they eat makes their hearts ache. Who would envy them their feasts here on earth—who must have such a dismal supper in hell? Second, it will be a matter of joy at the ‘supper of the Lamb’, that the Master of the feast bids all his guests welcome. The saints shall have the smiles of God’s face, the kisses of his lips. He will lead them into the wine cellar, and display the banner of love over them. The saints shall be as full of solace as sanctity. What is a feast without mirth? Worldly mirth is flashy and empty. This will be infinitely delightful and ravishing.

[5] It will be a great supper for the MUSIC. This will be a marriage supper, and what better music than the Bridegroom’s voice, saying, ‘My spouse, my undefiled, take your fill of love!’ There will be the angels’ anthems, the saints’ triumphs. The angels, those trumpeters of heaven, shall sound forth the excellencies of Jehovah, and the saints, those noble choristers, shall take ‘down their harps from the willows’, and join in consort with the angels, praising and blessing God. ‘I saw before me what seemed to be a crystal sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb—Great and marvelous are your actions, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!’ (Revelation 15:2, 3). O the sweet harmony at this feast! It shall be music without discord.

[6] This supper is great in regard of the PLACE where it shall be celebrated, in the ‘paradise of God’ (Revelation 2:7). It is a stately palace. It is stately for its situation. It is of a very great height (Revelation 21:10). It is stately for its prospect. All sparkling beauties are centered there, and the delight of the prospect is personal possession! That is the best prospect, where a man cannot see to the furthest end of his own ground. This royal feast shall be kept in a most spacious room, a room infinitely greater than the whole firmament. Though there is such a multitude as no man can number, ‘of all nations, kindred, people and tongues’ (Revelation 7:9)—yet the table is long enough and the room spacious enough, for all the guests. One of the things which are requisite to a feast, is a fit place. The empyrean heaven bespangled with light, arrayed with rich hangings, embroidered with glory, seated above all the visible orbs, is the place of the marriage-supper. This infinitely transcends the most profound search. I am no more able to express it, than I can span the firmament, or weigh the earth in a scale.

[7] It will be a great supper in regard of its CONTINUANCE. It has no end. Epicures have a short feast—and a long reckoning. But those who shall sit down at the heavenly banquet—shall never rise from the table. The provisions shall never be taken away—but they shall always be feeding upon those sweets and delicacies which are set before them. We read that King Ahasuerus made a feast for his princes which lasted ‘a hundred and eighty days’ (Esther 1:4). But this blessed feast reserved for the saints—is ‘forever’. ‘At your right hand there are pleasures for evermore’ (Psalm 16:11).

For your consolation, consider how this may be as divine cordial to keep the hearts of God’s people from fainting! ‘They shall be comforted’. They shall sit with Christ ‘upon the throne’ (Revelation 3:21), and sit down with him ‘at the table’. Who would not mourn for sin—that are sure to meet with such rewards! ‘They shall be comforted!’ The marriage-supper will make amends for ‘the valley of tears!’ O saint of God, you who are now weeping bitterly for sin, at this last and great feast your ‘water shall be turned into wine’. You who now mortify your corruptions, and ‘beat down your body’ by prayer and fasting—shall shortly sup with Christ and angels! You who refused to touch the forbidden tree—shall feed upon ‘the tree of life in the paradise of God!’ You impoverished saint, who have scarce a bit of bread to eat, remember for your comfort, ‘in your father’s house there is bread enough’, and he is making ready a feast for you, where all the dainties of heaven are served! O feed with delight upon the thoughts of this marriage-supper! After your funeral, begins your festival! Long for the Lamb’s supper! Christ himself, has paid for this supper upon the cross! ‘Therefore comfort one another with these words!’

Monday we begin CHRISTIAN MEEKNESS 

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XXI

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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 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

Gospel Mourning (continued)
The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted- Continued

1. Why mourners lack comfort—in regard of GOD. He sees it fit to withhold comfort that he may raise the value of grace. We are apt to esteem comfort above grace, therefore God locks up our comforts for a time, that he may enhance the price of grace. When farthings go better than gold the king will call in farthings, that the price of gold may be the more raised. God would have his people serve him for himself—and not for comfort alone. It is a harlot love to love the husband’s money and gifts, more than his person. Such as serve God only for comfort, do not so much serve God, as serve themselves with God.

2. That God’s mourners lack comfort, it is most frequency in regard of THEMSELVES.

[1] Through mistake, which is twofold. They do not go to the right spring for comfort. They go to their tears, when they should go to Christ’s blood. It is a kind of idolatry to make our tears the ground of our comfort. Mourning is not meritorious. It is the way to joy, not the cause. Jacob got the blessing in the garments of his elder brother. True comfort flows out of Christ’s pierced side. Our tears are stained, until they are washed in the blood of Christ. ‘In me you will have peace’ (John 16:33).

The second mistake is that mourners are privileged people, and may take more liberty to slacken or sin. They may slacken the strings of duty, and let loose the reins to sin. Christ has indeed purchased a liberty for his people—but a holy liberty, not a liberty for sin—but from sin. ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2:9). You are not in a state of slavery—but royalty. What follows? Do not make Christian liberty a cloak for sin. ‘As free, and not using your liberty for a cover-up for evil’ (16). If we quench the sanctifying Spirit, God will quench the comforting Spirit. Sin is compared to a ‘cloud’ (Isaiah 44:22). This cloud intercepts the light of God’s countenance.

[2] God’s mourners sometimes lack comfort through discontent and peevishness. David makes his disquiet the cause of his sadness. ‘Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me?’ (Psalm 43:5). A disquieted heart, like a rough sea, is not easily calmed. It is hard to make a troubled spirit receive comfort. This disquiet arises from various causes: sometimes from outward sorrow and melancholy, sometimes from a kind of envy. God’s people are troubled to see others have comfort, and they lack it; and now in a peeve, they refuse comfort, and like a froward child, put away the breast. ‘My soul refused to be comforted’ (Psalm 77:2). Indeed a disquieted spirit is no more fit for comfort, than a madman is fit for counsel. And whence is the mourner’s discontent—but pride? As if God had not dealt well with him in stopping the influences of comfort. O Christian, your spirit must be more humbled and broken, before God empty out his golden oil of joy.

[3] The mourner is without comfort for lack of applying the promises. He looks at sin, which may humble him—but not at that Word, which may comfort him. The mourner’s eyes are so full of tears that he cannot see the promise. The virtue and comfort of a medicine is in the applying. When the promises are applied by faith, they bring comfort (Hosea 2:19; Isaiah 49:15, 16). Faith milks the breast of a promise. That Satan may hinder us of comfort; it is his policy either to keep the promise from us that we may not know it, or to keep us from the promise that we may not apply it. All the promises in the Bible belong to the mourner—had he but the skill and dexterity of faith to lay hold on it.

[4] The mourner may lack comfort through too much earthly-mindedness. By feeding immoderately on earthly comforts—we miss of heavenly comforts. ‘For the iniquity of his covetousness was I angry, and I hid myself’ (Isaiah 57:17). The earth puts out the fire. Earthiness extinguishes the flame of divine joy in the soul. An eclipse occurs when the moon, which is a dense body, comes between the sun and the earth. The moon is an emblem of the world (Revelation 12:1). When this comes between, then there is an eclipse in the light of God’s face. Such as dig in mines say there is such a damp comes from the earth as puts out the light of a candle. Earthly comforts send forth such a damp as puts out the light of spiritual joy.

[5] Perhaps the mourner has had comfort and lost it. Adam’s rib was taken from him, when he was asleep (Genesis 2:21). Our comforts are taken away, when we fall asleep in security. The spouse lost her beloved when she lay upon the bed of sloth (Canticles 5:2, 6).

For these reasons God’s mourners may lack comfort—but that the spiritual mourner may not be too much dejected, I shall reach forth ‘the cup of consolation’ (Jeremiah 16:7), and speak a few words that may comfort the mourner in the lack of comfort.

Jesus Christ was without comfort, therefore no wonder if we are. Our comforts are not better than his. He who was the Son of God’s love, was without the sense of God’s love. The mourner has a seed of comfort: ‘Light is sown for the righteous’ (Psalm 97:11). Light is a metaphor put for comfort, and it is sown. Though a child of God does not have comfort always in the flower—yet he has it in the seed. Though he does not feel comfort from God, yet he takes comfort in God. A Christian may be high in grace—and low in comfort. The high mountains are without flowers. The mines of gold have no corn growing on them. A Christian’s heart may be a rich mine of grace, though it is barren of comfort. The mourner is heir to comfort, and though for a small moment God may forsake his people (Isaiah 54:7)—yet there is a time shortly coming, when the mourner shall have all tears wiped away, and shall be brim full of comfort. This joy is reserved for heaven, and this brings me to the second particular.

‘They shall be comforted’. Though in this life some interviews and love tokens pass between God and the mourner—yet the great comforts are kept in sore for heaven. ‘In God’s presence is fullness of joy’ (Psalm 16:11). There is a time coming (the daystar is ready to appear) when the saints shall bathe themselves in the river of life, when they shall never more see a wrinkle on God’s brow—but his face shall shine, his lips drop honey, his arms sweetly embrace them! The saints shall have a spring-tide of joy, and it shall never be low water. The saints shall at that day put off their mourning, and exchange their sables for white robes. Then shall the winter be past, the rain of tears be over and gone (Canticles 2:11, 12). The flowers of joy shall appear, and after the weeping of the dove—’the time of the singing of birds shall come’. This is the ‘great consolation’, the Jubilee of the blessed which shall never expire. In this life the people of God taste of joy—but in heaven their vessels shall always overflow. There is a river in the midst of the heavenly paradise which has a fountain to feed it (Psalm 36:8, 9).

The times we are cast into, being for the present sad and cloudy, it will not be amiss for the reviving the hearts of God’s people, to speak a little of these comforts which God reserves in heaven for his mourners. ‘They shall be comforted’.

The greatness of these celestial comforts is most fitly in Scripture expressed by the joy of a feast. Mourning shall be turned into feasting, and it shall be a marriage-feast, which is usually kept with the greatest solemnity. ‘Blessed are those who are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:9). Some understand this supper of the Lamb, to be meant of the saints’ supping with Christ in heaven. Men after hard labor, go to supper. So when the saints shall ‘rest from their labors’ (Revelation 14:13), they shall sup with Christ in glory. Now to speak something of the last great supper.

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XX

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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 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

Gospel Mourning (continued)
The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted- Continued

Third, the comforts God gives his mourners are SWEET. ‘Truly the light is sweet’ (Ecclesiastes 11:7); so is the light of God’s countenance. How sweet are those comforts which bring the Comforter along with them! (John 14:10). Therefore the love of God shed into the heart, is said to be ‘better than wine’ (Canticles 1:2). Wine pleases the palate—but the love of God cheers the conscience. The lips, of Christ ‘drop sweet-smelling myrrh’ (Canticles 5:13). The comforts which God gives, are a Christian’s music. They are the golden pot of manna, the nectar and ambrosia of a Christian. They are the saints’ festival, their banqueting delicacies.

So sweet are these divine comforts, that the church had her fainting fits, for lack of them. ‘Stay me with flagons’ (Canticles 2:5). By these flagons, are meant the comforts of the Spirit. The Hebrew word signifies ‘all variety of delights’ to show the abundance of delectability and sweetness in these comforts of the Spirit. ‘Comfort me with apples.’ Apples are sweet in taste, fragrant in smell. Just so, sweet and delicious are those apples which grow upon the tree in paradise. These comforts from above are so sweet that they make all other comforts sweet; health, estate, relations. They are like sauce which makes all our earthly possessions and enjoyments come off with a bitter relish. So sweet are these comforts of the Spirit, that they much abate and moderate our joy in worldly things. He who has been drinking choice wine, will not much desire water; and that man who has once ‘tasted how sweet the Lord is’ (Psalm 34:8), and has drunk the cordials of the Spirit, will not thirst immoderately after carnal delights. Those who play with dogs and birds—it is a sign they have no children. Just so, such as are inordinate in their desire and love of the creature, declare plainly that they never had better comforts.

Fourth, these comforts which God gives his mourners are HOLY comforts. They are called ‘the comfort of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 9:31). Everything propagates in its own kind. The Holy Spirit can no more produce impure joys in the soul, than the sun can produce darkness. He who has the comforts of the Spirit looks upon himself as a person engaged to do God more service. Has the Lord looked upon me with a smiling face? I can never pray enough. I can never love God enough. The comforts of the Spirit raise in the heart a holy antipathy against sin. The dove hates every feather from the hawk. Just so, there is a hatred of every motion and temptation to evil. He who has a principle of life in him, opposes everything that would destroy life—he hates poison. So he who has the comforts of the Spirit living in him, sets himself against those sins which would murder his comforts. Divine comforts give the soul more acquaintance with God. ‘Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus.’ (1 John 1:3).

Fifth, the comforts reserved for the mourners are FILLING comforts. ‘The God of hope fill you with all joy . . .’ (Romans 15:13). ‘Ask . . . that your joy may be full’ (John 16:24). When God pours in the joys of heaven, they fill the heart and make it run over. ‘I am exceeding joyful . . .’ (2 Corinthians 7:4). The Greek word is ‘I overflow with joy’, as a cup that is filled with wine until it runs over. Outward comforts can no more fill the heart—than a triangle can fill a circle. Spiritual joys are satisfying. ‘My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow, and I will praise you with joyful lips’ (Psalm 63:5). David’s heart was full, and the joy broke out at his lips. ‘You have put gladness in my heart’ (Psalm 4:7). Worldly joys put gladness into the face: ‘They rejoice in the face’ (2 Corinthians 5:12). But the Spirit of God puts gladness into the heart. Divine joys are heart joys (Zechariah 10:7). ‘Your heart shall rejoice’ (John 16:22). A believer rejoices in God: ‘My Spirit rejoices in God . . .’ (Luke 1:47).

And to show how filling these comforts are which are of a heavenly extraction, the Psalmist says they create greater joy than when ‘their wine and oil increase’ (Psalm 4:7). Wine and oil may delight—but they cannot satisfy; they have their emptiness and indigence. We may say as Zechariah 10:2, ‘They comfort in vain.’ Outward comforts sooner cloy than cheer—and sooner weary than fill. Xerxes offered great rewards to him who could find out a new pleasure—but the comforts of the Spirit are satisfactory. They refresh the heart. ‘Your comforts delight my soul’ (Psalm 94:19). There is as much difference between heavenly comforts and earthly comforts—as between a banquet which is eaten, and one which is painted on the wall.

Sixth, the comforts God gives his mourners in this life are GLORIOUS comforts. ‘Joy full of glory’ (1 Peter 1:8). They are glorious because they are a foretaste of that joy which we shall have in a glorified estate. These comforts are a pledge of glory. They put us in heaven before our time. ‘You were sealed with the Holy Spirit, which is the pledge of the inheritance’ (Ephesians 1:13, 14). So the comforts of the Spirit are the pledge, the ‘cluster of grapes’ at Eshcol (Numbers 13:23), the first-fruits of the heavenly Canaan. The joys of the Spirit are glorious, in opposition to other joys, which compared with these, are inglorious and vile. A carnal man’s joy, as it is airy and flashy, so it is sordid. He sucks nothing but dregs. ‘You rejoice in a thing of nothing’ (Amos 6:13). A carnal spirit rejoices because he can say that this house is his, or that this estate is his. But a gracious spirit rejoices because he can say that this God is his: ‘For this God is our God forever and ever’ (Psalm 48:14). The ground of a Christian’s joy is glorious. He rejoices in that he is an heir of the promise. The joy of a godly man is made up of that which is the angels’ joy. He triumphs in the light of God’s countenance. His joy is that which is Christ’s own joy. He rejoices in the mystical union which is begun here and consummated in heaven. Thus the joy of the saints is a joy ‘full of glory’.

Seventh, the comforts which God gives his mourners are infinitely transporting and RAVISHING. So delightful are they and amazing, that they cause a jubilation which is so great, that it cannot be expressed. Of all things joy is the most hard to be deciphered. It is called ‘joy unspeakable’ (1 Peter 1:8). You cannot tell how sweet honey is, without actually tasting it. The most elevated words can no more set forth the comforts of the Spirit, than the a pencil can draw the life and breath of a man. The angels cannot express the joys they feel. Some men have been so overwhelmed with the sweet raptures of joy, that they have not been able to contain—but as Moses, have died with a kiss from God’s mouth. Thus have we seen the glass oft breaking with the strength of the liquor put into it.

Eighth, these comforts of the Spirit are POWERFUL. They are strong cordials, strong consolation, as the apostle phrases it (Hebrews 6:18). Divine comfort strengthens for duty. ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy whets and sharpens industry. A man who is steeled and animated with the comfort of God’s Spirit, goes with vigor and alacrity through the exercises of piety. He believes firmly, he loves fervently, he is carried full sail in duty. ‘The joy of the Lord is his strength’. Divine comfort supports under affliction: ‘Having received the Word in much affliction, with joy’ (1 Thessalonians 1:6). The wine of the Spirit can sweeten ‘the waters of Marah’. Those who are possessed of these heavenly comforts can ‘gather grapes from thorns’, and fetch honey out of the ‘lion’s carcass’. They are ‘strong consolations’ indeed, which can endure the ‘fiery trial’, and turn the flame into a bed of roses. How powerful is that comfort which can make a Christian glory in tribulations (Romans 5:3)! A believer is never so sad, but he can rejoice. The bird of paradise can sing in the winter. ‘As sorrowing—yet always rejoicing’ (2 Corinthians 6:10). Let sickness come, the sense of pardon takes away the sense of pain. ‘The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick’ (Isaiah 33:24). Let death come, the Christian is above it. ‘O death, where is your sting?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55). At the end of the rod, a Christian tastes honey. These are ‘strong consolations’.

Ninth, the comforts God’s mourners have are HEART-QUIETING comforts. They cause a sweet acquiescence and rest in the soul. The heart of a Christian is in a state of discomposure, like the needle in the compass; it shakes and trembles—until the Comforter comes. Some creatures cannot live but in the sun. A Christian is discomposed, unless he has the sunlight of God’s countenance. ‘Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit’ (Psalm 143:7). Nothing but the breast will quiet the child. It is only the breast of consolation, which quiets the believer.

Tenth, the comforts of the Spirit are ABIDING comforts. As they abound in us so they abide with us. ‘He shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever’ (John 14:16). Worldly comforts are always upon the wing, ready to fly. They are like a flash of lightning. ‘They will oftentimes pass away and glide from your closest embrace’. All things here are transient—but the comforts with which God feeds his mourners are immortal: ‘Who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation’ (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Though a Christian does not always have a full beam of comfort yet he has a dawning of it in his soul. He always has a ground of hope and a root of joy. There is that within him, which bears up his heart, and which he would not on any terms part with.

Behold, then, the mourner’s privilege, ‘He shall be comforted’. David who was the great mourner of Israel, was the ‘sweet singer of Israel’. The weeping dove shall be covered with the golden feathers of comfort. O how rare and superlative are these comforts!

But the question may be asked, ‘May not God’s mourners lack these comforts?’ Spiritual mourners have a title to these comforts—yet they may sometimes lack them. God is a sovereign agent. He will have the timing of our comforts. He has a self-freedom to do what he will. The Holy One of Israel will not be limited. He reserves his prerogative to give or suspend comfort—as he will; and if we are a while without comfort, we must not quarrel with his dispensations, for as the mariner is not to wrangle with providence because the wind blows out of the east when he desires it to blow out of the west; nor is the farmer to murmur when God stops the bottles of heaven in time of drought; so neither is any man to dispute or quarrel with God, when he stops the sweet influence of comfort—but he ought rather to acquiesce in his sacred will.

But though the Lord might by virtue of his sovereignty withhold comfort from the mourner—yet there may be many pregnant causes assigned why mourners lack comfort in regard of God and also in regard of themselves.

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XIX

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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 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

Gospel Mourning (continued)
The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted- Continued

How does the Spirit comfort? Either mediately or immediately.

[1] The Spirit comforts mediately, by helping us to apply the promises to ourselves and draw water out of those ‘wells of salvation’. We lie as dead children at the breast—until the Spirit helps us to suck the breast of a promise; and when the Spirit has taught faith this art, now comfort flows in. O how sweet is the breast-milk of a promise!

[2] The Spirit comforts immediately. The Spirit by a more direct act presents God to the soul as reconciled. He ‘sheds his love abroad in the heart’, from whence flows infinite joy (Romans 5:5). The Spirit secretly whispers pardon for sin—and the sight of a pardon dilates the heart with joy. ‘Be of good cheer—your sins are forgiven’ (Matthew 9:2).

That I may speak more fully to this point, I shall show you the nature and excellencies of these comforts which God gives his mourners. These comforts are real comforts. The Spirit of God cannot witness to that which is untrue. There are many in this age who pretend to comfort—but their comforts are mere impostures. A man may as well be swelled with false, as true comforts. The comforts of the saints are certain. They have the seal of the Spirit set to them (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13). A seal is for confirmation. When a deed is sealed, it is firm and unquestionable. When a Christian has the seal of the Spirit stamped upon his heart—now he is confirmed in the love of God.

Wherein do these comforts of the Spirit which are unquestionably sure, differ from those which are false and pretended? Three ways:

First, the comforts of God’s Spirit are laid in deep conviction: ‘And when he (that is, the Comforter) has come, he shall convict the world of sin’ (John 16:7, 8). Why does conviction go before consolation? Conviction of sin, fits for comfort. By conviction of sin, the Spirit sweetly disposes the heart to seek after Christ and then to receive Christ. Once the soul is convinced of sin and of the hell which follows sin—a Savior is precious. When the Spirit has shot in the arrow of conviction, ‘now,’ says a poor soul, ‘Where may I meet with Christ? How may I come to enjoy Christ?’ ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves? All the world for one glimpse of my Savior!’

Again, the Spirit by conviction makes the heart willing to receive Christ upon his own terms. Man, by nature, would bargain with Christ. He would take half Christ. He would take him for a Savior to save him from his sin—but not as a King to rule over him. He would accept of Christ as he has ‘a head of gold’ (Canticles 5:11)—but not as he has ‘the government upon his shoulder’ (Isaiah 9:6). But when God lets loose the spirit of bondage and convinces a sinner of his lost, undone condition—now he is content to have Christ upon any terms. When Paul was struck down to the ground by a spirit of conviction, he cries out, ‘Lord, what will you have me to do?’ (Acts 9:6). Let God propound whatever articles he will—the soul will subscribe to them. Now, when a man is brought to Christ’s terms, to believe and obey, then he is fit for mercy. When the Spirit of God has been a spirit of conviction of sin, then He becomes a spirit of consolation. When the plough of the law has gone upon the heart and broken up the fallow ground—then God sows the seed of comfort. Those who brag of comfort—but were never truly convicted, nor broken, for sin—have cause to suspect their comfort to be a delusion of Satan. It is like a madman’s joy, who thinks himself to be a king—but it may be said of ‘his laughter, it is mad’ (Ecclesiastes 2:2). The seed which lacked ‘depth of earth’ withered (Matthew 13:5). That comfort which lacks ‘depth of earth’, deep humiliation and conviction, will soon wither and come to nothing.

The Spirit of God is a sanctifying, before a comforting Spirit. As God’s Spirit is called the ‘Comforter’, so he is called ‘a Spirit of grace’ (Zechariah 12:10). Grace is the work of the Spirit. Comfort is the seal of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit goes before the seal. The graces of the Spirit are compared to water (Isaiah 44:3) and to oil (Isaiah 61:3). First, God pours in the water of the Spirit and then comes the oil of gladness. The oil (in this sense) runs above the water. Hereby we shall know whether our comforts are true and genuine. Some talk of the comforting Spirit, who never had the sanctifying Spirit. They boast of assurance—but never had grace. These are spurious joys. These comforts will leave men at death. They will end in horror and despair. God’s Spirit will never set seal to a blank. First, the heart must be an epistle written with the finger of the Holy Spirit—and then it is ‘sealed with the Spirit of promise’.

First, the comforts of the Spirit are HUMBLING.Lord,’ says the soul, ‘what am I that I should have a smile from heaven, and that you should give me a privy seal of your love?’ The more water is poured into a bucket—the lower it descends. The fuller the ship is laden with sweet spices—the lower it sails. The more a Christian is filled with the sweet comforts of the Spirit—the lower he sails in humility. The fuller a tree is of fruit—the lower the bough hangs. The more full we are of ‘the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy and peace’ (Galatians 5:22), the more we bend in humility. Paul, a ‘chosen vessel’ (Acts 9:15), filled with the wine of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:5), did not more abound in joy, than in lowliness of mind. ‘Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given . . ‘, (Ephesians 3:8). He who was the chief of the apostles calls himself the least of the saints.

Those who say they have comfort—but are proud; who have learned to despise others—their comforts are delusions. The devil is able, not only to ‘transform himself into an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14)—but he can transform himself into the comforter. It is easy to counterfeit money, to silver over brass and put the king’s image upon it. The devil can silver over false comforts and make them look as if they had the stamp of the King of heaven upon them. The comforts of God are humbling. Though they lift the heart up in thankfulness—yet they do not puff it up in pride.

Second, the comforts God gives his mourners are UNMIXED. They are not tempered with any bitter ingredients. Worldly comforts are like wine that is mixed with dregs. ‘In the midst of laughter the heart is sad’ (Proverbs 14:13). If the breast of a sinner were anatomized and opened—you would find a worm gnawing at his heart. Guilt is a wolf which feeds in the breast of his comfort. A sinner may have a smiling countenance but a chiding conscience. His mirth is like the mirth of a man in debt, who is every hour in fear of arrest. The comforts of wicked men are spiced with bitterness. They are worm-wood wine.

‘These are the men who tremble, and grow pale at every lightning flash, and when it thunders are half-dead with terror at the very first rumbling of the heavens.’
But spiritual comforts are pure. They are not muddied with guilt, nor mixed with fear. They are the pure wine of the Spirit. What the mourner feels is joy, and nothing but joy.

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XVIII

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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 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

Gospel Mourning (continued)

Some HELPS to mourning

Having removed the obstructions, let me in propound some helps to holy mourning.

1. Set SIN continually before you. ‘My sin is ever before me’ (Psalm 51:3). David, that he might be a mourner, kept his eye fully upon sin. See what sin is—and then tell me if there be not enough in it to draw forth tears! I know not what name, is bad enough to give to sin. One calls it the devil’s excrement. Sin is a combining of all evils. It is the spirit of evil distilled. Sin dishonors God—it denies God’s omniscience, it derides his patience, it distrusts his faithfulness. Sin tramples upon God’s law, slights his love, grieves his Spirit. Sin wrongs us; sin shames us. ‘Sin is a reproach to any people’ (Proverbs 14:34). Sin has made us naked. It has plucked off our robe—and taken our crown from us! Sin has spoiled us of our glory. Nay, it has not only made us naked—but impure. ‘I saw you polluted in your blood’ (Ezekiel 16:6). Sin has not only taken off our golden robe—but it has put upon us ‘filthy garments’ (Zechariah 3:3).

God made us ‘after his likeness’ (Genesis 1:26)—but sin has made us ‘like the beasts which perish’ (Psalm 49:20). We have all become brutish in our affections. Nor has sin made us only like the beasts—but like the devil (John 8:44). Sin has drawn the devil’s picture upon man’s heart. Sin stabs us. The sinner, like the jailer, draws a sword to kill himself (Acts 16:27). He is bereaved of his judgement and, like the man in the gospel, possessed with the devils, ‘he cuts himself with stones’ (Mark 5:5), though he has such a stone in his heart that he does not feel it. Every sin is a stroke at the soul. So many sins—so many wounds! Every blow given to the tree, helps forward the felling of the tree. Every sin is a hewing and chopping down the soul for hellfire! If then there is all this evil in sin—if this forbidden fruit has such a bitter core—it should make us mourn. Our hearts should be the spring—and our eyes the rivers!

2. If we would be mourners, let us be orators. Beg a spirit of contrition. Pray to God that he will put us in mourning, that he will give us a melting frame of heart. Let us beg Achsah’s blessing, even ‘springs of water’ (Joshua 15:19). Let us pray that our hearts may be spiritual stills—dropping tears into God’s bottle. Let us pray that we who have the poison of the serpent—may have the tears of the dove. The Spirit of God is a spirit of mourning. Let us pray that God would pour out that Spirit of grace upon us, whereby we may ‘look on him whom we have pierced and mourn for him’ (Zechariah 12:10).

God must breathe in his Spirit—before we can breathe out our sorrows. The Spirit of God is like the fire in a still—which sends up the dews of grace in the heart and causes them to drop from the eyes. It is this blessed Spirit whose gentle breath causes our spices to smell—and our waters to flow! If the spring of mourning is once set open in the heart—there can lack no joy. As tears flow out—comfort flows in! This leads to the second part of the text, ‘They shall be comforted’.

The COMFORTS belonging to mourners

Having already presented to your view the dark side of the text, I shall now show you the bright side, “They shall be comforted.” Where observe:

1. Mourning goes before comfort—as the lancing of a wound precedes the cure. The Antinomian talks of comfort—but cries down mourning for sin. He is like a foolish patient who, having a pill prescribed him, licks the sugar—but throws away the pill. The libertine is all for joy and comfort. He licks the sugar—but throws away the bitter pill of repentance. If ever we have true comfort we must have it in God’s way and method. Sorrow for sin ushers in joy: ‘I will restore comforts to him, and to his mourners’ (Isaiah 57:18). That is the true sunshine of joy—which comes after a shower of tears. We may as well expect a crop without seed—as comfort without gospel-mourning.

2. Observe that God keeps his best wine until last. First he prescribes mourning for sin—and then sets open the wine of consolation. The devil does quite contrary. He shows the best first—and keeps the worst until last. First, he shows the wine sparkling in the glass—then comes the ‘biting of the serpent’ (Proverbs 23:32). Satan sets his dainty dishes before men. He presents sin to them colored with beauty, sweetened with pleasure, silvered with profit—and then afterwards the sad reckoning is brought in! He showed Judas first the silver bait—and then stuck him with the hook! This is the reason why sin has so many followers, because it shows the best first. First, the golden crowns—then comes the lions’ teeth! (Revelation 9:7, 8).

But God shows the worst first. First he prescribes a bitter portion— and then brings a cordial, ‘They shall be comforted pour it upon the mourner. Well then, may the apostle call it ‘a repentance not to be repented of’ (2 Corinthians 7:10). A man’s drunkenness is to be repented of; his uncleanness is to be repented of; but his repentance is never to be repented of, because it is the inlet to joy. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Here is sweet fruit from a bitter stock. Christ caused the earthen vessels to be filled to the brim with water, and then turned the water into wine (John 2:9). So when the eye, that earthen vessel, has been filled with water to the brim, then Christ will turn the water of tears into the wine of joy. ‘Holy mourning,’ says Basil, ‘is the seed out of which the flower of eternal joy grows.’

The REASONS why the mourner shall be comforted.

[1] Because mourning is made on purpose for this end. Mourning is not prescribed for itself but that it may lead on to something else—that it may lay a train for comfort. Therefore we sow in tears—that we may reap in joy. Holy mourning is a spiritual medicine. Now a medicine is not prescribed for itself—but for the sake of health. So gospel-mourning is appointed for this very end—to bring forth joy.

[2] The spiritual mourner is the fittest person for comfort. When the heart is broken for sin—now it is fittest for joy. God pours the golden oil of comfort—into broken vessels. The mourner’s heart is emptied of pride—and God fills the empty with his blessing. The mourner’s tears have helped to purge out corruption—and then God gives a cordial. The mourner is ready to faint away under the burden of sin—and then the refreshing cordial comes seasonably. The Lord would have the incestuous person (upon his deep humiliation) to be comforted, lest ‘he should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow’ (2 Corinthians 2:7).

This is the mourner’s privilege: ‘He shall be comforted’. The valley of tears brings the soul into a paradise of joy. A sinner’s joy brings forth sorrow. The mourner’s sorrow brings forth joy. ‘Your sorrow shall be turned into joy’ (John 16:20). The saints have a sorrowful seedtime—but a joyful harvest. ‘They shall be comforted’.

Now to illustrate this, I shall show you what the comforts are, that the mourners shall have. These comforts are of a divine infusion, and they are twofold, either here or hereafter.

They are called ‘the consolations of God’ (Job 15:11); that is, ‘great comforts’, such as none but God can give. They exceed all other comforts as far as heaven exceeds earth. The root on which these comforts grow is the blessed Spirit. He is called ‘the Comforter’ (John 14:26), and comfort is said to be a ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22). Christ purchased peace, and the Spirit speaks peace