« PreviousContinue »
Those who are filled, must of course be satisfied. Revelations vii. 16, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."
Eleventhly, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." What is mercy? The son of Jesse, and the man of Tarsus, gives us an answer to this question. It is an essential perfection among the attributes of God, which induces him to pity and relieve the miseries of his children. Mercy in man, although notoriously deficient in quantity, is the same in quality. The evangelist Luke, in the tenth chapter of his gospel, describes a certain Samaritan, who shewed mercy unto him who fell among thieves; and although we have considered the account of this traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho as a beautiful allegory, yet there are among men, who would, on a like occasion, have manifested mercy like that which is ascribed to the Samaritan.
Twelfthly, What is it to be merciful? To be merciful, is to be full of mercy. Are any among the fallen children of men full of mercy? Hosea iv. 1, "Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." Doth the Redeemer of men possess this attribute of mercy in perfection? He does; God is merciful. Psalm lxii. 12, "Also unto thee, O LORD, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work." God is merciful. He proclaimed himself merciful. Exodus xxxiv. 6, "And the LORD God passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." Nor is the mercy of God opposed to his truth. Psalm lxxxv. 10, ❝ Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Nor is the mercy of God limited. Psalm lxxxvi. 5, "For thou LORD, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy, unto all them that call upon thee." Nor will the mercy of the LORD ever fail. Psalm c. 5, "For the LORD is good, and his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." It is also from everlasting. Psalm ciii. 17, "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children." It is by the union of mercy and truth, that iniquity is purged. Luke i. 72, 78, "To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to
remember his holy covenant. Through the tender mercy of our God, the day-spring from on high hath visited us." Titus iii. 5, "God saved us according to his mercy."
Thirteenthly, What is the blessedness of the Redeemer? Psalm lxxii. 17, "His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun, and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed." Psalm xlv. 2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever." Luke xix. 38, "Saying, blessed be the king, that cometh in the name of the LORD; peace in heaven and glory in the highest." But how are men to be blessed, if the blessing be thus confined to the Redeemer? Ephesians i. 3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." But what mercy did the Saviour need or obtain? Psalm lxxxix. 28, “My mercy will I keep for him forevermore; and my covenant shall stand fast with him." And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall set upon it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. Thus it will always be found, that the merciful are blessed; for they shall obtain mercy.
MATTHEW V. 32-37.
First, OUR Saviour not only directs, confirms, and enforces the law, but he refines, amplifies, and extends its precepts.
Secondly, "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old times, Thou shall not forswear thyself; but I say unto you, Swear not at all." James v. 12, "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation."
Thirdly, Swear not by heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by earth, for it is his footstool. Isaiah lxvi. 1, "Thus, saith
the LORD, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool."
Fourthly, Neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Psalm xlviii. 2, "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King."
Fifthly, Neither by thy head, for thou canst not change the colour of a single hair.” It is God alone that controlleth events; therefore let a persuasion of thy own imbecility keep thy mouth from swearing, and thy tongue from oaths. And
Sixthly, "Let thy communication be yea, yea, nay, nay." 2Corinthians i. 17, 18, "When I, therefore, was thus minded, did I use lightness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.”
First, That divine Being who gave the law, condescends to become its expositor. Secondly, The great Lawgiver designs to lead us to his blessed self. He is the husband of the creature whom he hath made; and in this character, he hates putting away. Thirdly, We are called to contemplate the nearness of the con'nexion between heaven and earth; the one is his throne, the other his footstool. Fourthly, There is a necessity of bridling the tongue; it is an unruly member. Lastly, The Redeemer directs, that our communications be simple, yea and nay; for whatsoever is more than this cometh of evil,
MATTHEW V. 38-42.
First, THE doctrine of retaliation was taught by the law given Moses. But our divine Moralist, teacheth us not to resist evil. Proverbs xx. 22, "Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he will save thee." Romans xii. 19,
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves; but rather give place unto wrath for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the LORD." We are taught to recompense no man evil for evil, but as much as lieth in us, to live peaceably with all men.
Secondly, Jesus Christ teacheth us not only by precept, but by example. Isaiah 1. 6, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting.".
Thirdly, "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." 1 Corinthians vi. 7, "Now, therefore, there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?" Thessalonians v. 15, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.” 1 Peter iii. 9, "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing."
Fourthly, Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him train. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away." Deuteronomy xv. 8, 10, “But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him." Luke vi. "Give to every man that asketli of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the highest for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Romans xii. 20, "Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."
First, Do not let us, like the Jewish doctors, make these divine precepts void by our traditions. Secondly, Although these precepts may seem a violation of that law which ordaineth breach for breach, eye for eye, &c. &c. yet, in fact, it is not; for although we must not exact, he, Jesus Christ, freely gave; for he fulfilled the whole law, and was wounded for our transgressions. Thirdly, It is absolutely better to be silent under injuries, than to be a plague to him who seeketh to be a plague to us. Fourthly, If it be right to give to him that asketh, the Judge of all the earth will surely do right; he will give to him that asketh. Fifthly, He that doeth not as this divine Teacher directeth, is considered as a sinner But would it not be blasphemy to charge the Teacher himself with these crimes?
MATTHEW V. 43, 44.
First, THESE words are not to be found in the Mosaic code. It was an inference drawn by the Jewish doctors from Exodus xxiv. 12, "Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be a snare in the midst of thee." But I say unto you, love your enemies. Enemy is contrasted with friend, love with hatred. See this divine precept exemplified. Luke xxiii. 34, Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And in Acts, vii. 60, "And he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."
Secondly, "Bless them that curse you." Romans xii. 14, "Bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not." ICOrinthians iv. 12, "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat."
Thirdly, Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.