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ferable object which came in his way, and his readiness to relicve them: His kind provision (made at the expence of a miracle) for the multitudes, ready to † faint with long attending upon him ; his quitting the care of his own support $ and necessary refreshment, to heal those who had need of healing; his practising charity * to the poor, and recommending it to others as a kindness shewnt to himself. His mercy to his enemies, in forgiving and doing good to them, we have taken notice of above. The purity of his heart appears in the innočence of his life: # For a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things 3 and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his beart bringeth forth that which is evil. Nor the worst of his enemies could charge him with an impure word or action, even those * who were conscious of their own impurity. His peaceable disposition appears in feveral particulars abovementioned in the account of his meekness; and that he was indeed a peacemaker, we need only consider that he spared not bis own life, but gave it up upon the cross, to reconcile us to our offended God, and put an end to that fatal quarrel which sin had caused betwixt him and us. And lastly, that he was persecuted for righteousness fake, the whole four Gospels suffici ently evidence, and I suppose no Christian will ditt

No doubt therefore, the poor in spirit, the religious mourner, the meek, those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the

pure in heart, the peace-makers, and those that are perfecum ted for righteousness sake, are indeed the blefred and happy men; since he who has pronounc'd them so, had a most perfect knowledge of what true happi

pute it.

| Matth. xiv. 15.

| Matth. XXV. 35. ,

† Luke ix. 11.
İLuke. vi. 45

* John xiii. 29. * John viii. 9.

ness

ness is, and having also the power of being as bles fed and happy as he would, thought fit to place his own felicity in these qualities, and to recommend them to us by his own example. This one would think should be enough to fix our opinion, and to inspire our practice ; yet left our dull apprehenfions, or corrupt and prejudiced nature should be still wavering, decline the practice, and not see or not believe the blessedness of it, he has condescended to a more express encouragement, explain'd the particular way whereby each of those qualifications Thall render those who have them blessed, and annexed particular rewards to every one of them. So that now we have no excuse ; we are called to holiness and yirtue, and thereby to happiness; and not only called by way

by way of precept and command, but invited and encourag'd too by all the Arguments (even from self-interest) which can be lupposed to work upon any reasonable people. But

. if we will still be so obitinate and foolish, like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear, that we will not bearken to the voice of the charmer charming never

fo wisely : If neither the love of virtue, nor the rewards of it will move us, we must thank our selves if we be uneasy and miserable in this world, lose sight of heaven and happiness for ever, and fpend a fad eternity in regret and torment.

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M AT TH. V. 3. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is

the Kingdom of Heaven.

T will be necessary upon this head to

consider, I

I. The character of the persons, the

poor in fpirit; or what qualifications are implied in that expression.

II. THE

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II. The blessing assignd and assured to perfons so qualify'd, the kingdom of heaven.

FIRST, The character of the persons here spoken of, and who they are whom we may suppose our Saviour to have intended by the poor in spirit. Somc interpreters understand this of poverty of eftate, as if he had pronounced the blessing merely upon those who are miferable and neceffitous in their condition as to the common things in this world: and hereupon the Romißlo Church has principally founded the monastick life, and voluntary poverty profess’d by vow and promise, with such a solemın shew of severity amongst them. But this blessing cannot reasonably be taken in fach an extent: for tho' Christ our Saviour is the great fountain of pity and compaffion, delights to ease and gratify the necessities of human nature, and

, the poor as such have a particular title to his providence, when piety and faith have taught them to depend upon it, and there are other promises in the holy Scriptures which may encourage their expectations in this kind; yet as to the blessing promised in the text, the poor are no farther concern'd in it than as their poverty mray dispose them (if well and piously improved) to receive more readily that humble and self-denying doctrine which our Saviour opened to the world, and, like the preaching of the Baptist, prepare the minds of men for the belief and practice of true Christianity. 'Tis not to be thought that therefore men have larger communications of the grace of Christ here, and more just assurances of eternal glory hereafter, because they are poor and low in their outward çircumstances: for in dispensing the blessings of his Gospel, he regards neither poor nor rich, any farther than by repentance from dead works, and the

1

belief of bim, they render themselves capable objects of his grace and favour; and we fee, in fact, how many indigent people there are in the world, whose poverty, inftead of qualifying them for faints on earth, and heirs of heaven, is the very occasion of their greater wickedness, by drawing them into diftrust and murmuring, and unbelief towards God, and dishonesty, violence, and other injuries to their neighbour. These therefore cannot be the men to whom the kingdom of beaven (in any sense). peculiarly belongs. But those upon whom that blessing is here entail'd, are the poor in spirit; and who they are that may be properly accounted poor in spirit, will be perhaps sufficiently described in these four following heads.

1. Such as are humble and lowly in spirit, not lifted up with pride and vanity in the possession of worldly things. And I fuppofe the addition of those words [in spirit] which is the distinguishing cha racter in the text, is principally for this purpose, that so the rich may be capable of the blelling and the kingdom too, as well as others. For Christ is the * Saviour of all men, and has not fo altered the government of things, as that to become his dit ciples men should neceffarily quit their former state and posture in the world. For he who is poor in {pirit, tho' his condition be honourable and rich, has nevertheless that temper and qualification which a poor man is supposed to have. His honour and riches do not swell him to a contempt of others. He does not sacrifice to his own nets; ascribe all to his own industry and merit, nor look upon himself as really and substantially the better for all that wealth and power which he enjoys; but he reflects upon the no dcfert and title he can make before Almighty God. He considers the #clay out of which

I Tim. iv. Io.

+ Hab. i: 16.

# Job xxxii. 6.

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