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ance, in gratitude, and in this poorness of spirit; before he can hope to be one of the kingdom of heaven.
The Man of Titles, he who is ranked among the excellent of the earth, and before whom boweth the knee of obeisance; who is an eloquent man in the council of his nation, and who sitteth upon the bench of justice; must himself bend down before the One, who is higher than he, and plead for mercy, in this poorness of spirit.
The Man of Wisdom, he who can speak all tongues, and can foretel the signs of the times; whose mind can walk down among the ruins of buried ages, or mount upward to track the marches of the planets; must be dumb in ignorance, and feel in this poorness of spirit, that without the teaching of the Spirit of Truth, he is but of yesterday, and knows nothing.
The Beauty of Fashion, she in whose cheek is the freshening tint of the morning, and in whose eye is the dewy softness of heaven; she whose presence is greeted by the rivalry of admirers, and whose heart is throbbing with the emotions of desire; she must feel that, as to her body, a heap of dust is all she is, and all the proud shall be;' and that virtue alone will give her that beauty of the soul, which will bloom beyond the grave.
Such is the poorness of spirit, which is pronounced blessed; and which any of you can have, and need to have, before you can hope for the happy benediction, that yours is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Again said this divine Preacher: Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
The World says, Blessed are they, who do not mourn. We have seen a man at a feast, sitting jovial among his fellows, his palate pleased with viands of rich odours, and his heart mellowed with old wine; and have heard him cry aloud in his glee, Eat, drink, and be merry. Now he raises the full chorus of song, and now he joins in the giddy mazes of the dance. And was not that man happy? Jesus did not say, Blessed is the man at a feast. And the Wise Man knew, that boisterous joys but drown useful reflection; that the pleasures of this world work a snare; that they are indeed sweet in prospect, but bitter,
or at best heartless, in possession; that they leave an aching void in the breast. Therefore, he said, It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting.
And can it be better to go, where all is grief, and lamentation? Let us leave the sound of the viol, and listen to the slow, solemn tolling of the bell - it tells of a passing soul. Let us go to the house of mourning, and see what is there. Death hath entered the house. There stands the father, like afflicted David of old, and cries, My son, my son, would to God I had died for thee, my son, my son! There sits the mother, like weeping Rachel, and sobs, as one that mourneth for her only child, refusing to be comforted, because she is not. And can it be good, to go to such a house? And can it be true, that blessed are they that mourn? The Preacher did not mean, that sorrow of man, which is without hope; nor that sorrow of the world, that worketh death. He did not mean, that grief because our joys are lessened; or that sorrow which follows on the cutting down of earthly ambition. He intended that mourning, which maketh the heart better. This lesson can be best learnt in the house of mourning. Here a voice speaks from the grave, saying, Mortals, the time is short. You have a great work to perform, and but a little time to do it in; and that little time daily growing less. It tells us, that death came by sin. It warns us, to take light thought for the body, which is to return to its original dust; but to be up and doing for the soul, which is to return to be judged by God, who gave it. That, though time is short, eternity is long; and that, as our deeds in time, so will be our award in eternity.
But when Jesus said, Blessed are they that mourn; he especially meant, they who mourn over their sins. That brokenness of heart for sin, that tenderness of conscience to the truth, that godly sorrow that worketh true repentance. Who is there among us can say, he hath no sin? And every sin is a defect in some duty, or a breach of some law; and every such defect, or breach, exposes the soul to the wrath of God, unless mourned for with tears. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep, says James; let your
laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. And says David, O Lord, I will praise thee, though thou art angry with me. For, day and night, thy hand was heavy upon me; I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquities of my sins. The burthened soul must look on Him, whom he hath pierced, and cry aloud, Lord, I am oppressed, undertake thou for me. They who sow in tears, shall reap in joy. Jesus shall cast all their sins behind their back. He will say, Ye now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again; and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. This mourning for sin should be early in life, and while in health; before the angel of sickness shall lay us on the bed of death. For the dead cannot praise God, says holy David; the dead cannot celebrate thee; the living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day. Then, when Jesus shall say to the Man at the Feast, Son, remember that thou, in thy life time, receivedst thy good things; he will say to the humble mourner over his sins, Come, thou blessed, where there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; enter into peace. If you thus mourn, because of your sins, Jesus hath said, Ye shall be comforted.
3. Again said this celestial Preacher: Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
The virtue of meekness is not that of the quietness of sloth, a supine love of ease, a defect in sensibility and firmness, and the predominancy of other passions. This meekness means not that timid and pliant temper, which is inactive to do good, and indifferent to do evil. Neither is it a mere constitutional virtue, not grounded upon principle. It must be that evangelical meekness, which with God is before honour. This meekness is opposed to a spirit of revenge, to a spirit of haughtiness, to a spirit of impatience. It is that meekness, which softens the heart to mercy; renders it gentle to all around us, and below us; forbearing towards those, who injure us; forgiving towards those, who are not willing to forgive us; and submissive to the trials of Providence. It is a virtue, which
was unknown to the heathen; and which was never suspected to be a virtue, before the Gospel of Truth revealed it so to be. It is a virtue, which is opposed to the carnal heart, and must be sought for with prayer.
This meekness of spirit is able to subdue the native outbreakings of the irascible, and the implacable. This spirit itself is happiness. Blessed are the meek, said the blessed Jesus, who was himself meek, and lowly in heart.
What a lesson to Ambition! What a lesson to human Pride! He, who could say to the noisy seas, Peace, be still! and they were still; He, who could command ten legions of angels to minister unto him; He was himself of a meek and quiet spirit. Blessed are his followers in this virtue, for they shall inherit the earth. Yes, even in this life, this virtue shall bring its own reward. It is this temper, which avoids strife among neighbours; which shuns the fierce litigations of law; and which conquers by forbearance; which, by rendering good for evil, heaps coals of fire upon the head of the adversary. Such a temper does not imply any pusillanimity of spirit, which will not assert its rights with firmness, and maintain them with manliness; but only such as goeth out of the way of contention, and dareth not to vent its heart in murmurs of revenge. Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works, with meekness of wisdom. Put on the ornament
of a meek and quiet spirit. The Lord lifteth up the meek. He will beautify the meek with salvation; his soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the
A person of this gospel virtue, when he looks abroad, and sees the comforts that the Lord has spread before him; a good home, daily food, agreeable friends; and above all, the free and easy offers of pardon of sin, upon his humbling himself before the cross; and then looks back into his own breast, and finds there so little contrition for sin, so little faith in God, so little trust in a Saviour, he feels meek; he feels as if he could get low in the dust of humiliation; he feels that he desires no revenge then, but against sin; no ambition, but to sit at the feet of
Jesus; no cravings, but to inherit, after his earthly pilgrimage is over, a portion in the holy land of promise above.
In this world, meekness is but an unfashionable virtue; and those humble Christians, who possess it, are too often despised. But there is another world, in which those, who were meek on earth, shall be exalted. Then will the poor man, with this virtue, who sits all day long by the river-side, and toils, but catches nothing, rise above the man without it, who sits over his coffers, counting his untold thousands. Then will the poor woman with this virtue, who with feeble hands gathers a few faggots by the wayside, be seated above the matron without it, who parades up and down the hanging gardens of her palace. Then will the devout pilgrim, who has vanquished his own heart by this virtue, be a greater conqueror in heaven, than he, who on earth conquered one world, and whose proud heart then wept, that he had not another to conquer. And then the poor publican, who stood afar off, and smote upon his breast, and cried, God, be merciful to me a sinner, will be justified, rather than the proud Pharisee, who stood in the corner of the street, and boasted, Lord, I thank thee, that I am not like other men.
4. Again said this godlike Preacher: Blessed are they, who do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
How different this, from the common hunger and thirst of the world. Look around in our towns, and see what most people are hungering and thirsting after; and see, whether they are filled.
One man wishes to heap together a great estate; that he may live in independence, and leave a fortune to his children. Let him be rich as Croesus Is he filled? Another man burns to be elected to some official eminence; that his head may reach high above his equals. Let him be high as Cæsar-Is he filled?
Another strives to fill the chambers of his brain with all the learning of the East; that Ignorance may say, Surely, wisdom shall die with him. Let him be sage as Socrates Is he filled?
Wealth is good, if used with moderation and benefi