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totally different. -Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. This meekness of temper and contentedness of mind, will better qualify them for enjoying with comfort and satisfaction, such a portion of this world's goods, as the condition of human life, even under the reign:of the Messiah, will admit, and the providence of God shall allot to them, than the most. War-like courage, and the most heroic and enterprizing spirit. .*;
1. The Jews were thirsting for exemption from the servitude which they were then under to the Romans, and still more to conquer and subdue them; and their appetites were 'not be satiated, but by their obtaining, under the reign of their Messiah, an Universal Empire over the whole World. But Jesus endeavoured to turn their attention to a very different and a far more noble object, for the exercise of their ambition-Blessed are they who bunger and thirst after righteousness-after the possession of the amiable, moral, and religious qualities of the heart, and the virtues of integrity and uprightness for they shall be filled. Such a pursuit will yield them more solid and durable satisfaction, than the most extensive acquisitions, of a merely worldly nature ; and, at the same time, they shall have such a sufficiency of the enjoyments of this life, as shall answer all the purposes of real happiness, so far as it is attainable in this world. In a subsequent part of this Sermon, this Beatitude seems to be more fully explained, Chap. vi. 33. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness; that is, the righteousness which will constitute the fundamental law of his Kingdom, and which it is the great object of the Messiah, as the head of of that Kingdom, to establish upon Earth, and all these things, viz. food and raiment, and all that is necessary to the comfortable enjoyment of life, shall be added unto you ; for, adds our Lord, your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
The Jews confined their charity and compassion to those of their own Nation, and had no dealings, even with Samaritans, though more nearly allied to them, buth in civil and religious sentiments, than any other people. But in opposition to this narrowness of diposition, this unsocial selfishness, Jesus says, blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy, St. Luke's manner of expression, appears to be an admirable comment upon this passage, Chap. vi. 36. Be ye therefore
merciful as your Father also is merciful; that is, let your mercy be as extensive, in its principle, and, as far as possible, in it effects, as that of the Great Parent of the Universe ; which is not, as that of the Jews was, confined to this, or the other nation; but folds within its embraces, the whole human race, and is kind even to the unthankful and the evil. By thus imitating the benevolence, and, as far as was possible, the beneficence of their Heavenly Father, they would have just ground of confidence, of obtaining that mercy from him, which, as ren, and particular as sinful men, they stood in need of, and which was so essential to human happiness.
The Jews, as appears. from various parts of the Gospel History, were extremely nice and punctilious in their external conduct, and lost no occasion of displaying the superior sanctity of their characters, by praying in the corners of their Streets, by giving alms in the most public and ostentatious manner, and by making broad their Phyla&teries; while, at the same time, they devoured Widorw's Houses ; omitted the weigbrier matters of the Law, and were, in reality, full of hypocrisy and iniquity. With a particular view to this
part of their character, our Lord appears to have pronounced this BeatitudeBlessed are the pure in heart. No outward actions, however specious and plausible to meri, who can judge from the appearance only, are truly valuable in the sight of God, unless they proceed from purity of intention,
That a charitable and humane disposition towards other nations, or parties who difiered from the Jews was intended to be pointed out, in this Beatitude, seems extremely probable, from the high pitch to which they carried their national partiality St. Peter candidly confesses that he, in common with the rest of his countrymen, considered it as even, unlawful to keep company with, or to go to one of another nation ; believing that they were, exclusively, the favourites of heaven. The unfriendly influence which this principle must necessarily have had, in contracting the humane and benevolent
' affections must be obvious to every one, and therefore is, with the greatest propriety, made an important part of the jastructions of tonethe basis of whose religion was, that pod was the coramon Parent of all Mankind. If there is any one virtue of the human heart, which is more peculiarly calculated to produce happiness to Mankind than another, it is the exertion of the humane and tender affections toward others; and when they are exerted upon that never to be forgotten principle, thats att are the children of one common Father, then they must do the highest honor to our mature, and be most pleasing and acceptable to Him, who is most assuredly concerned for the general welfare of his creatures, and who cannot be affcéted with the petty distinctions, upon which many are too apt to value themselves.
and an upright heart. And there seems to have been, a peculiar propriety, in the change of the form of the expression, in announcing the reward annexed to this Beatitude . They shall see God; this trait of human character being known to God only; the reward could only be bestowed, in a future world; seeing God, plainly denoting the enjoyment of him.
3 The sentiments of the Jews concerning the nature of the Messiah's kingdom, naturally led them to cherish dispositions unfriendly to peace; but to check, and, if possible, to root out propensities so extremely inimical to human happiness and, even to the quiet and security of mankind, * Jesus says,
* It is much to be feared that most of the Wars which have been engaged in, by Nations stiling themselves Christians, haye been in direct opposition to the spirit which is here, in the closest manner connected with the happiness of those who cultivate it. And, for a strong proof that the opposite spirit is productive of the greatest unhappiness to the human race, the reader is referred to the calamities which have arisen in consequence of the Wars which have taken place within the last fifty years ; so that if blessed are the Peace Makers; the converse of the proposition is equally true; cursed are the Peace Breakers.
The witty Satyrist to ridicule the established ușage of fasting în times of War, says,
" So far am I a Quaker I must own,
$ Of pious imprecation, blunt French Swords.-- Entitled, 1796. If the unjust aggressor expects by his prayers to conciliate Heaven to favor his unrighteous cause, he must think the Deity altogether such an one as himself. If even the prayers of the injured party were pious imprecations for the distruction of his enemies, no douubt both religion and humanity would forbid the practice. But to the honor of Christianity be it said, in no instance does it shine with more distinguished splendor, than in the benevolence and philanthropy which it breathes. If therefore a single sentiment encouraging the exercise of the malevolent passions is contained
in the public devotions upon such occasions, it can have no sanction from the Author of Christianity; but like the dead Ay in the Apothecary's ointment, must mar the whole composition.
Much indeed is it to be wished, that all men, as well as the Satyrist, were in this respect, Quakers ; that they would turn their Swords into · Plow-shares, and their Spears into Pruning-hooks, and that they would learn War no more ; but while there are men who are not Quakers, who seek to destroy instead of saving Mens' lives ; they must, by the great law of Self-defence, be repelled, or the time would soon come when ezen Quakers, as such, would cease to exist. And a just sense, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, will surely justify the applying to Heaven to aid the honest endeavours of the injured, against the invader of his rights.
Blessed are the Peace-makers; for they shall be called, or accounted as the children of God; for he is the God of Peace. By cultivating this peaceful,this friendly disposition, they would be most eminently qualified for becoming the subjects of the Messiah's kingdom--as a kingdom of righteousness and peace of peace and good will to men.
A state of suffering, though not entirely, incompatible with the ideas which the Jews had formed, of those glorious times, which they were then expecting, was not what they imagined would take place, at least to any considerable degree. If opposition, however, should possibly arise, they fully expected that, under the conduct of their Messiah, it would soon subside and terminate, in the completion of their most sanguine hopes. But the doctrine of Jesus, upon this subject, taught them what, by referring to the history of their ancestors, they might previously have known, that a state of suffering was, at no period of their history, a mark of Divine displeasure; that as formerly persecution and viełence from wicked and unreasonable men, was the lot of their ancestors; so they must not now expect to be exempt from them. Blessed, or happy, are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for their's, says Our Saviour, is the kingdom Heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you falsily for my sake. Rejoice and le exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven ; for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you.
Having in these Beatitudes, announced to his hearers, the qualifications which were peculiarly calculated to correct the prejudices of the Jews, upon the subject of the nature of the Messiah's kingdon, and shewn them, in a concise, but energetic manner, what were the dispositions which would qualify them for becoming the subjects of it; our Lord proceeds, with an adinirable unity of design, and in close connection with them, to awaken the attention of his hearers to the importance of their situation as 7uws, and their supereminent advantages, for the promotion and extension of the knowledge of what he had been teaching them, concerning the true nature of the Messiah's kingdom, and of the dangerous consequences to themselves, as a nation, of not making a right use of those advaritageso-V. 13. Ye are ihe salt of the Earth ; * but if the
salt * The situation of the Jewish Nation, with respect to the Nations which surrounded icon both at and before the time of our Saviour, gives a peculiar
salt hath lost its savour, or its saltness, wherewith shall it be salted, or rather how shall it recover its saltness? It is thence-forth good for nothing, but to be cast out, or thrown away, and trodden under foot by men, i. e. as the words seem fairly to imply when considered, in connection with the preceding and subsequent context and, more particularly with the 19th. and 20th. verses of this chapter. Ye Jews, in the present state of the world, are yet, as you have, by the favor of providence, hitherto been, from the earliest period of your history—the salt of the Earth—the only depositaries for the preservation of the knowledge of God, among the Nations of the Earth. But if the salt hath lost its saltness, or is become insipid--if by your traditions, afterwards, in
propriety and beauty to the Metaphors here adopted as applied to them Nationally, and it is so well described by the learned Dr. John Leland, as to be particularly deserving of the judicious Reader's attention. “ It pleased God," says he, .“ in his great wisdom and goodness towards mankind, to make si discoveries of his will, not merely to a few particular persons, but to a “ whole Nation, set a part as a preservative against the spreading Idolatry " which was in danger of becoming universal. By an extraordinary “ interposition, a constitution of a peculiar kind was established ; the " fundamental principle of which was, the acknowledgement and adoration " of the one living and true God, and of him only. And to give weight " to this constitution, which was so different from those established by the
Legislators in other countries, who made Idolatry and Polytheism, the " basis of their seyeral politics; its divine Authority was confirmed by " the most illustrious attestations, and by a series of wonderful acts, so which exhibited the most amazing displays of his unequalled power and “ glory. Such was the Mosiac constitution, which was introduced, with
a glorious triumph over Idol Deities, even in Egypt, the principal seat " of Idolatry, and was attended with such circumstances as were particularly “ fitted to engage the attention of mankind. The people amongst whom " this constitution and polity were erected, were not placed in a remote, "S obscure corner of the Earth; but, in such a situation as was admirably “: fitted for diffusing the knowledge of their Religion and Laws. They “ were placed in the centre of the then known World, between Egypt and " Arabia, on the one hand, and Syria, Chaldea, and Assyria on the other;
among whom the first great kingdoms were erected, and from whence !! knowledge and learning seem to have been derived to the western Nations. “ Nor were the Israelites themselves, a very small and contemptible people. " Considering the amazing multiplication of their Nation, they bore no " inconsiderable proportion to the numbers of the rest of mankind, in “ those ages of the World. And their peculiar polity, together with the
extraordinary acts of the divine Providence towards them, had a natural " tendency to put the neighbouring people upon making enquiry into " their Religion and Laws, which would be apt to lead them to the
acknowledgment and adoration of the one true God; and to discover