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convers'd in it. And therefore upon this account also the
poor in spirit have a particular intereft and property in the kingdom of heaven.
Thus then it is you see in the first sense of this kingdom; and so it is in the second, when we take it for the glory and happiness of the world to come. For,
(1.) The state of grace is but the beginning and infancy of the state of glory, and that of glory is but the state of grace in its full perfecti• on, strength and beauty. So that if the poor in fpirit have a particular property in the one, they have it also in the other ; if they have it in the preaching and practice of the Gospel, they have it also in the rewards. But then,
(2.) Christ has that special regard to this excellence, that he rewards it not only in the gross with others, but particularly and by it felf. To humility is always assign’d throughout the Scriptures the distinguishing reward of exaltation. * He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and hath exalted the humble and meek. He that humbleth himfelf shall be exalted. # And bumble your selves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Still exaltation is the peculiar recompence of this grace; and that, as I suppose, with an eye to the next life, rather than to this; for though the providence of God does sometimes remarkably bring it about in this present world, that the poor in spirit are preferred and honoured, yet it is often otherwise; and indeed if it were only here, the recompence would be but little, for the things that are seen are temporal, fort-lived and transitory, but the things that
are not seen are eternal, a reward well worthy the hopes and enjoyment of a Christian. And therefore whether they see the accomplishment of the promise here or not, they shall certainly enjoy it in the world to come, where it will be of most happiness and advantage to them : For God has blessed them, and they shall be blessed.
CH A P. II.
MATTH. V. 4. Blessed are they that mourn, for they fall
N the close of the foregoing chapter,
discoursing upon the first of thefe Bea1
titudes, it was shewn, that exaltation is the special recompence aflign’d to
bumility, or poverty in Spirit; now in this second, comfort is the peculiar blessing promis'd to the mourner. We cannot but observe from hence, that the all-wise and merciful God not only delights to bless his creatures, but contrives, as it were, to do it in the most proper and obliging manner; to adapt his rewards to the nature of our virtues, and suit his benefits to our necesīties : for what can be a more acceptable blessing to the
mourner than comfort ? What can be a more fuitable reward to humility. than exaltation?
YET that we may not deceive our selves, in applying those general words in the text to all forts of grief and forrow, without
difference or restraint; let us,
FIRST, Enquire what our Saviour could be supposed to mean by mourning. For if we take it in the full extent of nature, and in the compass of an human passion, that is, as it is describ'd in general, a trouble or disturbance of the foul occafion'd by any present evil, it may be so ill manag'd as to become irregular and finful, and to deserve punishment from God, rather than expect a blesing: and therefore we cannot understand it here in such a latitude.
But as all the other qualifications or circumstances bless'd by our Saviour in this sermon are apparently either excellent graces and ornaments of the christian religion, or have an immcdiate reference to it, and have the blessing annexed to them as such, we must consider the mourning herë blessed, as only taking in what is honourable and useful in it to religion, and bounded within the proper limits which are allowable by the laws of Christ, and qualify'd every other way as they prescribe.
ACCORDINGLY, the mourners to whom our Lord has promis'd comfort in this text, are such as mourn in a religious manner, or, as St. Paul's expression is, * after a godly fort, so as that it may appear to be more the issue of regeneration than nature, or at leaft to be under the government and regulation of christian principles. And that it may be so, their mourning muit be (1.) sincere and real ; (2.) it must be religiously employ’d, and upon spiritual objects; or, (3.) if the occasion of it be purely
temporal, the troubles and sufferings only of this world, it must be moderated and govern’d by the rules of religion.
FIRST then it must be fincere and real, proceeding from the heart, and not from any of those little arts of disguise and affectation, which are so commonly used to deceive our selves and others, and with which men foolishly imagine (or seem at least to do so that they can deceive God too. For grief is represented by such expressions in holy Scripture, as do necessarily suppose it has its proper seat and principle within. So the Psalmist, * My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels. And again, + My heart is wounded within me, my soul is Jore vexed." Jeremiah also, that true mourner, † My bowels are troubled for Ephraim; I am in distress, my bowels are troubled, and my heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled, &c. If we be not thus in earnest in our grief, 'tis all to no purpose, be the object what it will; all the sad postures of the body (without this inward forrow) are no more acceptable to God, than the hanging down of a flower upon its stalk when it is over-pressed with dew. But as indeed when our own worldly crosses give us the affliction, it is not to be doubted but our concern is real, we do not use to be Hypocrites in sorrow upon such an occasion; the only danger which makes this cautïon of fincerity needful, is in the case of spiritual grief, and repentance towards God, or the concern we ought to shew for the fins or the calamities of others. And yet as to this last, a compassionate temper is so natural, so much more easy than a penitent sorrow for our own sins, or a religious grief of mind for sins committed by other people, that here I must
Jer. xxxi. 20.
* Psal. xxii. 16. (4 Pfal. cix. 22. Lam. i. 20. ----- ii, II.
lay lay the chief stress of my argument, and press fincerity with the greatest earnestness. 'Tis here, in the case of repentance, that we are most apt to impofe upon our felves, and
those about us, with a remorse or forrow, which, though it is more than is usual with us, is not effectually what it should be. " It was a fad complaint which God made of his own people the Jews, that * they drew near to him with their mouths, and honoured him with their lips, + bowed down their heads as a bulrus, and spread fackcloth and ashes under them, gave him good words and pretended to be mighty penitent, when nevertheless their HEARTS were far from him. And doubtless the complaint may justly be renew'd of too many, who, not being always able to resist their consciences, are stung sometimes with a remorse, pretend a forrow for their fins, and a great sense and trouble for what they have done amiss, confess it, and condemn themselves for it; and yet 'tis such a kind of forrow as too evidently consists with the love and liking of the sin, which they again embrace at the return of the next temptation; that is, it is a false and hypocritical forrow : though perhaps themselves may think it inward and real enough in the design, it proves not so in the event; for nothing can be sincere repentance but that which not only laments sin past, but also teaches us a perfect hatred, and à careful avoidance of it for the time to come. In the trial of our religious sorrow therefore, let us enquire how our souls and consciences are affected. Do we offer to God (not a few faint wishes or dissembled tears, but) the sacrifice of a broken Spirit, and a contrite heart? Do we consider our sins when we confess them and are our souls. affected, our hearts and resolutions bent against them
* Isa. xxix. 13.
* Ifa. lviii.. 5.
# Pfal.li. 17