Matthew 5* Christ's sermon on the mount. (1,2) Who are blessed. (3-12)Exhortations and warnings. (13-16) Christ came to confirm thelaw. (17-20) The sixth commandment. (21-26) The seventhcommandment. (27-32) The third commandment. (33-37) The law ofretaliation. (38-42) The law of love explained. (43-48)1,2 None will find happiness in this world or the next, who donot seek it from Christ by the rule of his word. He taught themwhat was the evil they should abhor, and what the good theyshould seek and abound in. 3-12 Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people,which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1.The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to theircondition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowlyin their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, andthirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; thekingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy.That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, ahumble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on themercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the HolySpirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to beintended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, towhich our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall becomforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek arethose who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; aresilent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keeppossession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keeppossession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even inthis world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, evenin this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst afterrighteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for allspiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by therighteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God.Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though alldesires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is adesire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work ofhis own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bearour own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to helpthose who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls ofothers, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek tosnatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heartare happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happinessare fully described and put together. The heart must be purifiedby faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, OGod. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor wouldheaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to lookupon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. Thepeace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight inpeace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be notbroken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makersare blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who arepersecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying ispeculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted uponthan any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferingsthat can merit of God; but God will provide that those who losefor him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end.Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men ofthis world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, therich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy fromthe Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit hiskingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfullywelcome low or painful circumstances. 13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignoranceand wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; butChrist sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines toseason it with knowledge and grace. If they are not such as theyshould be, they are as salt that has lost its savour. If a mancan take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain graceless,no other doctrine, no other means, can make him profitable. Ourlight must shine, by doing such good works as men may see. Whatis between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; butthat which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must studyto make suitable to our profession, and praiseworthy. We mustaim at the glory of God. 17-20 Let none suppose that Christ allows his people to triflewith any commands of God's holy law. No sinner partakes ofChrist's justifying righteousness, till he repents of his evildeeds. The mercy revealed in the gospel leads the believer tostill deeper self-abhorrence. The law is the Christian's rule ofduty, and he delights therein. If a man, pretending to beChrist's disciple, encourages himself in any alloweddisobedience to the holy law of God, or teaches others to do thesame, whatever his station or reputation among men may be, hecan be no true disciple. Christ's righteousness, imputed to usby faith alone, is needed by every one that enters the kingdomof grace or of glory; but the new creation of the heart toholiness, produces a thorough change in a man's temper andconduct. 21-26 The Jewish teachers had taught, that nothing exceptactual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Thus theyexplained away its spiritual meaning. Christ showed the fullmeaning of this commandment; according to which we must bejudged hereafter, and therefore ought to be ruled now. All rashanger is heart murder. By our brother, here, we are tounderstand any person, though ever so much below us, for we areall made of one blood. "Raca," is a scornful word, and comesfrom pride: "Thou fool," is a spiteful word, and comes fromhatred. Malicious slanders and censures are poison that killssecretly and slowly. Christ told them that how light soever theymade of these sins, they would certainly be called into judgmentfor them. We ought carefully to preserve Christian love andpeace with all our brethren; and if at any time there is aquarrel, we should confess our fault, humble ourselves to ourbrother, making or offering satisfaction for wrong done in wordor deed: and we should do this quickly; because, till this isdone, we are unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances.And when we are preparing for any religious exercises, it isgood for us to make that an occasion of serious reflection andself-examination. What is here said is very applicable to ourbeing reconciled to God through Christ. While we are alive, weare in the way to his judgement-seat; after death, it will betoo late. When we consider the importance of the case, and theuncertainty of life, how needful it is to seek peace with God,without delay! 27-32 Victory over the desires of the heart, must be attendedwith painful exertions. But it must be done. Every thing isbestowed to save us from our sins, not in them. All our sensesand powers must be kept from those things which lead totransgression. Those who lead others into temptation to sin, bydress or in other ways, or leave them in it, or expose them toit, make themselves guilty of their sin, and will be accountablefor it. If painful operations are submitted to, that our livesmay be saved, what ought our minds to shrink from, when thesalvation of our souls is concerned? There is tender mercy underall the Divine requirements, and the grace and consolations ofthe Spirit will enable us to attend to them. 33-37 There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in acourt of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong,provided they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths takenwithout necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful, aswell as all those expressions which are appeals to God, thoughpersons think thereby to evade the guilt of swearing. The worsemen are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are,the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin theprecise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such aconstant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary. 38-42 The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can beborne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to theLord's keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians mustavoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannotpass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and bloodshall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act uponright principles will have most peace and comfort. 43-48 The Jewish teachers by "neighbour" understood only thosewho were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom theywere pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesusteaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all,especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While manywill render good for good, we must render good for evil; andthis will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Otherssalute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, andway, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It isthe duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towardsperfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study toconform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, #1Pe1:15,16|. Surely more is to be expected from the followers ofChrist than from others; surely more will be found in them thanin others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves hischildren.
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