Sermon 3158. The Fifth Beatitude
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DECEMBER 21, 1873.
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7.
[In the year 1873, Mr. Spurgeon delivered what he called "a series of sententious homilies" on the Beatitudes. After an introductorydiscourse upon the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes as a whole, he intended to preach upon each one separately, buteither illness or some other special reason prevented him from fully carrying out this purpose. There are, however, sevenSermons upon the Beatitudes which have already been published-See Sermons #422, Volume 7- THE PEACEMAKER; #2103, Volume 35-THEHUNGER AND THIRST WHICH ARE BLESSED; #3155, Volume 55-THE BEATITUDES; #3156, Volume 55-THE FIRST BEATITUDE and #3065, Volume53-THE THIRD BEATITUDE; #3157, Volume 55- THE FOURTH BEATITUDE-and this one.]
I MUST take for granted the fact that you have heard the previous discourses upon the Beatitudes. If you have not done so,I cannot now repeat all that I have said, but I may remind you that I have compared the Beatitudes to a ladder of light, andI have remarked that every one of them rises above and out of those which preceded it. So you will notice that the charactermentioned here is higher than those which had been given before-higher than that of the man who is poor in spirit, or whomourns. Those things concern himself. He is yet feeble and out of that weakness grows meekness of spirit which makes him endurewrongs from others. But to be merciful is more than that, for the man now not merely endures wrongs, but he confers benefits.The Beatitude before this one concerns hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but here the man has got beyond mere righteousness-hehas risen beyond the seeking of that which is right into the seeking of that which is good, kind, generous and the doing ofkindly things towards his fellow man. The whole ladder rests upon Divine Grace, and Grace puts every stave into its place.And it is Grace which, in this place, has taught the man to be merciful, has blessed him and given him the promise that heshall obtain mercy. It would be wrong to take any one of these benedictions by itself and to say that every merciful man shallobtain mercy, or to misquote any other one in the same way, for that would be to wrest the Savior's Words and to give thema meaning which He never intended them to convey. Reading these Beatitudes as a whole, we see that this mercifulness, of whichI am about to speak, is a characteristic which has grown out of the rest-it has sprung from all the previous works of Grace.And the man is not merely merciful in the human sense-with a humanity which ought to be common to all mankind-but he is mercifulin a higher and better sense with a mercy which only the Spirit of God can ever teach to the soul of man!
Having noticed the rising of this Beatitude above the rest, we will now come to look at it more closely. It is necessary thatwe should be very guarded while speaking upon it and in order to be so, we will ask, first, who are these blessed people Secondly,what is their peculiar virtue And thirdly, what is their special blessingg
I. WHO ARE THESE BLESSED PEOPLE-THE MERCIFUL THAT OBTAIN MERCY?
You remember that at the commencement of our homilies upon this Sermon on the Mount, we noticed that our Lord's subject wasnot how we are to be saved, but who are saved. He is not here describing the way of salvation at all. That He does in manyother places, but He here gives us the signs and evidences of the work of Grace in the soul. We would greatly err if we shouldsay that we must be merciful in order to obtain mercy and that we must only hope to get the mercy of God through first ofall being merciful ourselves. Now, in order to put aside any such legal notion-which would be clean contrary to the entirecurrent of Scripture and directly opposed to the fundamental Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Christ-I ask you to noticethat these persons are already blessed and have obtained mercy! Long before they became merciful, God was merciful to them.And before the full promise was given them, as in our text, that they
should obtain yet further mercy, they had already obtained the great mercy of a renewed heart which had made them merciful!That is clear from the context of the text.
For, first, they were poor in spirit, and it is no mean mercy to be emptied of our pride, to be brought to see how undeservingwe are in the sight of God and to be made to feel our personal weakness and need of everything that might make us fit forthe Presence of God! I could ask for some men whom I know no greater mercy than that they might be blessed with spiritualpoverty-that they might be made to feel how poor they are-for they will never know Christ and they will never rise to be practicallymerciful till first they have seen their own true condition and have obtained mercy enough to lie down at the foot of theCross-and there, with a broken heart, to confess that they are empty and poor!
The connection also shows that these persons had obtained mercy enough to mourn. They had mourned over their past sins withbitter repentance. They had mourned over the condition of practical alienation from God into which sin had brought them-andthey had mourned over the fact of their ingratitude to their Redeemer and their rebellion against His Holy Spirit. They mournedbecause they could not mourn more. And they wept because their eyes could not weep as they ought concerning sin. They had-
"Learned to weep for nothing but sin, And after none but Christ"
And it is no small blessing to have the mourning, the broken, the contrite heart, for this the Lord will not despise.
They had also obtained the Grace of meekness and had become gentle, humble, contented, weaned from the world, submissive tothe Lord's will, ready to overlook the offenses of others, having learned to pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive ourdebtors"-no small blessing this! They had indeed obtained mercy when their proud heart was brought low, their haughty spiritwas bowed down and they had become meek and lowly, in measure like their Lord.
They had obtained yet further Grace, for they had been taught to hunger and thirst after righteousness. They had a spiritualappetite for the righteousness which is of God by faith. They had also a sad hunger for the practical inwrought righteousnesswhich is the work of the Spirit of God. They loved that which was right and they hungered to do it. They hungered to see othersdo right, they hungered to see the Kingdom of Righteousness established and the Truth of God prevailing over all the earth.Was not this, indeed, to obtain mercy? And if out of this grew the character of being merciful, it was not to be ascribedto anything in themselves, or regarded as a natural outgrowth of their own disposition, but as another gift of Divine Grace,another fruit which grew out of special fruits which had already been given! Was it not already said of these people, "There'sis the Kingdom of Heaven"? Had they not obtained mercy? Was it not said of them, "They shall be comforted"? Who dares saythey had not obtained mercy? Had it not been said of them, "They shall inherit the earth"? What do you call this but mercy?Had not the voice of Christ declared, "They shall be filled"? Was not this mercy to the fullest? And therefore I say thatthe people our text speaks of were a people who had already obtained mercy, who were themselves singular trophies of mercy!And the fact that they displayed mercy to others was inevitable as a result of what had been done for them and worked in themby the ever-blessed Spirit of God! They were not merciful because they were naturally tender-hearted, but merciful becauseGod had made them poor in spirit! They were not merciful because they had generous ancestors, but merciful because they themselveshad mourned and been comforted! They were not merciful because they sought the esteem of their fellow men but because theywere themselves meek and lowly and were inheriting the earth-and wished that others could enjoy, as they did, the blessingof Heaven! They were not merciful because they could not help it and felt bound to be so from some constraint from which theywould gladly escape-but they were joyfully merciful-for they had hungered and thirsted after righteousness and they had beenfilled!
II. Now, secondly, WHAT IS THE PECULIAR VIRTUE WHICH IS HERE ASCRIBED TO THESE BLESSED ONES? They were merciful.
To be merciful would include, first of all, kindness to the sons of need and the daughters of penury. No merciful man couldforget the poor. He who passed by their ills without sympathy and saw their suffering without relieving them, might prateas he would about inward Grace, but Divine Grace in his heart there could not be! The Lord does not acknowledge as of Hisfamily one who can see his brother has needs and shuts up "his heart of compassion from him." The Apostle John rightly asks,"How dwells the love of God in him?" No, the truly merciful are considerate of those who are poor. They think of them. Theirown comforts make them think of them. At other times, their own discomforts will. When they are sick and they are surroundedwith many alleviations, they wonder how those fare who are sick and in po-
verty. When the cold is keen about them and their garments are warm, they think with pity of those who shiver in the samecold, but are scantily covered with rags. Their sufferings and their joys alike help them to consider the poor. And they considerthem practically. They do not merely say that they sympathize and hope others will help, but they give of their substanceaccording to their ability, joyfully and cheerfully, that the poor may not lack-and in dealing with them, they are not harsh.They will remit, as far as they can justly do so, anything they may have demanded of them and will not persecute them to theutmost extremity, and pinch and cheat them, as those do who seek to skin a flint and to obtain the last morsel and the uttermostfarthing from the poorest of the poor. No, where God has given a man a new heart and a right spirit, there is great tendernessto all the poor-and especially great love to the poor saints-for, while every saint is an image of Christ, the poor saintis a picture of Christ set in the same frame in which Christ's picture must always be set-the frame of humble poverty. I seein a rich saint much that is like his Master, but I do not see how he could truthfully say, "I have not where to lay my head."Nor do I wish him to say it. But when I see poverty, as well as everything else that is like Christ, I think I am bound tofeel my heart specially going forth there. This is how we can still wash Christ's feet by caring for the poorest of His people.This is how honorable women can still minister to Him of their substance. This is how we can still make a great feast to whichwe may invite Him, when we call together the poor, the lame, the halt and the blind who cannot recompense us-and we are contentto do it for Jesus Christ's sake. It is said of Chry-sostom that he so continually preached the Doctrine of almsgiving inthe Christian Church that they called him the Preacher of Alms-and I think it was not a bad title for a man to wear.
In these days, it has almost become a crime to relieve the poor. In fact, I do not know whether there are not some statuteswhich might almost render us liable to prosecution for it. I can only say that the spirit of the times may be wise under someaspects, but it does not seem to me to be very clearly the spirit of the New Testament. The poor will never cease out of theland and the poor will never cease out of the Church of Christ. They are Christ's legacy to us! It is quite certain that theGood Samaritan got more out of the poor man whom he found between Jerusalem and Jericho than the poor man got out of him!He had a little oil and wine, and twopence, the expenses at the inn-but the Samaritan got his name in the Bible and thereit has been handed down to posterity-a wonderfully cheap investment! And in everything that we give, the blessing comes tothose who give it, for you know the Words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Blessedare they who are merciful to the poor!
Next, the merciful man has an eager eye, a weeping eye for mourners who are round about him. The worst ill in the world isnot poverty-the worst of ills is a depressed spirit. At least I scarcely know anything that can be worse than this, and thereare even among the excellent of the earth some who seldom have a bright day in the whole year. December seems to rule thewhole twelve months. By reason of heaviness, they are, all their life, subject to bondage! If they march to Heaven, it ison crutches as Mr. Ready-to-Halt did. And they water the way with tears as Miss Much-Afraid did. They are sometimes afraidthat they were never converted. At another time, that they have fallen from Grace. At another time, that they have sinnedthe unpardonable sin! At another time, that Christ has gone from them and they will never see His face again. They are fullof all manner of troubles-"they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are often at their wit's end." Thereare many Christian people who always get out of the way of such folks as these-or if they come across them, they say, "Itis enough to give anybody the miserables. Who wants to talk with such people? They ought not to be so sad. They really oughtto be more cheerful, but they are giving way to nervousness," and so on. That may be quite true, but it is always a pity tosay it! You might as well tell a man when he has a headache that he is giving way to headache, or when he has the chills orthe fever that he is giving way to the chills or the fever! The fact is, there is nothing more real than some of those diseaseswhich are traceable to the imagination, for they are real in their pain, though perhaps as to their causes we could not reasonabout them.
The merciful man is always merciful to these people. He puts up with their whims. He knows very often that they are very foolish,but he understands that he would be foolish, too, if he were to tell them so, for it would make them more foolish than theyare! He does not consult his own comfort and say, "I want to get comfort from this person"-he desires to bestowcomfort. Heremembers that it is written, "Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees," and he knows that command, "Comfortyou, comfort you My people, says your God. Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem." He understands that as His Lord and Mastersought after that which was wounded, bound up that which was broken, healed that which was sick and brought again that whichwas driven away, even so ought all His servants to imitate their Master by looking with the greatest interest after thosewho are in the saddest plight. O children of God, if ever you are hardhearted towards any sorrowful persons, you are not whatyou ought to be! You are not like your Master! You are not like yourselves when you are in your right state, for when youare in your right state, you are tender, full of pity and full of compassion, for you have learned from the Lord Jesus thatthe merciful are blessed, and that they shall obtain mercy! Possibly when you, too, come to be depressed, as you may-you mayremember those jeering words and those unkind expressions which you used concerning others. When we get very big, it may bethat the Lord will take us down and we shall be glad of any little mouse hole to hide our head. Some of us have known whatit is to be glad of the very least promise if we could but get a hold of it. And we have run with eagerness to the very textswe used to point poor sinners to-and felt they were the very texts we needed. Dr. Guthrie, when he was very ill and aboutto die, said he liked to hear children's hymns, the little children's hymns. And the strongest men in the family of Christoften want the children's texts and the children's promises. Even the little children's promises suit big men when they arein that sad state. Be you merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful towards those who are cast down.
This mercy extends itself, next, to the full forgiveness of all personal offenses against ourselves. "Blessed are the merciful,"that is, those persons who do not take to heart any injuries that are done them, any insults, intended or unintended. A certaingovernor of Georgia, in Mr. Wesley's day, said that he would have his servant on board his vessel flogged for drinking hiswine. And when Mr. Wesley entreated that the man might be pardoned on that occasion, the governor said, "It is no use, Mr.Wesley, you know, Sir, I never forgive." "Well, then, Sir," said Mr. Wesley, "I hope you know that you will never be forgiven,or else I hope that you have never sinned." So, until we leave off sinning, we must never talk of not forgiving other people,for we shall need forgiveness for ourselves! You will notice in many families that quarrels arise even between brothers andsisters, but let us always be ready to put aside anything that will make a scene or cause ill-feeling, for a Christian isthe last person who should harbor unkind thoughts. I have occasionally noticed great severity towards servants who are sometimesthrown out of situations and exposed to many temptations, for a fault that might be cured if it were forgiven and if somekindly word were used. It is not right for any of us to say, "I will have everybody acting straight towards me, and I willlet all know it. I am determined to tolerate no nonsense, not I-I mean to have the right thing done by all men towards me-andif not, I will set them straight."
Ah, dear Friends, God never talked so to you! And let me also say, if that is the way you talk, it is not the language ofa child of God at all! A child of God feels that he is imperfect and that he lives with imperfect people. When they act improperlytowards him, he feels it, but at the same time he also feels, "I have been far worse to my God than they have been to me,so I will let it go." I recommend you, dear Brothers and Sisters, always to have one blind eye and one deaf ear. I have alwaystried to have them and my blind eye is the best eye I have, and my deaf ear is the best ear I have! There is many a speechthat you may hear even from your best friends that would cause you much grief and produce much ill-so do not listen to it.They will probably be sorry that they spoke so unkindly if you never mention it, and let the whole thing die. But if you saysomething about it and bring it up again and again, and fret and worry over it, and magnify it, and tell somebody else aboutit, and bring half-a-dozen people into the quarrel-that is the way family disagreements have been made, Christian Churchesbroken up, the devil magnified and God dishonored! Oh, do not let it be so with us, but let us feel if there is any offenseagainst us, "Blessed are the merciful," and such we mean to be.
But this mercifulness goes much further. There must and will be great mercy in the Christian's heart towards those who areoutwardly sinful. The Pharisee had no mercy upon the man who was a publican. "Well," he said, "if he has gone down so lowas to collect the Roman tax from his fellow subjects, he is a disgraceful fellow! He may get as far as ever he can from mydignified self." And as for the harlot, it mattered not though she might be ready to shed enough tears to wash her Savior'sfeet, yet she was a polluted thing! And Christ, Himself, was looked upon as being polluted because He allowed a woman whohad been a sinner to thus show her repentance and her love. Simon and the other Pharisees felt, "Such people have put themselvesout of the pale of society, and there let them stay. If they have gone astray like that, let them suffer for it." There isstill much of that spirit in this hypocritical world, for a great part of the world is a mass of the most awful hypocrisythat one can imagine! There are men that are living in vile sin, they know they are, and yet they go into society and arereceived as if they were the most respectable persons in the world! But should it so happen that some poor woman is led astray,oh dear, dear, dear! She is much too vile for these gentlemen to know anything about her existence! The scoundrels-to havean affectation of virtue while they are themselves indulging in the grossest vice! Yet
so it is and there is a prudery about society which says at once, "Oh, we hold up our hands in horror at anybody who has doneanything at all wrong against society, or the laws of the land."
Now a Christian thinks far harsher things of sin than the worldling does. He judges sin by a much sterner rule than othermen do, but he always thinks kindly of the sinner. And if he could, he would lay down his life to reclaim him, as his Masterdid before him! He does not say, "Stand by yourself! Come not near me, for I am holier than you!" But he reckons it to behis chief concern on earth to cry to sinners, "Behold the Lamb of God which took away the sin of the world." So the mercifulChristian is not one who shuts anybody out. He is not one who thinks anyone beneath his notice. He would be glad if he couldbring to Jesus the most fallen and the most depraved! And those dear Brothers and Sisters who are the most completely occupiedin this holy work we honor, for the lower they have to go, the greater is their honor, in the sight of God, in being permittedthus to rake the very kennels of sin to find jewels for Christ, for surely, the brightest gems in His crown will come outof the darkest and foulest places where they have been lost! "Blessed are the merciful" who care for the fallen, for thosethat have gone astray-"for they shall obtain mercy."
But a genuine Christian has mercy on the souls of all men. He cares not merely for the extremely fallen class, so called bythe men of the world, but he regards the whole race as fallen! He knows that all men have gone astray from God and that allare shut up in sin and unbelief till eternal mercy comes to their deliverance. Therefore his pity goes forth towards the respectable,the rich, the great and he often pities princes and kings because they have so few to tell them the Truth of God. He pitiesthe poor rich, for while there are efforts made for the reclaiming of the working classes, how few efforts are ever made forthe reclaiming of peers and duchesses-and bringing such big sinners as the "Right Honorables" to know Jesus Christ? He feelspity for them and he feels pity for all nations-the nations that sit in heathen darkness and those that are locked up in Popery.He longs that Grace should come to all and that the Truths of the Gospel should be proclaimed in every street, and Jesus madeknown to every son and daughter of Adam! He has a love for them all. And I pray you, Brothers and Sisters, never to triflewith this true instinct of the new-born nature!
The great Doctrine of Election is very precious to us and we hold it most firmly. But there are some, (and it must not bedenied), who allow that Doctrine to chill their love towards their fellow men. They do not seem to have much zeal for theirconversion and are quite content to sit down, or stand idle and believe that the decrees and purposes of God will be fulfilled.So they will, Brothers and Sisters, but it will be through warm-hearted Christians who bring others to Jesus! The Lord Jesuswill see of the travail of His soul, but it will be by one who is saved telling of salvation to another, and that other toa third, and so on till the sacred fire spreads until the earth shall be girdled with its flame! The Christian is mercifulto all and anxiously longs that they may be brought to know the Savior! And he makes efforts to reach them- to the utmostof his ability, he tries to win souls to Jesus! He also prays for them. If he is really a child of God, he takes time to pleadwith God for sinners and he gives what he can to help others to spend their time in telling sinners the way of salvation andpleading with them as ambassadors for Christ. The Christian makes this one of his great delights, if by any means he may turna sinner, by the power of the Spirit, from the error of his ways and so may save a soul from death and hide a multitude ofsins!
I have many more things to say about this mercifulness. It is so wide a subject that I cannot give all its details. It certainlymeans a love to God at bottom, which shows itself by merciful desires for the good of God's creatures. The merciful man ismerciful to his beast. I do not believe in the piety of a man who is cruel to a horse. There is sometimes need of the whip,but the man who uses it cruelly surely cannot be a converted man! There are sometimes sights to be seen in our streets whichmay well provoke the God of Heaven to come down in indignation and punish the cruelty of brutal persons to brute beasts. Butwhere the Grace of God is in our heart, we would not cause unnecessary pain to a fly! And if, in the course of the necessitiesof mankind, pain must be given to the inferior animals, the Christian heart is pained and will try to devise all possiblemeans to prevent any unnecessary pain from being endured by a single creature that God's hands have made. There is some Truthof God in that saying of the ancient mariner, "He prays well who loves well both man and bird and beast." There is a touch,if it is not always of Grace, of something like Grace in the kindness of heart which every Christian should feel towards allthe living things that God has made.
Further, the merciful man shows his mercy to his fellow men in many ways of this kind. He is merciful to their characters,merciful in not believing a great many reports he hears about reputed good men! He is told some astonishing story very derogatoryto the character of a Christian Brother and he says, "Now, if that Brother were told this story about me, I would not likehim to believe it of me unless he searched it out and was quite sure of it. And I won't believe it of him unless I am forcedto do so." It is a delightful thing for Christians to have confidence in one another's characters. Wherever that rules ina Church, it will prevent a world of sorrow. Brother, I have more confidence in you than I can ever have in myself! And asI can truly say that, you should be able to say the same of your fellow Christians, too. Do not be ready to receive such reports-thereis as much wickedness in believing a lie as in telling it, if we are always ready to believe it. There would be no slanderersif there were no receivers and believers of slander, for when there is no demand for an article, there are no producers ofit! And if we will not believe evil reports, the tale-bearer will be discouraged and leave off his evil trade. But supposewe are compelled to believe it? Then the merciful man shows his mercy by not repeating it. "Alas!" he says, "it is true andI am very sorry, but why should I publish it abroad?" If there happened to be a traitor in a regiment, I do not think theother soldiers would go and publish it everywhere and say, "Our regiment has been dishonored by one of our comrades." "Itis an ill bird that fouls its own nest," and it is an ill professor who uses his tongue to tell the faults and failures ofhis brethren! Then suppose we have heard of such a thing-the merciful man feels it his duty not to repeat it! Many a man hasbeen ruined for life through some fault which he committed when young, which has been severely dealt with. A young man hasmisappropriated a sum of money and has been brought before the magistrates and put in jail-and so made a thief for life. Forgivenessfor the first action, with prayer and kindly rebuke, might have won him to a life of virtue, or (who knows?) to a life ofpiety. It is for the Christian, at any rate, not to expose, unless it is absolutely necessary, as sometimes it is-but to alwaysdeal towards the erring in the gentlest manner possible.
And, Brothers and Sisters, we should be merciful to one another in seeking never to look at the worst side of a Brother'scharacter. Oh, how quick some are to spy out other people's faults! They hear that Mr. So-and-So is very useful in the Church,and they say, "Yes, he is, but he has a very curious way of going to work, has he not? And he is so eccentric." Well, didyou ever know a good man who was very successful, who was not a little eccentric? Some people are a deal too smooth to everdo much-it is the odd knots about us that are the force of our character! But why be so quick to point out all our flaws?No, you go out, when the sun is shining brightly, and say, "Yes, this sun is a very good illuminator, but I remark that ithas spots." If you do, you had better keep your remark to yourself, for it gives more light than you do, whatever spots youmay have or may not have! And many excellent persons in the world have spots, but yet they do good service to God and to theirage, so let us not always be the spot-finders, but let us look at the bright side of the Brother's or Sister's character ratherthan the dark one, and feel that we rise in repute when other Christians rise in repute and that as they have honor throughtheir holiness, our Lord is the glory of it, and we share in some of the comfort of it. And let us never join in the loudoutcries that are sometimes raised against men who may have committed very small offenses. Many and many a time we have heardmen cry, their voices sounding like the baying of a pack of hounds against some man for a mistaken judgment, or what was littlemore, "Down with him, down with him!" And if he happens to get into some pecuniary trouble at the same time, then he mustsurely be a worthless fellow-for lack of gold is with some men a clear proof of the lack of virtue, and lack of success inbusiness is regarded by some as the most damning of all vices! From such outcries against good men who make mistakes, maywe be delivered! And may our mercy always take the shape of being willing to restore to our love and to our society any whomay have erred, but who, nevertheless, show hearty and true repentance and a desire to henceforth adorn the Doctrine of Godtheir Savior in all things! You who are merciful will be ready to receive your prodigal Brother when he comes back to hisFather's house. Do not be like the elder brother and when you hear the music and the dancing, ask, "What do these things mean?"but count it right that all should be glad when he who was lost is found, he who was dead is made alive again!
I can only throw out hints that may suit one or another of you. My Brothers and Sisters, we ought to be merciful in the senseof not allowing others to be tempted beyond what they are able to bear. You know that there is such a thing as exposing ouryoung people to temptation. Parents will sometimes allow their boys to start in life in houses where there is a chance ofrising, but where there is a greater chance of falling into great sin. They do not esteem the moral risks which they sometimesrun in putting their sons into large houses where there is no regard to morals and where there are a thousand nets of Satanspread to take unwary birds. Be merciful to your children-let them not be exposed to evils which were, perhaps, too strongfor you in youryouth, and which will be too powerful for them! Let your mercy consider them and do not put them in that position.
And as to your clerks, and servants, we sometimes, when we have dishonest people about us, are about as guilty as they are!We did not lock up our money and take proper care of it. If we had done so, they could not have stolen it. We sometimes leavethings about and through our carelessness the suggestion may often come, "May I not take this and take that?" And so we maybe partakers in their sins through our own lack of care. Remember, they are but men and wom-en-sometimes they are but boysand girls-so do not put baits before them, do not play cat's paw for Satan, but keep temptation from them as much as liesin you.
And let us be merciful, too, to people in not expecting too much from them. I believe there are persons who expect those whowork for them to toil 24 hours a day, or thereabouts. No matter how hard the task, it never strikes them that their servants'heads ache, or that their legs grow weary. "What were they made for but to slave for us?" That is the kind of notion somehave, but that is not the notion of a true Christian! He feels that he desires his servants and his dependants to do theirduty and he is grieved to find that many of them cannot, but when he sees them diligently trying, he often feels for themeven more than they feel for themselves, for he is considerate and gentle. Who likes to drive a horse that extra mile thatmakes him feel ready to drop? Who would wish to get out of his fellow man that extra hour of work which is just that whichmakes him wretched? Putting all that I have said into one sentence, let us, dear Friends, be tender, considerate, kind andgentle to all.
"Oh," says one, "if we were to go about the world acting like that, we would get imposed upon, we would be badly treated,"and so on. Well, try it, Brother! Try it, Sister! And you shall find that any misery that comes to you through being too tenderhearted,too gentle and too merciful, will be so light an affliction that it will not be worthy to be compared with the peace of mindthat it will bring you, and the constant wellspring of joy which it will put into your own bosom as well as into the bosomsof others!
III. I shall close by briefly noticing THE BLESSING WHICH IS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO ARE MERCIFUL.
It is said of them that "they shall obtain mercy." I cannot help believing that this means in this present life as well asin the life to come. Surely this is David's meaning in the 41st Psalm-"Blessed is he that considers the poor: the Lord willdeliver him in time of trouble...He shall be blessed upon the earth." Is that text gone altogether under the new dispensation?Are those promises only meant for the old legal times? Ah, Brothers and Sisters, we have the sun, but remember that when thesun shines, the stars are also shining-we do not see them by reason of the greater brightness, but every star is shining inthe day as well as in the night-and increasing the light! And so, though the greater promises of the Gospel do sometimes makeus forget the promises of the old dispensation, yet they are not cancelled! They are still there and they are confirmed-andthey are made yes and Amen in Christ Jesus, unto the Glory of God by us! I firmly believe that when a man is in trouble, ifhe has been enabled, through Divine Grace, to be kind and generous towards others, he may look to God in prayer and say, "Lord,there is Your promise. I claim no merit for it, but Your Grace has enabled me, when I saw others in the same condition asI am, to help them. Lord, raise me up a helper!" Job seemed to get some comfort out of that fact. It is not our grandest comfortor our best. As I have said, it is not the sun, it is only one of the stars. At the same time, we do not despise the starlight.I believe that God will full often help and bless in temporal matters those persons whom He has blessed with a merciful spirittowards others.
And often it is true in another sense that those who have been merciful obtain mercy, for they obtain mercy from others. OurSavior said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shallmen give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again." There will bethis sort of general feeling. If a man was sternly just and no more, when he comes down in the world, few pity him. But thatother man, whose earnest endeavor it was to be the helper of others, when he is found in trouble, all say, "We are so sorryfor him."
But the full meaning of the text, no doubt, relates to that day of which Paul wrote concerning his friend, Onesipho-rus, "TheLord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." Do not think that I am preaching up mercy as a meritoriouswork-I did my best at the outset to put all that aside. But, as an evidence of Grace, mercifulness is a very prominent anddistinguishing mark. And if you need proof of that, let me remind you that our Savior's own description of the Day of Judgmentruns thus, "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom preparedfor you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and you gave Me food: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: Iwas a stranger, and you took Me in; naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you cameunto Me." This, therefore, is evidence that they were blessed of the Father!