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to themselves and others, and hardly any Thing plea- 1718.
Verse 6. Blessed are they wbich do bunger and thirft
Let it be remembered, that as our mortal Bodies cannot enjoy Health long, without a natural Appetite to Meat and Drink, fo our Souls cannot live unto Holiness, without a Spiritual Hunger, and an inward Thirst after the Righteouluess which Christ puts upon his Saints ; not by Imputation only, but actually also : Such Souls he will fill as holy Marry witnessed, and bare her Testimony to the Truth thereof, viz. He bath filled the Hungry with good Things, and Luke 1. the Rich he hath sent empty, away.
When we are 53 emptied of Sin and Self, then there is Room for the Almighty to pour into us of his Spirit (if we would fill any Thing, it must be empty) so must we be empty, if we hunger and thirst after Righteousness; truly, then shall we pray to our heavenly Father for divine Food, and ic will be our Meat and Drink to do his Will; and we shall delight to feed upon his Word, as Christ says, Man shall not live by Bread alone, but by Mart, a every Word which proceedeth out of the Mouth of God. 4. This is holy Food for the Soul, which nourishes and keeps it alive to God, and without which it is dead, notwithstanding it may have the Form and Fashion of a living Body. And as this Hunger and Thirst, or Desire, must be Spiritual, so must the Food be also, It being ibe Spirit ibat quickens, and gives Life to the John 6. Soul; wherefore let a Spiritual Hunger and Thirst be 63. in the Soul after God,' and his Righteousness. A righteous Soul being greatly achirst after the Lord, cries out; As the Hart pantetb after the Water-brook, so doth my Soul after the living God. And this holy Thirst was greatly satisfied, so that his Heart was
1718. many times sweetly opened to praise the Lord. 'Tis
true, we have an Adversary, that would be filling us with many Things, Aeshly, worldly, and Satanical; but we are to shut up our Hearts against him, and to keep out all those Things, and to stand open to Christ, and empty before him ; and if we find this our Adversary too hard for us, we are to fly, and cry to the Lord for Succour and Help, who is a God, not only afar off, but also near at hand, and a present Help in the needful Time, as many of his Servants and Children have experienced and witnessed him. Wherefore, to be truly hungry and thirsty after Christ and his Righteousness, intitles us to his gracious Promise, who says," they shall be filled.
Verle 7. Blessed are the Merciful: For tbey Mall obtain Mercy.
It is highly necessary for Mortals to shew Mercy, in all their Words and Actions one to another; and also to the Creatures, which God hath made for the Use of Man ; 'cis usually said, that a merciful Man is merciful to his Beast, which generally is true ; and if Men are merciful to their Beasts, how much more ought they to be merciful one to another. Where
Mercy is to be extended, it ought not to be done Mate. 18. sparingly, fince thereby (according to Christ's blessed
Doctrine) we are to obtain Mercy. That Servant that shewed no Mercy to his Fellow, had no Mercy shewed unto him from bis Lord. It is also recorded, In the Name of the Lord, he hath fewn unto thee, O Man, what is Good, that thou shouldst do justly, love Mercy, and walk bumbly with thy God; by which it appears, that we are not just in the Sight of God, if we are cruel and unmerciful one to another: And we ought not only to be merciful, but to love it ; which, it we are truly humble, we shall certainly do ; Mercy will lessen, and not magnify, Weakness, Failings, or small crivial Things one in another: And sometimes, as the Cafe may require, some
32, 33, 34.
larger Things; and yet there is Room for reasonable 1718. Reproof and Correction : But Mercy must be mixed with Justice, elle the Correction may end in Tyranny. We ought to be gentle to all Men, which is a true Token of true Gentility : So to be truly merciful, is to be blessed, and to obtain Mercy.
Verse 8. Blessed are the Pure in Heart: For they shall see God,
By which we may understand, that we are to take Care of our Hearts, and to keep a strict Watch over them ; and not admit unclean or unchafte Thoughts, or sinful Desires, to have an Entrance therein. And if at unawares they should at any time enter, we must not entertain nor love them, but turn them out; for we, in this, should be like our heavenly Father, Habak. I. of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity with any Allow- 13. ance, or Approbation : Otherwise it will hinder us from seeing God, and from the sweet Enjoyment of his most precious Presence, and beholding the only Begotten of the Father, and the Fulness of his Grace and Truth, which we cannot see if our Hearts are impure: An Instance, of which, we have in the Scribes and Pharisees, tho’ they were outwardly Righteous and clean, yet within were very impure, so that 25, &c. they could not see God, chu' he was in Christ reconcling the World to himself: Notwithstanding their nice diícerning Eyes, yet they could not see him, for the Impurity of their Hearts; which was so great, that they murdered the Just One, their Hearts being full of Deceit and Hypocrisy. Make Clean the Inside, that Ma 11.23. the Outside, may be clean also, fays Christ : Froin 26. whence it appears, that a true Chriftian must be clean, both within and without also. The true Beginning of the Work of Purity and Sanctity, must be first within ;. and being Innocent and Pure in Heart, we fall then see the Glory of the Father, the lovely Beauty of the Son, and the Power of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit.
1718. Verse 9. Blessed are the Peace-makers for they fall be n called the Children of God.
This Peace-making is excellent Work, and a blessed Calling ; what Pity it is, that there is not more such Workmen in the World, who would set themselves heartily to it, which if they did, in a right Spirit, God would certainly prosper the work in their Hands, and plentifully reward them with his own Peace, which palleth the common Understanding of the natural Man. If our ingenious Men, our Men and Women of Skill, and good natural Parts, would take a little Pains, nay, when the Case requires it, a great Deal, the Almighty would richly reward them. This Work is not too mean even for Princes, and Nobles ; no, not even the greatest Monarchs on Earth, without it be too mean for them to be called the Children of God. And if the Children of God are Peace-makers, what, and whose Children are they, who break the
Peace of Nations, Communities, and Families ? Por, 32,
Wherefore, we should seek Peace with all Men, and ensue it, or sue for it, by our continual seeking of it, being a precious Jewel, when found ; and tho this Office may seem a little unthankful in the Beginning, or at first, yet in the End it brings forth the peaceable Fruits of Righteousness, as many so labouring have witnessed. And Christ, to encourage the Work, says, They shall be called ihe Children of God; which are Words of the King of Kings; and if the Princes of this World would promote this Work among themfelves, it would save them a vast Expence of Treasure, and of Blood ; and as these Peace-makers are to be called the Children of God, they who are truly concerned herein, are not only so called, but are so in Deed, and in Truth.
Verse 10. Blessed are they who are perfecuted for Rigbteousness Sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Persecution may be considered in relation to Calumny arid Reproach, and in Imprisonments, Confine
ments, or the like, or taking away Life or Goods on 1718.
It were to be desired, that all Christians Modera. Phillip 4.