the First Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Blessed are the poor in Spirit.”
Where he could find a suitable position for an audience. How different was this hill of the gospel from the Sinai of the law! Israel trembled before a mountain of curses, we rejoice in the mount of beatitudes.
Sitting was the usual posture of an oriental teacher; he spake as from the chair of authority, and his learners gathered at his feet.
Now was opened the richest fountain of instruction which had ever flowed for the good of mankind. He who had aforetime opened the mouths of prophets now opened his own mouth. Speaking distinctly and earnestly, as all should do who have an important message to deliver, he went on to pronounce seven benedictions upon seven sorts of persons. These seven descriptions make up a perfect character, and the seven blessings appended thereto when combined constitute perfect bliss. The whole seven rise one above another like the steps of a ladder of light, and the blessings appropriate to each grow out of the virtues described. At the close of the seven beatitudes of character comes an eighth and double benediction bestowed upon that persecuted condition which is the present result of holiness. The whole make up a celestial octave of benediction.
The first step of the ladder is low, and therefore the more readily reached. It begins where the law ends. The law reveals our poverty, and Jesus removes it. Men who know their spiritual poverty are the only ones who by faith can lay hold upon the true riches of grace.
To their sense of need is now added holy sorrow for sin; this leads them to Jesus, and he consoles them.
Men who are repentant cannot be proud, hence the next blessing is to the gentle in spirit. These enjoy what they have, and, being content with the divine will, they possess by birthright both this world and worlds to come.
Pining for more holiness, they press forward towards it, and reach it, while the self-satisfied miss it by self-conceit. The Lord will be sure to fill us if we long after the best things.
They do good, and get good. Being filled with righteousness, they are empty of all malice, and are loving to others, and so win their love. God will show no mercy to those who are unmerciful to their fellow men.
Sin puts out our eyes. When the heart is pure, the spiritual eye grows bright, and the pure and holy Lord reveals himself.
This is a high attainment, and follows upon purity: “first pure, then peaceable.” He who reaches it shall have clear evidence of his adoption into God’s household. May each one of us try to be a peacemaker in the family, in the church, and in the world.
The world cannot appreciate those traits of character which the Lord delights in, hence its opposition and spite. Be it ours to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus, never for a moment flinching from cross-bearing for Jesus’ sake.
Bless’d are the humble souls that see
Their emptiness and poverty;
Treasures of grace to them are giv’n,
And crowns of joy laid up in heaven.
Bless’d are the men of broken heart,
Who mourn for sin with inward smart;
The blood of Christ divinely flows,
A healing balm for all their woes.
Bless’d are the men of peaceful life,
Who quench the coals of growing strife;
They shall be called the heirs of bliss,
The sons of God, the God of peace.
“Ye are the salt of the earth.”
If those who have grace could lose it altogether, they could never be restored. When a church becomes a den of evil, it is in a hopeless plight, even as is the Church of Rome at this present time.
Do not shine by proud pretensions, but by real holiness, not for your own glory, but the glory of God.
Matthew 5:17 , Matthew 5:18
The gospel honours and establishes the law. The life and death of Jesus show both the beauty of righteousness and the evil of sin, and thus cause the principles of right and truth to triumph eternally.
Matthew 5:19 , Matthew 5:20
Grace makes better men than self-righteousness ever does. The day of judgment will show that the saints are holier men than Pharisees ever were with all their boastings of superior sanctity.
Matthew 5:21 , Matthew 5:22
be in danger of the judgment or the sentence of the criminal courts in the various towns
Raca or brainless one
shall be in danger of the council or to be summoned before the Sanhedrim
Matthew 5:23 , Matthew 5:24
An unforgiving spirit is fatal to worship. Till every offence against us is pardoned, our approach to the altar is an insult to the God of love.
Matthew 5:25 , Matthew 5:26
Those who refuse to do justice shall have judgment to the full, both in time and in eternity.
Matthew 5:27 , Matthew 5:28
Heart and eye can sin as well as the hand; the law is spiritual, and condemns for wishes and lustings. How greatly may we be under condemnation even when no deed of ill has polluted our character!
Matthew 5:29 , Matthew 5:30
Any loss, any self-denial, any pain is better than to lose our souls for ever. We must mortify ourselves and forsake that which is most pleasing to our corrupt nature, sooner than be castaway’s for ever. May the Lord help us to enter in at the strait gate.