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produce? A mite, properly fown, may increase ten thousand fold. However low our circumstances are, we may make them, if we please, as acceptable to God as any circumstances in which we could have been placed.—The story of Dives and Lazarus will illustrate all I have said. Lazarus, who had nothing, but a good disposition, was received into Abraham's bofom; while Dives, who possessed every thing, but that, was condemned to a place of torment.
God grant us all grace thus to lay up our tream sure in heaven, and by making every action of our lives, as far as we can, agreeable to him, may we finally obtain the blessed reward of those, who do God's will, through Jesus Christ our Lord!
MATT. V. 4. = ....?
BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, FOR THEIRS
IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. a
THE kingdom of heaven is here promised, you 1 find, to poorness of fpirit.
In the following discourse I shall, first, endeavour to explain to you in what this holy temper consists
I shall, fecondly, shew you, that it is both a reafonable, and a Christian temper~and, thirdiy, I shall point out the happiness of those who have attained it. .
With regard to the meaning of the expression, poorness of spirit, (which may be better translated humility of Spirit *,) it hath but an ill name in the
• See Parkhurst's Lexicon on the word 7Taxos:
world. " In the ears of few people it sounds like : a virtue, but rather gives the idea of a low cowardly: temper, that will submit to any man's humour, : and bear any indignity without feelingit. I know not how interpreters come at this sense of the expression. In no part of scripture, that I recollect, are we forbidden to feel an injury, or to sew as proper resentment* What is enjoined in seripture on that head is, to pass over many little mátters, which the world is apt to consider as injuries. So that before we allow ourselves to resent, we must be well assured the matter is worth resenting It is not every trifling offence that should come under the head of an injury. We must, in most cases,turn the other cheek we must expose ourselves again to such little injuries, rather than resént them. And even with regard to the greatest: injuries, we are forbidden to return evil for evil; * we are enjoined to be open to the first tender of reconciliation, and to be ready, on the repentance of an adversary, to forgive the greatest injuries.
· Again; this humbled ipirit hath no necessary connection with a low condition of life. A rich man may poffefs it, and a poor man want it. Their
See John, xviii. 23.-Ads, xxiii. 3.-Ads, xvi. 37, &c.
condition in life makes no difference. Only indeed this virtue, as many others, is not so easily attained by a rich man..
This gentle virtue, therefore, naturally connected with no state of life, is a holy disposition of mind; it is of Christian origin, unknown in any class of mere moral duties; and is opposed chiefly to the two great vices of worldly-mindedness and pride, both which are often dressed up in the garb. of virtues,
When we consider poornefs of spirit as opposed to worldly-mindedness, it signifies our fitting loose to the things of this world-it fignifies our being so little solicitous about them, that if it should please God to take them from us, we could be well contented without them-orif we have them, that we are ready'to resign them, either when God thinks fit to deprive us of them, or when we cannot keep them with a good conscience. Poorness of spirit, when thus opposed to worldly-mindedness, . is neither more nor less than that state so desirable by all Christians, which the apostle Paul calls being absent from the body, and present with the Lord : or, as we have it from the fame high authority, it is setting our affeEtions on things above, not on things of the earth.
Again, when it is opposed to pride, it signifies a low opinion of ourselves of our understanding-of our acquirements—and religious attainments. The poor in fpirit is always ready to prefer others to himself, because he knows more of himself, than he does of others. Nor does he take offence when he sees a preference given to them. And indeed this is so much the case, that it is a kind of proof, whether he possess this Chriftian spirit. If on seeing any one preferred to him, or more respected, he feels any resentment, he may depend upon it, his resentment is founded in pride. And though he may be so much master of himself as to conceal the proud looks, of which David speaks; yet he certainly cannot apply to himself the remaining part of the description, in refraining his foul, and keeping it low, even as a weaned child. The poor in spirit hath none of this pride either in his behaviour, orin his opinions. His own deficiencies always come forward in his thoughts, and stifle every rising sentiment of his own importance. He lamients them, instead of withing to see them exalted; and humbly hopes, that by admiring the virtues of others, instead of degrading them, he may improve his own heart, by copying the good which he sees in them.