A Short Study of Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”
Not all kinds of mourners are here intended; for there is the sorrow of the world, which worketh death and produces nothing but sin, misery and rebellion against God.
Some mourn because they cannot increase in riches, honours and pleasures; but there is no blessing promised to them.
The mourners which God has pronounced blessed are such as mourn over themselves and after God.
The Lord’s spiritual mourners mourn over their sinfulness and wretchedness, as sinners against a holy, righteous, good and kind God. The filth and corruption of their fallen nature give them real grief and pain of heart. Its daily bubblings and risings up are a real plague to them. They are no strangers to what Solomon means by the plague of the heart (1 Kings 8:38), and daily experience, under the teachings of God the Holy Ghost, proves to them that this plague is deeply rooted, and breaks out in bubblings up in a thousand different ways; and when the Lord is pleased to hide the light of His countenance and make them feel His righteous displeasure against sin, with the psalmist they mourn and say, “There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin” (Psalm 38:3).
The dear child of God sometimes mourns over hardness of heart and darkness of soul. Neither judgments nor mercies appear to move him, nor does he seem able to raise a tender thought up to God, if he must perish for the want of one. At times, the only feeling he appears to have is a secret mourning because he is so hard, and so dark, and so incapable of deeply mourning.
Now and then a solemn sigh heaves up his breast, which speaks language like unto this; “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
All the life he seems to have is mournfully to breathe out Job’s confession, “Behold, I am vile” (Job 40:4).
And as the Lord is pleased to give him a deeper feeling of his vileness, he is led sensibly to cry, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Yea, “I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God” (Ezra 9:6).
Such souls mourn because they have so little intercourse with God, and are so much entangled with the things of the world.
Now while the poor children of God mourn over themselves, they mourn after God.
They mourn after the liftings up of the light of His countenance and a sweet and solemn enjoyment of His pardoning mercy, through the precious blood of the Lamb; and with panting desires they cry, “Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon me” (Psalm 4:6); “For Thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great…” (Psalm 26:11); “Turn Thee unto me, and have mercy upon me, for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. O bring Thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.” (Psalm 25:16-18)
Thus God’s people will, at times, deeply pant for and mourn after God’s rich manifestive mercy and pardoning love.
The believer has no real happiness when he has no sweet intercourse with the Lord. He daily pants to feel more and more of the blessedness couched in this soul-refreshing, God-glorifying truth:
“And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
(1 John 1:3)
Like David, he can say, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:2); for a sweet and blessed enjoyment of interest in Him, as my own covenant God – Father, Son and Spirit.
“Yes,” says the mourning soul, “I want to feel that Israel’s one Triune God is my God for ever and ever, and that He will be my Guide even unto death. My great fear is, lest I should be sitting down content with a dead, formal religion, without the life and power of vital godliness. O that I could feel a greater conformity to Christ, and live more in the enjoyment of Him as my all in all!”
“More frequent let Thy visits be,
Or let them longer last;
I can do nothing without Thee;
Make haste, O God, make haste.”
Such mourners are blessed. The dear Lord of the house does not merely say they may, or shall be, blessed; but they absolutely are blessed; now blessed, though they may not be able to enjoy the blessings which belong to them:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
Thus they have secured in Christ all that can make them holy or happy, all that can give them a title to heaven and a meetness for it, and convey them safe there, and be their glory when they are there.
“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
By William Gadsby – 1836