Matthew 5:7

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. The line of cleavage that obtains so clearly in the tables of the ten commandments, between those of our duties that look direct to God and those which in their first action regard fellow-men, has not an exact parallel in the ever-welcome table of the Beatitudes. The distinction is probably in the nature of things not so apparent. Ten commandments readily admit a distinctness of classification which the expansive force of living and ever-growing qualities of soul do in part resolutely refuse. These act more freely and on their own account, and intermingle where they will and where they can. If such qualities and virtues at first seem to turn the face more Godward, in that very act none can fail to see how it is all the more laid upon them to be operative, and powerfully so, towards man; and vice versa. The distinction, nevertheless, does exist, and in some of the Beatitudes utters itself forth clearly. It is so with the one, fifth in order, now before us. Our mercifulness has no operation towards God, though it must be that he observes with an ever-open eye whether we observe it, and how liberally or otherwise we observe it to others! He taught the petition and its very wording, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." Consider -

I. THE OBJECTS OF THIS BEATITUDE. They are the "merciful," i.e. those who have mercy of heart; and if they have this, it must be that they will show and practise it. A man may have money in his pocket and not show it. He may have some skill, some knowledge, some talent, in his composition, and may not show them. But mercy is that which, to have it, is to show it and "do" it. So a man cannot be credited with the "forgiving" disposition unless he habitually practise forgiveness. Mercy in itself is (with Remigius, presbyter, and monk of Auxerre, A.D. 880) "to count another's misery or want one's own, and to be sad at all another's grief as at one's own." The spring of it lies perhaps far away, concealed certainly from general sight and from feeble sight, high up in the hills. Sympathy is its twin rill, and its ever-fresh, crystal, flowing tributary. Its stream now has somehow become deep and full, and circles the world around; for it has become a vital necessity for human-kind. Its compass extends from the freshest, youngest possibilities of the works of the sweetest charity, to the anguished, shamed, smarting sense of pity awakened by and for the worst of sinners. Point special attention to:

1. The grand Exemplar of this quality, the mercy of God in Jesus Christ.

2. The crying, awful, supreme need of it, as poured on a world by him; and as multiplying itself then by the myriad (however weak and small yet) genuine reproductions of its own spirit,

3. The wide, universal use of it - every-where, in everything, in the home, the city, the Church, the nation, for the body and for the soul - where is there the variety or where the grouping of society which does not hang precarious on mercy and its works?

4. The deep degradation signified by the absence of it, and illustrated so patently, so lamentably, wherever in the world, on smaller or larger scale, the level of it is now lowest. Contrast the world of Christian mercy with all its imperfection, and every blot that lies upon it, and all its wayward inconsistency, i.e. at its worst, with the unchristian world, to which mercy is a stranger all but absolute. Mercy is indeed "mightiest in the mightiest;" but of the mightiest earth has not a pattern to show, unless mercy be there to give the solid strength and enduring framework. Only mercy has in it to find what can meet and bear the strain.

II. THE PROMISE ON WHICH THEIR BLESSEDNESS IS BASED. "They shall obtain mercy." This assurance is the justification and the original of that claim on behalf of mercy that it is "twice blessed," blessing him that gives as well as him that takes. Point forcible attention to the fact that here it is signified:

1. That "to obtain mercy" is indeed blessedness. Is it not the necessary deep foundation of all individual and all real blessedness? Quote and compare the beautiful and encouraging exhortation," Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy," as if to say that it is the first and last great effect of the throne of grace.

2. That as "God is not unrighteous to forget the work and labour of love" which is "showed toward his Name" when any "minister to the saints," so certainly he specially appraises this ministry, whether showed to the saints, or possibly yet more, when not shown to saints at all, viz. the ministry of mercifulness.

3. That the reward apparently set forth here, as the return of mercy for mercy, is no mere equivalent. Far otherwise; for, as Chrysostom says, "human mercy and Divine mercy cannot be put on an equality." The latter is "much more" - nay, is it not infinitely "much more"? The two are compared by the warrant of this very passage. But is it not only in one sense, important and significant indeed, but yet limited, that they are compared, viz. for the motive of them? Intrinsically are they not incomparable? The mercifulness of a human heart taught of God, touched by Jesus, is indeed the evidence of its parentage, and a most grateful one. But what mercy of human action can for a moment compare with that here in view when it is said, "for they shall obtain mercy"?

CONCLUSION. Let all lay to heart what, in the estimate of Jesus Christ, must be the place in the world, and in human life and all the compass of its social relations, for this grace of mercifulness, that it should be enshrined in this elegant, chaste temple of the Beatitude, and fill one niche out of so sacred a nine! - B.

The merciful.

1. Its nature.

2. Its objects.

3. Its author.

4. Its design.


1. In the forgiveness of enemies.

2. In various acts of kindness.

3. In deep concern and effort for the spread of the gospel.


1. He will have mercy shown him from the subjects of his bounty.

2. A merciful Providence will attend the merciful Christian.

3. Mercy shall be shown him at the last day.


1. The more you abound in mercy, the more you are conformed to the precepts of the Scriptures.

2. The more you abound in mercy, the more will you resemble God.

3. The more we abound in mercy, the more eminently we appear to possess the spirit of Christ.

(J. Jordan.)

I. What is the CHARACTER of this mercifulness? It is a quality exercised between man and man independent of written law, and which is not so much certain acts of forgiveness as a temper of the soul. It is a temper which makes him who has it not so much sorry that he has been injured, but sorry that the injurer should have the heart to do the wrong. All memory of wrong fades from him.

II. THE REWARD. Christ did not mean a man to be merciful for the sake of obtaining mercy, but as a necessary result he would obtain it. Mercy is the reward of mercy.

(S. A. Brooke.)

1. It is inconsistent with any just idea of the place assigned to man upon earth, and of the power granted to him over the other creatures, who occupy the same scene with himself.

2. It is out of harmony with the feelings and graces of character which ought to belong to all who profess the Christian faith.

3. It has a manifest tendency to pervert the entire moral nature of him who indulges it.

4. It is seen to be odious when we consider that the creatures against whom it is directed are those to whom man is most indebted for valuable service.

(A. Goldie.)

I. What is implied in being merciful, and to whom does this character properly belong?

II. What is the blessedness promised?

III. The obligation we are under to be merciful.

(Joseph Benson.)The very first grace that grows, like a beautiful spring flower, on the ground of righteousness, is the grace of mercy, or compassion.

I. WHAT IS MERCY, or compassion? It is sorrow at the suffering of a fellow-creature, rational or irrational, and, along with that sorrow, an earnest desire, if possible, to relieve it. It does not ask the question, "Is the sufferer of my nation, sect, party, or Church; does the man deserve relief?" It simply asks the question, "Does he suffer?" We are to go farther and to pity the sufferer as a sinner, and to show mercy to him simply because he is a sinner. This mercy is frequently enjoined in Holy Scripture, and always represented as the characteristic of the loftiest nature. This grace is obligatory upon all. In eider to exercise it, let us think of the mercy we have received.

II. THE BENEDICTION pronounced upon it. Conscious joy. Special benedictions (Isaiah 58:6). Blessed because they are Godlike. "They shall obtain mercy" — from others in this world, and from God, even in this world, and at " that day."

(Dr. J. Cumming.)Let me exhort you to deeds of mercy, let your fingers drop with the myrrh of liberality, sow your golden seed, and ye shall reap an abundant harvest.

I. In Christ: labour that your persons may be in Christ.

1. The best works not springing from faith are lost.

2. That fruit is most sweet and genuine which is brought forth in the Vine (John 15:14).

3. Out of Christ all our alms-deeds are but the fruit of the wild olive; they are not good works, but dead works.

II. For Christ: for His sake, that you may testify your love to Him. Love mellows and ripens our alms-deeds, it makes them a precious perfume to God.

III. All works of mercy are to be done in humility. As the silkworm, while she weaves her curious works hides herself within the silk, and is not seen, so we should hide ourselves from pride and vainglory.

(Thomas Watson.)

I. Are we wanting in this grace of mercy? Let us compare ourselves with God. God's mercy is changeless, ours is fitful. God's mercy is provident and thoughtful, ours capricious and thoughtless.

II. How may we hope to have this mercy supplied to us? In the redemption of the fallen world by the Son of God. This thoughtful, universal, and provident mercy is unblurred by single line.

III. Are we merciful in judgment of others? In our speech? Do we not take pleasure in sharp criticism? Are we merciful in consideration for others? Are we merciful employers?

(Dr. Chalmers Smith.)The exercise of mercy chiefly consists of two things.

I. To prevent any evil or mischief which we apprehend our neighbour to be in.

(1)By abstaining from all acts of cruelty or unmercifulness towards anybody or creature;

(2)By using our dominion or authority over others with tenderness and moderation;

(3)By considering our neighbour's case as our own.

II. To endeavour to deliver others from difficulties, or at least to ease others of their burdens.

(1)By warning our neighbour;

(2)By friendly admonition. Thus preventing our neighbour falling into evil or mischief;

(3)To comfort others in sickness, sorrow, reproach, or disgrace;

(4)To disperse slanders and aspersions;

(5)To help the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and take care of the poor.

(Bishop Ofspring Blackall, D. D.)

man. — Mercifulness, then, is a quality of the whole nature; a certain soft, sweet, tender, gentle, gracious atmosphere in which the whole man lives and breathes; in which he continually acts toward injury and wrong; and under its warm and sunny rays injury and wrong melt away day by day, like icebergs that come floating down into the tropical stream. And those are blest who have it. They live in soft sunshine of their own making, and in it all the simple charities of life, which are like the common flowers that adorn and make sweet the woods and fields, flourish until the whole world rejoices in the life of those who live by mercy. And their speech is delightful as the songs of birds, and their daily acts like the soft murmur of such streams as gently flow through meadows. In all this inward beauty of soul they are blest indeed, for mercy blesses him who gives it.

(S. A. Brooke.)

Galilee, Jerusalem
Blessed, Compassion, Compassionate, Happy, Kind, Kindness, Merciful, Mercy, Obtain, Receive, Shown
1. Jesus' sermon on the mount:
3. The Beattitudes;
13. the salt of the earth;
14. the light of the world.
17. He came to fulfill the law.
21. What it is to kill;
27. to commit adultery;
33. to swear.
38. He exhorts to forgive wrong,
43. to love our enemies;
48. and to labor after perfection.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 5:7

     5389   lending
     6650   finding
     6690   mercy, response to God's
     6691   mercy, human
     8245   ethics, incentives
     8306   mercifulness
     8792   oppression, God's attitude

Matthew 5:3-10

     4938   fate, final destiny
     7621   disciples, calling

Matthew 5:3-12

     1620   beatitudes, the
     2318   Christ, as prophet
     4020   life, of faith
     5874   happiness
     8117   discipleship, benefits

Matthew 5:3-48

     1660   Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:7-8

     8203   character

Agree with Thine Adversary
Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867. St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did several others. For we find it also in the 12th
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

June 9. "Ye are the Light of the World" (Matt. v. 14).
"Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. v. 14). We are called the lights of the world, light-bearers, reflectors, candle-sticks, lamps. We are to be kindled ourselves, and then we will burn and give light to others. We are the only light the world has. The Lord might come down Himself and give light to the world, but He has chosen differently. He wants to send it through us, and if we don't give it the world will not have it. We should be giving light all the time to our neighbors. God does not put
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Eighth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'--MATT. v. 10. We have seen the description of the true subjects of the kingdom growing into form and completeness before our eyes in the preceding verses, which tell us what they are in their own consciousness, what they are in their longings, what they become in inward nature by God's gift of purity, how they move among men as angels of God, meek, merciful, peace-bringing. Is anything more needed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Salt Without Savour
'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'--MATT. v. 13. These words must have seemed ridiculously presumptuous when they were first spoken, and they have too often seemed mere mockery and irony in the ages since. A Galilean peasant, with a few of his rude countrymen who had gathered round him, stands up there on the mountain, and says to them, 'You,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The First Beatitude
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.'--MATT. v. 2. 'Ye are not come unto the mount that burned with fire, nor unto the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of "awful" words.' With such accompaniments the old law was promulgated, but here, in this Sermon on the Mount, as it is called, the laws of the Kingdom are proclaimed by the King Himself; and He does not lay them down with the sternness of those written on tables of stone. No rigid 'thou shalt' compels, no iron 'thou
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Second Beatitude
'Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.'--MATT. v. 4. An ordinary superficial view of these so-called Beatitudes is that they are simply a collection of unrelated sayings. But they are a great deal more than that. There is a vital connection and progress in them. The jewels are not flung down in a heap; they are wreathed into a chain, which whosoever wears shall have 'an ornament of grace about his neck.' They are an outgrowth from a common root; stages in the evolution of Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'--MATT. v. 6. Two preliminary remarks will give us the point of view from which I desire to consider these words now. First, we have seen, in previous sermons, that these paradoxes of the Christian life which we call the Beatitudes are a linked chain, or, rather, an outgrowth from a common root. Each presupposes all the preceding. Now, of course, it is a mistake to expect uniformity in the process of building
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fifth Beatitude
'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'--MATT. v. 7. THE divine simplicity of the Beatitudes covers a divine depth, both in regard to the single precepts and to the sequence of the whole. I have already pointed out that the first of the series Is to be regarded as the root and germ of all the subsequent ones. If for a moment we set it aside and consider only the fruits which are successively developed from it, we shall see that the remaining members of the sequence are arranged in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sixth Beatitude
'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.'--MATT. v. 8. AT first hearing one scarcely knows whether the character described in this great saying, or the promise held out, is the more inaccessible to men. 'The pure in heart': who may they be? Is there one of us that can imagine himself possessed of a character fitting him for the vision of God, or such as to make him bear with delight that dazzling blaze? 'They shall see God,' whom 'no man hath seen at any time, nor can see.' Surely
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Seventh Beatitude
'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' MATT. v. 9. This is the last Beatitude descriptive of the character of the Christian. There follows one more, which describes his reception by the world. But this one sets the top stone, the shining apex, upon the whole temple-structure which the previous Beatitudes had been gradually building up. You may remember that I have pointed out in previous sermons how all these various traits of the Christian life are deduced from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Sinai
'And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: 2. And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lamp and the Bushel
'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'--Matt. v. 14-16. The conception of the office of Christ's disciples contained in these words is a still bolder one than that expressed by the preceding metaphor, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Form of the Old Law
'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Swear not at All'
'Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35. Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.'--MATT. v. 38-42. The old law
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Law of Love
'Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect."--MATT. V. 48. "Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."--ROM. VII. 24, 25. We have studied the meaning of reconciliation through the Cross. We have said that to be reconciled to God means to cease to be the object of the Wrath of God, that is, His hostility to sin. We can only cease to be the objects of this Divine Wrath by identifying ourselves
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

On that which is Written in the Gospel, Matt. v. 16, "Even So Let Your Light Shine Before Men, that they May See Your Good Works,
1. It is wont to perplex many persons, Dearly beloved, that our Lord Jesus Christ in His Evangelical Sermon, after He had first said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" [1934] said afterwards, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness [1935] before men to be seen of them." [1936] For so the mind of him who is weak in understanding is disturbed, is desirous to obey both precepts, and distracted by diverse, and contradictory
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. v. 22, "Whosoever Shall Say to his Brother, Thou Fool, Shall be in Danger of the Hell of Fire. "
1. The section of the Holy Gospel which we just now heard when it was read, must have sorely alarmed us, if we have faith; but those who have not faith, it alarmed not. And because it does not alarm them, they are minded to continue in their false security, as knowing not how to divide and distinguish the proper times of security and fear. Let him then who is leading now that life which has an end, fear, that in that life which is without end, he may have security. Therefore were we alarmed. For
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Upon Our Lord's SermonOn the Mount
Discourse 3 "Blessed are the pure in heart: For they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: For great is your reward in heaven: For so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you."
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Christian Aim and Motive.
Preached January 4, 1852. THE CHRISTIAN AIM AND MOTIVE. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."--Matthew v. 48. There are two erroneous views held respecting the character of the Sermon on the Mount. The first may be called an error of worldly-minded men, the other an error of mistaken religionists. Worldly-minded men--men that is, in whom the devotional feeling is but feeble--are accustomed to look upon morality as the whole of religion; and they suppose
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

A Call to Holy Living
Too many persons judge themselves by others; and if upon the whole they discover that they are no worse than the mass of mankind, they give themselves a mark of special commendation; they strike a sort of average amongst their neighbors, and if they cannot pretend to be the very best, yet, if they are not the very worst, they are pretty comfortable. There are certain scribes and Pharisees among their acquaintance, who fast thrice in the week, and pay tithes of all they possess, and they look upon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

Persistency in Wrong Doing.
6th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. v. 25. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him." INTRODUCTION.--I spoke to you the Sunday before last about the obstinacy of persisting in an opinion after you have good cause to believe that this opinion is unjust, or unreasonable. I am going to speak to you to-day of another form of obstinacy. SUBJECT.--My subject is Persistency in doing wrong, because you have begun wrong. This is only another form of the same fault. The other
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

"That the Righteousness of the Law Might be Fulfilled in Us,"
Rom. viii. 4.--"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," &c. "Think not," saith our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, "that I am come to destroy the law,--I am come to fulfil it," Matt. v. 17. It was a needful caveat, and a very timeous advertisement, because of the natural misapprehensions in men's minds of the gospel. When free forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting, is preached in Jesus Christ, without our works; when the mercy of God is proclaimed in its freedom and fulness,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

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