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Monday, February 04, 2008

Mourning, in Matthew 5:4

Matthew 5:4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted--This "mourning" must not be taken loosely for that feeling which is wrung from men under pressure of the ills of life, nor yet strictly for sorrow on account of committed sins. Evidently it is that entire feeling which the sense of our spiritual poverty begets; and so the second beatitude is but the complement of the first. The one is the intellectual, the other the emotional aspect of the same thing. It is poverty of spirit that says, "I am undone"; and it is the mourning which this causes that makes it break forth in the form of a lamentation--"Woe is me! for I am undone." Hence this class are termed "mourners in Zion," or, as we might express it, religious mourners, in sharp contrast with all other sorts (Isa 61:1-3; 66:2). Religion, according to the Bible, is neither a set of intellectual convictions nor a bundle of emotional feelings, but a compound of both, the former giving birth to the latter. Thus closely do the first two beatitudes cohere. The mourners shall be "comforted." Even now they get beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Sowing in tears, they reap even here in joy. Still, all present comfort, even the best, is partial, interrupted, short-lived. But the days of our mourning shall soon be ended, and then God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Then, in the fullest sense, shall the mourners be "comforted." Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown. (Public Domain. Emphasis added.)

In church yesterday, the pastor said that the mourning of Matthew 5:4 is not to be taken as mourning for, say, the loss of a loved one. I decided to check this out, and found that, according to the commentary quoted, he was correct. This, to me, is a powerful passage.

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