Matthew Henry Commentary
Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed
people, which represent to us the principal graces
of a Christian.
1. The poor
in spirit are happy.
These bring their minds to their condition, when
it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly
in their own eyes.
They see their want, bewail their guilt, and
thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is
of such; the kingdom of glory is for them.
2. Those that
mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which
worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble
mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on
the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant
seeking of the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the
remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven
is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to
which our way is through a vale of tears. Such
mourners shall be comforted by their God.
3. The meek are happy. The meek
are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear
insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who,
in their patience, keep possession of their
own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession
of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even
in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort,
and safety, even in this world.
4. Those who hunger and thirst
after righteousness are happy. Righteousness
is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are
purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ,
confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires
of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all
desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire
as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he
will not forsake the work of his own hands.
merciful are happy. We must not only bear our
own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we
can to help those who are in misery. We must have
compassion on the souls of others, and help them;
pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them
as brands out of the burning.
6. The pure in heart are happy; for
they shall see God. Here holiness and
happiness are fully described and put together.
The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for
God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None
but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would
heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot
endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot
look upon his purity.
7. The peace-makers are happy. They
love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study
to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not
broken, and recover it when it is broken. If
the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the
8. Those who are
persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy.
This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is
more largely insisted upon than any of the rest.
Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can
merit of God; but God will provide that those who
lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose
by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different
are thy maxims from those of men of this world!
They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the
rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we
find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his
children, and inherit his kingdom. With these
enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome
low or painful circumstances. (Mt 5:3-16)