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On Poverty of Spirit.

On Poverty of Spirit.

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Blessed are the poor in spirit^ for their^s is the king-
dom of hecwen,


Blessed are the poor in spirit^ for their^s is the king-
dom of hecwen,

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 28, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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O POVERTY OF SPIRIT.BY ELIHU THAYER MATTHEW, V. 3.Blessed are the poor in spirit^ for their^s is the king-dom of hecwen,THESE words are a part of Christ's sermon on themount, in which, he clearly pointed out to his disci-ples the true spirit, and absolute importance of thatreligion, which he was about to introduce. And onegreat end he had in view, was to represent and enforcethe nature of true spiritual worship, and to show thatit consists in right exercises of heart, and not in mereexternal actions. This directly contradicted the pre-vailing notions, and popular instructions of the Scribesand Pharisees, who taught a scrupulous attention tothe minor duties of the law, and " passed over judg-ment, and the love of God." — Christ introduced hisdiscourse by pronouncing a blessing upon the poor inspirit ; because no other character would embrace hisinstructions, and imitate his example. He had notic-liB On Poverty of Spirit.ed, in the teachers of that day, a very different spirit,and found their instructions adapted to inspire their hear-ers with pride and vanity, rather than with humilityand self abasement. When he, therefore, became thepreacher of his own heavenly religion, the first wordswhich fell fi-om his lips, were these, " Blessed are thepoor in spirit, for their 's is the kingdom of God."This humble spirit he recommends as of great impor-tance to the christian life, and essential to the characterof those who are the heirs of the kingdom of God.
The proposition which I shall illustrate is this.That no one can be an heir of the kingdom of heaven, unless poor in spirit. We shallI. Describe this disposition. AndII. Show its necessity and importance.First then, I am to describe this disposition. Hereit may not be improper to observe, that there are manythir.gs which are mistaken for it, which in reality arenothing like it, and are no evidence of it.A man may have a greait conviction, or high Sertseof the divine perfections — the holiness, justice, good-ness, and infinite power of God, and of his own de-pendence on him, as the God in whose hand is hisbreath, and whose are all his ways ; and yet not bepoor in spirit. Reason teaches, that we are' depend-ent creatures, absolutely so, for our existence and fotevery mercy which renders this existence desirable ,?but this rational conviction of dependence is a thingessentially different from poverty of spirit.Again, a man may have a grea:t conviction of hik sinfulness, and of the goodness of the divine character.On Poverty of Spirit. 1.19i^nd yet have no true humility. atural men may havegreat convictions of sin, yea, it is probable, the con-^pienpe 9.f the sinner may be so awakenecj, that he maybe fully sensible that there is nothing good in him,Jjhat he is indeed " dead in trespasses and sins," andhas nothing of which he can be proud, feel his mouthstopped, as to any complaint against the justice of God,yet his heart be entirely destitute of humility, and even
opposed to it. Thus it is with sinners, who have had^eat convictions, but have embraced fallacious hopes,and in the exercise of false religious affections, theyhave been prouder after their supposed conversion,^an they were before, and more under the governmentof a self justifying spirit. The reason is, nothingshort of the regenerating influences of the holy Spiritwill effectually destroy the pride of the "carnal heart,"which " is enmity against God." Mere convictionsof conscience have no tendency to make a man ** poorin Spirit," in the sense of the text, By the law is theknowledge of sin, and by the law a man may see,that he is a sinner in so complete a sense, as to havenothing of which he can make a righteousness, and yethis pride be unmortified. And in this sense no doubtSatan, the grand enemy of God and man, now knows,that he is a sinner, and has no just cause to opposeGod ; and also all sinners will have the fullest convic-tion at the day of judgment, that they are sinners ; andyet, it is certain, this conviction will not destroy theiropposition and pride of heart ; but they will continuein their full strength while the sinner sees himself widi-out excuse ; and his conviction, instead of bringing120 071 Poverty of Spirit,him to submit to God, will fill his mouth withblasphemies against him. A person may then havethis conviction without the least degree of poverty of spirit. Many sinners have, under conviction, seen itreasonable to love God, and aim at his glory in alltheir exercises and conduct ; and yet set themselves,their o^vn private interest, above God and his glory.How many have mistaken legal conviction, for evangel-ical holiness, and have supposed, when they werebrought to see that God would be just in their con-denmation, that they then had true religion ? But it iscertain, that they who are only brought to see the jus-

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