“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Those who would compose the family of God in heaven must be merciful and pure in heart. The compassionate spirit of Christ must abide in their hearts. He left his royal throne, laid aside his kingly crown, and clothed his divinity with humanity, in order to show mercy to fallen men, and make manifest his compassion, pity, and care. He says: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us, while we were yet his enemies that he manifested his great love toward us. He has given unto us “exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
The Divine Pattern
In order to be compassionate like our Saviour, we shall need to study the divine pattern. Those who study nothing but their own inclinations, whose hearts are not affected by the necessities of others, will not manifest a Christ-like character. If their path is crossed, if their wills are thwarted, they will be vindictive and hard. The merciful spirit must be within the heart, or it will not be developed in the life. But where this spirit is cultivated, kindness will be manifested not only to the human beings that are about us, but to the dumb creatures which God has given to serve us. Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful.” Those who possess this attribute are blessed here; a sweet spirit of satisfaction is the reward of the soul who possesses compassion and love. They realize the fulfillment of the promise that “they shall obtain mercy.” The God of heaven sends the angels to encamp around such ones, and to move upon the hard hearts of those with whom they associate. By the manifestation of mercy, they confess to all the world that they are on the Lord’s side.
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Holy Hearts, Holy Words, Holy Actions
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” If we are pure in heart, our words will be pure, our actions will be holy. Unless our hearts are pure and our hands clean, we cannot discern the beauty of God’s character, nor hold communion with the Holy One. It is now that our hearts should be pure and holy. We have no promise that we shall be transformed in character when Christ appears. If we would offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness, we should put away everything that is sinful in thought, in word, and in deed. If we cherish iniquity, we cannot offer acceptable petitions; our praise cannot arise to God as sweet incense! O how much we need purity of heart! Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from all iniquity. Let no one think that Christ can be satisfied with one little corner of our hearts, while we allow Satan to erect his throne within, and fill our moral atmosphere with defilement. Christ will abide in the soul only when the whole heart is given up to him, and then the character will develop after the divine similitude. We cannot hide that which is in the heart. That which occupies the soul will be made manifest. If we are pure in heart, we shall see God; we shall gather more light and power, and become more like Jesus.
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Grace for Every Defect
We may multiply forms and ceremonies, and heap resolution upon resolution, and be nothing better for all these things. What we need is purity of heart; and God can give us this as a free gift of his grace. Many blame circumstances for their defective characters. They say, “I could do so much better if things were only different; but this one tries me, and that one vexes me, and that is the reason that I am not a better Christian.” But this is a deception. There is grace with God to enable you to serve him just where you are, and excuses of this order have no weight with him. Do not charge your circumstances with your failure. The Lord knows where you are, and he would have you practise those things which make for godliness. You need not be an element of strife, no matter what arises to try to vex you. You may be a peacemaker, whatever may be your circumstances. Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” What a shame it is that Satan is allowed to work so successfully among us! Why do we permit gossips to pour into our ears complaints and reproaches concerning our brethren and our friends? Why do we take up a reproach and stir up strife, instead of making peace? This grieves God’s Holy Spirit, and causes love to leak out of the heart as water out of a leaky vessel. Let us have a practical religion. Look to Christ by faith, and behold his purity, his mercy, and his love, and bring our actions into harmony with the divine Spirit. Let us have the Spirit of Jesus in our homes. Let us sing and make melody unto the Lord in our hearts. If the praise of God is in our household, there will be no danger of discord in the church. Where there are peacemakers, there is the ministry of holy angels. Be converted; repent; realize what religion is. Open your hearts, and let the Lord Jesus in. We cannot be half-hearted in the service of God, and be prepared to stand in the judgment. We must have Christ in the inward parts, and his sacred presence will create a pure atmosphere in the home and in the church. If he abides with us, sweet music will come from our hearts, and our prayer and praise circle will be enlarged. Have little Bible classes among yourselves, and make them interesting. Go out and behold God in nature, and when you glorify God, he will honor you. Unless we give ourselves entirely to Christ, Satan will take control. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, keeping our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith. Take your stand fully under the blood-stained banner of the cross. Look to Christ by faith, and light and joy and melody will spring up in your heart. Cultivate the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, and you will be among the blessed, and shall see God, and praise him through the endless ages of eternity.