On Mourning


On Mourning

Consider first, those words of our Lord, in the third beatitude; 'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.' And reflect how widely distant are all the maxims and notions of worldlings with relation to a happy life, from the doctrine of this beatitude, which is the doctrine of truth. The children of this world imagine that mirth, and jollity, and pastimes, and worldly pleasures, are the chief ingredients of a happy life; and that such as laugh now are much more happy, than such as weep and mourn. But they are certainly deceived: for he that cannot err, has pronounced a woe, (implying the worst of miseries,) against them that laugh now, 'for they shall mourn,' (saith he, 'and weep,' Luke vi. 25; whilst on the other hand he has declared them happy, that now weep and mourn. And the holy Spirit long before has told us, by the wisest of men, Eccl. ii. 2. 'Laughter I have counted error, and to mirth I have said, why art thou vainly deceived?' and again, Eccl. vii. 5: 'The heart of the wise is where there is mourning, and the heart of fools where there is mirth.' O let us then mourn now with the wise and with the saints, that we may rejoice with them for ever.

Consider 2ndly, what kind of mourning is here recommended in this beatitude. Not worldly sadness of which it is written, Eccles. xxx. 25, 'Sadness hath killed many, and there is no profit in it;' and 2 Cor vii. 10, 'The sorrow of this world worketh death.' Not a sullen melancholy, or any such mourning as is turbulent, or accompanied with the impatient wishes for death, or anxious solicitudes or despondency; but a more calm and peaceful mourning, viz., of compunction for our sins, daily bewailing them in the sight of God, and doing penance for them; of compassion for our neighbours, lamenting their miseries and the dismal havoc that sin is continually making amongst souls; of condolence with Jesus Christ for the outrages he daily receives from impenitent sinners, who are continually crucifying him by their wicked lives; in fine, of devotion in consideration of our long and wretched banishment, our great distance from our true country in the midst of wars and dangers, and no security but in continual watching, praying, and labouring to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; of our absence from God our sovereign good, who alone can satisfy our souls; and therefore daily mourning for the length of our sojourning in this Babylon, with longing desires after our heavenly Zion. Happy they that are always mourning in this manner!

Consider 3rdly, what the reward is that is here promised to them that mourn, 'They shall be comforted,' saith the Lord. Yea, they shall be comforted, even in this life, with the sweet visitations and grace of the Spirit of God, the true comforter of souls - with the satisfaction and peace of a good conscience, and with the experience of the inconceivable sweetness that is found in the love of God - one hour of which is capable of affording more solid pleasure and delight to the soul than many years of worldly enjoyment. And in the life to come they shall be comforted without measure or end, where 'they shall be eternally inebriated with the plenty of God's house, and shall be made to drink of the torrent of his pleasure,' at the very head 'of the fountain of life,' Ps xxxv. 9, 10, the streams of which afford immortal joys to the whole city of God above. O when shall we, my soul, be so happy as to drink at this fountain!

Conclude to make it thy choice to mourn now that thou mayest rejoice for ever. Remember, that 'they that sow in tears shall reap in joy,' Ps. cxxv. 5. As on the other side, the children of the Babylon of this world, who seek their delight and comfort here, must expect hereafter to fall under that sentence of Babylon, pronounced Apoc. xviii. 7, 'As much as she hath glorified herself, and hath been in delicacies, so much sorrow give ye to her.'