Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. This is the seventh in order of the Beatitudes. It is the first, however, which shows blessedness pronounced as alighting upon a person, not in the first instance for some personal quality, grace, or virtue, but for his works' sake in the interest of others, whether of the family, the world, or the Church. The distinction is manifest, but the difference is not very real. For any man to lay himself out to make peace between others, whether on larger or lesser scale; for any one to have the least likely success in doing so; for any one to have but the honest real desire to do so, postulates already his own disposition. For certain work, the gift, and even the honest fervent desire, argues the foundation-grace. And certainly not least so in exactly an instance like the present. As there are some graces and virtues (like patience, for instance) that come little, indeed, naturally or of preference or predilection to any one, so also there are some works, the first to be needed, very likely, but the last to be chosen of any one. And this is one of them. Thus are some men blessed for their works' sake in double sense. It may, then, be safely assumed that the man who volunteers for the peacemaker's work

(1) loves peace himself from the heart;

(2) has diligently sought to follow peace with all men; and

(3) has, by God's grace, subdued the warring elements of his own heart, as far as might be, first.

These are his best and true credentials for his work. The name of special honour and special love put by Jesus himself on the peacemaker pronounces at the same time the high eulogium of his life upon that man's work. The peacemakers' added title is to be understood to be "the children of God." Notice, then -

I. HOW DEAR TO GOD PEACE ITSELF MUST BE. This is because there is a meaning in it, and a beauty and a joy in it, which no doubt we at present fail to comprehend. This is in keeping with some grand expressions in other portions of Scripture applied to peace, and positions of special honour in which it is placed; e.g. "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding;" "the God of love and peace;" "grace, mercy, and peace from God;" "the very God of peace;" "peace in heaven;" "peace be unto you;" "my peace I give unto you."

II. HOW NEAR THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE MAKING OF PEACE AND THE REMAKING OF THE FAMILY OF GOD ON EARTH. Note the names employed by Scripture to describe the people of God on earth, and how to each belongs by special right the claim of concord, harmony, peace; e.g. "the brotherhood," "the family," "the whole family in heaven and earth," "one fold," "my father's house," etc.; and again note, conversely, how all "enmity," "strife," "divisions," "fightings," and both works and words of "wrath," "unkindness," "malice," "falsehood," and those various ways that must wreck the very thought of peace, are particularly characterized as the works of the devil.

III. HOW PEACE IS IN THE STRICT SENSE A CONSEQUENCE, A RESULT; AND NOT MERELY A CONSEQUENCE IN THE LESS REAL SENSE OF A PRIZE, REWARD, OR FREE GIFT. Accordingly, the person who makes peace makes a great deal else. He has done a great deal underneath, preparatory and out of sight. All this is what is now really the work transpiring in the world - the work of Christ the great Peacemaker and of all his disciples, and those especially whose gift and grace are to promote the reign of peace! The underneath work is long; its fortunes appear very various - now ebbing, again on the flow; the elements concerned in the struggle are very numerous, very complex, very dark, very malignant. Of the actual present period, almost the world around, the things plain to sight are wounds, and the merciless laying open of them; difference, dissension, with opposition as the watchword, euphemistically described not seldom as "inquiry," and "examination into first principles," and "putting the things that are to the test." The peacemakers' work is not the slight healing over of a wound. It includes in it, comprehends under its sweet title, a task which, for the amount of the work it comprises, and for the character of it, makes it coincident with the task of a world's redemption - Christ's own task.

IV. HOW THE GRACIOUS, HOMELY, NATURAL FORM OF THE WORDING OF THIS BEATITUDE MARKS THE CONDESCENDING ACCEPTANCE ON THE PART OF THAT SAME MIGHTY SUFFERER, MIGHTY WORKER IN HIS MIGHTY TASK, OF EACH HUMBLEST CONTRIBUTION AND OFFERING TOWARDS ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT, WHICH MAY BE BROUGHT TO HIM BY THE WAY. The little miniature productions and pictures and homes and social scenes of "peace," in the places where yesterday all the reverse were found-the two lifelong enemies at one - the sadder strife of two fellow-disciples, who had fought under one banner, quenched like lovers' quarrels, - these are but trifles by the way, drops in the bucket, bloodless skirmishes in comparison of the conflict raging on the world's wider battle-field. But they are significant of the greater. The" peace" means an earnest of the larger victory; the love, and prayer, and pains, and pleading, perhaps, which have been blessed to bring it, have all been copied from the biography of the great Exemplar; and over these peacemakers, for their hearts desire, for their endeavour of faith, for the loving copy, which with some success, not despised because it is the day of small things only, they have achieved, the word of blessedness is breathed, and to them is given the name of "the children of God." - B.







The peacemakers.
I. How GREAT A BLESSING IS PEACE.

1. It is the preserver of life.

2. It is the preserver of prosperity.

3. It is the preserver of happiness.

4. They are not easily offended.

5. If offended they are not irreconcilable.

6. They exert themselves to reconcile contending parties.

7. Their great effort is to reconcile sinners to God.

II. THE REWARD WHICH AWAITS THEM.

1. They are the children of God by regeneration.

2. By adoption.

3. By their relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. They shall be acknowledged as the children of God.

(J. Jordan.)

I. THE PRINCIPLES OF THE PEACEMAKERS. They are heavenly: this seen from the Great Peacemakers — the God of Peace; the prince of Peace; the Spirit of Peace. All the Divine Persons are active for peace. Many things operate to disturb this peace.

II. THE WAY IN WHICH THEY ARE SHOWN.

1. To compose differences which may exist between ourselves and others.

2. By striving to bring others to a knowledge of Jesus, that they may know the true peace.

3. In the endeavour to make peace between others.

(W. Reeve.)

I. He must understand what things have the capacity of agreement.

II. He must understand the true cause of disagreement.

III. He must take a deep interest in the contending parties.

IV. He must obey the Divine call for inter:position.

V. He must believe that God has made provision for pacifying world.

(Caleb Morris.)

I. VIEW GOD AS A PEACEMAKER.

1. He is a Lover of peace.

2. He is a Maker of peace.

II. DELINEATE CHRISTIANS AS PEACEMAKERS.

1. They love peace.

2. They make peace.

3. They promote peace.

III. THEIR BLESSEDNESS.

1. They are pronounced God's children.

2. They have the inward happiness of self-approval.

3. They look forward to being rewarded by God.

(J. G. Horton.)

I. Before they can become true peacemakers and be entitled to this beatitude, they must seek and obtain inward peace for themselves (Ephesians 2:13-17).

II. It then becomes their duty to promote peace and restore it where lacking — between man and God, and man and man — in the Church, in the community, in the world at large.

III. The means to be employed. To obtain peace for ourselves and lead others to its possession, we must use the means of grace. To reconcile man to man, we must set an example of peace (Romans 12:18).

IV. Then we shall be blessed.

1. In the enjoyment of peace (John 14:27; James 3:18).

2. In being known as the children of God, etc.

(L. O. Thompson.)

I. In the FAMILY.

II. In SOCIETY.

III. In the CHURCH.

IV. In the STATE.

(J. Mackay, B. D.)This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace a blessed work.

I. The peace a godly man seeks is not to have a league of amity with sinners, though we are to be

(1)at peace with their persons, yet we are to have war with their

(2)sins

(3)Grace teacheth good nature; we are to be civil to the worst, but not twist into a cord of friendship; that were to be brethren in iniquity.

II. We must not so far have peace with others as to endanger ourselves.

1. If a man hath the plague, we will be helpful to him and send him our best receipts, but we are careful not to suck his infectious breath.

2. So we may be peaceable towards all — nay, helpful.

3. Pray for, counsel, and relieve them, but let us take heed of too much familiarity, lest we suck their infection.

4. We must so make peace with men that we do not break our peace with conscience.

III. We must not so seek peace with others as to wrong truth.

1. Peace must not be bought with the sale of truth.

2. We must so seek the flower of peace as not to lose the pearl of truth.

3. Truth is the most orient gem of the Church's crown.

IV. We must not let any of God's truth fall to the ground.

1. We must not so be in love with the golden crown of peace as to pluck off the jewels of truth.

2. Rather let peace go than truth,

(Thomas Watson.)

I.

1. They that are desirous to preserve peace among their neighbours.

2. They that avoid and endeavour as much as they can to discourage and prevent in others those practices which are the usual means of raising quarrels and contentions among men.

3. They who avoid backbiting, tale-bearing, slander, detraction, and the like.

II.

1. The peaceful man, if there be any dissension already begun among them, will endeavour to incline parties to coolness and moderation.

2. If his neighbours will not be subdued by his good words and entreaties, he can at least in a great measure allay the dissension.

III. By promoting peace we(1) do a work pleasing to God,(2) and for which we shall receive abundant reward.

(Bishop Ofspring Blackall, D. D.)

Peacemakers are the children of the Most High.

I. By eternal generation: so Christ is the natural Son of His Father (Psalm 2:7).

II. By creation: so the angels are sons of God (Job 1:6; Job 38:7). When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

III. By participation of dignity: so kings and rulers are said to be children of the High God (Psalm 8:2, 6).

IV. By visible profession: so God hath many children. Hypocrites forge a title of sonship (Genesis 6:2).

V. By real sanctification: so the faithful are particularly and eminently the children of God.

(Thomas Watson.)Let us carry ourselves as becomes the children of God.

I. In obedience.

(1)Obey God out of love;

(2)readily;

(3)every command of His.

II. In humility. Look in the glass of God s Word, and see therein our sinful spots.

III. In speech.

1. Grace must be the salt that seasons our words.

2. Sobriety must govern our actions. Error is a spiritual intoxication.

IV. In fidelity. Faithful in all things.

V. In sedulity. We must labour in a calling: God will bless our diligence, not our laziness.

VI. In magnanimity.

1. Must do nothing sordidly.

2. Must not fear the faces of men, but be brave-spirited as Nehemiah.

VII. In sanctity. Holiness is a diadem of beauty. In this let us endeavour to imitate our heavenly Father.

VIII. In cheerfulness. Why do the children of God walk so pensively? Are they not heirs of heaven?

IX. Let us carry ourselves as the children of God in holy longings and expectations. Children are still longing to be at home. There is bread enough in our Father's house. Oh, how we should ever be longing for home!

(Thomas Watson.)There is a fulness of meaning in the term as it stands in the Scripture, which includes both the effort; to make peace, and the disposition of the mind towards it.

I. A man may be officially or otherwise employed in composing a difference that exists between two families or two individuals, without possessing the spirit and disposition of peace which the word includes.(1) No one can be the peacemaker of the text without; he(2) possesses a peaceable and conciliatory disposition.

II. The duty combines the attempt to reconcile men to God, through the peace-speaking blood of the cross, with the effort to heal the breach of friendship which has been made among individuals.(1) This of all labours the most noble and Divine.(2) We overlook the most essential part of making peace if we confine our endeavours to the composing of differences among men, while we(3) pass by multitudes around us who are "contending with their Maker."

(J. E. Good.)

I. DESCRIBE the peacemaker.

1. He is a citizen.

2. He is a neighbour.

3. He is a Christian.

II. Declare his BLESSEDNESS.

1. He is blessed of God.

2. He is one of the children of God.

3. They shall be called the children of God.

III. Set the peacemaker TO WORK.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

bert Hall and the Rev. Charles Simeon. — A pleasing instance of a successful effort to restore peace is related in the life of the Rev. John Owen. The Rev. Charles Simeon and the Rev. Robert Hall were offended with each other, and in their anger declined intercourse. After several friends had tried to restore peace, and failed, Mr. Owen wrote the under-mentioned lines on two cards, and then left one at the house of each person" —

"How rare that task a prosperous issue finds,

Which seeks to reconcile discordant minds!

How many scruples rise to passion's touch!

This yields too little, and that asks too much.

Each wishes each with other's eyes to see:

And many sinners can't make two agree:

What mediation, then, the Saviour showed,

Who singly reconciled us all to God."The first man who read the lines was so strongly impressed by them that he hastened from his house to call immediately upon his offended friend; the friend had also read the lines, and, being affected by them, had done the same, and the offended persons met each other in the street. A reconciliation instantly took place — a reconciliation which, it is believed, was never interrupted or regretted by either of those useful and highly esteemed men.

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