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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XXVI THE MERCIFUL

Matthew v.7.

Whom does Jesus call the blessed people? |Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.| This repeats in effect the later words of Jesus: |With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.| The merciless judgment passed on others recoils upon one's own nature and makes it hard and mean and brutalized. The habit of charitable judgment of others is a source of personal blessedness. It blooms out into composure and hopefulness, into peace and faith. How wonderful these great calm affirmations of Jesus are! They are directly in the face of the most common views of life, and yet they are delivered as simple axioms of experience, as matters of fact, self-evident propositions of the reason. It is not a matter of barter of which Jesus is speaking. He does not say: |If you treat another kindly he will be kind to you. The merciful man will get mercy when he needs it.| That {68} would not be the truth. The best of men are often judged most mercilessly. Jesus himself gives his life to acts of mercy, and is pitilessly slain. This beatitude gives, not a promise to pay, but a law of life. To forgive an injury is, according to this law, a blessing to the forgiver himself. The quality of mercy blesses him that gives as well as him that takes. The harsh judge of others grows hard himself, while pity softens the pitier. Thus among the happiest of people are those whose grudges and enmities have been overcome by their own broader view of life. It is as though in the midst of winter the warmer sun were already softening the frost. They are happy, not because others are kinder to them, but because that softer soil permits their own better life to germinate and grow. The merciful has obtained mercy; the blesser has received the blessing.

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