The charm of Heaven will be the Lord's presence. "Where I am, ye shall be also." We shall see His face, and be forever with Him. What would not men give, if some old manuscripts might turn up with new stories of His wondrous life, new parables as charming as those of the Good Shepherd and the Prodigal Son; new beatitudes; new discourses like that on the Vine. God might have permitted this.
Outward poverty is a blessing if it drives men to God; it is not a blessing if, as is often the case, it drives men from Him; or if, as is still oftener the case, it leaves men negligent of Him. So that Matthew's enlargement is identical in meaning with Luke's condensed form, regard being had to the difference in the structure of the two Beatitudes.
The late Captain Wilson, author of several queer pamphlets, propagandist of a metaphysical system called Comprehensionism, and inventor of the term "Crosstianity" to distinguish the retrograde element in Christendom, was wont thirty years ago, in the discussions of the Dialectical Society, to protest earnestly against the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount as excuses for cowardice and servility, as destructive of our will, and consequently of our honor and manhood.
But such a proposal would probably be accounted "of doctrine," and so be self-condemned. Of the desirability of allowing a week-day use of the BEATITUDES in the room of the COMMANDMENTS enough has been already said. Confirmation. The permission to use a form of presentation instead of, or in addition to, the Preface is likely to be widely welcomed. Visitation of the Sick.
Set aside twenty minutes for each one to write a letter to send to the brother or sister, relative or friend, at a distance. Even the baby can scratch something which he thinks is a "real enough" letter in penciled scribbles. Close the day with quiet reading and song, or with the memory exercise in which all endeavor to repeat some simple psalm or a few verses, like the Beatitudes.
The Liturgy of St. Chrysostom provides that the Beatitudes shall be sung on Sundays in room of the third antiphon.
Altogether, what a time of disillusionment this was to the young officer. What depths of cruelty and obscenity it revealed in the Parisian rabble. What folly to treat them with the Christian forbearance shown by Louis XVI. How much more suitable was grapeshot than the beatitudes. The lesson was stored up for future use at a somewhat similar crisis on this very spot.
"Ah! but I forgot" she resumed hurriedly "we left out several of the Commandments and we chanted the Beatitudes and then I found there was a little service paper in the seat, and everybody in the church but Hugh and me knew all about it beforehand!" "A queer performance," said Manvers, "and of course childishly illegal. Your man will be soon got rid of.
It takes a deal of padding to make shelves of books out of the familiar and generally accepted truisms which are the "Sermon on the Mount" and the "Beatitudes" of this gospel of personal efficiency. Keep fit, keep at it, assert yourself, never admit the possibility of failure, study your own strength and weakness and the strength and weakness of your competitor and success is yours.
It is the conduct and disposition towards God and man which follows from the inward experience described in the two former Beatitudes, which had relation only to ourselves.