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FROM THE

WESLEY WEYMAN COLLECTION

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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

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THE TEN BLESSINGS

A SERIES OF TWELVE SERMONS



BY

BISHOP W. F. PENDLETON



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ACADEMY BOOK ROOM

BRYN ATHYN, PA.

1922



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THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY

681449A

ASTOR, LENOX AN©

TILDEN FOQNDATI©M§

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PRESS OF

THE NEW ERA PRINTING COMPANY

LANCASTER. PA.



THE TEN BLESSINGS.

Matthew V: 1-12.



Sermon Page

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the king-

dom of heaven 5

2. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be com-

forted 17

3. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth 30

4. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after

justice ; for they shall be filled 45

5. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy 60

6. Blessed are the pure in heart ; for they shall see God . . 73

7. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called

the children of God 85

8. Blessed are they which are persecuted for the sake of

justice; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven 97

9. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and per-

secute you, and shall say all manner of evil against
you falsely, for my sake 109

10. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your

reward in heaven 124

11. For so persecuted they the prophets which were before

you 137

12. A Review of the Series 146



THE TEN BLESSINGS.

FIRST SERMON.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their' s is the king-
dom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3-)

The fifth chapter of Matthew opens with these
words: "And seeing the multitudes, He went up into
a mountain ; and when he was set, His disciples came
unto Him; and He opened His mouth, and taught them,
saying." Then follow the blessings, or Beatitudes,
being the first words which the Lord uttered in what
is known as the Sermon on the Mount; and the first of
this Sermon, as well as the first of the Beatitudes, is.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their's is the king-
dom of heaven." The kingdom of heaven is composed
of those who are poor in spirit, and they are blessed in
the possession of it; of them is the kingdom of heaven.

But let us review briefly the opening words of the
chapter before proceeding to a consideration of the
text.

"Seeing the multitudes, He went up into a moun-
tain." By "seeing," when predicated of the Lord, is
signified His Omnipresence and Universal Providence;
but, as it is said that He saw the multitudes, and since
"the multitudes" mean those whom the Lord came
into the world to redeem and save, by "seeing" is here
meant the presence of the Lord by His Human with
men in the world, or His Advent. By His going up
or ascending into a mountain is meant the glorification
of the Human of the Lord, or union with the Divine
itself; for by "a mountain" in the Word is signified the

5



Divine Love, and also the inmost heaven, where the
Divine Love reigns. By the Lord's sitting down on a
mountain is meant His presence in His glorified Human
in the inmost heaven, and through this heaven with the
whole human race. By His disciples "coming unto
Him" is meant the presence with Him of those who
are to be teachers and leaders of mankind in both
worlds; and their instruction by Him immediately fol-
lows, for it is said that "He opened His mouth and
taught them, saying." The subject treated of in the
universal sense is the revelation of Divine Doctrine
from the Word out of the inmost heaven; for by the
mouth of the Lord is signified His Word. Properly
speaking, the subject is the opening of the Word and
the revelation of its internal sense in the form of Doc-
trine, and, at the same time, instruction from it and
illustration by it.

Then follows the teaching given by the Lord to His
disciples; and what the Lord said to them treats of
the Divine Doctrine and its reception by men; setting
forth, especially in the Beatitudes, that when the Di-
vine Doctrine is received, man has eternal life; for
eternal life is signified by the word "blessed." But be-
fore the Doctrine is given, the end in view in the giving
of the Doctrine is first represented — the end for which
the Lord came into the world, which was the establish-
ment of an internal church, His spiritual kingdom
among men. This end is signified by the mountain on
which the Lord sat when He taught His disciples, and
the Doctrine which He taught them was to be the
means by which His eternal kingdom was to be estab-
lished in the world.

The first Blessing treats of the first state of the
church in its reception of the Divine Truth proceeding
from the Lord, or of the Divine Doctrine revealed by
Him out of His Word. In general, the Blessings treat



of the establishment of the church in a series, of one
step or stage after another in its reception of the Di-
vine Truth of the Word, until the end of which we have
spoken is reached. Or, what is the same, they treat of
regeneration in a series, since that which treats of the
successive establishment of the church treats at the
same time of the regeneration of the individual man of
the church; for the church is established by the re-
generation of the individuals who compose it.

The first thing in the implantation of the church is
the reception of doctrine from the Lord in the under-
standing. There is no church before this ; for it is doc-
trine from the Lord that makes the church, and nothing
else. When true doctrine is received, the church is said
to begin; and it does then actually begin, but not be-
fore. Previous to this, man has been going through
the stages of preparation for the church ; the Lord has
been preparing him to receive true doctrine from
heaven; but until doctrine is received, the church it-
self is not with him. That which introduces into the
church is the same that introduces into heaven ; for the
internal of the church is heaven; and, in the spiritual
world, no one is introduced into heaven until he has
received the true doctrine of heaven. Hence it may
be said that the Blessings treat of the series of stages
by which man is prepared for and introduced into
heaven; indeed, at the close of the series it is said,
"Great is your reward in heaven."

Doctrine received into the understanding is the be-
ginning of the church; that is, doctrine enters the mind,
forms the understanding, and thus begins the church.
Not only does doctrine begin the church, but the whole
work of the establishment of the church, from begin-
ning to end, is performed by doctrine, by the doctrine of
truth from the Word in which the Lord is present. Doc-
trine is the means by which the Lord approaches and



8

applies Himself to the understanding of man, the means
by which a new understanding is formed. Doctrine is
the Divine instrumentality in establishing the church,
in regenerating man, in preparing him for heaven.
Without doctrine there is no church, no regeneration,
no life of heaven with men, no salvation to the human
race. This is the reason it is said that the first thing
in the implantation of the church is the reception of
doctrine from the Lord in the understanding; and this
is the reason that the first thing uttered by the Lord
in His discourse to His disciples on the mountain was,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their's is the king-
dom of heaven." The Blessings which follow treat
of the various stages of the reception of doctrine from
the Lord, or of the various stages in the establishment
of the church by doctrine, or again, of the stages of
preparation for heaven by means of doctrine from the
Word, and finally of the reward in heaven to which
true doctrine leads.

The first thing, let us repeat, in the implantation of
the church, the first step in the series, the first state of
the church itself, is doctrine from the Lord received
into the understanding, and, at the same time, faith in
such doctrine. This agrees with the teaching in the
Writings throughout, that faith is the first thing of the
church in the order of time. This first state of the
church, this first thing in the regeneration of the man
of the church, is what is meant by the "poor in spirit,"
who are said to be blessed because the kingdom of
heaven is theirs — "for of such is the kingdom of
heaven."

It has been supposed from the beginning of the
Christian Church, and many still believe, that heaven
is for the poor and not for the rich ; and the Word of
God does teach this in the merely literal sense. The
Lord on one occasion said to His disciples, "It is easier



for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God," (Matt.
19:24) ; and where the Blessings are repeated in Luke,
it is not said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," but
"Blessed be ye poor; for yours is the kingdom of God"
(Luke 6:20). It is not surprising, therefore, that those
who take the teachings of the Word in their most literal
sense, who follow the letter rather than the spirit, who
read the Word without true doctrine, should suppose
that the poor and not the rich are to be received into
heaven. True doctrine, however, reveals that the
Word has a spiritual sense throughout, and that many
things therein are spoken, not for their literal signifi-
cance, but for the sake of their spiritual meaning.

The letter of the Word is not without intimations of
a spiritual sense, and the text is a remarkable instance
of this. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." On reading
this, the reflecting mind may see that whenever the
poor are spoken of as blessed, and as worthy of the
kingdom of heaven — indicating the class of those who
are able to be received into heaven — the poor in spirit
are meant; and such a mind may reflect further that
when the rich are spoken of as being excluded from
heaven, it is not meant that those who are rich in this
world's goods are to be shut out from heaven merely
because of their riches. True doctrine shows that the
poor in spirit, or the spiritually poor, are meant by "the
poor" in the Word; and that the rich in spirit, or the
spiritually rich, are meant by "the rich" in the Word.

It is well to note here, in respect to the spiritual sense
of the Word, that every term has a good and an evil
signification, for the reason that every good of heaven
is turned into its opposite with the evil; and hence
there is a society of evil spirits in hell opposite to
every society of angels in heaven. The fact that every
good and truth flowing down from heaven is turned
into its opposite with the evil, explains many things



10

that appear inconsistent in the letter of the Word; for
there is hardly a word or phrase that is not used in both
senses, — sometimes in a good sense and sometimes in
an evil sense. Thus there are two classes of the poor,
when regarded in the light of the spiritual sense;
namely, the poor who are without the riches of heaven,
which are the knowledges of genuine truth from the
Word, and yet who desire them from a humble heart,
and the poor who are also without such knowledges,
but who in the pride of their hearts do not wish for
them, believing that they possess the riches of heaven
in the conceit of human intelligence. These are meant
by the Lord in Revelation, "Thou sayest, I am rich,
and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;
and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miser-
able, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee
to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest
be rich." (3:17, 18.)

It is the same in the Word with the rich as with the
poor; there are two classes of them. Those are said
to be rich who possess the riches of heaven, but who are
still humble in heart, having no conceit or pride of
intelligence in the rich things of the Word which they
possess. These are meant where the Lord said, "I know
thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art
rich." (Revelation 2:9.) The rich in the evil sense
are those who possess the things of the Word, but who
ascribe them to themselves and their own intelligence
and not to the Lord. These are the rich who know not
that they are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and
blind, and naked ; " and these are the rich, of whom it
is said that it is "easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle than for such to enter into the kingdom
of God."

We read in the text that it is the "poor in spirit"
who are received into the kingdom of heaven. By "the



II

poor," as we have seen, are meant those who are in
spiritual poverty, who know that they do not possess
the goods and truths of heaven, and are thus in humility
of heart. In the text, the application is especially to
those who are about to be formed into a church of the
Lord, or about to begin the work of regeneration, or
the state in which they are when they are prepared to
be taught the genuine truths of heaven, which are
spiritual riches; which state is the acknowledgment
that they know nothing from themselves, that no truth
is their own, but that all is from the Lord. They who
are in this state are ready to receive genuine truths in
the form of doctrine from the Word. Hence it is said
that they are "poor in spirit;" for "spirit," when it is
mentioned in the Word, signifies the understanding, or
the understanding of truth. Blessed are they who have
implanted in the thought of their understanding the ac-
knowledgment that all truth is from the Lord, and
nothing at all from man. These, in reality, are spirit-
ually rich, for in that acknowledgment are involved
and contained all the riches of heaven; and therefore
it is said that "of them is the kingdom of heaven."
This acknowledgment, indeed, is the first requisite for
entrance into that kingdom.

The kingdom of heaven is the spiritual kingdom
which the Lord came into the world to establish — not
a worldly kingdom such as the Jews vainly expected.
John warned the unbelieving Pharisees of this when he
said to them, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven
is at hand." (Matt. 3:2.) The Lord said the same
words when He began His preaching (Matt. 4:17)-
But the Pharisees, in the pride of their spirit — in their
confirmed love of the world — were unwilling to be-
lieve in any other kingdom than a kingdom of this
world; and so they did not repent, and hence did not
prepare the way for the Lord and His kingdom.

The kingdom of heaven on earth is the church, a



12



spiritual kingdom among men, where the Lord reigns,
and where men are prepared for heaven by the truth
of doctrine from the Word. They who are in true
poverty of spirit, and no others, are introduced into
this kingdom, into this true church of the Lord. These
are said to be blessed because in their heart-acknowl-
edgment of the Lord as the Divine Teacher of men is
involved all the happiness of eternal life.

We have seen that the opening words of the chapter,
the words which precede the text, treat of the revelation
of the Divine Doctrine from the Lord out of the inmost
heaven, for the sake of establishing His new spiritual
kingdom, or a new church on earth; and the series
which follow treat of the reception of that doctrine by
men on earth, and thus of the establishment of the
church with them ; and reception into the understand-
ing, as the first step, brings the blessing of heaven with
it. All of this is made more clear by the use of the term
spirit in the first words which the Lord uttered to His
disciples, when He said to them that the poor in spirit
are blessed, because they have the kingdom of heaven ;
for by the reception of the Divine Truth proceeding
from the Lord, they are placed among those who are
under the government of the Lord as King, and who,
by performing uses in His kingdom, are made happy
forever.

When it is said in the Word that the Lord teaches,
the meaning in the universal sense is that all Divine
Truth proceeds from Him in His glorified Human ; and
since it is said here that He taught His disciples, the
signification is that He reveals the Divine Truth to the
men of the church on earth in the form of doctrine
adapted to their understandings, that is, to the under-
standings of those who are in humility of spirit, but
not to the proud in spirit; for the Divine Truth can
never be adapted or accommodated to them, since there
is in a proud spirit, or in the conceit of human intelli-



13

gence, nothing that can receive the pure Divine Truth
of the Word. It shuns the truth, shuts it out, as a
diseased eye shuts out the pure light of the sun, being
tormented by it.

Now since the subject of the series in this chapter is
the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord and its
reception by men, and since men first receive it in the
understanding, the word spirit is used in the first of
the series, and not the word heart. These two words go
together, and are often coupled together in the Word,
as where it is said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a firm spirit within me." (Ps. 51:10.)
Again, "Make you a new heart and a new spirit; for
why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 18:31.)
But in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord did not say
at first to His disciples, "Blessed are the poor in heart,"
but "the poor in spirit;" and He said, "Blessed are the
poor in spirit," because the subject of the series is the
Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, its revelation
as Divine Doctrine to men, and its reception by them.
In the sixth blessing, the Lord says, "Blessed are the
pure in heart; for they shall see God." This is because
the regenerate state of the will is there the subject;
but six blessings are passed before this state is reached ;
and so in this first blessing "spirit" is used and not
"heart."

The lungs are never spoken of in the Word; but
their function, which is breathing, or respiration, is
frequently referred to under the term "breath" or
"spirit;" for this is what the word "spirit" means —
breath. In the human body, the lungs represent the
understanding and the heart the will ; but in the Word,
"heart" and "spirit" are coupled together as represent-
ing the will and the understanding. In the text, how-
ever, the heart is not mentioned, but instead, respira-
tion, breath, or spirit. Anyone can see that the respira-
tion or breath of the body is not meant when it is said,



14

"Blessed are the poor in spirit." The mind is meant,
or the understanding; and, as we have seen, by the
"poor in spirit" are meant those who are in humility
and not in pride of spirit or understanding, and that
with these the church is to begin when the Divine
Truth of Revelation, or the Divine Doctrine, is re-
ceived by them.

And now let us repeat — and the truth gathers force
by repetition — let us repeat, that humility of under-
standing consists in the acknowledgment that all truth
is from the Lord, that all doctrine is from the Lord,
and nothing from man, nothing from nature, nothing
self derived. When this acknowledgment is implanted
in the thought of the understanding, when this acknowl-
edgment is implanted in the active thought of the
church, then is such an understanding, then is such
a church, blessed by the Lord ; then is the life of heaven
present in such a man and in such a church. "Blessed
are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven."

It follows as a natural conclusion that they who are
not poor in spirit will not receive the Divine Truth
when it is revealed, will not receive or believe the teach-
ing of the Lord as He gives it to His disciples, or
from the disciples themselves when they are pre-
pared to give it to men. All such, if they persist
in their pride of spirit, will be cursed and not
blessed. We have referred to the fact that every-
thing in the Word has an opposite sense. So it is
in the text, where the opposite of blessing is curse.
Blessing expresses the state of eternal happiness in
heaven, and curse the state of eternal misery in hell;
and the text might be presented in its negative aspect,
— Cursed are the proud in spirit; cursed is he in whose
understanding is the pride of his own intelligence;
cursed is he who confirms himself in his own self-con-
ceit; cursed is he who confirms himself in the belief



15

that all truth is from man, and not from God; for the
kingdom of heaven is not of such.

It is not that the Lord curses, for He never curses
any man; but men curse themselves by persisting in
the refusal to receive what He has to give; and here,
in the negative aspect of the text, it is the persistent
refusal to receive the Divine Truth which proceeds
from Him, and to acknowledge that it is from Him —
this is the curse, the curse of the present day.

In our own time, the Divine Truth has been given
anew unto men; the Lord is now teaching the spiritual
truth of His Word to men in the world as He never
taught it before; but there is for the most part per-
sistent refusal to receive it; and that which stands in
the way is the proud spirit of man, the worship of hu-
man intelligence, the conceit of human understanding,
the belief that truth is from nature and from man,
and not from the Lord, the persuasion that man lives
from himself, and not from heaven, and the Lord in
heaven. This is the great obstacle to the reception of
the Divine Doctrine now revealed by the Lord out of
heaven ; and this is the cause of the slow growth of the
New Church with those who are in it. This is the curse
of the Christian world; and the New Church is not
yet out of the shadow of this curse.

The conceit of human intelligence is what is signified
in the Apocalypse by "the dragon," — the enemy of
Michael, the persecutor of "the woman who fled into
the wilderness," and who is called "that old serpent,
which is the devil and satan." He is called "satan"
because of this same pride of intelligence, and he is
called "devil" because the pride or conceit of human
intelligence has its origin in the love of self, which is
always signified by "devil" in the Word. This is the
devil, this is the satan, this is the dragon, this is the
self-love, this is the conceit of human intelligence,
which is the great enemy of the Heavenly Doctrines



i6

of the New Jerusalem, and the cause of the slow growth
of the New Church in the Christian world.

Blessing is life, and curse is death — eternal life,
eternal death. It is worth while to note here the mean-
ing of the word "blessed" in the original Greek. The
word here translated "blessed" is the common adjective
in Greek signifying "happy." The Blessings or Beati-
tudes might be called the Happinesses, and the first one
might read: "Happy are the poor in spirit; for of
them is the kingdom of heaven." But in its root the
word is a compound signifying "not dead," that is,
alive, immortal; and it appears in the phrase, "the
immortal gods," of classic literature. The poor in spirit
are not dead; they are alive, they are immortal, they
live forever.

The poor in spirit are alive and immortal, live for-
ever, because they have received the Divine Truth
proceeding from the Lord, because they have received
the Divine Doctrine revealed by the Lord out of
heaven, because they are in illustration from the Lord,
because they have been delivered from the pride of
their own intelligence and the dominion of their own
self love, because they have been released from spirit-
ual captivity, because they have been delivered from
the dominion of the spirits of the dragon, and because,
while yet in the world, they are as to their spirits with
the angels of heaven. And thus we see, perhaps but
dimly, the wonderful significance of those first words
of the Lord to His disciples gathered around Him on
the mountain, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for of
them is the kingdom of heaven." Amen.

Lessons: Jeremiah 20:7-18. Matthew 5:1-20. D. P. 206; or

H. H. 357, or 365; A. C. 9209.
Music: Liturgy, p. 533, 544, 576, 603, 618, 624, 678. Hymnal,

p. 1S0, 158, 162, 168.
Prayers: Liturgy, nos. 87, 88. Hymnal, nos. 12, 13.



THE TEN BLESSINGS.



SECOND SERMON.



"Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be com-
forted." (Matthew 5:4.)

The three great evils that have afflicted mankind are
famine, pestilence and war. There are, in addition,
fire and flood, heat and cold, storm and earthquake;
also the loss of relatives and friends, the loss of prop-
erty and possessions, the loss of reputation and fame;
and other evils which by their presence bring distress,
calamity, or ruin upon states, communities, families,


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