Blessed are ye when men shall revile you
These words are particularly directed to the disciples of Christ, and are designed to inform them, that they should not be exempted from reproach and persecution, and to animate and fortify them against it; and are prophetical of what they, and the first Christians particularly, were to endure for Christ's sake. Men should "revile" them, speak very reproachfully of them, brand them with infamy, and load them with disgrace; and
from place to place, by ill usage of all sorts;
and shall say all manner of evil against you:
the worst things they could think of and invent, and all of them; such as that they were seditious persons, enemies to the commonwealth, and the public good, guilty of sacrilege, incest, and murder but what would serve to relieve them under these heavy charges is, that they were "falsely" laid; there was not a word of truth in them; wherefore their own hearts would not reproach them; but all were the malicious lies of men, invented on purpose to bring them and Christianity into disgrace: and that they were brought against "them for Christ's sake", for his name's sake, for the sake of his Gospel and interest: the treatment they meet with is on his account, and the same that he himself met with; the like reproaches fell on him, which will be all wiped off from him and them another day; when they will appear to be the blessed persons, and their revilers and persecutors the unhappy ones. The Jews have some sayings not unlike these, and which may serve to illustrate them:
``(ajal aht alw ajwl aht) , "be thou cursed", or bearing curses, but do not curse F7. The gloss upon it is, it is better to be one of them that are cursed, than to be of them that curse; for, at the end, the curse causeless returns to him that curseth.''Again F8,
``for ever let a man be of them that are persecuted, and not of them that persecute; of them that suffer injury, and not of them that do it.''Once more F9,
``they that suffer injury, and do it not; who hear reproach, and do not return it; who act from love, and rejoice in chastisements, of them the Scripture says, "let them that love him" ( Judges 5:31 ) .''
F7 T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 49. 1.
F8 T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 93. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Deyot. c. 5. sect. 13.
F9 T. Bab. Sabbat. fol. 88. 2. Yoma, fol. 23. 1. & Gittin, fol. 36. 2.