Our Saviour begins his sermon by declaring who are blessed; and, considering him the future judge of the world, an extrodinary importance attaches to his decisions. It is observable, in general, that the characteristics that he pronounces blessed are not those accounted so by the world: on the contrary, they are such as the world hate, despise, and persecute. On this account all these beatitudes possess the air of paradox. It is also observable that it was our Saviour’s manner of preaching to exhibit marks or signs of grace, and to pronounce those, and those only, who possess them, in a blessed state. The offer of salvation was made to every creature; but the blessings were promised only to believers. Some have pretended that the marks and signs are not certain evidence of grace; and that is a legal and dangerous way of preaching, as tending to lead men into themselves for comfort; but so far as comfort proceeds from evidence of our interest in the divine favor, it must imply a consciousness of our being the subjects of those spiritual dispositions to which the promises are made. It is true that the first genuine comfort which a soul possesses is by directly believing in Christ; or from a view for what he is; rather than from anything within himself: for it is impossible that he should be conscious of any good within himself, til he has believed in him. I may add, that it is equally true that the richest consolations to a believer are derived from the same source; namely, from beholding the glory of Christ and of salvation in his name.
Excerpt from An Exposition on the Sermon on the Mount
The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller with a Memoir of His Life in Two Volumes. Volume 2. Boston: Lincoln and Edmans, 1833.