William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Poor in Spirit

by Thomas Watson

He that is poor in spirit is lowly in heart. Rich men are commonly proud and
scornful, but the poor are submissive. The poor in spirit roll themselves in the
dust in the sense of their unworthiness. 'I abhor myself in dust' (Job 42:6). He
that is poor in spirit looks at another's excellencies and his own infirmities.
He denies not only his sins but his duties. The more grace he has, the more
humble he is, because he now sees himself a greater debtor to God. If he can do
any duty, he acknowledges it is Christ's strength more than his own. As the ship
gets to the haven more by the benefit of the wind than the sail, so when a
Christian makes swift progress, it is more by wind of God's Spirit than the sail
of his own endeavour. The poor in spirit, when he acts most like a saint,
confesses himself to be 'the chief of sinners'. He blushes more at the defect of
his graces than others do at the excess of their sins. He dares not say he has
prayed or wept. He lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. He labours, yet
not he, but the grace of God.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas