Page images
PDF
EPUB

deformed to a mind troubled with fierce and angry passions. But the mind of the meek man is like a clear and undisturbed lake, which reflects every object in its true colours and its just dimensions.

Again, the meek man bears with the faults and weaknesses of others; is slow to wrath ; unwilling to take offence ; and ready to forgive the injuries which he receives. In these respects, he is directly opposite to several characters which are too common in the world. The first are the severe and unrelenting who make no allowance for the unavoidable imperfections incident to human nature; to whom the follies, of men are unpardonable crimes; who yield not in one minute article even to preserve

and happiness of society. But the meek carefully observe those injunctions which abound in the New Testament, to bear one another's burdens, and to suffer with the infirmities of the weak. They copy the example of Jesus, who pleased not himself, but on whom fell the reproaches of those who reproached others. The God of patience and of consolation, who knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust, commandeth them to be likeminded one towards another.

the peace

The next class of men from whom the meek essentially differ, are the passionate ; who are full of wrath and anger, whose passions are so furious that the smallest spark is sufficient to set them in a blaze, who take offence at every disrespectful word or gesture, who resent every real or imagined injury. But meekness suffereth long, beareth all things, is not easily provoked. The meek man is greater than the mighty, for he hath rule over his own spirit. No fierce or unruly passion is allowed to disturb his repose ; no darkness obscures the sunshine of his mind. He knoweth the real value of the honours and advantages of the world, and passes by those little neglects, affronts and injuries, which create so many heart-burnings and animosities among men.

He is careful to observe the direction of the Apostle ; “let all “ bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, be put away from you. And be

ye “ kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another.”

The last thing opposed to meekness in the view in which we are considering it, is that peevishness and fretfulness of temper which begets ill-humours and discontent, and convert every event and

1

It is a guest

action into food for its own disorder. Such men continually wear a face of gloom and uneasiness ; they are discontented and displeased with every thing around them. But the meek man is ever pleased, cheerful, and easy. He is at peace with himself, and consequently under no temptation not to be at peace with others. If, at any time, serious provocation has led him into anger, the sun goeth not down upon his wrath. that tarrieth but a little. He never allows.it to settle into resentment, malice or revenge. His behaviour is ever gentle, placid, and equal. He meets the calamities and disappointments of life with humble submission and pious resignation. In every

situation he

possesseth his soul in patience. Though the storm howls without, all is calm and serene within. His spirits are never ruffled by misfortune, his mind is never unhinged by disappointment, and good humour and contentment are the constant inhabitants of his dwelling.

Lastly, the great feature in the character of the meek man, is his love of peace and quiet

He is not fond of high and elevated stations, of the shew and bustle of life. His

ness.

[blocks in formation]

delight is in ease and retirement. He knoweth that the thunder more often attacks the lofty building and the high tower than the lowly cottage.

He sees the mountain assailed by the blast while not a breath is stirring in the vale, and the oak bending under the storm while nothing disturbs the ivy which creeps upon the wall.

But if his situation lead him to mingle in the world, as far as in him lieth, he liveth peaceably with all men. He seeketh for peace as for hidden treasure, and often parts with his rights, and sacrifices his interest to maintain it. He provoketh not others to anger, nor administers fuel to their passions, but by a soft answer turneth away wrath, “ Pleasant are his words,” to use the language of Solomon, they are as honey" comb, sweet to the soul, and marrow to the « bones.' Not only does he live peaceably with others himself, but he also endeavours to make all men live at peace with one another. He tries to allay the heats, animosities and discords, which must take place in the intercourse of mankind, where the passions and interests of men interfere so much, and so directly oppose one another. He pacifies the resentment of the angry, sooths the

[ocr errors]

árascible, brings the peevish into good humour, rejoices to make one blessed family of mankind, to behold all men uniting in love to God and love to man.

Upon the whole, the virtue which has been delineated, and which it was found impossible to keep entirely distinct from several other virtues, humility, patience, contentment, is that which is recommended by the Apostle Paul in these words, “ Put on (as the elect of God, holy and beloved,) bowels of mer“ cies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meek“ ness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, “ and forgiving one another.'

But the best description of meekness is to be met with in the history of the life and character of Jesus. There we find meekness to be not a virtue of which only an idea can be formed, without the possibility of its being practised ; but we see it actually embodi. ed and in human form dwelling among men. Meek and lowly in heart was the son of God; he was humble in his deportment; every action of his life was full of condescension, gentleness and love. The Legislator of the Jews was called the meekest man on earth, but a meeker than Moses is here. Isaiah

« PreviousContinue »