Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

AMONG the many virtues enjoined upon us by our blessed Saviour, none seems more worthy of our attention than that of meekness. This Christian grace is not the result of any weakness of mind ; neither, we may be assured, does it consist in a mean, cowardly temper, which submits to every encroachment; or in that servile behaviour, which gives an unhesitating assent to every opinion, however erroneous and absurd. By becoming Christians, we do not cease to be men ; and though endued with that meekness and lowliness of mind which the Gospel so frequently recommends, we may, and ought to have, a just concern for our own character, and maintain a requisite firmness of conduct, in opposition to any improper ideas and practices that may prevail in the world. Christian meekness consists in an easy, placid state of mind, under any real or imaginary circumstances of provocation.

It is an habitual gentleness of spirit, regulating the general conduct, especially under the excitements of anger or revenge.

The man of a meek and quiet spirit, though he must sensibly feel injurious treatment, and will use all proper means of averting or removing it, yet refers all his concerns to that Wisdom which is perfect, and to that Goodness which is unlimited and unchangeable :-far from thinking that God hath forsaken him, and given him over into the hands of his enemies, he considers what his condition would have been, had God permitted them to treat him according to his deserts; he reflects on his past experience of the divine goodness ; looks round upon the mercies which are still graciously vouchsafed to himand regards his present troubles as the instruments of his final—his eternal benefit: as only blessings in disguise-as the correction of a parent, whose intentions are always kind, even when his discipline seems most severe: and, firmly persuaded that, from the lowest depths of sorrow, oppression, and anguish, God is able, if it be his pleasure, to raise him up-and that he

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

will assuredly“ make all things ultimately work together for his good,” he bows before him with love and reverence, kisses the rod, and submits without repining ; and in all the changes and chances of this mortal life, will, with sincerity, say to his heavenly Father, “ thy will be done." Such a man is likewise studious to perform all the relative duties of life: respectful to his superiors, rendering honour and obedience to whom they are due; treating his inferiors with humanity and condescension, and his equals with affability, kindness, and courtesy,-shewing meekness to all men,-cautiously avoiding every thing which may promote or increase disputes and dissensions,—ever unwilling to contend about trifles, about things of an indifferent nature and of no moment: and even where the point is of importance, and deserves to be insisted on-acting with such candour and moderation of spirit, as not to offend those with whom he cannot conscientiously agree.

Though fixed, and holding fast to those sentiments and opinions, whether civil or religious, which he believes to be founded in truth,—yet, is the man imbued with Christian meekness, ever mild and courteous to those who differ from him on such subjects; and, making allowances for the weakness of human reason, and the strength of human prejudice, he can hear with patience what they have to offer in behalf of

their sentiments, and commend them for their integrity in following the dictates of conscience, how much soever their opinions may be opposed to his own.

Far from giving credit to malicious reports, or dark insinuations, which the censorious are so ready to disseminate, he is always disposed to put the most candid interpretation on the words and actions of his neighbours; he sees every thing in the mirror of christian liberality, and endeavours to cover with the mantle of charity, the failings and follies of his fellow creatures.

And when the meek man is really injured, -when violent encroachments are made upon his fortune or his reputation,—while he feels it incumbent upon him to vindicate his character from the aspersions of calumny, and to defend his rights against every invader,—while aggravated circumstances may perhaps oblige him to “be angry," yet will he take care that he “sins not” in the excessive indulgence of that dangerous passion; on the contrary, he will keep a vigilant watch over himself, ever preserving a freedom from all rancour and bitterness, and suffering not his regard for public justice to be alloyed with any mixture of private malice or resentment. He is also easily to be intreated ; has no personal animosity to the offender, but is ready to meet every advance towards a reconciliation, and even to concede some points where he can consistently do it, rather than by rigidly insisting on them, to keep up contention, to strengthen prejudices, and perpetuate a spirit of animosity and discord.

The scriptural motives and arguments which should excite us to cultivate this amiable and christian virtue are so numerous and powerful, tha tdid not daily experience convince us to the contrary, we could not but pronounce them irresistible. Above all, is it not recommended to us by the example of God Himself? How infinitely does his forbearance exceed man's provocation ! How does his mercy triumph over justice! or rather, how transcendently wonderful his love to his fallen and rebellious children, in devising a scheme for the exercise of his mercy, without compromising his justice ;"reconciling the world to himself,” by the atoning sacrifice of his dear Son Jesus Christ ! Lenity and kindness are indeed the leading characteristics of the divine administration. Consider with what indulgent patience and long suffering the great Creator waits for the repentance and amendment of his offending creatures. Unwilling that perish, he even condescends thus to expostulate with them :—“Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for why will ye die?” He promises them the greatest blessings, “such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” in order to lead them to their

any should

« PreviousContinue »