Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,…
I. THE NATURE OF THIS GRACE will appear in the description of it. Meekness is a grace of God, whereby the heart and affections are inclined unto a mild and loving, a kind and courteous carriage towards our neighbour, even then when they might be provoked to anger. Where three things are laid down to be further opened to the better knowledge of this virtue —
1. That it is a grace of God, for the next verse will teach us that we are born as rough as Esau in our corrupted nature; and therefore this strippeth and goeth beyond the best nature, being a fruit of the Spirit, and is called the spirit of meekness, because it is such a peculiar work of the Spirit, and proceedeth not of the flesh.
2. The work of it is properly to preserve Christian affection, in moderating all revengeful passions, not suffering the heart to be easily overcome with bitterness, but is as a wall or fence of the soul, receiving all the shot of injurious and hostile actions and speeches, and yet keeping all safe within, not permitting the possessor hastily or violently either to offer to another or remove from himself such injuries. The mother of it is humility, the daughter is long-suffering, and therefore we read it set between these two in diverse places. It preserveth peace within when it is provoked to war, to anger, and return of wrongs, for then is the chief use of this grace, which is therefore added, because many men seem to have attained this virtue, when it is never a whir so. Let them alone, offend them not, you shall have them gentle, courteous, affable, and tractable enough; but cross them a little, and stir their blood, oh, now you must pardon them; they have their affections, and you shall know they can be passionate and angry as well as others; here shall you see the best nature betraying her meekness. But Christian meekness must step in to overcome evil with good when it is provoked to return evil, or else what great thing doest thou? It is no hard thing for the very Infidel and Turk to be kind to the kind, nay, the wild beast, if thou goest no further, will be as meek as thou, who the most of them hurt not unprovoked.
II. THIS MEEKNESS MUST BE SHOWED FORTH, not hid with ourselves, but it must be brought into the light, that others may have the benefit of it, for as this grace is a sign and pawn of our election, which, as the elect of God, we must put on and array ourselves withal (Colossians 3:12), so also must it be the ornament of our vocation, whereby we glorify God, adorn our profession, and win others unto the liking of it. Hence the apostle, praying the Ephesians to walk worthy of their high calling, teacheth them that this they shall do if they put on humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, etc. (Ephesians 4:2), for otherwise, if men partake not in these graces, the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace cannot long last undissolved.
III. THIS MEEKNESS MUST BE SHOWED TO ALL MEN — believers, unbelievers, friends, enemies, the better and the worse, which is a special point not to be neglected, because it is the ground of the verses following.
(T. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,