Matthew 5:5
This Beatitude asks at the outset to be distinguished from the first, that speaks of the "poor in spirit." It is a quotation from the far-seeing, even if dim-seeing, gospel of the Old Testament (Psalm 37:11), The promise attached to the Beatitude is one the special habitat of which is the page of the Old Testament. And this helps to guide us to the genius of the present passage. Meekness must be indeed a quality of the person; it must undoubtedly be in the most essential sense a personal quality. It is nowhere, unless it is deep down in a man's heart, and in genuine possession of it. Though this be so, however, it is here a virtue that faces less to the individual character and life than to the social, collective, national. Let a man be more than as meek as Moses, he and his individual solitary meekness would never make that conquest of the heritage of the earth which is here extolled and set up as a mark and a goal. Had, however, the chosen people been meek, true to meekness, continuously and growingly meek, meek subjects of the heavenly and theocratic rule, then dispossession would not have been their heritage of shame. A growing heritage of the earth would have been their glory and pride. Now, all this, unobtained by the Law of Moses and Sinai, with its commandments and the prophets, remains to be obtained. It is yet to be. The earth is to be inherited, and it is to be inherited by men whose conquest of it shall be, not by might, nor by power and pride, but by meekness! We may read, therefore, in this Beatitude -

I. CREATION'S CHARTER PROCLAIMED ANEW, OF MAN'S RIGHT IN THE EARTH.

II. DEEPER AND FAR MORE SIGNIFY[CANT INTIMATION OF THE REAL WAY IN WHICH THE CONQUEST OF THE EARTH SHOULD BE EFFECTED. The whole earth and mankind themselves, alike in their most scientific aspects and their moral aspects, are best understood, and certainly best mastered, by those methods of observation rather than of dictation, of induction rather than presuming speculation and hazardous conjecture, which the greatest, truest philosophers (like Lord Bacon) came at last to recognize and teach. This meekness is, even for the physical conquest of the earth and all things in it, the masterly meekness.

III. THE HIGHEST SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE DECLARED - THAT THE MEEKNESS THAT MINISTERS, THAT SERVES, THAT IS EVER READY TO MAKE ITSELF THE LEAST, IN PURSUIT OF THE HIGHEST WELFARE OF MEN, IS THAT FORCE WHICH MOST UNFAILINGLY WINS EVENTUALLY THE CHIEFEST PLACE, THE GREATEST HONOUR AND INFLUENCE, AND MOST ROYAL AND ENDURING EMPIRE. The Beatitude does not for a moment purport to say anything to the honour of the man who might possibly be lord of a million acres, but it does purport these two things at the lowest estimate - to honour the man who through meek obedience, diligence, industry, study, should out of actual poverty win for himself but a single acre; and, secondly, much more to honour the man who by the like qualities makes the earth more tenantable for its citizens, and its citizens longer-lived and happier tenants of it.

IV. A GRACIOUS AND UNFALTERING ASSURANCE FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE MEEK IN THIS SENSE, THAT THEY ARE STUDYING TO GROW IN REAL HARMONY WITH THE WILL OF HEAVEN AND ITS LOVE, THAT IT IS FOR THEM TO FIND AT LAST THEIR LONG PRAYER DIVINELY AND MOST PRACTICALLY ANSWERED, AND GOD'S "KINGDOM COME, AND HIS WILL DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN." There is no sense truer than this in which the meek shall "inherit the earth." - B.







The meek.
I. A general IDEA OF THIS CHRISTIAN VIRTUE. It is not that mildness of temper which is natural to some people. This amiable disposition is manifest

(1)In the closet;

(2)In the family;

(3)In the Church;

(4)In the sanctuary;

(5)In the world.

II. Reasons why we should attend to the CULTIVATION of this virtue.

1. In order to be conformed to the example of the Son of God.

2. In order to refute the calumnies of the infidel.

3. In obedience to the Scriptures.

III. The INHERITANCE which is connected with its possession.

1. The meek shall inherit the present earth, and be happy in it.

2. They shall inherit the new earth.

(J. Jordan.)

I. What constitutes a meek spirit? Not a natural quietness of character — amiableness. A meek spirit is a spirit of goodwill and clemency: is placid and calm amidst the vexations and cares of life (1 Peter 3:4); is tractable and submissive; forbearing and forgiving; bows to the rod of affliction.

II. The blessedness of this spirit. It is an evidence of our union to Christ — a unity with the spirit of the noble sufferers and martyrs of the past: enjoy the benefits of Divine providences "inherit the earth," in a mystic sense, far superior to worldly possessions: enjoy a superior measure of the Spirit of God: shall in the end literally enjoy the earth.

(W. Barker.)There is a twofold meekness — towards God and towards man. Towards God implies two things.

I. SUBMISSION to His will.

1. Carrying ourselves calmly, without murmuring, under the dispensations of Providence.

2. Let God do what He will with me, I will submit.

II. FLEXIBILITY to His Word.

1. He is spiritually meek who conforms himself to the mind of God, and doth not quarrel with the instructions of the Word, but the corruptions of his heart.

2. How happy it is when the Word which comes with majesty is received with meekness. Meekness towards man consists in three things.

I. Bearing of injuries.

II. Forgiving of injuries.

III. Recompensing good for evil.

(Thomas Watson.)

I. CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

1. In prosperity a meek, quiet, and humble spirit is not puffed up.

2. Does not esteem himself better because of his position.

3. Looks upon the good things he possesses as a gift from God.

4. Not as the reward of his own merit.

5. Not as the purchase of his own industry. He will consider that as much as he excels others in these outward gifts of fortune, so much they may excel him in the inward gifts of grace, in knowledge, in wisdom, in piety, and in virtue.

II.

1. In ADVERSITY, being of a meek and humble spirit, he will be contented with his condition.

2. Easy and quiet under all misfortune and affliction.

3. Will not envy those who are in a more flourishing condition: rather will rejoice thereat.

4. Though in want or pain, he will be glad that" others are at ease.

5. Would rather be miserable alone, than have sharers in his misfortune.

6. Will gladly accept and thankfully acknowledge help and relief from others.

III. A meek man WILL BEHAVE HIMSELF IN RELATION TO GOD, IN A HUMBLE SPIRIT.

1. Willing to be instructed by God.

2. Yielding a ready belief to all Divine revelations.

3. Cheerfully obedient to Divine command.

4. With prompt submission of self to the wisdom and will of God.

5. Patiently enduring inflictions and dispensations of God's providence towards him.

IV. Meekness IN RELATION TOWARDS MEN consists in

(1)Owning the authority and dominion of our superiors;

(2)In acknowledging the equality of our equals;

(3)In thoughtfulness and care for our inferiors;

(4)In being free from malice towards those who have wronged us.

V. BLESSED are the meek.

1. In that they have command over their passions.

2. In that they possess valour and fortitude.

3. In that they have everlasting peace of mind.

(Bishop Ofspring Blackall, D. D.)

I. It is the fruit of that humbleness of spirit and sorrow for sin of which the preceding beatitudes speak.

(1)It flows from Christian humility and

(2)penitential sorrow. It is

(3)acquiescence with God's ways;

(4)Resignation to His will; and

(5)Subjection of the mind and judgment to the revelation He has made of His character and grace.

II. It is not only meekness in relation to God, but also meekness in relation to man.

(1)It is kindness to adversaries;

(2)Gentleness to foes;

(3)Submission for the sake of peace, on all occasions where principles are not required to be compromised, or the conscience violated;

(4)It is a principle of Christianity; and

(5)the existence of vital, solid religion in the heart.

(J. E. Good.)

1. That irritableness which comes from untrained or overspent nerves.

2. Pride is an indefatigable enemy of meekness.

3. Conscience is a great adversary, as the world works, of meekness; it finds conscience in its way.

(H. W. Beecher.)

There is no discord possible on the bassviol to a string that does not exist, or that has not been brought to any tension.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Behold the barren field. Everything sleeps or is dead. Call, now, to the winds in January. Call now, to the sheeting snows in February to redeem the field and the forest, and all their violence falls short. Call for nature's rudest forces, that walk the earth invisible in rugged power, or storms and winds, and what change can violence work upon the dead field and the waking forest? Yet there is a prophecy of silence in the south, and. there are winds that wander, rim before the coming sun. Now the morning comes earlier and the evening lingers later. Now milder heavens; now come birds, singing victory; more light, longer days, gentler heat, and, behold, death is slain and June is here, and in her lap all falls. The storms can no longer touch, nor frosts destroy. And so shall be the advancing forces of love and meekness, but not in January nor in February, nor in the March, in which the world is now hying, but in June and summer.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Look at it. A very proud father has a son. He naturally governs him with rigour and peremptoriness. He finds out that the boy has, in his visitations, allied himself prematurely with a family with which it is very desirable there should not be a connection. On hearing of it he rages and storms; and his wife says to him, "My dear, don't you know that if you undertake to oppose this thing in that way, you will do more harm than good? Don't you know that if you are violent with the boy. you will only ratify him in his determination? "He recognizes that fact, and calms down. He goes to the boy and says pleasantly, "Well, nay son, how is it with you? I hear that you have been visiting." "Yes," says the boy, "I have." "Well, I am very glad of it; where have you been?" "In .Mr. So-and-So's family." "All! there are many excellent things in that family. I suppose you have become acquainted with the young people?" "Yes, sir." "And it is very natural that young people should become attached to each other." So he goes on with the conversation in a spirit of sweetness and gentleness, till, by and by, he has brought the young man round, and drawn him away from these dangerous grounds and connections.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Anthony Blanc, one of Felix Neff's earlier converts, was very earnest in winning souls to Christ. The enemies of the gospel were angry at his success, and used alike scoffs and threats against him. One night, as he was returning home from a religious meeting, he was followed by a man in a rage, who struck him a violent blow on the head. "May God forgive and bless you!" was Anthony's quiet and Christian rejoinder. "Ah!" replied his assailant, furiously, "if God does not kill you, I'll do it myself!" Some days afterwards Anthony met the same person in a narrow road, where two persons could hardly pass. "Now I shall be struck by him again," he said to himself. But he was surprised, on approaching, to see this man, once so bitter towards him, reach out his hand, and say to him, in a tremulous voice, "Mr. Blanc, will you forgive me, and let all be over?" Thus, this disciple of Christ, by gentle and peaceful words, had made a friend of an enemy.

Anecdotes.
A poor Christian man, illustrating this text, said, "I went through my lord's park, and the great house looked so grand. Well, I said, 'Bless the Lord, it is a fine house.' I didn't envy it, bless the Lord! but I seemed so to enjoy the great house. I said, 'That's mine, surely; I enjoy it, I do.' Then the sheep looked so nice, and the cattle and the horses; and I said, 'Bless the Lord! they are all my Father's, and they are all mine.' I didn't want to have them, but I did enjoy them so. And the trees, and the grass, and the plantations, all looked so beautiful, I appeared to enjoy them so. I said, 'Lord, they are all Lord —'s; but they're all mine, too.'" And so they were. Well indeed would it have been for their proprietor, an unconverted man, had he been capable of enjoying them in the same sanctified manner. A missionary in Jamaica was once questioning the little black boys on the meaning of this text, and asked, "Who are the meek?" A boy answered, "Those who give soft answers to rough questions."

(Anecdotes.)How different from the teaching of Christ is that of the great apostle of infidelity — David Hume!" Nothing," says the latter, "carries a man through the world like a true, genuine, natural impudence." The religion of a man whose morality is loose like this, could scarcely assume any other character than that of an unblushing scepticism and licentiousness.

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