Monday, September 20, 2010

What Is Meekness? (Matthew Henry)

We must be of a meek spirit: facilis, or 'easy,' so the critics.

What Meekness Isn't: Corruptability or Naivety
Meekness is easiness of spirit. Not a sinful easiness to be debauched, as Ephraim's, who willingly walked after the command of the idolatrous princes (Hosea 5.11), nor a simple easiness to be imposed upon and deceived, as Rehoboam's, who is said to be young and tender-hearted at the age of forty (2 Chronicles 13.7), but a gracious easiness to be wrought upon by that which is good, as theirs whose heart of stone is taken away, and to whom a heart of flesh is given. Meekness is easiness, for it accommodates the soul to every occurrence, and so makes a man easy to himself, and to all about him.

What Meekness Is: Taming of the Self
The Latins call a meek man mansuetus, qu. manu assuetus - 'used to the hand,' which alludes to the taming and reclaiming of creatures wild by nature, and bringing them to be tractable and familiar (James 3.7-8). Man's corrupt nature has made him like 'the wild ass used to the wilderness, or the swift dromedary traversing her ways' (Jeremiah 2.23-24), but the grace of meekness, when that gets dominion in the soul, alters the temper of it, brings it to hand, submits it to management; and now the wolf dwells with the lamb, and the leopard lies down with the kid, and a little child may lead them. For enemies are laid aside, and there is nothing to 'hurt or destroy,' (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Meekness Serves Love of God and Neighbour
Meekness may be considered with respect both to God, and to our brethren; it belongs to both the tables of the law, and attends upon the first great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," as well as the second, which is like it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

-Matthew Henry

Adapted, and edited, from A Discourse on Meekness by Matthew Henry. This is the first of a series of entries taken from Matthew Henry's book, which is out of print and somewhat rare. If any of you would like to join a project to help get Matthew Henry's miscellaneous works online in various forms, please drop me an email or respond to this post! -Sean

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