The Meekness and Gentleness of Christ.

(Extract from an old magazine.)

There is a voice of very deep instruction in that appeal of the apostle to the Corinthians, "I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:1).

If we trace for ourselves the Lord's course through this world in the various scenes in which He is presented, what is it that strikes the heart? What is it that makes us feel the immeasurable distance there is between Him and every other character that we ever did, or ever can contemplate? Is it not His lowly meekness — His gentleness, His unutterable humbleness of carriage, in contrast with all that was around Him, and in contrast with all that we know of our own spirits and of the world? Think of Him in the presence of His enemies and their provocations! Think of Him in connection with His dull inapprehensive disciples — how He meets their difficulties, bears with their ignorance, corrects their prejudices! How does every scene in which He is viewed add some fresh illustration of the truth of His words, "I am meek and lowly in heart," until the impression of the whole becomes overwhelming.

Meekness is most seen in bearing with what we meet with that is in any way contrary to us. Gentleness has the field of its exercise in active dealing with others. Notice how extensively this spirit is directly inculcated in the New Testament. In the first place the Apostle Peter teaches us that the characteristic calling of a Christian, as to this world, is to do well and suffer for it, and take it patiently (see 1 Peter 2:20-23). And in suffering for righteousness, on which our Lord has pronounced His blessing, the same Apostle says, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15). And when speaking of what kind of dress is becoming in the light of God for Christian women, he says, "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel: but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:3-4). Our Lord in giving the characteristics of those who would have part with Him in His kingdom, says, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth."

The Apostle James in presenting to us the spirit in which the Divine word should be received says, "Lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). And again, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble" (James 4:5).

If we turn to the epistles of Paul, we find him in the Ephesians speaking thus in relation to the walk that is worthy of the Christian's calling: "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love" (Eph. 4:1-2). In Colossians he says, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" (Col. 3:12-13). In Galatians he says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). In the same epistle he teaches us in what spirit brotherly discipline, if it is to be effectual, must be administered. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou be tempted" (Gal. 6:1). In his epistle to Timothy he says, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" (1 Tim. 6:11). And in the second epistle, where especially he is concerned that Timothy should act rightly in the midst of opposition and evil and the corruption of the truth, he says, "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose them-selves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (2 Tim. 2:23-25). In Titus, speaking of what is the duty of Christians in their carriage towards the authorities of the world, he says, "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness" (Titus 3:1-2).

There is not a relationship of life, nor a condition in which we can be placed in which this spirit is not demanded of us. … How much is "this meekness and gentleness of Christ" displayed in me? And how much is it a matter of daily study, in the presence of my meek and gentle Lord and Master, in order to attain it?

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David said, "Thy gentleness hath made me great" (2 Sam. 22:36); and of Moses it is recorded that he was "very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). These two were outstanding servants of God, but their features of gentleness and meekness are not the traits that men highly esteem, nor would they have fitted them for a great place in man's world. Do we covet these features seen in these two men of God, and which were manifest in their perfection in Jesus?