By Elder Lemuel Potter
The Church Advocate - November 1892
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" Matt. v. 5.
This text gives one mark of character that should adorn every child of God in the world. To be meek is to have a mild temper, and not easily irritated and uneven and boisterous. It is an easy matter for us to have friends, and for all our brethren to seek our company if we are always gentle and pleasant. We can always have more influence over our brethren for good if we are always kind and gentle in our manners towards them. The meek person seems to be one that does not expect everything to be just as he would have it, but seems to be prepared to put up with it without murmuring or fussing, even if it is bad. He will even try to make the best of injuries, and forbear at all times to undertake to bring an offender to an account for an injury done. He seems rather disposed to extenuate the faults of others, and try to look on the favorable side of the case, and exonerate the offender from any evil intentions. The meek person is one of a genial, warm-hearted temper that can be approached without becoming irritated or suspicious of any wrong intentions. These marks should always be found in brethren and sisters in their dealings with each other.
Meekness should always govern when we intend to labor with a trespasser or offender. The apostle exhorts his brethren thus, "Brethren, if a man he overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Gal. vi, 1. There are cases where a brother or sister makes a great mistake when they go to labor with a brother. We feel sure that a brother or sister that can never see any of his own wrongs is not the proper one to labor with an erring brother. Many times the brother who asks another to account for every little mistake, or even misdeed, would fall if his own standard were to be turned on him, and he had to be measured by it. A brother is in a poor condition to pray for his erring brother, while he can make no allowance for him. In fact, he does not possess any meekness, but a great deal of selfishness, while he can heartily require perfection of his brother, and demand a rigid account for every little thing. "Restore such a one," does not mean to abuse and discourage, and drive the erring brother further away. The injunction in the text is to restore, which means to bring back from his error to his original state of rectitude and uprightness. The brother or sister that goes to an erring brother, just merely to complain at him for his wrongs, to have it said that he told him of his wrong, must be very destitute of the spirit of meekness. In fact, there is evidently a great deal of selfishness and arrogance manifested in such a course. "Restore such a one in the spirit of meekness," is the language of the inspired apostle. In doing such a thing as this, it is necessary to examine one's self, as the apostle said "considering thyself lest thou also be tempted." This means not to go to a brother and talk to him as though you thought that it would be impossible for you to do wrong, but let him think that you feel as dependent on the Lord for his grace to keep you right as any one else; and that while you feel that you might err as well as him, you pity him, and desire him to feel that you do not feel to be so much better than he is, but that you love him and desire that he return from the error of his way and be restored to the confidence of all his brethren. "In the spirit of meekness" means to go in the spirit of forbearance and forgiveness, reaching out a brotherly hand and making him feel welcome in your company, and that while he has done wrong, you think too much of him to want to cut him off-in fact, that you do not see how you can spare him as a brother. It is with a view to this very thing, no doubt, that the apostle used the following language:
"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 long suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." Eph. iv, 1; 2, 3.
It is by acting as the apostle here instructs that we walk worthy of the high and honorable vocation. "With all lowliness," means subjection or humility of mind. In Greek, the meaning of lowliness is meanness of spirit," and it seems that the gospel has elevated the word to express a christian grace, is the esteeming of ourselves small, and inasmuch as we are small, it does ourself no injustice to put such an estimate upon ourself, and as we thus truly esteem ourself, we feel that we are lowly indeed. It is the lowly, humble heart that is also meek. Such only can obey the exhortation of the apostle: "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 a man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." Col. iii, 12. 13. In such a walk as this we walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. If we esteem ourselves small, it will be an easy matter for us to go to a brother to restore him in the spirit of meekness.
While we go to him in that spirit, we will not be apt to use severity nor haughtiness toward him. But as he is already, perhaps, deeply humbled, he needs a great deal of encouragement and leniency, and while we walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, it is an easy matter for us to extend the hand of mercy, and to extenuate as far as possible, the poor erring brother, and, in mercy, try to conceal his faults, and pray the Lord to be merciful, and lead the poor soul aright by his Holy Spirit, in the future, and forgive all the past. If we could at all times see in weakness in our brethren and sisters, we would certainly see them more happy many times. When we are meek we can even submit easily to hardships, and yield obedience to the laws of our blest Redeemer, in denying ourselves and bearing the cross daily.
Meekness is that spirit, no doubt in which we accept God's dealings with us without disputing, resisting or murmuring, In this we are reconciled to his dealings with us, and feel to say many times, when the hand of affliction and bereavement seems to fall heavily upon us, it is all right, but it is hard. With the spirit of meekness we can accept patiently the injuries done us by men, out of the thought that it may be the means by which the Lord chastens and purifies his people. It was, no doubt, with this view of the matter that David expressed himself as follows: "And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day." II Sam. xvi, 11, 12.
It is certainly a blessed thing to be meek and lowly. To be so is to be as our Savior. He says, "For I am meek and lowly in heart." The heavenly grace that most beautifully adorns the character of the Lord's little ones, and the embellishment that advertises them the most truly as saints, is "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." I Pet. iii, 4.
If we desire to be approved of God let us endeavor at all times to be meek. Lord bless us with the spirit of meekness.
"O, for a heart, submissive, meek,
David says, "But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Ps. 37:11 "God's people are meek, when not under the influence of the flesh. Meekness in a christian is greatness; and if a person desires to be truly great let him be meek. "Moses was very meek, above all men which were upon the face of the earth." Num.xii. "The meek shall eat and be satisfied." Ps. 22:26. "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way." Ps. 25, 9. "For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people; he will beautify the meek with salvation.' Ps. 149, 4. "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Is. xxix, 19.
As all good things are for the meek, it is very comforting to us if we can think we are meek and lowly. Even in adversity from a worldly standpoint, we can rejoice in meekness, and in humility, and be always ready to bear and forbear, and under all circumstances be tender, patient and agreeable. If we do not find every thing as we would love to see it, let us not grow squeamish and ugly in our temper in the presence of others, for if we do we make them miserable and our case no better. If we could always have things to suit us we would have no cross to bear, but as there is a cross in the life of a christian, let us not forget that the meek shall inherit the earth. We are inclined to think that the earth which the meek inherit, might be properly rendered "the land," thus bringing out the idea of an immediate reference to Canaan as the promised land, the certain and absolute possession of which was to the Old Testament saints the evidence and manifestation of God's favor resting on them, and the ideal of all true and abiding blessedness. Even in the Psalm from which the words are taken the promises to the meek are not held forth as an arbitrary reward as though it was intended as an inducement to be meek, but as having a kind of natural or spontaneous fulfillment. When they delight themselves in the Lord, as gives them the desires of their heart; when they commit their way to him, he brings it to pass; bringing forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noon day; the little that they have, even when despoiled of their rights, is better than the riches of many wicked. Ps 27. All things, in short, are theirs, in the possession of that favor which is life, and of those rights which belong to them as the children of God, whether the world, or life, or things present or things to come are theirs. "Therefore let no man glory in men; for all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." I Cor. iii, 21, 22, 23. The meek shall finally, overcoming, inherit all things. John says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Rev. xxi, 9. Thus are the meek the only rightful owners of one foot of land or a single morsel of bread in this life, and they are heirs of all future good. Then how blessed it is to be meek. P.
Submitted by Elder David Montgomery
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