30 AUGUST (PREACHED 30 AUGUST 1767)
Growing in meekness
‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.’ Matthew 5:5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Micah 7:7–10
Meekness arises from the poverty of spirit mentioned in verse 3. It is the temper of a soul convinced of the guilt and misery of sin, and seeking salvation by the blood of Jesus. Hence it is wholly a grace of the gospel, and accordingly the heathen philosophers, who said many fine things of their moral virtues, never once thought of putting meekness into their catalogues. It stands opposed to pride, self-will, impatience and resentment, and its trial and exercise lies both towards God and man. Where there is true humiliation begun in the heart, the Lord’s dealings are often suited to try and exercise this grace:
(i) in spirituals. In waiting for manifestation of pardon. This is wearisome work to the flesh, when the arrows of the Almighty stick fast and one or another obtains or seems to obtain pace before us. The meek soul, amidst a thousand fears and discouragements, sees it has no right to complain (reasons as in Lamentations 3:26, Micah 7:9), and is grieved at every rising of a contrary spirit. And so under all backslidings and desertions.
(ii) in temporals. In a time of affliction. See it in Job 1, in Hezekiah (Isaiah 38), acknowledging that all is less than he has deserved. Contentment with the situation of life. It is this temper makes the precept practicable—in everything give thanks—and checks our spirits when they would repine and be seeking great things for ourselves. While in all these things, the carnal unrenewed heart is impatient and tosses like a wild bull in a net.
I asked the Lord that I might grow
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
In faith and love and every grace;
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
Might more of his salvation know,
‘’Tis in this way,’ the Lord replied,
And seek, more earnestly, his face.
‘I answer prayer for grace and faith.
’Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
These inward trials I employ,
And he, I trust, has answered prayer;
From self and pride to set thee free;
But it has been in such a way,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
As almost drove me to despair.
That thou may’st find thy all in me.’
SERMON: MATTHEW 5:5 [1/2]