Skip to main content

Full text of "A discourse on meekness and quietness of spirit"

See other formats


M 



iw^"' 



p 



/ 



^ 



A DISCOtJRSE 



mmm^^^^a 



CtUIKTNKSS OF SPIKIT. 



* A meok and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great pricew" 
1 P-pter, 3:4. 



4 ^ O ^ 



BV REV. 



THEW HENHY. 



PUBLISHED : 

AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETT; 

150 NISSAU-STRBET, NEW-TORK. 



D. Fft&Abaw Printer. 






In this edition a few passages are omitted, and the 
phraseology in some instances modernized. 



>'^T 



COXTTSXTTS. 

Page. 
Chap. I. The Nature of Meekness, 5 

Cluietness of Spirit, 32 

Chap. II. The Excellency of Meekness, 40 

<Chap. III. Want of Meekness lamented, 78 

Chap. IV: ENCOURAGEMENTS TO MEEKNESS 

— Scripture Precepts, 88 

Chap. V. Scripture Patterns, 99 

Chap. VI. When Meekness is specially required, 118 

Chap. VII. Arguments for Meekness, 133 

Chap. VIII. Some Rules of Direction, . 145 



Digitized by tine Internet Archive 

in 2008 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.arcliive.org/details/discourseonmeeknOOhenrricli 




O N MmrKN ESS. 



CHAPTER T. 

THE NATURE OF MEEKNESS AND QUIETNESS OF 
SPIRIT. 

Meekness is easiness of spirit ; not a sinful easi- 
ness to be debauched, as Ephraim's, who willingly 
walked after the commandment of the idolatrous 
princes ; nor a simple easiness to be imposed upon 
and deceived, as Rehoboam's, who, when he was 
forty years old, is said to be young and tender- 
hearted ; 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 accommodates the soul to every 
occurrence, and so makes a man easy to himself, 
and to all about him. The Latins call a meek man 
■mansuetus, which alludes to the taming and reclaim- 
ing of creatures wild by nature, and bringing them 
to be tractabl'e and familiar. James, 3: 7, 8. Man's 
corrupt nature has made him like the wild ass used 
I* 



HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 



to the wilderness, or the swift dromedary traversing 
her ways. Jer. 2 : 23, 24. But the grace of meek- 
ness, when that gets dominion in the soul, alters the 
temper of it, 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 
enmities are laid aside, and there is nothing to hurt 
or destroy. Isa. 1 1 : 6, 9. 

Meekness may be considered with respect both io 
God and to our brethren ; it belongs to both the ta- 
bles of the law, and attends upon the first great com- 
mandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God ; as 
well as the second, which is like unto it. Thou shalt 
love thy neighbor as thyself; though its especial re- 
ference is to the latter. 

I. There is meekness toward God, and it is 
the easy and quiet submission of the soul to his 
whole will, according as he is pleased to make it 
known, whether by. his word or by his providence. 

1. It is the silent submission of the soul io the word 
of God : the understanding bowed to every divine 
truth, and the will to every divine precept; and both 
without murmuring or disputing. The word is then 
an " engrafted word," when it is received with meek- 
ness, that is, with a sincere willingness to be taught, 
and desire to learn. Meekness is a grace that cleaves 
the stock, and holds it open, that the word, as a shoot, 
may be grafted in ; it breaks up the fallow ground, 
and makes it fit to receive the seed ; captivates the 



ITS NATURE. * / 

high thoughts, and lays the soul like white paper 
under God's pen. When the day-spring takes hold 
of the ends of the earth, it is said to be turned as clay 
to the seal. Job, 38 : 14. Meekness does, in like 
manner, dispose the soul to admit the rays of divine 
light, which before it rebelled against ; it opens the 
heart, as Lydia's was opened ; and sets us down with 
Mary at the feet of Christ, the learner's place and 
posture. 

The promise of teaching is made to the meek, be- 
cause they are disposed to learn : " the meek will he 
teach his way." The word of God is gospel indeed, 
" good tidings to the meek ;" they will entertain it 
and bid it welcome. The " poor in spirit " are evan 
gelized ; and Wisdom's alms are given to those that 
Avith meekness wait daily at her gates, and like beg- 
gars wait at the posts of her doors. Prov. 8 : 34. 
The language of this meekness is that of the child 
Samuel, ♦' Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth ;" 
and that of Joshua, who, when he was in that high 
post of honor, giving command to Israel, and bid- 
ding defiance to all their enemies, (his breast filled 
with great and bold thoughts,) yet, upon the intima- 
tion of a message from heaven, thus submits himself 
to it : " What saith my Lord unto his servant ?" and 
that of Paul, (and it was the first breath of the new 
man,) " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" and 
that of Cornelius, ♦' And now we are all here present 
before God, to bear all things that are commanded 



Q HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

thee of God;" and that of the good man I have 
read of, who, when he was going to hear the w^ord, 
used to say, " Now let the word of the Lord come ; 
and if I had six hundred necks, I would bow them 
all to the authority of it." To receive the w^ord with 
meekness, is to be delivered into it, as into a mould : 
this seems to be Paul's metaphor, Rom. 6:17, that 
" form of doctrine which was delivered you." Meek- 
ness softens the wax, that it may receive the impres- 
sion of the seal, whether it be for doctrine or reproof, 
for correction or instruction in righteousness. It 
opens the ear to discipline, silences objections, and 
suppresses the risings of the carnal mind against the 
word ; consenting to the law that it is good,* and es- 
teeming all the precepts concerning all things to be 
right, even when they give the greatest check to 
flesh and blood. 

2. It is the silent submission of the soul to the 
'providence of God, for that also is the will of God 
concerning us. 

(1.) When the events of Providence are grievous 
and afflictive, displeasing to sense and crossing our 
secular interests, meekness not only quiets us under 
them, but reconciles us to them ; and enables us not 

* True meekness will prevent ns from opposing either 
the obvious parts of Scripture, severely as they may task, 
our vices, or the mysterious parts, in reading which, vanity 
may suggest that we could have dictated what is more pro- 
(fitable. — Avgusline. 



ITS NATURE. 



only to bear, but to receive evil as well as good at 
the hand of the Lord ; which is the excellent frame 
that Job argues himself into: it is to kiss the rod, 
and even to accept of the punishment of our iniquity, 
taking all in good part that God does ; not daring 
to strive with our Maker, no, nor desiring to pre- 
scribe to him, but being dumb, and not opening the 
mouth, because God does it. How meek was Aaron 
under the severe dispensation which took away his 
sons with a particular mark of divine wrath ! He 
'• held his peace." God was sanctified, and there- 
fore Aaron was satisfied, and had not a word to say 
against it. Unlike to this was the temper, or rather 
the distemper of David, who was not like a man af- 
ter God's own heart, when he was displeased be- 
cause the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah, as 
if God must have asked David leave thus to assert 
the honor of his ark. When God's anger is kindled, 
ours must be stifled ; such is the law of meekness, 
that whatsoever pleases God must not displease us. 
David was in a better frame when he penned the 
56th Psalm, the title of which, some think, bespeaks 
the calmness and submissiveness of his spirit when 
the Philistines took him in Gath. It is entitled. The 
silent dove afar off. It was his calamity that he was 
afar off, but* he was then as a silent dove ; (mourning 
perhaps, Isa. 38 : 14 ;) but not murmuring, not strug- 
gling, not resisting, when seized by the birds of 
prey; and the Psalm he penned in this frame was 



10 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

Michtam, a golden Psalm. The language of this 
meekness is that of Eli, " It is the Lord ;" and that 
of David to the same purport, " Here am I, let him 
do to me as seemeth good unto him.'' Not only, 
He can do what he will, subscribing to his power, 
for who can stay his hand ? or, He may do what 
he will, subscribing to his sovereignty, for he gives 
not account of any of his matters ; or, He will do 
what he will, subscribing to his unchangeableness, 
for he is in one mind, and who can turn him ? — -but, 
Let him do what he will, subscribing to his wisdom 
and goodness, as Hezekiah, *' Good is the word of 
the Lord, w^hich thou hast spoken." Let him do 
what he will, for he will do what is best ; and there- 
fore if God should refer the matter to me, says the 
meek and quiet soul, being well assiwred that he 
knows what is good for me better than I do for my- 
self, I would refer it to him again ; " he shall choose 
our inhcri:ance for us." 

(2.) When the methods of Providence are dark 
and intricate, and we are quite at a loss what God 
is about to do with us — his way is in the sea, and 
his path in the great Avaters, and his footsteps are 
not known, clouds and darkness are round about 
him — a meek and quiet spirit acquiesces in an as- 
surance that all things shall work together for good 
to us, if we love God, though we cannot apprehend 
how or which way. It teaches us to follow God 
v/ith an implicit iaith, as Abraham did when he 



ITS NATURE. 11 

went out, not knowing whither he went, hut knowing 
very well whom he followed. It quiets us with this, 
that though what he doeth we know not now, yet 
we shall know hereafter. John, 13:7. When 
poor Job was brought to that dismal plunge, that he 
could no way trace the footsteps of Divine Provi- 
dence, but was almost lost in the labyrinth, Job, 23 : 
8, 9, how quietly does he sit down with this thought, 
*' But He knows the way that I take ; when he hath 
tried me I shall come forth as gold." , 

II. There is meekness toward our breth-I^ 
REN, toward "all men." Tit. 3:2. Meekness isr 
especially conversant about the affection of anger, 
not wholly to extirpate and eradicate from the soul 
the holy indignation of which the Scriptures speak, 
for that were to quench a coal which sometimes 
there is occasion for, even at God's altar, and to 
blunt the edge even of the spiritual weapons with 
which w^e are to carry on our spiritual warfare ; but 
its office is to direct and govern this affection, that 
we may be angry and not sin. Eph. 4 : 26. 

Meekness, in the school of the philosophers, is a 
virtue consisting in a mean between the extremes ot 
rash excessive anger on the one hand, and a defect 
of anger on the other ; a mean which Aristotle con- 
fesses it very hard exactly to gain. 

Meekness, in the school of Christ, is one of the 
fruits of the Spirit. Gal. 5 : 22, 23 ; it is a grace 
wrought by the Holy Ghost both as a sanctifier and 



12 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

as a comforter in the hearts of all true believers, 
teaching and enabling them at all times to keep their 
passions under the conduct and government of reli- 
gion and right reason. I observe that it is wrought 
in the hearts of all true believers, because, though 
there are some whose natural temper is unhappily 
sour and harsh, yet wheresoever there is true grace, 
there is a disposition to strive against, and strength 
in some measure to conquer such a disposition. And 
though in this, as in other graces, an absolute sinless 
perfection cannot be expected in this present state, 
yet we are to labor after it, and press towards it. 

More particularly: the work and office of meek- 
ness is to enable us prudently to govern our own 
anger when at any time we are provoked, and pa- 
tiently to bear the anger of others, that it may not be 
a provocation to us. The former is its office espe- 
cially in superiors, the latter in inferiors, and both 
in equals. 
^ 1. Meekness teaches us prudently to govern our 
i own anger, whenever any thing occurs that is pro- 
I^Hoking. As it is the work of temperance to mode- 
/j\t^L rate our natural appetites in things that are pleasing 
'p^Xto sense, so it is the work of meekness to moderate 
' ^ our natural passions against those things that are 
displeasing to sense, and to guide and govern our 
resentments. Anger in the soul is like mettle in a 
horse, good if it be w^ell managed. Now meekness 
is the bridle, as wisdom is the hand that giv-es law to 



^ 



ITS NATURE. 13 

it, puts it into the right way, and keeps it in an even, 
steady, and regular pace ; reducing it when it turns 
aside, preserving it in a due decorum, and restrain- 
ing it and giving it check when at any time it grows 
headstrong and outrageous, and threatens mischief 
to ourselves or others. It must thus be held in, like 
the horse and mule, with bit and bridle, lest it 
break the hedge, run over those that stand in its 
way, or throw the rider himself headlong. It is 
true of anger, as we say of fire ; that it is a " good 
servant," but 'a "bad master;" it is good on the 
hearth, but bad in the hangings. Meekness keeps 
it in its place, sets banks to this sea, and says, Hi- 
therto thou shalt come, and no further ; here shall 
thy proud waves be stayed. 

In reference to our own anger, when at any time 
we meet with the excitements of it, the work of 
meekness is to do these four things : 

(1.) To consider the circumstances of that which 
we apprehend to be a provocation, so as at no time 
to express our displeasure but upon due and ma- 
ture deliberation. The office of meekness is to keep 
reason upon the throne in the soul as it ought to be ; 
to preserve the understanding clear and unclouded, 
the judgment untainted and unbiassed in the midst 
of the greatest provocations, so as to be able to set 
every thing in its true light, and to see it in its own 
color, and to determine accordingly; as also to keep 
silence in the court, that the ♦* still small voice " in 
2 



/ 14 ^ HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

which the Lord is, as he was with Elijah at Mount 
Horeb, may not be drowned by the noise of the tu- 
mult of the passions. A meek man will never be 
angry at a child, at a servant, at a friend, till he has 
first seriously weighed the cause in just and even 
balances, while a steady and impartial hand holds 
the scales, and a free and unprejudiced thought ad- 
judges it necessary. It is said of our Lord Jesus, 
John, 11:33, he troubled himself; which denotes 
it to be a considerate act, and what he saw reason 
for. Things go right in the soul, when no resent- 
ments are admitted into the affections but what have 
first undergone the scrutiny of the understanding, 
and thence received their pass. That passion which 
comes not in by this door, but climbs up some other 
way, the same is a thief and a robber, against which 
we should guard. In a time of war, (and such a 
time it is in every sanctified soul, in a constant war 
between grace and corruption,) due care must be 
taken to examine all travelers, especially those that 
come armed : whence they came, whither they go, 
whom they are for, and what they would have '? 
Thus should it be in the well-governed, well-disci- 
plined soul. Let meekness stand sentinel ; and 
upon the advance of a provocation let us examine 
who it is that we are about to be angry with, and 
for what ? What are the merits of the cause, where- 
in lay the offence, what was the nature and tenden- 
cy of it ? What are likely to be the consequences 



ITS NATURE. 15 

of our resentments, and what harm will it be if 
we stifle them, and let them go no further? Such 
as these are the interrogatories which meekness 
would put to the soul ; and in answer to them it 
would abstract all which passion is apt to suggest, 
and hear reason only as it becomes rational crea- 
tures to do. 

Three great dictates of meekness we find put to- 
gether in one scripture : •' Be swift to hear, slow to 
speak, slow to wrath ;" which some observe to be 
couched in three proper names of Ishmael's son,; 
Gen. 25: 14. I Chr. 1: 30, (which Bishop Pri-' 
deaux, in the beginning of the wars, recommended to 
a gentleman that had been his pupil, as the sum- 
mary of his advice,) Mishma, Dumah, Massa; the 
signiiication of which is, hear, keep silence, bear. 
Hear reason, keep passion silent, and then you will 
not find it difficult to bear the provocation. 

It is said of the Holy One of Israel, when the 
Egyptians provoked him, he weighed a path to his 
anger; so the margin reads it from the Hebrew, 
Psalm 78 : 50. Justice first poised the cause, and 
then anger poured out the vials. Thus the Lord 
came down to see the pride of the Babel-builders 
before he scattered them ; and to see the wickedness 
of Sodom before he overthrew it — though both were, 
obvious and barefaced — to teach us to consider be- 
fore we are angry, and to judge before we pass sen- 
tence, that herein we may be followers of God as 



16 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

dear children, and be merciful, as our Father which 
is in heaven is merciful. 

We read of "the meekness of wisdom ;'* for where 
there is not wisdom, (that wisdom which is profita- 
ble to direct, that wisdom of the prudent which is to 
understand his way,) meekness will not long be pre- 
served. It is our rashness and inconsideration that 
betray us to all the mischiefs of an ungoverned pas- 
sion, on the neck of which the reins are laid which 
should be kept in the hand of reason, and so we are 
hurried upon a thousand precipices. Nehemiah is 
a remarkable instance of prudence presiding in just 
resentments ; he owns, " I was very angry when I 
heard their cry ;" but that anger did not at all trans- 
gress the laws of meekness, for it follows, *' then I 
consulted with myself," or as the Hebrew has it, my 
heart consulted in me. Before he expressed his dis- 
pleasure he retired into his own bosom, took time 
for sober thought upon the case, and then he rebuk- 
ed the nobles in a very solid, rational discourse, and 
the success was good. In every cause when pas- 
sion demands immediate judgment, meekness mov< s 
for further time, and will have the matter fairly ar- 
gued, and counsel heard on both sides. 

When Job had any quarrel with his servants, he 
was willing to admit a rational debate of the matter, 
and to hear what they had to say for themselves ; 
for, says he, "what shall I do when God riseth 
up ?" And withal, " did not He that made me in the 



ITS NATURE. 17 

womb, make him ?" When our hearts are at any 
time hot within us, we should do well to put that 
question to ourselves which God put to Cain, Gen. 
4 : 6. Why am I wroth ? Why am I angry at all ? 
Why so soon angry ? Why so very angry ? Why 
so far transported and dispossessed of myself by my 
anger 1 What reason is there for all this ? Do I 
well to be angry for a gourd, that came up in a 
night and perished in a night ? Jonah, 4 : 9. Should 
I be touched to the quick by such a sudden and tran- 
sient provocation? Will not my cooler thoughts 
correct these hasty resentments, and therefore were 
it not better to check them now ? Such are the rea- 
sonings of the meekness of wisdom. 

(2.) The work of meekness is to calm the spiriU_ 
so as that the inward peace may not be disturbed bj' 
any outward provocation. No doubt a man may ex- 
press his displeasure against the miscarriages of an- 
other, as much as at any time there is occasion for, 
without suffering his resentments to recoil upon him- 
self, and throw his own soul into a fury. What need 
is there for a man to tear himself (his soul, as it is 
in the Hebrew) in his anger? Job, 18 : 4. Cannot 
we charge home upon our enemy's camp, without 
the willful disordering of our own troops ? Doubt- 
less we may, if meekness have the command ; for 
that is a grace which preserves a man master of 
himself while he contends to be master of another, 
and fortifies the heart against the assaults of provo- 
cation that do us no great harm, while they do not 



18 • HENRY ON MKEKNESS. 

rob us ot our peace, nor disturb the rest of our souls. 
As patience in case of sorrow, so meekness in case 
of anger, keeps possession of the soul, as the expres- 
sion is, Luke, 21 : 19, that we be not dispossessed of 
that freehold. The drift of Christ's farewell-sermon 
to his disciples we have in the first words of it, John, 
16: J, " Let not your hearts be troubled." It is the 
duly and interest of all good people, whatever hap- 
pens, to keep trouble from their hearts, and to have 
them even and sedate, though the eye, as Job ex- 
presses it, should *' continue " unavoidably " in the 
provocation" of this world. "The wicked (the tur- 
bulent and unquiet, as the word primarily signifies) 
are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest;-' but 
that peace of God, which passeth all understanding, 
keeps the hearts and m.inds of all the meek of the 
earth. Meekness preserves the mind from being 
ruffled and discomposed, and the spirit from being 
unhinged by the vanities and vexations of this lower 
world. It stills the noise of the sea, the noise of her 
waves, and the tumult of the soul ; it permits not the 
passions to crowd out in a disorderly manner, like a 
confused ungoverned rabble: but draws them out 
like the trained bands, every one in his own order, 
as wisdom and grace give the word of command. 

(3.) Meekness will curb the tongue, and "keep 
the mouth as vi^ith a bridle" when the heart is hot. 
Even when there may be occasion for a keenness of 
expression, and we are called to rebuke sharply, 
(cuttingly, Tit. 1 : 13,) yet meekness forbids all fury 



ITS NATURft. 19 

and indecency of language, and every thing that 
sounds like clamor and evil-speaking. The meek- 
ness of Moses was not at hand when he spake that 
unadvised word, " rebels," for which he was shut 
out of Canaan, though rebels they were, and at that 
time very provoking. Men in a passion are apt to 
give reviling language, to call names, and those 
most senseless and ridiculous : to take the blessed 
name of God in vain, and so profane it. It is a 
wretclied w-ay by which the children of hell vent 
their passion at their beasts, their servants, any per- 
son, or any thing that provokes them — to swear at 
I hem. Men in a passion are apt to reveal secrets, 
to make ra«h vows and resolutions, which after- 
wards prove a snare, and sometimes to slander and 
belie their brethren, and bring railing accusations, 
and so do the devil's work ; and to speak that " in 
iheir haste" concerning others, Ps. 116:11, of 
which they afterwards see cause to repent. How 
brutishly did Saul, in his passion, call his own son, 
the heir-apparent to the crown, the " son of the per- 
verse rebellious woman !" " Raca " and " Thou fool" 
are specified by our Savior as breaches of the law of 
the sixth commandment ; and the passion in the 
heart is so far from excusing such opprobrious 
speeches, (for which purpose it is commonly alledg- 
ed,) that really it is that w^hich gives them their ma- 
lignity : they are the smoke from that fire, the gall 
and wormw^ood springing from that root of bitterness ; 
and if for " every idle word that men speak," much 



20 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

more for such wicked words as these, must they give 
an account at the day of judgment. And as it is a 
reflection upon God to kill, so it is to curse men 
that are made after the image of God, though even 
so much our inferiors; that is, to speak ill of them, 
or to wish ill to them. 

This is the disease Avhich meekness prevents, and 
is in the tongue a " law of kindness." It is to the 
tongue as the helm is to the ship, Jam. 3 : 4, not to 
silence it, but to guide it, to steer it wisely, espe- 
cially when the wind is high. If at any time we have 
conceived passion and thought evil, meekness will 
lay the hand upon the mouth, (as the wise man's ad- 
vice is, Prov. 30 : 32,) to keep that evil thought from 
venting itself in any evil word reflecting upon God 
or our brother. It will reason a disputed point with- 
out noise, give a reproof without a reproach, con- 
vince a man of his folly without calling him a fool, 
will teach superiors either to forbear threatening, 
Eph. 6 : 9, or, as the margin reads it, to moderate it ; 
and will look diligently lest any root of bitterness, 
springing up, trouble us, and thereby we and many 
others be defiled. 

(4.) Meekness will cool the heat of passion quick- 
ly, and not sufler it to continue. As it keeps us 
from being soon angry, so it teaches us, when we 
are angry, to be soon pacified. The anger of a 
meek man is like fire struck out of steel, hard to be 
got out, and when it is, soon gone. The wisdom 
that is from above, as it is *' gentle," and so not apt to 



ITS NATURB. 21 

provoke, so it is " easy to be entreated " when any 
provocation is given ; and has the ear always open 
10 the first proposals and overtures of satisfaction, 
submission, and reconciliation ; and thus the anger 
is turned away. He that is of a meek spirit will be 
forward to forgive injuries and affronts, and has some 
excuse or other ready wherewith to extenuate and 
qualify the provocation, which an angry man, for 
the exasperating and justifjang of his own resent- 
ments, will industriously aggravate. It is but to 
say, " There is no great harm done, or, if there be, 
there was none intended, and peradventure it was 
an oversight ;" and so the offence, being looked at 
through that end of the perspective which diminish- 
es, is easily past by, and the distemper being taken 
in time, goes off quickly, the fire is quenched before 
it gets head, and by a speedy interposal the plague 
is stayed. While the world is so full of the sparks 
of provocation, and there is so much tinder in the 
hearts of the best, no marvel if anger come some- 
limes into the bosom of a wise man; but it rests 
only in the bosom of fools. Eccl. 7 : 9. Angry 
thoughts, as other vain thoughts, ma}'- crowd into 
the heart upon a sudden surprise, but meekness will |\ 
not suffer them to lodge there, nor let the sun go "^ 
down upon the wrath ; Eph. 4 : 26, for if it do, there 
is danger lest it rise bloody the next morning. Anger 
concocted becomes malice ; it is the wisdom of meek- 
ness, by proper applications, to disperse the humor 
before it comes to a head. One would have thought, 



22 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

when David so deeply resented Nabal's abuse, that 
nothing less than the blood of Nabal and all his 
house could have quenched his rage ; but it was 
done at a cheaper rate ; and he showed his meek- 

t ness by yielding to the diversion that Abigail's pre- 
sent and speech gave him, and that with satisfaction 
and thankfulness. He was not only soon pacified, 
but blessed her. and blessed God for her that paci- 
fied him. God does not contend for ever, neither 
is he always Avroth ; " his anger endures but a mo- 
ment." How unlike him are those whose sword 
devours for ever, and whose anger burns like the 
coals of juniper? But the grace of meekness, if it 
fail of keeping the peace of the soul from being bro- 
ken, yet fails not to recover it presently, and make 
up the breach ; and, upon the least transport, brings 
help in time of need, restores the soul, puts it in 
frame again, and no great harm is done. Such as 
these are the achievements of meekness in govern- 
ing our own anger. 

k!^> 2. Meekness teaches and enables us patiently to 
\Siar the anger of others, which property of meek* 
ness we have especially occasion for in reference 
to our superiors and equals. Commonly that which 
provokes anger is anger, as fire kindles fire ; now 
meekness prevents that violent collision which for- 
ces out these sparks, and softens at least one side, 
and so puts a stop to a great deal of mischief; for it 
is the second blow that makes the quarrel. Our 
first care should be to prevent the anger of others, 



ITS NATURE. 2S 

by giving no offence to any, but becoming all things 
to all men, every one studying to please his neigh- 
bor for good to edification, Rom. 15:2, and endea- 
voring as much as lies in us to accommodate our- 
selves to the temper of all with whom we have to do, 
and to make ourselves acceptable and agreeable to 
them. How easy and comfortable should we make 
every relation, and all our intercourse, if we were 
but better acquainted with this art of obliging. Nap- 
thali's tribe that was famous for giving goodly words. 
Gen. 49 : 21, had the happiness of being satisfied 
with favor, Deut. 33 : 23, for " every man shall kiss 
his lips that giveth a right answer." In the conju- 
gal relation it is taken for granted, 1 Cor. 7 : 33, 34, 
that the care of the husband is to please his wife, 
and the care of the wife is to please her husband ; and 
where there is that mutual care, enjoyment cannot be 
wanting. Some people love to be unkind, and take 
a pleasure in displeasing, and especially contrive to 
provoke those they find passionate and easily pro- 
voked, that (as he that giveth his neighbor drink, and 
putteth his bottle to him, Hab. 2 : 15, 16,) they may 
look upon his shame, to which, in his passion, he ex- 
poses himself; and so they make a mock at sin, and 
become like the madman that casts firebrands, ar- 
rows, and death, and says, *' Am not I in sport?" 
But the law of Christ forbids us to provoke one an- 
other, unless it be " to love and good works ;" and en- 
joins us to " bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill 
the law of Christ." 



H 



HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 



But because they must rise betimes who will 
please every body ; and carry their cup even indeed 
who will give no offence; our next care must be so 
to behave ourselves when others are angry, that we 
may not make bad worse. And this is one princi- 
" pal thing in which the younger must submit them- 
selves to the elder; nay, in w^hich all of us must be 
" subject one to another," as our rule is, 1 Pet. 5 : 5. 
And here meekness is of use, either to enjoin silence 
or indite a soft answer. 

(1.) To enjoin silence. It is prescribed to ser- 
vants to please their masters well in all things, " not 
answering again," for that must needs be displeas- 
ing: better say nothing than say that which is pro- 
voking. When our hearts are hot within us, it is 
good for us to keep silence, and hold our peace : so 
David did ; and when he did speak, it was in prayer 
to God, and not in reply to the wicked that w^ere 
before him. If the heart be angry, angry words 
will but inflame it the more, as wheels are heated 
by a rapid motion. One reflection and repartee be- 
gets another, and the beginning of the debate is like 
the letting forth of \vater, w^hich is with difficulty 
stopt when the least breach is made in the bank ; 
and therefore meekness says, " By all means keep 
silence, and leave it off before it be meddled with.'' 
When a fire is begun, it is good, if possible, to 
smother it, and so prevent its spreading. Let us 
deal wisely, and stifle it in the birth, lest afterward it 
prove too strong to be dealt with. Anger in the 



ITS NATURE. 2S^ 

heart is like the books stowed in cellars in the con- 
flagration of London, which, though they were ex- 
tremely heated, never took fire till they took air 
many days after, which giving vent to the heat put 
them into a flame. When the spirits are in a fer- 
ment, though it may be some present pain to check 
and suppress them, and the headstrong passions 
hardly admit the bridle, yet afterward it will be no 
grief of heart to us. 

Those who find themselves wronged and aggriev- 
ed, think they may have leave to speak ; but it is bet- 
ter to be silent than to speak amiss, and make work 
for iiepentance. At such a time he that holds his 
tongue, holds his peace; and if we soberly reflect, 
we shall find we have been often the worse for our 
speaking, hut seldom the worse for our silence. This 
must be especially remembered and observed by as 
many as are under the yoke, who will certainly 
have most comfort in meekness, and patience, and 
silent submission, not only to the good and gentle, 
but also to the froward. It is good in such cases 
to remember our place, and (if the spirit of a ruler 
rise up against us) not to leave it, that is, not to do 
any thing unbecoming, for yielding pacifieth great 
offences. Eccl. 10: 4. We have a common proverb 
that teaches us this, " When thou art the hammer, 
knock thy fill ; but when thou art the anvil, lie thou 
still :" for it is the posture thou art cut out fori and 
which best becomes thee. 
3 



26 H£NRV OK MEEKNE86. 

If Others be angry at us without cause, and wc 
have ever so much reason on our side, yet often- 
times it is best to adjourn our own vindication, 
though we think it necessary, till the passion be 
over ; for there is nothing said or done in passion, 
but it may be better said and better done afterwards. 
When we are calm, we shall be likely to say it and 
do it in a better manner; and when our brother is 
calm, we shall be likely to say it and do it to a bet- 
ter purpose. A needful truth spoken in anger may 
do more hurt than good, and offend rather than sa- 
tisfy. The prophet himself forbore even a message 
from God, when he saw Amaziah in a passion. 
Sometimes it may be advisable to get some one else to 
say that for us which is to be said, rather than say 
it ourselves. However, we have a righteous God, 
to whom, if in a meek silence we suffer ourselves to 
be injured, we may commit our cause, and having his 
promise that he will *' bring forth our righteousness 
as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day," we 
had better leave it in his hands than undertake to 
manage it ourselves, lest that which we call clearing 
ourselves, God should call quarreling with our breth- 
ren. David was greatly provoked by those that sought 
his hurt, and spake mischievous things against him ; 
and yet, says he, " I as a deaf man, heard not ; I was 
as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth." And 
why so 1 It was not because he had nothing to say, or 
knew not how to say it; but because **in thee, O 



ITS NATURE. 27 

Lord, do I hope : thou wilt hear, O Lord my God." 
If God hear, what need have I to hear ? His con- 
cerning himself in the matter supersedes ours, and 
he is not only engaged, in justice, to own every 
righteous cause that is injured, but he is further en- 
gaged, in honor, to appear for those who, in obe- 
dience to the law of meekness, commit their cause 
to him. If there be any vindication or avenging 
necessary, (which infinite Wisdom is the best judge 
of,) he can do it better than we can ; therefore " give 
place unto wrath," that is, to the judgment of God, 
which is according to truth and equity ; make room 
f<5r him to take the seat, and do not you step in be- 
fore him. It is fit that our wrath should stand by 
to give way to his, for the wrath of man engages 
not the righteousness of God for him. Even just 
appeals made to him, if they be made in passion, 
are not admitted into the court of heaven, being not 
duly presented; that one thing, error, is sufficient to 
overrule them. Let not therefore those that do well 
and suffer for it, spoil their own vindication by mis- 
timing and mismanaging it ; but tread in the steps 
of the Lord Jesus, who, when he was reviled, re- 
viled not again; when he suffered, he threatened 
not, but was as a lamb dumb before the shearers, 
and so committed himself to Him that judges right- 
eously. It is indeed a principal part of self-denial 
to be silent when we have enough to say, and pro- 
vocation to say it ; but if we do thus control our 



28 HENK¥ ON MEEKNESS. 

tongues out of a pure regard to peace and love, 
it will turn to a good account, and will be an evi- 
dence for us that we are Christ's disciples, having 
learned to deny ourselves. It is better by silence 
to yield to our brother, who is, or has been, or may 
be our friend, than by angry speaking to yield to 
the devil, who has been, and is, and ever will be our 
sworn enemy. 

(2.) To indite a soft answer. This Solomon com- 
mends as a proper expedient to turn away wrath, 
while grievous words do but stir up anger. When 
any speak angrily to us, we must pause a while and 
study an answer, which, both for the matter and man- 
ner of it, may be mild and gentle. This brings wa- 
ter, while peevishness and provocation would but 
bring oil to the flame. Thus is death and life in 
the power of the tongue : it is either healing or kill- 
ing, an antidote or a poison, according as it is used. 
When the waves of the sea beat on a rock, they bat- 
ter and make a noise ; but a soft sand receives them 
silently, and returns them without damage. A soft 
tongue is a wonderful specific, and has a very strange 
virtue in it. Solomon says, " it breaks the bone," 
that is, it qualifies those that were provoked, and 
makes them pliable ; it " heaps coals of fire upon the 
head" of an enemy, not to burn him, but to melt 
him. "Hard words," we say, " break no bones ;" but 
it seems soft ones do, and yet do no harm, as they 
calm an angry spirit and prevent its progress. A 



ITS NATURE, 29 

Stone that falls on a wool-pack rests there, and re- 
bounds not to do any further mischief; such is a 
meek answer to an angry question. 

The good effects of a soft answer, and the ill con- 
sequences of a peevish one, are observable in the 
stories of Gideon and Jephthah : both of them, in the 
day of their triumphs over the enemies of Israel, 
were quarreled with by the Ephraimites, when the 
danger was past and the victory won, because they 
had not been called upon to engage in the battle. 
Gideon pacified them with a soft answer, -"What 
have I done now in comparison of you ?" magnify- 
ing'their achievements and lessening his own, speak- 
ing honorably of them and meanly of himself: " Is 
not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better 
than the vintage of Abiezer ?" In which reply it is 
hard to say whether there was more of wit or wis- 
dom ; and the effect was very good ; the Ephraimites 
were pleased, their anger turned away, a civil war 
prevented, and nobody could think the worse of Gi- 
deon for his mildness and self denial. On the con- 
trary, he won more true honor by his victory over 
his own passion, than he did by his victory overall 
the host of Midian ; for he that hath rule over his 
own spirit is better than the mighty. The angel of 
the Lord has pronounced him a " mighty man of 
valor ;" and this his tame submission did not at all 
derogate from that part of his character. But Jeph- 
thah, who by many instances appears to be a man of 
3* 



30 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

a rough and hasty spirit, though enrolled among 
the eminent believers, Heb. 11 : 32, (for all good 
people are not alike happy in their temper,) when 
the Ephraimites in like manner quarrel with him, 
rallies them, upbraids them with their cowardice, 
boasts of his ow^n courage, and challenges them to 
make good their cause. Judg. 12:2. They retort 
:i scurrilous reflection upon Jephthah's country, as 
it is usual w^ith passion to taunt and jeer : *' Ye 
Gileadites are fugitives." From words they go to 
blows, and so great a matter does this little fire kin- 
dle, that there goes no less to quench the flame than 
the blood of two and forty thousand Ephraimites. 
All which had been happily prevented, if Jephthah 
had had but half as much meekness in his heart as 
he had reason on his side. 

A soft answer is the dictate and dialect of that 
wisdom which is from above, which is peaceable, 
gentle, and easy to be entreated: and to recommend 
jt to us, we have the pattern of good men, as that of 
Jacob's conduct to Esau. Though none is so hard 
to be won as a brother ofl!ended, yet, as he had pre- 
vailed with God by faith and prayer, so he prevailed 
with his brother by meekness and humility. We 
have also the pattern of angels, who, even when a 
rebuke was needful, durst not turn it into a railing 
accusation, durst not give any reviling language, 
not to the devil himself, but referred the matter to 
God — " The Lord rebuke thee ;" as that passage, 



ITS NATURE. 31 

Judo, 5 : 9, is commonly imderstood. Nay, we have 
the pattern of a good God, who, though he could 
plead against us with his great power, yet gives soft 
answers : witness his dealing Avith Cain when he 
was wroth and his countenance fallen, reasoning the 
case with him, " Why art thou wroth ? If thou doest 
well, shalt not thou be accepted ?" With Jonah like- 
wise when he Avas so discontented, " Doest thou 
well to be angry ?" This is represented, in the pa- 
rable of the prodigal son, by the conduct of the fli- 
ther towards the elder brother, who was so angry 
that he would not come in. The father did not sa)% 
" Let him stay out then ;" but he came himself and 
entreated him, when he might have interposed his 
authority and commanded him, saying, " Son, thou 
art ever with me." When a passionate contest is 
begun, there is a plague broke out: the meek man, 
like Aaron, takes his censer with the incense of a 
soft answer, steps in seasonably, and stays it. 

This soft answer, in case we have committed a 
fault, though perhaps not culpable to the degree that 
we are charged with, must be penitent, humble, and 
submissive ; and we must be ready to acknowledge 
our error, and not stand in it, or insist upon our own 
vindication ; but rather aggravate than excuse it, ra- 
ther condemn than justify ourselves. It will be a 
good evidence of our repentance towards God, to 
humble ourselves to our brethren whom we have 
offended ; as it will be also a good evidence of our 



S2 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

being forgiven of God, if we be ready to forgive 
those that have offended us : and such yielding pa- 
cifies great offences. Meekness teaches us, as often 
as we trespass against our brother, to "turn again 
and say, I repent." An acknowledgment, in case of 
a willful affront, is perhaps as necessary to pardon, 
OS (we commonly say) restitution is in case of wrong. 
So much for the opening of the nature of meekness, 
w^hich yet will receive further light from consider- 
ing more particularly what is implied in 

QUIETNESS OF SPIRIT. 

Quietness is the evenness, the composure, and the 
rest of the soul, which speaks both the nature and 
the excellency of the grace of meekness. The great- 
est comfort and happiness of man is sometimes set 
forth by quietness. That peace of conscience which 
Christ has left for a legacy to his disciples, that pre- 
sent sabbatism of the soul, which is an earnest of 
the rest that remains for the people of God, is called 
" quietness and assurance for ever," and is promised 
as the efiect of righteousness. So graciously has God 
been pleased to intwine interests with us, as to en- 
join the same thing as a duty, which he proposes 
and promises as a privilege. Justly may we say that 
we serve a good Master, whose '* yoke is easy :" it 
is not only easy, but sweet and gracious, so the word 
signifies; not only tolerable, but amiable and aceep- 



ITS NATURE. 33 

table. Wisdom's waj's are not only pleasant, but 
pleasantness itself, and all her paths are peace. It is 
the character of the Lord's people, both in respect to 
holiness and happiness, that, however they be brand- 
ed as the troublers of Israel, they are "the quiet in 
the land," If every saint be made a spiritual prince, 
Rev. 1 : 6, having a dignity above others, and a do- 
minion over himself, surely he is like Seraiah, "a 
quiet prince." It is a reign with Christ, the tran- 
scendent Solomon, under the influence of whose 
golden sceptre there is " abundance of peace as long 
as the moon endures," yea, and longer, for "of the 
increase of his government and peace there shall be 
no end." Quietness is recommended to us in the 
Scriptures as a grace which we should be endued 
with, and a duty which we should practice. In 
the midst of all the affronts and injuries that are 
or can be ofl?ered us, we must keep our spirits sedate 
and undisturbed, and evidence, by a calm, and even, 
nnd regular behavior, that they are so. This is quiet- 
ness. Our Savior has pronounced the blessing of 
adoption upon the peace-makers. Matt. 5:9; those 
that are for peace, as David professes himself to be, 
Psalm 120: 7, in opposition to those that delight in 
war. Now, if charity be for peace-making, surely 
this "charity begins at home," and is for making 
peace there in the first place. Peace in our own 
souls is some conformity to the example of the God 
of peace, who, though he does not always give peace 



34 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

on this earth, yet evermore "makes peace in his own 
high-places." This some think is the primary in- 
tention of that peace-making on which Christ com- 
mands the blessing : it is to have strong and hearty 
affections to peace, to be peaceably-minded. In a 
word, quietness of spirit is the soul's stillness and 
silence from intending provocation to any, or resent- 
ing provocation from any with whom we have to do. 

The word has something in it of metaphor, which 
admirably illustrates the grace of meekness. 

1. We must be quiet as the air is quiet from 
wi7ids. Disorderly passions are like stormy winds 
in the soul, they toss and hurry it, and often strand 
or overset it ; they move it •' as the trees of the wood 
are moved with the wind ;" it is the prophet's com- 
parison, and is an apt emblem of a man in passion. 
Now meekness restrains these winds, says to them, 
Peace, be still, and so preserves a calm in the soul, 
and makes it conformable to Him who has the 
winds in his hands, and is herein to be praised that 
even the stormy winds fulfill his word. A brisk gale 
is often useful, especially to the ships of desire, (as 
the Hebrew phrase is, Job, 9 : 26 ;) so there should 
be in the soul such a warmth and vigor as will help 
to speed us to the desired harbor. It is not well to 
lie wind-bound in dullness and indifference ; but tem- 
pests are perilous, yea, though the wind be in the 
right point. So are strong passions, even in good 
men ; they both hinder the voyage and hazard the 



ITS NATURE. Z5 

ship. Such a quickness as consists with quietness is 
what we should all labor after, and meekness will 
contribute very much toward it ; it will silence the 
noise, control the force, moderate the impetus, and 
correct all undue and disorderly transports. What 
manner of grace is this, that even the winds and the 
sea obey it ! If we will but use the authority God 
has given us over our own hearts, we may keep the 
winds of passion under the command of religion and 
reason; and then the soul is quiet, the sun shines, all 
is pleasant, serene and smiling, and the man sleeps 
sweetly and safely on the lee-side. We make our 
voyage among rocks and quicksands, but if the 
weather be calm, we can the better steer so as to 
avoid them, and by a due care and temper strike the 
mean between extremes ; whereas he that suffers 
these winds of passion to get head, and spreads a 
large sail before them, while he shuns one rock, 
splits upon another, and is in danger of being drown- 
ed in destruction and perdition by many foolish and 
hurtful lusts, especially those whence wars and fight- 
ings come. 

2. We must be quiet as the sea is quiet from 
waves. The wicked, whose sin and punishment both 
lie in the unruliness of their own souls, and the vio- 
lence and disorder of their own passions, which per- 
haps will not be the least of their eternal torments, 
are compared to " the troubled sea, when it cannot 
rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt;" that is. 



36 HENRV ON MEEKNESS. 

they are uneasy to themselves and to all about them, 
*' raging waves of the sea, foaming out their ovirn 
shame;" their hard speeches which they speak 
against God, and dignities, and things which they 
know not, their great swelling words and mockings ; 
Jude, 13 : 18 ; these are the shame they foam out 
Now meekness is a grace of the Spirit, that moves 
upon the face of the waters, and quiets them, smooths 
the ruffled sea, and stills the noise of it ; it casts forth 
none of the mire and dirt of passion. The waves 
mount not up to heaven in proud and vain-glorious 
boastings ; they go not dovvn to the depths to scrape 
up vile and scurrilous language; there is no reeling 
to and fro, as men overcome with drink or with 
their own passion ; there is none of that transport 
which brings them to their wits' end ; but " they are 
glad because they are quiet, so he bringeth them to 
their desired haven." This calmness and evenness 
of spirit makes our passage over the sea of this 
world safe and pleasant, quick and speedy towards, 
the desired harbor, and is amiable and exemplary 
in the eyes of others. 

3. We must be quiet as the land is quiet from 
war. It was the observable felicity of Asa's reign, 
that " in his days the land was quiet." In the pre- 
ceding reigns there was no peace to him that went 
out, or to him that came in ; but now the rumors and 
alarms of war were stilled, and the people delivered 
from the noise of archers at the place of drawing 



ITS NATURE. 37 

waters, as when the land had rest in Deborah's time. 
Such a quietness there should be in the soul, and 
such a quietness there will be where meekness 
sways the sceptre. A soul inflamed with wrath and 
passion upon all occasions, is like a kingdom em- 
broiled in war, in a civil war, subject to continual 
frights^ and losses, and perils ; deaths and terrors, in 
their most horrid shapes, walk triumphantly, sleep 
is disturbed) families broken, friends suspected, ene- 
mies feared) laws silenced, commerce ruined, busi- 
ness neglected, cities wasted ; such heaps upon heaps 
does ungoverned anger lay, when it is let loose in 
the souL But meekness makes these wars to cease, 
breaks the bow, cuts the spear, sheaths the sword, 
and in the midst of a contentious world preserves the 
soul from being the seat of war, and makes peace in 
her borders. The rest of the soul is not disturbed, 
its comforts not plundered, its government not dis- 
ordered, the laws of religion and reason rule, and 
not the sword : neither its communion wnth God 
nor with the saints interrupted ; no breaking in of 
temptation, no going out of corruption, no complain- 
ing in the streets ; no occasion given, no occasion 
taken, to complain. Happy is the soul that is in 
such a case. The words of such wise men are heard 
in quiet, more than the cry of him that ruleth among 
fools, and this " wnsdom is better than weapons of 
war." This is the quietness we should every one of 
us labor after ; and it is what we rujght attain to, if 
4 



dd HENRY ON M££KN£S£. 

T/e would but more support and exercise the autho- 
rity of our graces, and guide and control the power 
of our passions. 

4. We must be quiet as the child is quiet after 
weaning. It is the Psalmist's comparison, " I have 
behaved," or rather, I have composed, "and quieted 
myself as a child that is weaned of his mother, my 
soul is even as a weaned child." A child, while it is 
in the v/eaning, perhaps is a little cross, and froward, 
and troublesome for a time; but when it is perfectly 
weaned, how quickly does it accommodate itself to 
its new way of feeding ! Thus a quiet soul, if pro- 
voked by the denial or loss of some earthly comfort 
or delight, quiets itself, and does not fret at it, nor 
perplex itself with anxious cares how to live without 
it, but composes itself to make the best of that which 
is. And this holy indifference to the delights of sense 
is (like the weaning of a child) a good step taken 
towards the perfect man, "the measure of the stature 
of the fullness of Christ." A child newly weaned is 
free from all the uneasiness and disquietude of care, 
and fear, and envy, and anger, and revenge : how 
undisturbed are its sleeps, and even in its dreams it 
looks pleasant and smiling ! How easy its days ! 
How quiet its nights ! If put into a little pet now 
and then, how soon it is over, the provocation for- 
given, the sense of it forgotten, and both buried in 
an innocent kiss ! Thus, if ever we would enter into 
the kingdom of heaven, we must be converted from 



ITS NATURE. 39 

pride, envy, ambition, and strife for precedency, and 
must become like little children. So our Savior has 
told us, who, even after his resurrection, is called 
•' the holy child Jesus." And even when we have 
put away other childish things, yet still " in malice " 
we must be children. And as for the quarrels of 
others, a meek and quiet Christian endeavors to be 
as disinterested and as little engaged as a weaned 
child in the mother's arms, that is not capable of such 
angry resentments. 

This is that meekness and quietness of spirit 
which is recommended to us : such a command and 
composure of the soul that it be not unhinged by 
any provocation whatsoever, but all its powers and 
faculties preserved in due temper for the just dis- 
charge of their respective offices. In a word, put off 
all wrath, and anger, and malice, those corrupted 
limbs of the old man ; pluck up and cast away those 
roots of bitterness, and stand upon a constant guard 
against all the exorbitances of your own passion : 
then you will soon know, to your comfort, better 
than I can tell you, what it is to be of a meek and 
quiet spirit. 



40 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

CHAPTER II. 

THE EXCELLENCY OF MEEKNESS. 

The very opening of this cause, one would think, 
were enough to carry it; and the explaining of the 
nature of meekness and quietness should suffice to 
recommend it to us. Such an amiable sweetness 
does there appear in it, upon the very first view, 
that if we look upon its beauty, we cannot but be 
enamored with it. But because of the opposition of 
our corrupt hearts to this, as well as the other graces 
of the Holy Spirit, I shall endeavor more particu- 
larly to show the excellency of it, that we may be 
brought, if possible, to be in love with it, and to sub- 
mit our souls to its charming power. 

It is said, Prov. 17 : 27, that a man of understand- 
ing is of an excellent spirit. Tremellius translates it, 
he is of a cool spirit ; put them together and they 
teach us that a cool spirit is an excellent spirit, and 
that he is a man of understanding who is governed 
by such a spirit. The Scriptures tell us (what need 
we more?) that it is in the sight of God of great 
price, and we may be sure that is precious indeed 
which is so in God's sight : that is good, very good, 
which he pronounces so ; for his judgment is accord- 
ing to truth, and sooner or later he will bring all the 
world to be of his mind ; for as he has decided it, so 




ITS exce: 

shall our doom he, and he ^i\\ be " justified when 
he speaketh, and clear when he judgeth." 

The excellency of a meek and quiet spirit will 
appear, if we consider the credit ol it, and the com- 
fort of it — the present profit there is by it, and the 
preparedness there is in it for future blessings. 

I. ConsideiJigi\r qBj^DiTAjBJLK a meek and quiet 
spirit is. Credit or reputation all desire, though few 
consider aright either what it is, or what is the right 
way of obtaining it ; and particularly it is little be- 
lieved what a great deal of true honor there is in the 
grace of meekness, and what a sure and ready way 
mild and quiet souls take to gain the approval of 
their Master, and of all their fellow- servants who 
love him, and are like him. 

1. There is in it the credit of a victory. What a 
gteat figure do the names of high and mighty con- 
querors make in the records of fame ! How are their 
conduct, their valor and success cried up and cele- 
brated ! But if we will believe the word of truth, 
and pass a judgment upon things according to it^ 
" He that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty ; 
and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a 
city." Behold, a greater than Alexander or Cassar 
is here ; the former of whom (some think) lost more 
true honor by yielding to his own ungoverned anger, 
than he got by all his conquests. No triumphant 
chariot so easy, so safe, so truly glorious, as that in 
which the meek and quiet soul rides over all the 
4* 



42 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

provocations of an injurious world with a gracious 
unconcernedness ; no train so splendid, so noble, as 
that train of comforts and graces which attend this 
chariot. The conquest of an unruly passion is more 
honorable than that of an unruly people, for it re- 
quires more true courage. It is easier to kill an 
enemy without, which may be done at a blow, than to 
chain up and govern an enemy within, which re- 
quires a constant, even, steady hand, and a long and 
regular management. It was more to the honor of 
David to yield himself conquered by Abigail's per- 
suasions, than to have made himself a conqueror 
over Nabal and all his house. A rational victory 
must needs be allowed more honorable to a rational 
creature than a brutal one. This is a cheap, safe, 
and unbloody conquest that does nobody any harm, 
no lives, no treasures are sacrificed to it, the glory 
of these triumphs are not stained as others generally 
are, with funerals. Every battle of the warrior, says 
the prophet, " is with confused noise, and garments 
roiled in blood ;" but this victory shall be obtained 
by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts. Nay, in meek 
and quiet suffering we are " more than conquerors," 
through Christ that loved us ; conquerors with little 
loss, we lose nothing but the gratifying of abase lust ; 
conquerors with great gain, the spoils we divide are 
very rich — the favor of God, the comforts of the Spirit, 
the foretastes of everlasting pleasures ; these are more 
glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 43 

We are more than conquerors ; that is, triumphers ; 
we live a life of victory ; every day is a day of tri- 
umph to the meek and quiet soul. 

Meekness is a victory over ourselves and the re- 
bellious lusts in our own bosoms ; it is the quieting 
of intestine broils*, the stilling of an insurrection at 
home, which is often harder than to resist a foreign 
invasion. It is an effectual victory over those that 
injure us, and make themselves enemies to us, and is 
often a means of winning their hearts. The law of 
meekness is, " If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if 
he thirst, not only give him drink, (which is an act 
of charity,) but drink to him, in token of friendship, 
and true love, and reconciliation ; and in so doing 
thou shalt " heap coals of fire upon his head," not to 
donsume him, but to melt and soften him, that he 
may be cast into a new mould ; and thus while the 
angry and revengeful man, that will bear down all 
before him with a high hand, is overcome of evil, 
the patient and forgiving overcome evil with good ; 
and forasmuch as their '* ways please the Lord, he 
makes even their enemies to be at peace with them." 
Nay, meekness is a victory over Satan, the greatest 
enemy of all ; and what conquest can be more ho- 
norable than this ? It is written for caution to us all, 
and it reflects honor on those who through grace 
overcome, that " we wrestle not against flesh and 
blood, but against principalities and powers, and the 
rulers of the darkness of this world." The magni- 



44 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

fying of the adversary, magnifies the victory over 
him ; such as these are the meek man's vanquished 
enemies ; the spoils of these are the trophies of his 
victory. It is the design of the devil, that great de- 
ceiver and destroyer of souls, that is baffled ; it is his 
attempt that is defeated, his assault that is repulsed 
by our meekness and quietness. Our Lord Jesus 
was more admired for controlling and commanding 
the unclean spirits, than for any other cures which 
he wrought. Unruly passions are unclean spirits, 
legions of which some souls are possessed with, and 
desperate, outrageous work they make ; the soul be- 
comes like that miserable creature, Mark, 5 : 3, that 
cried and cut himself; or that, Mark, 9 : 22, who 
was so often cast into the fire, and into the waters. 
The meek and quiet soul is, through grace, a con- 
queror over these enemies, their fiery darts are 
quenched by the shield of faith, Satan is in some 
measure trodden under his feet, and the victory will 
be complete shortly, when "he that overcometh" 
shall sit down with Christ upon his throne, even as 
he overcame and is set down with the Father upon 
his throne, where he still appears in the emblem 
of his meekness, " a lamb as it had been slain." And 
upon Mount Zion, at the head of his heavenly hosts, 
he appears also as a lamb. Rev. 14 : 1. Such is the 
honor meekness has in those higher regions. 

2. There is in it the credit of beauty. The beauty 
of a thing consists in the symmetry, harmony, and 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 45 

agreeableness of all the parts : now what is meek- 
ness but the soul's agreement with itself? It is the 
joint concurrence of all the affections to the univer- 
sal peace and quiet of the soul, every one regularly 
acting in its own place and order, and so contribu- 
ting to the common good. Nextjq the beauty of ho- 
liness, j^ich is the soul's agreement with God, is 
the beauty of meekness, which is the soul's agree- 
m'enf with itself. " Behold how good and how plea- 
sant a thing it is " for the powers of the soul thus to 
" dwell together in unity," the reason knowing how 
to rule, and the affections at the same time knov/ing 
how to obey. Exorbitant passion is a discord in the 
soul ; it is like a tumor in the face, which spoils the 
beauty of it : meekness scatters the humor, binds 
down the swelling, and so prevents the deformity, 
"and preserves the beauty. This is one instance of 
the comeliness of grace, *' through my comeliness," 
says God to Israel, " which I had put upon thee." 
It puts a charming loveliness and amiableness.upon 
the soul, which renders it acceptable to all who know 
what true worth and beauty is. He that in righte- 
ousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, that 
is, in Christian meekness and quietness of spirit, 
*' serveth Christ, is acceptable to God and approved 
of men." And to whom else can we wish to recom- 
mend ourselves ? 

Solomon, a very competent judge of beauty, has 
determined that it is *' a man's wisdom " that *' makes 



46 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

his face to shine ;" and doubtless the meekness of 
wisdom contributes as much as any one branch of 
it to this lustre. We read in Scripture of three whose 
faces shone remarkably, and they were all eminent 
for meekness. The face of Moses shone, and be 
was the meekest of ail the men on earth. The face 
of Stephen shone, and he it was, who, in the midst 
of a shower of stones, so meekly submitted, and 
prayed for his persecutors. The face of our Lord 
Jesus shone in his transfiguration, and he was the 
great pattern of meekness. It is a sweet and pleas- 
ing air which this grace puts upon the countenance, 
while it keeps the soul in tune, and frees it from 
those jarring discords wbich are the certain effect of 
an ungoverned passion. 

3. There is in it the credit of an ornament. The 
Apostle speaks of it as " an adorning " much more 
excellent and valuable than gold, pearls, or the most 
costly array. It is an adorning to the soul, the prin- 
cipal, the immortal part of the man. That outward 
adorning does but deck and beautify the body, which 
at the best is but a sister to the worms, and will ere 
long be a feast for them ; but this is the ornament of 
the soul, by which we are allied to the invisible 
world : it is an adorning that recommends us to 
God, which is in his sight " of great price." Or- 
naments go by estimation : now we may be sure 
the judgment of God is right and unerring. Every 
thing is indeed as it is with God : those are right- 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 47 

eous indeed, that are righteous before God ; and 
that is an ornament indeed which he calls and 
counts so. It is an ornament of God's own making. 
Is the soul thus decked ? It is he that has decked it* 
By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens, and by 
the same Spirit has he garnished the meek and quiet 
souL It is an ornament of his accepting; it must 
needs be so if it be of his own working ; for to him 
who has this ornament, more adorning shall be 
given. He has promised that he will " beautify the 
meek with salvation;" and if the garments of salva- 
tion will not beautify, what will ? The robes of glo- 
ry will be the everlasting ornaments of meek and 
(juiet spirits. This meekness is an ornament that, 
like the Israelites' clothes in the wilderness, never 
waxes old, nor will ever go out of fashion while 
right reason and religion have place in the world : 
all the wise and good will reckon those best 
drest that put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and walk 
with him in the white of meekness and innocency. 
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one 
of these lilies of the valleys, though lilies among 
thorns. 

The same ornament which is recommended to 
wives, is by the same apostle recommended to us 
all. ** Yea, all of you be subject one to another :" 
that explains what meekness is ; it is that mutual 
yielding which we owe one to another, for edifica- 
tion and in the fear of God. This seems to be a 



48 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

hard saying, how shall we digest it ? an impractf* 
cable duty, how shall we conquer it ? Why, it fol* 
lows, " Be clothed with humility." Which implies, 
(1.) i\iQ fixedness of this grace : we must gird it fast 
to us, and not leave it to hang loose, so as to be 
snatched away by every temptation : watchfulness 
and resolution in the strength of Christ must tie the 
knot upon our graces, and make them as the girdle 
that cleaves to a man's loins. (2.) The comeliness 
and ornament of it ; put it on as a knot of ribbons, 
as an ornament to the soul : such is the meekness 
of wisdom, it gives to the head an ornament of 
grace, and (which is more) a crown of glory. Prov. 
1 : 9, and 4 : 9. 

4. There is in it the credit of true courage. Meek- 
ness is commonly despised by the grandees of the 
age as cowardice and meanness, and the evidence 
of a little soul, and is posted accordingly ; while the 
most furious and angry revenge is celebrated and 
applauded under the pompous names of valor, ho- 
nor, and greatness of spirit. This arises from a 
mistaken notion of courage, the true nature where- 
of is thus stated by a very ingenious pen, " It is a 
resolution never to decline any evil of pain, when 
the choosing of it, and the exposing of ourselves to 
it, is the only remedy against a greater evil." And 
therefore he that accepts a challenge, and so runs 
himself upon the evil of sin, which is the greater 
evil, only for fear of shame and reproach, which is 



ITS EXCELLENCY* 49 

the less evil, is the coward ; while he that refuses 
the challenge, and so exposes himself to reproach, 
for fear of sin,* he is the valiant man. True courage 
is such a presence of mind as enables a man rather 
to suffer than to sin, to choose affliction rather than 
iniquity, to pass by an affront though he lose by it, 
and be hissed as a fool and a coward, rather than 
engage in a sinful quarrel. He that can deny the 
brutal lust of anger and revenge, rather than violate 
the royal law of love and charity, (however contrary 
the sentiments of the world may be,) is truly reso- 
lute and courageous ; the Lord is with thee, thou 
mighty man of valor. Fretting and vexing is the 
fruit of the weakness of wom.en and children, but 
much below the strength of a man, especially of the 
.new man ihat is born from abo\^e. When our Lord 
Jesus is described in his majesty, riding prosperous- 
ly, the glory in which he appears is " truth, and 
meekness, and righteousness." The courage of those 
who overcoine this great red dragon of wrath and 
revenge, by meek and patient suffering, and by not 
loving " theif lives unto the death," will turn to the 
best and most honorable account on the other side 
the grave, and will be crowned with glory, and ho- 
nor, and immortality; when those that caused their 
terror in the land of the living fall ingloriously, and 

* Paul showed more true valor when he said, I can do 
nothing against the irnfh, than Goliath did when he defied 
all the hobt of Israel. — Ward. 
5 



50 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

bear their shame with them that go down to the 
pit. Ezek. 32 : 24. 

It has the credit of a conformity to the best pat' 
terns. The resemblance of those that are confess- 
edly excellent and glorious, has in it an excellence 
and glory. To be meek is to be like the greatest 
saints, the elders that obtained a good report, and 
were of renown in their generation. It is to be like 
the angels, whose meekness in their converse with, 
and ministration to the saints, is very observable in 
the Scriptures ; nay, it is to be like the great God 
himself, whose goodness is his glor}*", who is " slow 
to anger,*' and in whom *' fury is not." We are then 
followers of God, as dear children, when we " walk 
in love," and are kind one to another, tender-heart- 
ed, forgiving one another. The more quiet and se- 
date we are, the more like we are to that God who, 
though he be nearly concerned in all the affairs of 
this lower Avorld, is far from being moved by its con- 
vulsions and revolutions ; but as he was from eterni- 
ty, so he is, and will be to eternity, infinitely happy in 
the enjoyment of himself It is spoken to his praise 
and glory, The Lord sits upon the floods, even when 
the floods have lifted up their voices, have lifted up 
their waves. Such is the rest of the eternal mind, 
that he sits as firm and undisturbed upon the mov- 
able flood as upon the immovable rock, the same 
yesterday, to-day, and for ever ; and the meek and 
quiet soul that preserves its peace and evenness 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 51 

against all the ruffling insults of passion and provo- 
cation, does thereby somewhat participate of a divine 
nature. 2 Pet. 1 : 4. 

Let the true honor that attends this grace of meek- 
ness recommend it to us : it is one of those things 
that are honest, and pure, and lovely, and of good 
report : a virtue that has a praise attending it — a 
praise, not perhaps of men, but of God. It is the 
certain v^^ay to get and keep, if not a great name, 
yet a good name ; such as is better than precious 
ointment. Though there be those that trample upon 
the meek of the earth, and look upon them as Mi- 
chal upon David, despising them in their hearts; 
yet if this is to be vile, let us be yet more vile and 
base in our own sight, and we shall find (as David 
argues) that there are those of whom we shall be 
" had in honor ;" for the word of Christ shall not 
fall to the ground, that they " who humble them- 
selves shall be exahed." 

II. Consider how comfortable a meek and 
quiet spirit is. What is true comfort and pleasure 
but a quietness in our own bosom ? Those are most 
easy to themselves who are so to all about them ; 
while they that are a burden and a terror to others 
will not be much otherwise to themselves. He that 
would lead a quiet, must lead " a peaceable life." 
The surest way to find rest to our souls is to " learn 
of Him who is meek and lowly in heart." Let but 
our moderation be known unto all men, and " the 



52 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will 
keep our hearts and minds.'' Quietness is the thing 
which even the busy, noisy part of the world pre- 
tend to desire and pursue: they will be quiet, (this 
is their claim,) yea, that they will, or they will know 
why : they will not endure the least disturbance of 
their quietness. But verily they go a mad way to 
work in pursuit of quietness ; greatly to disquiet 
themselves inwardly, and put their souls into a con- 
tinual tumult, only to prevent or remedy some small 
outward disquietude from others. But he that is 
meek finds a sweeter, safer quietness, and much 
greater comfort than that which they in vain pursue. 
" Great peace have they " that love this law of love, 
for *' nothing shall offend them." Whatever offence 
is intended, it is not so interpreted, and by that means 
peace is preserved. If there be a heaven anywhere 
upon earth, it is in the meek and quiet soul that acts 
and breathes above that lower religion which is in- 
fested with storms and tempests, the harmony of 
whose faculties is like the famed "music of the 
spheres " — a perpetual melody. •' Mercy and truth 
are met together, righteousness and peace have kiss- 
ed each other." 

A meek and quiet Christian must needs live very 
comfortably, for he enjoys himself, — he enjoys his 
friends, — he enjoys his God, — and he puts it out of 
the reach of his enemies to disturb him in these en- 
joyments. 



ITS EXCEL1?ENCY. 53 

I. He er.joys himself. Meekness is very nearly 
allied to that "patisnce" which our Lord J»^sus pre- 
scribes to us a^ necessary to the keeping* possession 
0^ our own souis. How calm are the thoughts, how 
serene are the rffections, how rational the pros- 
pects, and how even and composed are all the re- 
solves of the meek and quiet soul ! How free from 
the pains and tortures of an angry man, who is dis- 
seized and dispossessed even of himself, and while 
he toils and vexes to make other things his own, 
makes his own sou4 not so : his reason is in a mist ; 
confounded and bewildered, it cannot argue, infer, 
or foresee with any certainty. His affections are on 
the full speed, hurried on with an impetus which is 
as uneasy as it is hazardous. Who is that " good 
man who is satisfied from himself?" Who but the 
quiet man that needs not go abroad for satisfaction, 
but having Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, has 
in him that peace which the world can neither give 
nor take away. While those, that are fretful and pas- 
sionate rise up early, and sit up late, and eat the 
bread of sorrow in pursuit of revengeful projects, 
the God of peace gives to " his beloved sleep." The 
sleep of the .neek is quiet, and sweet, and undisturb- 
ed ; those that by innocency and mildness are the 
sheep of Christ, shall be made to " lie down in 
green pastures." That which would break an an- 
gry man's heart, will not break a meek man's sleep. 
It is promised that '* the meek shall eat and be sat- 



54 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

.isfied." He has what sweetness is to be had in his 
common comforts, while the angry man either cannot 
eat, his stomach is too full and too high, (as A hab, 
I Kings, 21 : 4;) or eats and is not satisfied, unless 
he can be revenged, as Haman : " All this avails me 
nothing,*' (though it was a banquet of wine with the 
king and queen,) as long as Mordecai is unhanged. 
It is spoken of as the happiness of the meek, that 
they " delight themselves in the abundance of peace ;" 
others may delight themselves in the abundance ot 
u^alth — a poor delight that is interwoven with so 
much trouble and disquietude ; but the meek, though 
they have but a little wealth, have peace, abundance 
of peace, peace like a river, and this such as they 
have a heart to enjoy. They have light within : as 
GEcolampadius said, Their souls are a Goshen in 
the midst of the Egypt of this world ; they have a 
light in their dwelling, when clouds and darkness 
are round about them : this is the joy with which a 
stranger doth not intermeddle. We may certainly 
have (and we should do well to consider it) less in- 
ward disturbance, and more true ease and satisfac- 
tion in forgiving twenty injuries, than in avenging 
one. No doubt Abigail intended more than she ex- 
pressed, when, to persuade David to pass by the af- 
front which Nabal had given him, she prudently 
suggested, that hereafter " this shall be no grief unto 
thee, nor offence of heart — not only so, but it would 
be very sweet and easy, and comfortable in the re- 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 55 

flection. Such a rejoicing is it, especially in a suf- 
fering day, to have the testimony of conscience, that 
in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly 
wisdom, but by the grace of God, particularly the 
grace of meekness, we have had our conversation in 
the world, and so have pleased God, and done our 
duty. He did not speak the sense, no not of the so- 
ber heathen, that said — Revenge is sweeter than life ; 
for it often proves more bitter than death. 

2. He enjoys his friends ; and that is a thing in 
which lies much of the comfort of human life. Man 
was intended to be a sociable creature, and a Chris- 
tian much more so. But the angry man is unfit to 
be so, that takes fire at every provocation ; fitter to 
be abandoned to the lions' dens, and the mountains 
of the leopards, than to go forth by the footsteps of 
the flock. He that has his hand against every man, 
cannot but have, with Ishmael's character, Ishmael's 
fate, "every man's hand against him," and so he 
lives in a state of war ; but meekness is the cement 
of society, the bond of Christian communion ; it 
planes and polishes the materials of that beautiful 
fabric, and makes them lie close and tight, and the 
living stones which are built up a spiritual house, 
to be like the stones of the temple that Herod built, 
all as one stone, whereas, " Hard upon hard " (as 
the Spaniard's proverb is) " will never make a wall." 
Meekness preserves among brethren that unity, 
which is like the ointment upon the holy head, and 



56 HENRY ON MEEKNESS 

the dew upon the holy hill. Psalm 133 : 1, 2. In 
our present state of imperfection there can be no 
friendship, correspondence, or conversation main- 
tained without mutual allowances; we do not yet 
dwell with angels or spirits of just men made ^r^ 
feet, but with men subject to like passions. Now, 
msekness teaches us to consider this, and to allow 
accordingly ; and so di-stance and strangeness, feuds 
and quarrels are happily prevented, and the begin- 
nings of them crushed by a timely care. How ne- 
cessary to true friendship it is to surrender our pas- 
sions, and to subject them all to the laws of it, was, 
perhaps, intimated by Jonathan's delivering to David 
his sword, and his bow, and his girdle, all his mili- 
Y tary habiliments, when he entered into a covenant 
K-. of friendship with him. 

^1 ^. 3. He enjoys his God; and that is most comfort- 

/ . ^ able of all. It is thfi quintessence of all happiness, 

and that without which all our other enjoyments are 

insipid; for this, none are better qualified than those 

Avho are arrayed with the ornament of a m^eek and 

^^"'^' quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great 

T > price. It was when the psalmist had newly con- 

H' ^ quered an unruly passion, and composed himself) 

that he lifted up his soul to God in that pious and 

* pathetic breathing, " Whom have I in heaven but 

thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire in 

comparison of thee?" We enjoy God when we have 

the evidences and the assurances of his favor, the 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 57 

tastes and tokens of his love ; when we experience 
in ourselves the communication of his grace, and the 
continued instances of his image stamped upon us ; 
and this, those that are most meek and quiet have 
usually in the greatest degree. In our wrath and 
passion we give place to thjB devil, and so provoke 
God to withdraw from us. Nothing grieves the 
Holy Spirit of God, by whom we have fellowship 
with the Father, more than " bitterness, and wrath, 
and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking." But to 
this man does the God of heaven look with a pecu- 
liar regard, even to him that is poor, poor in spirit, 
Isa. 66 : 2, — to him that is quiet, so the Syriac ; to 
him that is meek, so the Chaldee. The great God 
overlooks heaven and earth, to give a favorable look 
to the meek and quiet soul. Nay, he not only looks 
at such, but he " dwells " with them ; noting a con- 
stant intercourse and communion between God 
and humble souls. His secret is with them ; he 
gives them more grace ; and they that thus dwell in 
love, dwell in God, and God in them. The waters 
were dark indeed, but they were quiet, when the 
Spirit of God moved upon them, and out of them 
produced a beautiful world. 

This calm and sedate frame very much qualifies 
and disposes us for the reception and entertainment 
of divine visits ; sets bounds to the mountain on which 
God is to descend, Ex. 19 : 12, that no interruption 
may break in ; and charges the daughters of Jerusa- 



68 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

lem, by the roes and the hinds of the field, (those 
sweet, and gentle, and peaceable creatures,) not to 
stir up or awake our love till he please. Cant. 2 : 7. 
Some think it was for the quieting and composing 
of his spirit, which seems to haiie been a little ruffled, 
that Elisha called for the "minstrel," and then 
*• the hand of the Lord came upon him." Never was 
God more intimate with any mere man than he was 
with Moses, the meekest of all the men on the earth ; 
and it was required as a needful qualification of the 
high priest, who was to draw near to minister, that 
he should have compassion on the ignorant, and on 
them that are out of the way. " The meek will He 
guide in judgment " with a still small voice, w^hich 
cannot be heard when the passions are loud and tu- 
multuous. The angry man, when he awakes, is still 
with the devil, contriving some malicious project ; 
the meek and quiet man, when he awakes, is still 
with God, solacing himself in his favor. " Return 
unto thy rest, O my soul," says David, when he had 
reckoned himself among the simple, that is, the 
mild, innocent, and inoffensive people. Return to thy 
Noah, so the word is, (for Noah had his name from 
rest,) perhaps alluding to the rest which the dove 
found with Noah in the ark, when she could find 
none any where else. Those that are harmless, and 
simple as doves, can with comfort return to God as 
to their rest. It is excellently paraphrased by Mr. 
Patrick, " God and thyself" (my soul) "enjoy; in 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 59 

quiet rest, freed from thy fears." It is said that *' the 
Lord lifted up the meek ;" as far as their meekness 
reigns, they are lifted up above the stormy region, 
and fixed in a sphere perpetually calm and serene. 
They are advanced indeed that are at home in God, 
and live a life of communion with him, not only in 
solemn ordinances, but even in the common acci- 
dents and occurrences of the world. Every day is 
a Sabbath-day, a day of holy rest with the meek and 
quiet soul, as one of the days of heaven. As this 
grace gets ground, the comforts of the Holy Ghost 
grow stronger and stronger, according to that pre- 
cious promise, *' the meek also shall increase their 
joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall re- 
joice in the Holy One of Israel." 

4. It is not in the power of his enemies to disturb 
and interrupt him in these enjoyments. His peace 
is not only sweet, but safe and secure ; as far as he 
acts under the law of meekness, it is above the reach 
of the assaults of those that wish ill to it. He that 
abides quietly under " the shadow of the Almighty," 
shall surely be delivered " from the snare of the fowl- 
er." The greatest provocations that men can give 
would not hurt us, if we did not, by our inordinate 
and foolish concern, come too near them. We may 
therefore thank ourselves if we be damaged. He 
that has learned with meekness and quietness to for- 
give injuries and pass them by, has found the best 
and surest way of baffling and defeating them ; nay, 



60 HJENRV ON ME£KMESS. 

it is a kind of innocent revenge. It was an evidence 
that Saul was actuated by another spirit, in that, 
when the children of Belial despised him, and 
brought him no presents, (hoping by that contempt 
to give a shock to his infant government,) he *' held 
his peace," and so neither his soul nor his crown re- 
ceived any disturbance. Shimei, when he cursed 
David, intended thereby to pour vinegar into his 
wounds, and to add affliction to the afflicted ; but 
David, by his meekness, preserved his peace, and 
Shimei's design was frustrated. ** So let him curse ;" 
alas, poor creature ! he hurts himself more than 
David, who, while he keeps his heart from being 
tinder to those sparks, is no more prejudiced by them 
than the moon is by the foolish cur that barks at it. 
The meek man's prayer is that of David, Ps. 61 : 2, 
*' Lead me to the rock that is higher than I ;" and 
there I can (as Mr. Norris expresses it) 



-Smile to see 



The shafts of fortune all <irop short of me. 

The meek man is like a ship that rides at anchor 
— is moved, but not removed ; the storm moves it, 
(the meek man is not a stock or stone under provo- 
cation,) but does not remove it from its port. It is 
a grace that, in reference to the temptations of af- 
front and injury, (as faith in reference to temptation 
in general,) quenches the fiery darts of the wicked: 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 61 

it is armor of proof against the spiteful and enven- 
omed arrows of provocation, and is an impregnable 
v^all to secure the peace of the soul, where no thief 
can break through to steal ; while the angry man 
lays all his comforts at the mercy of every wasp 
that will strike at him. 

So that, upon the whole, it appears that the orna- 
ment of a meek and quiet spirit is as easy as it is 
comely. 

III. Consider how profitable a meek and quiet 
spirit is. All are intent on gain. It is for this that 
they break their sleep and spend their spirits. Now, 
it will be hard to convince such, that really there is 
more to be obtained by meekness and quietness of 
spirit, than by all this tumult and confusion. They 
readily believe that " in all labor there is profit :" 
but let God himself tell them, •* In returning and 
rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence 
shall be your strength ;" they Avill not take his word 
for it, but they say, *' No, for we will flee upon 
horses, and we will ride upon the swift." He that 
came from heaven to bless us, has entailed a special 
blessing upon the grace of meekness : " Blessed are 
the meek;" and his saying they are blessed makes 
them so ; for those whom he blesses, are blessed in- 
deed : blessed, and they shall be blessed. Meekness 
is gainful and profitable, as it is, 

1. The condition of the promise : the meek *' shall 
inherit the earth :" it is quoted from Ps. 37 : 11, and 
6 



62 HENRY ON MEEKNESS* 

is almost the only express promise of temporal good 
things in all the New Testament. Not that the 
meek shall be put off with the earth only, then they 
would not be truly blessed ; but they shall have that 
as an earnest of something more. Some read it. 
They shall inherit the land, that is, the land of Ca- 
naan, which was not only a type and figure, but to 
them that believed, a token and pledge of the hea- 
venly inheritance. So that " a double Canaan " (as 
Dr. Hammond observes) "is thought little enough 
for the meek man ; the same felicity in a manner at- 
tending him which we believe of Adam, if he had 
not fallen — a life in paradise, and thence a trans- 
plantation to heaven." Meekness is a branch of god- 
liness, which has, more than other branches of it, 
*' the promise of the life that now is." They shall 
inherit the earth ; the sweetest and surest tenure is 
that by inheritance, which is founded in sonship : 
that which comes by descent to the heir, the law at- 
tributes to the act of God, who has a special hand 
in providing for the meek. They are his children, 
and if children, then heirs. It is not always the 
largest proportion of this world's goods that falls to 
the meek man's share ; but whether he has more or 
less, he has it by the best title, not by a common, but 
a covenant- right: he holds in Capite* — in Christ, 
our head, an honorable tenure. 

♦ They inhabit the earth which they know to be theirs by 
the divine allotment, and they are safe beneath the divine 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 63 

If he has but a little, he has it ff om God's love 
and with his blessing, and behold all things are clean 
and comfortable to him. The wise man has deter- 
mined it, *• Better is a dry morsel and quietness 
therewith, than a houseful of sacrifices with strife. 
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a 
stalled ox and hatred therewith." Be the fare ever 
so scanty, he that has rule over his own spirit knows 
how to make the best of it, and how to suck honey 
out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock. Bless- 
ed are the meek, for they shall wield the earth ; so 
old Wickliff's translation reads it, (as I remember it 
is quoted in the Book of Martyrs,) and very signifi- 
cantly. Good management contributes more to our 
comfort than great possessions. Whatever a meek 
man has of this earth, he knows how to wield it, to 
make a right and good use of it ; that is all in all. 
^ Q,uiet souls so far inherit the earth, that they are 
sure to have as much of it as is good for them, as 
much as will serve to bear their charges through 
this world to a better ; and who would covet more ? 
The promise of God without present possession, is 
better than possession of the world without an inte- 
rest in the promise. 

2. Meekness has in its own nature a direct ten- 
dency to our present benefit and advantage. He that 

protection ; this suffices them, till, in the last day, they ar- 
rive at the full possession of their inheritance. The furious, 
on the contrary, by grasping at all, lose every thing. Calv. 
inMatt. 5; 5. 



64 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

is thus wise, is wise for himself, even in this world, 
and effectually consults his own interest. 

Meekness has a good influence upon our health. 
If envy be " the rottenness of the bones," meekness 
is the preservation of therr.. The excesses and ex- 
orbitances of anger stir up those bad humors in the 
body which kindle and increase wasting and killing 
diseases; but meekness governs those humors, and 
so contributes very much to the good temper and 
constitution of the body. When Ahab was sick for 
Naboth's vineyard, meekness would soon have cured 
him. Moses, the meekest of men, not only lived to 
be old, but was then free from the infirmities of age ; 
" his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated," 
which may be very much imputed to his meekness, 
as a means. The days of old age would not be 
such evil days, if old people did not, by their own 
frowardness and unquietness, make them worse than 
. otherwise they would be. Ungoverned anger in- 
flames the natural heat, and so begets acute diseas- 
es ; dries up the radical moisture, and so hastens 
chronical decays. The body is called the sheath or 
scabbard of the soul. Dan. 7:15, marg. How 
often does an envious fretful soul, like a sharp knife, 
cut its own sheath, and, as they say of the viper's 
brood, eat its own way out ; all which meekness 
happily prevents. 

The quietness of the spirit will help to suppress 
melancholy ; and this, as other of wisdom's precepts, 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 65 

will be health to the body and marrow to the bones ; 
length of days, and long life, and peace they shall 
add unto thee; but wrath kills the foolish man. 
Job, 5 : 2. 

It has a good influence upon our tvealth, the pre- 
servation and increase of it. As in kingdoms, so in 
families and neighborhoods, war begets poverty. 
Many a one has brought a fair estate co ruin by 
giving way to the efforts of an ungoverned anger, 
that barbarous idol, to which even the children's por- 
tions and the family's maintenance are oftentimes 
sacrificed. Contention will as soon clothe a man 
with rags as slothfulness ; that, therefore, which 
keeps peace, does not a little befriend plenty. It 
was Abraham's meek management of his quarrel 
with Lot that secured both his own and his kins- 
man's possessions, which otherwise would have 
been an easy prey to the Canaanite and the Periz- 
zite that dwelt then in the land. And Isaac, whom 
I have sometimes thought to be the most quiet and 
calm of all the patriarchs, and that passed the days 
of his pilgrimage most silently, raised the greatest 
estate of any of them ; he " grew until he became 
very great;" and his son Jacob lost nothing in the 
end by his meek and quiet carriage toward his 
uncle Laban. Revenge is costly ; Haman bid 
largely for it, no less than ten thousand talents of 
silver. It is better to forgive, and save the charges. 
Mr. Dod used to say, " Love is better than law ; for 
6* 



66 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

love is cheap, but law is chargeable." Those trades- 
men are commonly observed to thrive most, that 
make the least noise, that " with quietness work," 
and mind their own business. 

It has a good influence upon our safety. In the 
day of the Lord's anger, the meek of the earth are 
most likely to be secured. It may be you shall be 
hid ; (so runs the promise, Zeph. 2:3;) if any be, 
you shall ; you stand fairest for special protection. 
Meekness approaches to that innocence which is 
commonly an effectual security against wrongs and 
injuries. However some base and servile spirits 
may insult over the tame and humble ; yet, with all 
persons of honor, it is confessedly a piece of coward- 
ice to attack an unarmed, unresisting man, that re- 
sents not provocation.- '* And who is he that will 
harm you if you be followers of that which is good ?" 
Who draws his sword or cocks his pistol at the 
harmless silent lamb, while every one is ready to do 
it at the furious barking dog? Thus does the meek 
man escape many of those perplexing troubles, those 
woes, and sorrows, and wounds without cause, 
which he that is passionate, provoking, and revenge- 
ful pulls upon his own head. Wise men turn away 
wrath, but a fool's lips enter into contention, and his 
mouth calls for strokes. It is an honor to a man to 
cease from strife, but every fool will be meddling to 
his own hurt. An instance of this I remember Mr. 
Baxter gives in his book of " Obedient Patience:" 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 67 

** Once going along London streets, a hectoring, rude 
fellow jostled him ; he went on his way, and took no 
notice of it: but the same man affronting the next 
he met in Jike manner, he drew his sword and de- 
manded satisfaction, and mischief was done." He 
that would sleep, both in a whole skin and in a 
whole conscience, must learn rather to forgive inju- 
ries than to revenge them. The two goats that met 
upon the narrow bridge (as it is in Luther's fable) 
were both in danger, should they quarrel ; but were 
both preserved by the condescension of one that lay 
down and let the other go over him. It is the evil 
of passion, that it turns our friends into enemies ; but 
it is the excellency of meekness, that it turns our 
enemies into friends, which is an effectual way of 
conquering them. Saul, as inveterate an enemy as 
could be, was more than once meUed by David's 
mildness and meekness. " Is this thy voice, my son 
David?" said he : "I have sinned ; return, my son 
David." And after that Saul persecuted him no 
more. 1 Sam. 27 : 4. The change that Jacob's 
meekness made in Esau is no less observable. In 
the ordinary dispensations of Providence some tell 
us that they have found it remarkably true in times 
of public trouble and calamity, that it has common- 
ly fared best with the meek and quiet ; their lot has 
been safe and easy, especially if compared with the 
contrary fate of the turbulent and seditious. Whoso 
is wise and observes these things will understand 



68 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

the loving-kindness cf the Lord to the quiet in the 
land, against whom we read indeed of plots laid and 
deceitful matters devised; Ps. 35 : 20 ; 37 : 12, 14; 
but those by a kind and overruling Providence are 
ordinarily baffled and made successless. Thus does 
this grace of meekness carry its own recompense 
alon^ with it, and in keeping this commandment, as 
well as after keeping it, " there is a great reward." 

IV. Consider what a preparative it is for 
something further. It is a very desirable thing to 
stand complete in all the will of God, Gol. 4 : 12, to 
be fitted and furnished for every good work, to be 
made ready, a people prepared for the Lord. A liv- 
ing principle of grace is the best preparation for the 
whole will of God. Grace is establishing to the 
heart, it is the root of the matter, and a good founda- 
tion for the time to come. This grace of meekness 
is particularly a good preparation for what lies be- 
fore us in this world. 

L It makes us fit for any duty. It puts the soul 
in frame, and keeps it so for all religious exercises. 
There was no noise of axes and hammers in the 
building of the temple : tkose are most fit for temple 
service that are most quiet and composed. The 
work of God is best done when it is done without 
noise. 

Meekness qualifief; and disposes us to hear an(? 
receive the word : when malice and envy are Jaid 
aside, and we are like new-born babes for innocence 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 69 

and inoffensiveness, then we are most fit to receive 
the sincere milk of the word, and are most likely to 
grow thereby. Meekness prepares the soil of the 
heart for the seed of the word, as the husbandman 
opens and breaks the clods of his ground, and makes 
plain the face thereof, and then casts in " the princi- 
pal wheat and the appointed barley." Christ's mi- 
nisters are fishers of men, but we seldom fish suc- 
cessfully in these troubled waters. The voice that 
Eliphaz heard, was ushered in with a profound si- 
lence, and in slumberings upon the bed — a quiet 
place and posture. God " opens the ears of men, and 
sealeth their instruction." 

Prayer is another duty which meekness disposes 
us rightly and acceptably to perform. We do not 
lift up pure hands in prayer, if they be not *' without 
wrath." Prayers made in wrath are written in gall, 
and can never be pleasing to, or prevailing with the 
God of love and peace. Our rule is, " First go and 
be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and ofl^er 
thy gift." And if w^e do not take this method, though 
we seek God in a due ordinance, we do not seek 
him in the due order. 

The Lord's day is a day of rest, and none are fit 
for it but those who are in a quiet frame, whose souls 
have entered into that present sabbatism which the 
Gospel has provided for the people of God. The 
Lord's Supper is the Gospel-feast of unleavened 
bread, which must be kept, not with the old leaven 



70 HENRY ON MBEKNEgS. 

of wrath, and malice, and wickedness, but with the 
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.* 

God made a gracious visit to Abraham, and after 
that the strife betwixt him and Lot was over, in 
which he had discovered so much mildness and hu- 
mility. The more carefully we preserve the com- 
munion of saints, the fitter we are for communion 
with God. It is observable, that the sacrifices which 
God appointed under the law, were not ravenous 
beasts and birds of prey, but calves, and kids, and 
lambs, and turtle-doves, and young pigeons, all of 
them emblems of meekness, and gentleness, and in- 
offensiveness ; for with such sacrifices God is well 
pleased. This quietness of spirit contributes very 
much to the constant steadiness and regularity of a 
religious conversation. Hot and eager spirits, that 
are ready to take fire at every thing, are usually 
very inconstant in their profession, and of great in- 
consistency with themselves ; like a man in an ague- 
fit, sometimes burning with heat, and sometimes 
shivering for cold ; or like those that gallop in the 
beginning of their journey, and tire before the end 
of it; whereas the meek and quiet Christian is still 
the same ; and, by keeping to a constant rate, makes 

* How can we attain the peace of God without peace 1 
How can we attain the remission of our sins without remit- 
ting the sins of others 1 How can he that is angry with his 
brother, pacify his Father, who, from the first, forbids us to 
be angry 1 Terltd. de Orat. c. 10. 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 71 

progress. If you would have one foot of the com- 
pass go even round the circumference, you must be 
sure to keep the other fixed and quiet in the centre, 
for your strength is to sit still. 

2. It makes us fit for any relation into which God 
in his providence may call us. Those who are quiet 
themselves, cannot but be easy to all that are about 
them ; and the nearer any are to us in relation and 
converse, the more desirable it is that we should be 
easy to them. Relations are various, as superiors, 
inferiors, and equals ; he that is of a meek and quiet 
spirit is fitted for any of them. Moses was forty years 
a courtier in Egypt, forty years a servant in Midian, 
and forty years a king in Jeshurun; and his meek- 
ness qualified him for each of these posts, and still 
he held fast his integrity. There are various duties 
requisite, according as the relation is, and various 
graces to be exercised ; but this of meekness is the 
golden thread that must run through all. If man be 
a sociable creature, the more he has of humanity 
the more fit he is for society. Meekness would great- 
ly help to preserve the wisdom and due authority of 
superiors, the obedience and due subjection of infe- 
riors, and the love and mutual kindness of equals. A 
calm and quiet spirit receives the comfort of the re- 
lation most thankfully, studies the duty of the rela- 
tion most carefully, and bears the inconvenience of 
the relation (for there is no unmixed comfort under 
the sun) most cheerfully and easily. I have heard 



72 HENRY ON MEEKNESS, 

of a married couple, who, though they were both 
naturally of a hasty temper, yet lived very comfort- 
ably in that i^elation, by observing an agreement 
made between themselves, *' Never both to be angry 
together :" an excellent law of meekness, which, if 
faithfully obeyed, would prevent many of those 
breaches among relations which occas/on so much 
guilt and grief, and are seldom healed without a 
scar. It wr;.s part of the good advice given by a pious 
and ingenious father to his children newly entered 
into the conjugal relation: 

Doth one speak lare 1 t'other with water come, 
Is one provok'd 1 be t'other soft or dumb. 

And thus one wise, both ha;^ py. But where wrath 
and anger are indulged, all relations are embittered, 
those that should be helps become as thorns in our 
eyes and goads in our sides. Two indeed are bet- 
ter than one, and yet it is better to dwell alone in 
the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry 
relation, who is like " a continual dropping in a 
very rainy day." 

3. It makes us fit for any condition, according as 
the vwse God shall please to dispose of us. Those 
who, through grace, are enabled to compose and 
quiet themselves, are fit to live in this world, where 
we meet with so much every day to discompose and 
disquiet us. In general, whether the outward con- 
dition be prosperous or adverse, whether the world 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 73 

smile or frown upon us, a meek and quiet spirit is 
neither lifted up with the one nor cast down with 
the other, but is still in the same poise : in prosperi- 
ty humble and condescending, the estate rising, but 
the mind not rising with it ; in adversity encouraged 
and cheered — cast dovvH, but not in despair. St. Paul, 
who had learned in every estate " to be content, knew 
how to be abased, and knew how to abound ; every 
where, and in all things, he was instructed both to 
be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suf- 
fer need." Changes without, made none within. It is 
a temper Avhich, as far as it has the ascendant in the 
soul, makes every burden light, by bringing the 
mind to the condition, when the condition is not in 
every thing brought to the mind. Prosperity and 
adversity have each of them their particular tempta- 
tion to peevishness and frowardness ; the former by 
making men imperious, the latter by making them 
impatient. Against the assaults of each of these 
temptations the grace of meekness will stand upon 
the guard. Being to pass through this world " by 
honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report," 
that is, through a great variety of conditions and of 
treatment, we have need of that long-suffering and 
kindness, and love unfeigned, which will be " tho 
armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the 
left." Meekness and quietness will fortify the soul on 
each hand, and suit it to the several entertainments 
which the world gives us ; like a skillful pilot that, 
7 



74 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

from which point of the compass soever the wind 
blows, will shift his sails accordingly; and knows 
either how to get forward, and weather his point 
with it, or to lie by without damage. It is the conti- 
nual happiness of a quiet temper to make the best 
of that which is.* 

4. It makes us fit for a day o( per stent ion. If 
tribulation and affliction arise because of the word, 
(which is no foreign supposition,) the meek and 
quiet spirit is armed for it, so as to preserve its peace 
and purity at such a time, which are our two great 
concerns, that we may neither torment ourselves 
with a base fear, nor pollute ourselves with a base 
compliance. We are accustomed to say, we "will 
give any thing for a quiet life ;" I say, any thing for 
a quiet conscience, which will be best secured under 
the shield of a meek and quiet spirit, which doth not 
*' render railing for railing," nor aggravate the 
threatened trouble, nor represent it to itself in its 
most formidable colors, but has learned to put a but 
\ipon the power of the most enraged enemies ; they 
can but kill the body ; and to witness the most righte- 
ous testimony with nieekness and fear, like our 
Master, who, " when he sufiered, threatened not, but 
committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously." 
Suffering saints (as the suffering Jesus) are com- 

♦ Seek not to adjust events to your will so much as to ad- 
just your will to events ; thus you will act a becoming part. 
Epkt. c. 13. 



ITS EXCELLENCY. 75 

pared to sheep, dumb before the shearer, nay, dumb 
before the butcher. The meek and quiet Christian, 
if 'duly called to it, can tamely part, not only with 
the wool, but with the blood; not only with the 
estate, but with the life, and even then rejoice with 
joy unspeakable and full of glory. Angry, froward 
people, in a day of rebuke, are apt to pull crosses 
upon themselves by needless provocations; or to 
murmur, and complain, and fly in the face of instru- 
ments, and give unbecoming language, contrary to 
the laws of our holy religion and the example of our 
Master, and so get more hurt than good by their 
suffering. Whenever we have the honor to be per- 
secuted for righteousness' sake, our great care must 
be to glorify God and to adorn our profession, which 
is done most efliectually by meekness and mildness, 
under the hardest censures and the most cruel usage ; 
so manifesting that we are indeed under the power 
and influence of that holy religion for which we 
think it worth our while to suffer. 

5. It makes us fit for death and eternity. The 
grave is a quiet place ; " there the wicked cease from 
troubling." Those that were most troublesome are 
there bound to the peace ; and " their hatred and 
envy " are there •* perished." Whether we will or 
no, in the grave we shall lie still and be quiet. 
Job, 3:13. What a great change then must it needs 
be to the unquiet, the angry, and litigious I and what 
a mighty shock will that sudden, forced rest give 



76 HENRY ON »MEEKNBSS. 

them, after such a violent, rapid motion ! It is there- 
fore our wisdom to compose ourselves for the grave ; 
to prepare ourselves for it, by adapting and accom- 
modating ourselves to that which is likely to be our 
long home. This is dymg daily, quieting ourselves. 
for death will shortly quiet us. 

The meek and quiet soul is, at death, let into that 
rest which it has been so much laboring after ; and 
how welcome must that needs be ! Thoughts of death 
and the grave are very agreeable to those who love 
to be quiet ; for then and there " they shall enter into 
peace," and " rest in their beds." 

After death we expect the judgment, than which 
nothing is more dreadful to them that are " conten- 
tious." The coming of the master brings terror along 
with it to those who "smite their fellow-servants;" 
but those that are meek and quiet are likely to have 
their plea ready, their accounts stated, and when- 
ever it comes, it will be no surprise to them : to those 
whose " moderation is known to all men," it will be 
no ungrateful news to hear that " the Lord is at 
hand." It is therefore prescribed as that which 
ought to be our constant care, that Vv^henever our 
Master comes, we may "be found of him in peace," 
that is, in a peaceable temper. Blessed is that ser- 
vant whom his Lord when he comes shall iind in 
such a frame. " A good man," says the l-.;te excel- 
lent archbishop Tillotson, in his preface to his book 
of Family Religion, " would be loth to be taken out 



ITS EXCELLENCY. Iff 

of the world reeking hot from a sharp contention 
with a perverse adversary ; and not a little out of 
countenance to find himself in this temper translated 
into the calm and peaceable regions of the blessed, 
where nothing but perfect charity and good-will 
reigns for ever." Heaven is a quiet place, and none 
are fit for it but quiet people. The heavenly Canaan; 
that land of peace, would be no heaven to those that 
delight in war. The turbulent and unquiet would be 
out of their element, like a fish upon dry ground, iit 
those calm regions. 

They are the sheep of Christ, (such as are pa- 
tient and inofl^ensive,) that are called to inherit the 
kingdom; without are dogs that bite and devour. 
Rev. 22: 15. 

They are the wings of a dove, not those of a hawk' 
or eagle, that David would fly upon to his desired 
rest. Psalm 55 : 6. 

Now lay all this together, and then consider whe- 
ther there be not a real excellency in this meekness 
and quietness of spirit, which highly recommends it 
to all that love either God or themselves, or have 
any sensible regard to their own comfort, either in 
this world or in that which is to come* 



►■ 



?• 



78 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

CHAPTER III. 

WANT OF MEEKNESS LAMENTED. ' 

And now, have we not reason to lament the want- 
ol the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit among 
those that profess religion, and especially in our own 
bosoms 7 If this be Christianity, how little is there 
of the thing, even among those that make great pre- 
tensions to the name ! Surely, (as one said in ano- 
ther case,) either this is not Gospel, or these are not 
gospel-professors. And O how bare and uncomely 
does profession appear for want of this adorning ! 
When the Israelites had stripped themselves of their 
ornaments to furnish up a golden calf, it is said they 
were " made naked to their shame." How naked 
are we (like Adam when he had sinned) for want 
of this ornament. It is well if it be to the shame of 
true repentance. 

I am not teaching you to judge and censure others 
m this patter, there is too much of that to be found 
among us; we are quick-sighted enough to spy 
faults in others, the transports of whose passions we 
should interpret favorably. But we have all cause, 
more or less, to condemn ourselves, and confess 
guilt in this matter. In many things we all offend, 
and perhaps in this as much as in any, coming short 
of the law of meekness and quietness. 



WANT OF IT LAMENTED. 79 

We are called Christians, and it is our privilege 
and honor that we are so : we name the name of the 
meek and lowly Jesus, but how few are actuated by 
his spirit, or conform to his example ! It is a shame 
that any occasion should be given to charge it upon 
professors, who, in other things, are most strict and 
sober, that in this they are most faulty ; and that 
many who pretend to conscience and devotion, 
should indulge themselves in a peevish, froward, 
and morose temper and conversation, to the great 
reproach of that worthy name by which we are 
called. May we not say, as that Mahommedan did 
when a Christian prince had perfidiously broke his 
league wuh him, " O Jesus ! are these thy Chris- 
tians !" 

It is the manifest design of our holy and excel- 
lent religion to smooth, and soften, and sweeten our 
temper ; and is it not a wretched thing that any 
who profess it should be soured, and embittered, 
and less conversible and fit for human society than 
others? He was looked upon as a very good man 
in his day, (and not without cause,) who yet had 
such an unhappy temper, and was sometimes so 
transported with passion that his friend would say 
of him, " He had grace enough for ten men, and yet 
not enough for himself" The disciples of Jesus 
Christ did not know " what manner of spirit they 
were of," — so apt are we to deceive ourselves, espe- 
cially when these extravagances shroud therrjselves 



80 HENRY ON MEEKNESS, 

under the specious and plausible pretence of zeal 
for God and religion. But yet the fault is not to be 
laid upon the profession, or the strictness and sin- 
gularity of it in other things which are praisewor- 
thy ; nor may we think the worse of Christianity 
for any such blemish : we know very well that 
the wisdom that is from above is peaceable and gen- 
tle, and easy to be entreated, and all that is sweet, 
and amiable, and endearing, though she is not here- 
in justified of all who call themselves her children. 
But the blame must be laid upon the corruption and 
folly of the professors themselves, who are not so per- 
fectly delivered into the mould of Christianity as 
they should be; but neglect their ornament, and pros- 
titute their honor, and suffer the authority of their 
graces to be trampled upon. They let *' fire go out 
of the rod of their branches, which devour their 
fruit;" so that there is no meekness as a strong rod, 
to be a sceptre to rule in the soul, w*hich is "a la- 
mentation, and shall be for a lamentation." 

And yet, blessed be God, even in this corrupt and 
degenerate world there are many \vho appear in the 
excellent ornament of a meek and quiet spirit ; and 
some, w^hose natural temper is hasty and choleric, 
yet have been enabled, by the power of divine grace, 
to show in a good conversation their works with 
meekness and wisdom. It is not so impracticable 
as some imagine to subdue these passions, and to 
preserve the peace of the soul, even in a stormy day. 



WANT OF IT LAMENTED. 81 

But that we may each of us judge ourselves, and 
find matter for repentance herein, I shall only men- 
tion those instances of irregular deportment towards 
our particular relations which evidence the want of 
meekness and quietness of spirit. 

1. Superiors are commonly very apt to chide, and 
that is for want of meekness. It is spoken to the 
praise of Him who is the great ruler of this per- 
verse and rebellious 'vorld, that he "will not al- 
ways chide." But how many little rulers are there 
of families and petty societies that herein are very 
unlike him, for they are always chiding! Upon 
every little default they are put into a flame, and 
transported beyond due bounds : easily provoked, 
either for no cause at all, or for very small cause ; 
greatly provoked, and very outrageous and unrea- 
sonable when they are provoked. Their carriage 
is fiery and hasty, their language is scurrilous and 
indecent ; they care not Avhat ihey say, nor what 
they do, nor whom they insult; they are "such 
sons of Belial that a man cannot speak to them.'* 
One had as good meet a bear robbed of her whelps 
as meet them. These require meekness. Hus- 
bands should not be bitter against their Avives. Pa- 
rents should not provoke their children. Masters 
must forbear threatening. These are the rules, but 
how few are ruled by them ! The undue and intem- 
perate passion of superiors goes under the excuse ot 
necessary strictness, and the maintaining of autho- 



82 , HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

rity, and the education and control of children and 
servants. But surely every little failure needs not 
be animadverted upon, but rather should be passed 
by; or if the fault must be reproved and corrected, 
luay it not be done without so much noise and cla- 
mor? Is this the product of a meek and quiet spi. 
rit ? Is this the best badge of your authority you 
have to put on ? And are these the ensigns of your 
honor ? Is there no other way of making your in- 
feriors know their place but by putting them among 
the dogs of your flock, and threatening them as 
such? Not that I am against government and good 
order in families, and such reproofs as are necessary 
to the support and preservation of it, and those so 
sharpened as some tempers require and call for. 
But while you are governing others, pray learn to 
govern yourselves, and do not disorder your own 
souls under pretence of keeping order in your fa- 
milies; for though you yourselves may not be aware 
of it, yet it is certain that by those indications of 
vour displeasure which transgress the laws of 
meekness, you do but render yourselves contempti- 
ble and ridiculous, and rather prostitute than pre- 
serve your authority. Though your children dare 
not tell you so, yet perhaps they cannot but think 
that you arc very unfit to command yourselves.* 
Time was w^hen you w^ere yourselves children, and 

♦ No one is fit to rule, except he is willing to be govern- 
ed. — Sencca» 



WANT OF IT LAMENTED. 83 

scholars, and perhaps servants and apprentices ; 
and so, if you will but allow yourselves the liberty 
of reflection, you cannot but know the heart of an 
inferior, Exod. 23 : 9, and should therefore treat 
those that are now under you as you yourselves 
then wished to be treated. A due expression of 
displeasure, so much as is necessary to the amend- 
ment of what is amiss, will very well consist with 
meekness and quietness. And your gravity and 
awful composedness therein will contribute very 
much to the preserving of your authority, and will 
command respect abundantly more than your noise 
and chiding. Masters of families and masters of 
schools too, have need, in this matter, to behave 
themselves wisely, so as to avoid the two extremes, 
that of Eli's foolish indulgence on the one hand, and 
that of Saul's brutish rage on the other ; and for at- 
taining this golden mean, wisdom is profitable to 
direct. 

2. Inferiors are commonly very apt to complain. 
If every thing be not just to their mind, they are 
fretting and vexing, and their hearts are hot within 
them : they are uneasy in their place and station, 
finding fault with every thing that is said or done 
to them. Here is wanting a quiet spirit, which 
would reconcile us to the post we are in, and to all 
the difficulties of it, and would make the best of the 
present state, though it be attended with many in- 
conveniences. Those unquiet people, whom the 



84 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

apostle Jude in his epistle compares to raging;' 
waves of the sea, and Avandering stars, were mur-* 
murers and complainers — blamers of their lot — so 
the word signifies. It is an instance of unquiet- 
ness, to be ever and anon quarreling with our allot- 
ment. Those wives wanted a meek and quiet spi- 
rit, who " covered the altar of the Lord with tears ;" 
not tears of repentance for sin, but tears of vexation 
at the disappointments they met in their outward 
condition. Hannah's meekness and quietness was 
in some degree wanting, when she fretted, and wept, 
and would not eat ; but prayer composed her spirit ; 
her countenance was no more sad. It was the un- 
quietness of the spirit of the elder brother in the pa- 
rable, that quarreled so unreasonably with his fa- 
ther for receiving and entertaining the penitent pro- 
digal. Those that are given to be uneasy, will ne- 
ver want something or other to complain of It is 
true, though not so readily apprehended, that the 
sullenness, and murmuring, and silent frets of chil- 
dren and servants, are as great a transgression of 
the law of meekness, as the more open, noisy, and 
avowed passions of their parents and masters. We 
find the king's chamberlains wroth with the king. 
And Cain's quarrel with God himself for accepting 
Abel, was interpreted as anger by God. *' Why art 
thou wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen ?" 
The sour looks of inferiors are as certain an indi- 
cation of anger resting in the bosom, as the disdain- 



WANT OF IT LAMKXTED. 85 

ful looks of superiors; and how many such in- 
stances of discontent there have been, especially 
under a continual cross, our own consciences may 
perhaps tell us. It is the want of meekness only 
that makes those whom Divine Providence has put 
under the yoke, children of Belial, that is, impatient 
of the yoke. 

3. Equals are commonly very apt to clash and 
contend. It is for want of meekness that there are 
in the church so many pulpit and paper-quarrels, 
such strifes of words and perverse disputings ; that 
there are in the state such factions and parties, and 
between them such animosities and heart-burnings ; 
that there are in neighborhoods such strifes and 
brawls, and vexatious law-suits, or such distances, 
and estrangements, and shyness one of another ; 
thai there are in families envies and quarrels among 
the children and servants, crossing, thwarting, and 
finding fault one with another ; and that brethren, 
that dwell together, do not, as they should, dwell to- 
gether in unity. It is for want of meekness that 
we are so impatient of contradiction in our opinions, 
desires, and designs, that we must have our own 
saying, right or wrong, and every thing our own 
way ; that we are so impatient of competitors, not 
enduring that any should stand in our light, or 
share in that work of honor which we would en- 
gross to ourselves ; that we are so impatient of con- 
tempt, so quick in our apprehension and resentment 

8 



86 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

of the least slight or affront ; and so pregnant in our 
fancy of injuries, where really there are none, or 
none intended. They are not only loud and pro- 
iessed contentions that evidence a want of meek- 
ness, but also those silent alienations in affection 
and conversation which make a less noise; little 
piques and prejudices conceived, which men are 
themselves so ashamed of that they w^ill not own 
them: these show the spirit disturbed, and wanting 
the ornament of meekn<.ss. In a vvoid, willfully do- 
ing any thing to disquiet others; slandering, back- 
biting, whispering, tale-bearing, or the like, is too 
plain an evidence that we are not ourselves rightly 
disposed to be quiet. 

And now, may we not all remember our faults 
this day ? and, instead of condemning others, though 
ever so faulty, should we not each of us bewail be- 
fore the Lord that we have been so little actuated by 
this excellent spirit, and repent of all we have at any 
time said or done contrary to the law of meekness ? 
Instead of going about to extenuate and excuse our 
&;inful passions, let us rather aggravate them, and 
lay a load upon ourselves lor them: "So foolish 
h".^e i been and ignorant, and so like a beast before 
f lod." Think how often we have appeared before 
God and the world without our ornament, without 
our livery, to our shame. God kept account of the 
particular instances of the unquietness of Israel: 
** They have tempted me (says he) now these ten 



WANT OF IT LAMENTED. 87 

times.'* Conscience is God's register, that recor^p 
all our miscarriages: even what we say and do in 
our haste is not so quick as to escape its observation. 
Let us, therefore, be often opening that book now, 
for our conviction and humiliation, or else il will be 
opened shortly to our confusion and condemnation. 
But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be 
judged of the Lord. May we not all say, as Jo- 
seph's brethren did, (and perhaps some are, as they 
were, in a special manner called to say it by hum- 
bling providences,) '' We are verily guilty concern- 
ing our brother." Such a time, in such a com- 
pany, upon such an occasion, I wanted meekness ; 
my spirit was provoked, and I spake unadvisedly 
with my lips, and now I remember it against my- 
self. Nay, have not 1 lived a life of unquietness in 
the family, in the neighborhood, always in the fire 
of contention, as in my element, and breathing 
threatenings? And by so doing have not I disho- 
nored my God, discredited my profession, disturbed 
ray soul, grieved the blessed Spirit, and been to many 
an occasion of sin ? And for all this ought not I to 
be greatly humbled and ashamed ? Before we can 
put on the ornament of a meek nnd quiet spirit, we 
must wash in the laver of true repentance, not only 
for our gross and open extravagances of passion, but 
for all our neglects and omissions of the duties of 
meekness. 



S8 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

% 

CHAPTER IV. 

ENCOURAGEMENTS TO MEEKNESS SCRIPTURE 

PRECEPTS. 

Have we not reason to labor and endeavor, since 
there is such a virtue, and such a praise to attain 
these things ? Should we not lay out ourselves to 
the utmost for this ornament of a me^k and quiet 
spirit ? For your direction in this endeavor, if you 
be indeed willing to be directed, I shall briefly lay 
before you some Scrijjture prr.cepts concerning 
meekness : some patterns of it ; some particular in- 
stances in which we have special need of it ; some 
good principles that we should abide by ; and some 
good practices that we should abound in, in order 
to our growth in this grace. In opening thesu 
things, we will endeavor to keep close to the law, 
and to the testimony. 

If we lay the word of God before us for our 
rule, and wall be ruled by it, Ave shall find tho 
command of God making meekness and quietness 
as much our duty as they are our ornament. W(j 
are there told, as the will of God, that we must seek 
meekness. 

1. This command we have Zeph. 2:3; and it ia 
especially directed to the meek : " Seek ye the Lord, 
all ye meek of the earth : — seek meekness." Though 



SCRIPTURE PRECEPTS. W 

they were meek, and were pronounced so by Him that 
searches the heart, yet they must seek meekness; 
which teaches us that those who have much of this 
grace, have still need of more, and must desire and en- 
deavor after more. He that sits down content with 
the grace he has, and is not pressing forward towards 
perfection, and striving to grow in grace, to get the 
habit of it more strengthened and confirmed, and 
the operation of it more quickened and invigorated, 
it is to be feared has no true grace at all ; and that, 
though he sit ever so high and ever so easy in his 
own opinion, he u^ill yet sit down short of heaven. 
Where there is life, one way or other there will be 
growth, till we come to the perfect man. "He that 
hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger." 
Paul was a man of great attainments in grace, and 
yet we find him "forgetting the things that are be- 
hind, and reaching forth to those that are before." 
Those who took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, 
are yet told that they " have need of patience." 
Thus the meek of the earth (who being on the 
earth, are in a state of infirmity and imperfection, of 
trial and temptation) have still need of meekness; 
that is, they must learn to be yet more calm and 
composed, more steady, and even, and regular in 
the government of their passions, and in the man- 
agement of their whole conversation. They who 
have silenced all angry words, must learn to sup- 
press the first risings and motions of angry thoughts. 
8* 



90 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

It is observable that when the meek of the earth 
are especially concerned to seek meekness, when 
the day of the Lord's anger hastens on, when the 
times are bad, and desolating judgments are break- 
ing in, then we have occasion for all the meekness 
Ave have, and all we can get, and all is little enough ; 
meekness toward God the author, and towards men 
the instruments of our trouble ; meekness to bear 
the trial, and to bear our testimony in the trial. 
There is sometimes an "hour of temptation," a cri- 
tical day, when the exercise of meekness is the work 
of the day : sometimes the children of men are more 
than ordinarily provoking, and then the children of 
God have more than commonly need of meekness. 
When God is justly angry, and men are unjustly 
angry, when our mother's children are angry with 
us, and our father angry too, there is anger enough 
stirring, and then " Blessed are the meek," that are 
careful to keep possession of their souls when they 
can keep possession of nothing else. 

Now the way prescribed for the attainment of 
meekness is to seek it. Ask it of God, pray for it : 
it is a fruit of the Spirit, it is given by the God of all 
grace, and to him we must go for it. It is a brancli 
of that Avisdom which he that lacketh must ask of 
God, and it shall be given him. The God we ad- 
dress is called "the God of patience and consola- 
tion;" and he is the God of consolation, because the 
God of patience, (for the more patient we are, the 



SCRIPTURE PRECEPTS. 91 

more we are comforted under our afflictions,) and 
ag such we must look to him, when we come to him 
for grace to make us " like-minded," that is, meek 
and loving one towards another, which is the apos- 
tle's errand at the throne of grace. God's people 
are, and should be, a generation that " covet the 
best gifts," and make their court to the best Giver, 
who never said to the wrestling seed of Jacob, Seek 
in vain; but has given us an assurance firm enough 
for us to build upon, and rich enough for us to en- 
courage ourselves with — Seek and ye shall find. 
What would we more? Seek meekness, and ye 
shall find it. 

The promise annexed is very encouraging to the 
meek of the earth that seek meekness : " it may be 
you shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." 
Though it be but a promise Avith an " it may be," 
yet it ministers abundance of comfort : God's pro- 
babilities are better than the world's certainties ; and 
the meek ones of the earth that hope in his merc)^ 
and can venture their all upon an intimation of his 
good-will, shall find to their comfort, that when God 
brings a flood upon the world of the ungodly, he 
has an ark for all his Noahs, his resting, quiet peo- 
ple, in which they shall be hid, it may be, from the 
calamity itself, at least from the sting and malignity 
of it; " HID," (as Luther said,) " either in heaven or 
under heaven, either in the possession or under th* 
protection of heaven." 



92 HENRY OX meekness; 

2. We must jput on meekness. *' Put on therefore 
(as the elect of God, holy and beloved) — meekness." 
It is one of the members of the new man, which we 
must put on. Put it on as armor, to keep provoca- 
tions from the heart, and so to defend the vitals. 
They that have tried it will say it is "armor ot 
proof" When you are putting on " the whole armor 
of God," do not forget this. Put it on as attire, as 
your necessary clothing, which you cannot go with- 
out ; look upon yourselves as ungirt, undrest, un- 
blest without it. Put it on as a livery garment, by 
which you may be known to be the disciples of the 
meek, and humble, and patient Jesus, and to belong 
to that peaceable family. Put it on as an ornament, 
as a robe and a diadem, by which you may be both 
beautified and dignified in the e3'es of others. Put it 
on as the elect of God, holy and beloved, because 
you are so in profession ; and that you may approve 
yourselves so in truth and reality, be clothed Avith 
meekness as the elect of God, a choice people, a 
chosen people, whom God has set apart for himself 
from the rest of the world, as holy, sanctified to God, 
sanctified by him : study these graces, which put 
such a lustre upon holiness, and recommend it to 
tho.se that are without, as beloved, beloved of God, 
beloved of man, beloved of your ministers : for love's 
sake put on meekness. What winning, persuasive 
rhetoric is here ! enough, one would think, to smooth 
the rouo-hest soul, and to soften and sweeten the 



SCRIPTURE PRECEPTS. 93 

most obstinate heart ! Meekness is a grace of the 
Spirit's working, a garment of his preparing ; but 
we must put it on, that is, Ave must lay our souls un- 
der the commanding power and influence of it. Put 
it on, not as a loose outer garment, to be put ofi^in 
hot weather, but let it cleave to us, as the girdle 
cleaves to a man's loins ; so put it on as to reckon 
ourselves naked to our shame without it. 

3. We must follow after meekness. — This pre- 
cept Ave haA^e 1 Tim. 6:11. Meekness is there put 
in opposition to those foolish and hurtful lusts that 
Timothy must flee from : " Thou, O man of God, 
flee these things, and folloAV ^Iter righteousness, 
godliness, faith, loA^e, patience, meekness." See Avhat 
good company it is ranked Avith. Every Christian 
is in a sense a man of God, (though Timothy is 
called so as a minister,) and those that belong to 
God are concerned to be and do so as to recommend 
themseh^es to him, and his religion to the world ; 
therefore let the men of God folloAv after meekness. 
The occasions and proA'ocations of anger often set 
our meekness at a distance from us, and aa^o have it 
to seek Avhen aa^c have most need of it ; but Ave must 
foUoAv after it, and not be taken off from the pursuit 
by any diversion AvhatsoeA^er. While others are in- 
genious and industrious enough in folloAving after 
malice and revenge, projecting and prosecuting an- 
gry designs, be you Avise and dilig'ent to preserA^e 
the peace, both Avithin doors and Avithout. Follow- 



94 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

ing meekness bespeaks a sincere desire and a seri- 
ous endeavor to get the mastery of our passion, and 
to check, govern, and moderate all the motions of it. 
Though we cannot fully attain this mastery, yet we 
must follow after it, and aim at it. Follow meek- 
ness, that is, as much as in you lies live peaceably 
with all men, endeavoring to keep the unity of the 
spirit : we can but make one side of the bargain ; if 
others will quarrel, yet let us be peaceable; if others 
will strike fire, that is their fault; let not us be as 
tinder to it. 

4. We must show all meekness unto all men. — 
This is one of the subjects which Paul directs a 
young minister to preach upon. *' Put them in mind 
to show all meekness." It is that which we have 
need to be often reminded of. Meekness is there op- 
posed to brawling and clamor, which is the fruit 
and product of our own anger, and the cause and 
provocation of the anger of others. Observe, it is 
" all meekness " that is here recommended to us, all 
kinds of meekness — bearing meekness, and forbear- 
ing meekness; qualifying meekness, and conde- 
scending meekness ; forgiving meekness ; the meek- 
ness that endears our friends, and that which recon- 
ciles our enemies; the meekness of authority over 
inferiors; the meekness of obedience to superiors; 
and the meekness of wisdom towards all. *' All 
meekness," is meekness in all relations, in reference 
to all injuries, all sorts of provocation, meekness iu 



SCRIPTURE PRECEPTS. 9$ 

all the branches and instances of it: in this piece of 
our obedience we must be universal. Observe fur- 
ther, we must not only have meekness, all meekness, 
but we must show it, by drawing out this grace into 
exercise as there is occasion : in our words, in our 
looks, in our actions, in every thing that falls under 
the observation of men, we must manifest that we 
have indeed a regard to the law of meekness, and 
that we make conscience of what we say and do, 
when we are provoked. We must not only have 
the law of love written in our hearts, but in our 
tongues too we must have *'the law of kindness." 
And thus the tree is known by its fruit. This light 
must shine, that others may see the good works of 
it, and hear the good words of it too, not to glorify 
us, but to glorify our Father ; we should study to ap- 
pear, in all our converse, so mild, and gentle, and 
peaceable, that all who see us may witness for us that 
we are of the meek of the earth. We must not only 
be moderate, but " let our moderation be known." 
. He that is in this respect a wise man, let him show 
it in the " meekness of wisdom." What are good 
clothes worth if they be not worn ? Why has the 
gervant a fine livery given him, but to show it for 
the honor of his master, and of the family he belongs 
to? How can we say we are meek, if we do not 
show it ? The showing of our meekness will beau- 
tify our profession, and will adorn the doctrines of 
God our Savior, and may have a very good influence 



96 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

upon others, who cannot but be in love with such 
an excellent grace, when thus, like the oinlment of 
the right hand, it betrayeth itself, and the house is 
filled w^th the odor of it. 

Again, this meekness must be thus showed wito all 
vieii — foes as well as friends, those without as well as 
those within, all that we have any thing to do with. 
We must show our meekness not only to those 
above us, of whom we stand in awe, but to those 
below us, over whom we have authority. The poor 
indeed use entreaties, but Avhatever is the practice, 
it is not the privilege of the rich to " answer rough- 
ly." We must show our meekness " not only to the 
good and gentle, but also to the froward, for this is 
thankworthy." Our meekness must be as extensive 
as our love, so exceeding broad is this command- 
ment, *' all meekness to all men." We must show 
this meekness most to those with whom we most 
converse. There are some, that, when they are in 
company with strangers, appear very mild and good- 
humored, their behavior is plausible enough and 
complaisant ; but in their families they are peevish, 
and froward, and ill-natured, and those about theni 
scarce know how to speak to them : this shows that 
the fear of man gives greater check to their passions 
than the fear of God. Our rule is to be meek toward 
all, even to the brute creation, over whom we are 
lords, but must not be tyrants. 

Observe the reason which the apostle gives why 



SCRIPTURE PRECEPTS. 97 

we should show all meekness toward all men ; " for 
we ourselves also were sometime foolish." Time 
was, when perhaps we were as bad as the worst of 
those we are now angry at ; and if now it be better 
with us, we are purely beholden to the free grace of 
God in Christ that made the difference ; and shall 
we be harsh to our brethren, who have found God 
so kind to us? Has God forgiven us our great debt, 
and passed by so many willful provocations; and shall 
we be extreme to mark what is done amiss against 
us, and make the worst of every slip and oversight ? 
The great Gospel argument for mutual forbearance 
and forgiveness is, that " God for Christ's sake has 
forgiv-en us." 

It may be of use also for the qualifying of our an- 
ger at inferiors, to remember not only our former 
sinfulness against God in our unconverted state, but 
our former infirmities in the age and state of infe- 
riors : were not Ave ourselves sometimes foolish 1 
Our children are careless, and playful, andfroward, 
and scarcely governable ; and were not we ourselves 
so when we were of their age? And if we have now 
put away childish things, yet they have not. Chil- 
dren may be brought up in the nurture and admo- 
nition of the Lord, without being provoked to wrath. 

5. We I'.ust '* study to be quiet," that is, study not 

to disturb others, nor to be ourselves disturbed by 

others : be ambitious of this, as the greatest honor ; 

so the word signifies. The most of men are ambi- 

9 



98 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

tious of the honor of great business, and power, and 
preferment; they covet it, they court it, they com- 
pass sea and land to obtain it ; but the ambition of a 
Christian should be carried out towards quietness: 
we should reckon that the happiest post, and desire 
it accordingly, which lies most out of the road of 
provocation 

'* Let him that will, ascend the tottering seat 
** Of courtly grandeur, and become as great 
"As are his mounting wishes : as for me, 
"Let sweet repose and rest my portion be. 

•" Let my age 

" Slide gently by, not overthwart the stage 

" Of public action, unheard, unseen, 

" And unconcern'd, as if I ne'er had been." 

This is studying to be quiet. Subdue and keep 
under all those disorderly passions which tend to 
the disturbing and clouding of the soul. Compose 
yourselves to this holy rest ; put yourselves in a pos- 
ture to invite this blessed sleep which God gives to 
his beloved. Take pains, as students in arts and 
sciences do, to understand the mystery of this grace. 
I. call it a mystery, because St. Paul, who was so 
well versed in the deep things of God, speaks of this 
as a mystery. " I am instructed," as in a mj^stery, 
" both to be full and to be hungry, bo^h to abound 
and to suffer need :" that is, in one word, to be quiet. 
To study the art of quietness is to take pains with 
ourselves, to have in our own hearts the principles, 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 99 

rules, and laws of meekness; and to furnish our- 
selves with such considerations as tend to thequit^t- 
ing of the spirit in the midst of the greatest provoca- 
tions. Others are studying to disquiet us ; the more 
need we have to study how to quiet ourselves, by a 
careful watching against all that which is ruffling 
and discomposing. Christians should, above all stu- 
dies, study to be quiet, and labor to be actuated by 
an even spirit under all the unevenness of Provi- 
dence, and remember that one good word which Sir 
William Temple tells us the prince of Orange said 
he learnt from the master of his ship, who, in a storm, 
was calling to the steersman, " Steady, steady." Let 
but the hand be steady and the heart quiet, and 
though our passage be rough, we may weather the 
point, and get safe to the harbor. 



CHAPTER V. 

SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 



Good examples help very much to illustrate and 
enforce good rules, bringing them closer to particu- 
lar cases, and showing them to be practicable. Pre- 
cedents are of great use in the law. If w^e would be 



100 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

found wallang in the same spirit, and walking in the 
same steps with those that are gone before us to 
glory, this is the spirit by which we must be actua- 
ted, and these the steps in which we must walk : this 
is the way of good men, for wise men to walk in. 
Let us go forth then "by the footsteps of the flock," 
and set ourselves to follow them who through faith 
and patience inherit the promises. We are compassed 
about with a great cloud of witnesses, who will bear 
their testimony to the comfort of meekness, and upon 
trial recommend it to us ; but we shall single out only 
some few from the Scripture. 

1. Abraham was a pattern of meekness, and he 
was the father of the faithful. As he was famous for 
faith, so was he for meekness ; for the more we have 
of faith toward God, the more we shall have of meek- 
ness toward all men. How meek was Abraham, 
when there happened a strife betwixt his herdsmen 
and Lot's, which, had it proceeded, might have been 
of ill consequence, for " the Canaanite and the Pe- 
rizzite dwelled then in the land;" but it was season- 
ably overruled by the prudence of Abraham. " Let 
there be no strife, I pray thee :" though he might 
command peace, yet for love's sake he rather be- 
seeches. Every word has an air of meekness, and a 
tendency to peace. And when the expedient for the 
. prevention of strife was their parting from each other, 
though Lot was the junior, yet Abraham, for peace- 
sake, quitted his right, and gave Lot the choice; and 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 101 

the gracious visit which God gave him thereupon, 
was an abundant recompense for his mildness and 
condescension. 

Another instance of Abraham's meekness we have 
when Sarah quarreled with him so unreasonably 
about her maid, angry at that which she herself had 
done. " My wrong be upon thee : — the Lord judge 
between thee and me." Abraham might soon have 
replied, You may thank yourself, it was your own 
contrivance ; but, laying aside the present provoca- 
tion, he abides by one of the original rules of the re- 
lation, *' Behold, thy maid is in thy hand." He did 
not answer passion with passion, that would have 
put all into a flame ; but he answered passion with 
meekness, and so all was quiet. 

Another instance of Abraham's meekness we 
have in the transactions between him and Abimelech 
his neighbor. He first enters into a covenant of 
friendship with him, which w^as confirmed by an 
oath, and then (not reproaches him, but) reproves 
him for a wrong that his servants had done him 
about a Well of water ; which gives us this rule of 
meekness, " Not to break friendship for a small mat- 
ter of difference :" such and such occasions there are, 
which they that are disposed to it might quarrel 
about ; but " what is that between me and thee ?" 

If meekness rule, matters in variance may be fair- 
ly reasoned and adjusted, without violation or in- 
fringement of friendship. This is the example of 

H. M. 9* 



102 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

that great patriarch. The future happiness of the 
saints is represented as the bosom of Abraham — a 
quiet state. Those who hope to lie in the bosom of 
Abraham shortly, must tread in the steps of Abra- 
ham now, whose children we are as long as we thus 
do well, " and who " (as Maimonides expresses it) 
** is the father of all who are gathered under the 
wings of the Divine Majesty." 

2. Moses was a pattern of meekness, it was his 
master-grace, that in which, more than in any other, 
he excelled. This testimony the Holy Ghost gives 
of him, that " the man Moses was very meek, above 
all the men which were upon the face of the earth." 

This character of him is given upon occasion of 
an affront he received from those of his own house ; 
which intimates that his quiet and patient bearing it 
was the greatest proof and instance of his meekness. 
Those can bear any provocation, that can bear it 
from their near relations. The meekness of Moses, 
as the patience of Job, was tried on all hands. Ar- 
mor of proof shall be sure to be shot at. It should 
seem that his wife was none of the best humored 
women ; for what a passion was she in about the cir- 
cumcising of her son, when she reproached him as 
a bloody husband ; and we do not read of one word 
that he replied, but let her have her saying. When 
God was angry, and Zipporah angry, it was best 
for him to be quiet. The lot of his public work was 
cast " in the provocation, in the day of temptation in- 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 103 

the wilderness ;" but as if all the mutinies of mur- 
muring Israel were too little to try the meekness of 
Moses, his own brother and sister, and those of no 
less a figure than Miriam the prophetess, and Aaron 
the saint of the Lord, quarrel with him, speak against 
him, envy his honor, reproach his marriage, and are 
ready to head a rebellion against him. God heard 
this, and was angry; Num. 12 : 2, 9; but Moses, 
though he had reason enough to resent it wrathful ly, 
was not at all moved by it, took no notice of it, made 
no complaint to God, no answer to them, and we do 
not find one word that he said, till we find him pray- 
ing heartily for his provoking sister, who was then 
under the tokens of God's displeasure for the afl[ront 
she gave him. The less a man strives for himself, 
the more is God engaged in honor and faithfulness 
to appear for him. When Christ said, " I seek not 
mine own glory," he presently added, *' but there is 
one that seeketh and judgeth." And it Avas upon 
this occasion that Moses obtained this good report, 
** He was the meekest of all the men on the earth/' 
*' No man," says bishop Hall, " could have given 
greater proofs of courage than Moses. He slew the 
Egyptian, beat the Midianite shepherds, confronted 
Pharaoh in his own court, not fearing the wrath of 
the king ; he durst look God in the face amidst all 
the terrors of mount Sinai, and draw near to the 
thick darkness where God was ; and yet that Spirit 
which made and knew his heart, saith he was the 



104' HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

meekest, mildest man upon the earth. Mildness and 
fortitude maj?- well lodge together in the same breast, 
which corrects the mistake of those that will allow 
none valiant but the fierce." 

The meekness of Moses qualified him to be a 
magistrate, especially to be king in Jeshurun, among 
a people so very provoking that they gave him oc- 
casion to use all the meekness he had, and all little 
enough to bear their manners in the wilderness. 
When they murmured against him, quarreled with 
him, arraigned his authorit}'-, and were sometimes 
ready to stone him, he resented these provocations 
with very little of personal application or concern ; 
but instead of using his interest in heaven to sum- 
mon plagues upon them, he made it his business to 
stand in the gap, and, by his intercession for them, 
to turn away the wrath of God from them ; and this 
not once or twice only, but many times. 

And yet we must observe that, though Moses was 
the meekest man in the world, yet, when God's hon- 
or and glory were concerned, no one was more 
warm and zealous: witness his resentment of the 
golden calf, when, in a holy indignation at that 
abominable iniquity, he deliberately broke the tables. 
And when Korah and his cmv invaded the priest's 
office, Moses, in a pious wrath, said unto the Lord, 
*' Respect not thou their offering." He that was a 
iamb in his own cause, was a lion in the cause of 
God : anger at sin, as sin, is very well consistent 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. T 105* 

i\'ith reigning meekness. Nor can it be forgotten, 
that though Moses was eminent for meekness, yet, 
he once transgressed the laws of it ; when he was 
old, and his spirit was provoked, he spake unadvi- 
sedly with his lips, and it went ill with him lor it ; 
Psalm 106 : 32; which is written not for imitation, 
but for admonition ; not to justify our rash anger, but 
to engage us to stand upon our guard at all times 
against it, that he who thinks he stands may take 
heed lest he fall, and that he who has thus fallen 
may not wonder if he come under the rebukes of 
Divine Providence for it in this world, as Moses did, 
and yet may not despair of being pardoned upon 
repentance. 

3. David was a pattern of meekness, and it is 
promised that " the feeble shall be as David." In 
this, as in other instances, he was a man after God's 
own heart. When his own brother was so rough 
upon him without reason, " Why camest thou down 
hither ?" how mild was his answer ! *' What have 
I now done? Is there not a cause?" When his 
enemies reproached him, he was not at all disturbed 
at it. "I, as a deaf man, heard not." When Saul 
persecuted him with such an unwearied malice, he 
did not take the advantage which Providence seemed 
to offer him, more than once, to revenge himself, but 
left it to God. David's meek spirit concurred with 
the proverb of the ancients ; " wickedness proceed- 
eth from the wicked, but my hand shall not be upon 



106 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

thee." When Nabal's churlishness provoked him, 
yet Abigail's prudence soon pacified him, and it 
pleased him to be pacified. When Shimei cursed 
him with a bitter curse in the day of his calamity, 
he resented not the offence, nor would hear any talk 
of punishing the offender: *' So let him curse ; let 
him alone, for the Lord hath bidden him :" quietly 
committing his cause to God, who judges righteously. 
And other instances there are in his story, which 
<*vidence the truth of what he said ; *' My soul is 
even like a weaned child." And yet David was a 
great soldier, a man of celebrated courage, that slew 
a lion, and a bear, and a Philistine, (as much a ra- 
venous beast as either of them,) which shows that 
it was his wisdom and grace, and not his cowardice, 
that at other times made him so quiet. David was a 
man that met with very many disquieting and disturb- 
ing events in the several scenes of his life, through 
which, though they sometimes ruffled him a little, yet» 
for the main, he preserved an admirable temper, and 
an evenness and composedness of mind which was 
very exemplary. When, upon the surprise of a fright, 
he changed his behavior before Abimelech, and coun- 
terfeited that madness which angry people realize, 
yet his mind was so very quiet and undisturbed that, 
lit that time, he penned the 34th Psalm, in which not 
only the excellency of the matter, and the calmness 
of the expression, but the composing of it alphabeti- 
cally, (in the Hebrew,) speaks him to be, even then, 



SCRIPTURE PATT£RNg. IQT 

in a sedate frame, and to have very much the com- 
mand of his own thoughts. As, at another time, 
when his own followers spake of stoning him, though 
he could not still the tumult of his troops, he could 
-those of his spirit, for then he ** encouraged himself 
in the Lord his God." As to those prayers against 
his enemies, which we find in some of his psalms, 
surely they did not proceed from any such irregular 
passion as did in the least clash even with the evan- 
gelical laws of meekness. We cannot imagine that 
one who was so piously calm in his common conver- 
sation, should be sinfully hot in his devotion ; nor 
are they to be looked upon as the private expressions 
of his own angry resentments, but as inspired pre- 
dictions of God's judgments upon the public and ob- 
stinate enemies of Christ and his kingdom, as ap- 
pears by comparing Psalm 69 : 22, 23, Math Rom. 
11 : 9, 10; and Psalm 109 : 8, with Acts, 1 : 20. 
Nor are they any more opposite to the spirit of the 
Gospel than the cries of the souls under the altar, or 
the triumphs of heaven and earth in the destruction 
of Babylon. Rev. 6 : 10; 19 : 1. 

4. Paul was a pattern of meekness. Though his 
natural temper seems to have been warm and eager, 
which made him eminently active and zealous, yet 
that temper was so rectified and sanctified that he 
was no less eminently m^ek : he became all things 
to all men. He studied to please all with whom he 
had to do, and to render himself engaging to them 



108 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

for their good to edification. How patiently did he 
bear the greatest injuries and indignities, not only 
from Jews and heathens, but from false brethren, that 
were so very industrious to abuse and undermine 
him ! How glad was he that Christ was preached, 
though out of envy and ill-will, by those that studied 
to add affliction to his bonds ! In governing the 
church, he was not led by the sudden resolves ot 
passion, but always deliberated calmly concerning 
the use of the rod of discipline when there was oc- 
casion for it. *' Shall I come to you with a rod, or 
in the spirit of meekness?" — that is. Shall I proceed 
immediately to censures, or shall I not rather con- 
tinue the same gentle usage as hitherto, waiting still 
for your reformation ? Herein the spirit of meek- 
ness appears more open and legible than in the use 
of the rod, though that also is very well consistent 
with it. 

Many other examples of meekness might be ad- 
duced, but the time would fail me to tell of Isaac, 
and Jacob, and Joseph, and Joshua ; of Samuel also, 
and Job, and Jeremiah, and all the prophets and 
apostles, martyrs and confessors, and eminent saints, 
who by meekness subdued (not kingdoms, but) their 
own spirits; slopt the mouths (not of lions, but) of 
more fierce and formidable enemies ; quenched the 
violence (not of fire, but) of intemperate and more 
ungovernable passions ; and so \^rought righteous- 
ness, obtained promises, escaped the edge of the 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 109 

sword, and out of weakness were made strong; and 
by all this obtained a good report. Heb. 1 1 : 32, 33, 
34.^ — But, after all, 

5. Our Lord Jesus was the great pattern of meek- 
ness and quietness of spirit ; all the rest had their 
spots, but here is a copy without a blot. We must fol- 
low the rest no further than they were conformable to 
this great original: •' Be ye followers of me," says 
Paul, "as I am of Christ." He fulfilled all rights 
eousness, and was a complete exemplar of all that is 
holy, just, and good; but I think, in most, if not all 
those places of Scripture where he is particularly 
and expressly propounded to us for an example, it 
is to recommend to us some or other of the duties of 
Christianity ; those I mean which tend to the sweet- 
ening of our converse one with another. The Word 
was made flesh, and dwelt among us, that he might 
teach us how to dwell together in unity. We must 
walk in love, as Christ loved us; forgive, as Christ 
forgave us ; please one another, for Christ pleased 
not himself; be charitable to the poor, for we know 
the grace of our Lord Jesus; wash one another's 
feet, that is, stoop to the meanest offices of love, for 
Christ did so ; doing all with lowliness of mind, for 
it is the same mind that was in Christ Jesus ; but 
above all, our Lord Jesus was an example of meek- 
ness. Moses had this grace as a servant, but Christ 
as a son ; he was anointed with it above measure. 
He is called the " Lamb of God," for his meekness, 

H. M. 10 



110 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

and patience, and inoffensiveness, and even in his 
exaltation he retains the same character. One of 
the elders told John, that *' the Lion of the tribe of 
Judah " would open the sealed book ; " and I be- 
held," says John, ''and lo! a Lamb." He that was 
a lion for strength and courage, was a lamb for mild- 
ness and gentleness ; and if a lion, yet " the Lion of 
the tribe of Judah," which the dying patriarch de- 
scribes to be a lion gone up from the prey, and that 
is stooped down and couched, and not to be roused 
up; Gen. 49:9; indicating the quietness and re- 
pose even of this lion. If Christ be a lion, he is a 
lion resting — the devil is a lion roaring. But the 
adorations given to Christ by the heavenly hosts 
speak of him as the Lamb. " Blessing and glory to 
him that sits upon the throne ;" they do not say, and 
to the Lion of the tribe of Judah, but to " the Lamb." 
Though he has a name given him above every name, 
yet he will be known by that name which denotes 
his meekness, as if this were to be his name for ever, 
and this his memorial to all generations. As he 
that rides upon the heavens, by his name Jah, is the 
Father of the fatherless and the Judge of the wi- 
dows ; so Christ rides " prosperously, because of 
meekness." 

Now it is the character of all the saints that they 
follow the Lamb : as a lamb they follow him in his 
meekness, and are therefore so often called the sheep 
of Christ. This is that part of his copy which he 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. Ill 

expressly calls us to write after : " Learn of me, for 
I am meek and lowly in heart." If the master be 
mild, it ill becomes the servant to be froward. The 
apostle is speaking of Christ's meekness under his 
sufferings, when he says that he " left us an exam- 
ple that we should follow his steps." 

Let us observe particularly the meekness of our 
Lord Jesus towards his Father, and towards his 
friends, and towards his foes ; in each of which he 
is an example to us. 

1. He was very meek towards God his Father, 
cheerfully submitting to his whole will, and standing 
complete in it. In his commanding will, *' Lo, I 
come," says he, *' I delight to do thy will ;" though it 
enjoined him a very hard service, yet it w^as '• his 
meat and drink ;" and he always did those things 
that pleased his Father. So, likewise, in his dispos- 
ing will he acquiesced from first to last. When he 
was entering on that sharp encounter, though sense 
startled at it, and said, " Father, if it be possible, let 
the cup pass from me ;" yet he soon submitted with a 
great deal of meekness ; " Not as I will, but as thou 
wilt." Though it was a very bitter cup, yet his Fa- 
ther put it into his hand, and therefore he drank it : 
" The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I 
not drink it ?" 

2. He was very meek towards his friends that 
loved and followed him. With what remarkable 
instances of mildness, gentleness, and tenderness did 



112 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

he train up his disciples ! though from first to last he 
was " a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." 
Where nature is corrupt, such are apt to be peevish 
and froward with those about them ; yet how meekly 
and calmly did he bear with their weaknesses and 
infirmities ! After they had been long under the in- 
spection and influence of such a teacher, and had all 
the advantages that men could have for acquaintance 
with the things of God, yet how weak and defective 
were they in knowledge, and gifts, and graces 1 How 
ignorant and forgetful were they ! How slow of 
heart to understand and believe ! And what blun- 
ders did they make ! Dull scholars it should seem 
they were, and bad proficients. But their hearts be- 
ing upright with him, he did not cast them off, nor 
turn them out of his school, but rectified their mis- 
takes, instructed them in their duty, and the doctrine 
they were to preach, by precept upon precept, and 
line upon line ; and taught them, as they were able 
to bear it, as one that considered their frame, and 
could " have compassion on the ignorant, and on 
them that are out of the way." As long as he was 
with them, so long he suffered them. Mark, 9 : 19. 
This, as it is a great encouragement to Christian 
learners, so it is a great example toChristian teachers. 
Also Christ was meek, in his forgiving and pass- 
ing by their unkindness and disrespect to himself. 
He was not extreme to mark what they did amiss of 
this kind. When they murmured at the cost that 



/ 

SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 113 

was bestowed upon him, and called it waste, and 
had indignation at it, he did not resent it as he might 
have done, nor seem to observe how much what 
they said reflected upon him : nor did he condemn 
them any other way than by commending the wo- 
man. When Peter, and James, and John, the first 
three of his disciples, were with him in the garden, 
and very unseasonably slept while he was in his 
agony praying, so little concerned did they seem to 
be for him, yet observe how meekly he spoke to 
them: " Could ye not watch with me one hour?" 
And when they had not a word to say for themselves, 
so inexcusable was their fault, he had something to 
say for them, and instead of accusing them, he apo- 
logizes for them : " The spirit indeed is willing, but 
the flesh is weak." When Peter had denied him, 
and had cursed and sworn he did not know him, 
than which (besides the falsehood and perfidiousness 
of it) nothing could be more unkind ; with what 
meekness did he bear it ! It is not said, the Lord 
turned and frowned upon Peter, though he deserved 
to be frowned into hell, but, " the Lord turned and 
looked upon Peter," and that look recovered him 
into the way to heaven ; it was a kind look, and not 
an angry one. Some days after, when Christ and 
Peter met in Galilee, and had dined together as a 
token of reconciliation, and some discourse passed 
between them, not a word was said of this matter ; 
Christ did not upbraid him with his fault, nor chide 
10* 



114 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

him for it, nor did there appear any other fruit of 
the falling out of these lovers, but only the renew- 
ing of thdf love with greater endearments ; which 
teaches us to forgive and forget the unkindness of 
those that are for the main our true friends, and if 
any occasion of difference happens, to turn it into an 
occasion of confirming our love to them. 

3. He was very meek toward his enemies, that 
hated and persecuted him. The whole story of his 
life is filled with instances of invincible meekness. 
While he " endured the contradiction of smners 
against himself," he had a perpetual serenity and 
harmony within, and was never in the least discom- 
posed by it. When his preaching and miracles were 
cavilled at and reproached, and he himself repre- 
sented uijder the blackest characters, not only as the 
drunkard's companion, but as the devil's confederate, 
with what a wonderful calmness did he bear it! 
How mildly did he answer with reason and tender- 
ness, when he could have replied in thunder and 
lightning ! How well satisfied, under all such invi- 
dious reflections, with this, that " wisdom is justified 
of all her children !" When some of his disciples 
would have had fire from heaven upon those rude 
people that refused him entertainment in their town, 
he was so far from complying with the motion, that 
he rebuked it : " Ye know not what manner of spiri 
ye are of." " This persuasion cometh not of Him 
that calleth you." The design of Christ and of his 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 115 

holy religion is to sh^pe men into a mild and mer- 
r.iial temper, and to make them sensibly tender of 
the lives and comfort even of their worst enemies. 
Christianity was intended to revive humanity, and 
to make those men, who had made themselves beasts. 
J3ut our Lord Jesus did in a more especial manner 
evidence his meekness when he was in his last suf- 
ferings — that awful scene. Though he was the most 
innocent and the most excellent person that ever was, 
who, by the doctrine he had preached and the mira- 
cles he had wrought, had richly deserved all the ho- 
nors and respect that the world could pay him, and 
infinitely more; and though the injuries he received 
were ingeniously and industriously contrived to the 
highest degree of affront and provocation ; yet he 
bore all with an undisturbed meekness, and with 
that shield quenched all the fiery darts which his 
malicious enemies shot at him. 

His meekness toward his enemies appeared in 
what he said to them — not one angry word, in the 
midst of all the indignities they offered him. '* When 
he was reviled, he reviled not again." When he was 
buffeted, and spit upon, and abused, he took it all 
patiently ; one would wonder at the gracious words 
which even then proceeded out of his mouth ; wit- 
ness that mild reply to him that smote him : " If I 
have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil ; but if 
well, why smitest thou me?" 

Also his meekness towards his enemies appeared 



116 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

in what he said to God for them : " Father, forgive 
them ;" so giving an example to his own rule : " Pray 
for them which despitefully use you." Though he 
was then deeply engaged in the most solemn trans- 
action that ever passed between heaven and earth, 
though he had so much to do with God for himself 
and his friends, yet he did not forget to offer this 
prayer for his enemies. The mercy he begged of 
God for them was the greatest mercy, (that which 
he was then dying to purchase and procure,) the 
pardon of their sins ; not only, Father, spare them, 
or reprieve them, but, Father, forgive them ; the ex- 
cuse he pleaded for them was the best their crime 
was capable of: " They know not what they do." 
Now in all these things our Master has left us an 
example. What is the practice of religion ftut the 
imitation of God endeavored by us ? And what the 
principle of it, but the image of God renewed in us ? 
We are bid to be followers of God, as dear children. 
But this sets the copy we are to write after at a 
mighty distance, for God is in heaven, and we are 
upon earth ; and therefore in the Lord Jesus Christ, 
God incarnate, God in our nature, the copy is brought 
among us, and the transcribing of it in some mea- 
sure appears more practicable. " He that hath seen 
me," savs Christ, "hath seen the Father ;" and so 
he that imitates Christ, imitates the Father. The re- 
ligion which our Lord Jesus came into the world 
to establish, being every way so well calculated for 



SCRIPTURE PATTERNS. 117 

the peace and order of the world, and being desig^ned 
to recover the lapsed souls of men from their dege- 
nerate state, and to sweeten their spirits and temper, 
and so to befriend human society, and to make it 
some way conformable to the blessed society above ; 
he not only gave such precepts as were wonderfully 
fitted to this great end, but recommended them to the 
world by the loveliness and amiablenessofhis own 
example. Are we not called Christians from Christ, 
whom we call Master and Lord, and shall we not 
endeavor to accommodate ourselves to him ? We prot 
fess to rejoice in him as our forerunner, and shall 
we not run after him ? To what purpose were we 
listed under his banner, but that we might follow 
him as our leader ? We have all of us reason to say 
that Jesus Christ is very meek, or else we that have 
provoked him so much and so often had been in 
hell long ago ; we owe it to his meekness, to whom 
all judgment is committed, that we have not ere this 
been carried away with a swdft destruction, and dealt 
with according to the desert of our sins, which, if 
duly considered, one would think should tend great- 
ly to soften us. The apostle draws an argument from 
that kindness and love to us which we ourselves 
have experienced, who were foolish and disobedient, 
to persuade us to be " gentle, showing all meekness ;'' 
and he beseeches the Corinthians " by the meek- 
ness and gentleness of Christ," as a thing very win- 
ning, and of dear and precious account. Let " the 



118 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

same mind" therefore be in us, not only which was, 
but which, as we find to our comfort, still is in 
Christ Jesus. That we may not forfeit our interest 
in his meekness, let us tread in the steps of it; and 
as ever we hope to be like him in glory hereafter, 
let us study to be like him in grace, in this grace 
now. It is a certain rule, by which we must all be 
tried shortly, that "if any man hath not the Spirit 
of Christ," (that is, if his spirit be not in some mea- 
sure like Christ's,) " he is none of his." Rom. 8 : 9. 
And if we be not owned as his, we are undone for 



CHAPTER VI. 



WHEN MEEKNESS IS SPECIALLY REQUIRED. 

The rule is general ; Ave must show " all meek- 
ness ;" but it will be of use to observe some special 
cases to which the Scripture applies this rule. 

1. We must give reproofs with meekness. It is 
the apostle's direction, " If a man be overtaken in a 
fault," (that is, if he be surprised by a temptation 
and overcome, as the best may be, if God leave them 
to themselves,) " ye which are spiritual, restore such 



WHEN SPECIALLY REQtTlREU. 119 

a one in the spirit of meekness." By the spiritual 
man, to whom he gives this rule, he means not mi- 
nisters only 5 doubtless it is a rule to private Chris- 
tians; all that have opportunity must reprove, and 
all that reprove must do it with meekness. Ye 
that are spiritual, if you would approve yourselves 
so indeed, actuated by the Holy Spirit, and minding 
the things of the Spirit, be careful in this matter. 
Especially let those that are Christians of the high- 
est form, that excel in grace, and holiness, and the 
best gifts, (such are called spiritual in distinction 
from babes in Christ, 1 Cor. 3 : 1,) let them look 
upon themselves as obliged, in a more peculiar 
manner, to help others ; for where God gives five 
talents, he expects the improvement of five ; the 
strong must bear the infirmities of the weak. The 
setting of a dislocated joint or a broken bone is, for 
the present, painful to the patient ; but it must be 
done, and it is in order to the making of broken 
bones to rejoice. Now this you must do with the 
spirit of meekness, with all the candor, and gentle- 
ness, and convincing evidences of love and kindness 
that can be. The three qualifications of a good sur- 
geon are very requisite in a reprover, namely, to 
have an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's 
hand ; that is, to be endued with a great deal of wis- 
dom, and courage, and meekness. Though some- 
times it is needful to reprove with warmth, yet 
we must never reprove with wrath, " for the wrath 



120 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

of man vvorketh not the righteousness of God." 
There is an observable difference, but no contra- 
diction betwixt the directions Paul gives to Timo- 
thy, and those he gives to Titus in this matter. To 
Titus he writes to •' reprove sharply," and to " re- 
buke with all authority." To Timothy he writes 
" not to strive, but to be gentle ;" to reprove •' with 
all long-suffering." The reason of this difference 
may be found in the different temper of those they 
had to deal with. Timothy was among the Ephe- 
sians, a tractable, complaisant people, that would be 
easily managed, and with them he must always deal 
gently. Titus was among the Cretians, that were 
headstrong, and not to be wTought upon but by 
sharper methods. Thus, in reproving, a difference 
must be made : of some we must " have compassion, 
and others save with fear," but never with anger, 
" pulling them out of the fire." Or, the reason of 
the different instructions they received may be 
found (as Gregory, one of the ancients, assigns it) 
in the different temper of Timothy and Titus. " Ti- 
tus was a man of a very soft and mild temper, and 
he had need of a spur to quicken him to a needful 
acrimony in his reproofs ; but Timothy was a man 
of a more warm and sanguine temper, and he had 
need of a bridle to keep him from an intemperate 
heat in his reproofs ;" and then it teaches us, that 
those who are naturally keen and fervent should 
double their guard upon their own spirits when 



WHEN SPECIALLY RECiUIRKD. 121 

they are reproving, that they may do it with all 
meekness. 

Christ's ministers must be careful, while they 
display God's wrath, to conceal their own ; and be 
very jealous over themselves, lest sinful anger shel- 
ter itself under the cloak of zeal against sin. When 
reproving (whoever be the reprover) degenerates 
into railing, and reviling, and opprobrious language, 
how can we expect the desired success ? It may pro- 
voke to contention and every evil work, but it will 
never provoke to love and to good Avorks. The 
work of heaven is not likely to be done by a tongue 
set on fire of hell. Has Christ need of mad men ? 
or will you talk deceitfully and passionately for him? 
A potion given too hot, scalds the patient, and does 
more hurt than good ; and so many a reproof, good 
for the matter of it, has been spoiled by an irregular 
management. Meekness hides the lancet, orijds the 
pill, and makes it passable ; dips the nail in oil, and 
then it drives the better. Twice w^e find Jonathan 
reproving his father for his rage against David; 
once he did it with meekness, " Let not the king sin 
against his servant;" (against David ;) and it is said, 
*' Saul hearkened to him." But another time his 
spirit was provoked, ♦' Wherefore shall he be slain ?" 
and the issue of it was ill. Saul was not only impa- 
tient of the reproof, but enraged at the reprover, and 
cast a javelin at him. Reproofs are likely to an- 
swer the intention when they manifestly evidence 

H. M. 11 



122 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

the good will of the reprover, and are made up of 
soft words and hard arguments : this is to " re- 
store with the spirit of meekness," and there is a 
good reason added, " considering thyself;" he may 
fall to^lay, I may to-morrow. Those who think 
they stand fast, know not how soon they may be 
shaken and overthrown, and therefore we must treat 
those that are overtaken in a fault, with the same 
tenderness and compassion that we would wish to 
find if it were our own case. 

2. We must receive reproofs with meekness. If 
we do that which deserves rebuke, and meet with 
those that are so just and kind as to give it us, we 
must be quiet under it, not quarreling with the re- 
prover, nor objecting to the reproof, nor fretting that 
we are touched in a sore place ; but submitting to it, 
and laying our souls under the conviction of it. If 
reproofs be physic, it becomes us to be patient. '* Let 
the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness," and 
an excellent oil, healing to the wounds of sin, and 
making the face to shine ; and let us never reckon that 
it breaks the head, if it do but help to break the heart. 
Meekness suffers the word of admonition, and takes 
it patiently and thankfully, not only from the hand 
of God that sends it, but from the hand of our friend 
that brings it. We must not be like the reprobate 
Sodomites, or that pert Hebrew, Exod. 2:14, that 
flew in the face of their reprovers (though really 
they were the best friends they had) with *• Who 



WHEN SPECIALLY REQUIRED. 123 

made thee a judge?" but like David, who, when 
Abigail so prudently scotched the wheels of his pas- 
sion, not only blest God that sent her, and blest her 
advice, but blest her: not only hearkened to her 
voice, but accepted her person. Though, perhaps, 
the reprover supposes the fault greater than really 
it was, and though the reproof be not given with all 
the prudence in the world ; yet meekness will teach 
us to accept it quietly, and to make the best use we 
can of it. Nay, if indeed we be altogether innocent 
of that for which we are reproved, yet the meekness 
of wisdom would teach us to apply the reproof to 
some other fault of which our own consciences con- 
vict us : we would not quarrel with a real intended 
kindness, though not done with ceremony, and 
though in some circumstances mistaken or mis- 
placed. 

You that are in inferior relations — children, ser- 
vants, scholars, must, with all meekness and submis- 
sion, receive the reproofs of your parents, masters, 
and teachers ; their age supposes them to have more 
understanding than you, and their place gives them 
an authority over you to which you are to pay a 
deference, and in which you are to acquiesce, else 
farewell all order and peace. The angel rebuked 
Hagar for flying from her mistress, though she dealt 
hardly with her, and obliged her to return and sub- 
mit herself under her hands. *' If the spirit of a 
ruler rise up against thee," and thou be chidden for 



124 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

a fault, " leave not thy place," as an inferior, for 
" yielding pacifieth great oifences." " If thou hast 
thought evil, lay thy hand upon thy mouth " to keep 
that evil thought from breaking out in any undue 
and unbecoming language. Reproofs are like'ly to 
do us good when we meekly submit to them ; they 
are " as an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine 
gold," when ** an obedient ear " is given to a wise 
reprover. Nay, even superiors are to receive re- 
proofs from their inferiors with meekness, as they 
would any other token of kindness and good will. 
Naaman, who turned away from the prophet in a 
rage, yet hearkened to the reproof his own servants 
gave him, and was overruled by the reason of it ; 
which was no more a disparagement to him than it 
was to receive instruction from his wife's maid to 
whom to go for a cure of his leprosy. Meekness 
teaches us, when a just reproof is given, to regard " 
not so much who speaks, as what is spoken. 

3. We must instruct gainsayers with meekness ; 
2 Tim. 2 : 24, 25. It is prescribed to ministers that 
they " must not strive, but be gentle to all men," in 
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves. 
They serve the Prince of Peace ; they preach the 
Gospel of peace ; they are the ambassadors of peace; 
and therefore must be sure to keep the peace. The 
apostles, those prime ministers of state in Christ's 
kingdom, were not military men, or men of strife 
and noise, but fishermen that followed their employ- 



WHEN SPECIALLY REQUIRED. 125 

ment with quietness and silence. It is highly ne- 
cessary that the guides of the church be strict gov- 
ernors of their own passions. " Learn of me," says 
Christ, " for I am meek and lowly," and therefore 
fit to teach you. We must " contend earnestly," but 
not angrily and passionately — no, not for " the faith 
once delivered to the saints." When we have ever 
so great an assurance that it is the cause of truth we ' 
are pleading, yet wo must so manage our defence 
against those who gainsay, as to make it appear that 
it is not the confusion of the erroneous, but the con- 
futation of the error that we intend. This meekness 
would teach us not to prejudge a cause, nor to con- 
demn an adversary unheard, but calmly to state mat- 
ters in difference, as knowing that a truth well open- 
ed is half confirmed. It would teach us not to ag- 
gravate matters in dispute, nor to father upon an ad- 
versary all the absurd consequences which we think 
may be inferred from his opinion : it would teach 
us to judge charitably of those that difl!er from us, 
and to forbear all personal reflections in arguing 
with them. God's cause needs not the patronage of 
our sinful passions, which often give a mighty shock 
even to the truth for which we plead. Meekness 
would prevent and cure that bigotry which has been 
so long the bane of the church, and contribute a great 
deal towards the advancement of that happy state in 
which, notwithstanding little diflferences of appre- 
hension and opinion, the Lord shall be one, and his 



126 HENRY ON MEEKNiSSS. 

name one. Public reformations are carried on with 
most credit and comfort, and are most likely to settle 
on lasting fomidations, when meekness sits at the 
stern and guides the motions of them. When Christ 
was purging the temple, though he was therein ac- 
tuated by a zeal for God's hou-se that even ate him up. 
yet he did it with meekness and prudence, which ap- 
peared in this instance, that w.hen he drove out th»^ 
sheep and oxen, which would easily be caught again, 
he said to them that sold doves, " Take these thing.^ 
hence." He did not let loose the doves and send 
them flying, for that would have been to the loss and 
prejudice of the owners. Angry, noisy, bitter ar- 
guings ill become the assertors of that truth which 
is great and will prevail. Our Lord Jesus lived in 
a very froward and perverse generation, yet it is 
said, " He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any 
man hear his voice in the street." Though he could 
break them as easily as a bruised reed, and exlin- 
guish them as soon as one could quench the wick of a 
candle newly lighted, yet he will not do it till the day 
comes when "he shall bring forth judgment unto 
victory." Moses dealt with a very obstinate and stifT- 
necked people, and yet " My doctrine," says he, 
" shall drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dewy. 
It was not the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, 
that brought Elijah into temper, (for the Lord was 
not in them,) but " the still small voice ;" when he 
heard that, he wrapt his face in his mantle. In deal- 



WHEN SPECIALLY REQUIRED. 127 

ing with gainsayers, a spirit of meekness will teach 
us to consider their temper, education, custom, the 
power of prejudice they labor under, the influence 
of others upon them, and to make allowances ac- 
cordingly, and not to call (as passionate contenders 
are apt to do) every false step an apostacy ; every 
error and mistake, nay, every misconstrued, mispla- 
ced word, a heresy ; and every misdemeanor, no less 
than treason and rebellion ; methods of proceeding 
more likely to irritate and harden, than to convince 
and reduce gainsayers. I have heard it observed 
long since, " that the scourge of the tongue has dri- 
ven many out of the temple, but never drove any 
into it." 

4. We must make profession of the hope that is 
in us with meekness. " Be ready always to give an 
answer," (to make your defence or apology, so the 
word is,) whether judicially or extra-judicially, as 
there is occasion, " to every man that (soberly, not 
scoffingly and in derision) asks you a reason of the 
hope that is in you," that is, of the hope you profess, 
which you hope to be saved by, " with meekness and 
fear." Observe, it is very well consistent with Chris- 
tian quietness to appear in the defence of truth, and 
to avow our Christian profession when at any time 
we are duly called to it. That is not meekness, but 
base cowardice, that tamely betrays and delivers up 
any of Christ's tru-ths or institutions by silence, as 
if we were ashamed or afraid to confess our Master. 



128 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

But the office of meekness at such a time is to direct 
us how and in what manner to bear our testimony, 
not with pride and passion, but with humility and 
mildness. Those that would successfully confess 
the truth, must first learn to deny themselves ; and 
we must give an account of our hope with a holy 
fear of missing it in such a critical juncture. When 
Ave give a reason for our religion, we must not boast 
of ourselves, or of our own attainments, nor reflect 
contempt and wrath upon our persecutors, but re- 
member that " the present truth," (so it is called, 2 
Pet. 1 : 12j) the truth which is now to be asserted, is 
the same with the word of Christ's patience ; Rev. 3 : 
10 ; that is, the word which must be patiently sufl^ered 
for, according to the example of Him,who, with invin- 
cible meekness, (before Pontius Pilate,) "witnessed a 
good confession." A great abasement and diffidence 
of ourselves may very well consist with a firm assur- 
ance of the truth, and a profound veneration for it. 
In lesser things, wherein wise and good men are 
not all of a mind, meekness teaches us not to be too 
confident that we are in the right, nor to censure 
and condemn those that differ from us, as if we were 
the people, and wisdom should die with us ; but 
quietly to walk according to the light that God has 
given us, and charitably to believe that others do so 
too, waiting till God shall reveal either this to them, 
Phil. 3 : 15, or that to us. Let it in such cases suf- 
fice to vindicate ourselves, which every man has a 



WHEN SPECIALLY REQUIRED. 129 

right to do, without a magisterial sentencing of 
others. Why should we be many masters, when we 
are all offenders, James, 3 : 1,2, and the bar is our 
place, not the bench 7 Meekness will likewise teach 
lis to manage a singular opinion, wherein we differ 
from others, with all possible deference to them and 
suspicion of ourselves, not resenting it as an affront 
to be contradicted, but taking it as a kindness to be 
better informed. Nor must we be angry that our 
hope is inquired into : even such a trial of it, if we 
approve ourselves well in it, may be found to praise, 
and honor, and glory; to which our meekness will 
very much contribute, as it puts a lustre upon, and 
a convincing power into the testimony we bear. We 
then "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we 
are called," when wc walk " in all lowliness and 
meekness." 

5. We must bear reproaches with meekness. Re- 
proach is a branch of that persecution which all that 
will live godly in Christ Jesus must expect : and we 
must submit to it, behaving ourselves quietly and 
with a due decorum, not only when " princes sit and 
speak against us," but even when "the abjects gather 
themselves together against us," and we become 
"the song of the drunkard." Sometimes we find it 
easier to keep calm in a solemn and expected en- 
gagement, than in a sudden skirmish or a hasty ren- 
counter ; and therefore, even against those slight at- 
tacks, it is requisite that meekness be set upon the 



130 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

guard. If we be slandered, and have all manner of 
evil said against us falsely, our rule is, not to be 
disturbed at it, not to render " railing for railing ;" but 
though we may, as we have opportunity, with meek- 
ness deny the charge, as Hannah did, when Eli 
overhastily censured her as drunken — " No, my 
Lord, I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink ;" 
yet, when that is done, we must, without meditating 
any revenge, quietly commit our cause tq God, who 
will, sooner or later, clear up our innocency as the 
light, which is promised. Psalm 37 : 5, 6 ; and there- 
fore " fret not thyself," but wait patiently ; " cease 
from anger, and forsake wrath." Mr. Dod w^as 
wont to charm his friends into silence under re- 
proaches with this, "that if a dog bark at a sheep, 
the sheep will not bark at the dog again." We do 
but gratify our great adversary, and do his work for 
him, when we suffer the peace and serenity of our 
minds to be broken in upon by the reproaches of the 
world. For me to disquiet myself, and put myself 
into a passion, because another abuses me, is as if I 
should scratch up the skin of my face to fetch off 
the dirt which my adversary throws on it. When 
reproaches provoke our passions, which excite us to 
render bitterness for bitterness, we thereby lose the 
comfort and forfeit the honor and reward which the 
divine promise has annexed to the reproach of Christ ; 
and shall we suffer so many things in vain ? We 
likewise thereby give occasion to those who had spo- 



WHEN SPECIALLY REQtTlRBD. 131 

ken evil of us falsely, to speak evil of us truly ; and 
perhaps our religion suffers more by our impatience 
under the reproach, than by the reproach itself. For 
what have we the law, and pattern, and promise of 
Christ, but to calm our spirits under reproaches for 
welUdoing ? Truly, those can bear but a little for 
Christ, who cannot bear a hard or an unkind word 
for him. If we either faint or fret in such a day of 
adversity, it is a sign our strength is small indeed. 
May it not satisfy us, that by our meekness and 
quietness under reproaches we engage God for us, 
who has promised that he will " with righteousness 
judge the poor," the poor in spirit, and will " reprove 
with equity for the meek of the earth." He that has 
bid us to " open our mouth for the dumb," will not 
himself be silent. And shall we not learn at last, 
instead of fretting and being exceeding angry, to re- 
joice and be exceeding glad, when •* we suffer this 
for righteousness' sake ?" May we not put such re- 
proaches as pearls in our crown, and be assured that 
they will pass well in the account another day, when 
there will be an advantageous resurrection of names 
as well as bodies, in the prospect of which we have 
reason to " rejoice that we are counted worthy to 
suffer shame for his name ;" that we are honored to 
be dishonored for Him, who for our sakes endured 
the cross and despised the shame. It is one of the 
laws of meekness, to despise being despise<i. 



132 HENRY ON MEfiKNESft, 

CHAPTER VII. 

ARGUMENTS FOR MEEKNESS. 

In order to the well-governing of the soul, the 
judgment must be furnished with proper dictates, 
else it will never be able to keep peace in the affec- 
tions ; the emotions of the soul are then likely to be 
even, and regular, and constant, when we have fixed 
to ourselves good principles by which we are gov- 
erned, and under the influence of which we act. We 
shall select a few truths, out of many which might 
be mentioned, proper for use as there is occasion. 

I. He has the sweetest and surest peace, who is 
the most master of his own passions. The comfort 
that a man has in governing himself, is much great- 
er than he could have in having people to serve him, 
and nations to bow down to him. It is certain, the 
worst enemies we have, if ever they break loose and 
get head, are in our own bosoms. Enemies with- 
out threaten only the evil of pain ; they can but kill 
the body, and no great hurt in that to a child of God, 
if they do not provoke the enemies within, our own 
irregular passions, which, if they be not kept under, 
plunge us in the evil of sin. An invasion from 
abroad does not so much disturb the peace of a king- 
dom as an insurrection at home ; and therefore it 
concerns us to double our guard where our danger 



ARGUMENTS FOR MEEKNBSS. 133 

is greatest ; and above all keepings, to keep our 
hearts, that no passion be allowed to stir, without a 
good reason to be given for it, and a good use to be 
made of it ; and then if we be troubled on every side, 
yet not distressed ; perplexed, yet not in despair; 2 
Cor. 4 : 8, 9 ; offended by our fellow-servants, but 
not offending our Master ; reproached by our neigh- 
bors, but not by our own consciences ; this is like 
Zion's peace, peace within the walls. We have need 
to pray as one did — Lord, deliver me from that ill 
man, mine own self, and then I am safe enough. 
The lusts that " war in our members," are the ene- 
mies that " war against the soul." If tbis war be 
brought to a good issue, and those enemies suppress- 
ed, whatever other disturbances are given, peace is 
in the soul, with grace and mercy from God, and 
from the Lord Jesus. Nehemiah was aware of this, 
as the design of his enemies, when they hired a pre- 
tended prophet to give an alarm, and to advise him 
meanly to shift for himself; it was, says he, "that 
I should be afraid and do so, and sin." Whatever 
we lose, we shall not lose our peace, if we do but keep 
our integrity ; therefore, instead of being solicitous to 
subdue our enemies that lay siege to us, let us double 
our watch against the traitors within the garrison, 
from whom, especially, our danger is : since we can- 
not prevent the shooting of the fiery darts, let us have 
our shield ready, wherewith to quench them. If we 
would not hurt ourselves, blessed be God, no enemy 
H. M. 12 



134 HENRY ON MC£KN£8S« 

in the world can hurt us. Let us but keep the peace 
within, by the governing of our own passions, and 
then, whatever assaults may be made upon us, we 
may therein, with the daughter of Zion, despise them, 
and laugh them to scorn, and shake our head at 
them. Isa. 37 : 22. Let us believe that in times of 
agitation and alarm our strength is to sit still, in a 
holy quietness and composure of mind : " This is 
the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to 
rest ; and this is the refreshing ;" and it is enough. 

2. In many things wt all offend. This truth we 
have, Jajn. 3:2, as a reason why we must not be 
many masters. It would help to subdue and mode- 
rate our anger at the offences of others, if Ave con- 
sidered, 

( L) That it is incident to human nature to offend. 
While we are in this world, we must not expect to 
converse with angels, or the spirits of just men made 
perfect ; no, we are obliged to have a communication 
with creatures that are foolish and corrupt, peevish 
and provoking, and who are all subject to like pas- 
sions : such as these we must live among, else must 
we needs go out of the world. And have we not 
reason then to count upon something or other un- 
easy and displeasing in all relations and conditions ? 
The best men have their defects in this imperfect 
state; those who are savingly enlightened, yet know- 
ing but in part, have their blind side ; the harmony, 
even of the communion of saints, will sometimes be 



ARGUMENTS FOR MEEKNESS. 185 

disturbed with jarring strings ; why then should we 
be surprised into passion and disquiet, when that 
which gives us the disturbance is no more than 
what we looked for ? Instead of being angry, we 
should think with ourselves thus : Alas ! what could 
I expect but provocation from corrupt and fallen 
man ? Among such foolish creatures as we are, it 
must needs be that offences will come, and why 
should not I have my share of them? The God of 
heaven gives this as a reason of his patience towards 
a provoking world, that it is in their nature to be 
provoking : " I. will not again curse the ground any 
more for man's sake, for the imagination of man's 
heart is evil from his youth," and therefore better is 
not to be expected from him. And upon this account 
he had compassion on Israel. Ps. 78 : 39. " He re- 
membered that they were but flesh ;" not only frail 
creatures, but sinful, and bent to backslide. Do men 
gather grapes of thorns ? " I knew that thou wouldst 
deal treacherously, for thou wast called a trans- 
gressor from the womb." And should not we, much 
more, be governed by the same consideration? "If 
thou seest the violent perverting of judgment and 
justice in a province," remember what a provoking 
creature smful man is, and then thou wilt not marvel 
at the matter. The consideration of the common in- 
firmity and corruption of mankind should be made 
use of, not to excuse our own faults to ourselves, 
which does but take off the edge of our repentance, 



136 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

and is the poor subterfuge of a deceived heart ; but 
to excuse the faults of others, and so take offthe edge 
of bur passion and displeasure, and preserve the 
meekness and quietness of our own spirits. 

(2.) It is incident to ourselves among the rest to 
offend. The apostle puts himself into the number — 1 
We all offend. We offend God; if we say we do * 
not, we deceive ourselves ; and yet he bears with us 
from day to day, and is not extreme to mark what 
we do amiss. Our debts to him are talents, our 
brethren's to us but pence. Think then, if God 
should be as angry with me for every provocation, 
as I am with those about me, what would become of 
me ? They are careless in their observance, and per- 
haps willful in their offence, and am not I so to God ? 
yea, am not I a thousand times worse? Job said, 
when his servants were provoking, and he was 
tempted to be harsh with them, " What then shall I 
do when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth, what 
shall 1 answer him ?" 

And are we not apt enough likewise to offend our 
brethren? Either we have offended, or may offend; 
so that we have need that others should bear with us, 
and why should we not bear with them ? Our rule 
is. What we would that men should do to us when 
we offend them, the same we should do to them when 
they offend us ; for this is the law and the prophets. 
Matt. 7: 12. Solomon appeals to our consciences 
therein : " For oftentimes also thine own heart (which 



ARGUMENTS FOR MEEKNESS. 137 

is instead of a thousand witnesses) knoweth that thou 
thyself likewise hast cursed others." The penitent 
remembrance of former guilt would greatly help to 
curb the passionate resentment of present trouble. 
When the undutiful, rebellious son, (in a story that 
I once read,) dragged his father by the hair of the 
head to the house door, it appeased the anger of the 
old man to remember, that just so far he had dragged 
his father ; and it seems to have silenced Adonibe- 
zek, that he was now treated no otherwise than he 
had treated others. Judges, 1 : 7. 

3. Men are God's hand : so it is said, Ps. 17 : 14 ; 
" From men which are thy hand, O Lord !" or rather 
tools in thy hand ; which are *' thy sword." We 
must abide by this principle, that whatever it is that 
crosses us, or is displeasing to us at any time, God 
has an overruling hand in it. David was governed 
by this principle when he bore Shimei's spiteful re- 
proaches with such invincible patience : " So let him 
curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse 
David." Let him alone, for the Lord hath bidden 
him. This consideration will not only silence our 
murmurings against God, the author, but all our 
quarrelings with men, the instruments of our trouble 
and vexation. Men's reproaches are God's rebukes ; 
and whoever he be who affronts me, I must see, and 
say, that therein my Father corrects me. This quiet- 
ed the spirit of Job, in reference to the injuries of the 
Chaldeans and Sabeans, though he dwelt as a king, 
12* 



138 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

in the army ; and his power and interest seem to 
have been sustained when those intruders first mad?e 
that inroad upon him, and so he could not but see 
his help in the gate ; yet we find him not meditating 
any revenge, but calming the disturbances of his own 
soul with the consideration of God's sovereign dis- 
posal, overlooking all the instruments of his trouble, 
thoughts of which would but have mingled anger 
(the more disquieting passion) with his sorrow ; this, 
therefore, suffices to still the storm. " The Lord gave, 
and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name 
of the Lord." When his brethren stood aloof from 
him, his kindred and his friends looked scornfully 
upon him as an alien ; and instead of oil, poured 
vinegar into his wounds, so that his eye continued 
in this provocation ; yet even in that part of his 
trouble he owns the hand of God: ''He hath put 
my brethren far from me." It is a very quieting 
truth, (the Lord help us to mix faith with it,} thai 
every creature is that to us, and no more, that God 
make^ it to be; and that while many seek the ru 
ler's favor, and more perhaps fear the ruler's dis 
pleasure, every man's judgment proceedeth from the 
Lord. Would we but more closely observe, and 
readily own the hand of God in that which disquiets 
and provokes us, surely, though we regarded not 
man, yet if we had any fear of God before our eyes, 
that would reconcile us better to it, and suppress all 
intemperate and undue resentments. In murmuring 



ARGUMENTS FOR MEEKNESS. 139 

at the stone, we reflect upon the hand that throws 
it and lay ourselves under the wo pronounced 
against him that strives with his Maker. We know 
it is interpreted, a taking up arms against the king, 
if we take up arms against any that are commis- 
sioned by him. 

4. There is no provocation given us at any time, 
but, if it be skillfully and graciously improved, good 
may be gotten by it. If we have but that wisdom 
of the prudent, which is to understand his way, and 
all the advantages and opportunities of it, doubtlestj" 
we may, quite contrary to the intention of those who 
trespass against us, gain some spiritual, that is, some 
real benefit to our souls, by the injuries and offen- 
ces that are done to us : for even these are made to 
work together for good to them that love God. This 
is a holy and a happy way of opposing our adver- 
saries, and resisting evil. It is an ill weed indeed 
out of which the spiritual bee cannot extract some- 
thing profitable, and for its purpose. Whatever lion 
roars against us, let us but go on in the strength 
and spirit of the Lord, as Samson did, and we 
may not only rend it as a kid, so that it shall do us 
QO real harm, but we may withal get meat out of the 
cater, and sweetness out of the strong. As it turns 
to the unspeakable prejudice of many, that they look 
upon reproofs as reproaches, and treat them accord- 
ingly with anger and displeasure ; so it would turn 
to our unspeakable advantage if we could but learn 



140 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

to call reproaches reproofs^, and make use of them as 
such for our conviction and humiliation — and thus 
the reproach of Christ may become true riches to 
us, greater than the treasures of Egypt. 

We are told of an imposthume that was cured 
with the thrust of an enemy's sword ; and of one 
that was happily converted from drunkenness by 
being called, in reproach, " a tippler." It is very 
possible that we may be enlightened, or humbled, 
or reformed; may be brought nearer to God, or 
weaned from the world ; may be furnished with mat- 
ter for repentance, or prayer, or praise, by the inju- 
ries that are done us, and may be much furthered in 
our way to heaven by that which was intended for 
an affront or provocation. This principle would put 
another aspect upon injuries and unkindness, and 
would quite change their character, and teach us to 
call them by another name ; whatever the subordi- 
nate instrument intended, God designed it, as our 
other afflictions, to yield the peaceable fruit of righte- 
ousness ; so that, instead of being angry at the man 
that meant us ill, we should rather be thankful to 
the God that intended us good, and study to answer 
his intention. This kept Joseph in good temper to- 
wards his brethren, though he had occasion enough 
to quarrel with them: "You thought evil against 
me, but God meant it unto goo^." This satisfied 
Paul — in reference to the thorn in the flesh, that is, 
the calamities and oppositions of the false apostles, 



ARGUMENTS FOR MEEKNESS. ill 

which touched hi->n more sensibly than all the efforts 
of persecuting rage — that it was intended to hide 
pride from him, lest he should be " exalted above 
measure with the abundance of revelations ;" and 
there seems to be an instance of the good effect it 
iirad upon him immediately upon the mention of it, 
for within a few lines after he lets fall that humble 
word, " I am nothing." We should be apt to think 
too highly of ourselves, and too kindly of the world, 
if we did not meet with some injuries and contempt, 
by which we are taught to cease from man. Did 
we but more carefully study the improvement of 
an injury^ we should no; be so apt to desire to re- 
venge it. 

5. What is said and done in haste, is likely to he 
matter for deliberate repentance. "Vve find David 
often remembering with regret what he said in 
haste, particularly one angry word he had said in 
the day of his distress and trouble, which seemed to 
reflect upon Samuel, and indeed upon all that had 
given him any encouragement to hope for the king- 
dom ; " I said in my haste. All men are liars ;" and 
this hasty word was a grief to him long after. " He 
that hasteth with his feet sinneth." When a man is 
transported by passion into any impropriety, we 
coriinonly qualify it with this, "that he is a little 
hasty," as if there were no harm in that ; but we see 
there is harm in it ; he that is in haste may contract 
much guilt in a little thne. What we say or do un- 



142 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

advisedly when we are hot, we must unsay or undo 
again when we are cool, or do worse. Now, who 
would willfully do that which, sooner or later, he 
must repent of? A heathen that was tempted to 
a chargeable sin, could resist the temptation with 
this consideration, " that he would not buy repent- 
ance so dear." Is repentance such a pleasant work 
that we should so industriously " treasure up unto 
ourselves wrath against the day of Avrath,'' either the 
day of God's w^rath against us, or our own against 
ourselves I You little think what a torrent of self- 
affliction you let in, when you let the reins loose to 
an immoderate ungoverned passion. You are angry 
at others, and reproach them, and are ready to abhor 
them, and to revenge yourselves upon them, and 
your corrupt nature takes a strange kind of pleas- 
ure in this. But do you know that all this will at 
last rebound upon yourselves, and return into your 
own bosom ? Either here or in a worse place you 
must repent of all this ; that is, you must turn all 
these passions upon yourselves ; you must be angry 
at yourselves, and reproach yourselves, and call 
yourselves fools, and abhor yourselves, and smite 
upon your own breasts ; nay, and if God give you 
grace, take a holy revenge upon yourselves, (which 
is reckoned among the products of godly sorrow, 2 
Cor. 7 : 11;) and what can be more uneasy than all 
this ? You take great liberty in chiding those that 
you have under your power, and uttering perhaps 



ARQt7M£NTS FOR MBEKNESS. 143 

cibusive language, because you know they dare not 
chide you again ; but dare not your own hearts smite 
you, and your consciences chide you ? And is it not 
easier to bear the chidings of any man in the world 
(which may either be avoided, or answered, or 
slighted) than to bear the reproaches of our own 
consciences, which, as we cannot avoid hearing, so 
we cannot trifle with ; for when conscience is awake, 
it will be heard, and will tell us home, wherein '* we 
are very guilty concerning our brother." Let this 
thought, therefore, quiet our spirits when they be- 
gin to be tumultuous, that hereby we shall but make 
work for repentance ; whereas, on the contrary, as 
Abigail suggested to David, the bearing and forgiv- 
ing of an injury will be no trouble or grief of mind 
afterwards. Let wisdom and grace therefore do what 
time will do ; that is, cool our heat, and take off the 
edge of our resentment. 

6. That is truly best for us which is most pleas- 
ing and acc^ptabh to God, and a meek and quiet 
spirit is so. No principle has such a commanding 
influence upon the soul as that which has a regard 
to God, and wherein we approve ourselves to him. 
It was a good hint which the woman of Tekoah 
gave to David, when she was suing for a merciful 
sentence: " I pray thee, let the king remember the 
Lord thy God ;" nor could any thought be more ap- 
peasing than that. Remember how gracious, and 
merciful, and patient God is ; how slow to anger, 



144 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

how ready to forgiye, and how well pleased he is to 
see his people like him: remember the eye of thy 
God upon thee, the love of thy God towards thee, 
and the glory of thy God set before thee. Remember 
how much it is thy concern to be accepted of God, 
and to walk worthy of thy relation to him, unto all 
well-pleasing ; and how much meekness and quiet- 
ness of spirit contributes to this, as it is consonant to 
that excellent religion which our Lord Jesus has 
established, and as it renders the heart a fit habita- 
tion for the blessed Spirit : " this is good and accept- 
able in the sight of God our Savior," to lead a " quiet 
and peaceable life." It is a good evidence of our re- 
conciliation to God, if we be cordially reconciled to 
every trying providence, which necessarily includes 
a meek behavior towards those who are any way in- 
strumental in it. Very excellently does St. Austin re- 
mark on Psalm 122 : Those please God who are 
pleased with him, and with all he does, whether im- 
mediately by his own hand, or mediately by the 
agency of provoking, injurious men. This is stand- 
ing complete in all the will of God, not only his com- 
manding, but his disposing will, saying without re- 
luctance, The will of the Lord be done. He that 
acts from an honest principle of respect to God, and 
sincerely desires to be accepted of him, cannot but 
be in some measure adorned with that meek and 
quiet spirit which he knows to be in the sight of 
God of great price. 



RULi:s OF DIRECTION. 145 

Such as these are soilening principles, and as 
many as walk according to these rules, peace shall 
be upon them, and mercy, and no doubt it shall be 
upon the Israel of God. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

^OME RULES OF DIKKCTIOX. 

The laws of our iioly religion are so fur from 
clashing and interfering, that one Christian duty 
very much furthers and promotes another. The fruits 
of the Spirit are like links in a chain, one draws on 
another ; and it is so in this ; many other graces con- 
tribute to the ornament of a meek and quiet spirh. 

You see how desirable the attainment is, will you . 
therefore, through desire, separate your si4ves to the 
pursuit of it, and '* seek and intermeddle with all 
wisdom," and all little enougii, that you may roach 
to the meekness of wisdom. 

I. Withdraio your affections from this worUl^ 
and every thing in it. The more the world is cru- 
cified to us, the more our corrupt passions will be 
crucified in us. If we would keep calm and quiet, 
we must by faith live above the stormy region. It 
13 



146 ilENfeV UN' ME1:KNKSS. 

is certain, those that Have any thing to do in the 
Avorld) cannot but meet with that every day, from 
those Avith whom they deal, which will cross and 
provoke them; and if the affections be set upon 
these things, and we be filled with a prevailing 
concern, about them as the principal things, those 
crosses must needs pierce to the quick and inflame 
the soul, and that which touches us in these things, 
touches us in the apple of our eye. If the appetites 
be indulged inordinately in things that are pleasing 
to sense, the passions will to the very same degree 
be roused against those that are displeasing. And 
therefore. Christians, whatever you have of the world 
in your hands, be it more or less, as you value the 
peace as well as the purity of your souls, keep it out 
of your hearts ; and evermore indulge your affections 
towards your possessions, enjoyments, and delights 
in the world, with a due consideration of the disap- 
pointment and provocation which they will probably 
occasion you. 

It is th^ excellent advice of Epictetus, whatever 
we tak^ a plmsure in, to consider its nature, and to 
proportion otir complacency accordingly. Those 
that idolize any thing in this world, will be greatly 
discomposed if they be crossed in it. " The money 
which Micah's mother had," says bishop Hall, " was 
her god before it had the shape either of a graven 
or a moken image, else the loss of it would not have 
set her k cursings as iteeem* it did." Those that are 



, , , . .. I??TVB11SITT 

*' greedy oi gain, troTOle ^leir own hearts as well 
as their own houses, ^fc^y are a burden to them- 
selves, and a terror to all about them. ** They who 
will be rich," who are resolved upon it, come what 
will, cannot but fall into these " foolish and hurtful 
lusts." And those also who serve their own bellies, 
who are pleased with nothing unless it be wound up 
to the height of pleasure, who are like the " tender 
and delicate woman, that would not set so much as 
the sole of her foot to the ground for tc;nderness and 
delicacy," lie very open to that which is disquieting, 
and cannot, without ? great disturbance to them- 
selves, bear a disappointment ; and therefore Plu- 
tarch, a great moralist, prescribes it for the preser- 
vation of our meekness, " not to be curious in diet, or 
clothes, or attendance ; for," says he, " they who 
need but few things, are not liable to anger, if they 
be disappointed of many." 

Would we but learn in these things to cross our- 
selves, we should not be so apt to take it unkind if 
another crosses us. And therefore the method of 
the lessons in Christ's school is, first to '* deny our- 
selves," and then to "take up our cross." We must 
also mortify the desire of the applause of men, as al- 
together inconsistent with our true happiness. If 
we have learnt not to value ourselves by their good 
word, we shall not much disturb ourselves for their 
ill word. St. Paul bore reproaches with mucli 
meekness, because he did not build upon the opi- 



118 HKXRV ON MEEKNESS. 

riiori of man, reckoninof it *' a small thing to be judg- 
ed of man's judgment." 

2. Be often repenting of v our sinful passio?is, and 
reiuicrng yovr corcnanh against it. If our rash 
anger were more bitter to ns in the reflection after- 
wards, we .^should not be so apt to relapse into it. 
Repentance in general, if it be sound and deep, and 
grounded in true contrition and humiliation, dis- 
])oses the soul to bear injuries Avith abundance oi 
patience. Those who live a life of repentance (as 
we have every one of us reason to do) cannot but 
live a quiet life, for nobody can lightly say worse 
of the true penitent than he says of himself Call 
him a fool, (an affront which many think deserve: 
a challenge,) the humble soul can bear it patiently 
•with this thought, " Yea, a fool I am," and I have 
called myself so many a time ; " more brutish than 
any man ; I have not the understanding of a man." 
But repentance in a special manner disposes us to 
meekness, when it fastens upon any irregular inor- 
dinate passion with which we have been transport- 
ed. Godly sorrow for our former transgressions in 
this matter, will work a carefulness in us not again 
to transgress. If others be causelessly or excessive- 
ly angry with me, am not I justly requited for the 
like or more indecent passions ? Charge it home, 
therefore, with sorrow and shame upon your con- 
sciences, aggravating the sin, and lajnng a load upon 
yourselves for it, and you will find that " the burnt 



RULES OF DIRECTIOX. 149 

child," especially while the burn is smarting, •' will 
dread the fire." See Job, 42 : 6. 

With our repentance for our former unquietness, 
we must engage ourselves by a firm resolution, in 
the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ, to be more 
mild and gentle for the future. Say you will " take 
heed to your ways," that you offend not, as you 
have done, " with your tongue ;" and, like David, be 
often remembering that you said so. Resolution 
would do much towards the conquering of the most 
rugged nature, and the quiet bearing of the gireatest 
provocation* it would be like the bit and bridle to 
the horse and mule, that have no understanding. 
It may be of good use every morning to renew a 
charge upon our affections to keep the peace, and 
having welcomed Christ in faith and meditation, let 
no rude unruly passion stir up or awake our love. 

3. Ktej) Old ^f the w^y ef jrrxivocation, and stand 
upon your guard against it. While w^e are so very 
apt to offend in this matter, we have need to pray, 
and to practice accordingly, "Lord, lead us not 
into temptation," Those are enemies to themselves 
and to their own peace, as well as to human society, 
who seek occasion of quarrel, who fish for provoca- 
tions and dig up mischief; but meek and quiet peo- 
ple will, on the contrary, studiously avoid even that 
which is justly provoking, and will see it as if they 
saw it not. Those that would not be angry must 
wink at that which would stir wp finger, or piU a fa* 
13* 



loO HENRY ON MEEKNESS, 

vorable consiruclion upon it. The advice of the 
wise man is very good to the purpose : "Also take 
no heed to all words that are spoken, lest thou hear 
thy servant curse thee ;" and it is better for thee not 
to hear it, unless thou canst hear it patientl}^ and 
not be provoked to sin. It is a common story oi 
Cotys, that, being presented with a cupboard of cu- 
rious glasses, he returned his thanks to his friend 
that had sent them, and gratified the messenger that 
brought them, and then deliberately broke them all, 
lest, by the casual breaking of them severally, he 
should be provoked to passion. And Dion relates 
it, to the honor of Julius Caesar, that Pompey's ca- 
binet of letters coming to his hand, he Avould not 
read them because he was his enemy, and he would 
be likely to find in them that which would increase 
the quarrel ; " and therefore," as Dr. Reynolds eX' 
presses it, "he chose rather to make a fire on his 
hearth than in his heart." 

But seeing "briers and thorns are with us," and 
Ave " dwell among scorpions," and " it must needs 
be that offences come," let us be so much the more 
careful, as we are when we go with a candle among 
powder, and exercise ourselves to have consciences 
void of offence, nor apt to offend others, nor to re* 
sent the offences of others. When we are at any 
time engaged in business or company where we 
foresee provocation, we must double our watch, and 
be more than ordinarily circumspect. " I will keep 



RITLES OF DIRECTION. 151 

my mouth with a bridle," (says David,) that is, with 
a particular actual care and diligence while the 
wicked is before me, and frequent acts will confirm 
the good disposition and bring it to a habit. Plu- 
tarch advises "to set some time to ourselves for 
special strictness; so many days or weeks, in which, 
whatever provocations do occur, we will not suffer 
ourselves to be disturbed hy them." And thus he 
supposes, by degrees, the habit of vicious anger may 
be conquered and subdued. But, after all, the grace 
of faith has the surest influence upon the establish- 
ment and quietness of the spirit : faith establishes 
the mercy of God, the meekness of Christ, the love 
of the Spirit, the commands of the word, the prom- 
ises of the covenant, and the peace and quietness of 
the upper world ; this is the approved shield, with 
Avhich we may be able to quench all the fiery darts 
of the wicked one, and all his wicked instruments. 

4. Learn to jmuse. It is a good rule, as in our 
communion with God, so in our converse with men, 
*' Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart 
be hasty to utter any thing." When at any time we 
are provoked, delays may be as advantageous as in 
other cases they are dangerous. *' The discretion 
of a man deferreth his anger." " I would beat thee," 
said Socrates to his servant, •' if I were not angry;" 
but "he that is hast}" of spirit," that joins in with his 
anger upon the first rise of it, "exalteth folly." The 
office of reason is to govern the passions, but then 



152 HEXRY ON MEEKNESS. 

we must give time to act, and not suffer the tongue 
to overrun it. Some have advised, when Ave are 
provoked to anger, to take at least so much time to 
deliberate as while we repeat the alphabet; and 
others have thought it more proper to repeat the 
Lord's Prayer, and perhaps by the time we are pai5t 
the fifth petition, " forgive us our trespasses, as we 
forgive them that trespass against us," w^e may be 
reduced into temper. It is a good rule, '* to think 
twice before we speak once ;" for he that hasteth 
with his feet sinneth. It was the noted saying of a 
great statesman in queen Elizabeth's court, " Take 
time, and we shall have done the sooner." Nor can 
there be any thing lost by deferring our anger ; for 
there is nothing said or done in our wrath, but it 
might be better said and better done in meekness. 

5. Pray to God hy his Spirit to work in you this 
e.xcdlerU grace of meekness and quietness of spirit. 
It is a part of that comeliness which he puts upon 
the soul, and he must be sought unto for it. If any 
man lack this meekness of v^^isdom, let him ask it 
of God, who gives liberally, and does not upbraid 
us with our folly. When we begin at any time to 
be froward and unquiet, w^e must lift a prayer to 
Him who stills the noise of the sea, for that grace 
Avhich establishes the heart. When David's heart 
was hot within him, the first word that broke out 
w^as a prayer. Psalm 39 : 3, 4. When we are sur- 
prised wMth a provocation, and begin to be in a fer- 



RULES OF DIRECTION. 153 

ment upon it, it will not only be a present diversion, 
but a sovereign cure to lift up an ejaculation to God 
for grace and strength to resist and overcome the 
temptation : " Lord, keep me quiet now !" Let your 
requests in this matter be made known to God ; and 
" the peace of God shall keep your hearts and 
minds." You are ready enough to complain of un- 
quiet people about you; but you have more reason 
to complain of unquiet passions within you; the 
other are but thorns in the hedge, these are thorns 
in the flesh, against w^hich, if you beseech the Lord, 
as Paul did, with faith, and fervency, and constancy, 
you shall receive grace sufficient. 

6. Be often examinmg your growth and profi- 
ciency in this grace. Inquire what command you 
have gained over your passions, and what improve- 
ments you have made in meekness. Provocations 
recur every day, such as have been wont perhaps to 
throw you into a passion ; these give you an oppor- 
tunity to make the trial. Do you And that you are 
less subject to anger ; and when angry, that you are 
less transported by it than formerly ; that your ap- 
prehension of injuries is less quick, and that your 
resentments are less keen than usual ? Is the little 
kingdom of your mind more quiet than it has been, 
and the discontented party weakened and kept under? 
It is well if it be so, and a good sign that the soul 
prospers and is in health. We should examine every 
night whether we have been quiet all day. We shall 



154 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

sleep the better if we find we have. Let conscience 
keep up a grand inquest in the soul, under a charge 
from the Judge of heaven and earth to inquire, and 
due presentment make, of all riots, routs, and breach- 
es of the peace within us ; and let nothing be left 
unpresented for favor, affection, or self-love ; nor let 
any thing presented be left unprosecuted according 
to law. Those whose natural temper, or their age, 
or diseases, lead them to be hasty, have an opportu- 
nity, by their meekness and gentleness, to discover 
both the truth and strength of grace in general ; for 
it is the surest mark of uprightness, to " keep our- 
selves from our own iniquity." And yet, if the 
children of God bring forth these fruits of the spi- 
rit in old age, when commonly men are most fro- 
ward and peevish, it shows not only that they are 
upright, but rather that " the Lord is upright," in 
whose strength they stand; that "he is their rock, 
and there is no unrighteousness in him." 

7. Delight in the company of meek and quiet per- 
sons. Solomon prescribes it as a preservative against 
foolish passion, to "make no friendship with an an- 
gry man lest thou learn his w^ays." When thy 
neighbor's house is on fire, it is time to look to thy 
own. But man is a sociable creature, and made for 
converse; let us therefore, since we must have some 
company, choose to have fellowship with those who 
are meek and quiei, that we may learn their way, 
for it is a good way. The wolf is no companion for 



RULES OF DIRECTIOJr.. 155 

the lamb, nor the leopard for the kid, till they have 
forgot to *' hurt and destroy." Company is assimi- 
lating-, and we are apt insensibly to grow like those 
with whom we ordinarily converse, especially with 
whom we delight to converse ; therefore let the quiet 
in the land be the men of our choice, especially into 
standing relations and bosom friendship. Observe 
in others how sweet and amiable meekness is, and 
what a heaven upon earth those enjoy who have the 
command of their own passions, and study to tran- 
scribe such copies. There are those who take a 
pleasure in riotous company, and are never well but 
when they are in the midst of noise and clamor. 
Surely heaven would not be heaven to such, for that 
is a calm and quiet region : no noise there but what 
is sweet and harmonious. 

8. Sindy the cross of our Lord Jesus. Did we 
but know more of Jesus Christ and him crucified, 
we should experience more of the fellowship of his 
sufferings. Think often how and in what manner 
he suffered : see him led as a lamb to the slaughter, 
and arm yourselves with the same mind. Think 
also why and for what end he suffered, that you may 
not in any thing contradict the design of your dying 
Savior, nor receive his grace in vain. Christ died 
as the great peace-maker, to take down all partition- 
walls, to quench all threatening flames, and to re- 
concile his followers, not only to God, but one to 
another, by the slaying of all enmities. Eph. 2 ; 
14, 16. The apostle often prescribes a believing re- 



156 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

gard to the sufferings of Christ as a powerful allay 
to all sinful and intemperate heats, as Eph. 5 ; 2 ; 
Phil. 2 : 5, &c. Those who would show forth tho 
meek and humble life of Christ in their mortal bo- 
dies, must bear about with them continually " the 
(lying of the Lord Jesus." The ordinance of the 
Lord's Supper, in which we show forth the Lord's 
death, and the new testament in his blood, must 
therefore be improved by us for this blessed end, as 
a love-feast, at which all our sinful passions must be 
laid aside; and a marriage-feast, where the ornament 
of a meek and quiet spirit is a considerable part of 
the wedding-garment. The forgiving of injuries, and 
a reconciliation to our brother, is both a necessary 
branch of our preparation for that ordinance, and a 
good evidence and instance of our profiting by it. 

9. Converse much in your thoughts toith the dark 
and silent grave. You meet Avith many things now 
that disturb and disquiet you, and much ado yon 
have to bear them : think how quiet death Avill make 
you, and how incapable of resenting or resisting 
injuries, and what an easy prey this fiesli, for which 
you are so jealous, will shortly be to the worm that 
shall feed sweetly on it. You will, ere long, be out 
of the reach of provocation, " where the >vicked 
cease from troubling," and where their envy and 
their hatred is for ever perished. And is not a quiet 
spirit the best preparative for that quiet state ? Think 
how all these things, which now disquiet us, will 
appear when we come to look death in the face ; 



RULES OF Dli.ECTIOX. 157 

how small and inconsiderable they seem to one that 
is stepping" into eternity. Think, " what need is 
there that I should so resent an affront or injury, 
that am but a worm to-day, and may be the food of 
worms to-morrow?" 

A liitle sprinkling of the dust of the grave, upon 
the brink of which we stand, would do much toward.^ 
quieting our spirits and ending our quarrels. Death 
will quiet us shortly : jet grace quiet us now. When 
David's heart was hot within him, he prayed, " Lord, 
make me to know my end." 

To conclude — I know no errand that I can come 
upon of this kind to you, in which methinks I should 
be more likely to prevail than in this ; so much does 
meekness conduce to the comfort and repose of our 
oion souls, and the making of our lives sweet and 
pleasant. If thou be wise herein, thou shalt be wise 
for thyself. That which I have been so intent upon 
in this discourse, is only to persuade you not to be 
your own tormentors, but to govern your own pas- 
sions so that they may not be furies to yourselves. 
The ornament I have been recommending to you is 
confessedly excellent and lovely ; will you put it 
on and wear it, that by this all men may know that 
you are Christ's disciples, and you may be found 
among the sheep on the right hand, at the great 
day, when Christ's angels shall gather out of his 
kingdom every thing that offends ? Every one will 
give meekness a good word ; but in this, as in 

H. M. 14 



158 HENRY ON MEEKNESS. 

Other instances, honesty is applauded, yet neglected. 
Love is commended by all, and yet the love of 
many waxeth cold ; but let all that would not be self- 
condemned practice what they praise. And as there 
ii; nothing in which I should more expect to prevail, 
so there is nothing in which it will easier appear 
whether I have prevailed or no ; this tree will soon 
be known by its fruits ; so many are the circum- 
stances of almost every day A^hich call for the exer- 
cise of this grace, that our profiting therein will 
quickly appear to ourselves, and to all with whom 
we converse. Our meekness and quietness is more 
obvious, and falls more directly under a trial and ob- 
servation than our love to God and our faith in 
Christ, and other graces, the exercise whereof lies 
more immediately between God and our own souls, 
Shall we therefore set ourselves to manifest, in all 
our converse, that we have indeed received good by 
this plain discourse ? that our relations and neigh- 
bors, and all that we have dealings with, may ob- 
serve a change in us for the better, and may take 
knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. 
And let not the impressions of it ever wear off, but, 
^living and dying, let us be found among the quiet in 
the land : we all wish to see quiet families, and quiet 
churches, and quiet neighborhoods, and quiet na- 
tions ; and it will be so if there be quiet hearts, and 
not otherwise. 

THE END. 



14 DAY USE 

««™N TO DKK PROM WHICH BORKOWBD 

lOAN DEPT. 



■^M^v^ 



/% 



'-muiz4w-J 




iJ^'ner-im- 




^BCO 



1-^-^^^2^-^SL^Af^ 



U ! 



I S:;4ct'l^ 



J 






UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 



r: