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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 5 - Verse 5

Verse 5. The meek. Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness, nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harboured vengeance. Christ insisted on his right when he said,

"If I have done evil, bear witness of the evil; but if

well, why smitest thou me?"

 

Joh 18:23. Paul asserted his right when he said,

"They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans,

and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us

out privily; nay, verily, but let them come themselves,

and fetch us out,"

 

Ac 16:37. And yet Christ was the very model of meekness. It was one of his characteristics, "I am meek," Mt 11:29. So of Paul. No man endured more, and more patiently, than he. Yet they were not passionate. They bore it patiently. They did not harbour malice. They did not press their rights through thick and thin, and trample down the rights of others to secure their own.

Meekness is the reception of injuries with a belief that God will vindicate us. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," Ro 12:19. It little becomes us to take his place, and to do what he has a right to do, and what he has promised to do.

Meekness produces peace. It is proof of true greatness of soul. It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks upon those who offer them with pity. He that is constantly ruffled, that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard, and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

They shall inherit the earth. This might have been translated the land. It is probable that here is a reference to the manner in which the Jews commonly expressed themselves to denote any great blessing. It was promised to them that they should inherit the land of Canaan. For a long time the patriarchs looked forward to this, Ge 15:7,8; Ex 32:13.

They regarded it as a great blessing, It was so spoken of in the journey in the wilderness; and their hopes were crowned when they took possession of the promised land, De 1:38; 16:20. In the time of our Saviour they were in the constant habit of using the Old Testament, where this promise perpetually occurs, and they used it as a proverbial expression to denote any great blessing, perhaps as the sum of all blessings, Ps 37:20; Is 60:21. Our Saviour used it in this sense; and meant to say, not that the meek should own great property or have many lands, but that they should possess peculiar blessings. The Jews also considered the land of Canaan as a type of heaven, and of the blessings under the Messiah. To inherit the land became, therefore, an expression denoting those blessings. When our Saviour promises it here, he means that the meek shall be received into his kingdom, and partake of its blessings here, and of the glories of the heavenly Canaan hereafter. The value of meekness, even in regard to worldly property and success in life, is often exhibited in the Scriptures, Pr 22:24,25; 15:1; 25:8,15.

It is also seen in common life that a meek, patient, mild man, is the most prospered. An impatient and quarrelsome man raises up enemies; often loses property in lawsuits; spends his time in disputes and broils, rather than in sober, honest industry; and is harassed, vexed, and unsuccessful in all that he does.

"Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise

of the life that now is, and of that which is to come"

 

1 Ti 4:8; 6:3-6,

{a} "shall inherit the earth" Ps 37:11

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