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and recovering the joy of his countenance, seems to be shadowed out in what our Lord spoke to bis Apostles, the night before his passion : “Do ye inquire of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament;" namely, when ye do not see me; “but the world shall rejoice;” shall triumph over you, as though your hope were now come to an end. “And ye shall be sorrowful,” through doubt, through fear, through temptation, through vehement desire; “but your sorrow shall be turned into joy,” by the return of Him whom your soul lovetli. “ A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow because her hour is come. But as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembercth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now have sorrow;" ye mourn and cannot be comforted; "but I will see you again ; and your heart shall rejoice, (with calm, inward joy,) and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John xvi. 19–22.)
6. But although this mourning is at an end, is lost in holy joy by the return of the Comforter, yet is there another, and a blessed mourning it 'is, which abides in the children of God. They still mourn for the sins and miscrics of mankind: they “weep with them that weep.” They weep for them that weep not for themselves, for the sinners against their own souls. They mourn for the weakness and unfaithfulness of those that are, in some measure, saved from their sins. “Who is weak, and they are not weak? Who is offended and they burn not ?” They are grieved for the dishonour continually done to the Majesty of heaven and carth. At all times they have an awful sense of this, which brings a deep seriousness upon their spirits ; a seriousness which is not a little increased, since the eyes of their understanding were opened, by their continually seeing the vast ocean of eternity, without a bottom or a shore, which has already swallowed up millions of millions of men, and is gaping to devour them that yet remain. They sec here the house of God eternal in the heavens; there, hell and destruction without a covering; and thence feel the importance of every moment, which just appears, and is gone for ever!
7. But all this wisdom of God is foolishness with the world. The whole affair of mourning and poverty of spirit is with theni stupidity and dulness. Nay, it is well if they pass so favour
able a judgment upon it; if they do not vote it to be mere moping and melancholy, if not downright lunacy and distraction. And it is no wonder at all, that this judgment should be passed by those who know not God. Suppose, as two persons were walking together, one should suddenly stop, and with the strongest signs of fear and amazement, cry out, “On what a precipice do we stand! See, we are on the point of being dashed in pieces ! Another step, and we shall fall into that huge abyss! Stop! I will not go on for all the world!"-when the other, who seemed to himself at least equally sharp-sighted, looked forward and saw nothing of all this; what would he think of his companion, but that he was beside himself; that his head was out of order; that much religion (if he was not guilty of much learning) had certainly made him mad.
8. But let not the children of God, “the mourners in Sion," be moved by any of these things. Ye, whose eyes are enlightened, be not troubled by those who walk on still in darkness. Ye do not walk on in a vain shadow : God and eternity are real things. Heaven and hell are in very deed open before you ; and ye are on the edge of the great gulf. It has already swallowed up more than words can express, nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues; and still yawns to devour, whether they see it or no, the giddy, miserable children of men. O cry aloud! Spare not! Lift up your voice to Him who grasps both time and eternity, both for yourselves and your brethren, that ye may be counted worthy to escape the destruction that cometh as a whirlwind! That ye may be brought safe through all the waves and storms, into the haven where you would be ! Weep for yourselves, till he wipes away the tears from your eyes. And even then, weep for the miseries that come upon the earth, till the Lord of all shall put a period to misery and sin, shall wipe away the tears from all faces, and “ the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea,”
UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE
“ Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
: ness: for they shall be filled.
Matt. v.5-7. 1. When “the winter is past," when “ the time of singing come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land;” when He that comforts the mourners is now returned, “ that he may abide with them for ever;” when, at the brightness of his presence, the clouds disperse, the dark clouds of doubt and uncertainty, the storms of fear fice away, the waves of sorrow subside, and their spirit again rejoiceth in God their Saviour; then is it that this word is eminently fulfilled; then those whom he hath comforted can bear witness, “ Blessed," or happy, “are the meck, for they shall inherit the earth.”
2. But who are the meek? Not those who grieve at nothing, because they know nothing; who are not discomposed at the evils that occur, because they discern not cvil from good. Not those who are sheltered from the shocks of life by a stupid insensibility ; who have, either by nature or art, the virtue of stocks and stones, and resent nothing, because they feel nothing. Bruto philosophers are wholly unconcerned in this matter. Apathy is as far from meekness as from humanity. So that one would not easily conceive how any Christians of the purer ages, especially any of the Fathers of the Church, could confound these, and mistake one of the foulest errors of Heathenism for a branch of true Christianity.
3. Nor does Christian Meekness imply, the being without zeal for God, any more than it does ignorance or insensibility. No; it keeps clear of every extreme, whether in excess or defect. It does not destroy but balance the affections, which the God of nature never designed should be rooted out by grace, but only brought and kept under due regulations. It poises the mind aright. It hulds an even scale, with regard to anger, and sorrow, and fear; preserving the mean in every circumstance of life, and not declining either to the right hand or the left.
4. Meekness therefore seems properly to relate to ourselves: but it may be referred either to God or our neighbour. When this due composure of mind has reference to God, it is usually termed Resignation; a calm acquiescence in whatsoever is his will concerning us, even though it may not be pleasing to nature; saying continually, “ It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.” When we consider it more strictly with regard to ourselves, we style it Patience or Contentedness. When it is exerted toward other men, then it is Mildness to the good, and Gentleness to the evil.
5. They who are truly meek, can clearly discern what is evil; and they can also suffer it. They are sensible of every thing of this kind, but still meekness holds the reins. They are exceeding “ zealous for the Lord of Hosts ;” but their zeal is always guided by knowledge, and tempered, in every thought, and word, and work, with the love of man as well as the love of God. They do not desire to extinguish any of the passions which God has for wise enda implanted in their nature; but they have the mastery of all: they hold them all in subjection, and employ them only in subservience to those ends. And thus even the harsher and more unpleasing passions are applicable to the noblest purposes; even hatred, and anger, and fear, when engaged against sin, and regulated by faith and love, are as walls and bulwarks to the soul, so that the wicked one cannot approach to hurt it.
6. It is evident, this divine temper is not only to abide but to increase in us day by day. Occasions of exercising, and thereby increasing it, will never be wanting while we remain upon earth. “We have need of patience, that after we have done (and suffered] the will of God, we may receive the pro. misc." We have need of resignation, that we may in all circumstances say, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt." And we have need of “gentleness toward all men ;” but especially toward the evil and inthankful: other rise we shall be overcome of evil, instead of overcoming evil with good.
7. Vor docs meekness restrain only the outward act, as the Scribes and Pharisees taught of old, and the miscrable Teachers who are not taught of God will not fail to do in all ages. Our Lord guards against this, and shows the true extent of it, in the following words: “Ye have heard, that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment: ”(ver. 21, &c.:)“ But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in dauger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raci, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.”
8. Our Lord here ranks under the head of murder, cucu that anger which gocs no farther than the heart; which does not show itself by any outward unkindness, no, not so much as a passionate word. “Whosocver is angry with his brother," with any man living, seeing we are all brethren) ; whosoever feels any ukindness in his heart, any temper contrary to love; whosoever is angry without a cause, without a sufficient cause, or farther than that cause requires, “ shall be in danger of the judgment;' EVOZOS 55711; shull, in that moment, be obnoxious to the rightcous judgment of God.
But would not one be inclined to prefer the reading of those copies which omit the word Eixy, without a cause? Is it pot entirely superfluous ? For if anger at persons be a temper contrary to love, how can there be a cause, a sufficient cause for it,many that will justily it in the sight of God?
Anger at sin we allow. In this sense, we may be angry and yet we sin not. In this sense our Lord himself is once recorded to have been angry. “He looked round about upon them with anger, being frieved for the hardness of their hearts." lle was grieved at the simners, and angry at the sin. And this is undoubtedly right before God.
3. “And whosocver shall say to his brother, Raca;”--Whosoever hall give way to anger, so as to utter auy contemptuous word. It is observed by Coumentators, that Rica is a Syriac word, which properly siguities, emp!!!, emilia foolish; so that it