Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Victories of Meekness

from A Discourse On Meekness and Quietness of Spirit by Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

The conquest of a heart sin is more honorable than the conquest of a nation, because it takes more true courage. It is easier to kill an enemy without, which may be destroyed by physical force, than to chain up and govern an enemy within, which requires a constant, steady labor, and a long and regular management.

Meekness is a victory over ourselves and the rebellious lusts in our own bosoms; it is the quieting of an insurrection at home, which is often harder than resisting a foreign invasion. It is a powerful victory over those that injure us, and would make themselves enemies to us, and is often a means of winning their hearts. The law of meekness is, “If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, 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 you will "heap coals of fire upon his head," not hot coals that consume him, but which melt and soften him, that he may be cast into a new mold. While the angry and revengeful man would grind down all that is opposed to him conquering evil with evil, the meek man overcomes evil with good; and as his "ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."

Meekness leads to victories over Satan! Since he is a powerful enemy, this conquest is all the more courageous and praiseworthy. 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 strength of the adversary makes victory over him more significant. Our meekness and quietness defeats some of the designs of the devil against us, that great deceiver, blinder of natural men, and destroyer of souls.

By meek and quiet suffering, rather than passionate revenge or repaying evil for evil, we are "more than conquerors," through Christ that loved us and the Spirit Who increases our graces and faith: conquerors with little loss, we lose nothing but the gratifying of a base sinful desire, yet we are conquerors with great gain. We graciously gain:

* The increasing grace and favor of God

* Victory over the devil’s schemes against us

* The comforts of the Spirit, and

* Foretastes of everlasting peace.

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