The meek and gentle and passive virtues
(John Angell James, "Christian Love" 1828)
The meek and gentle and passive virtues of the
gospel, are generally looked upon with disesteem,
and treated with contempt by the world. Is . . .
poverty of spirit,
the forgiveness of insults,
patience under provocation,
--admired, applauded, imitated? Quite the contrary!
The men who would practice these Christian graces,
must make up their minds to endure the world's scorn,
and to be treated as poor weak-spirited creatures.
And yet this is the spirit of true piety--for this is the
disposition of Jesus!
When Jesus Christ came into the world, He found it full
of the notion that human glory consisted in ambition,
pride, and revenge. Hence He took particular pains to
correct this notion, giving, in His sermon on the mount,
a delineation the very opposite of this. Indeed, the
design of that sermon was to rectify the mistakes then
universally prevalent on the subject of true piety and
of happiness; and to teach the world that His disciples
were to be pre-eminently distinguished by . . .
thirsting after righteousness.
These are the qualities of a true Christian, and everyone
who bears the character, must sedulously cultivate its
appropriate dispositions, and be willing to bear the ridicule
to which they will expose him. Bearing their scorn, he will
wait with patience for that world where humility and
meekness will be honored and rewarded--and love, their
parent disposition, be crowned with glory!