..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Rarity of Gentleness by George D. Watson --Part 1

The Rarity of Gentleness

When God conquers us and takes all
the flint out of our nature, and we get
deep visions into the Spirit of Jesus, we
then see as never before the great rarity
of gentleness of spirit in this dark and
unheavenly world.

Even apart form the criminality and vileness
of man’s fallen condition, there is a host
of deformities which sin has entailed upon
mankind. Among these deformities may be
classed roughness, rudeness, curtness, and
the painful facility of using stinging, cutting
words and manners, and gestures, and looks,
and tones of voice, which are almost universally
manifested, not only by sinners, but by Christians,
and good Christians, and even by many who
advocate the higher life.

It is so seldom we find a real gentle spirit,
one who is gentle all through, and gentle under
all circumstances, that when we meet such an one
it seems like a cala lily in a field of briars,
or a patch of blooming prairie surrounded by
rough deserts.

I am not speaking of that natural grace which
some people seem to inherit, for that is not deep
enough. One of the worst criminals I ever saw was
a perfectly handsome man, with a voice and manner
so soft as a lady’s But I speak of divine gentleness
which comes in to the soul as a result of having all
the nature and faculties perfectly subdued by the
Holy Spirit. It is amazing what lack of gentleness
there is among the Lord’s own people.

Among the reasons why so few Christians are
thoroughly gentle in spirit may be the following:

Not Recognizing The Worth Of Gentleness

So few really apprehend the worth of a gentle spirit;
they seem to overlook it as a cardinal trait in religion.
There are so many Christians who regard real gentleness
as a weakness, a soft, sentimentalism, which in some
way interferes with thorough righteousness, and boldness,
and plain dealing, and a pushing zeal for God. The
graces of the Spirit do not settle themselves down
upon us by chance, and if we do not discern certain
states of grace, and choose them, and in our thoughts
nourish them, they never become fastened in our nature
of behavior.

Just as rough worldly men look upon experimental
salvation as a weak thing, fit only for old women
and children, so a great many sturdy, driving
Christians, regard perfect gentleness and quietness of
spirit as too tame a thing to have much divine power
in it. The more we possess a certain grace, the more
we see the value of it.

The reason why so few Christians seek perfect humility
in everything is because they do not see the infinite
worth of humility. The same is true of gentleness; in
fact gentleness is the expression of humility, like
the odor is to the flower.

There is something about the character of God, and
it pervades all His creation, and every branch of His
government, which bespeaks the infinite gentleness of
His nature. He clothes all the vast and rugged forms
of His works with a majestic quietness, and velvet
gentleness, which betrays they character of His mind.
He drapes the roughest mountain with green shrubbery,
or the soft blue air; even storms are edged around with a
fringe of delicacy, and none of the stupendous works of
God in ocean, earth or air, or flying worlds, have that
severe "raw-headed and bloody-bone" appearance, which
would have been the case if a creature had made them.

God leaves a trace of Divine refinement on everything
He touches. And when we look at His moral government,
and even at the outpouring of His wrath, on nation or
individuals, there is not a touch of personal revenge,
but the highest proofs of patience and tender pleading,
and He punishes as if He wept while doing it, and His
thunderbolts are both preceded and succeeded with
pathetic accents, as if tender mercy were the garniture
in which His fiery judgments were clothed.

God never does anything in a harsh or uncouth way.
He often breaks the hearts of the toughest old
sinners with a touch of gentleness, or a soft sweet
voice, or the stroke of a motherly hand softer than
the down on an angel’s wings. Unless we have clear
perceptions of the character of God, it is not likely
that we will have a positive thirst for that character.
Vision precedes action. We must see with our spiritual
eye the graces of the Spirit, before we live them out
in our experience. The words, "Behold the Lamb of God,"
must always precede the words, "Who taketh away the
sin of the world."

(more tomorrow)

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