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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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Softness or mildness of disposition and behaviour. Little as this disposition is thought of by many, we find it considered in Scriptures as a characteristic of the true Christian. "The wisdom that is from above, " saith St. James, "is gentle, " ch. 3: 17. "This gentleness, indeed, is to be distinguished from passive tameness of spirit, and from unlimited compliance with the manners of others. That passive tameness, which submits without a struggle to every encroachment of the violent and assuming, forms no part of Christian duty; but, on the contrary, is destructive of general happiness and order. That unlimited complaisance, which on every occasion falls in with the opinions and manners of others, is so far from being a virtue, that it is itself a vice, and the parent of many vices. It overthrows all steadiness of principle, and produces that sinful conformity with the world which taints the whole character.

In the present corrupted state of human manners, always to assent and to comply, is the very worst maxim we can adopt. True gentleness, therefore, is to be carefully distinguished from the mean spirit of cowards and the fawning assent of sycophants. It renounces no just right from fear; it gives up no important truth from flattery: it is, indeed, not only consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit and a fixed principle, in order to give it any real value. It stands opposed to harshness and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence and oppression: it is properly that part of charity which makes us unwilling to give pain to any of our brethren. Compassion prompts us to relieve their wants; forbearance prevents us from retaliating their injuries: meekness restrains our angry passions; candour our severe judgments; but gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manner, and, by a constant train of humane attention, studies to alleviate the burden of common misery."

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Gentleness'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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