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Chapter 12:11. Peaceable fruit of righteousness, etc This is a phrase which is commonly understood as to its general import, and yet it is difficult to explain it satisfactorily. Some take “of righteousness” as the exegetic genitive case, “the peaceable fruit,” that is, as Macknight explains it, “which is righteousness;” and he adds, “Righteousness is denominated peaceful, because it is productive of inward peace to the afflicted person himself, and of outward peace to them with whom he lives; also it is called the fruit of God’s chastisements, because afflictions have a natural tendency to produce virtues in the chastised, which are the occasion of joy far greater than the pain arising from the chastisement.” Psalm 119:67, 71, 75

Doddridge also seems to have understood the phrase in the same sense, for he says, that chastisement “produces and improves those virtues which afford joy and peace to the mind.” To the same effect are the remarks of Scott, and Calvin’s view seems to be similar.

The phrase admits of another meaning: “The fruit of righteousness,” according to the more frequent usage of Scripture, means the fruit which belongs to righteousness, or in the words of Stuart, “such as righteousness produces,” or in the words of an author quoted by Poole, “which proceeds from righteousness.” Righteousness seems to mean here what is just and right, or what ought to be done according to the will of God, as when our Savior says, “For thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness,” Matthew 3:15. What may be deemed as especially referred to here, is submission or subjection to the divine will mentioned in verse 9. This subjection was righteousness; it was right according to the statement in verse 7. It was said before that the object of correction is to make us partakers of God’s holiness; now he mentions righteousness; they are connected. We must be made holy, we must be cleansed from pride, worldliness, and self­will, in order that we may do what is right and just, that is, submit to God’s will when he chastises us; and when this submission or righteousness takes place, then correction produces a peaceable or a blessed fruit, that is, such an effect, or such a blessing, as peace or happiness. Peace and happiness are both signified by the word; but “blessed” or happy is more suitably applied to “fruit” than “peaceable” or peaceful.

Then the meaning may be thus conveyed, “but it afterwards yields to those who are exercised (or trained, that is, unto holiness) by it, a blessed fruit, such as righteousness (that is, subjection to our Father’s will) brings forth.”

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