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habitually dwells upon his own imperfections, upon the forbearance of God, the mutual dependence of the members of the same household and community, will see the necessity of forbearance and kindness. God does not treat us we deserve ; shall we be overbearing to our fellow servants ? So long as

we cultivate a peaceable temper, we shall give no offence to any, we shall avoid all provocation.

2. By aiming to promote a spirit of peace in others.

There is too much of the disposition of Cain in the world : Am I my brother's keeper? By standing aloof from others, throwing

I all responsibility upon them, we induce a hardness and selfishness which prompt to keen-sightedness to every fault, which put men on the defensive, ready to misconstrue every word, and suspect every motion. If we fail to inspire confidence, there is no bond of union. Many who appear unamiable have diseased bodies; they need a physician rather than a reprover; they claim our sympathy. Others, who appear unkind, and become involved in difficulty, are thus punished for the sins of their youth. They were never subdued, never taught to take an interest in others; they are strangers to the happiness and sunshine of benevolence; selfishness has had supreme control till they come to act only for their own good. Their own peace, the comfort of others, the

, peace of the community, are sacrificed to present feelings. They cannot bear to be crossed. Such unhappy individuals are their own worst enemies.

How are

we to live in peace with such ? Certainly not by exhibiting a similar spirit; that would at once kindle the fire of enmity; but by putting on the meekness of Christ. A meek, forbearing spirit has done wonders. How did Jacob pacify his enraged brother ? Not by showing a bold front, and marshalling a host to intimidate him; but by showing kindness, by doing him good, by an appeal to his better feelings, by showing a heart susceptible of warm affection, by assuming the air and using the language of humility. He attempted no justification If Esau could be won by kindness, of whom shall we despair ?

How did Paul soften the prejudices of his countrymen who were so hostile to him ? By the power of argument, or the force of ridicule and biting sarcasm ? No; but by submitting to obsolete rites or abstaining from allowed indulgences. He manifested an inexhaustible spirit of tenderness. His own affecting statement will best. illustrate bis course on this subject : For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law ; to them that are without law, as without law, ( being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak, became I as weak, that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

If it be necessary for us to to oppose error, or testify against overt acts of sin, our manner must be mild ; our sincerity must be so manifest, that we have a witness even in the conscience we disturb, that all may feel that we are ready to heal the wound which fidelity to Christ and truth compels us to inflict. Opposition to evil is consistant with love to those who commit it. Sin is odious. but the sinner is immortal, and a desire to save him should be the manifest feeling of our hearts.

We are not expected to accomplish impossibilities. If it be possible, says the apostle. There are some persons so bigoted in their religious views, that all must come to their standard or be denounced. How can we keep the unity of the Spirit with them? We must surrender our judgment and reason, and think as they do. They have no idea of condescension. The giving up must be all on one side. Many fruitless attempts have been made to promote universal Christian union; oceans have been traversed, conventions held, able arguments urged, eloquence and piety have exhausted their powers—in vain. Men are as wide apart as ever. Christians will not give up the right of private judgment; each denomination claims the privilege of interpreting for themselves the Scriptures, and choosing a platform for their union.

So it is in social life. Some are so dogmatical and important, that if an attempt is made to promote peace in sincerity, to bury all ill-will, to harmonize all in the church or in society, there is but one way: all must yield to one mind, submit to one dictation. This they are not willing to do. Confidence is a plant of slow growth ; once lost, it is not easily regained. What, then is to be done? Shall we despair of living in peace, because some are contentious ? No man was ever more hated, or defamed, or ill-treated, than Jesus of Nazareth ; and yet he went about doing good, he maintained a peaceable walk, he inculcated peace

and exemplified its spirit. Who were his enemies ? and of what did they accuse him? Was he not holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners ? He avoided those who were incensed by his presence. It will be safe to follow his example. After we have done all we can to dissolve the rigor of prejudice, to do away false impressions, to present the truth in a fair light; after we have shown a meek, quiet spirit, and have labored to save the souls of men, we may leave the matter with God. Such was the conduct of Christ and his apostles. They went to the extent of possibility to live peaceably with all men.

I am aware that many regard this precept as impracticable ; and while it may be allowed in a system of morals, and is even admired as an abstraction, it is deemed absurd as a rule of life. Every one bas a reason for his opinion. Some are benefited tem. porally by contention; some unfortunately have a quarrelsome disposition, and therefore say, “We must take men as they are, and not as they ought to be.” The precept is so far above and beyond any thing they know or believe, they think him an enthu.


siast who would insist upon a compliance with it. Such, most unquestionably, are mistaken, and the mistake is an important one. If they die in it, they will lie down in eternal sorrow. A contentious spirit, after death, will go to its own place. What was said of the Bible is true of this distinctive feature of it: the chief objection against it is a bad heart. The precept lies, with all its solemn weight, upon every conscience. To every one, God says, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

III. We urge some motives to induce obedience to this precept.

Among many which might be adduced, we select the following, in the hope that a duty so important, involving so many interests, securing so many blessings, may be observed by all.

1. Our own peace will be secured. We cannot violate a law of our nature without suffering its penalty. We are so constituted, that contentions renders us unhappy. We are made for peace. The universal disposition, since the apostasy, to strife, shows how entirely sin has transformed man—what à revolution in our nature has been effected by the fall. If selfishness has been termed the essence of sin, it is without doubt the cause of sorrow. A condition of peace is one of comparative happiness. What so desirable in this world as friends ? and he that would have friends must show himself friendly. There is no person, however obscure or weak, however dependent or poor, whose good-will is not worth possessing Even Doeg, who was overlooked by David as worthy of a thought, a personification of meanness and jealousy, did him no small injury. A regard to our own comfort and safety should lead us to live peaceably with all men.

2. A regard for the welfare of others should induce us to cultiFate a spirit of peace.

We are required to do good to all men We cannot injure them more than to provoke them to anger. An injury disturbs the temper, and stirs up wrong feeling. The first promptings of unsanctified nature are to return the injury. This will only inflame the aggressor, an in turn, an additional amount of enmity is felt; and thus deep-seated opposition is cherished, embittering future life, while the injury perhaps originated in inadvertence or thoughtlessness.

If we habitually cherish kind feelings, we shall never provoke others. Men put a favorable construction upon the conduct of those who have gained a character for benevolence. Words or actions which cause regret are usually provoked.

How can do others more injury than to throw them off their guard ; to irritate them, either by insinuation or reproach ? Even Moses, so distinguished for meekness, was led to speak unadvisedly, for which he suffered more than for all the other acts of his life.. We do not know what a fire we may be kindling, which may consume our own peace, and that of many others, by breaking the bond of peace. Oh, let us avoid the very appearance of evil!

3. A desire to be useful should lead us to obey this precept. A


family, or neighbourhood, or church, disturbed, precludes all hope of doing good. In proportion to the elevation of the station we occupy is the obligation to serve our day and generation. Life is short, our friends and acquaintances are passing away ; we cannot, therefore, afford to spend any part of our brief stay in this world in contention. This consideration influenced the Apostle Paul. He says to the Corinthians; Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. Having exhorted them to give no offence, neither to the Jeus, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God, he adds, Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Days of contention will have an end; the evils of strife must be reviewed. How will it plant our dying pillow with thorns, to remember our ill-feelings, to think of the injury we have done to others, how much we have abridged their usefulness. It shed a light around the feet of Samuel, the prophet and judge of Israel, as he was about to enter the valley of death, to reflect how he had studied to promote the spiritual and temporal good of the people. He was a man of peace and justice; he had been a blessing in his day and generation. Blessed are the peace-makers, said Christ.

Usefulness is best promoted in the midst of tranquillity. The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. It is not sown amidst the noisy disputation and virulent invectives of angry and contending parties.

My brethren, if we would be more extensively useful, and, dying, would leave a reputation better than precious ointment, let us cultivate a peaceable spirit, and aim to promote a good understanding among all mev.

4. The intrinsic excellence and divine beauty of peace should stimulate us to live peaceably with all men.

Behold, how good and how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard ; that went

the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. This delightful psalm, in the spirit of it, will be sung in heaven. As the dew that fell upon the sacred mountain, reviving the face of nature, and diffusing the freshness of health through the vegetable kingdom, so is the spirit of peace in this world of conflict. It spreads a charm over the face of society, fills the hearts of all men with joy, and assimilates earth to heaven.

5. The genius of Christianity leads to an observance of this precept.

The grand characteristic of the gospel is peace. The great object of worship is the God of peace. The Mediator is the Prince of peace. The Sanctifier is the Spirit of peace. The

object of Christ's mission was to restore peace between God and man. Reconciliation is the burden of our embassy.

" Peace on earth and good-will to man" was the substance of the song sung by angels when they announced the coming of Christ. The tendency of the gospel is to promote peace.

What then more befitting the disciple of Jesus than a life of peace ? A contentious spirit is a denial of the Lord that bought us; it is contrary to the whole system of grace revealed in the gospel.

The true representation of a follower of Christ would be a person with a light in one hand to dispel the darkness of sin, and an olive-branch in the other, showing that his object is peace.

6. The example of Christ and his apostles is another reason why we should seek peace and pursue it.

We are commanded to walk worthy of our vocation ; to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. This feature of Christ's character we are particularly required to imitate. For even hereunto were ye called, says Peter, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. While he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, he was at the same time meek and gentle; when reviled, he reviled not again; he prayed for his murderers; what could he have done more to promote peace on earth ?

The apostles followed in his steps; and they urge us to imitate them in this respect. Walk so as ye have us for an ensample. How can we expect to be associated with them in the kingdom of heaven, if we have not their spirit.

FINALLY, Obedience to this precept is connected with a hope of eternal blessedness.

They who are contentious, and obey not the truth, are represented as in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity ; while those who live peaceably with all men from a right motive, are included in the blessings of grace. Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God. Heaven is a place of perfect peace, because it is a place of perfect purity. To inherit the promises, we must become meet for the inheritance here; we must cultivate the spirit of Christ, and be at peace with all men.

How desirable the condition of a family, a neighbourhood, a church, a community, in perfect harmony,-each one happy in himself, and happy in all around him! Nothing but sin, in the form of selfishness, prevents such a state. We are told that there was war in heaven, but the evil spirit was at once and for ever banished. The millennium, which is described as resembling heaven, will be a period when knowledge will abound, and all the world will be at peace. Glorious period !

Brethren, what manner of spirit do we possess? Have we the meekness of Christ ? Do we consider this precept as binding upon us ? Do we strive to overcome our pride and self-will ? Have any of us been so long under the influence of selfishness,

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