صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


For this end come out from the world. tians must now be more and more separate and distinct from an ungodly world. In the midst of all the scenes around of political and national excitement, lift up the standard of the cross; be every where decided for Christ; the more openly you wisely confess him, the more peace will you have within, and the more useful you will be among your brethren. The more bold you are for Christ, in the spirit of Christ, and according to the word of Christ, the more you will gain the love of his true disciples, and no love in this world is comparable to theirs.

Above all, beware of ungodly connexions. Let not any worldly advantages tempt you to unite yourselves in business with those who hate the gospel. Especially let me, as a parting caution, charge my younger hearers, never to unite themselves in marriage to those whom they have not good reason to believe to be truly converted to God. The scripture rule is express, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? Nothing has been more injurious to the soul, than ungodly connexions. Many a fair and beautiful blossom that gave rich promise of fruit, has thus been

withered and blighted. Make, then, those who love the Lord Christ the companions of your choice. You cannot go out of the world, but while you are in it, be not of it. Learn the happy skill of the Christian, to live above the world while he labours on it. You must inevitably associate with worldly men, they abound on every side, but O as strangers and pilgrims, only sojourn here, and abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. The more however Christians come out from needless connexion with the world, the more intimate is their communion with God, and their union and communion with each other.


This is the last practical direction. The Christian is eminently a man of peace. Never was it more needful to state distinctly this character, to the church of Christ, from dangers on all sides ; dangers, on the one hand, of giving up or withholding truth; and dangers on the other hand, of speaking the truth not in love, but in pride and contention, or urging private opinions as if they were fundamental and all-essential truths of God. The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and of good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, The directions on this head in the sacred scriptures are numerous.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (Matt. v.) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Follow peace with all men, and which no man shall see the Lord.

(Rom. xii. 18.) holiness, without (Heb. xii. 14.) Seek peace, and ensue it. (1 Pet. iii. 11.) Our Lord and his apostles press this duty upon us, as if it were ever ready in this perturbed world to escape from us, and we must daily pursue it; or, in the words of St. Paul, follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Rom. xiv. 19.)

It will be clear, however, even from these directions, that peace is not to be desired at the expense of religious principle. This must be retained at all cost. Truth is never to be sacrificed for peace; but speaking the truth in love is our happy duty. When ungodly men abuse the truths of the Gospel, we must contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. But frequently peace is needlessly broken for the gratification of some sinful passion, and it is to be maintained by the denial of self in all its many forms of self-will, self-indulgence, selfwisdom, ease, pride, and vanity. If we be true followers of peace, we shall often suffer wrongfully for the sake of peace-if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye. (1 Peter iii. 14.) I

need not tell you, my brethren, that Christians are as sheep among wolves, and that their protection is not in an arm of flesh, but in the invisible arm of Jehovah. Be then men of peace. Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. (Phil. ii. 14, 15.)

The root of this peace, and that indeed from which alone Christian peace can grow, is a conscience pacified through the blood of Jesus. If I have peace with God, if I know that the King of kings is my friend, and will make all things work for my good, it matters little what the unquiet spirits of this world do to disturb or harass me. He who can rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him, is fixed on an immovable rock. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.

The direction, Live in peace, is very comprehensive. It embraces, first of all, peace with God; let this be maintained pure and clearlet there be nothing between God and you; and for this end continually apply afresh to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Heb. xii. 24.) There will then be peace within, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and which shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; a sweet tranquillity of mind,

calm amidst the storms and tempests of life, and composed, if not joyful, in tribulation. Peace with your brethren in Christ and all your fellowcreatures, has already been noticed; but this direction embraces also our enemies. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you. Here is the lesson of our Divine Master; and if enabled to attain this lesson, often will you find that when a man's ways please the Lord, he maketḥ even his enemies to be at peace with him.

O that the Redeemer's bequest to his church may be yours: My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you: let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.


Finally, brethren, farewell.

These are hard words to say where there is real love, as they imply to us absence and separation; and yet they are words full of comfort. The Christian's farewell, and the Christian minister's farewell more especially, is an expression full of hope and full of blessing. The original (xaigere) might be rendered rejoice or be glad; and as there is nothing which shall not minister a blessing to the child of God, so every thing may

« السابقةمتابعة »