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"in friendship with the world and with sin, and "felt no desire after deliverance from it. "however, free from the charge of avowing "with my lips what my conduct did not justify. "I was openly profane, and made no preten"sions to sanctity." What must such a wretch expect from the lips of the Judge, but that tremendous sentence, "These mine enemies, who "would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me?" *
*Luke xix. 27.
On the Second Collect in the Morning Service,
HEN the great Apostle of the Gentiles
is addressing himself to the saints - at Rome, in the very beginning of his epistle he pronounces his blessing on them in these terms: “ Grace and peace be with you, from God our “ Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." In the sequel of the letter we find another solemn form of benediction and supplication: “ Now the
« “ God of hope fill you with all joy and peace “ in believing, that ye may abound in hope “ through the power of the Holy Ghost.” And towards the conclusion of it he repeats the same pious wish, “ Now the God of peace be “ with you all. 6
. Amen." Of the Apostle's affectionate regard for the brethren at Rome, who were “ the called of Christ Jesus, and “ beloved of God," no doubt can be entertained, since the whole of his conduct manifested the warmest attachment to, and zeal for all those who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. That his fervent love for them would prompt his heart to wish them the best of blessings, is equally unquestionable. We must therefore conclude that peace from God is an inestimable good. When our blessed Lord was taking His leave of His dear disciples, to whom he was united in the bonds of everlasting love; when
we find Him solemnly making, as it were, His last will and testament in their favour, what is the legacy He bequeaths to them? Not worldly grandeur, riches, or pleasures, for He knew the emptiness and dangerous tendency of all these things too well to wish His beloved followers a large participation of them; on the contrary, He tells them plainly, that in the world they should have tribulation. Peace is the blessing He devises to them: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." Surely then we have reason to conclude that peace is a benefit which we cannot too earnestly desire, nor too highly prize. And indeed it is of so great importance, that none of the comforts of the present life can be enjoyed without it, nor, without it, can we entertain any pleasing hope of happiness which is to come. For this comprehensive good our church teaches us to pray in the following excellent words.
"O God, who art the Author of peace and "Lover of concord, in knowledge of whom "standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; defend us, Thy humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies, that we, surely trusting in Thy defence, may not fear "the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Are we sensible of the importance of an acquaintance with this amiable inhabitant of the heavenly world? Are we earnestly desirous that the Dove should bring the olive-branch, and plant it in our bosoms? To whom should we apply but to God? For He is "the Author "of peace." In whatever point of view we
consider this comprehensive benefit, God is the source whence it flows. Do we, at the present moment, painfully feel the absence of national peace? We do; and in consequence thereof our trade and commerce languish, many of our worldly comforts are abridged, and fear with respect to the future welfare of our country, like a demon, haunts our abodes. Do we wish to have the sword and spear again converted into instruments of husbandry? We do; and none, probably, more so than those who sit at the helm of public affairs, and direct our national concerns, although they are unkindly charged by many unthinking people as the cause of prolonging our troubles. But the real cause is sin. God only can restore tranquillity to our borders.
And surely the most effectual method of obtaining it would be, not to add the spirit of intestine discord to the tumult that reigns without, but to address ourselves by repentance and prayer to Him who is “ the « Author of peace.' He only can make our inveterate foes willing to return the murderous weapon to its sheath, and change the din of war into thanksgiving and praise. Do we enjoy the blessing of domestic peace? Are we of one mind in a house? Let us be thankful to God for so signal a mercy, whether the comforts flowing from it arise from an union of spirit in the faith of the gospel, or only from the restraint which civilization imposes on the raging passions of the unsanctified bosom. For man, unconverted, and unrestrained by laws or other effects of God's over-ruling providence, would prove a tyger to his domestics and neighbours. We have among us instances enough to shew what man is, when left to himself. In man!
houses the husband and wife, the parents and children, the master and servants, live-together nearly on the same terms with the wild beasts of the forest. God is "the Author of peace," and it is owing either to the happy influence of His renewing grace, or to the kind interference of His providence, that we enjoy the comforts of social life. Abandoned to the boisterous tempers of our own fallen nature, we should prove continual tormentors both of ourselves and of all around us. But the most important consideration of that peace, of which God is the Author, yet remains to be mentionedpeace with God. While man continued in a state of innocence, the most perfect friendship subsisted between God and His creatures. But the admission of sin set God and the sinner at variance. Had no method been discovered for the restoration of amity, and the reconciliation of the parties each to the other, the breach must have terminated in the everlasting separation of the sinner from God and happiness; for "how 66 can two walk together, except they be "agreed?" * And between a polluted sinner and a Holy God, with whom iniquity cannot dwell, there must be, apparently to human reason, the most irreconcileable disagreement. But God, who is rich in mercy, for the great "love wherewith He loved us," hath to our astonishment provided means whereby, on the one hand, His own attributes might all be glorified in the restoration of sinners to His favour; and whereby, on the other, the sinner's heart might be so changed as to be rendered again capable of communion with God. All this is
† Ps. v. 4.
* Amos iii. 3.