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you embrace, will allow of no compromise of this principle. I avow no opinion as to the justice of defensive war, if the rights of my country and the lives of my countrymen are attacked. I am not ready to affirm that in the present state of the world, no Christian land is at liberty to unsheath the sword in protection of its civil and sacred privileges, if they are threatened with an overthrow; but this I say deliberately, that Christianity commands all its followers to desist from national destruction and private revenge; and that if we go beyond the outline of defence in any case, we take our leave of the principles which the New Testament broadly and distinctly inculcates. It is one of the loveliest pictures which the pencil of prophecy ever painted, that "when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it—when He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people" then "they shall beat their swords into plough shares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Fulfil ye your predicted character, my brethren; and let the world see that you have been with Jesus," and learnt of him. You are required to make it evident by your spirit in the world that the religion of your Lord is a religion of love, joy, and peace. Every point of view in which Christianity is exhibited in these pages, presents to us an imperative demand to bring forth these holy and heavenly fruits.
A second motive by which I enforce the cultivation of this benignant temper is, the consideration of your usefulness. A Christian who lives without some desire and effort to do good, is a perfect contradiction. The fact, if it could exist, would be wholly incompatible with the spirit
* Isaiah ii. 2, 4.
of those truths he professes to believe, and the divine example he professes to follow. I therefore take it for granted, that you, my Christian brethren, feel concerned
to serve your generation according to the will of God;" and, assuming this, I cannot but remind you, that no line of deportment will be more likely to effect the important object of your benevolent solicitude, than that which has now been set before you. If, according to the scriptural maxim, "one sinner destroyeth much good," and if a small spark of the fire of contention, kindled by the breath of strife, may almost instantly envelop a whole society in the destructive element, so one active and discreet peacemaker, under the divine blessing, may be instrumental in extinguishing the devouring flame ere the work of devastation be complete. And if the prompt application of proper remedies will prevent the spreading of disease through the human frame, so the seasonable and salutary office of the peaceable and peacemaking Christian, will, in all probability, arrest the progress of the moral distemper whenever it appears, and save the moral constitution from death itself. Ah! if this blessed temper had been universally cultivated, what painful divisions, what fatal discords, would have been happily prevented, both in the family and the church! "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."* What a blessing to each other, and what an ensample to other churches will ye then be! Your characters will appear lovely in every man's eye, who is not blinded by prejudice, or whose heart is not hardened by sin. But if ye are unkind, and contentious, and ready
* Phil. ii. 1, 2.
"to make a man an offender for a word," then your value to the world, as a religious society, is at an end. Better close these doors, and convert this building into the mart of commerce, than make it the theatre of wrangling and bitterness.
"The spirit, like a peaceful dove,
Flies from the realms of noise and strife;
Who seals our souls to heavenly life."
Thirdly. I remind you, that your peace and happiness are deeply interested in this matter. If the "whisperer defileth his own soul, and wheresoever he dwelleth will be hated; if whoso hearkeneth to a backbiting tongue shall never find rest, and never dwell quietly;" then it will follow, as a natural consequence, that a man of such a temper cannot be at peace in himself. But, on the other hand, the promise is, "He that watereth others shall be watered himself." Now, in the discharge of no duty is the figure more significant than in that of pouring the water of extinction on the coals of strife. It is an employment peculiarly God-like and heavenly. It is refreshing to the heart, and invigorating to the hand that performs it. The blessings which such a man endeavours to communicate to others, accumulate on himself. In this work of pure benevolence, and Christian love, his mind has a continual feast. Engaged in this happy service, he finds his own reward; and while he exhales the delicious fragrance, and breathes the balmy air of peace, his heart responds to the beautiful exclamation of the Psalmist :
Behold, how good and how pleasant 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 down to 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.”*
Finally. I have only to add, your expectations of acknowledgement at the last day oblige you to the exhibition of this spirit before the world. Doubtless, the promise in the text has respect to the recompence of grace in the resurrection of the just. There is nothing whatever, in the smallest degree, in any of our services deserving the bliss of heaven, "otherwise grace would be no more grace." But the infallible and supreme legislator has established an indissoluble connection between the present and the future. Whatever, therefore, the treatment of the peaceable and devoted servants of Christ may be from men," their judgment is with their God." When the sons of violence and oppression, of strife and anger, are rejected, they shall be welcomed "into the joy of the Lord," as members of the celestial family. Yes, my brethren, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, and every disguise torn away, the motives and desires of all the faithful "followers of God, of whom the world was not worthy," will be disclosed and approved. Then shall these happy and honoured saints, amidst the acclamations of angels, and with the song of victory, enter the regions of peace as their eternal home. Therefore, by all that belongs to the Christian name-by all that is delightful in the prosperity of the Christian church-by all that is valuable in Christian peace-and by all that is cheering in the prospect of the Christian inheritance above-I charge you, "that ye 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
* Psalm cxxxiii.