Page images

have peace in poffusion; they must be sons of Peace before they can make peace. An unbeliever is a very improper person to stand in the gap, or make up a breach, either between Christ and his children, or between faint and faint; for he is an enemy to both parties, and can never wish well to either. We may say of such peace-makers, as Yehu faid of the son of witchcraft, " What hast thou to do with “ peace? Get thee behind me.” Peace flows from the counsel of Heaven : “ For mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other," in the person of Christ, when he undertook to satisfy righteousness, fulfil and honour truth, open a way for mercy, and make peace by the blood of his cross. :

Peace presupposes a war sublifting between two parties, and is brought about by the interposition of a middle person, who appears in the character of a Mediator ; and this Mediator is Christ, who suffered the sword of Justice to be sheathed in his own heart, that peace between God and elect finners might be proclaiined upon honourable and everlasting terms.

To this peace we were predestinated and ordained from eternity; on which account we are called sons of Peace, before peace is revealed to us. “ Into ~ whatsoever house ye enter; say, Peace be to this “ house ; and if the son of Peace be there, your peace

« fall

[ocr errors]

« shall come upon it; if not, it fhall turn to you « again,"

Peace, in the revelation of it to the finner's heart, is the effect of pardon and justification; as it is written, “ Thy fins are forgiven thee, go in peace." And being justified by faith, we have peace with " God.” And it is called a fruit of the Spirit, and is produced under his operation, as soon as the soul is sealed to the day of redemption. The man, therefore, that is a stranger to the pardon of his sin, the justification of his person, and the mystery of faith, cannot be either a peace-poffeffor or a peaccmaker; for the way of peace he has never known, a peace-maker is one who is authorized and commif fioned by the high Court of Heaven, as an ambal. sador of the King of kings, to proclaim peace in the name of his rightful Sovereign, between the Most High God and the children, of men. Which blessing of peace flows from the everlasting love of God, as the efficient cause; from the blood of Chrift, as the procuring cause; and by the Spirit into the finner's heart, by faith, as the applicatory hand, or inftrumental cause. “Beautiful upon the “ mountains,” and blessed for ever are such peacemakers.

Every child of God is commissioned to make and keep peace, but his commission authorizes him noc to proclaim peace between the world and the church, “ Christ came not to send peace here, but a sword

" and


and a fire;” nor between Satan and the Church. Chrift hath no concord with Belial, nor yet between the old man and the new, in a child of God (by a fina lefs perfe&tion;) for these are to war together; the one is to be put off, and the other put on to the end. Nor are they to proclaim peace between saints and hypocrites, for this is not taking forth thevile from the preciDus; but to proclaim, enforce, and endeavour tomaintain peace between Christ and his family, and be tween the children of God, is, and ever is to be, the honest endeavour of a son of Peace; and such peace-makers, and only such, are blessed. And

They shall be called the children of God. And fo they are called, and acknowledged to be, by those who are partakers of adopting grace; and children of God they really are, though professors often call them by another name. But no uninspired person, no unbeliever, can, with certainty, be called a « child of God." Christ commissions no man to tell lyes, nor to call them God's children that are not so:

Blessed are they which are perfecuted for righteousness fake. Not to get a righteousness, but for the sake of one already got. Persecution, in the highest sense, is the Devil in the heart of a rebel, opposing Christ in the heart of a faint. Abel was persecuted for righteousness fake, or because God had accepted Abel's person, and gave witness of it, testifying of his gift; while Cain, who was of that wicked one,



THE MORAL Law Not injuRED BY not being accepted, nor his offering, New him, because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous; or because God had given the one faith, and not the other; and because the work of faith was accepted, and the work of the fieh rejected. A person is perfecuted for righteousness fake, when God has given him, by the Spirit, the word of righteousness, and sent him to preach it; as he did to Noah, in whom, and by whom, the Spirit of Christ strove with the wicked Antediluvians, whose souls are now in prison, (1 Peter, iii. 19.) Lill God said, “ My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” Soon after, God brought in the flood upon the world of the ungodly, and feved Noab, a preacber of righteousness. He must be in a justified state, who, in the sense of the text, is persecuted for righteousness sake. If impostors, infidels, or hypocrites, bring a persecution upon themselves, it is rather a being buffeted for their bypocrisy, than being persecuted for righteousness fake : and it is often seen, that such go back again, with humble submission, to the Devil and the world; and, to atone for their past offences, commit all uncleanness with greeciness. Persons, therefore, that are justified by faith, and live in good conscience ; who vindicate the honour of a righteous God, and reprove unrighteous and wicked men ; who profess, or preach, the righteousness of faith, and oppose errors advanced; and who live by the faith of the Son of God; and


whose conduct and conversation in the world is just and upright before God, and before men; these are the persons that are persecuted for righteousness fake, and theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye when men Mall revile you, and perfecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against yout falsely, for my fake. Reviling a person's name and character, his writings, preaching, religion, or profession, without any just charge of ignorance, error, hypocrisy, or immorality, is reviling him falsely. Opposing a servant of Chrilt, resisting, gainsaying, or endeavouring to hinder his usefulness in the work of God, is perfecuting him. Calling him an Antinomian, a bad spirit, a licentious person, and an encourager of sin, without either ground or proof, is speaking evil against him falsely-and that for Christ's fake. · Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven. The Saviour knew these things would not always be found easy to flesh and blood, therefore tells us to rejoice that he counts us worthy to suffer reproach and shame for his name; and in that we are honoured in being employed in the Lord's service, and in fighting the Lord's battles. Furthermore it fhews, that such a soul is tolerably

found in the faith, and pretty well purged from · the spirit of the world, and from the community

of it, as they so detelt him; which is matter of rejoicing, for many legal professors and hypocrites


« PreviousContinue »