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JOHN XIV. 27.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.
THE Gospel of our blessed Lord was particularly calculated to promote, among other good effects," Peace on earth; good-will towards men:" and this, you may remember, was the proclamation of the heavenly host on the day of his nativity. Descended from the royal lineage of David,-invested with all power to accomplish the redemption of the human race, and to establish his kingdom of holiness, he is spoken of by the prophets in the loftiest terms of grandeur and magnificence. As one whom "God had anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and given to him the heathen for his inheritance." As one, whose "name was
to endure for ever, and of the increase of whose government there was to be no end." "They that dwell in the wilderness," says the Psalmist, "shall bow before him: and his enemies shall lick the dust. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him."
But, that the majesty of his character might not be confounded with that of worldly monarchs, he was emphatically styled the "Prince of Peace." He was "to deliver the needy, the poor, also, and him that hath no helper." "The sceptre of his kingdom was not to be the instrument of blood, or the symbol of temporal dominion, but a right sceptre ;" and the holy prophet foretold the commencement of his divine ministry, by the beautiful expression, that "The Sun of Righteousness should rise with healing in his wings," or rather," in his rays." Agreeably to these glad tidings, "the Spirit of the Lord God was upon him, and his word was with power." "He bound up the brokenhearted, he proclaimed liberty to the captive, and comforted them that mourned." Having exhibited to the world a life of meekness and forbearance, of charity and compassion, of unwearied beneficence and spotless purity, for our love and imitation; he closed his divine
ministry, by comforting his beloved disciples, and instructing them more fully, and in the most affectionate manner, how to discharge the arduous duties of their station. To strengthen their fortitude, and animate their zeal, he promised them the assistance of the Holy Spirit; and to render them happy in themselves, under the pressure of those severe calamities which awaited them, he bequeathed them the peculiar blessing, which the shepherds of Bethlehem heard proclaimed at his birth. This was, "Peace"-" My Peace I leave with you," said he, " my Peace I give unto you."
A larger portion of this, and of every other spiritual gift, was, doubtless, conferred on them than we can ever hope to attain; but it is evident, that the whole tenor of the Gospel, and the example of our Lord, are admirably calculated to promote Peace within our own bosoms, Peace among each other, and Peace towards God. In discoursing, therefore, on the words of the text, I shall recommend Peace to your contemplation under these three grand divisions of duty. But, as the two former will afford sufficient matter for our present meditation, I purpose, by Divine permission, to consider the last in some future Discourse.
In the first place, then, let me exhort you to cultivate Peace within your own bosoms, by cherishing a mild, charitable, and complacent temper. "Let that mind be in you, which was you, in Christ Jesus, our Lord:" and, as a more powerful inducement than what the mere abstract consideration of it will afford, remember what dignity, and self-possession, it gave to his conduct under the severest trials of his calamitous life;-consider what an ornament it was to his wisdom, what an additional grace it com municated to his conversation, and what loveliness and condescension it cast over his manners and behaviour.
In the numerous and petty contentions, which take place among men, nothing indeed discovers more evident superiority, or shews more genuine wisdom, than that calmness and selfcommand, which a Christian acknowledges as an important branch of duty, and which every man should study to acquire even from motives of self-love.
But that Peace which I wish particularly to recommend is not so much a virtue itself, as the result of virtue. Every good disposition, therefore, cherishes and promotes it; while every evil one disturbs and counteracts it.
Hence, we are told in Scripture, with emphatic significance, that "the work of righteousness shall be Peace;" and that, by the revelation of the Holy Gospel, "God has called us to Peace." Hence, also, it is always a part of the apostolic blessing;-it is reckoned among the genuine fruits of the Spirit, and is included among the highest perfections of the human character..
Would you, then, obtain this divine gift, which is an earnest, or token, of so much goodness, and intrinsic worth? diligently labor to form the Christian temper; and walk in his paths, who came on earth expressly "to give light to them that sit in darkness, and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of Peace."
In order to this, we must resolutely avoid all habits of peevishness, and discontent; we must not on every trivial disappointment, or calamity, be full of murmurings and complaints; for that is a species of rebellion against our heavenly Father; we must carefully guard against every occasion that would lead to strife and enmity; above all things, we must carry in our bosoms a large portion of that " Charity, which is not easily provoked," and of that humility, which