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rule of patience and peaceableness, that they shall not avenge themselves nor resist evil, but endure and overcome it in patience and charity; even if a man should smite them on the cheek, they should not proceed according to the law, which calls for vengeance, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but as children of the gospel, which demands peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, they should rather, in patience, turn the other cheek, than strive to take vengeance; for Paul says, Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12: 21.
Christ says further, If any man will sue at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
He first commands us, that if corporal injury should be inflicted upon us, we shall not resist, but shall suffer and endure. Now, he commands us, that if any man shall go to law with us touching the necessaries of life, (for he does not speak of our abundance, houses, farms, and the like, but of our coat, which is indispensably necessary as the covering of our bodies; that is, if any one should strip us of all and sue us at the law for our coat or the necessaries of life) we shall not contend or go to law with him, but suffer and endure with patience, and keep not back our cloaks, but say with Job, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, (or, at least, permitted to be taken away) blessed be the name
of the Lord. Job 1: 21. And further, we should take no thought for our life, what we shall eat, or what we shall drink; nor yet for our body, what we shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? After all these things the Gentiles seek; for our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need for all these things; therefore we ought first to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all these things shall be added unto us. Matt. 6. Luke 12.
For if we should be in want of the neces saries of life for Christ's sake, God knows how to provide for his saints; he fed Israel in the wilderness; Elijah by a raven (1 Kings 17: 6); the widow's barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail (verse 16); Daniel was preserved in the lion's den (Dan. 6); and the three children in the fiery fur nace. Dan. 3. Also the Lord knoweth how to deliver those who trust in him alone, out of temptations (2 Pet. 2:9); and if they suffer for righteousness sake, happy are they. Pet. 3: 14.
Reason now comes in and says, If a person was to do thus, he could not get through the world; he would in a short time lose all he had; a person cannot live so strict. These and numerous other objections of a similar kind are stated.
But whence, dear man, does this arise? From this, that thou remainest yet in unbe
lief, and knowest not the power of God; for if thou hadst true faith in God, possessing within thee the witness that he is thy guide and protector, and has numbered all the hairs of thy head, (Matt. 10: 30,) thou wouldst intrust and commit all things unto him, and herein follow Christ, fully convinced and persuaded that God will provide for thee in all things, so far as it shall be for the best; and if he permits wicked men at times to take this or that from thee, he does it in order to prove thee whether thou art entirely free from these earthly things. If thou findest that it grieves or troubles thee, only reflect upon what Christ abandoned for thy sake. He that was rich became poor, that thou through his poverty mightest be rich. O shouldst thou not then forsake some of thy temporal goods for his sake, if it should be the will of God? He had not where to lay his head (Luke 9: 58); does it not then become thee to keep thy heart free from the things of time, as one who is a pilgrim here, (1 Pet. 2: 11,) and who has his conversation in heaven. Phil. 3: 20. It behooves thee to meditate and reflect upon these words of Jesus, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. Luke 18:29, 30.
Yes, my dear reader, if thou considerest
these things aright in faith, and subjectest thy will unto God, then wilt thou bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, (2 Cor. 10: 5,) and with Moses and Paul wilt esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of the earth. Heb. 11: 26. Phil. 3: 8.
But here it is necessary for a person to become a partaker of the benedictions in the introduction to this sermon on the mount, and be born, through the eight grades of blessings, a peaceable child of God, that he may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of his boundless love, (Eph. 3: 18,) and the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus; and all, who are made partakers of this, will not consider it as a burden to receive these christian precepts in a spirit of patience and obedience, and follow their head, for they know in themselves that they have in. heaven a better and an enduring substance. Heb. 10: 34.
O how few such christians are to be found at this day! How few that are not engaged in contention and law suits! How few that do not defend their coat, to say nothing of giving the cloak also! How few that follow Christ and observe this injunction, Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. Luke 6: 30.
The holy and amiable apostle John says, Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby we know that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 2: 3 to 6..
Since the so named christians do not keep or do the commandments of Christ, it is an easy matter to prove that they do not know him; now, that they say they know him, while they do not keep his commandments, they speak lies and the truth is not in them.
Moreover, because they do not keep his words, the love of God is not in them; for this is the love of God that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5: 2, 3. Therefore Christ also says: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15: 7 to 10.