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all means lawful, and the utmost of their fervent endeavours; for by praying for it ‘by all means,' he doth indirectly point at their duty to seek after it by all means. Secondly, he prayeth, that in order to this and to other ends, God might be with them all,' by his gracious presence and sweet influences of his Spirit for assisting them with strength, direction, and courage, to go on in the way of their duty against all opposition (Rom. viii. 31).
“A minister who would have his preaching blessed with success among a people, must be much in prayer to God for his gracious presence and powerful concurrence. He must begin with prayer, he must end with prayer, yea, and all along his work, he must now and then dart up a fervent desire to God for that end; for Paul began this epistle with prayer (chap. i. 2), he prayed several times in his passing through it (chap. i. 11, ii. 16, and iii. 5), and now he doth conclude it with prayer. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always.'
“We should labour to give such styles to God in prayer as are most suitable to our present suit, and may furnish us with a ground of confidence that we shall be heard in what we ask ; for while Paul suiteth for peace' from God, he calleth him the Lord of
“As there are ofttimes grounds of fear lest alienation of minds, schisms, rends, and heart-burnings, may possibly follow within a church, upon their impartial exercise of discipline and inflicting of the highest censure, so the Lord's servants ought not to surcease upon the mere possibility or appearance of such hazard, but are to do their duty, and deal with God the more earnestly for
peace tha but only curbet Cor. xii. 20); for
preventing any feared inconvenience of that kind; for Paul projecting that the exercise of discipline might breed some disturbance to the Church's peace, doth not bid them desist, but prayeth, Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always.
“As peace and harmony among Christian societies is with great difficulty attained and preserved, and is no less than a singular work of God, considering our own
lang word of God considering averseness from it (Rom. iii. 17), and Satan’s enmity to it (John viii. 44), so that peace only is to be regarded whereof the Lord is the bestower and approver; a peace that is not prejudicial to truth and holiness (Heb. xii. 14), but only curbeth and restraineth our sinful and turbulent humours (2 Cor. xii. 20); for he prayeth for such a peace, while he seeketh peace from God, and showeth it cannot be had but from him, while he saith, • The Lord of peace himself give you peace.”
“Though peace among Christians be a special work of God, and therefore to be sought from him, yet our prayers of that kind should be seconded by our own serious endeavours, and all lawful means essayed for that end, so as that we not only carefully eschew whatever may on our part give cause of rending (1 Cor. viii. 13), but also be not easily provoked, when cause of rending is given by others (1 Cor. xiii. 5); and that when a rent is made, we spare no pains, nor stand upon any thing, which is properly our own, for having it removed (Gen. xiii. 8, 9); and do not weary to follow after peace, when it seemeth to fly from us (Heb. xii. 14), and all our endeavours have but small appearance of present success (2 Cor. xii. 15); for while he seeketh peace from God 'by all means,' he doth indirectly incite them to seek after it by all means.
“The peace and concord which should be sought after among Christians, is not an outside agreement only (Psa. lv. 21), nor a mere cessation from debate and strife for a time, until either party see an offered advantage, but a lasting, solid, and continuing peace; and therefore an union in hearts and affections (Phil. ii. 2), which being once united, are not easily rent asunder (1 Sam. xviii. 1, with xix. 2): an union in truth not in error (Isa. viii. 12), so that neither party may have reason to repent their entering it; and an union not in a carnal but a spiritual interest, even that they may strive together for the faith of the Gospel (Phil. i. 27); for he prayeth the Lord to give them peace always,' that is, a lasting, solid peace.
“ The Lord's gracious presence with his people, in any plentiful measure, is annexed to their peaceable frame of spirit, and serious endeavours after peace and concord among themselves, and their implacable rending humours do grieve the Lord's Spirit, and provoke him to anger."
THE WORD GLORIFIED.
We must often have noticed, in reading the Bible, how much glory is placed upon the Bible. Our blessed Lord does not answer questions from the depths of his own wisdom, as he might have done, but invariably,—almost without exception,-he refers to the written word. When one asks him a question, his answer is, “What say the Scriptures ?” Another puts a question, and his answer is, “ Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.” Can we conceive a greater glory placed upon this book, than that its Author should appeal to it for the most decisive replies to the most difficult and perplexing questions? There is only one other proof that outshines this; it is that he breathed forth upon the cross the innermost feelings of his soul, not in words selected for the occasion, but in the very words that the Holy Ghost had prepared for him in the book of Psalms. Can we conceive, then, anything that more clearly vindicates this book, as the inspiration, the wisdom, the truth, the very perfection of God ? The apostle Paul uses an expression referring to this book, of great force. He says, “If we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be Anathema.” Let us see what that text involves : he supposes it possible for an apostle to preach another gospel. He says, “If we," Paul, who had been in the third heaven, Paul, who was an apostle,—“ if we were to preach another gospel, then you—the laity—are to have nothing to do with it or us.” If Paul assumes the possibility of an apostle preaching another gospel, we are not uncharitable if we assume the possibility of an apostle's successor, real or pretended, preaching another gospel also. But he assumes more ; he says, “If we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel ;" he does not say, If a fallen spirit from hell, but“ an angel from heaven,” suppose an angel were to come from heaven, radiant with its glory, unquestionably from heaven, and were to preach the opposite of what is stated in this inspired volume, it would be your duty, as it would be, I trust, by grace, your delight, to tell that angel, without hesitating for a moment, to separate himself from you, for his is not the gospel of Christ. That verse also implies that Christian people are competent to say whether what they hear be the Gospel or not. I do not say that every baptized individual, or every communicant, is competent, but that every man who has been taught of God, whose heart has been renewed, and who knows and loves the Saviour, and who is a Christian in very deed and in very truth, can say whether the sermon that he hears preached be the gospel or not. And what is more, he will not accept the most splendid husks for wheat, the most beautiful golden basket for the bread. We come to the sanctuary seeking bread, not figures of speech; and if we do not get that which feeds the soul, and makes us wiser, stronger, happier, holier, better, we shall not long listen to such preaching, but go elsewhere for our own nutriment.