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cifixion. Never was there an occasion so interesting, so solemn, so divine ; nor was any mind, beside that of Christ, ever so perfectly fitted to understand, and feel, the nature of this occasion, or so able to employ it to the best of all purposes. He seems, here, to have poured out his soul with supreme love, and infinite endearment. The whole Saviour is brought out to view: the God becomes visible in his most lovely and glorious character.

The Apostles were now to be left by him; to go, unbefriended and unprotected, into a world of enemies; and to meet all the evils, which could be inflicted on them by bigotry, malice, and persecu. tion. To support them in this state of suffering, he promises them a rich variety of blessings ; particularly, the presence, and everlasting love, of bis Father and himself, reminds them of his own sufferings, and of the fortitude, with which he had endured them; and assures to them the consolations of the Spirit of truth, as a most desirable, and delightful, support under all external distresses.

Of all the blessings, contained in these promises, none seems to be better suited to their situation, and their wants, than that, which is announced in the text. When contentions multiply, and enemies invade, from without; when friends withdraw, and comforts dimin

; ish; when enjoyments lessen, and hope retires; nothing can be more timely, more desirable, more welcome, than peace within : peace, quieting all the tumults of the mind, soothing the wounds of a troubled conscience, and allaying, on the one hand, fear; on the other, suffering.

That we may understand the value of this legacy, left by the Redeemer not to the Apostles only, but to all his

followers, it will be useful to consider,

1. The Nature of the Peace, which he gave; and, II. The Manner, in which he gave it.

. I. I will endeavour to explain the Nature of the peace, which Christ gave his disciples.

Peace is always opposed to war; and, when begun in any instance, involves the cessation of the preceding conflict. With a direct reference to such a conflict, Christ was pleased to bestow the blessing, mentioned in the text; and called it by a name, fitted to show both the nature of the evils to be remedied, and the nature of the remedy.

Such a conflict actually exists between man and himself; his fellow-men; and his Maker. Against God this hostility manifests itself in ten thousand acts of resistance to his pleasure. While He claims the supreme love, and implicit obedience, of every Intelligent creature, man denies both his claims, and the rights on which they are founded; and boldly sets up in opposition to them, claims and rights of his own, which he determines to support to the utmost of his power. For this end he commences a progress of revolt, and contention, which occupies most of his time, and most of his Vol. II.



thoughts; and, at death, leaves, not unfrequently, the controversy undecided.

With his fellow-men his contention arises from two sources: his own selfishness, and theirs. The mind, in which selfishness reigns, always wishes, intends, and labours, to make every other interest subservient to its own; or, at the least, to prevent it from disturbing, precluding, or diminishing, its own. From this source have sprung all the private, and all the public, contentions, which have destroyed the peace of neighbourhoods, and ravaged the world ; the sufferings and the sighs, the tears and the groans, which have spread from one end of heaven to the other.

Nor is man less busily employed in conflicting with himself. The passions and appetites of the human heart have ever opposed the dictates of Conscience. The Conscience was intended by God to regulate the moral conduct of the man; and strenuously, and

; firmly, asserts its right to this most important, and most necessary, control. Still more strenuously the passions rebel against it; force the man to submit to their own dictates; and hurry him into a course of disobedience. In this progress of guilt, Conscience holds out her dreadful mirror to his terrified eye; and exhibits him to himself, odious, deformed, and fearfully exposed to the anger of God.

To this distracted, miserable being, peace is announced, in the text, by Him, who knew all the wants, sufferings, and dangers, of our race. Upon a strict examination, the legacy will be found to be exactly suited to the state of those, for whom it was intended.

1st. It is a happy state of the Mind, or Intellect.

Every person, who has at all entertained serious and solemn thoughts concerning religious subjects, must have often perceived a multitude of doubts, springing up in his mind, at different times, concerning the Word of God; the evidence, by which its divine origin is evinced; and the nature of the doctrines, and precepts, which it contains. These doubts may, at times, grow out of ignorance; usually they spring from the heart ; from its disrelish to the truth itself, and its opposition to its Author. Every doubt on this subject is attended with some degree of distress. The soul is unwilling, that there should be any such truths; and that God should have such a character, as to be capable of being the author of them. Especially is this observation applicable to those doctrines, which exhibit ourselves as guilty, condemned, and ruined; and God as pure, holy, and sovereign. Against these doctrines mankind have contended in all ages ; have doubted their truth; have denied their import; and have exploded the evidence, by which they were sustained. In the place of these doctrines the mind substitutes others, which are more palatable to itself. For their obyious and real meaning, which it is determined not to admit, it substitutes others ; kindred, perhaps, and plausible, but oblique, and


incapable of being supported. In this manner it struggles to get loose from the truth of God; sometimes by believing, that he has made no revelation of his will to mankind; sometimes by determining, that he has made no such revelation, and is commonly received; and generally by adopting a creed, essentially different from that which is contained in the Scriptures. Every part of this creed it makes more pleasing to itself, less terrifying, less humiliating, and yet, as it hopes, equally safe.

Still, Revelation, in spite of all these labours and struggles, continues to be supported by no small evidence. The obvious meaning of the doctrines, which it contains, will, at times, appear but too probably the true meaning. In spite of the mind itself, its arguments, and persuasions, God may, and it frequently fears, will, be found to be just such a Being, as he seems io be exhibited in the Scriptures. Its own character, also, it almost daily suspects, (and conscience perpetually enhances the suspicion) is just such, as the Scriptures have declared; and its danger neither less real, nor less terrible. Thus the soul becomes a troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

Nor is either this opposition, or the distress which springs from it, less excited by the tenour of the Scriptural precepts, than by that of the doctrines. In the view of such a mind the precepts appear to be unnecessarily numerous, nice, and rigid; enjoining many things, which it thinks might better have been omitted; and prohibiting many things, which, it conceives, would have been much better allowed. The life, which they require, it pronounces to be unnecessarily strict, difficult

, and discouraging; and regards as being of a gloomy and melancholy nature. Hence it supposes, and at times believes, that God cannot have intended, that his precepts should be understood in their obvious meaning; and that some other meaning, attended with many softenings, and involving many limitations, is to be attributed to them; or that, at the worst, a partial, imperfect obedience to them will ultimately be accepted.

Under the influence of these wishes, and the views to which they give birth, accompanied by fears, that the things, thus opposed, may all be the real pleasure of God; the views erroneous, and the wishes sinful; such a mind wearies itself to find out a more palatable moral system; is harassed by suspense, and distressed by painful apprehensions.

But when the hostility of the heart towards its Maker, and towards his truth, is dissolved by the mild influence of the Spirit of grace; and the soul is indued with love to its Maker; the character of God, and the doctrines and precepts of his Word, are seen with new optics; and appear, therefore, in a new light. It is the nature of Evangelical love to delight, alike, in the Truth and its AUTHOR. Both are thenceforth seen with the eyes of good-will. Of course, God appears to the mind, invested with his proper character and supreme glory; as the sum of all excellence; as infinitely great, and wise, and good. It is seen to be impossible for him to deceive, or to be deceived. Whatever he declares is, therefore, admitted without reserve. The divine origin of the Scriptures is readily believed, because the evidence, which supports it, is such, as to satisfy any candid mind; and because the mind, in question, has now become possessed of real candour. The true and obvious meaning of the doctrines and precepts, wherever it is seen, is readily received, because it is relished, and because God is believed to have made his precepts plain to him, that understandeth ; or, in other words, is possessed of piety. The things, to be believed, the mind now loves to believe. The things required, it now chooses to do. The nature of the doctrines, and the reasons on which the precepts are founded, it will, indeed, at times, be unable to unravel. But here its faith, and obedience, will be implicit ; because it knows, that God does not prescribe without the best reasons, and that his instructions, however mysterious, must be always true, and always desirable. What it understands it welcomes. What it does not understand, it receives with a bumble submission to him, who has said, The secret things belong to God; but the things, that are revealed, belong to men.

From such a mind, it is easy to see, suspense and perplexity must vanish of course; together with all the agitation, fear, and pain, with which they were attended. The weapons of its warfare have been laid down ; its toils are ended, its alarms are over; its struggles are relinquished; and a delightful repose has succeeded to its multiplied, long-continued, and painful efforts; a repose, doubly delightful, in its own nature ; and as a charming contrast to the various troubles, by which it has been so often, and so deeply distressed.

2dly. It is the happy state of the Affections.

It has been already sufficiently indicated, that the affections are originally alienated from God, and opposed to his government, and pleasure. The spirit of apostacy is, primarily, a spirit of pride and self-dependence; which always exalts itself against its Maker. The angels, who fell, fell by refusing to keep their first estate; 'EQUTWV agxnu; their own office, or principality; and by deserting (atoditovras) their habitation ; oixningsov, their station. They refused to continue even in that exalted rank of existence, and to execute the duties of that high station, assigned to them by the goodness of God.

The same spirit predominates in fallen men. They too are dissatisfied with their own station, and their own duties. All apostate beings say to God in their hearts, We will not have Thee to reign over us.

Equally hostile to the divine government is the lust of the flesh: sensuality; and the lust of the eyes : avarice. Concerning these three great controlling affections of the human mind, it is alike true, that they are not of the Father, but of the world; and that, wherever they reign, the love of the Father cannot exist.

From the indulgence of this spirit, continually spring up in the soul haughty claims upon its Maker for an increase of its enjoyments, and an exemption from its duties : claims, which God never satisfies, unless in the way of judgment, and indignation. The soul, therefore, is discontented with its allotments ; questions bis wisdom, goodness, and truth; murmurs against his providence; refuses to perform its own duty; and thus carries on a continual, ardent, painful conflict with its Maker.

A controversy with such a Being, as God, cannot fail of being attended with perpetual anxiety and alarm. He, who is the subject of it, dreads the presence of God; is terrified by all the threatenings of his Word; trembles at the approach of Death; shrinks from the Judgment; and looks towards a future retribution with horror.

Of these evils there is but one possible termination ; and that is, submission to God. Whenever this is accomplished in earnest, they dissolve, like an enchantment in Arabian tales. The Creator, before dreaded and hated, is changed at once, to the view of the soul, into an affectionate Parent, reverenced, loved, and delightfully obeyed. This awful enemy becomes instantaneously an everlasting and almighty Friend; this hard Master, a divine and boundless Benefactor. His character is then contemplated with awe, indeed, but with delight also. His commandments, no longer grievous, are preferred to thousands of gold and of silver. His presence, no longer terrible, is continually coveted; and communion with him in prayer, and praise, is daily sought, and delightfully found.

In this manner the affections become serene, cheerful and pleasant. The storm subsides into a calm ; and the darkness of the soul is illumined with a perpetual sunshine.

3dly. It is a happy state of the Conscience.

When the affections have thus bowed to their Creator; when the soul has sincerely said, Thy will be done ; Conscience, unopposed and undisturbed, dictates whatever is to be done ; and smiles its approbation, whenever it is performed. In the various retrospects, which the Christian takes of his progress, at the end of a day, a week, a month, or a year, he is enabled to look on, and approve; and to feel a supporting hope, that he is approved, in some good measure, by his God. His thoughts, affections, and designs, cease to be objects of dread; and self-examination, to be a duty, which he cannot perform. To himself he is no longer a stranger. Prayer, he no longer dreads. From his moral character he no longer shrinks. At his future destiny he ceases to shudder. A daily, welcome, cheerful visiter at the internal fire-side, he finds there nothing but peace, harmony, and pleasure.

4thly. It is a happy state of the Life.

In a world, like this, it will not be imagined, that external peace can be perfect. Although the man in question is possessed of a

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