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light and comfort. He openeth his hand, and the whole creation partakes of his bounty. Being perfeet in love and beneficence, He is therefore perfect in greatness. But look on the other hand, and you will find that mischief distinguishes the power of SATAN: his greatness consists wholly in crossing the merciful plan of redemption, and counteracting the Divine benevolence; the propagation of discord and diforder is necessary to the keeping up of his grandeur, and to the increase of his kingdom.”
This consideration accounts for the frequent and urgent exhortations to peace and unity, to be met with in the facred writings; as constituting a grand hinge, upon which the success of the Christian scheme must, in a great measure, be expected to turn. Upon this idea the God of Chrisțians iş reprefented as a God of peace and love, and his example set forth as a pattern for man's imitation.
« Beloved,” fays the Apostle, “ if God fo loved us, in sending his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him, wę ought also to love one another. And hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us ;”? in other words, that we are Christians, because He hath given us of his spirit." ? Johạ iv. 11, &c.
Rom. xiv. 19.
Upon the same idea, the kingdom of Christ, which is his church, is described to be “righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost.”
To qualify men for a state of membership in this fpiritual kingdom, they are required to “ follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” " As much as lieth in them to live peaceably with all men.” Rom. xii.'18. 66 To be of one mind, to live in peace, and the God of peace shall be with them." 2 Cor. xiii. 11. “ Finally, my brethren,” fays the Apostle, in prosecution of the same Divine idea, “ if there be any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels of mercies, fulfil ye my joy; that ye be like minded, having the fame love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." .Phil. ij. I, &c. And as “ there is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing each other in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace."**
* Ephef. iv. 26
From hence it appears, that the religion of CHRIST is a religion of sensibilities, no less than of motives. It teaches us, after the example of that blessed Person. who felt for all men, to take a lively interest in the concerns of our fellow-creatures; to rejoice with them in prosperity, and sympathize with them in distress; and treading in the steps of Him who went about continually doing good, to abound in the labours of Christian benevolence; in the words of the Apostle, " to be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; to be tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's fake hath fargiven us.” Rom. xii. 10. The foregoing picture of Christianity, though but partially drawn, furnishes a powerful argument in favour of thąt plan, which places man in a condition best calculated to promote this great object of his Christian profession.
Upon the supposition, then, that there was no Divine institution in this case, which claimed obedience on the part of man; and the mode of religious wor. ship, as a matter of perfect indifference, was left to the arbitrary discretion of every individual engaged in it; the plan which God has graciously marked out for men, by incorporating them into, one' body or society under regular government,
in consequence of which they became necessarily joined together by that fimilarity of condition and interest, and that use of the same appointed means for the promotion of their general concern, which must, from the constitution of human nature, be productive of mutual regard and mutual assistance; would be the plan, which, if proposed to him by his fellow, creatures, every thinking Christian, it might be fupposed, would readily adopt.
Let not, then, this plan of social religion be neg. lected, or thought lightly of, because it has been projected by that all-wise Being, who, from knowing what was in man, not only knew how best to provide for the circumstances of the party for whose service it was established, but who, from the relation in which man stands to Him, has a right to exact his obedience to it. Rather let us with gratitude avail ourselves of that assistance, which the establishment of the church upon earth minifters to our condition; and not facrifice that good, which it is so well calculated to produce, to vain dreams of more spiritual perfection, in ways of our own devising:
“ The first blessing that I daily beg of for his church (said that pious and affectionate bis Shop,* whose character the Christian is only at a loss whether most to love or admire) is, our Savi. our's legacy, peace; that sweet peace, which in the very name of it comprehends all happiness both of estate and disposition. Other graces are for the beauty of the church; this for the health and life of it. No marvel then, if the church, labouring here below, make it her daily suit to her glorious bridegroom in heaven: “ Give peace in our time, O LORD." And would to God, that the united voice of Christians, of every denomination, might be heard joining in the charitable petition, “ Give peace in our time, O LORD; that peace which pafseth all understanding.
But division, we all know, cannot lead to unity and peace. Division, therefore, must in its nature be hostile to one great object of the Christian religion. As such, it must be fcrupulously avoided by every man, who would co-operate with God in the restoration of his fallen nature.
It is the employment of the Christian's life to be gradually changed into the image of his Divine Master; that “ the same mind,” so far as human infirmity will permit, “ may be in him, which was in Christ Jesus: and the hope which he enter, tains, will be always proportionate to the degree of