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world of iniquity; it setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell," than when it is employed in censorious judging, under the control of party passions. By due obedience to the new commandment, the work of thorough reformation would be effected. This would imply total abstinence from party spirit, the great source of mischief among Christians. For it was not party affection that Christ exercised towards his disciples, but pure, impartial, and forbearing love. This had been the source of all his conduct towards them when he said " This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you." With the same love he prayed for all his disciples, that they all might be one even as he and the Father are one. To this precept and this prayer let the heart and tongue of every Christian say, Amen.-Such a revival of religion would diffuse joy throughout heaven and earth.
THE GOSPEL REMEDY FOR CONTENTION.
My Christian Brethren,
It would be useless to investigate the causes of a malady and display its evils, if God had failed to
provide a remedy. What has been said in preceding letters may seem to have anticipated the purpose of the present; but the importance of the subject may justify further attempt for elucidation.
Admitting the correctness of Solomon's maxim“Only by pride cometh contention,” we may naturally infer that humility is both a preventive and a remedy—a preventive if adopted in season, remedy if duly applied after the disease has occurred.
The first contention among the professed disciples of the Messiah, of which we have any account, occurred among the Twelve, whom he had selected for apostles-on the question," who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?”—Or as Luke more definitely states the case,
“ There was a strife among them which of them should be the greatest.” What but pride could have originated this contention ? What but humility was wanting to have prevented it? And what but humility could be a proper remedy after the strife had occurred? This was in fact the remedy prescribed by the great Physician. As was observed in a preceding letter, the first time Christ discoursed with the Twelve concerning their strife, “ He called a little child and set him in the midst of them and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. xviii. 2, 3, 4. Mark and Luke have recorded some observations made by our Lord, which were omitted by Matthew. “If any man desire to be first of all, the same shall be last of all.” Mark ix. 35. For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” Luke ix. 48.
Notwithstanding the admonition thus given, Jesus had further occasion to interpose his authority and instructions, to check the ambition of his disciples, and put an end to their strife. It appears to have been, after what has been related that James and John had the confidence to request the two higher offices, or to say to him“ Grant unto us that we may sit one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy glory." It is evident that the other disciples were present when Jesus replied to this request; and what followed his reply I shall state according to the translation of Dr. Campbell.
“The ten having heard this conceived indignation against James and John. But Jesus having called them together, said to them" Ye know that those who are accounted princes of the nations domineer over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them; but it must not be so among you. On the contrary, whosoever would be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever would be chief of all shall be the slave of all. For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark x. 41-45.
Luke has reported the words of Christ in a different form, but in a manner forcible and impressive :
“ The kings of the nations exercise dominion over them, and they who oppress them are styled benefactors. But with you it must be otherwise. let the greatest among you be as the smaller ; and him who governeth as he who serveth. For whether is greater he who is at table or he who serveth? Is not he that sitteth at table? Yet I am among you as one that serveth.” Luke xxii. 25-28.
The discourses of Christ on these occasions were illustrative of the principle which he so repeatedly announced, “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he who humbleth himself shall be exalted." It seems to have been his purpose to lay the axe at the root of the tree of contention, by teaching that greatness or dignity in his kingdom was not to be estimated according to worldly maxims or principles, -not by the amount of wealth which a person may amass, nor by the splendor of his talents or acquirements, nor by the height of his official station ; but that in God's esteem, a man is "great” in proportion as he possesses a humble and benevolent mind—a disposition to do or to suffer whatever may be necessary to the good of others—a disposition
not to be served, but to serve.” Hence his own example was proposed for their imitation. A similar lesson was taught the apostles the evening before the crucifixion, when Jesus washed their feet.
The disposition of mind which was thus made the standard of dignity or greatness is the spirit of obedience. Hence, in the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these
least commandments,” or even the least of these commandments, “and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;" but whosoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. v. 19. On the same principle he also said "Love your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be called the CHILDREN OF THE HIGHEST; for He is good unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke vii. 35. The same disposition is by Paul denominated love or charity. 1 Cor. xiii, which he says “ suffereth long and is kind-envieth not-vaunteth not itself—is not puffed up-doth not behave itself unseemly—seeketh not her
This, too, is what James calls the “ wisdom that is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entieated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy;" and this he mentions in contrast with that diabolical wisdom whence cometh envying, strife, confusion and every evil work.” See James iii. 14
Possessing in perfection the humble, peaceable and benevolent temper,
" the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many?" In view of this glorious example,
we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." The meaning is supposed to be this, that Christians should possess the same disposition that was displayed by Christ, and be ready to do or to suffer whatever may be necessary for the happiness of others, or the good of the Messiah's kingdom.