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world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you
in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God."** Let the enmity of the carnal mind no longer prevail, but “ acquaint thyself with God, and
be at peace.
What blessings are contained in this single word-PEACE!
In its fulness it is indeed past understanding; although in its leading qualities it may be clearly marked. It contains these delightful particulars — reconciliation with God through the blood of his Son; for “ He is our peace, having made peace through the blood of his cross ;' so that now the greatest sinner, forsaking his sin, and turning to God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, may look up to God as to a reconciled Father, ready to receive him as an adopted Son, and saying to him, “ Be of good cheer ; thy sins are forgiven thee."
* 2 Cor. v. 19, 20.
Connected with reconciliation with God, this peace contains an approving conscience. For whilst a deep sense of the evil of sin will always be retained by the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ-since even before the throne they virtually acknowledge their former transgressions, saying, “ Thou art worthy, for thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood,”—hast released us from that bondage into which sin had brought us—still having that precious blood now by faith sprinkled upon their conscience, they “are cleansed from all dead works to serve the living and the true God.” The guilt of their transgressions no longer remains upon them; . neither does their pollution : for “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all
He has washed them in that fountain which the Lord opened for sin and for uncleanness ;t so that at the very time they lament their many short-comings, they have confidence towards God, by virtue of the atonement.
* 1 John i. 7.
t Zech. xiii. 1.
To this approving conscience, as another quality of peace, may be added a contented mind. For whilst the nature of man is such that it cannot but have its preferences-prefer, for instance, the soft zephyr to the rude storm; the smile of friends to the frown of enemies; the sweet calm of a summer's eve, to the darkness and blackness of a winter nightstill he who has the blessing of peace, knows “ that all things work together for his good;" that God can bless the severest trials, clear the darkest skies, give day for night, yea, even make drops of sacred sorrow rise to rivers of delight. Therefore, even in tribulation, when he has peace in his soul, the Christian is enabled to say, “ It is the Lord ; let him do as it seemeth him good.”
“ I'll welcome all thy sovereign will,
For all that will is love :
To this may be added, as a still further quality of peace — a loving heart. For having the Spirit of peace dwelling in
his heart, and He being the Spirit of love, he sheds abroad in the heart that charity “which suffereth long, and is kind; which is not easily provoked ; which thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” Such are the qualities of that peace which our blessed Saviour directed his servants to proclaim wherever they entered— “ Peace be to this house."
These were the first words they were to speak. They were to make known that the God of peace was willing to be reconciled to them through his Son; and to give them, with this reconciliation, an approving conscience, a contented mind, and a loving heart.
Allow me, then, my beloved friends, now that the kind providence of God permits me once more to meet with you in this temple of “ the God of peace,” in which this message has so frequently been proclaimed ;—permit me, I say, to inquire if this blessing be now yours.
Has the gospel of peace been so brought home to your heart by the Spirit of peace, that we meet to-day in a measure as I would desire to meet with you in that temple not made with hands; where no fear, no doubt, no anxiety will enter; but where peace and love, and fulness of joy, shall reign for evermore ?
It is a most momentous question. You cannot too deeply feel that all-important truth which many, alas! do not realize, that the ministers of Christ have a far higher office to execute than to give a temporary glow to the feelings, or a transient pleasure to an intellectual mind. They are sent to be instruments of communicating a peace which the world can neither give nor take away.
But the infinite importance of attaining this
peace, will more strikingly appear from a second lesson which this narrative affords us—namely:
THE AUTHORITY with which our Lord has invested his faithful ministers. This will be seen by attending to the solemn declaration our Lord makes. This is his striking language :
“ But into whatsoever city ye enter,