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never hope to attain in this life. So long as there is ambition, extortion, and luxury above us; poverty, idleness, profaneness, and dishonesty below us, no perfect peace is to be enjoyed. But let not these things discourage us : our good endeavours, with the blessing of God, will be sure to succeed in a great measure: and if they should not answer our wishes, here, we shall certainly be the better for them hereafter. Blessed are the peace-makers, saith our Lord, for they shall be called the children of God. He that came down from heaven to promote the great work of peace, will own those as children to God, and brethren to himself, who have been encouraged to follow his example.
Grace and peace, saith St. Peter, be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ: teaching us in these words, that peace will be multiplied among us, through the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ whose word informs us, that we are all brethren descended from the same Father, and have one faith and one Redeemer; we are all fellow-travellers upon the same road to a better world, and ought not to fall out one with another by the way. And here, who can help lamenting, that religion, which ought to
unite men, should ever be the means of dividing them; that the bond of peace should ever become the instrument of discord. It is to be wished, that we were all of the same profession; that with one mind and one mouth we might glorify God. But as this can never be, it is the part of the peaceable man to find -out and esteem what is valuable in all professions, and what may serve in a certain degree as a bond of peace to all. If then there be any man who worships Jesus Christ as God, and depends upon him as his Saviour, and loves the wisdom of Scripture, and sees the vanity of the world, every sincere Christian is a friend to As to the errors there may be in his profession, he has another master to whom he is accountable for them; and it is wiser to lament them with compassion, than to reprove them with bitterness; for that very seldom does any good. Any persons whatsoever, who are seriously disposed to religion, and of a peaceable temper, may find something to agree in, some seat to sit down upon together, if they have but the patience to look for it and how much better is it for them so to do, than to make sport for unbelievers by their jealousies and disputes. Let us then resolve to follow the Apostle's advice, and do all that lieth in us
to live peaceably with all men, for the sake of that present comfort and edification which peace brings with it, and the glorious reward that shall crown it at last. For though we are not able to attain to perfect peace in this disorderly world, they who labour after it shall at length find it, in that holy and heavenly Jerusalem, which will be built as a city that is at unity in itself: peace shall be within her walls, and plenteousness within her palaces. Then shall the flock of God's pasture be unmolested in the land of righteousness; and shall enjoy that perfect rest which remaineth for the people of God, under the direction of that shepherd, who is the king of righteousness and of peace.
BUT AND IF THAT EVIL SERVANT SHALL SAY IN HIS HEART, MY LORD DELAYETH HIS COMING, AND SHALL BEGIN TO SMITE HIS FELLOW SERVANTS, AND TO EAT AND DRINK WITH THE DRUNKEN; THE LORD OF THAT SERVANT SHALL COME IN A DAY
WHEN HE LOOKETH NOT FOR HIM, AND IN AN HOUR THAT HE IS NOT AWARE OF, AND SHALL CUT HIM ASUNDER, AND APPOINT HIM HIS PORTION WITH THE HYPOCRITES: THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND
GNASHING OF TEETH. MATTH. XXIV. 48, and seq.
THE monition here delivered, is in the style of a parable, and contains the history and catastrophe of a careless christian. It is not aimed at all wicked men in general, whether Jews, Turks or Heathens, but at those only, who pro
fessing themselves to be the servants of God, forget him, and go over to the service of the world. So that by the evil servant here mentioned, we are to `understand the apostatizing or worldly-minded Christian, who bears the name of a servant of the Lord Christ, but in practice employs himself in the business of another master, who has gotten the possession of his affections.
If we wish to see a perfect description of any man, we must in the first place be made acquainted with his principles. He appears then to be one, who deceives himself, and says in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming. He lays it down as a principle of action, that no account, at least no immediate account, of his actions will be required. . He has a lord or master, who for a while is absent; and the report goes amongst his fellow-servants, that this lord will return and reckon with him: but this reckoning, in his estimation, is either none at all; or so distant, that he is under no necessity of paying any regard to it. His lord has been absent so long, and wicked men have been so often threatened with his return, to no purpose; that it is more probable he will never return any more.
Principle and practice have as natural a de