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truth, Christ hath said, Blessed are ye, for ye shall see God.
Again said this sacred Preacher: Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of
Blessed are the peacemakers, said the great Peacemaker of Souls. The kingdom of Heaven is all peace.
Blessed is the man, who is willing to go out to meet his neighbour, who has offended him; and can say with royal David, If ye be come peaceably unto me, my heart shall be knit unto you. Who considers, that to render good for evil is Godlike.
Blessed is the man, who endeavours to promote peace in his own family. Behold, how good, and how pleasant a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity. And where envying, and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work.
Blessed are the men, who seek for peace in their own towns. Who as much as in them lieth, without becoming busy bodies in other men's matters, strive to prevent, or curtail, all feuds and lawsuits. Who by soft words do away wrath. Now, says St Paul, there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law with one another. Let nothing be done through strife, or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves. And again, Forgiving one another; endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers in churches. Those who seek not to gender vain disputations; and who are ready to deny themselves in those things, which make a weak brother to offend. Those who put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness; knowing that love is the fulfilling of the law; and that the fruits of the Spirit are love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Brethren, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of peace shall be with you. When we are disposed to censure another, let us consider ourselves well, and we shall be silent. When Christians gainsay one another, then do infidels triumph. When Christians live together in harmony, then do even blasphemers exclaim in wonder, Behold, how they love one another.
Blessed are the peacemakers among nations. Blessed is that monarch, who delights not in the sound of battle, and in garments rolled in blood; whose ambition is not to count his thousands weltering in their gore, and his tens of thousands taken captive; but whose labour is, to beat his swords into ploughshares, and his spears into pruning hooks; and whose ambition is, that his subjects may sit under their own vines, and their own fruit trees, having none to molest, or to make them afraid. How humbling to the haughty crest of the Hero, that He, who could command the Armies of Heaven, hath said, Blessed are the peacemakers. That to Him, the extended hand of friendship should be more glorious, than the triumphing sword in the grasp of the conqueror.
But above all, Blessed, yea, thrice-blessed, are those, who are peacemakers with their own souls. Who for this end are slow to wrath, knowing that the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Who overcome evil with good. Who avenge not themselves. What man is he, that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep then thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile; depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. Is there not need enough, that we should make overtures of peace with our own souls? Doth not conscience accuse us of an evil heart of unbelief? Of hatred, or indifference, towards God? Of opening afresh the wounds of our Saviour? Of resisting the motions of the Holy Spirit? How awful the thought, that if we do not make peace with our souls in time, the Adversary will be at war with them through all eternity.
Let us therefore, among neighbours, in our families, in our towns, in our churches, in the councils of the nation, and above all with our own souls; let us follow the things, which make for peace, that we may be called the children of God.
8. Lastly, said this divine Preacher: Blessed are they, which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It must be a very evil world, in which men are perse
cuted for being good. But it is too true, that the wicked hate the Law, and the book which holds it; they hate the Gospel, and those who defend it. The wicked envy Christians, and their malice accuses them of fanaticism, or bigotry; of weakness, or hypocrisy; of spiritual pride, and misanthropy. But this passing world is a world of probation; this tempting world, but a trial of our faith. Therefore, says James, my brethren, count it all joy, when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. And again, If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but commit his soul unto God in well doing. And says Paul, Be willing, not only to believe, but also to suffer, for Christ's sake. The wicked, says David, plotteth against the just; but the Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming. And says Christ, Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and shall cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake; for your reward is great in heaven. Ye shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, and in the world to come eternal life. And in the Vision of John the Divine, in the Islet of Patmos, when the Angel asked, What be these arrayed in white robes? and John answered, Sir, thou knowest; the Angel said unto him, These be they, which came out of great tribulation.
In every age, good men have been liable to be persecuted for righteousness' sake. Look back among the patriarchs, and hear the blood of righteous Abel cry from the ground; and see youthful Joseph sold by his own brethren as a bond-slave. Look among the prophets, and hear faithful Daniel in the grim lions' den; and behold the Three Worshippers of the true God in the burning fiery furnace. Then come down, and review the perils by day, and the perils by night, of that champion of the truth, Saint Paul; and the banishment, to an Island in the Sea, of the beloved disciple John. Then read of hundreds of others of the noble army of martyrs, of whom the world was not worthy; against whom did false witnesses rise up, and laid things to their charge that they knew not; and who were taken away from the evil to
Last, raise your eyes to the bleeding, dying love of Him, who was lifted up between the heavens and the earth, as if unfit for either; and who, while sublimely agonized he hung, did nothing but pray for his murderers, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Blessed be God! in our good Land, a Christian sees not the grated bars of the inquisition of Bigotry, nor the bloody falling-axe of Atheism. Yet, while this world is our home, Christians must expect to meet, at times, with the malice of the Infidel, and the sneers of the Libertine. But, though mocked, like holy Elisha of old, we must not call down fire from heaven. Though doomed, like God's servant Job, to scrape away with a shard the angry pustules of Satan, we must not curse God. We should the rather, mourn over the plagues of our own hearts. Being reviled, we should bless; being persecuted, we should suffer it; being troubled on every side, we should not be distressed; being perplexed, yet should we not despair; knowing that He, who raised up the Lord Jesus, can raise up us also, and will be present with us; for which cause, we should faint not. Be thou faithful unto death. Blessed is the man, that endureth unto the end. Remembering that, in all these things, we shall be more than conquerors, through Him, that loved us. Blessed be God! who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brethren and Sisters in the Church of our common Lord. What the Preacher from Heaven proclaimed, eighteen hundred years ago, on the Mount, in the Holy Land, is true, on this day, in our land. Time cannot weaken the Force of Truth.
Four First. If, therefore, any of you are poor in spirit, seeking not the perishable vanities of this world, but after more durable riches above; Jesus hath said, Ye are blessed, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
If any of you are mourning, because death hath enter
ed your dwelling, or over the desolations of sin in your own hearts, and ye mourn after a godly sort; to you, Jesus hath said, Ye shall be comforted.
If any of you are meek, having that humility of temper, which becometh the follower of Him, who was meek and lowly in spirit; Jesus hath promised, that ye shall inherit the earth.
If any of you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, more than after fame, or honour, or wealth, or pleasure; Jesus hath said, Ye shall be filled.
Four Last. If any of you are merciful, both to your equals and inferiors, to your debtors and your enemies, to the wayfaring man and his beast; Jesus hath declared, Ye shall obtain mercy.
If any of you are pure in heart, not mocking the Lord with lip-service, while the heart is far from him; Jesus hath said, that you shall see God.
If any of you are peace-makers, among neighbours and townsmen, in the church and the senate-house, and especially with your own souls; Jesus hath said, Ye shall be called the children of God.
Finally, If any of you are persecuted for righteousness' sake; if any of you have to encounter the fiery darts of the Adversary, as you pass along the road of christian duty; to you, Jesus has promised, that yours is the kingdom of heaven.