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BY JAMES BUCHANAN, D.D., EDINBURGH. On a superficial view of the state of society, it precious privilege, and the other a perilous demight seem as if the majority of mankind were lusion. assured of their safety, and little, if at all, im- There is a true peace, which the Gospel is depressed with a sense of fear in regard to the signed and fitted to impart; for it is described state and prospects of their souls. Except in as “the Gospel of peace” (Rom. x. 15)—“ the some rare cases of sharp conviction or spiritual word which God sent, preaching peace by Jesus awakening, they contrive generally to say to Christ” (Acts x. 36); and the Gospel rightly themselves, “ Peace, peace;" and often succeed understood and really believed, never fails to in allaying every apprehension of danger, and impart some measure of peace; for“ there is joy cherishing a careless, but confident security. and peace in believing." It reveals God as There are a few everywhere, who, having be very God of peace” (1 Thess. v. 23); it unfolds awakened to serious thought, and stirred up to his covenant as “the covenant of his peace earnest inquiry, have discovered a sure ground (Isa. liv.10; Ezek. xxxiv. 25); it points to Christ of hope, and have thus arrived at
as the “ Prince of Peace” (Isa. ix. 6); nay, as wbichi passeth all understanding, and which being himself “ our propitiation,” and therekeepeth their mind and heart through Christ fore“ our peace.”--Eph. ii. 14:–His ministers Jesus." But there are many more who have are called “ ambassadors of peace," and his rever reflected at all, or have only bestowed people, “ sons of peace.” And this true peace is 2 hasty and occasional thought on their state described as the gift of God: “The Lord of peace and prospects as subjects of the divine governgive you peace always by all means” (2 Thess. ment, whose peace seems to be seldom disturbed iii. 16)—as the purchase and legacy of Christ: : by the intrusion of any anxious fears, and who “ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto ! appear to pass through life in tolerable com you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you: posure and comfort. The negative peace which let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them the latter enjoy, consisting mainly in the absence be afraid”- as the fruit of the Spirit: “ For the of anxiety and aların, is widely different from fruit of the Spirit is peace”-as the present the humble, but holy and heavenly peace, which privilege of the believer : “ For, being justified belongs to God's believing people; yet, there by faith, we have peace with God through our are so many apparent resemblances betwixt the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. v. 1)--as the pretwo, that the one may be mistaken for the other, cious benediction and blessing of God to the or supposed, at least, to be the same in kind, if Church: “Grace be unto you, and peace from not in degree; and it may be useful, therefore, God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ”. to consider both, by placing them in the light of as a constituent element of the new creation; comparison or contrast, and to illustrate the for “the kingdom of God consisteth in righnature of each, while we discriminate the dif- teousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” ference betwixt the two. In doing so, it shall and, finally, as the end and object of the whole be our object to show that there is a rast dif- dispensation of grace; .for this is its descriptive ference betrixt the security of unawakened sinners, motto: “Glory to God in the highest : peace on presuming on their safety, and the hearen-born peace earth, and good-will to men.” The mere defroduced by a discovery of Gospel truth; and to pre- scription of this peace in scriptural language is sent, at the sametime, such practical criteria sufficient to indicate its nature. It springs from or tests as may enable every one to ascertain a believing apprehension of the mercy of God for himself what is the condition of his own in Christ, and rests on the divine testimony as soul.
its ultimate and infallible ground. It is not a There is a true peace and a false—the one a persuasion for which no reason can be given,
nor a presumption built on mere human specu- with “ turning the grace of God into licentiouslation ;—it has its ground and warrant in the ness,” and “continuing in sin, because grace Word. It arises from an apprehension of the abounds"—the doctrine of grace, which, in its rerealed character and will of God, “ as God in own nature, is a “doctrine according to godli. Christ reconciling the world unto himself:" ness,” being perverted, by the deceitfulness of “ The just God and the Saviour;" from an man's heart, into an opiate for the conscience, acquiescence in his own method of salvation and a pretext for sinning without fear. Oh! through the blood and righteousness of Christ; it is fearful to think that many may thus be and from a cordial belief of the great and pre- hardening, under our ministry, by the very cious promises in which He speaks peace to his doctrine of grace which should melt and subpeople and his saints.
due them; and that the very same words which But there is a false peace, widely different from bring true peace to the believing soul, may be this, which prevails extensively in the world, the means of under-propping the false security and which springs naturally from the delusions of the formalist-proving, in the one case, of human error, just as the other does from the “the savour of life unto life;" in the other, discovery of divine truth. This false peace, 6 the savour of death unto death." where it does not spring from utter thought From a comparison of the two kinds of peace lessness, and is professedly ascribed to any which have been described, it will be evident assignable reason, may be traced to three dis- that there is a wide and essential difference tinct, but connected sources; first, To a spirit of betwixt them; but the nature of that diffeatheistical presumption, which, whether com rence may be still further illustrated by a series bined with theoretical infidelity, or appearing of particulars, exhibiting the characteristic only in the form of practical ungodliness, prompts features of each, and furnishing materials for multitudes to imagine and to feel as if “God ascertaining the actual condition of our own were altogether such an one as themselves.”_ souls. Ps. l. 21:—they secretly persuade themselves 1. True peace is the fruit of serious thought; that “God will not do good, neither will he do and the more thoroughly its foundation is exaevil”-that he is either too great to regard, or mined, the more sure and stable it becomes:too gracious to punish, sin; and hence practi- false peace is the fruit either of inconsiderate cally, although not perhaps in so many words, levity, or of gross delusion, and cannot stand they adopt the sentiment ascribed to the un- the test of a rigid scrutiny. Here is a wide godly of old: “He hath said in his heart, God difference betwixt the two; but which is the hath forgotten, he hideth his face, he will more likely to be solid in its nature, and pernever see it.” “Wherefore doth the wicked manent in its duration ?- which best befits a contemn God? He hath said in his heart, rational, intelligent, and responsible being ?
Thou wilt not require it."-Ps. x. 11, 13. that which proceeds on a mere assumption, Secondly, It may be traced to slight and inade- taken for granted, without proof, in a light and quate rieus of sin—a source connected with careless spirit, while it relates to interests so the former; for “ he that liath slight thoughts momentous as those of an immortal soul and of sin had never great thoughts of God.” an awful eternity ?-or that which has been Ps. I. And, thirdly, These sources of false the result of a careful trial, of a serious exerpeace are replenished with fresh supplies drawn cise of thought, and an earnest inquiry after from the fountain of grace and truth itself; truth? In the one case, there has been heartfor the carnal security of many an uncon- felt anxiety on a subject seen to be one of verted man is sustained, there is too much urgent and awful interest; and that anxiety reason to fear, by a vague apprehension of has been removed only by a clear apprehenmercy, derived from the words of Scripture, illsion of the ground of a sinner's hope; in the understood, and worse applied; such an appre-other, there has been no distress of mind-no hension of mercy as may be produced by the deep or abiding sense of sin--no awakening mere occurrence of such expressions as these : conviction of danger; or, if misgivings and “God is merciful ;"—“ He has no pleasure in fears have been occasionally felt, they have the death of the sinner;"—“ He waiteth to be been stified and repressed by a strong effort gracious, and is ready to forgive." These, and to believe that they were visionary and groundsimilar expressions occurring frequently in less-not appeased or removed by a discovery Scripture, and often addressed to the careless of Gospel truth. You cannot fail to see, not from the pulpit, may serve, when divorced from only that there is a wide difference betwixt the scheme of divine truth, and considered these two states of mind, but that the one is, isolated and apart, to engender a false and pre- at least, more likely to be safe and sure than sumptuous confidence, which, although pro- the other. Is yours, then, a peace that springs fessedly resting on a part of God's revealed from serious thoughtfulness, that rests on intruth, is, nevertheless, a fatal delusion, and has telligible reasons, and can bear to be tested by nothing in common with the peace of God's truth?—or is it a peace springing from ignochildren, which rests on the whole testimony rance, that can live only under the shade of of the Word, and not on any partial or de error, and which a single ray of Heaven's light fective view of it. For many are chargeable would scathe and destroy?
TRUE AND FALSE PEACE.
2. True peace is the fruit of a licely faith— all-seeing witness; that awful prerogative grasping the whole counsel of God, and apply- which He claims as the rightful sovereign and ing it to our own case ;-false peace is the the supreme judge;--he can think of all these fruit either of total unbelief, or of partial and without the consciousness of a wish that God's defective ricus of revealed truth. The one is character were, in any respect, other than it
peace in believing” (Rom. xv. 13), the other really is; and the clearer his views become, is peace in not believing. In the former case, the more stable is his peace and hope—just bethe believer surveys the whole range of re-cause he has been taught how all the attributes vealed truth; and, while he finds many mys of the divine nature may be glorified in his teries there-many depths which he cannot salvation—how harmoniously they co-operate in fathom, many difficulties which he cannot the work of grace, and how Jehovah can be at solve-he discovers enough to lay a sure and once the just God and the Saviour. He has solid ground of present peace and future hope: seen “the light of the knowledge of the glory of he acquiesces in God's method of salvation; God in the face of Jesus Christ;" and henceand were his faith in it perfect, his peace would forth the brighter manifestation of that glory to be perfect too: it is never disturbed, except himself and others, is the one grand object of through the influence of remaining unbelief, his habitual desires and aims. How diffeand is ever most lively when he has the clearest rent the false peace which cannot endure the views, and the most realizing impressions, of thought of God as he is!—which depends on a things unseen and eternal. How different, partial view of his character—which demands how opposite from this, is the false peace the excision of holiness, or justice, or faithfulwhich depends for its being on the disbelief or ness, or sovereignty from the list of Jehovah's exclusion of some part or other of God's attributes; and which, when this concession is truth! Yet how many cherish that peace which made, remains indifferent to his glory; if that unbelief alone begets, and which faith would concession be refused, is bitterly opposed to it ! atterly destroy! It may be said of multitudes, Can it be a safe peace—can it be other than a that their peace springs not so much from the perilous delusion which men indulge, when they faith of Christ's Gospel, as from disbelief of God's are constrained to divest God of his essential luu. They may not profess infidel or sceptical perfections or prerogatives, if they would sucopinions; on the contrary, they may make a ceed in maintaining it undisturbed, or, at least, vague, general profession of belief in the Scrip- to exclude one or other of them habitually from tures; but they take a partial view of the great their thoughts? And yet how many are in system of truth which is there revealed; and, this condition !—how many whose peace would whatever is repugnant to their natural taste, or be destroyed, did they conceive of God as he alien from their habitual trains of thought, or is! fitted to quicken and alarm the conscience, 4. True peace cures distress of conscience; they contrive to exclude from their creed, or, false peace prerents or stifles it. CONSCIENCE is at least, froin their habitual contemplation: God's vicegerent in the soul—a witness testifythey live very much as they might do did they ing to the authority of the divine law, marking believe there is no holy God above them-no our conduct in regard to it, warning the transsolemn judgment-seat before them-no dreadful gressor of his guilt and danger, and appealing hell beneath them. Were these unseen things to a higher tribunal_even the judgment-seat of revealed so as to be recognised as great realities, God himself. This moral power exists in all; their present peace would be instantly destroyed. and often, in the case both of converted and And what does this prove, but that their peace unconverted men, it occasions deep distress. It is a mere delusion, depending for its very being was under the lash of an accusing conscience on the success with which they contrive to dis- that David lay in sackcloth, and Peter wept believe or forget some of the greatest truths bitterly, and Felix trembled, and Judas hanged of God's Word — some of the most tremen- himself. This distress of conscience is cured by dous realities of the world that is unseen and the peace which the Gospel inspires. When the eternal?
efficacy of Christ's blood is known and believed, 3. True peace is associated with profound the heart is thereby sprinkled from an evil reverence for God--with satisfaction and de- conscience”-it is “purged from dead works;" light in all his perfections and prerogatives, and and the transgressor has no more conscience of with zeal for his honour and glory;-false peace sin" as an unforgiven thing. And the peace of is combined with jealousy and distrust of God, conscience, which is thus produced by the faith and either indifferent to his glory, or bitterly of the Gospel, is maintained and confirmed by opposed to it. The believer can look to God the habit of holy living ;-the believer “ keeps AS HE IS, in all the fulness and variety of his the mystery of faith in a pure conscience," and perfections, and yet experience a peace which “ exercises himself to have a conscience void of
passeth all understanding." He can think of offence, both towards God and man.” The Gosthat unsullied holiness which cannot look upon pel is thus effectual in producing true peace of sin; that impartial justice which condemns it ; conscience, because the method of salvation that inflexible truth which is pledged to punish which it proposes meets and satisfies the de. it; that pure and watchful eye, which is his mands of conscience, as well as the claims of
God, whose mere vicegerent conscience is. It long as I live.”—Ps. cxvi. 1, 2. It is this that does not proclaim amnesty for sin—it does not gives life and liveliness to the believer's prayers, relax the authority or requirements of the law and brings him frequently to a throne of grace. -it does not, waive or dispense with the high But false peace, as if it carried about with it a perfections and prerogatives of the supreme latent sense of its own hollowness, keeps much at Lawgiver and Judge; but it reveals a salvation a distance from God; it restrains prayer—it has based on the principle of a satisfaction—it pro- no delight in secret devotion, and little sympathy claims peace on the footing of a propitiation ; even with public worship. It may observe the and as soon as the glorious doctrine is under- form—for, by the desperate deceitfulness of the stood and believed, conscience is fully satisfied, human heart, the form of godliness may help to and the very
peace of God, which passeth sustain this false confidence, even where the all understanding, keeps the heart and mind power of godliness is denied; but, apart from through Christ Jesus.”
this use of outward observances, as a means of But distress of conscience is either prevented quieting and soothing the conscience, there is no on the one hand, or suppressed on the other, by longing for God's presence, no love for his felthat perilous delusion which passes under the lowship, and no sympathy with the serious name of peace among unconverted men. The seekers of his face. I know, indeed, no surer false opinion, that God is too great to regard, test of the peace which any man possesses than and too good to punish sin, to which I have this-is it a peace that prompts, or is it a peace already referred as one of the sources of this that prevents, prayer? “ Will the hypocrite spurious peace, often acts as a shield to the always call upon God ?” conscience, repelling every arrow of conviction, 6. True peace is inseparable from the fear and and turning the edge even of the Sword of the hatred of sin, and is a powerful motive to a life of Spirit. Cased in this panoply, many a hearer cheerful and unreserved obedience; false peace sits unmoved under the most awakening minis- secretly encourages the soul to continue in the try; and, as if “his conscience were seared indulgence of its sins, and keeps it from aspirwith a hot iron,” he is utterly insensible both ing after any eminent degree of holiness, whether of his guilt and danger. But sometimes the in heart or life. The peace which is inspired Word, which is sharper than any two-edged by the faith of the Gospel, may be said to be in sword, inflicts a wound: the slumbering con- part the cause, and in part the effect, of new science is startled for a time, its fond dream is obedience. It is the cause, as it is the principle broken, and then, pricked in his heart, the or motive, the source or spring, whence cheerful sinner is either exasperated into rage, like those obedience flows; for it is “the grace of God who were cut to the heart” by Stephen's which bringeth salvation, which teaches us to preaching, and “gnashed on him with their deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live teeth;” or they are stirred up, like those on soberly, and righteously, and godly, in the Pentecost, to inquire, " What must we do to world.”—Tit. ii. 11, 12. And it is also the effect, be saved !" But here the same perilous delu- as it is the result of a believer's experience; sion, which has failed to present, is often em
m-“ for to be spiritually-minded is life and peace" ployed to suppress, the misgivings of conscience. (Rom. viii. 6); and, “ The work of righteousness It is at hand, as an opiate, to deaden the shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness pain of that wound, and thus the hurt of quietness and assurance for ever.”—Isa. xxxii. many is healed slightly, because they say to 17. The Gospel, which is “the Word of peace," themselves—“ Peace, peace, when there is no is also “ a doctrine according to godliness;". peace.” Oh! on that awful day when the secrets and no one can enjoy the peace which that Word of all hearts shall be disclosed, how many scars imparts without being brought, at the sametime, will be brought to light !--the marks of wounds under its purifying influence and sanctifying once inflicted by the Sword of the Spirit, which power. But false peace makes men easy and have been allowed to close and fester, without indifferent about sin and duty; it secretly enany radical cure; and how solemn the reckon- courages them with the hope of impunity, and ing that must then be made for so many con- thereby tempts them to continue in the indul. victions stifled, so much resistance to God's gence of their favourite lusts and passions; it truth, and so much deceitful tampering with represents the heights of holy living as inconscience itself !
acces sible, or, if accessible at all, steep and 5. True peace is ever found in union with love arduous in the ascent, and not necessary to to God, and delight in his fellowship; while be reached for securing their safety. Thus false peace is consistent with great and habi. "ungodly men turn the grace of God into licentual estrangement from God and his service. tiousness,” and “continue in sin, because grace The peace which arises from an apprehension abounds." of God's pardoning mercy, draws the heart to 7. True peace is perfected at death, when false God. Mary loved much, because “ much had peace is utterly broken up and destroyed. Death been forgiven;" and David said: “I love the is the king of terrors, and his approach, even Lord, because he hath heard my voice and although he be the last enemy, may sometimes my supplications; because he hath inclined his appal the courage and disturb the peace of the ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as believer himself; but the grounds of his hope are
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH_THE REV. JOHN WILLIAMS.
adequate to sustain him even in that last conflict;
UNION OF CHRISTIANS. and when he is enabled to realize the presence
OUR earthly ties are weak, and promise of God, he can joyfully exclaim :
Whereon we dare not rest; "Yea, though I walk through the dark valley of For time dissolves and death will break the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for The sweetest and the best. thou rt with me; thy rod and thy staff they
Yet there's a tie which must remain, comfort me.” As death draws nigh, he com
Which time and death assault in vain. mits his soul into God's hand, saying, “ Lord,
The kindred links of life are bright, now lettest thou thy servant depart in eace,
Yet not so bright as those according to thy word; for mine eyes have
In which Christ's favour'd friends unite,
And each on each repose. seen thy salvation.”—Luke ii. 29. Then “he
Where all the hearts in union cling lifteth up his head, knowing that his redemp To Him, the centre and the spring. tion is drawing near;” and after death, his
The friends of Jesus, join'd to think pesce will be perfect and perpetual, “ Mark the
With one desire and aimperfect man, and behold
the upright; for the end A chain, wherein link answers linkof that man is peace.”—Ps. xxxvii. 37. As soon
A heavenly kindred claim; as the silver cord is broken-as soon as the con And O! how sweet, wherein each mind nection between soul and body is dissolved-his A throb to echo theirs they find ! emancipated spirit, freed from every fetter, en Though lovely many an earthly flower, ters into perfect rest—“the rest which remain
Its beauty fades and tries; eth for the people of God.” “ When that which But they, unchanging, form a bower,
To bloom in Paradise. is perfect is coine, then that which is in part
Sprung from the true iinmortal Vine, shall be done away;" and the partial, weak, and
In Him they live, and round Him twine. fluctuating peace which the believer enjoyed on earth shall be succeeded by “joy unspeak
Their bond is not an earthly love, 1
By Nature's fondness nursd: able, and full of glory;"_" an inheritance in
As they love Him who reigns above, corruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not Because He lov'd them first, away.”
So they all minor ties disown, But the perilous delusion which passes under The sweetest-for His sake alone. the name of peace among unconverted men will
ANON. be utterly broken up and destroyed at death; not, it may be, by the approach of the last enemy; for
Biographical Sketch. there are some "who have made a covenant with death, and with hell are at agreement, and who
THE REV. JOHN WILLIAMS. go down into the grave with a lie in their right hand.”—Isa. xxviii. 15;--nay, not even the priesage through the dark valley; for such is the desperate malignity of self-deceit, that it would seem, from our Lord's parable, as if John Williams was born in London on the some may come up to the judgment-seat itself, 29th of June 1796, and, in his early years, saying “ Peace, peace, when there is no peace," enjoyed the inestimable privilege of a pious reckoning securely on their acceptance there, mother's training. His mother, in her youthand even claiming it as their due: “ Lord, Lord, ful days, though sitting under the ministry, and have we not prophesied in thy name ?” to whom favoured with the friendship, of the evangelical he will answer, “I never knew you; depart Romaine, had been a careless hearer of the from me!" But if neither the approach of Word, and an entire stranger to the power of death, nor the passage through the dark valley, religion. But soon after her marriage, she was yet assuredly the realities of an eternal world, brought to the knowledge of the truth, and subwill dissipate and destroy this fatal delusion; sequently made it the endeavonr of her life to then “the hypocrite's hope shall perish;”. do what she could, in her own sphere, for Christ. then, if not before, “the sinners in Zion shall | The religious education of her children formed be afraid; fearfulness shall surprise the hypo- to her-as to Christian mothers it always must crites. Who among us shall dwell with the form--a subject of special anxiety and care; devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with her sense of responsibility in the matter being, everlasting burnings?”—Isa. xxxiii. 14. “Then if possible, increased by the fact, that her partshall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall ner was not at that time, nor, indeed, during on us, and to the hills, Cover us; hide us from her life, “like-minded” with herself. And acthe wrath of God, and of the Lamb.”—Luke cordingly, besides the exercise of that hallowing axiii
. 30. Then “God shall sweep away every influence which must ever attend the daily walk refuge of lies” (Ezek. xiii. 10); and the wall and conversation of a Christian mother, we are which was daubed with untempered mortar told that “every morning and evening she conshall fall, and the conscience that was drugged ducted them to her chamber for instruction and with the opiate of false doctrine shall awake, prayer; and there, with a simplicity and freedom and the sinner shall meet God, face to face, as to which, in after years, her son was accustomed "a consuming fire.”
to refer with grateful pleasure, gave expression
MISSIONARY TO THE SOUTH SEAS.
PART I.-THE CONVERT.