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THOUGHTS OF PEACE IN TIME OF WAR

“My kingdom is not of this world,” saith the Redeemer. How striking the contrast! While the kingdoms, nations, and States into which human governments are divided are all subject to changes, to invasions, and to decay, the kingdom of our Lord is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion shall have no end. None can successfully invade it for, “Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” And while earthly governments may be involved in war, as ours is at this painful moment, and destroy one another, of the increase of Christ’s government and peace there shall be no end, and of the subjects of his kingdom it shall ever be said, “Behold, how they love one another!” Should it not then be the great aim, in such a time as this, of every child of God to make this striking contrast appear by loving one another with a pure heart? While the children of this world indulge their thirst for marshal fame, and light the torch of war, the true disciple of the meek and lowly lamb of God has a higher, holier, and more heavenly sphere to fill. It is his duty to do good, as much as in him lieth, unto all men, especially to them who are of the household of faith. Their calling is to love one another with a pure heart fervently, and instead of attempting to avenge themselves for imaginary or real injuries, to remember that God has said to them, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay. Leave the adjustment to him who can be swayed by no unholy or impure influences, and commit the keeping of their souls to him as unto a faithful Creator. As by fatigue and labor we are qualified to appreciate rest, and as abstinence and hunger prepares us to realize the sweetness of wholesome food, so the turmoil and strife in which we are involved is calculated to make the christian sigh for home. The wicked are like the troubled sea that can not rest, but great peace have they that love the Savior’s law, and nothing shall offend them. The world has little else for them than tribulation.

“Through tribulation deep,
The way to glory is.

But they shall come up at last out of great tribulation with garments washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Their light afflictions, which are momentary, shall work for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while they look not on the things which are temporal but on the things which are eternal. Our afflictions for the present are not joyous but grievous; but,

“Though painful at present,
Shall cease before long;
And then, O! how pleasant,
The conqueror’s song!”

We look forward for peace, nor shall we look in vain. It is already provided, it is already solemnly pledged, yea, it is already given. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) Of this peace all the saints are made to partake while here below, but what we have is but an earnest of what God has in store for all who love him. The apostolic salutation to the saints is, “Peace be multiplied.” We need more than we at present enjoy; but what we have God will multiply until it shall rise, and as a redundant river flow, and come to us as the waves of the sea. This peace, the apostle tells us, is from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ: it is, therefore pure and heavenly, and such as the world can neither give nor take away.

How refreshing in these times of tribulation to contemplate that in the midst of dire calamities, dissolving nations, crumbling thrones, melting elements, and conflagrated worlds, that “The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.” (Isaiah 32:17) How sweet to enjoy the measure of this peace which is allotted us while here in the flesh, how unspeakably blessed to die in its enjoyment! to close our eyes on all the vanities and vexations of earth, in peace with God, and in peace with all mankind, to go hence to reign in glory with him who is our Peace, and who is the Prince thereof!

“Discord and strife are banished thence,
Distrust and slavish fear -
No more we hear the pensive sigh,
Or see the falling tear.

There sweeps no desolating winds
Across that calm serene abode;
The wanderer there a home shall find
Within the paradise of God.”

It is neither our province nor desire, either as the conductor of this paper, or as a minister of the Lord Jesus, to sit in judgment, to justify or condemn the actions of those who are set in authority over us in the political affairs of our great Commonwealth; for we cannot be disloyal to the powers that be, without resisting an ordinance of God. For our apostle directed Titus to “Put them (the saints) in mind to be subject to principalities, and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work: To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:1,2) Also he has said, “Let every soul be subject to the higher power: for there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7) Observe, this admonition is to all the saints, in all the relations they sustain in the flesh with their fellow beings, servants to their masters in the flesh, children to parents, wives to their husbands, and subjects to their Governments, including every soul, each to be in subjection to the higher power; for these higher powers are ordained of God, and are all subject to his power, and are used by him in the administration of his providential government of every soul. Hence we cannot disregard any of these obligations without disloyalty to God, whose ministers they are. When he uses these, his ministers, for the administration of peace and protection to his saints and for the security of their rights and privileges, let us rejoice and be glad; and if by them it be his pleasure to minister judgments and wrath, let us be still and know that he is God, and that he has ordained that all things shall work together for good to them that love him. He will himself shield and protect his saints, in all their trials and distresses: for,

“God is the refuge of his saints,
When storms of sharp distress invade;
Ere we can offer our complaints,
Behold him present with his aid.

Let mountains from their seats be hurl’d
Down to the deep and buried there -
Convulsions shake the solid world,
Our faith shall never yield to fear.

Loud may the troubled ocean roar,
In sacred peace our souls abide,
While every nation, every shore,
Trembles and dreads the swelling tide.”

Middletown, N.Y.,
August 15, 1862.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 239 – 242