THE apostle to the Gentiles, in his epistle to the church of God, at Rome, has given us the following salutary exhortation, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men;” and this exhortation applies with equal force, to all the sons of God; not only are they to be at peace among themselves, in their social and religious relations, but as much as in them lieth, to live peacebly with all men. It is certainly very far from the disposition, temper, and spirit of the christian, to wish to indulge in broils, tumults, contentions, and warfare with any; but they are more especially averse to disunion in the church of God; there they find it good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity. But the question arises, to what extent, or how far doth it lie in the saints to live peaceably with all men? Christians may be involved in contentions from various causes, sometimes from their own injudicious movements, or their errors in faith or practice, they may be thus involved; and when this is their case, they are admonished to correct the wrong. This correction devolves upon them. The apostle would even sacrifice some things which were, under other circumstances, lawful to him, as eating of meats, &c., rather than break the peace of Zion. But contentions more generally arise between the humble followers of the Lamb, and false professors and the world, from causes far, very far from their control. When, for instance, the truth or order of the gospel of Christ, becomes the ‘matter of contention, there is no compromise to be made of truth and gospel order for the sake of peace with men. This lieth not in them. That is, there is no power or authority vested in them as christians, to accommodate their faith and practice to the views of others, to insure peace. Such peace would be exceedingly dishonorable to the cause in which they are engaged, and a direct violation of the laws of the kingdom of Christ.
The people of God are commanded to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Earnestly, not carnally, by the use of carnal weapons, or by inflicting injuries upon the persons of their enemies. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written; “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Therefore, “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink, &c. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” From these scriptures it will, it does appear, how far it lieth in the christian to preserve peace. He is required to live soberly, righteously and godly, in the present world, to abstain from all appearance of evil, giving no occasion to Jew or Greek to speak reproachfully of the cause; but to go beyond this they have no right: and any peace which they can eflfect by forsaking the cause of truth and righteousness, is not worth a name. We know by our own experience, and by divine revelation, that all who are so favored of the Lord as to be able to live godly, shall suffer persecution.
Let it be remembered since the fall of man from his original purity and innocence, there has never been enjoyed among his fallen race, anything like a solid peace, either civil or religious, which has not been generally obtained at the expense of blood. To obtain the civil and religions rights which we now enjoy in this country, our fathers’ blood was poured forth in torrents, and their bones were scattered over the soil of our widely extended country. That peace which has flowed unto the people of God like a river, cost the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sweet communion, peace and fellowship, now prevailent among the Old School Baptists, has cost a long and sore conflict with the armies of the aliens.
Bitter as time world and anti-christ are against God, and against all that is good and holy in the divine estimation, they are now, and have been, ready to make a treaty with the church, providing she would accede to the terms proposed by the world. Eighteen hundred years ago, the world pronounced their terms, “Let him come down from the cross and we will believe on him.” But these terms were not accepted by the good Master then, nor by the apostle, who said, if he yet pleased men, he was not the servant of Christ. The offence of the cross had not ceased among the Baptists in the apostolic age. We are well persuaded that the new light Baptists are grossly mistaken in supposing that the world is becoming evangelized, and less averse to the gospel of Christ, than formerly; less at war, and more at peace. The true secret is, instead of the world’s making peace with the church, the professed church, has made peace with the world, and that by accepting the dishonorable terms so long ago rejected by the Lord and his apostles. Instead of the world joining the church, the professed church has joined the world; the world has corrupted the church. So far from resulting in the peace of Zion, these amalgamations have served to organize all the united powers of earth and hell under a religious, and professedly christian name, to wage war with the remnant of the saints, who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is therefore impossible that the people of God should live peaceably with all men, while the abominations of Jezebel are so many. 2 Kings ix. 22.
ALEXANDRIA, D. C.,
July 26, 1837.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 392 – 395