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Unity and Peace

Unity and Peace

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Published by glennpease
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROBERTSON



COLOSSIANS iii. 15. " And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body ; and be ye thankful."
FREDERICK WILLIAM ROBERTSON



COLOSSIANS iii. 15. " And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body ; and be ye thankful."

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 05, 2013
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02/10/2014

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UITY AD PEACEFREDERICK WILLIAM ROBERTSOCOLOSSIAS iii. 15. " And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,to the which also ye are called in one body ; and be ye thankful."THERE is something in these words that might surpriseus. It might surprise us to find that peace is urged on usas a duty. There can be no duty except where there is amatter of obedience ; and it might seem to us that peace isa something over which we have no power. It is a privilegeto have peace, but it would appear as if there were no controlwithin the mind of a man able to ensure that peace for itself." Yet," says the apostle, " let the peace of God rule in yourhearts." It would seem to us as if peace were as far beyondour own control as happiness. Unquestionably, we are notmasters on our own responsibility of our own happiness.Happiness is the gratification of every innocent desire ; butit is not given to us to ensure the gratification of everydesire; therefore, happiness is not a duty, and it is nowherewritten in the Scripture, "You must be happy." But wefind it written by the Apostle Paul, "Be ye thankful,"Unity and Peace 215implying, therefore, that it is a duty. The apostle says," Let the peace of God rule in your hearts ; " from whichwe infer that peace is attainable, and within the reach of our own wills ; that if there be not repose there is blame ;if there be not peace, but discord in the heart, there is some-thing wrong. This is the more surprising when we rememberthe circumstances under which these words were written.They were written from Rome, where the apostle lay inprison, daily and hourly expecting a violent death. Theywere written in days of persecution, when false doctrineswere rife, and religious animosities fierce; they werewritten in an epistle abounding with the most earnest andeager controversy, whereby it is therefore implied, thataccording to the conception of the Apostle Paul, it ispossible for a Christian to live at the very point of death,and in the very midst of danger that it is possible forhim to be breathing the atmosphere of religious controversy
 
it is possible for him to be surrounded by bitterness,and even take up the pen of controversy himself and yethis soul shall not lose its own deep peace, nor the powerof the infinite repose and rest of God. Joined with theapostle's command to be at peace, we find another doctrine,the doctrine of the unity of the Church of Christ. " Tothe which ye are called in one body," in order that ye maybe at peace ; in other words, the unity of the Church of Christ is the basis on which, and on which alone, canbe built the possibility of the inward peace of individuals.And thus, my Christian brethren, our subject dividesitself into these two simple branches : in the first place,the unity of the Church of Christ; in the second place,the inward peace of the members of that Church.The first subject, then, which we have to consider, is theUnity of the Church of Christ.And the first thing we have to do is both clearly todefine and understand the meaning of that word "unity."I distinguish the unity of comprehensiveness from the216 Unity and Peaceunity of mere singularity. The word one, as oneness, isan ambiguous word. There is a oneness belonging to thearmy as well as to every soldier in the army. The army isone, and that is the oneness of unity ; the soldier is one,but that is the oneness of the unit. There is a differencebetween the oneness of a body and the oneness of amember of that body. The body is many, and a unity of manifold comprehensiveness. An arm or a member of abody is one, but that is the unity of singularity. Withoutthat unity, my Christian brethren, peace must be impossible.There can be no peace in the one single soldier of anarmy. You do not speak of the harmony of one memberof a body. There is peace in an army, or in a kingdom joined with other kingdoms ; there is harmony in a memberunited with other members. There is no peace in a unit ;there is no possibility of the harmony of that which is butone in itself. In order to have peace you must have ahigher unity, and therein consists the unity of God's ownBeing. The unity of God is the basis of the peace of Godmeaning by the unity of God the comprehensive manifold-
 
ness of God, and not merely the singularity in the numberof God's Being. When the Unitarian speaks of God asone, he means simply singularity of number. We meanthat He is of manifold comprehensiveness that there isunity between the various powers. Amongst the personal-ities or powers of His Being there is no discord, butperfect harmony, entire union ; and that, brethren, is repose,the blessedness of infinite rest, that belongs to the unityof God " I and my Father are one."The second thing which we observe respecting thisunity, is that it subsists between things not similar or alike,but things dissimilar or unlike. There is no unity in theseparate atoms of a sand-pit : they are things similar ; thereis an aggregate or collection of them. Even if they behardened in a mass they are not one, they do not form aunity : they are simply a mass. There is no unity in aflock of sheep : it is simply a repetition of a number of things similar to each other. If you strike off from aUnity and Peace 217thousand five hundred, or if you strike off nine hundred,there is nothing lost of unity, because there never wasunity. A flock of one thousand or a flock of five is justas much a flock as any other number.On the other hand, let us turn to the unity of peacev.-hich the apostle speaks of, and we find it is somethingdifferent ; it is made up of dissimilar members, withoutwhich dissimilarity there could be no unity. Each isimperfect in itself, each supplying what it has in itself tothe deficiencies and wants of the other members. So, if you strike off from this body any one member, if you cutoff an arm, or tear out an eye, instantly the unity isdestroyed ; you have no longer an entire and perfect body,there is nothing but a remnant of the whole, a part, aportion ; no unity whatever. And this will help us tounderstand the unity of the Church of Christ. If theages and the centuries of the Church of Christ, if thedifferent Churches whereof it was composed, if the differentmembers of each Church, were similar one in this, thatthey all held the same views, all spoke the same words,all viewed truth from the same side, they would have nounity ; but would simply be an aggregate of atoms, the

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