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i Came Not to Send Peace

i Came Not to Send Peace

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY WILLIAM EDWARD JELF, B.D.


Matt. x. 34.

Think not that I came to send peace on the earth ;
I came not to send peace, but a sword.
BY WILLIAM EDWARD JELF, B.D.


Matt. x. 34.

Think not that I came to send peace on the earth ;
I came not to send peace, but a sword.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 05, 2014
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I CAME OT TO SED PEACEBY WILLIAM EDWARD JELF, B.D. Matt. x. 34. Think not that I came to send peace on the earth ; I came not to send peace, but a sword. IT would perhaps be difficult to find a stronger proof of the evil in man, than the way in which Christianity has been rejected or misused. Could any ancient philosopher have guessed at the nature and circumstances of the Gospel revelation ; could he have known that it would come in the power of signs and wonders bearing witness to its divine ori- ginal, he would have augured \ for it universal ac- ceptance : had he known that it would disclose those secrets of the moral and spiritual world which had so long excited and baffled the curiosity of man; that it would show us the Divine Being in his attri- butes, counsels, and will, he would have supposed that men would contemplate rather than speculate upon it : had he known that it would solve doubts and assure hopes, that it would reveal the highest motives, aims, destinies, consolations for this life, and bring with it the sure promise of another, he would have looked forward to its becoming the 1111- B 2 LECTURE 1. disputed guide of action : had he known that with these revelations and these sanctions it would set forth universal love as the practical rule of action, he surely would have prophesied for it a reign of trium-
 
phant peace and happiness ; he would have sighed for this more than golden age, which was to come over the world by the will and in the power of the Lord of heaven and earth : and of course all these antici- pations would have been more certain had he known the Jewish scriptures, or had he listened with the shepherds to the tidings of great joy, peace, good-will towards men. How little however can we trust to any antici- pations which are based on man's goodness or wis- dom ! As we look back on the history of the Christian world, that history will be but a sad and awful commentary on the prophetic words of my text. early two thousand years have passed since those words were spoken, and it is scarcely too much to say, that every one of those years has in its private or public records furnished an illustration of their meaning. ot however that we are to suppose that our Saviour is setting forth the will or aim of God in sending Him upon earth; lie is but foreshadow- ing the workings of Satan's malice and human per- versity ; the discords introduced by man into the harmonious counsels of God. Isaiah's prophetic images of perfect peace, repeated as they are in the angels' song, show to us the proper and final, as the words of my text give us the actual and present re- sults of the coming of the kingdom of God. It was indeed to be expected that Christianity LECTURE I. 3 should rouse against itself the fierce and cruel en- mity of the powers and religions it came to over- throw ; and our Saviour's warning may be consi- dered to have had its first accomplishment in the trials which waited on the early profession of the
 
faith ; but even when heathen darkness had yielded to Divine light, even then peace seems to have re- sulted as little from the triumphant as it had from the persecuted state of the Church. Christians in- deed had no longer to fear the frowns or the fancies of the masters of the world, to cower before the enmity of a dominant religion struggling for its very existence; the Church stood erect not only in the sight of God, but in the sight of man ; her warfare with the external world was over; and then Christian rose against Christian with fire and sword ; a man's foes were of his own household of faith. In the very vineyard of the Lord, where the seed of peace and love was sown, there sprung forth armed men ; the very name which lulled the wind and smoothed the sea, roused passions more unruly than the storm, more merciless than the waves ; the very name be- fore which death had loosed his grasp, was made the death warrant of thousands of Christians, not, as for- merly, by those who persecuted the disciples, but by those who gloried in calling themselves the soldiers of the Cross. It was under this sacred banner, and in His all-holy ame, that Christian countries laid waste, Christian cities sacked, Christian populations massacred, bore witness to the meaning of the words, / came not to send peace, but a sword. And though actual persecution to death or bonds B 2 4 LECTURE I. has now for the most part passed away before the milder spirit of the age, yet even in these days it cannot be denied that the Gospel brings war rather than peace. In many parts of the world religion is standing with sword and shield in the attitude of

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