Negotiations for Peace
“Preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all).”— Acts x. 36.
THESE words were addressed to an admirable congregation, all met with an earnest purpose, all conscious that they were in the presence of God, all like good soil that had been ploughed and prepared for the good seed. Happy preacher to have such a congregation. God make this congregation to be of the same sort. The preacher also was a right faithful messenger from heaven. No sooner did Peter know that he was commissioned to the Gentile centurion and his household, than he came to his house; and when he found himself surrounded by the family and their friends, he girt up his loins for his work, and gave his whole soul to his subject. Peter goes straight to his business; there is no beating about the bush, no prefatory apology, but he begins to preach Jesus Christ spoken of by prophets, seen by apostles, hanged on a tree, and risen again on the third day. It is well when the preacher feels that preaching is no mere display, and is not intended to be an opportunity for him to show how excellent an orator he can be. The true ambassador for Christ feels that he himself stands before God, and has to deal with souls in God’s stead as God’s servant, and therefore has no time for considering the graces of oratory and the tricks of rhetoric, but must speak from his inmost soul the word of the Lord. Every preacher stands in a solemn place— a place in which unfaithfulness is inhumanity to man as well as treason to God. To be false to our charge will cast us into the deepest condemnation; to be hurled from a pulpit into hell will be to perish indeed. See ye, then, that both the congregation and the preacher are peculiarly in God’s presence in their solemn assemblies, and should feel and act accordingly. Pray ye for us and for yourselves that we both may so behave before the Lord, that our assembling together may not increase our sin, but may prove to be a rich and lasting blessing.
We have in the text before us the subject upon which Peter treated in his sermon to Cornelius and his friends. He seems to have taken it for granted that men are at war with God, that even the attentive congregation before him, though consisting of the best of men, were by nature at enmity with their Maker, lie speaks therefore as an ambassador desirous of establishing a better state of things, and tells them that he has come to preach peace by Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. I shall this evening try to follow his example, and though I cannot do so with equal steps, yet have I in my bosom the same earnest desire for the souls of my hearers as the apostle had. I pray that all of you may be brought to peace with God through Jesus Christ.
First, this evening, I shall give some reasons why those of you who are not reconciled to God should desire peace with him. When we have weighed these I shall, secondly, endeavour to negotiate the terms of peace, and then, thirdly, we shall lay before you a claim or proclamation, which is publicly asserted, and to be universally maintained, namely, that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
I. To begin, then, I shall endeavour to offer to the unconverted REASONS WHY THEY SHOULD DESIRE TO BE AT PEACE.
May I not urge as the first reason that it is not commendable to be at enmity with any of the wise and good. It is best to be at peace with all men, but it is incumbent upon us to be in friendship with holy men. I should deeply regret to have any one for my enemy, but if he were a godly person I should consider it a calamity. If the angels of heaven were opposed to us it would have an ill look, those holy beings would not needlessly take umbrage; but when it comes to opposition to the infinitely good, just and holy God, who in his right mind can do other than bewail it, and desire to see it ended by a gracious peace? Strife against evil, injustice, and tyranny is honourable, but to contend with uprightness, goodness, and holiness is deplorable. No possible benefit can arise from a conflict in which we are on the wrong side. If God be for us, none can successfully fight against us, but to have God opposed to us is in itself the chief of evils. My hearer, “Acquaint thyself with God, and be at peace, for thereby good shall come unto thee.”
The second reason ought to have weight with every honest man, it is this, that the war in which you are engaged is an unjust one. It never ought to have been begun, there was never any justifiable cause for its outbreak; God was unjustly and wickedly assailed by his ungrateful creature. What ought never to have been begun had better be dropped as soon as possible. Sin is war against right, against love, against happiness. Transgression of God’s law is a transgression of commands most equitable and beneficent. To love evil is dishonourable, wrong, unfair, unjust, and the conscience of man tells him it is so. To be at war with God is to fight against truth and justice, and to contend for falsehood, unholiness, injustice, unrighteousness. When men love that which is right, and good, and true, and yield themselves up to God’s will, then the war is over; but inasmuch as the war against God consists in our doing the wrong, and loving the wrong, and thinking the wrong, and clinging to the wrong, such a war, in the very nature of things, ought to come to a close. May the Holy Spirit set this in its true colours, and convince every one of you that not to love God is the most shameful of evils, the most detestable of enormities. How can it ever be justifiable for the creature to contend against the Creator? Shall the clay rise against the potter? Will it ever become a right thing for children to rebel against their parents? The ox fed at the stall will serve its owner; shall it be right that we, being fed by God, should yet refuse him our service? The natural order of the relationship between us and our Creator involves in all justice that we should be conformed to his will. Omen, will ye choose the ways and wages of unrighteousness, and cover yourselves with confusion? Would God there were in you an honest judgment to judge uprightly. Besides, what evil hath our Creator done us that we should go to war against him? What quality is there in him that we ought to hate? What is there that we can justly challenge in the character of God which might righteously provoke our antagonism? Is he not kindness itself? Doth he not overflow with lovingkindness? Sends he not his rain upon the just and upon the unjust ? Doth he not command his sun to rise upon the evil as well as the good? Hath he not sent us fruitful seasons, and kept his covenant, that day and night, seed time and harvest, summer and winter, should not cease? For which of these things should we rebel against him? Some of you are possessed of riches; should you for that cause forget the God that gave them to you? Others of you are in sound, robust health; should you violate the commands of him who gives you this choicest of blessings? We appeal to you, men and brethren, wherefore are you at war with your God? If he were a cruel tyrant, if he were unjust, if he trod you beneath his feet, if his government were malicious and degrading, I could understand your warfare, but it is an evil, an unjust, a villainous war, because the Lord is full of mercy and his name is love. O that men would end their rebellion at this hour, while we summon them to do so in the name of God! Eternal Spirit convince them of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, and lead them to the peace-speaking blood.
A third argument for ending the war may be drawn from the fact that he who began it has been terribly defeated, and is at this moment a prisoner. He who began the war is Satan, the arch enemy. Our first parents did not first rebel; man was the dupe of an older rebel. Apollyon, once an angel, conceived ambitious thoughts, and would fain have become equal with his Maker, but he was banished from heaven by just decree, and then resorting to this lower region, sought out our mother Eve, and seduced our race, hoping to maintain the war against the Lord of Hosts by inciting us to cast off our allegiance. Little has he gained by this stratagem, overwhelming has been his defeat. Hurled from the battlements of heaven at first, he has worn his chain wearily these many years, seeking rest and finding none, dreading that day of wrath when he shall be dragged at the chariot wheels of our divine Redeemer, and then consigned to the hell of old prepared for him. Jesus who once was slain, has led captivity captive. He whose heel was bitten by the old dragon has broken the serpent’s head. Revolt, O man, against the prince of the power of the air; follow him no longer; take up arms against the demon monarch; refuse henceforth to follow his beck and call. What right has the devil to reign over you? He neither made you, preserved you, or blessed you; evil only, and that continually, will he do unto you. Strike for your freedom, strike at once, and shake off his galling yoke. For him the everlasting fire has been prepared; why must you needs share it? The wages of sin will be death; why continue in so unprofitable a service? May God grant that you may escape the wrath to come that knows no end, by turning against your old master and enlisting beneath the banner of your Saviour. Down with the black, sin-stained, sulphureous colours, and run up the red cross. Exchange the black Diabolus for the fair Immanuel, and peace shall come unto you.
These are three good reasons, but there are many others, and among them is this one— the force which is brought against you it is utterly impossible for you effectually to resist It is well when we contemplate warfare to sit down and see whether we are equal to the combat. What man is he that with one thousand can meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Now, consider ye this, ye that forget God. If ye oppose God, with whom is it that ye set yourselves in battle array? Can your puny arm hope to rival the right hand of Jehovah? Canst thou thunder with a voice like his? Were he a creature like yourselves, you might hope for victory. Were he limited in any degree, you might summon all your strength and hold out in the day of conflict; but who can contend against Omnipotence? Who shall stand against the Almighty God? As well might the fly hope to quench the sun when he has already burned up his wings in a candle! As well might you seek to dry up the Atlantic, or bid Niagara leap up the rock instead of down! As well might you hope to stay the moon in its course, or to pluck the stars from their places, as think to stand against God! Nay, if you had all heaven and earth and hell beneath your feet, yet could God overcome you, for he hath made all these things, and can overthrow both them and you with his mere will. Let not the wax contend with the fire, nor the stubble with the flame. Let not man, who is but nothingness, think that he can contend with his Maker. You know already how foolish it is to strive against the natural laws of God, and you will find it equally so to contend against his moral government. A man stands in the way of a steam engine rushing on at express speed; he knows that according to the laws of nature its weight and velocity effectually prevent his staying its course; do you call it courage on his part that he stands on the track and defies the iron horse? It is not courage, it is foolhardiness, it is madness, it is suicide. Yet this is nothing in comparison to what you are doing in placing yourself in opposition to the Lord. God will not alter his laws for you. Why should he? They are just and right, wherefore should he change them? Fire will burn, and if a drunken madcap persists in thrusting his arm between the bars of a furnace, shall fire cease from its nature to secure him immunity from his folly? If a man expose himself to the rush of an avalanche can he expect the rolling mass to suspend itself in mid air for him? If a mariner will go to sea in a vessel worm-eaten and unseaworthy, will the waves pity the barque and cease from their rough play and rougher warfare? No, they roll around the leaking craft as they would have done around a better vessel; they toss it, they sink it, the careless mariner perishes. If a man will act contrary to natural laws, he must suffer for it. If you dash your head against a granite rock it will not for your sake soften into down; and it is just so with the moral laws of God’s government, certain results follow from sinful courses of action, inevitably and as a matter of course. Yield, then, to the divine wisdom which has rightly ordained the consequences of sin. Do not necessitate your own destruction. Submit freely where rebellion is absurd. Against Omnipotence it were folly to strive; be wise, then, and submit to the power of the omnipotent God.
Further, remember that any resistance which you may be able to offer to the Lord your God will be carried on at a very fearful price. You will have to bear the expenses of the war which you foolishly prolong. All the time that you resist the Almighty you are doing it at your own risk and hazard. And what is that risk and hazard? Why this, that even if you should yield to him ultimately, so as to be saved, you will regret these sins and these rebellions as long as you live. Even when they are forgiven, your iniquities will be a source of perpetual regret to you, they will be a source of danger and weakness to you as long as you live, for though God heals the wounds of our sin, we shall carry the scars even to our graves. Moreover, if you should never receive the saving mercy of God, remember these rebellions of yours are noted against you, and when the Great Judge comes to deal with you and lay his justice to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, for all this you will have to give an account, for all this God will levy his distraints upon you, and you shall be made to feel the weight of his terrible hand of vengeance.
Furthermore, let me remind you of one thing else, namely, that your total defeat is absolutely certain sooner or later. No man ever did set himself against God and prosper for long. His patience suffereth long and is kind, but there is an end to it. Look at Pharaoh. If ever a man defied God thoroughly, it was that king of Egypt. “Who is the Lord,” said he, “that I should obey him?” He bore up against warnings and actual plagues; each time when he was broken down he defied the Lord again as soon as the pressure of trouble was removed; but when he fancied that the infinite God had emptied out his quiver, he found to his cost that there was yet another arrow left, and that a deadly shaft which would lodge in his heart and lay him prostrate. He said in his heart, “I have outlived the plague of the locusts, I have outlived the lightnings, and the darkness, and the murrain that fell upon men and beasts, who is Jehovah that I should care for any further plagues? I will defy him to do his worst, and fight on to the bitter end.” As he dashes along in his war chariots, with his mighty hosts at his side, hastening to pursue the captives who are fleeing from him, he fancies himself to be omnipotent, but when he finds his wheels dragging heavily in the depths of the sea, he turns to flee from the face of the Lord. All too late was his flight, for God gave the word and the liquid walls which erst had stood like solid masonry, leaped down upon him, and then the haughty king knew that Jehovah could vanquish the proud, and put down the stout-hearted. For this cause was he raised up, that he might be a standing testimony to all generations that whosoever rebelleth against the Lord shall meet with a final and irretrievable overthrow. O sinner, thy fate may not be to be drowned in the Red Sea, but worse than that, thou will be shut in for ever where hope is shut out, and where misery abounds. The punishment of lost souls will prove to them, beyond all controversy, that it is a futile, a bitter, a horrible thing, to be at war with the Lord of hosts. None can endure the terror of Jehovah’s wrath, wherefore is it that they so lightly dare to provoke it? Yield thee, man, it were folly to stand out against God, thou canst not hope to win. Sue thou for peace to-night, and may God send it thee. Without such peace your future is darkened with thick clouds, and the presages of an horrible tempest. The Lord most surely cometh, and at his coming woe will be the portion of his enemies.
“At his presence nature shakes,
Earth affrighted hastes to flee,
Solid mountains melt like wax,
What will then become of thee?
Who his advent may abide?
You that glory in your shame,
Will you And a place to hide
When the world is wrapt in flame?”
Let me tell thee (.and this is the gladdest note that is in my heart to-night), let me tell thee it will be altogether to thine advantage to be at peace with God. It will be for thy present happiness, it will be for thy eternal welfare. A soul at war with God is also opposed to its own best interests, but a heart that has yielded to divine love, that has cast down its weapons, that has closed in with divine mercy, is a soul at peace, at rest, a soul that is ready for joy on earth, and for bliss unspeakable above. Were there no hereafter, it is profitable even for this present life to have God for our friend, but when we think of the eternal future even the most superficial consideration suffices to convince us of the urgent necessity of being reconciled to God. Be wise and consider then, take advice and do that which will be most gainful to thee— namely, seek peace, and yield to Christ who is Lord of all. Meanwhile, my heart’s desire and prayer for thee is that thou mayest be saved, and to that end may the Holy Ghost visit thee, soften thy heart, guide thy judgment, and direct thy will, so that Jesus may henceforth be thine, and be thy peace.
II. Now I shall turn, in the second place, to DECLARE THE TERMS ON WHICH PEACE MAY BE NEGOTIATED. I come with a white flag tonight. I ask for a parley, an armistice, a truce. God, meanwhile, holds back his thunderbolts, and bids the sinner live while mercy is proclaimed to him. Wouldst thou have peace, then? Art thou in earnest for friendship with thy God? Then learn that first of all the great sine qua non is, that peace be made through an ambassador nominated of God, namely, his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Here, in the text, it says, “Preaching peace by Jesus Christ.” There will be no peace between God and any man who despises the person, name and work of Jesus Christ. Reject that name, and there is no other whereby you can be saved. This is the foundation for peace which was laid of old, and other foundation can no man lay. Hear thou, then, and let all difficulty vanish from thy mind, while we speak of that excellent, that all glorious Person whom the Lord has set forth as heaven’s Plenipotentiary, the Ambassador of the Eternal. This Jesus Christ is God himself— God over all blessed for ever; knowing the mind of God, and able to negotiate with Divine authority. But he is also man— man such as thou art— man of the substance of his mother, most truly and really man, and, therefore, he is fitted to deal graciously with man. Oh, then, because he is thy brother, accept him as ambassador. He is fit to be a daysman, and an arbitrator, and a mediator, since he has sympathy with thee, and yet has equality with God. If you yourself had the choice of an umpire you could not select one so every way fitted for the office. His love to you, his goodwill to our poor fallen race, his assumption of our nature, his death in mortal form, all should lead you to commit your case into his faithful hands. God lead thee to do so at once, for the matter is urgent.
Now further, concerning the negotiation, I would say to thee, O enemy of God, that the great difficulty is put away which might have prevented peace between thee and God; for the justice of God which thou hast provoked has been satisfied by Jesus Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus has made recompense for the injury done by human sin. There is no difficulty now on God’s part; no difficulty in forgiving any sinner that believes in Jesus Christ. Thy sin was a great stone which lay at the door, but it is rolled away because Jesus died; let that comfort thee. If thou art anxious to have peace, God’s terms are these (I call them terms for want of a better word, but I mean no legality thereby); he asks no price of thee, he demands no millions of money, nay, he demands no pounds at thine hands. If thou hadst the wealth of the Indies, the Lord would despise such a bribe. If he were hungry, he would not tell thee; if he were thirsty he would not come to thee for drink, for Lebanon would not be sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof for a burnt sacrifice. He asks no gold from thee, he asks no suffering from thee, no passing through dreary penance, or horrible despairing. It would be no satisfaction to him to see thee suffer. He delights in happiness, he is pleased to see us happy when it is safe for others that we should be so. Neither does he ask thee to achieve merits to bring to him. Thou couldst not if he should demand it. Thou hast sinned before and will sin again. All hope for thee to make up the faultiness of the past by the perfection of the future is gone. Thou hast broken the law— thou canst not keep it. If thou shalt labour after life under the covenant of works, thou must perish. God, therefore, does not ask thee to save thyself by thine own works, but he graciously tells thee that he is full of mercy, full of compassion, delighting to forgive, ready to pass by thy sins, and that at once. Here is all that the Lord asks of thee, and this he will enable thee to do — trust unfeignedly in his only-begotten Son. On the cross Jesus suffered, turn thine eyes to that cross. He rose again, he ascended to heaven— trust him to save thy soul, because he ever liveth to make intercession for thee.
“All the doing is completed,
Now ’tis ‘look, believe, and live;’
None can purchase his salvation,
Life’s a gift that God must give;
Grace, through righteousness, is reigning,
Not of works, lest man should boast;
Man must take the mercy freely,
Or eternally be lost.”
Then down with thy weapons of rebellion; surrender them, confess that thou hast erred, confess it in thy Father’s own bosom. Conscious of his love, be conscious of thy sin. Confess that thou hast done wrong. Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord. Nurture not within thy bosom the viper that will be thy destruction. Pluck it out and hurl it from thee in the strength of him that died to save thee.
Now, is this hard? Are these severe demands? Is it a hardship to confess the wrong which thou hast done? Is that too much? Is it not reasonable that thou shouldst do it? Thou canst not be healed, and continue to wound thyself. How canst thou hope that the poison will be extracted from thy veins while thou dost continue to drink it? Nay, plan, look to the cross, and hate thy sin, for sin nailed the Wellbeloved to the tree. Look up to the cross, and thou wilt kill sin, for the strength of Jesus’ love will make thee strong to put down thy tendencies to sin. Well, but, sayest thou, “Is there nothing for me to bring, nothing for me to do?” Answer, “There is nothing for thee to bring, there is nothing for thee to do, but there is much for thee to take— for thou hast to receive Jesus as thine all in all.” It is thy duty to throw down thy weapons of rebellion, and to say to-night, “Great God I yield; my wanderings now are at an end. I yield my soul to thee, Jesus, come and save me. And when thou hast saved me, help me to obey thee. Behold, I give myself up to thee. Infinite mercy of God, receive me; precious blood of Jesus, cleanse me; Holy Spirit, sanctify me; God my creator, new create me; Jesus, lover of my soul, teach my soul to love thee.” In this way peace is found, even peace through Jesus Christ.
III. And now, thirdly, and to conclude. I have to make public A CLAIM which Peter made on this occasion, when he spoke to Cornelius and his kinsfolk.
I have a claim which ought to be urged wherever the gospel is preached. “He is Lord of all.” This means, first, that Jesus Christ who died on Calvary, is in the mediatorial kingdom, which his Father has given him, Lord of all mankind. He is Lord not of the Jew only, but also of the Gentile; not of one race and nation, but of all the tribes of Adam born. He is Lord of all. Remember that text, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he may give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” The great object of Christ’s mediatorial kingdom is the salvation of the elect; but in order to compass that grand result, power is given to Christ over all flesh, that is over all mankind ; and this last truth is the reason why we are enabled honestly to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven. Because Christ has power over all flesh we preach the gospel to all flesh. Because he is Lord of all we are permitted to preach the gospel to all, and say to all who come within its hearing, “Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely.” Sons of men, the Son of God is King over you. You are not ruled to-day so much by the iron sceptre of an absolute God as by the silver sceptre of the Mediator, Jesus Christ. You are under his government to-day. You may hate him, you may rail against him, but “I will declare the decree,” says the psalmist, “Yet have I sat my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” The heathen rage, the princes take counsel together, but the Lord hath made Jesus Christ the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and under his reign we dwell. This is a most gladsome truth, for thus we live under the reign of sovereign mercy, under the reign of the incarnate God, Immanuel, God with us. Look, O sinner! You needed a Mediator between you and God, and Jesus stands in that place. You want no Mediator between you and Christ, approach him. as you now are, and his gracious heart will gladly receive you. You cannot come to God as king except through a Mediator, but you have to deal with Christ, and may deal with him now? Come to him. You want no one to introduce you. Come just as you are. O may his blessed Spirit sweetly incline you to come, and “kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.”
The text, by declaring the reigning power of the Lord Jesus, shows us most encouragingly the most solid of reasons for yielding to him our trust and obedience. If he be Lord of all, if all things be put under him, then I may with safety rely upon him. This is the Man, the exalted Man, whom we unseen adore, of whom it is written, “Thou madest him to have dominion over all the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea.” Now, the apostle rightly enough says, “But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.” He is reigning on high in heaven, and it is ordained that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Oh, then trust him, for all power is his. He is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins. All his power is linked with mercy. Grace perfumes all his attributes.
Because Jesus is Lord, I pray you my fellowmen to yield him reverence and serve him. Obey him, for he is your liege Lord and sovereign. It ought to be the easier to obey him because he is numbered with the human race. The old history which we learned when we were children told us that the Welsh could not bear the yoke of an English king. They wanted to have a prince born in their own country; and, therefore, their English conqueror brought before them his own son, born in their own principality, and they accepted him as Prince of Wales. God reigneth over us, but that we may love his reign he has anointed his own Son our own Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus the infinite deigned to be an infant; he who sustains all things was laid upon a woman’s breast. There is no man more a man than Jesus, and yet in no respect is he other than equal with God. Let us then accept the rule of Jesus. This is the ladder that Jacob saw, the bottom of which rests on the earth, near to you— your feeble feet may reach it; but the top doth reach to heaven, and now between earth and heaven, between man and God, there is a ladder that never can be broken, by which sinners may ascend to the glory of God. O love him, then ; with all your hearts cherish the name and honour of the incarnate God, Immanuel. Because he is so unspeakably glorious and gracious, serve him with joy and gladness.
Be it also known that Jesus the Saviour must be received as Lord in the souls of those whom he redeems. You must obey him if you trust him or else your trust will be mere hypocrisy. If we trust a physician we follow his prescriptions; if we trust a guide we follow his directions, and if we fully rely on Jesus, we obey his gracious commands. The faith which saves is a faith which produces a change of life, and subdues the soul to obedience to the Lord. Be not deceived ; where Jesus comes he comes to reign. Without submission to his will and word, you are without the safety of his atonement. The ship is saved from the rock because it obeys the pilot's hand as he moves the helm; if it were untrue to the steerage it would perish with the best of helmsmen on board. It is most just that he who bought us, sought us, found us, saved us, and preserves us should have our loving allegiance, and so assuredly it must be, or no peace can be established between us and God. Let us welcome his sway and pray him to exert his power. Be this our daily prayer.
“Almighty King of saints,
These tyrant lusts subdue:
Drive the old serpent from his seat,
And all my powers renew.
This done, my cheerful voice
Shall loud hosannas raise;
My soul shall glow with gratitude,
My lips proclaim thy praise.”
And lastly, let me say, I do not put this to you as a matter of choice as to whether you will or not submit to the will of God and seek reconciliation with him; neither do I speak with bated breath when as a herald, I hereby proclaim Jesus to be both Lord and God; but in the name of him that liveth and was dead and is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and of death— I say, in his name, I demand of you that you obey him, and receive him as the Christ of God. Yield yourselves to him who is Lord of all. Do you refuse the summons that I give you now as his officer to-night? Then take heed what you do, for as the Lord liveth you shall answer for this in the great day of his appearing. Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which crucified him, and you who despise him must be judged by him. If you reject him you shall nevertheless see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and dead. I say, again, then, I come not to you to flatter and deceive you, I come not to plead with you as though my Lord and Master were on equal terms with you. He summons you to surrender, he bids you throw down your arms and accept his mercy. He is not afraid of your opposition, neither does he need your friendship. It is his grace which leads him to invite you to peace. He condescends to treat thus with you whom he might have sent into hell with one word of his lips years ago. If you refuse him you shall answer for it. On your heads shall be your own blood, and in that day when heaven and earth shall pass away like a scroll, you without a shelter, you without an advocate, you without an excuse, shall be banished from his presence to endure the wrath of God. The Lord grant of his mercy that not one of you may stand out against him, but this night, ere another sun rises, may there be peace established on a sure footing between you and God, for Christ is our peace. May you take him and trust him, and be reconciled to God; and to God shall be the glory for ever and for ever. Amen and Amen.