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we eagerly watch, came down, and astonished us with the unexpected news of-PEACE! A knot of neighbours was soon assembled to hear the account: but, though a few rejoiced that a stop would at length be put to the effusion of blood and the cries of widows and orphans, that provisions would be cheaper, trade flourish, and the occasion of much enmity be removed, &c. &c. yet I could perceive other springs at work :-One, who had a house and land to sell, listened eagerly, and hoped Peace would bring Purchasers :--A poor Labourer crossed the road, and tried to edge in his thought, that bread, though fallen, would be still lower :-A Farmer stood thoughtful, but said nothing :-Another, who had served a neighbouring camp, doubted, after all, what sort of a peace this might turn out:- But, our carpenter was loud on the occasion: “ Peace, at any rate,” said he, “ is best for the nation: deals will come down finely now, I'll warrant ye."
We, however, set the bells a ringing immediately, though late on the Saturday evening: we went to church the next day, but thought and talked too much of the Peace, and its consequences; and, on the Monday, we were all alive in preparing to celebrate it. Though I bear the character of a precise and retiring kind of man, I endeavoured to join my neighbours in their expressions of joy. I lighted up my windows: I suffered my children and servants in the evening to be the endangered spectators of the blaze and noise with which the village was filled : I contributed to the ringing, though I feared it would end in drunkenness; and rather encouraged the discharge of guns, squibs, and crackers, though disorder aud mischief were the probable consequences.
But the occasion was great, and I was willing to appear pleased, as I really was.
“ These expressions,” said I to myself, “ of our general joy must not be strictly scrutinised as to the manner.”
At length I put out my snuffs of candles; and, after hearing the narrow escapes of my children from being set on fire by the squibs, and reproving my maid for staying out too late among greater mischiefs than squibs, we retired to rest.
Presently after this came our Newspaper, and amused us afresh. We found that the display which had thrown our villagers into amazement, was but as a rushlight in the general blaze of joy. We read of the ingenious and expensive devices with which the metropolis and other great towns were illuminated ;-of feastings, of processions, of bands of music, of military salutations, and of mail coaches covered with trophies, met by parties, and drawn home in triumph without horses.
“ Well,” said I, “ the occasion is great; and big with benefits of various kinds, far more extensive than we can fully comprehend. What kind of man is he, that can be unmoved? Certainly,
he must be stupid and infatuated to a high degree! -He must be
But, stay a little: -may we not mistake on the other side? May we not be so carried away by a present benefit, as to quite lose sight of a GREATER? Let us think again.—Is the Bible a fable ?- Is time of more importance than eternity ?-Are we, perishing sinners, quite sober in being so alive to temporal events, while eternal ones seem constantly forgotten?—Let us think again—"
Repeating this in different ways, as I sat dosing by the fire-side, my imagination presented to me a number of persons in a vessel at sea, which had nearly been wrecked by a violent storm. The Pilot told them that they could stay but a little while longer on board; but, if they took to the boat, and, by the help of their compass, made directly for the next harbour, they might yet be secure: “but, said he, “ if you stay here, talking of the late storm, and riotously enjoying your escape, we may all yet go to the bottom.” “Hold your tongue, you dull blockhead,” said one: “no croaking here:”—“Tap the cask,” said another: -"A song, a song !" cried a third. Clamour soon drowned remonstrance: and, thus scorning the Pilot's counsel, they sat down together to en.. joy themselves, with their backs to the harbour. But, while the song was singing, a mighty wave rolled, and, (except the Pilot, who had leaped into the boat) they all went down together.
This reverie turned my mind into a new train of thinking. When I first sat down, the present Peace seemed to be every thing, but now it appeared COMPARATIVELY to be nothing. Every thing,” said I, to myself, “ is great or little by comparison. What is this Peace, which seems to carry away the hearts and thoughts of the nation; when compared with the Peace, proclaimed from above through a Redeemer, sung by angels at his birth, purchased by his death, and by which He opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers ?”
The present Peace is proclaimed to a few countries, but the eternal Peace to all nations. Wise men fear the present Peace will still leave us in danger from the seducing arts and deranging principles of our enemies; but the Peace of the Gospel secures its children not only against the craft and malice of the world, but of the flesh and the devil. The present Peace still leaves us under many wants: it cannot relieve us under pain of body or mind: we may still remain erring, afflicted, depraved, guilty, dying sinners: but the Peace of God bringeth a Guide to the wanderer, Comfort to the afflicted, Grace to the depraved, Pardon to the guilty, and eternal Life to the dying. The present Peace may be broken almost as soon as it is made, but the Peace from above has this charter-The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee; neither shall the covenant
of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee : Isaiah liv. 10. Once more: the present Peace, however lasting, can continue but a short time to any of us who have been so animated by the news; but that Peace, which is secured by the promise and oath (Heb. vi. 18) of God to those who flee for refuge to the hope set before them in Christ Jesus, cannot be disturbed by time or death : time but ripens it, and death perfects it. For the righteous hath hope in his death-He shall enter into peace.
In a word, the Peace of God, unlike all other, is proposed most freely to every man: it is attended with no danger: it will meet every want : it admits of no hazard: it can never end. Whoever, therefore, continues madly to despise counsel, and perish in a vessel that soon must sink, let us be wise; let us hearken to counsel before it is too late ; let us take to the boat, and make for the harbour: that while others, like the sottish sailors, think of nothing but the peace and festivity of a moment, we may secure a peace and prosperity which shall last for ever.
I am, &c.