Agree with one another, live in peace;
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
As you seek the prosperity of this society, it is of vast importance
that you should avoid contention. A contentious people
will be a miserable people. The contentions that have been among
you, since I was your pastor, have been one of the greatest burdens
I have laboured under in the course of my ministry. Not only the
contentions with me, but those with one another. Contention, heat
of spirit, evil speaking, and things of like nature, are directly contrary
to the spirit of Christianity, and did, in a peculiar manner, tend to
drive away God’s Spirit from a people, and to render all means of
grace ineffectual, as well as to destroy a people’s outward comfort and
welfare. Let me therefore earnestly exhort you as you would seek your
own future good hereafter, to watch against a contentious spirit (1 Pet.
3:10-11). I would particularly advise those that have adhered to me
in the late controversy, to watch over your spirits and avoid all bitterness
towards others. However wrong you may think others have been,
maintain with great diligence and watchfulness a Christian meekness
and gentleness of spirit; and labour, in this respect, to excel those who
are of a contrary part. And this will be the best victory, for ‘he that
rules his spirit, is better than he that takes a city.’ Let nothing be done
through strife or conceit. Indulge no revengeful spirit in any case; but
watch and pray against it; and, by all means in your power, seek the
prosperity of this town. And never think you behave yourselves as
becomes Christians, but when you sincerely, sensibly, and fervently
love all men, of whatever party or opinion, and whether friendly or
unkind, just or injurious, to you or your friends, or to the cause and
kingdom of Christ.
Jonathan Edwards, ‘Farewell Sermon’, Works, i:ccvi-ccvii
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