An Exhortation to Peace and Unity, John Bunyan
An Exhortation to Peace and Unity
John Bunyan
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John Bunyan was an English writer and Puritan preacher best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. In addition to The Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. After the restoration of the monarch, when the freedom of nonconformists was curtailed, Bunyan was arrested and spent the next twelve years in jail as he refused to give up preaching. “Religion is the great bond of human society; and it were well if itself were kept within the bond of unity; and that it may so be, let us, according to the text, use our utmost endeavours 'to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'”

An Exhortation to Peace and Unity

John Bunyan

[We deem it proper to state, that, though the followingTreatise of Christian Union appears in nearly all the collectededitions of Bunyan’s Works, yetits genuineness has been called in question by the Rev. Mr Philipin his admirable work, “The Life and Times ofBunyan.” Without here entering into this question, wehave separately appended it to the works of Bunyan in thisvolume, and trust that it will not prove unacceptable to ourreaders, especially considering the efforts that are now beingmade to promote the living union of all true Christians who holdthe one Lord, the one faith, and the one baptism.]

Endeavouring to keepthe unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. — Ephesiansiv. 3.

Beloved, religion is the great bondof human society; and it were well if itself were kept within thebond of unity; and that it may so be, let us, according to thetext, use our utmost endeavours “to keep the unity of theSpirit in the bond of peace.”

These words contain a counsel and a caution: the counsel is,That we endeavour the unity of the Spirit; the caution is, Thatwe do it in the bond of peace; as if I should say, I would haveyou live in unity, but yet I would have you to be careful thatyou do not purchase unity with the breach of charity.

Let us therefore be cautious that we do not so press afterunity in practice and opinion as to break the bond of peace andaffection.

In the handling of these words, I shall observe thismethod.

I. I shall open the sense of the text.

II. I shall shew wherein this unity and peaceconsist.

III. I shall shew you the fruits and benefits of it,together with nine inconveniences and mischiefs that attend thosechurches where unity and peace is wanting.

IV. And, lastly, I shall give you twelve directions andmotives for the obtaining of it.

I Shall Open the Sense of the Text

1. As touching the sense of the text, when ye are counselled to keep the unity of the Spirit, we are not to understand the Spirit of God, as personally so considered; because the Spirit of God, in that sense, is not capable of being divided, and so there would be no need for us to endeavour to keep the unity of it.

By the unity of the spirit then, we are to understand thatunity of mind which the Spirit of God calls for, and requiresChristians to endeavour after; hence it is that we are exhorted,by one spirit, with one mind, to strive together for the faith ofthe gospel; Phil. i. 27.

But farther, the apostle in these words alludes to the stateand composition of a natural body, and doth thereby inform us,that the mystical body of Christ holds an analogy with thenatural body of man: as, 1. In the natural body there mustbe a spirit to animate it; for the body without the spirit isdead; James ii. 26. So it is in the mystical body ofChrist; the apostle no sooner tells of that one body, but heminds us of that one Spirit; Eph. iv. 4.

2. The body hath joints and hands to unite all the parts; so hath the mystical body of Christ; Col. ii. 19. This is that bond of peace mentioned in the text, as also in the 16th verse of the same chapter, where the whole body is said to be fitly joined together, and compacted, by that which every joint supplieth.

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