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183

LIII

THE GIFT OF PEACE

“My peace I give unto you.”—John xiv. 27.

BUT a soul may possess the peace of Christ and yet know no end of trouble. Indeed, round about these words of our Lord there are other words which look like unfriendly presences frowning in apparent contradiction. “The world hateth you”; “They shall put you out of the synagogue”; “Ye shall weep and lament”! These are very strange ingredients in a life which is supposed to be possessed by peace. The peace of Jesus is evidently not synonymous with the quietness of settled circumstance. It is not the peace of plenty. It is something which is independent of these. It can co-exist with turbulence. It can go hand in hand with want. The circumference of life may be the realm of storm, while its centre is the home of a profound serenity. The peace of Jesus 184is the harmony of a central and spiritual relation. It is union and communion with God. The soul is at rest. Its vagrancy is over. It no longer seeks a new doorstep every night; it has found a settled home.

If peace were only a matter of quieted circumstances we might win it for ourselves. We could seek and find it in social reconstructions, in juster laws, in more enlightened economy, in ampler comforts, in a larger purse. But if vital peace is supremely a matter of spiritual relations, how is it to be found? And, especially, if it is the restoration of a broken relation, who can reset the disjointed limb and put it right again? This peace is not the work of the will. It is not an acquisition of human ingenuity. It is a gift, and it is the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ. “My peace I give unto you.” He came to bring the wanderer home. He came to change our shifting, rickety tent for a settled abode. He came to end the appalling divorce which is the work of sin. He came to put us right with God, and to transform a sinful and restless vagrancy into a holy peace.

And if we receive the Saviour’s gift of 185peace our life will have two distinctions—and these are only two of the many royalties which belong to the reconciled soul. First of all, we shall see things tranquilly. We shall have an eye “made quiet by the power of harmony.” We shall therefore see things as they are; they will not be out of proportion; nor shall we be deceived by any borrowed plumes. “The eyes of them that see shall not be dim.” And, for a second thing, if we have the peace of Jesus, we shall do things tranquilly. This central peace will affect our activities on the circumference. There will be no fuss, no feverishness, no panic. No energy will lead away in fretfulness and wasteful care. We shall have the strength of stillness. For God’s peace, that surpasses all our dreams, shall keep guard over our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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