Peace in the Soul
Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you.—St. John 14:27.
Peace is one of the great words of the Holy Scriptures. It is woven through the Old Testament and the New like a golden thread. It inheres and abides in the character of God,—
“The central peace subsisting
at the heart
Of endless agitation.”
It is the deepest and most universal desire of man, whose prayer in all ages has been, “Grant us Thy Peace, O Lord.” It is the reward of the righteous, the blessing of the good, the crown of life’s effort, and the glory of eternity.
The prophets foretell the beauty of its coming and the psalmists sing of the joy which it brings. Jesus Christ is its Divine Messiah, its high priest and its holy prince. The evangelists and prophets proclaim and preach it. From beginning to end the Bible is full of the praise of peace.
Yet there never was a book more full of stories of trouble and strife, disaster and sorrow. God Himself is revealed in it not as a calm, untroubled, self-absorbed Deity, occupied in beatific contemplation of His own perfections. He is a God who works and labours, who wars against the evil, who fights for the good. The psalmist speaks of Him as “The Lord of Hosts, strong and mighty in battle.” The Revelation of St. John tells us that “There was war in Heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon.” Jesus Christ said: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
It is evident, then, that this idea of “peace,” like all good and noble things, has its counterfeit, its false and subtle versary, which steals its name and its garments to deceive and betray the hearts of men. We find this clearly taught in the Bible. Not more earnestly does it praise true peace than it denounces false peace.
There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked (Isaiah 48:22).
For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace (Jer. 8:11).
If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes (St. Luke 19:42).
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
There never was a time in human history when a right understanding of the nature of true peace, the path which leads to it, the laws which govern it, was more necessary or more important than it is to-day.
The world has just passed through a ghastly experience of war at its worst. Never in history has there been such slaughter, such agony, such waste, such desolation, in a brief space of time, as in the four terrible years of conflict which German militarism forced on the world in the twentieth century. Having seen it, I know what it means.