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It is the old wonderful story repeated of Jacob wrestling with God, taking hold of the divine strength and conquering a peace, until the "thou hast prevailed" and "thou hast power with God and with men" is spoken.

The peace of God is

men, and real power

the true source of power with with men is marked by the most serene quiet. Remember what God says of His servant in whom he delighteth-"I will put My spirit upon him, and He shall show judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets." In other words, the enduement of the Spirit is characterized by tranquil strength and noiseless efficiency. The communion which links us to God's power links us to His peacefulness as well.* Let us insist with utmost emphasis that the peace which we commend shall not be sought for itself. This has been the grave defect alike of monkish asceticism and Protestant quietism. A stagnant peace is sure to breed the malaria of doubt and discontent. That which God calls us to inherit is not of this kind. "Oh, that thou hadst hearkened unto My commandments," He says by the prophet, “then had My peace been as a river."+ Like the river which purifies itself by its own motion, which keeps all

* "God is a centre to the soul; and just as in a circle what is nearest the centre is subject to least motion, so the closer the soul is to God, the less the movement and agitation to which it is exposed."Gotthold.

† Isa. xlviii. 18.

the banks green and fertile along which it flows, and which as it widens and deepens takes up the ships of commerce and bears them on its bosom. It is the peace of motion, not of rest; of life, and not of death. Good Thomas à Kempis' counsel to the seeker after peace, that he should find it "in poverty, retirement, and with God," was perhaps the best advice that he knew. But it does not satisfy the heart of one who longs supremely to serve God by serving his generation; and we can understand why a zealous spirit like that of John Wesley should have been repelled by the asceticism of the "Imitation of Christ," while he was led by the perusal of the more practical and humane treatise, the "Holy Living and Dying of Jeremy Taylor, to dedicate "all his thoughts, words, and actions" to the service of God. There are some things which we may pursue as ends, and others which come to us as blessings attendant upon the search after higher objects. Happiness is the accompaniment of virtue; joy is the inevitable reward of well-doing; peace is the certain fruit of whole-hearted consecration to God. But the moment any one of these blessings is sought for itself, it will lose its sweetness and savour. This principle is most clearly set forth by our Lord in that saying of His, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."* Now

*Matt v. 33.

peace is one of the added things which will certainly come to those who trust Christ with all their heart, and serve their generation with all their might; but it will constantly elude the grasp of those who pursue it merely for itself.

Nothing is said about our keeping peace with God by our toil and striving and watching. The peace of God is promised to keep us. We are not to be over-anxious about it, as though it depended upon our efforts. When Gideon had heard the Lord saying to him, "Peace be unto thee," he built an altar in Ophrah and named it "Jehovah Shalom," the Lord send peace, and then went forth in the way of duty and obedience. Though he had been very self-distrustful, because he was of poor family and the least in his father's house, and though the weapons of his warfare were very contemptible, yet he soon got the victory and brough this nation into long-continued peace; so that we read that "the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon." We see that he went forth from peace instead of going forth to seek peace; the altar and covenant of the Lord were his point of departure. Precisely this is our condition as believers. The cross of Christ, inscribed with "Jehovah Shalom," is our startingpoint. Having peace with God through the blood of Christ, we go forth to service; in warfare, in testimony, in toil doing the will of God from the

* Judges vi. 24.


heart, anxious for nothing, and fixing the eye only upon the glory of God. Then as the certain income of our obedience will the peace of God be poured into our hearts. The more the spirit of the world gets possession of the Christian, the more of the world's unrest and conflict will he have; the more he is given up to the guidance of the control of the Spirit of the Lord, the more of God's peace will he enjoy, since "to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Let us rejoice then evermore, both in the work of Christ done for us, and in the work of the Spirit done in us.

By the one we get the righteousness of Christ imputed to us; by the other the righteousness of Christ imparted to us. "And the work of righte

ousness shall be peace; and the effects of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever."



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