Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled…
The acceptableness and the force of advice depend upon our feelings with respect to the adviser. Now the Counsellor in this case is the Lord Jesus; entirely informed, thoroughly concerned, full of truth as well as full of grace, and so disinterested that He has for us already laid down His life. Look at —
I. THE WORDS THEMSELVES. They imply —
1. The possession of a power of control over our own hearts. Now how is the heart to be controlled? You cannot govern it directly; it is to be governed by means of the thoughts. If you would change the emotions, you must change the thoughts. To think only of our grievous and not of our joyous circumstances — only of the cloudy side of our grievous circumstances (and every cloud over us Christians has a silver lining), is to let our heart be troubled and be afraid. But to call off the thoughts from the circumstances which are grievous to those which are joyous, to think of God "as our refuge, and strength, and present help in the time of trouble," is to check the sorrow and to quench the fear.
2. Responsibility as to the exercise of such control. This is a power which you may not leave dormant. That which, in this case, we can do, we ought to do, because God requires it, and because the doing of it is essential to our well-being and right conduct. The difficulty does not lessen our obligation. God calls us all to do difficult things. The human being who never attempts a difficult thing is but half a man.
3. They do not require that we should harden our hearts against the due influence of grievous circumstances, or shut our eyes to danger or to threatening sorrow; but they do forbid and condemn —
(1) The sorrow which confuses and discomposes a man — which hinders the performance of duty and prevents the use of consolation, and mars the enjoyment of present mercies. A man may be sad, and yet do his work. "He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed." Weeping is not to hinder working.
(2) Fear. A girls' school in New York took fire, and all the children were thrown into the greatest state of excitement. But there sat upon a form one little girl who remained perfectly still. When the excitement was over the teacher said to her, "How is that you sat so still?" "Oh," said the little one, "my father is one of the firemen, and he told me that if ever I was in a building when an alarm of fire was given, to sit still." Your Father is employed in extinguishing the fire that would consume you. And you have been told to be quiet; and this because you can afford to be quiet.
4. Now the whole of this advice proceeds on the assumption that the disciple of Christ has sources of joy counteractive of his sorrows, and that he has no ground for fear.
(1) The Saviour has charge of us individually.
(2) The Father loves us.
(3) A place is prepared for us.
(4) A Comforter is sent to abide with us forever.
(5) Jesus gives us His peace.
II. CASES TO WHICH THEY PARTICULARLY APPLY.
1. Some may be expecting bereavement. Death hath no sting to that loved one, and the grave can gain no victory.
2. Others are now bearing the anguish of the separation which death creates. Special promises are made to you; and He, who superintends the fulfilment of these promises, says, "let not your heart be troubled," etc.
3. Some are anticipating change — change of residence — emigration. Whither can you go from your Saviour's Spirit — or from your best Friend's presence?
4. A few are stretched and tortured on the rack of suspense. The uncertainty is only in your mind. Above, all things are arranged, and will work together for your good.
5. Many are enduring the pains of disappointment. But still there are hopes founded upon rock, of which no man can ever be ashamed. The hope of salvation, of eternal life, of paradise.
6. Diseases, like worms at the roots of plants, are surely bringing many of us to death and the grave — and their destructive work will one day be fully wrought. But death is only the beginning of new life.
7. Poverty, like an armed man, is beating down others. There is but one shield against this armed man — faith; but one weapon — lawful endeavour; and but one cordial and stimulant — prayer. And if you pray poverty, turning your face Christward, you will hear Christ in His sweetest whispers say, "Take no thought for tomorrow," etc.
8. Does persecution rage around some of you as a tempest? "Fear not them that kill the body."
Parallel VersesKJV: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.