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…
It may, perhaps, have befallen some of us to stand by the side of one of those brawling mountain streams which descend from our southern and western coasts into the sea. It rushes with its noisy waters down its stony channel; every pebble rattles in the torrent; every ripple makes a murmur of its own. Suddenly the sound ceases: a deep stillness fills the banks from side to side. Why? It is the broad sweep of the advancing tide of the ocean that has checked the stream and occupied the whole space of its narrow channel with its own strong, silent, overwhelming waters. Even so it is with all the little cares, difficulties, and distractions which make up the noise and clatter of the stream of our daily life. They go on increasing and increasing, and engross our whole attention, till they are suddenly met and absorbed by some thoughts or objects greater than themselves advancing from a wider and deeper sphere. So it is in human things: so it is when in private life we are overtaken by some great personal joy or sorrow. The very image which I have just used of the brook and the sea has been beautifully employed by our greatest living poet to express the silencing of all lesser thoughts and aims by the death of a dear friend. So it is often felt in public concerns, when all petty cares and quarrels have been drowned in the tide of public joy or sorrow which has rolled in upon us from the great world without. All the streams of common life under such circumstances, descending from their several heights, deep or shallow, turbid or clear, have been checked at one and the same moment, have been hushed at one and the same point, by the waters broad and vast sweeping in from the ocean, which encompassed us all alike. Every lesser controversy has then stood still; every personal murmur at such moments has been silenced by the grander and deeper interest which belonged alike to us all. What that figure of the brook and of the tide is in the natural world, what great joys and sorrows are in personal life, what great public events are in the life of a nation, that to every human being ought to be the thought of eternity, the peace of God. From a thousand heights the streams of life are ever rushing down. All manner of obstacles meet their course — the rough rock, the broken bough, the smooth pebble, the crooked bank. Each and all are enough to ruffle those shallow waters, and to obstruct those narrow torrents. But there is, or there may be, forever advancing into each of these channels a tide from that wide and trackless ocean to which they are all tending; and deep indeed is the peace which those tides bring with them into the inland hills wherever their force extends.
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.