Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Sermons
Characteristics of PeaceG. S. Bowes, B. A.Philippians 4:7
God's PeaceJ. J. S. Bird, M. A.Philippians 4:7
How to Keep the HeartC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:7
Peace ProtectingH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:7
Peace ProtectiveMatthew Henry.Philippians 4:7
The Divine PeaceT. Binney, LL. D.Philippians 4:7
The Peace of ElevationH. W. BeecherPhilippians 4:7
The Peace of GodC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:7
The Peace of GodBp. W. Boyd Carpenter.Philippians 4:7
The Peace of GodT. Binney, LL. D.Philippians 4:7
The Peace of God a ProtectionDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:7
The Peace of God Keeping the HeartC. Bradley, M. A.Philippians 4:7
The Peace Passing All UnderstandingJ. B. Mozley, D. D.Philippians 4:7
The Peace that is Better than Intellectual SatisfactionW.F. Adeney Philippians 4:7
The Secret of PeaceC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:7
The Warrior PeaceAlexander MaclarenPhilippians 4:7
True and False PeaceDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:7
Various ExhortationsR. Finlayson Philippians 4:1-7
The Life of Joy and PeaceR.M. Edgar Philippians 4:1-9
Afraid of JoyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
Amusements in the Light of the GospelDr. Colborne.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian CheerfulnessJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian JoyS. Martin.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian RejoicingC. Girdlestone, M. A.Philippians 4:4-8
Christian RejoicingDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:4-8
Christians Joyful in the LordCanon Chamneys.Philippians 4:4-8
Christ's NearnessMarcus Rainsford.Philippians 4:4-8
Constant Joy in God the Duty of ChristiansN. Emmons, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
JoyWeekly PulpitPhilippians 4:4-8
Joy a DutyPhilippians 4:4-8
Means of Christian JoyH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
No Joy in HeathenismH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.Philippians 4:4-8
No Joy in Infidelity or WorldlinessS. Martin.Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoicing in ChristR. J. McGhee, A. M.Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoicing in GodW. Nevins, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
Spiritual MindednessC. J. Deems, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
Sunshine: a Talk for Happy TimesMark Guy Pearse.Philippians 4:4-8
The Christian's JoyCanon Liddon.Philippians 4:4-8
The Duty of RejoicingH. Melvill, B. D.Philippians 4:4-8
The Happiness of ReligionPhilippians 4:4-8
The Motive for RejoicingJ. Hutchison, D. D.Philippians 4:4-8
The Oil of JoyT. L. Nye.Philippians 4:4-8
The Sphere of Christian JoyCanon Liddon.Philippians 4:4-8
Three Elements of Christian CharacterJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 4:4-8
Uninterrupted Christian JoyH. Melvill, B. D., C. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:4-8
Why Christians are not JoyfulH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:4-8
A Cure for CareT. Croskery Philippians 4:6, 7
A Short Line BestH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:6-7
AnxietyDean Vaughan.Philippians 4:6-7
Be Careful for NothingThomas Spurgeon.Philippians 4:6-7
Be Careful for NothingHarry Jones, M. A.Philippians 4:6-7
CareW. M. Punshon, LL. D.Philippians 4:6-7
CarefulnessCanon Miller.Philippians 4:6-7
Casting Care on GodJ. L. Nye.Philippians 4:6-7
Day of ThanksgivingJ. L. Nye.Philippians 4:6-7
God's PeaceV. Hutton Philippians 4:6, 7
Peace by Tower and Power by PrayerJ. P. Barnett.Philippians 4:6-7
Pray About Little ThingsPhilippians 4:6-7
Prayer Perfumed with PraiseC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer with ThanksgivingW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer with ThanksgivingW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 4:6-7
Preaching and PracticePhilippians 4:6-7
Prevalence of ThanksgivingC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:6-7
Submission Involved in Prayer and ThanksgivingC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:6-7
Thanksgiving the Ornament of PrayerC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 4:6-7
The Cares of Life not to be Unduly AnticipatedH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:6-7
The Ideal ManhoodH. W. Beecher.Philippians 4:6-7
The Prayer of FaithJ. Baldwin Brown, B. A.Philippians 4:6-7
Trust in God the Secret of HappinessPhilippians 4:6-7
Trusting God in Little ThingsW. Arnot, D. D.Philippians 4:6-7
Universal PrayerHarry Jones, M. A.Philippians 4:6-7
We May Pray AlwaysPhilippians 4:6-7
Divine PeaceD. Thomas Philippians 4:7, 8
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. These words direct attention to the highest good in the universe - peace; highest because it implies the existence and development of every conceivable moral virtue. These words suggest three remarks concerning Divine peace.

I. ITS NATURE IS OF DIFFICULT INTERPRETATION. "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding." "That is, which surpasses all that men had conceived or imagined. The expression is one that denotes that the peace imparted is of the highest possible kind. The Apostle Paul frequently used terms which had somewhat of a hyperbolical cast, and the language here is that which one would use who designed to speak of that which was of the highest order." Elsewhere Paul says, concerning the love of Christ, "it surpasseth knowledge;" that is, the knowledge of the understanding. You cannot put it into propositions.

1. Who can interpret peace as it exists in the mind of God? We may have negative conceptions of it, exclude from it that which cannot possibly belong to it and which is opposite to its nature. It is not stagnation. Not the peace of the lake that has no ripple. He is essentially active. It is not insensibility. Not the quiescence of the rock which feels not the greatest violence of storms. He is feeling, the infinite Sensorium of the universe. But what is it? It transcends all intellectual understanding. We cannot measure the measureless, we cannot fathom the fathomless.

2. Who can interpret Divine peace as it exists in the mind of the Christly? The peace of God comes from God; it is the gift of Christ. "My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." In truth the highest states of mind, such as love, joy, peace, cannot be explained. These are matters of consciousness, not logic. You can no more put the divinest and deepest emotions of the heart into a proposition than you could put the ocean into a nutshell. They are things that "cannot be uttered."

II. ITS EXISTENCE IN MAN IS A TRANSCENDENT GOOD. "Shall keep [guard] your hearts and minds [your thoughts] through [in] Christ Jesus." It keeps the heart and mind, it garrisons the soul from every distressing element. what are the disturbing elements of the soul? The three chief may be mentioned.

1. There is fear. Foreboding fears are agitating elements. Under the influence of fear all the powers of the soul often tremble and shake like the leaves of a forest in a storm. But "perfect love casteth out fear," and peace is the fruit of love.

2. There is remorse. Sense of guilt fills the soul with those feelings of self-loathing and self-denunciation which lash Auto fury. But in the case of Christly men this sense of guilt is gone. Being made right, or justified, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

3. There are conflicting tendencies. In every soul there are instinctive tendencies towards. God and the true. In every unregenerate soul there are tendencies towards the devil and the false. These are ever in battle on the arena of un-Christly minds. Hence the wicked are like the troubled sea. He who is Christly is delivered from this conflict. The corrupt tendencies are exorcised, and all the corrupt passions and forces of the soul are brought into one grand channel, and will flow on translucently and harmoniously with ever-increasing volume to the great ocean - God.

III. IT CAN ONLY BE REACHED BY THE PRACTICE OF GOODNESS. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest [honorable], whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report." Whatever minute definition we may give of these terms, they all stand for the elements of moral goodness; and to these elements we are bidden to give a practical regard. "If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." The practice of the morality of Christ is the ladder by which alone we can climb through all that is dark and tumultuous in the atmosphere of the soul into the pure heavens of peace. It is the "doer" of the Word that is blessed, not the hearer. There are some, alas! who recommend other means to this glorious end, but they are utterly worthless. Some recommend ritualistic observances and sacerdotal services. Some recommend faith in an event that transpired on Calvary eighteen centuries ago. They say you have only to believe on this and peace will come at once. A philosophic absurdity and a monstrous delusion! Some recommend a mechanical religiousness. They say, "Go to church regularly, join in the liturgy, listen to sermons, partake of the communion, and all will be right." Ah me! The peace which such things give is like that peace in nature which cradles the thunder-storm. I tell you peace is only reached by the practice of that morality proclaimed in that grand sermon on the mount and embodied in the life of its matchless Preacher, and this requires faith in him.

Though my means may be small and name quite obscure,
Live only by labor and dwell 'mid the poor,
I'm resolved upon this, and I'll follow it through,
To love and to practice the "things that are true."
The things that are showy are things in request,
The empty and thoughtless regard them as best.
I've pondered the matter, and I will pursue,
Despite of all customs, the "things that are true."
I'm resolv'd upon this, and I'll follow it through,
To love and to practice the "things that are true."

The things most imposing are things for the proud;
The pomp and the glitter enamour the crowd;
Pretences and shams I'm resolved to eschew,
And walk in the light of the "things that are true."
Though things most in vogue are the things to ensure
Most gold for the pocket, most fame for the hour;
The vain and the greedy, for them they may do,
To me all is worthless but "things that are true."
I'm resolved, etc.

The "things that are true" are the things that will last,
All seemings will vanish as dreams that are past;
Like clouds that are swept from the face of the sky,
All falsehoods of life they shall melt by-and-by.
The things of a party Heav'n knows how I hate!
The blight of the Church and the curse of the state;
The minions of cliqueship, what mischief they do!
Avaunt to all canting! All hail to the true!
I'm resolved, etc.







The peace of God which passeth all understanding.
I. THE PRICELESS LEGACY — Christ left peace with His followers as His last and best gift. "Peace I leave with you," etc. The apostle in speaking of it gives us two descriptive particulars. He calls it —

1. The peace of God. No one else can give peace. No one else could ensure peace. No one else could possess peace.

2. Which passeth all understanding. The worldling cannot understand it. The Christian cannot understand it. Angels cannot understand it. It is so far removed from all that is material and sensible.

II. THE MIGHTY EFFECTS — "Shall keep your hearts and minds." Here is a power more mighty than the universe. Silence is sometimes more powerful than speech; love is more mighty than rage. So peace is more powerful than storm.

1. It keeps the heart from fear. There can be no fear of man, no fear of the world, no fear of death, no fear of hell in the heart where dwells the peace of God.

2. It keeps the heart from ambition. Ambition is the chief cause of trouble. He who has the peace of God has every ambition satisfied. He desires nothing else.

3. It keeps the heart from strife. There can be no contention where there is peace.

4. It keeps the mind from doubt. Probably by mind the apostle means the intellect as distinguished from the affections. The man who has no doubts is fixed on a rock. Even the poorest, the meanest, the most illiterate can enjoy the trust.

III. THE BLESSED MEANS — "Through Christ Jesus." Christ is the medium through which the possibility of peace came at first. Christ is the channel through which it flows at present. He is the propitiation for sins; therefore He brings peace to the conscience. He is the power of God; therefore He brings peace to those who are weak and in fear. He is the path to heaven; therefore He brings confidence to these who are pilgrims. He is the Prince of Peace; therefore He is the delight of all His subjects.

(J. J. S. Bird, M. A.)

I. AN UNSPEAKABLE PRIVILEGE.

1. It is peace with God. Reconciliation there must be, and the soul must be aware of it. A man conscious of being guilty can never know it till he becomes equally conscious of being forgiven. Your sin was the ground of the quarrel, but it is east into the depths of the sea. There is nothing now that can cause the anger of God towards us. We are accepted in the Beloved, and thus have a profound sense of peace.

2. A consequent peace in the little kingdom within. By nature everything in our inner nature is at war with itself. The passions, instead of being curbed by the reason, often holds the reins; and reason, instead of being guided by Divine knowledge, chooses to obey a depraved imagination, and demands to become a separate power and to judge God Himself. There is no cure for this but restoring grace. The King must occupy the throne, and then the state of Mansoul will be settled.

3. A peace in reference to outward circumstances. The man who is reconciled to God by Christ has nothing outside him that he needs fear. Is he poor? He rejoices that Christ makes poor men rich. Does he prosper? He rejoices that there is grace which prevents his prosperity intoxicating him. Is he in trouble? He thanks God for the promise that as His day so his strength shall be. In death the hope of the resurrection gives peace to his pillow; and as for judgment, he knows whom he has believed and knows who will protect him in that day. Whatever may be suggested to distress him, deep down in his soul he cannot be disturbed, because he sees God at the helm of the vessel holding the rudder with a hand that defies the storm.

4. God gives peace in reference to all His commands. The unregenerate soul rebels, but when the change takes place we drop into the same line with God; His will becomes our delight and His statutes our songs.

5. We feel peace with regard to God's providential dealings, because we believe that they are helping us to arrive at conformity with Him.

6. It is a peace which "passeth all understanding." Not only beyond common, or the sinners, but all — deeper, broader, more heavenly than even the joyful saint can tell.(1) There are kinds of peace which we can understand.(a) The peace of apathy, to which the Stoics schooled themselves. Their secret is easily discovered. Christianity is not this; it cultivates tenderness, not insensibility, and gives us a peace consistent with the utmost delicacy of feeling.(b) The peace of levity, which is perfectly understood.(2) The Christian is often surprised at his own peacefulness. There is a possibility of having the surface of the mind lashed into storm, while yet, deep down, all is still. There are earthquakes, yet the earth pursues the even tenour of its way. It surpasses understanding, but not experience.

II. HOW THIS PEACE IS TO BE OBTAINED. Christians are always at peace with God, but are not always sensible of it. If you wish to realize it hear Paul.(1) Rejoice in the Lord alway; make God your joy, and place all your joy in Him. You cannot rejoice in yourself, nor in your varying circumstances, but God never changes.

2. Let your moderation be known unto all men. Deal cautiously with earthly things. If any man praises don't exult; if you are censured don't despond. Take matters quietly.

3. Be careful for nothing. Leave your care with God.

4. Pray about everything. That which we pray over will have the sting taken out of it if it be evil, and the sweetness of it will be sanctified if it be good.

5. Be thankful for anything. Thankfulness is the mother and nurse of restfulness. Neglected praises sour into unquiet forebodings.

III. THE OPERATION OF THIS BLESSED PRIVILEGE ON OUR HEARTS AND MINDS.

1. Our hearts want keeping —(1) From sinking, for they are very apt to faint even under small trials.(2) From wandering, for how soon are they beguiled? A quiet spirit will neither sink nor wander. Like the life buoy, it will rise above the billows and keep its place.

2. Our minds want keeping. In all ages the minds of Christians have been apt to be disturbed on vital truths. But these truths are known to consciousness, and having brought peace to the mind, keep it in perfect peace.

IV. THE SPHERE OF ITS ACTION — "In Christ Jesus." There is no peace out of Him. He is our peace.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

This is not a wish or prayer, like the benediction of 2 Thessalonians 3:16; nor a precept like Colossians 3:15; but is one of the exceeding great and precious promises. The world is weary for peace; the army after a long campaign, the country bearing the burden of a protracted war, longs for peace; but not more earnestly than men tossed on the waves of this troublesome world. This blessing is for the spirit satiated with the vain pleasures of the world; for the spirit tried with sorrow; for the Pharisee tormented with the incumbrances of his over righteousness; for the publican standing on the threshold.

I. ITS SOURCE.

1. It originates with Him. Man by sin has placed himself in antagonism to God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." The transgression and enmity were ours, yet God devised means whereby the banished might be restored, and sends to rebels the ambassadors of peace. It was not from man the sinner that the overtures were made.

2. It has reference to Him. It is not only peace from, but with, God. The ambassadors are sent to proclaim that God has devised the means, has made peace. It is no imaginary reconciliation; it is a peace wrought by real means, purchased at a real price — the blood of the Son of God (Colossians 2:14). And when the sentence of condemnation is blotted out there is no condemnation to those who believe (Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1). This act is the foundation of all peace in the heart. It is a peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

II. ITS CHARACTER. It passeth understanding because —

1. Man unaided cannot attain to it. There are many voices which cry to man of pleasure and rest. But they are delusive. "Peace," they cry, when there is no peace. Wherever sin is there is unrest. There is no peace to the wicked. They "are like the troubled sea which cannot rest," continually straining after some haven of repose, but only to be cast back by the waves of passion. And not only cannot the sinner, unaided, attain this peace; he cannot, unaided, even receive it when provided for him. The things which belong to his peace are hidden from him. But this does not make void his responsibility. God hath revealed it by His Spirit, whom He gives to those who ask for Him.

2. There are depths in it which the richest Christian experience cannot fathom. There are mysteries in grace as well as in nature and providence. The source of this peace is God, and its guarantee the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. All the gifts of God are inexhaustible.

III. ITS EFFECT — "Shall guard." Our hearts and minds are in need of continual guardianship, and where shall we meet with one more reliable?

1. It can keep our hearts. We understand by the heart the source of the affections and passions; but not unfrequently the inspired writers use the word to signify the affections and understanding acting together. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." The affections are apt to stray from their centre. There is a fatal affinity between the evil within and the evil without. "Keep thy heart with all diligence," etc. It needs a strong power to watch over it, but the peace of God is equal to this. There is a strength in it to stay your stray reflections; for it gives you in your heart something on which your love may centre. The lustre of the ballroom and the gaudy trappings of the stage looks tawdry in the daylight; and the loves of the earth look tinsel indeed in the light of a Saviour's love and the brightness of the peace of God.

2. The mind. That is prone to be carried off by merely speculative problems. The peace of God keeps the mind not by enslaving its faculties or starving their energy, but by rightly balancing them. By giving us a clear conception of the relative values of things temporal and eternal, by revealing the due order which presides over all God's works, we are taught to estimate aright the true value of speculative and practical problems.

3. Both the heart and mind are kept. In some natures the thinking faculty is the most active: such are in danger of neglecting the keeping of the heart — the spirit of devotion. Others are exposed to the reverse temptation. To neglect either is injurious. Let us give to each its sustenance; storing our minds with Divine truth and yet increasing in love and grace.

IV. THE CHANNEL THROUGH WHICH IT COMES. There is no blessing which comes not through Him — in nature, Providence, salvation. He is our peace.

(Bp. W. Boyd Carpenter.)

By this the apostle does not mean the blessedness which belongs to the Divine Nature, nor the rest that is laid up for us in heaven: but the deep inward repose of the spiritual life, Divine in its origin, religious in its nature, holy in its impulses, heavenly in its results,

I. "BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD" (Romans 5:1). Man is contemplated as a sinner, conscious of guilt, exposed to punishment, and who cannot be justified by law, which has nothing to do but to condemn him. Let this idea be distinctly realized, and it is seen at once that it has power to terribly agitate the soul. The apostle meets the case by a proclamation of mercy, not indeed the tender and benevolent Divine affection to which the guilty and miserable may appeal, but something embodied in a supernatural fact to be apprehended and confided in: "God hath set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in His blood" — that as man could not be justified by law through obedience, he might be through grace by faith. This we have received who have trusted in Christ. "There is now no condemnation," etc.; the terrors of conscience are stilled; we have "joy and peace through believing." "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked," but there is peace when he forsakes his evil way and turns to the Lord. The prophet was agitated by the revelation of the glory of the Divine nature and the corruption of his own (Isaiah 6.), but he was tranquilized when a live coal from the altar of sacrifice was laid upon his mouth. No angelic voice or vision is to be expected now, but there may be such a certainty of the truth of the gospel, such a perception of its appropriateness, and such a realization of peace, that the penitent and believing man may be able neither to doubt the fact of his forgiveness, nor to resist the feeling of deep calm blessedness, which the persuasion of it brings.

II. "TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE" (Romans 8:6), a passage taken from Paul's discourse on the work of the Spirit in man as the former was taken from that on the work of Christ for man. By being spiritually minded the apostle means that the man who has obtained forgiveness through Christ, in virtue of the agency of the Spirit of God has his moral tastes so rectified, his moral affections so cleansed and elevated, that he loves all spiritual things and exercises. Man was made for God. His powers and affections were so constituted that they were to find their supreme enjoyment in Him. Sin has disturbed this original law and given to the flesh an unnatural ascendancy, and so is productive of misery and misrule. The consequence is that to the idea of antagonism between the sinner and God, there is the idea of antagonism to himself. Spiritual renovation restores the natural order of things, reason is enlightened, affections purified, passion restrained, the animal is brought into subjection to the man, and the man bound by love and loyalty to God.

III. "GREAT PEACE HAVE THEY WHO LOVE THY LAW." "The work of righteousness is peace." These and other passages lead us to the correspondence of the Christian's outward conduct with the instincts and principles of his inward life. That condition of heart described as "minding the things of the Spirit" is to find appropriate embodiment in the maintenance of a uniform and elevated morality. It is only by a course of practical obedience that peace of conscience can be preserved. Inconsistency cannot but disturb inward peace. Guilt is a thing full of fears. The secret of Paul's peace was — "herein do I exercise myself to have a conscience void of offence."

IV. "THOU WILT KEEP HIM IN PERFECT PEACE WHOSE MIND IS STAYED UPON THEE" (Isaiah 26:3). Filial trust in God is everything that belongs to the circumstances of life. There is "a thought for the morrow" which is proper and becoming, but there is also a care that hath torment, a fear that is sinful. A Christian man who realizes that all his "times are in God's hands," that "He fixes the bounds of his habitation," and "perfects that which concerns him," that his Heavenly Father knoweth what he has need of; that "all things work together for good;" he who thoroughly believes all this, and casts his care, and stays his soul on God, cannot but be saved from the perturbations and anxieties which torment the worldly mind. He is kept from murmuring at what God does, from petulance at what He does not. He can confide and wait, and believe and be thankful, suffer and be satisfied.

(T. Binney, LL. D.)

I. THE PEACE OF GOD. It is so called —

1. Because it is that for which God made man at first — the realization of His original idea of the happiness of humanity. It springs from intercourse with God, filial trust, devotional communion, loving obedience, apprehension of spiritual truth, just and regulated affections, perfect repose in God's Fatherhood, and conscious complacency in everything that pleases Him. These things are such as would have entered into the happiness of man had he never sinned; many of them, of course, enter into that of the angels.

2. Because it is the result of His merciful interposition for man as well as the realization of His original plan. Something has been done to produce it beyond the original constitution of things, and the result of this interposition in human experience must be of a nature different from and additional to, the blessedness that would have belonged to humanity had it only realized that for which it was made. It is God's peace because it is by God's grace that it is possible, by the gift of His Son that it is procured, by the application of His truth that it is produced. It consists of forgiveness of sin, peace of conscience, deliverance from wrath, which man, had he continued upright, would not have needed.

3. Because it is that which is immediately produced by God's Spirit, and is thus a direct Divine donation. When Christ was about to leave His sorrowing disciples He promised that He would send them "another comforter," and then He adds, as if interpreting His meaning, "Peace I leave with you," etc. And so "the fruit of the Spirit is...peace." "May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

4. Because it is sustained and nourished by those acts which bring the soul in contact with God — meditation on His truth, trust in His promises, prayer and praise, song and sacrament.

II. IT PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING. There is nothing unphilosophical in this. Mystery surrounds us. We are incessantly met with ultimate facts whose being and agency we are bound to admit, but which none of us can understand. In the natural laws of the mind, in things connected with our own consciousness, there are matters about which we can only say that they are. Surely, then, it is not wonderful that this should be so in religious life. His peace —

1. Passes the understanding of the man of the world. The very terms and phrases by which it is expressed are "foolishness" unto them, or repugnant, or unintelligible. In listening to the sober statements of a Christian man, if restrained by courtesy, they are silent, but incredulous and perhaps pitiful: if not restrained they reject the whole thing with contempt as cant or jargon. Nor is this wonderful. Many things connected with art, taste, science, and philosophy, can be understood only through the medium of experience. And so to him who is destitute of religious experience, the very language of religion must be incomprehensible.

2. It passes the understanding of the Christian himself.(1) Light sometimes gushes into the intellect, filling it with clear apprehensions of truth, and an impression of its power in a manner perfectly inexplicible. The man, all on a sudden, is filled with joy and peace from seeing matters of faith after he had been toiling in doubt and darkness, and was just on the point of abandoning forever.(2) In the same way the burden of guilt has been lifted, the troubled conscience calmed. The blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven has come like an angel of God.(3) It has been thus, too, with taste and affection; by a sudden transition, the reckless and impure have become like unto a little child.(4) So, too, in things of great and terrible afflictions. Christians have been kept in such calm peace as has been a perfect amazement to themselves.(5) And so, too, in the ordinary course of the Christian life.

3. It passes the understanding of angels. The inward joys of hope and faith are associated with redemption and "into these things angels desire to look."

III. IT KEEPS THE HEART AND MIND. The word is used only in three other places, 2 Corinthians 11:32, where the words "with a garrison" are included in the word that stands for "kept;" Galatians 3:23, where we have the idea of a sort of strong room, or protected custody; 1 Peter 1:5, where it is "preserved as in a fortress." The general import of the statement is that the experience of religious life is the most powerful preservative of the happiness and virtue of man. Trouble and sin by the peace of God are cast out of the soul and kept out. "Heart and mind," however discriminated, include every, faculty of the inner man.

1. Suppose an attack be made on a man's belief, and dark clouds of doubt overspread the mind, I do not say that he need not go to his books and arguments, but I do say that the portable evidence of Christianity in his own experience of its power will often do more to reveal the hollowness of sceptical suggestions than all the learning of the schools. Nay, the peace of God as a felt possession will prevent the rising and entrance of the doubt itself, or will instantly repel it.

2. If the memory of his old sins comes to disturb the tranquillity of his conscience he will, of course, be humbled at the thought of this; but the counter recollection of the peace and joy he had in believing will prove a protection from what would break his peace. And here again the possession of peace will prevent the rising or entrance of that into the soul which would throw it back again on hopelessness and despair. "I know whom I have believed." "I will trust and not be afraid."

3. In like manner the peace of God will "guard" the heart against murmuring and anxiety, fear and distrust in relation to the affairs of life. "Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice."

4. It is a preservative, strong and sure, against all sin. The religiously happy are the morally strong. Duty is pleasant because the mind is in joyous harmony with God's requirements.(1) It keeps the heart by keeping its volatile affections, not permitting them to go forth to twine themselves round anything forbidden.(2) Sin is resisted from the knowledge that it will damage the peace of the soul.(3) When this peace dilates the soul it is not easy for the devil to put in a temptation. A rich man cannot be tempted to steal; a sober man is not tempted by the sight of a tavern. So with the spiritually happy man; what might overcome others is nothing to him. He is raised above them, and the peace of God shields him from their influence.

IV. THROUGH CHRIST JESUS. He is the object of faith and the sole medium of spiritual influence. In virtue of His work on earth we obtain peace at first; and if, as justified, any man sin, it is by His work in heaven that peace is restored.

(T. Binney, LL. D.)

We all need something to keep our hearts. The changes of the world affect not only our homes and outward comforts, but our inmost souls. And more, our hearts are naturally restless. The result is that even in a calm our minds are shifting. It is plain we need something to steady us. Where shall we find it? Plainly not in this world; as well seek it in the hurricane. Not in ourselves, there there is only misery. The text shows us the blessing that we need.

I. ITS NATURE. Not self-denial, exertion, or watchfulness, but peace; enjoyment and repose in enjoyment. A calm which not only quiets the soul amid the tumult of the storm, but keeps it quiet. But "there is no peace to the wicked." They are like "a troubled sea when it cannot rest." This peace is the result of a change in man's state and character; the effect of a reconciliation between him and heaven. When this transpires man can look on God as his Friend, expect victory in temptation, a refuge in perils, strength in weakness, comfort in affliction, safety in death, heaven, and, in heaven, God.

II. ITS AUTHOR — God.

1. The work of saving mercy on which it rests is only His. He provides mercy and induces its acceptance.

2. He communicates that peace which flows from a sense of pardon. This is not the result of reasoning or self-examination, it is the gift of that God who fills us "with all joy and peace in believing."

III. ONE OF ITS PROPERTIES. A peace thus Divine in its origin must partake in some degree of the lofty nature of its Author, and in that degree must be incomprehensible.

1. It passes the understanding of those who are strangers to it. They who have not experienced it can know nothing of its character. Not that it is visionary or enthusiastic — nothing can be so rational and real; there is no other that will bear any serious reflection at all. And this peculiarity is not confined to this or any other spiritual blessing. The man of intellect may talk of the delight he experiences in the acquisition of knowledge, but his words convey no distinct idea to his ignorant neighbour. Tell a deaf man of the harmonies of music, or a blind man of the beauty of the world!

2. Those who enjoy it most cannot fully comprehend it. They are sensible of it, and find their hearts quieted and purified by it; but how did it come into the heart? Why is it at times so unspeakably sweet and strong? All they can say is, it "passeth understanding," and perhaps an inhabitant of heaven cannot say more. We may all, however, comprehend its effects.

IV. ONE OF THESE EFFECTS.

1. It keeps the heart.(1) In temptation by satisfying it. It triumphs over the pleasures of sense by communicating higher pleasures.(2) In affliction. It is a pledge of the special love of God to the soul, and as such it begets confidence in Him. Let a worldly man lose his earthly comforts and he has lost all; but let a man of God lose what he may his chief treasure is safe.

2. It keeps the mind.(1) It settles the judgment, and informs and elevates the understanding by showing it, in the light of spiritual blessedness, the measure and poverty of all temporal good.(2) It keeps the mind from folly, new and strange notions, sceptical doubt and error. The man who has it has "the witness in himself." Tell him that the Bible is not true, his religion a fable! You might as well tell him in the broad light of day that there is no sun.

V. ITS SOURCE AND INSTRUMENTALITY. The apostle had been inculcating freedom from anxiety and care; but lest the Philippians should seek in this the fountain of their peace he here adds "in Christ Jesus." This peace has God for its author and giver, but it flows, to us through His Son.

1. It is one of the blessed fruits of His obedience, sufferings, and intercession.

2. It dwells also in Him as the head of the Church, the royal treasury of all precious gifts.

3. It is dispersed by Him through the agency of the Spirit.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

Inasmuch as the heart is the most important part of a man — for out of it are the issues of life — it is natural that it should be the object of Satan's perpetual attacks.

I. THAT WHICH KEEPS THE HEART AND MIND.

1. The peace of God, the peace existing between the child of God and his Judge through his Saviour, from whence flows peace of conscience.

2. This peace passeth all understanding.(1) See how it keeps those who are in the depth of poverty while many rich are distracted.(2) The bereaved, when those who have Dot suffered are gnawed with fear.(3) The confessors, Luther, Huss, Bradford — while popes and kings tremble.

II. HOW IS THIS PEACE TO BE OBTAINED. This promise has precepts (see ver. 4).

1. Rejoice ever more. The man who never rejoices is always murmuring. Cultivate a cheerful disposition.

2. Be moderate. Merchant, you cannot push that speculation too far, and have peace of mind. Young man, you cannot be trying so fast to rise in the world, and have the fear of God. You must be moderate in anger, in expectations, etc.

3. Be careful for nothing, etc. If you tell your troubles to God you put them into the grave. If you roll them anywhere else they will roll back again like the stone of Sisyphus. Cast your troubles where you have cast your sins, into the depths of the sea.

III. HOW THIS PEACE KEEPS THE HEART.

1. It keeps the heart full of that love which casteth out all fear.

2. It keeps the heart pure, without the least relish for sin, which is the soul's disturbance.

3. It keeps it undivided, and thus saves it from distraction.

4. It keeps it rich, and thus renders it secure from anxiety.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is —

1. Real; not the delusive calm of a hollow truce, nor the deceitful tranquillity of stolid indifference and thoughtless apathy. An ice-bound river is at peace; a motionless corpse. In true peace there is life and activity as well as rest.

2. Great (Psalm 119:165; Isaiah 54:13) in its foundation, author, effect.

3. Abundant (Jeremiah 33:6), flowing in many channels, and filling the heart (Romans 15:13).

4. Abiding; secure and certain, a peace that lives independently of circumstances, "which the world can neither give nor take away," the unruffled undercurrent, beneath the grounds well of the Christian's sorrows; a peace not often disturbed, and never finally overthrown.

5. Incomprehensive, both to the men of this world and saints of God as well.

(G. S. Bowes, B. A.)

He who climbs above the cares of the world and turns his face to his God, has found the sunny side of life. The world's side of the hill is chill and freezing to a spiritual mind, but the Lord's presence gives a warmth of joy which turns winter into summer.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Dust, by its own nature, can rise only so far above the road; and birds which fly higher never have it upon their wings. So the heart that knows how to fly high enough escapes those little cares and vexations which brood upon the earth, but cannot rise above it into that purer air.

(H. W. Beecher)

There are other kinds of peace besides the peace of God. There is the peace, for example, of an uninformed conscience; of one who thinks that an amiable disposition, and a freedom from open or definite sin, is enough to win heaven. There is the peace of a sleeping conscience; a conscience still lying dormant in the torpor of natural indifference. There is the peace of a drugged conscience; of one who is surrendering himself to a bosom lust, and refusing to look on to its probable misery in this life, to its certain punishment in the next. There is the peace too of a hardened conscience; of one who has become so used to sin that it has lost its power to alarm; of one who can even lie down to die, impenitent and unremorseful, on the strength of a few vague hopes, if even these, in God's mercy and in Christ's atonement. All sinful men are not yet consciously unhappy, though of peace, in its true meaning, they can know nothing. There is no peace, saith my God, no true, permanent peace of God, to the wicked. God calls us to peace. That is what He offers to us. Repose instead of restlessness; tranquillity instead of confusion; an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast, because entering into that within the veil. God grant that the religion here known may be all of that character; a religion of quietness, a religion of soberness, a religion of reality, a religion of peace.

(Dean Vaughan.)

You have seen the sea when it was perfectly smooth, with hardly a ripple on the water, and you have watches it when lashed into a fury by the tempest, the waves run mountains high. But all this rage of the elements is only on the surface; below the waves and foam and howling winds there are depths which no storms ever reach, where the many-branched coral and other strange forms of growth and life spread over vast submarine plains and valleys, throughout the whole extent of which reigns the silence and stillness of an unbroken calm. Such is the contrast between the outward trials of life and the deep inward peace which reigns in the heart which is stayed in God. We cannot escape the trials of life, but if there be within us true trust in God, then there will be depths in our inmost being where no storms can reach, depths beyond the play of the waves of this troublesome world, where the fury of the tempest cannot come, where all will be calm and still.

(J. B. Mozley, D. D.)

The peace, the harmony of soul, the repose and concord of the whole man, which is God's gift, the effect of God's own presence by His Holy Spirit, shall keep you as in a fortified place from all danger, from all the crafts and assaults of evil. What is it which exposes us to our worst perils? Is it not a roving heart? A heart seeking rest and finding none? It is not the unsatisfied insatiable thirst which is in us all by nature, for a happiness which yet earth cannot give. That is what makes a man a pleasure hunter, an idolater of the world, the slave of his evil passions and sinful lusts. That is the bait which the devil presents to the fallen Adam: and if it succeeded even with the unfallen and upright, who shall wonder if it succeeds with him? Let a man have found peace in God, let him have tasted of that water after drinking of which none thirsts again for any other, and he has a safeguard against evil. Why should he go after that which cannot profit or satisfy when he has within him a spring of living water. That is the sense in which Paul writes that the peace of God shall guard our hearts and our thoughts, i.e., the seat of thought, and the workings of thought. There will be no roving desires there to go abroad from the camp and fall into the enemy's ambush. And there will be no traitor there to open the gate of the citadel to some disguised foe. The heart that has found peace in God, is kept as in a sure fortress by that peace itself. It is built as a city that is at unity in itself (Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 122:3, Psalm 13:5). It is all at one. It is not divided between this and that; it is not, like the heart of nature, a fighting ground of conflicting parties; it is in safe keeping under an almighty hand.

(Dean Vaughan.)

The child frightened in his play runs to seek his mother. She takes him upon her lap and presses his head to her bosom; and with tenderest words of love, she locks down upon him, and smoothes his hair, and kisses his cheek and wipes away his tears, and then in a low and gentle voice, she sings some sweet descant, some lullaby of love; and the fear fades out from his face, and a smile of satisfaction plays over it, and at length his eyes close, and he sleeps in the deep depths and delights of peace. God Almighty is the mother, and the soul is the frightened child; and He folds it in His arms, dispels its fear, and lulls it to repose, saying, "Sleep, my darling, sleep! It is I who watch and protect thee. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." The mother's arms encircle but one; but God clasps every yearning soul to His bosom and gives it the peace which passeth understanding, beyond the reach of care or storm.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The peace of God will keep us from sinning under our troubles and from sinking under them.

(Matthew Henry.)

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