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Such our Saviour perceived to be the state of his disciples: his affectionate and quiet manner soothed, but could not altogether dispel, their grief. Nay, his very gentleness probably made their hearts more tender. He administers therefore a remedy, effectual to cure, not only all their present sorrows, but likewise all the sorrows that they would ever after experience. I am parting from you: but when I am gone, you will find that I have bequeathed to you Peace. Yea, even now you have it: “ My peace I give unto you."
1. First we inquire-What is Peace ?
When our Lord sent his disciples to preach the Gospel, he bade them, wheresoever they should enter, say, “ Peace be to this house:” and if the son of peace were there, then their peace was to rest upon that dwelling. Probably during that short evangelic excursion, they had often seen a peaceful abode among the people they were sent to visit: a pious home, where the son of peace presided. In this way, therefore, and to this extent, they were already acquainted with peace.
When our Lord visited the house of Jairus, and saw the multitude of them that wept and wailed greatly, and put them forth, and raised the damsel to life, he removed sorrow, and gave peace to that family. On this occasion, therefore, Peter and James and John knew what is peace.
The disciples saw what peace is, when their Lord walked upon the sea of Galilee in a storm; when, having entered their boat, he rebuked the winds
and the waves, saying, Peace, be still: and there was a great calm.
When the disciples had fallen into a contention, which of them should be the greatest—(and what more disquieting than proud ambition ?)—and when our Lord set a little child in the midst of them, he taught them a lesson on humility, and showed them the way to peace.
When the woman that was a sinner came and stood behind our Lord, bathing his feet with her tears, and wiping them with the hairs of her head; and Jesus, (after some discourse with the unhumbled Pharisee), turned to her and said, “ Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace”—then that woman's heart for the first time knew, what is peace.
Let this then be our answer, our definition of this happy state: Peace is the banishing of angry tempers: it is the allaying of violent sorrows: it is the disburthening of a guilty conscience. Peace is the presence of humble and holy thoughts; of seasonable consolations; and of happy hopes, which cannot be exhausted. It is the calm condition of a mind able to declare—ALL IS AND ALL SHALL BE WELL, NOW AND FOR EVER!
2. Next we inquire_ What does Jesus mean by, 6 My peace" ?
First, he would remind us, that it is by his blood that our peace is purchased. He hath made peace by the blood of his Cross." There is no other way of our being at peace with God, but being justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. • He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.” Within a few hours after this discourse, he was about to seal the Covenant of peace with his own most precious blood.
Next, he intimates that He is the giver of peace. He imparts it. He breathes upon believing souls and says, “ Peace be unto you!” He invites the most forlorn outcasts, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden; and I will give you rest."
The very countenance of Jesus at this trying scene, would in a measure impart peace. My PEACE—such holy calmness, such perfect self-possession as you now behold in me, even such shall you enjoy.
3. “ Not as the world giveth, give I unto you." What has the world to do with peace? The wicked are like a troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. The world can only offer deceits, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Worldly advisers are miserable comforters: they heal the wounded spirit slightly, and it soon breaks out into griefs new and greater. The world at the best endeavours to substitute gaiety for sorrow: but the end of the world's mirth in heaviness.
Go then, afflicted soul, tossed with tempest and not comforted, go to Jesus! See how his countenance beams on you, how sweet his accents are, how
tender his heart, when he comes to revive the spirit of the contrite ones. He says all in this one word, Peace! In the language of the Apostle let our hearts respond, “ Now the Lord of peace himself give us peace always, by all means. Amen.”
CHRIST GOING TO THE FATHER, AND PREPARING FOR HIS CONFLICT WITH SATAN.
John xiv. 28–31. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. As the first part of our Lord's conversation, (that which took place at the supper-table), was now drawing to a close, and he would have but little opportunity of saying much more to his disciples, he sums up all, for the present, in two remarks ; touching on his near Prospect of going to the Father, and his previous Conflict with the great enemy. By all that he did and said, he designed both to establish the faith of his disciples; and also to leave the world without excuse for their unbelief. The world around him might easily have seen his love to the Father, and his readiness to do the Father's will : but the world continued unbelieving and inexcusable.
1. First, on his near Prospect of returning to the Father, Christ reminds the disciples that the Father is greater than he. Although equal to the Father as touching his godhead, yet was Christ inferior to the Father as touching his manhood, At one time he declares, “ I and the Father are one:” at another, “ My Father is greater than I :" but these two doctrines are perfectly consistent, as they refer to Christ in different characters and relations. Jesus therefore was now returning to heaven as our Mediator and Intercessor, our Covenant-Surety and Head. And on this account he tells the disciples, (and through them tells us), that we ought to rejoice in his departure hence, and his exaltation to glory.
Ought we not to rejoice that Christ is for ever set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels and principalities and powers being made subject unto him :that he now ever liveth to make intercession for us :—that he holds in his hands the golden censer, mingling the incense of his propitiation with our prayers ?
Ought we not also, in love to this condescending Saviour, to rejoice in the thought, that the days of his humiliation are ended; that the pains of death, and the horror of the hiding of his Father's face, are now for ever passed away ? " If ye loved me” (he says to the eleven), that is, if ye had an intelligent affection for your Master, and could see