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quietly taught the ignorant, and borne with the wretched, and ministered to the sick, and tended the children, in his leisure from his professional work at Gravesend. It was no splendour of intelligence, it was no gift of power and achievement, which has made him so great and so heroic; it was the perfect heart, which rung so true for God and duty —whether duty great or small.-May He who has given us the certainty of the Resurrection to countervail the awful certainty of death, help us to that preparation of heart and character which befits those who have to do with such great realities. May He who has called us to immortality, in His mercy give us time till we are ready-ready, as far as creatures can be ready to look up at Him, to whom they live, to whom they die. But the days are passing; let us make haste; He gives us time, but He cannot delay for long. Remember, we are of those who "look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
THE PEACE OF CHRIST
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you."-ST. JOHN xx. 19.
THIS was the Lord's first greeting to those whom He had left stunned and hopeless. It carries back our thoughts to the promise of a few days before :
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you." That was the promise, solemn, emphatic, redoubled. That was the promise," Peace." And what followed? It was, -and they knew not yet all that it really was,—the wildest scene of storm, and war, and hate, and ruin, which the world had seen: man warring against God; man trampling fiercely, savagely, on the "peace of God." What peace was there in the restlessness of the leavetaking, in the agony in the garden, in the midnight betrayal; what peace in the High Priest's hall, before the Roman judgment-seat, amid the yelling crowds, amid the mocking soldiers; what peace on Calvary, till all was exhausted, life and hatred and hope, till the last words of the Son to the Mother, the last forgiveness, the last commendations, the half-opened door
of Paradise, till the calm of the last sigh, and the rest of the grave, and the silence of the stupefied mourners in Jerusalem? "My peace I give unto you:" what must the recollection of those words have seemed to them, if they had strength to collect their thoughts in that tremendous overthrow ? And now, when the only peace left seemed the peace of forgetfulness, there broke in on the amazed company, from the very lips which had promised it,—no longer the promise, but the very gift, the redoubled gift of peace. "Peace be unto you. And when He had so
said, He showed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." Peace in victory, Peace in work; Peace such as had been His in doing what the Father sent Him to do.-It was as when, on a much smaller scale, He had stilled the storm on the waters. "As they sailed He fell asleep and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then He arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm." Fiercer torrents than these had gone over their heads, had swept away in an instant all they cared for and rested on, had drowned the Master's life and all their hopes; and once more, in stranger truth, the storm was stilled, and there was a
great calm. He was with them, who stilled “the raging of the sea, and the noise of His waves, and the madness of the people." "The Lord sitteth above the water flood, . . . the Lord shall give His people the blessing of peace." "Peace be unto you."
And so still, year by year, Easter comes to us in its due order with "Christ is risen," "Peace be unto you." Out of the battles and troubles which shake and darken life, out of the "provoking of all men and the strife of tongues,"-out of the
"Loud stunning tide1
Of human care and crime,"
Easter yearly rises, bringing with it, not the kind of joy we felt at Christmas, the joy of children, the welcome of infinite condescension, and the sight of humble innocence, but the peace of an awful victory. Easter comes after the deepest thoughts of suffering, of gloom, of death. It comes after the darkest, dreariest week in the year. To those who have at all been affected by the memories and the reflections of that week, it is the taking off of a prolonged and trying strain; Easter meets them tired, depressed, weighed down with having had to look so closely at sin, and pain, and bitter death; and it wipes all this out like a bad dream in the triumph it has led to, in the reappearance of the Great Deliverer, -the same, though so changed, unharmed by the power of evil, alive for evermore.
1 The Christian Year, St. Matthew's Day.
There are two points on which I will say a few words, in the peace of Easter.
1. It brings to us the peace of conviction and belief. Belief is something more than acquiescence in a conclusion. After thought has done its work, and led the mind through all the array of arguments and proofs to a position with which reason is satisfied, it has not necessarily brought it to the point of real, active belief. We know that we shall die; but we can keep that certainty at arms' length the greater part of our lives. There is a further effort, a distinct act of will, a distinct stirring and rousing of the sluggishness of the soul, a distinct exertion and rising up of the inner powers of consciousness and imagination, to make us feel what yet is so certain, to take hold of it by real faith; for faith not only accepts conclusions, but "sees the invisible;" it brings with it the power to transfigure and illuminate reason into insight. We Christians think that there is no event in the condition and history of mankind, more certain than that our Lord rose from the dead. It seems to us established with a majestic solidity, which became the corner stone of the great Gospel of the Love of God. Except on the hopeless, the unverifiable argument, that it could not be, it seems like flying in the face of all human experience, of all that we know of the ways and goings on of men, to conceive that we should be mistaken in what is so attested, and has, as a matter of fact, been the source and spring of such consequences. Without it, we have to account