THE world's idea of peace is too often a mere sensuous rest. At the best, it may probably be said to represent some form or another of ease in the senses. This is because the ordinary man, believing intensely in the reality of matter, naturally measures everything by a material standard. That was the cry of the demoniac among the tombs, "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" The demoniac, like the owners of the swine, wanted peace in the name of the material senses. But he, like most other people who seek peace on such a basis, sooner or later awakens, like Abou Ben Adhem, to discover that such peace is a dream.

There is no such idea of peace to be found in the pages of the Bible. Peace there is always the result of spiritual understanding. Christ Jesus explained this, with marvelous emphasis, on his way to Gethsemane. "Peace I leave with you," he said to his disciples, "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." What he meant, surely, was that the world's idea of peace was a false idea, and that the peace he was offering was not peace as the world gives it. If his disciples were not to wake up to discover their peace to be a dream, they would have to find his peace, in the only place in which it could not be destroyed, in spiritual realization. The peace Jesus had offered them had been perilously near what the world would have termed war. It was, indeed, war with themselves. It meant the daily struggle with their own carnality, the destruction of which alone could bring them the spiritual perception which constitutes the peace of God which passeth all understanding.

In Jesus' company, under his guidance, they had gone out to fight the world, the flesh, and the devil. He had taken from them their homes, and sent them to fight the world without money in their purses. He had subjected them to all the passions of orthodox anger and contempt, and before he left them finally he was to tell them that the preaching of the gospel was to endanger their very lives. No wonder that, on another occasion, he had told them that he came not to bring peace but a sword, and to show the world that a man's foes would be those of his own household. The sword of the Spirit could produce nothing but war to the human senses. Its only use could be to destroy all that was sensuous and material in the human consciousness. This was the peace, unlike the peace of the world, which Jesus had given to the disciples. And yet only as the holy war was fought, and sensuality overcome, could the individual hope to gain that spiritual peace which can never be destroyed.

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With Cleanness of Heart
June 4, 1921

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