Pursuing Peace

While the writer was listening to a reading from the Psalms, the phrase, "Seek peace, and pursue it," suddenly seemed to stand out with challenging emphasis. How could peace, a condition of calmness and serenity, be attained by active pursuit? The tired one who longs for peace imagines it to consist of physical rest or quiet, sleep, freedom from responsibilities, cessation of mental and physical activity. These very conditions, however, when forced upon one soon pall, representing as they do the worst sort of prison life, release from which alone can bring again a peaceful mental state. They depend on the whims of human belief, and do not satisfy. They are suffocation in materiality, that which Mrs. Eddy refers to in her poem, "Feed My Sheep" (Poems, p. 14), when she declares, "Thou wilt ... break earth's stupid rest." A patient needing treatment for insomnia might need right awakening. Activity of the right sort is essential to the attainment of real peace.

Jesus the Christ, the Prince of Peace himself, declared, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." Here is a paradox consistent with that of pursuing peace—war admitted by the advocate of peace! We have all been touched by human warfare, and we know that in itself it is far, very far, from being a good or desirable state; but as an expedient mankind may believe itself impelled to employ it in defense of righteousness. To say the least, this is a clumsy effort at discernment between good and evil; but it may be a mortal's best effort according to his light.

When Jesus recommended the sword, he used a metaphor drawn from mortal experience to illustrate a spiritual method. Mrs. Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 118): "Be of good cheer; the warfare with one's self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you,—and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory." When the individual consciously musters all his spiritual forces, all his understanding of God's providence for man, and actively arrays this host against the suggestion of the enemy, the temptations of inertia, weakness, physical indulgence, limitation, confusion, and the like, the conflict is a decisive one. "One on God's side is a majority;" the peaceful sense of work well done is won, and harmony is realized. As children of God, our capacity for progress is unlimited. The overcoming of each would-be assailant brings us into a better position to discern and destroy other more subtle errors. Thus we grow, and each achievement attained brings its own measure of assurance, confidence, and peace.

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Spiritual Maintenance
August 16, 1924

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