There is a peace and a joy “which passeth all understanding:” – “which the world can neither give nor take away.” It dwells with the pure in heart – with the meek and lowly followers of a crucified and risen Lord – with “those who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honor, and immortality.” It is not to be found in the halls of revelry, nor in the pomp of earth: they are transient, it is eternal; they are earthly, it is heavenly – a joy that overleaps the barriers of time and looks beyond the confines of the tomb, into the rest prepared for the people of God. The discord of earth may not mar its harmony, nor the storms of time tarnish its brightness. He who has yielded in childlike faith and simple obedience to the requirements of his Heavenly Father, as made known in the secret of the heart, can testify to the preciousness of this joy: and though his dedication may cost him the smiles of the world, yet, conscious that he has in their place, the approving smile of Him who rules the universe, with his face heavenward he presses on, counting all as naught and dross, that he might win Christ.
What to us in a few short years, will be those vanities in which we now delight? When that solemn moment arrives wherein we must yield up all that we fondly cherish here – when “this mortal must put on immortality, and this corruptible must put on incorruption” – what will anything avail us, that fails to alleviate the anguish of a soul just entering unprepared into an awful eternity? What but religion, what but true experimental Christianity, what but the soul-sustaining peace and animating joy of the regenerated believer, can rob death of its sting, or the grave of its victory?
And what hinders us from becoming partakers of this joy – this “peace which passeth all understanding,” and with which the stranger may not intermeddle? What retards the flow of this holy peace, and shuts out the smiles of the Prince thereof? Is it not the world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life?” Is it not that the things of time and sense have stolen our affections, and the ardor of our souls is lost in the pursuit of worldly vanities? Remember, it is in proportion to our obedience and dedication, our obedience to the dictates of the Holy Spirit in the heart, that we can become partakers of the Christian’s joy – only as our will is brought into conformity to the will of our Father in heaven, that we can realize the truth of the declaration, “Thou wilt keep in him perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”
Surely we have every inducement to close in with the offers of redeeming love and mercy, and, “forgetting the things which are behind, press forward towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We have an unerring witness in our own hearts; we have the testimonies of thousands who have gone before us, to the all-sufficiency of that power of Divine Grace, which, would we but yield thereto, would guide us into all truth. And, more than all, we have a Saviour, whose mercy is unfathomable, and, “who willeth not the death of any, but that all should return, repent, and live.” The way is plain, and though narrow, and appearing hard to be trodden, by the unregenerate, it is easy to the true disciple, and is the only one to the Kingdom of Heaven – none can enter by any other. Rise up, then, and shake thyself from the dust of the earth – cast behind thee all hindering things – seek to know a reconciliation with Him who judgeth righteously, and by a close attention to the unflattering monitor, the witness for truth in thy heart, and an increase in faithfulness and dedication, realize for thyself the unspeakable joy of the Christian’s hope.