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What Peace Means   By: (1852-1933)

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New York Chicago Fleming H. Revell Company London and Edinburgh


To My Son in the Faith My Brother in the Work Tertius van Dyke


This little book contains three plain sermons which were preached in New York in the Easter season of 1919, in the Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, of which my son is minister. I had no thought that they would ever be printed. They were, and are, just daily bread discourses meant to serve the spiritual needs of a congregation of Christian people, seekers after truth, inquirers about duty, strangers and pilgrims, in the great city and the troubled world.

But if, as friends think, these simple chapters may be of service through the printed page to a larger circle of readers, I willingly and freely let them go.

May the blessing of Jesus follow them on their humble path. May the Spirit of Truth bring them home to some hearts that want them, to those who desire to escape from evil and do good, to those who "seek peace and ensue it."


Park Avenue Church Manse, New York City.






Peace in the Soul

Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you. ST. JOHN 14:27.

Peace is one of the great words of the Holy Scriptures. It is woven through the Old Testament and the New like a golden thread. It inheres and abides in the character of God,

"The central peace subsisting at the heart Of endless agitation."

It is the deepest and most universal desire of man, whose prayer in all ages has been, "Grant us Thy Peace, O Lord." It is the reward of the righteous, the blessing of the good, the crown of life's effort, and the glory of eternity.

The prophets foretell the beauty of its coming and the psalmists sing of the joy which it brings. Jesus Christ is its Divine Messiah, its high priest and its holy prince. The evangelists and prophets proclaim and preach it. From beginning to end the Bible is full of the praise of peace.

Yet there never was a book more full of stories of trouble and strife, disaster and sorrow. God Himself is revealed in it not as a calm, untroubled, self absorbed Deity, occupied in beatific contemplation of His own perfections. He is a God who works and labours, who wars against the evil, who fights for the good. The psalmist speaks of Him as "The Lord of Hosts, strong and mighty in battle." The Revelation of St. John tells us that "There was war in Heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon." Jesus Christ said: "I came not to send peace, but a sword."

It is evident, then, that this idea of "peace," like all good and noble things, has its counterfeit, its false and subtle versary, which steals its name and its garments to deceive and betray the hearts of men. We find this clearly taught in the Bible. Not more earnestly does it praise true peace than it denounces false peace.

There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked (Isaiah 48:22).

For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace (Jer. 8:11).

If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes (St. Luke 19:42).

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

There never was a time in human history when a right understanding of the nature of true peace, the path which leads to it, the laws which govern it, was more necessary or more important than it is to day.

The world has just passed through a ghastly experience of war at its worst. Never in history has there been such slaughter, such agony, such waste, such desolation, in a brief space of time, as in the four terrible years of conflict which German militarism forced on the world in the twentieth century... Continue reading book >>

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