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nothing to annoy!" This is their opinion ; and instead of searching the word of truth to discover if such be truly the case, they remain inert, believing not for astonishment, and thus rendering it impossible for the Easter peace to enter their hearts. Ye fools, do ye not know that it is the glory of the Son of God to have attained for his people that which is perfect, full, and incomparable ? It is your narrow and contracted hearts which have prevented you viewing this in its proper light; and the very fulness and completeness of the gists which we receive, may well manifest to us that it is not a man, but the King of kings, who has adopted and made us his own.

There is another impediment which prevents Easter peace flowing into our souls ; and this is our own selfrighteousness. We fancy it to be connected with a certain progress in holiness, as if by fulfilling certain moral obligations we could prove ourselves qualified for its enjoyment before receiving it; and certainly there is a species of preparation required, but it consists in a deep and lively feeling of our own sinfulness and misery, nothing else being necessary. The disciples in our history were misled by similar false ideas, which retarded their progress towards a calm and serene Easter life. They thought, "If Christ were indeed risen from the dead, he would not have come into the midst of us with the salutation of peace upon his lips, after we had so shamefully denied and forsaken him. It might have been otherwise had we remained faithful to him, then .” Alas! they contemplate Easter peace as a thing to be purchased by their own

good works. “What does it cost? O ye fools! The peace of Easter is indeed above all price ; Jesus, however, offers it to you as the gift of grace; it is not as saints, but as sinners, that he invites you to partake; and all that desire it have a right to it, and may

drink deep draughts of its heavenly wine.

III. Thus you see that the barriers are many and various which close the heart against Easter joy. Let me now try to remove them, and prepare a path for its entrance into your bosoms. Let me in the first place entreat you to consider how anxious our Saviour appears to be that the peace which he has so dearly purchased should not remain unenjoyed, but on the contrary flow like a stream over our souls, and transport us with rapture up to heaven. Scarcely has he shaken off the icy chains of death, than we behold him on the road to dry the tears of the hopeless and afflicted, and to breathe his peace into the hearts of the mourners. This is henceforward his sole occupation, and his only

“ Peace be unto you!” is every where his first salutation ; and all his actions have the establishment “ for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have !" And when they still would not believe, he asked them, “ Have ye here any meat ?" And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it and did eat before them, in order that their doubts might cease, and that they might be enabled to give themselves up entirely to joy. It is the wish of our Saviour also, that we likewise whom he purchased with his blood should enjoy his peace; we must therefore no longer ask, “ Dare we feel this peace ?! For our Lord himself has said, “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you!" And the words of the Apostle Paul are, “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice!" Observe also, my friends, who the persons are to whom the Saviour offers his Easter peace. Are they the saints ? Are they the people who have fought a good fight, who have finished their course, and who have kept the faith? Certainly, if we view them in Christ, they have done so ; but in their own persons they are faithless, unbelieving, and their virtues have suffered shipwreck; when their love came to be tried it could not stand the proof, for they had nothing to bring forward but lamentations for their weakness, their sinfulness, and their

1 of this peace for their aim. See how diligently he is employed in our text, striving to convince his alarmed disciples that it is indeed he who now stands in the midst of them; and, by means of this conviction, to lead into their hearts the stream of Easter peace. He first addresses them by the simple question, “ Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts ?" Then he shows them his hands and his side, to convince them that it is he himself who stands in the midst of them. “ Handle me and see," he cries,


Did this, however, prevent our Lord offering them the whole fruit of his sufferings and of his death? Did they hear a single word of reproach from his mouth? Did he make any conditions with them, saying, “ As soon as ye have performed this or that, the same peace shall enliven you which I now enjoy !" No, it was far otherwise ; not a syllable of the kind was heard ; not the faintest allusion to the performance of the law; he advanced to meet them with the utmost condescension and love; and greeted them in the simple words, “ Peace be unto you!"



IV. We must never forget the manner in which Jesus established and confirmed this peace in the hearts of his disciples. He carried them directly to the Scriptures ; for we read in verse 44th, “ And he said unto them. These are the words which I spake unto you, whilst I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day : and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Yes, my brethren, Jesus carries his disciples to the word. And now I call on you to go and do likewise. What is the origin of the peace which most of our Christians enjoy ? Alas! its roots are in the sand; it takes its rise from mere feeling and emotion ; and therefore it resembles the grass, which no sooner springs up than it withers and dies. As long as they have some one to enliven their faith, as long as they have devotional excitement, they are happy and at peace; but when they no longer receive those external impulses, or when habit has deadened their effect, then the heaven of their souls is overcast with clouds, and storms begin to arisc. Their peace has

its foundation in the waters, and there is no firm ground under their feet.

There is a foolish misunderstanding also among our Christians; they confound peace and idleness, regarding the sabbath-like rest which we preach, as a flat contradiction to that holy activity which ought to manifest itself in our lives, and on this account they reject with mistrust our invitation to the enjoyment of the sweetest fruit which grows upon the gospel-tree. Strange delusion! Have they not read in Philippians, “ The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ?” And in Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ?" Do they not remember also how our Lord himself has in a manner joined together peace and activity ? for immediately after saluting the disciples in the words, “ Peace be unto you!" he adds, As my

Father hath sent me, even so send I you." Indeed we cannot mistake what our Lord evidently intended to show us, that the latter injunction is the consequence of the reception of his peace. After he had

. breathed it into the hearts of the disciples, he gave them the commission to impart it to others in all parts of the world. It is like the honey on Jonathan's rod, enlightening the eyes; or like the bread which Elias received in the desert, making the knees strong. What gave Paul his power to overcome the world, and his unwearied zeal for the service and honour of his Master? What inspired Stephen and James with courage to sacrifice their lives in the cause of the gospel ? Was it not the peace of Christ which reigned in their

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