Peace is really desirable. It has many attractions to make it an object of interest. It can hardly be esteemed too highly. Christ is the Prince of Peace, the gospel is the gospel of peace, and the peacemakers are commended. The early, angelic announcement, was “peace on earth and good will to men.” It is also our duty to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
The error into which many fall is that peace is a means to an end, rather than an end or result to be achieved. Purity is the cause, and peace the effect. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable” (James 3:17 KJV).
Christ said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I am come not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34 KJV).
The true ground of peace is purity, and peace resting on any other foundation is false and dangerous. False peace is the result of stupidity, or of a seared conscience, or of error, and is rather the precursor of coming ruin than an element of happiness. Agitation is better than false peace.
Purity is the condition of peace with the individual, the society, the church or the nation. Sin and holiness, truth and error, are eternal antagonisms. There can never be true peace until sin and error are removed.
What is now wanted is an agitation that shall rock all the churches in Christendom so the chaff of worldly policy and conformity shall blow away forever — so spiritual life, vitality and power may be felt in every department and branch, and purity and evangelical peace may everywhere prevail.
This is a condensed version of an article by early Free Methodist Pastor William Cooley in the February 1860 issue of The Earnest Christian.
Go to fmchr.ch/wcooley to download The Earnest Christian issue containing Cooley’s full article.0