Haggai 2:9
And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts. Various theories have been propounded concerning how temporal peace and prosperity may be secured to a people. One wilt tell you that everything turns upon which political party happens to be in power; a second will cry, "Free Trade;" a third will respond, "Protection;" a fourth will dilate upon "the reform of the land laws;" a fifth will enlarge upon the importance of the maintenance of our military prestige, affirming that peace is best guaranteed by being prepared for war; but we may rest assured that the foundations of national peace and prosperity lie deeper far, and are laid in rectitude and righteousness. True peace, and, as a consequence, lasting prosperity, come to a people only in a secondary sense through their rulers and legislators, and men of mark in the various departments: they come primarily through the people themselves. In proportion as they become God-fearing and Christ-like, submissive to the Divine authority and guided by the principles of God's Word, will he bless them and make them prosperous and happy. But there is a higher form of peace than that which is denominated temporal, and to that more exalted blessing the Divine promise contained in this text referred. Temporal peace was now being enjoyed by the returned from exile. They dwelt in quietude, although the subjects of a foreign power. But the Lord of hosts promised them spiritual peace, and assured them that, in association with the sanctuary they were raising to his honour, they should experience inward tranquillity and rest. "In this place will I give peace," etc. (ver. 9).

I. GOD FULFILS HIS GRACIOUS PROMISE TO HIS SERVANTS AS THEY GATHER AT HIS SANCTUARY BURDENED WITH A SENSE OF SIN, In our daily life we are continually contracting fresh sins. We stray from God's ways, undesignedly we err from his precepts, and as the result are rendered restless and disquieted. And coming thus to his house, as we bow, in worship, and as we listen to the story of redeeming love, we become humbled in spirit and filled with penitence, and we find peace in Christ. He who controlled the winds and the waves controls also the passions and tumults of the wilder human spirit as he says in gracious tones, "Come unto me, and I will give yon rest."

II. GOD FULFILS HIS GRACIOUS PROMISE TO HIS SERVANTS AS THEY GATHER AT HIS SANCTUARY OPPRESSED WITH A SENSE OF SORROW. In every congregation assembled for worship there are to be found sorrowing hearts. "Every heart knoweth its own bitterness," and we little know how many and varied are the trials being experienced by those who form our fellow worshippers; and as such in their deep need, and oppressed with griefs they could not disclose to others, turn to him who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, they feel themselves divinely soothed and succoured, and realize the fullilment of the ancient promise, "And in this place," etc. (ver. 9).

III. GOD FULFILS THIS GRACIOUS PROMISE TO HIS SERVANTS AS THEY GATHER AT HIS SANCTUARY HARASSED THROUGH A SENSE OF MISGIVING AND MISTRUST. Doubts arise within the mind, problems are presented concerning God's truth and his providence that baffle and perplex, and as it was with Asaph in the olden time, so has it been with many since - they have found light cast upon the hidden way as they have come to the sanctuary of God (Psalm 73:16, 17). And so at all times and under all our experiences he can breathe over us the peace that calms the troubled soul and makes the weary heart at rest. - S.D.H.

In this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.
Inquire —

I. INTO THE NATURE OF THE PEACE HERE SPOKEN OF. It includes peace with God, i.e, forgiveness, acceptance, reconciliation with Him. When this is witnessed to the soul by the Spirit of God the enmity is removed, or the will is subdued, and the affections are brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Peace of conscience, arising from pardon of past sin, and power over sin. A peaceful, serene, tranquil frame of mind; and peace with all men.

II. THE AUTHOR OF THIS PEACE, AND THE WAY IN WHICH HE WILL GIVE IT. It is not ourselves. Our own works cannot purchase it, nor reconcile us to God. It is not others; not their absolutions, prayers, or advices. It is the gift of God. He is its Author, and it comes from Him as a free gift.

III. WHO ARE THE SUBJECTS OF IT, OR THE PERSONS TO WHOM HE WILL GIVE IT? It is purchased by Christ for all, and offered to all. But it cannot be possessed by the wicked. It cannot be the portion of the unbeliever. Repentance and faith are both the gifts of God, and must be sought in the use of prescribed means, such as hearing the Word of God and prayer.

IV. THE PLACE WHERE HE WILL GIVE IT, AND THE TIME WHEN. All times and places may be considered holy under the Gospel. Nevertheless, when and where the Gospel is preached, and prayer offered to God, repentance and faith are usually given, and Christ in His Word and Spirit is peculiarly present.

(J. Benson.)

The Jews were taught to entertain new and more spiritual ideas of what it was in which the true glory of God's house consisted, — that it was not in the grandeur of its elevation, nor the beauty of its decorations, nor the costliness of its furniture, though wrought in gold of Ophir, but in the presence of God there, and in the communication of peace to the contrite and humble spirit.

I. WHAT IS THE PEACE HERE SPOKEN OF? It is a sense of reconciliation with God. When paradise was the abode of holiness, it was also the abode of peace; when once sin had entered, there was no peace to our first parents, so long as the taint of their disobedience remained unwashed away. The peace for which we are seeking is far removed from servile fear and bondage, and has in it the very spirit of a child. There is peace for us when we are enabled to look up to God as our heavenly Father, who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope through Christ,

II. WHAT IS OUR WARRANT FOR EXPECTING THIS PEACE? WHENCE IS IT TO BE OBTAINED? AND HOW ARE WE TO KNOW THAT IT IS OURS? The Gospel is specially the dispensation of peace; Christ is our peace. He is "the repairer of the breach," the way, the truth, the life, the door which leadeth unto the Father. There are systems full of error which, nevertheless, hold out fair promises of peace, and pretend that they alone can secure its possession. The infidel boasts that he can give peace. Our peace depends on what Christ has done for us, and has promised to do in us, and not on what we can do in and for ourselves; and our possession of peace depends on the confidence with which we believe His word and rely upon His power. This is the teaching which gives peace to the troubled conscience, and we confidently assert that it is the teaching of our Church.

(Bishop Shirley.)

It is Christ who really speaks to us, both out of the Old Testament and out of the New, this blessed message of the Lord, "In this place will I give peace." It is His Spirit which revealed it to the prophet; it is His Word which is uttered in the Gospel; it is He Himself who gives it to us now and for evermore. "He is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14). This was the glorious prospect lifted up before those who, coming back from the captivity of Zion, set to work on the restoration of that temple which they had never forgotten in a strange land. There was much, it is true, to sadden them. The place looked not like the ancient and beautiful house from which they had been driven seventy years before. And yet God told them to be strong and work, for He was with them. "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place I will give peace." Five centuries passed away, and all the nations were in expectation; and all the nations happened by Divine appointment to be at peace. This was but an outward thing, however blessed, compared with that holy rest prepared for the people of God, and brought into the world by that eternal Son of God, in whom righteousness and peace kissed each other. That Son of God was made a human babe, and the angels sang, "On earth peace." He grew to manhood, and always, though with warnings mingled, He spake of peace. He sailed upon the stormy waves, and said to them, "Peace be still." And so throughout His life. It is His promise concerning His sanctuary. "In this place will I give peace."

I. HE HIMSELF IS IN THE MIDST OF US. There is a holy presence here, and this should quiet our hearts with reverence and godly fear, and yet fill us with peace and joy. We draw nigh to Him, and He draws nigh to us. We lift up our hearts to Him in supplication, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

II. HE GIVES US HERE HIS "GOSPEL OF PEACE." Even if the clergyman's heart is heavy, the lips of the evangelist utter the blessed tidings, and the word in season helps the soul of the weary. But the Gospel is only a pleasant song to us, until we act upon it in penitence and faith; but then obedience is the path to peace.

III. HE KEEPS US SECRETLY IN HIS TABERNACLE FROM THE STRIFE OF TONGUES. Though His presence, realised even in common life, keeps us peaceful in the midst of strife, yet there is a special calm about His house which gives us pause and refreshment after we have striven, and before we go again into conflict — a calm which bids us, on the Lord's day and in the Lord's house, set aside all thoughts of party, all the bitterness of controversy, and, instead, pray for one another, that thus, as far as lieth in us, we may live peaceably with all men. Then, let all the occasions of your life, all the changes which you experience, be sanctified in the place where He, according to His promise, is sure to be found. Christ is here, so here is liberty and light, here is strength and comfort. Christ is here, and so when we come before Him with an" humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart," He meets us with that priceless blessing, "Peace be unto you."

(G. E. Jelf, M. A.)

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