Exercises and Ground of Peace

Acts 9:31; 1 Timothy 4:16
I need not tell you what real joy it has been to me to learn that you have received peace; so I will not send my answer to your letter. When God has stripped us of ourselves, He has (in His goodness) only to give us peace. It is what we see throughout in the word. Once the soul is in its true state before God, there is always "grace" for it, and nothing but grace.
But now that you are there, without doubting the love of God, there are some precautions to be taken, seeing the way in which you have been shaken. I am glad that you should tremble at the thought that you could lose your happiness. It is a serious thing, whatever be the goodness of God, to find peace with a God of holiness. Christ has made peace; but He would have us feel what it is to have need of it, in order that we may know it. Our hearth are so subtle and wicked, that following on peace comes negligence. We feared sin before, and now that we are freed from this heavy burden, we go forward not only more easily, but alas, often carelessly. Rejoice before God, and not without God, for the peace which He has given you; rejoice in trembling. It is the means of preserving peace, by grace. Moreover, pay great attention, never to say anything that goes beyond your experience; nothing is of more importance for our own souls.
Neither let the work lead you on to be occupied with other people, in such a way as to neglect yourself. It is before God that you have found peace; it is before God, also, that we keep peace, in the sense of the enjoyment of the true assurance of His favor. "Take heed," said the apostle, "unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Tim. 4:1616Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (1 Timothy 4:16).) If you do so, it will be a lesson for the brethren, and a lesson more real than much preaching. Yes, dear brother, above all, keep your soul before God. Do not think that the 'work depends on you; see how it has been done without you. This does not mean that it would not be a great blessing to work in the Lord's work, but when we do so, we do so saying that we are servants, and feeling that it is God who does the entire work. Work then; edify others; but do not work beyond your communion. Nothing would be more calculated to make you lose peace. Seek to walk "in the fear of the Lord"; it is the beginning of wisdom: it is that which accompanies "the comfort of the Holy Spirit" in the Acts.
On the other hand, do not be surprised or discouraged if you do not always feel all the joy that you experienced at the beginning. There are deeper things in joy than this first satisfaction, because they belong more directly to communion with God Himself; but inasmuch as it is in us, it is of human nature, that the first impression becomes enfeebled. Do not be contented with that. Seek that it may be replaced by a deeper communion, and a fuller revelation of God, but do not be discouraged. Rest on what Christ is, and not on what you feel about it; it is there that you have found peace, it is there that it is kept....
1869.