Verse 7. Peace be within thy walls. See how the poet personifies the church, and speaks to it: his heart is with Zion, and therefore his conversation runs in that direction. A second time is the sweet favour of peace earnestly sought after: "There is none like it, give it me." Walls were needed to keep out the foe, but it was asked of the Lord that those walls might prove sufficient for her security. May the munitions of rock so securely defend the city of God that no intruder may ever enter within her enclosure. May her ramparts repose in safety. Three walls environed her, and thus she had a trinity of security.
And prosperity within thy palaces, or "Repose within thy palaces." Peace is prosperity; there can be no prosperity which is not based on peace, nor can there long be peace if prosperity be gone, for decline of grace breeds decay of love. We wish for the church rest from internal dissension and external assault: war is not her element, but we read of old, "Then had the churches rest; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied." The bird of Paradise is not a sternly petrel: her element is not the hurricane of debate, but the calm of communion.
Observe that our Jerusalem is a city of palaces: kings dwell within her walls, and God himself is there. The smallest Church is worthy of higher honour than the greatest confederacies of nobles. The order of the New Jerusalem is of more repute in heaven than the knights of the Golden Fleece. For the sake of all the saintly spirits which inhabit the city of God we may well entreat for her the boons of lasting peace and abounding prosperity.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 7. Peace be within thy walls. The Church is a war town, and a walled town, which is situated among enemies, and may not trust them who are without, but must be upon its keeping, as the type thereof, Jerusalem, with her walls and towers, did shadow forth. David Dickson.
Verse 7. Within thy walls. Or, To thy outward wall. Josephus tells us (Book V.) that there were at Jerusalem three ranges or rows of walls. The sense here is, Let no enemy approach so much as to thy out works to disturb thee. Thomas Fenton.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Where peace is most desirable: "Within thy walls." Within town walls, within house walls, but principally within temple walls.
- Where prosperity is most desirable.
- In the closet.
- In the church. These are the palaces of the Great King; "The ivory palaces whereby they have made thee glad." G. R.
Verse 7. The connection between peace and prosperity.
Verse 7. Thy walls.
- Enquire why the church needs walls.
- Enquire what are the walls of a church.
- Enquire on which side of them we are.
Verse 7. The church a palace.
- Intended for the great King.
- Inhabited by the royal family.
- Adorned with regal splendour.
- Guarded by special power.
- Known as the court of the blessed and only potentate.