C.F. Andrews on Peacemakers

Charles Freer Andrews, now mostly forgotten, was instrumental in the Indian Independence Movement. He was given the nickname “Christ’s Faith Apostle” (from his initials) by Gandhi and was known as “Deenabandhu”, or friend of the poor, throughout India.

I discovered him in my early days at college in the University library. I had just stumbled upon the ‘old book’ section of the library and found a rough blue book titled Christ in the Silence. I don’t quite know why, but the title really enticed me and I sat there for the next hour skimming through it.

At the time I didn’t care much for the book, but still, a certain sentence stood out to me. It’s on page 84 ‘..for love can only win its way by suffering; love has no other weapon’. I ended up not reading anymore of the book, but that line haunted me for years. Finally I was able to track down a version of it and it struck a deep chord within me.

The power of much of the book, and all of his books in general, comes less from the words and prose and more from the life behind the man who wrote them. These words put forth such power because they are written in light of personal experience.

In his fight for the freedom of the Indian people, C.F. Andrews was often called a traitor of England, his own people. There were times when he chastised the Indian workers for trying to oppress other people groups and they called him a traitor to the cause. He never backed down though, despite long periods of loneliness. His devotion to his Lord and master Jesus wouldn’t let him lower his standard and his standing strong was largely responsible for the change of essentially slavery laws in many British provinces, Fiji in particular.

The last writing that C.F. Andrews finished was The Sermon on the Mount. Published posthumously in 1942, it is out of print but can be bought easily enough either second hand or PDF. It’s an incredibly simple book, one that a brand new Christian could easily read and glean helpful knowledge from. I also think it provides such deep truths that even those more experienced in the faith will find it beneficial.

Below is a section from The Sermon on the Mount regarding the beatitude “blessed are the peacemakers”.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.”

At first sight this blessing may appear to be easier than others to attain; for there is a natural tendency among us to praise those who get on well with other people and are not quarrelsome; and this is supposed to be the essence of ‘peacemaking’.

But in reality such easy-going natures may be just the opposite of those that truly make peace; for they are inclined to slur over deep-seated evil in order to create a superficial appearance of harmony and goodwill. No, it is really one of the hardest things in the world to be a true peacemaker; just as it is one of the most fatal things to go on “crying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14 and 8:11). A mere patchwork peace will only result in a more virulent form than before.

For this reason, perhaps, Christ places the peacemakers side by side with the persecuted. For those who “seek peace and ensue it” find out that if the work is to be followed out to the end it must inevitably involve great suffering (1 Pet. 3:11).

We must first of all bear the burden on our hearts of that which has caused offense between those who are thus at enmity with one another. Then, further, we must remain absolutely fair to both sides. While doing so we are likely to be regarded as unfair; and you may have to bear with patience this reproach. Then the change of heart that is needed if a true peace is to be won at last can only come about through the power of love and prayer.

If we keep in mind what has been already said about the earlier Beatitudes, we shall be able to understand how the peacemaker must carry all these earlier blessings with him. He must be utterly humble and conscious of his own failings; he must be ready to stand rebuffs like the meek; he must hunger and thirst after righteousness; he must be pure in heart; he must be full of divine compassion; he must be ready joyfully to suffer persecution. To put the whole matter in a single word, the peacemaker must be Christ-like.

St. James, in his epistles remembering his Lord and Master, gives the character of the Christian. He contrasts the worldly wisdom, which creates “strife and confusion and every evil work,” with the heavenly wisdom which is of God. “The wisdom,” he writes, “that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle , and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:17-18).

For those who are humbly seeking to be true peacemakers, and are waiting upon God to give them the strength they need, we have this gracious promise: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the fee of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace” (Isaiah 52:7). And St. Paul has this same verse from Isaiah evidently in his mind when he describes the Christian warrior, going out to do battle against the hosts of darkness, as “having on the breastplate of righteousness,” and his “feed shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15).

The book can also be checked out for free at Archive.org

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