Peace, Perfect Peace, In This Dark World of Sin

Text by: Edward Henry Bickersteth 1875

Song 46 by: Orlando Gibbons 1623

Pax Tecum by: Feorge T Caldbeck 1877

  1. Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
    The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

    2. Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
    To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

    3. Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
    On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

    4. Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
    In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.

    5. Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
    Jesus we know, and he is on the throne.

    6. Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
    Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.

    7. It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
    and Jesus call us to heaven’s perfect peace.

Edward H Bickersteth (1825-1906) grew up in the Anglican Church. His father was a pastor and a missionary in the church. Edward was ordained as well in 1848. He also followed his father’s example in his hymn writing. His father edited the “Christian Pslamody,” a highly regarded hymnal in its day and in 1870 Edward became the editor of “The Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer.”

Bickersteth came to write this hymn, “Peace, Perfect Peace,” after visiting a dying relative who was very distraught by his declining condition. One Sunday morning he heard a sermon by the local pastor, Canon Gibbon, who was preaching upon Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” After hearing this sermon he found the words needed to comfort his dying relative.

The stanzas start with a question. (Can we have) peace “in This dark world of sin?” How can we possibly experience any peace when the world around us is collapsing under the dreadful weight of the sin of man? Where can any peace come from? His answer: “The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.” The blood which was shed for us, for the remission of all of our sins and sins of the world gives us this peace.

How can we have peace when we are constantly being pressed by our duties and responsibilities? If we don’t do it, it won’t get done! We cannot stop for a second! Oh, but wait! We get our rest by doing the will of Jesus. Our calling is not to be of this world, caught up in the world’s duties. But rather, we are called to do His will and to follow Him. There we will find our rest.

How can we have peace when we are surrounded by sorrow? The pain of failed marriages, rebellious children, dying parents, and lost jobs surround us on all sides! Where is the peace in our tears? Allow the arms of Jesus to draw you into his bosom. His embrace will calm us lives.

Where is the peace when our children are 1000 miles away? Or our parents, who desperately need us are so far away? Our arms are empty! We cannot draw them into our embrace. All we have is empty despair in their absence! Ah, but in Jesus, we and they are kept safe. In the Garden of Eden, when God said: “I got this covered,” He then made clothes to cover Adam and Eve. His protection continues and in this knowledge we have peace.

The world is so chaotic now, wars and rumors of wars meet us each day. Our leaders lie to us continuously. We don’t even know what will happen tomorrow! Where is the peace in that? But we do know Jesus, he is on His throne and God has put all things under Him. There is our peace for our Lord is sovereign.

Death is knocking, I can hear it clearer every day. My best friend has died, and now another is gone! How can we have peace when death chases us every day? Our peace comes because of the empty tomb! Jesus has destroyed the power of death.

“It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease, and Jesus calls us to heaven’s perfect peace.”

Here are my completed Hymnals:

Presbyterian 1955 Hymnbook:

Episcopal 1940 Hymnal: 

Broadman 1940 Hymnal:

Lutheran 1941 Hymnal:

Methodist 1939 Hymnal:

Pilgrim 1935 Hymnal:

Now Sings My Soul, New Songs for the Lord by: Linda Bonney Olin:

Here are my new projects:

Choice Hymns of the Faith 1945

J S Bach Riemenschneider 371 Harmonized Chorales


Dictionary of Hymnology: