« AnteriorContinuar »
Christ Jesus, and already admitted to partake of them, may sing and make melody in his heart all the way to heaven. And yet, alas ! how often art thou, O my soul, in heaviness, walking in distress, and cast down, as if thy hope of rejoicing was in vain. And this is not thy case alone. It is too common. How many of God's children spend their days in a mournful frame, and seem to forget their high calling and undoubted title to the fulness of joy! Meditate a little upon the ingratitude of this behaviour, and may the gospel motives to rejoice in the Lord always be the means of saving thee from an unthankful and mournful temper.
First observe, he requires it of thee. The scripture speaks much of the holy joy of believers, and calls for it. They are in duty bound to be glad in their God, as much as to pray to him : for he is always bestowing mercies upon them, which demand their everlasting tribute of thanks : and they cannot be thankful without being joyful. How closely were these two uniteit in the holy Psalmist ! None ever more famous for praising God, or
for rejoicing in God. What he felt himself he often exhorts the redeemed to experience : “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous : for praise is comely for the upright: Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart: Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Remember his righteousness and holiness, how great they are, and how great the grace is, which has found out a way to make you righteous and holy: Remember those blessings with faith, and your hearts will be glad, and your mouths will praise God with joyful lips. What a sense had the prophet of those blessings, when he broke forth into this acknowledgment? “ I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God : for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.". These are the weddinggarments, with which the heavenly bride groom adorns his church, and in which he
introduces her to the eternal banquet of love. Blessed are they who are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb. Blessed are they indeed, for they are arrayed in royal robes : their souls are all glorious with the beauties of Immanuel, with his divine righteousness and matchless graces. They have reason now to rejoice greatly: for they shall soon come to Sion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away for ever. These scriptures prove evidently, that believers are called upon to rejoice: it is their bounden duty to be glad in their God, for they are not living like his children, and making up their happiness in their Father's love, unless they are rejoicing in his rich and everlasting blessings : for,
Secondly, Joy arises from the sense of some good. Joy in God arises from the sense of his being our chief good, and of our interest in him. And this is the joy of faith ; which is not in the least like the light frothy joy of the sensualist, nor the wanton mirth of the unthinking multitude. It is not drawn, as worldly joy is, from vain perishing things, but from the word of God, which standeth fast for ever. It springs from the revelation of grace and mercy in Jesus, and from giving credit to it. Whoever honours its testimony, as the truth of God, will be convinced, that he, trusting to the atonement of Jesus, shall never perish; and, trusting to the righteousness of Jesus, shall have everlasting life. Hence come joy and peace in believing. The conscience is reconciled to God, and is at peace. The heart is made sensible of the love of God, and rejoices in him. This was the experience of the sweet singer of Israel, in the 33d Psalm : “ Our heart shall rejoice in the Lord, BECAUSE we have trusted in his holy name.” This is a good reason. Whoever trusts in God, will certainly rejoice in God : for by trusting in his word, and by depending upon his faithfulness, he cannot be disappointed of the good things which God has promised. We have an instance of this in a trembling despairing sinner, who had drawn his dagger, and was plunging it into his heart. In that
moment he heard of Jesus. It was given him to feel his want of a Saviour-_“Sirs,” says he to Paul and Silas, “ what must I do to be saved ?" And they said, “ Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” And they preached unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the saine hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and REJOICED BELIEVING. () what a happy change was here, and made by believing! The self-murderer forgets his bloody design, and drops his dagger. He hears of a pardon, and believes. His black despair gives way to sweet peace in God. His misery ends in the knowledge of a joyful salvation. How blessed are they that believe! God has pronounced them, and God will make thein blessed. There is no misery deserved, but by faith they are saved from it; and no good promised, but by faith they may now enjoy it: they have therefore