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joys ! The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort is thine, with all that his love can do to make thee happy. What canst thou want but, more faith? The Lord increase it, that thy heart and conversation may be more with him. As thine affections are set more on things above, the temptations to the love of the things below will be weakened. The sweetness of heavenly communion will deaden thee to the charms of the world : yea, the world will be to thee as nothing, while God is all. And is he not all in all to thee? Consider his nature, his personality, his covenant, his works, his graces, and his blessings : view them in their greatness and goodness; thou hast an interest in them all. His wisdom contrives for thee; his providence watches over thee; his love waits to be gracious to thee; his holiness, and justice, and truth, are thy friends ; all his attributes have engaged his power to bring thiệe to glory. The perfect salvation of Jesus is thine. His Father is thy Father in him, and has nothing in his heart but love to thée : the holy Spirit has manifested it to thee in believing, to be a perfect, unchangeable, and everlasting love. Whatever the Godhead has promised to give of happiness, is promised to thee; and thou dost believe it, although thou art sometimes in heaviness, through the manifold temptations. But even then there is joy laid up for thee in God. Joy enough in the fountain. It is always full: only thy faith draws out of it sparingly. Enough in God to turn thy sorrow into joy, if faith did its perfect work. O for more faith, that thou mayest have more joy in believing!
From whatever cause, then, O my soul, thy sorrow arose, it certainly did not spring from any thing which faith discovered to be in God. Be assured of this : and learn to improve thy sorrow about other things, so as to see thy need of trusting more, and of rejoicing more in God. If thy sorrow be lawful, coming from a sight and sense of thy sinfulness, there is good reason thou shouldst abhor thyself, and repent in dust and ashes. But this is also a good reason for joy in thy God: because the Lord is nigh unto them that are
of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. He gives to them the knowledge of salvation; and makes them glad with the joy of his countenance. Thus he delivers them from their sins and sorrows. He continues his loving kindness : surely his goodness and mercy shall follow them all the days of their lives. When they are under temptations to seek for joy in other things, he hedges up their way, that they cannot attain the expected good; or if they do, he embitters the enjoyment, and will not let them find any thing in the creature, but vanity and vexation : by which means he would teach them to derive all their joys from him, and from nothing but him. Wait, O my soul, and read, and hear, and pray; be diligent in all means for thine improvement in this divine lesson. Seek the presence of God, wherever thou art. Expect his blessing upon all that thou doest. Account his love thy chief happiness, and be sure nothing can make thee happy in which thou canst not enjoy his love. If riches increase, the world smiles, health be granted thee, relations are kind, and all things go well, set not
thy heart upon them. Look at the bountiful hand which gives, and depend on the grace which sanctifies those things. They are not worth having but as they come from and lead to God, and so may be spiritually improved. If thou canst live by faith, and enjoy God in them, then they are real blessings : for then thou wilt receive them as his gifts, and use them to his praise; thou wilt eye his goodness in them, and admire him for them; and while he continues them, thou wilt be dependent on his grace to keep thy heart from idolatry, that thou mayest love the gifts only for the sake of the giver. Whatever thou art going to do, ask thyself, How can this be the means of my rejoicing in God? if it cannot, avoid it. If it come with all the world's flatteries, and make thee the greatest offers of joy, fly from it: there is deadly poison under its gilded outside. Lay it down as an invariable rule of thy walk, that nothing can do thee good but what thou canst enjoy God in. He is the only source of good; and every thing is to thee what he makes it: not what it is in itself; as such all is vanity : but it is good when God makes it so. True joy is from him and in him. It is the gift of his grace, and does not stop at any of the streams, but goes up to the fountain-head, from whence they flow, and there finds its comforts. ( my God, teach me thus to seek my joys in thee, and to make thee my crown of rejoicing. : For thine encouragement, consider, O my soul, what he did to the travellers gone before thee in the way to Sion : how he comforted them, and made them glad with the joy of his countenance. He led them indeed through the valley of Baca, (of mourning,) the only high-way to the kingdom; but they found a well in it, a fountain of living waters, they went on sorrowing for their departure from God, but were made glad at their hearts in being brought back by his grace : therefore they wept rejoicing. Happy mourners ! And hast thou not the same reason as they had to sorrow for thyself, and yet to be exceeding glad in God? Is not this also the case with all thy fellow-travellers now, upon the road? Their hearts are with God. He is their portion. His heaven is their hoine. They would