1 Thessalonians 5:16
Rejoice at all times.
Sermons
The Duty and the Privilege of Constant JoyT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Closing ExhortationsB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
ExhortationsR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
A Trinity of PrivilegesT. G. Horton.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A Triple CommandmentH. Smith.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Cheerfulness in God's ServiceG. Dawson, M. A.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Christian JoyH. W. Beecher.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Christian RejoicingJ. Hamilton, D. D.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Happiness in All CircumstancesJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreR. S. Barrett.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreW. M. Hawkins.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreI. Barrow, D. D.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice Evermore1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreB. Beddome, M. A.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreD. Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice Evermore1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice EvermoreA. S. Patterson, D. D.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoicing According to Individual CapacityBilly Bray.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The Duty and the Means of CheerfulnessR. W. Dale, D. D.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The Pleasantness of ReligionJ. W. Diggle, M. A.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Three Universal ExhortationsW.F. Adeney 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18






Rejoice evermore
I. STUDY THESE ADVICES SEPARATELY.

1. "Rejoice evermore." Rejoice because of —

(1)Your conversion.

(2)Your privileges as children of God.

(3)Your apprehension of Christ and His love.

(4)Your hope of glory. These are always available, and if we sometimes rejoice in them, why not evermore?

2. "Pray without ceasing."(1) This implies a praying habit, and relates to our thoughts, affections, and feelings. Oral praying is occasional, and is merely the outburst.(2) The reasons we should pray at all always exist, and therefore we should "pray without ceasing." Prayer betokens —

(a)danger, and our dangers surround us every moment.

(b)A sense of personal weakness and destitution, which are permanent.

(c)Is essential to dependence on God, which ought to be without intermission. All the reasons why we should pray at all urge us to pray unceasingly.

3. "In everything give thanks."(1) In everything; for however great the trial, it is invariably accompanied by many mercies. No case is so bad but that it might be much worse.(2) The "in" also means "for." "All things work together for good," etc. God's children cannot receive from God anything but mercies. Both for and in everything we should give thanks. Not afterwards merely, but in the midst. This is the real triumph of faith, and this is the will of God concerning us in Christ Jesus.

II. VIEW THESE ADVICES IN THEIR CONNECTION WITH EACH OTHER.

1. How does a state of constant joy in the Holy Ghost lead to prayer? One would think it might lead to praise rather than prayer. Now, prayer is something more than a selfish craving, it is communion with God. But such is impossible without joy. When we rejoice in God, we are at once impelled to tell Him all our wants, lovingly and confidently; and thus the highest exercise of prayer results more from a sense of God's goodness than of our necessities. Supplies of blessing, then, provoke thanksgiving.

2. Why is not this our experience? We rejoice, etc., but not always. Our defectiveness is owing either —(1) To our shallowness or lack of thorough earnestness.(2) To our insincerity, or the mingling of selfish and worldly motives with our piety.(3) To our unbelief or want of hearty confidence in God's love and faithfulness. Or(4) To our sloth, which refuses to make the requisite effort for our growth in grace. Let these hindrances be removed.

(T. G. Horton.)

The apostle commendeth unto us three virtues, of greater price than the three presents the Magi brought unto Christ: the first is, "Rejoice evermore"; the second is, "Pray without ceasing"; the third, "In everything give thanks." All three are of one last, and are the things which one saith all men do, yet scarce one doeth them as he should; therefore the apostle, to show us how we should do them, doth put "continually" unto them, as though continuance were the perfection of all virtues.

I. THE COMMAND TO REJOICE. It is not an indifferent thing to rejoice, but we are commanded to rejoice, to show that we break a commandment if we rejoice not. Oh, what a comfort is this — when the Comforter Himself commands us to rejoice! God was wont to say, "Repent," and not "rejoice," because some men rejoice too much; but here God commandeth to rejoice, as though some men did not rejoice enough; therefore you must understand to whom He speaketh. In the Psalms it is said, "Let the saints be glad"; not, Let the wicked be glad: and in Isaiah God saith, "Comfort ye My people"; not, Comfort Mine enemies. He who would have us holy as He is holy, would have us joyful as He is joyful; He who would have us do His will on earth as angels do it in heaven, would have us rejoice on earth as angels rejoice in heaven; He who hath ordained us to the kingdom of saints, would have us rejoice that we have such a kingdom to receive; therefore Christ saith to His disciples, "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

II. THE COMMAND TO PRAY. As Elisha would not prophesy until the musician came, and while the musician played he prophesied, so when the heart rejoiceth in God, then it is fittest to call upon God.

1. It is such a pleasant thing that Paul joineth, "pray without ceasing" with "rejoice evermore," to show that no man hath such joy as he who is often talking with God by prayer; as if he should say, If thou have the skill to pray continually, it will make thee rejoice continually; for in God's company is nothing but joy and gladness of heart.

2. It is such a sweet thing, above other things that we do for God, that in Revelation the prayers of the saints are called "incense," because, when they ascend to heaven, God smelleth a sweet savour in them. Moreover, what a profitable thing unceasing prayer is! It doeth more good than alms; for with mine alms I help but three or four needy individuals, but with my prayers I aid thousands.

3. It is a powerful and victorious thing. As all Samson's strength lay in his hair, so all our strength lieth in ceaseless prayer. Many have learned more by praying than they could by reading, and done that by prayer they could not do by Counsel; therefore one saith that he who can pray continually can do all things and always, because, like Jacob, he can overcome God, who helpeth him; and he who can overcome God can overcome Satan too, who trieth his uttermost to hinder all things.

III. THE COMMAND TO PRAISE. What will we give to God if we will not afford Him thanks? What will we do for God if we will not praise Him? It is the least we can give and do, and it is all we can give and do. Shall the birds sing unto God, which is all they can do, and not they for whom God created birds? What a fool is he which will fight, and travel, and watch for himself, and will not speak for himself in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in his heart unto God! God requires the sacrifice of praise from us as He did from the Jews. Therefore let us not say, God will not hear us. God Himself says, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God."

(H. Smith.)

Some men are joyful by disposition. We like the jovial, merry men, the Mark Tapleys of the world, who are jolly even under adverse circumstances. Yet such joy in an irreligious man has something sad about it. It is like building a warm and comfortable house upon the winter's ice. There are also men who have learned cheerfulness because they know the wisdom and health of it. We admire this, too — the bravery of being joyful in this world. There is something almost tragic in the joyous shout of the crew that goes sailing to the polar sea. Of course they need all their hope and cheer. Soon the sunny air will chill, the cheerless ice will fleck the blue sea, the snow will hiss in the brine, and the black curtain of the Arctic night will fall over the scene. Wave your caps, boys, as your gallant ship slips out of the pier. Be merry if you can. But I do not understand how it is possible to be joyous if you look not beyond the grave into which all things that give you joy must so soon be swept. The joy, the merry laughter of sinful men — is it not reckless? It is like a lot of boys exhilarated by the motion of a maelstrom and shouting with delight as they are sucked into the fatal vortex. How different the Christian's joy. With God on his side, with his books balanced, with his peace sealed, with confidence in the eternal future, with the mighty conviction that all things work together for good to them that love God — why, such a man may indulge all of the exuberance of his soul.

(R. S. Barrett.)

I. THE POSITION OF THE TEXT.

1. It is set in the midst of many precepts. Note them. All these things are to be done as occasion requires, but rejoicing is to be done evermore; and rejoice in each duty because you rejoice evermore.

2. It comes just after a flavouring of trouble and bitterness (ver. 15). The children of God are apt to have evil rendered to them; but still they are bidden to rejoice. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you." Despondency is excluded, and yet among the curiosities of the Churches, I have known many deeply spiritual people who have been afraid to rejoice, regarding it as a sacred duty to be gloomy. But where is the command to be miserable? Then, is it not a sin not to rejoice, since it is so plainly commanded?

II. THE QUALITY OF THIS REJOICING.

1. It is not a carnal rejoicing. If it were it would be impossible to keep it up evermore. There is a joy of harvest, but where shall we find it in winter? There is a joy of wealth, but where is it when riches are flown? So with health, friends, etc. If your joys spring from earthly fountains, those fountains may be dried up. You are forbidden to rejoice too much in these things, for they are as honey, of which a man may eat till he is sickened. But the joy which God commands is one in which it is impossible to go too far.

2. It is not presumptuous. Some ought not to rejoice: "Rejoice not, O Israel...for thou hast departed from thy God." It would be well for the joy of many to be turned to sorrow. They have never fled to Christ for refuge. Many have a joy that has accumulated through many years of false profession. If your joy will not bear looking at have done with it.

3. It is not fanatical. Some people of a restless turn never feel good until they are half out of their minds. I do not condemn their delirium, but want to know what goes with it. If our rejoicing does not come out of a clear understanding of the things of God, and has no truth at the bottom of it, what can it profit us? Those who rejoice without knowing why are driven to despair without knowing why, and are likely to be found in a lunatic asylum ere long. Christ's religion is sanctified common sense.

4. It is not even that Divine exhilaration which Christians feel on special occasions. There are moments when Peter is no fool for saying, "Let us build three tabernacles." But you are not commanded always to be in that rapturous state, because you cannot be; the strain would be too great. When we cannot mount as on wings, we may run without weariness, and walk without faintness. The ordinary joy of Christians is not the joy of jubilee, but of every year; not of harvest but of all the months.

5. But it is the joy which is part of ourselves which God works in us by His Spirit, the cheerfulness of the new born disposition, a delight in God and Christ, a sweet agreement with Providence, a peace passing understanding.

III. ITS OBJECT.

1. We can always rejoice in God. "God my exceeding joy."(1) God the Father, His electing love, unchanging grace, illimitable power, and transcending glory in being His child.(2) God the Son, Immanuel, His sympathizing humanity, His divinity and atonement.(3) God the Holy Ghost, dwelling in you, quickening, comforting, illuminating.

2. Every doctrine, promise, precept of the gospel will make us glad.

3. The graces of the Spirit: faith, hope, love, patience.

4. Holy exercises: prayer, singing, communion, Christian labour.

5. Bible study.

IV. REASONS FOR REJOICING.

1. It wards off temptation. The armour of light is our effectual preservative. What can worldly mirth give to the man who is happy in God.

2. It encourages one's fellow Christians. It is a half holiday to look at the face of a rejoicing Christian. His words are ever cheering and strengthening.

3. It attracts sinners.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. IN YOUR PRESENT STATE.

1. You are pardoned sinners.

2. Have the testimony of a good conscience.

3. Have one who is able to bear your burdens.

4. Are related to God as children; to Christ as brethren.

5. Have free access to God and constant communion with Him.

6. Have a plentiful supply of grace.

II. IN YOUR FUTURE PROSPECTS.

1. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

2. Every day brings us nearer our inheritance.Conclusion:

1. A sad Christian cheats himself all his journey.

2. We displease God if we are not joyful in His service.

3. By sadness we act like the spies who took an evil report of the good land.

(W. M. Hawkins.)

1. This is a rule to which one would think all men should be forward to conform. Who would not embrace a duty the observance whereof is pleasure itself? May it not be a plausible objection against it that it is superfluous since all men aim at nothing else but joy. Alas! When we consult experience we find the precept very ill obeyed. Who is not, at times, full of doleful complaints? It is quite true that men are very eager in the pursuit of joy, and beat every bush of nature for ii; but they find only transitory flashes of pleasure, which depend on contingent and mutable causes, residing in a frail temper, and consist in slight touches on the organs of sense, their short enjoyment being tempered with regret; so that men's usual delights are such that we should not if we could, and could not if we would, constantly entertain them: such "rejoicing evermore" being unreasonable and impossible.

2. It is a calumny on religion to say that it bars delight; on the contrary, it alone is the never failing source of true, steady joy, and not only doth allow us, but obliges as to be joyful. Such is the goodness of God that He makes our delight to be our duty, our sorrow to be our sin, adapting His holy will to our principle instinct; that He would have us resemble Him, as in all perfections, so in a constant state of happiness; that as He hath provided heaven hereafter, He would have us enjoy paradise here. For what is the gospel but "good tidings," etc.! and in what doth the kingdom consist but "righteousness, peace, and joy"? What is there belonging to a Christian whence grief can naturally spring? From God, "our exceeding joy"; from heaven, the region of bliss; from Divine truth, which rejoiceth the heart?" To exercise piety, and to rejoice are the same thing. We should evermore rejoice —

I. IN THE EXERCISE OF FAITH.

1. In God's truth, there being no article of faith which doth not involve some great advantage, so that we cannot but "receive the word with joy."

(1)The rich bounty of God in creation.

(2)God's vigilant care in providence.

(3)The great redemptive events and transactions of our Lord's earthly and heavenly life.

2. In the application of those verities wherein God opens His arms to embrace us. His invitations and soul remedies. Is it not, indeed, comfortable to believe that we have a physician at hand to cure our distempers, powerful succour to relieve, our infirmities, an abundant supply of grace?

3. In the real accomplishment of the "exceeding great and precious promises." How can the firm persuasion of heaven's glory be void of pleasure? or confidence in God's fatherly care, on which we can cast our burdens, and from which we receive full supplies?

II. IN THE PRACTICE OF CHRISTIAN HOPE. "The hope of the righteous shall be gladness," "rejoice in hope." All hope, in proportion to the worth of its object and the solidity of its ground, is comfortable — much more when reposed in and on God. If it please men much to be heirs to a great inheritance, or to expect promotion or wealth, although death, and other accidents may interfere, how much more shall that "lively hope of our inheritance, incorruptible," etc., which can never be defeated, breed a most cheerful disposition.

III. IN PERFORMING THE DUTY OF CHARITY. Love is the sweetest of all passions, and when conducted in a rational way towards a worthy object, it cannot bat fill the heart with delight.

1. Such an object is God. He infinitely, beyond all else, deserves our affections, and may most easily be attained; for whereas men are crossed in their affections, and their love is embittered, concerning God it is quite otherwise.(1) He is most ready to impart Himself, and loved us before we could love Him.(2) He encourages our love by sweetest influences and kindest expressions. Wherefore "they that love Thy name shall be joyful in Thee."

2. Who can enumerate or express the pleasures which wait on every kind and each act of charity towards men.

(1)In giving.

(2)In forgiving.

(3)In sympathy and help.In these we gratify our best inclinations, oblige and endear ourselves to our brethren, most resemble the Divine goodness, and attract the Divine favour.

(I. Barrow, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS IT TO REJOICE? There is —

1. A joy in outward things.

(1)Natural.

(2)Sinful (Ecclesiastes 11:9).

(3)Lawful (Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13, 22).

2. A spiritual joy in God (Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:4).

II. WHAT IS IT TO REJOICE ALWAYS IN THE LORD? To make Him the object of all our joy.

1. For what He is in Himself (Matthew 19:17).

2. For what He is to us.

(1)Our preserver (Psalm 46:1, 2).

(2)Our Saviour (Habakkuk 3:18; Psalm 27:1).

(3)Our God (Hebrews 8:10).

III. WHY OUGHT WE TO REJOICE EVERMORE?

1. God commands it (Psalm 32:11; Philippians 4:4).

2. Christ prays for it (John 17:13).

3. The Holy Ghost works it (John 14:26; John 17:7). 4 It is necessary and useful.(1) To lessen our esteem of the world and of sinful pleasures (Psalm 4:7; Psalm 84:10).(2) To enlarge our hearts and make them more capacious of heavenly things.(3) To facilitate our duties, and make us active in God's service (Deuteronomy 28:47; Nehemiah 8:10).(4) To support us under our troubles (1 Peter 1:7, 8).

IV. How WE MAY ALWAYS REJOICE?

1. Live above the world (2 Corinthians 4:18).

2. Live above the natural temper of your bodies.

3. Avoid such things as are wont to grieve and trouble you.

(1)Sin (Psalm 51:8; Matthew 26:75; 2 Corinthians 1:12).

(2)Needless questions —

(a)about God's decrees.

(b)The exact time of your conversion.

(c)Judging yourselves according to your outward condition (Ecclesiastes 9:1).

4. Whatsoever happens still put your trust in God (Isaiah 49:13, 14; Isaiah 50:10; Isaiah 55:7; Hebrews 13:6).

5. Act your faith constantly in Christ (John 14:1; Romans 8:33, 34).

6. Often meditate on the happiness of those who truly fear God.

(1)In this world (Romans 8:28).

(2)In the world to come (1 Corinthians 2:9).

7. Check thyself whensoever thou findest thy spirits begin to sink (Psalm 42:5, 11).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

Real Christians are rare; joyful ones more so.

I. THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE.

1. It must be carefully distinguished from levity or sinful mirth. "I said of laughter, it is mad," etc. Gravity, mixed with cheerfulness, becomes the man and the Christian.

2. We are not to drown our sorrow in gratification of the senses (Proverbs 14:13), and thus obtain a temporary satisfaction.

3. This joy is not intended to render us insensible to affliction. There is a happy medium between impenitent indifference and overmuch sorrow.

II. THE DISPOSITION TO BE CULTIVATED IN ORDER TO A HIGH STATE OF RELIGIOUS ENJOYMENT.

1. We must guard against whatever might incapacitate us for holy satisfaction: sin especially. The wine of heavenly consolation is poured into none but clean vessels.

2. Divine interpositions in our favour should be carefully noticed. If God keeps a book of remembrance of us, so should we of Him. As He treasures up our tears, we should treasure up His mercies.

3. We must watch and pray against a spirit of murmuring and unbelief.

4. We must guard against unreasonable doubts and fears as to our spiritual state, or our tears will drown our triumphs, and our lamentations silence our songs (Psalm 46:1, 2).

5. The assistance of the Holy Spirit must be implored, who is the efficient cause of joy.

III. THE REASONS WHICH SHOULD RENDER OUR JOY PERMANENT. Some duties are to be performed at particular times — this always. Godly sorrow, instead of being an impediment, is a preparative to joy. There are times which more especially call for joy — our conversion, the day of our espousals — the time of spiritual revival, etc. Yet there is no time in which it would be unsuitable.

1. Because its sources are unchangeable. The love, purpose, and promises of God are without variableness; the blood of Christ never loses its virtue; the efficacy of the Spirit is evermore the same.

2. Its benefits afford a powerful inducement for its continual preservation. "The joy of the Lord is our strength." It invigorates every grace, gives a fresh impulse to every duty, lightens our troubles, sweetens our mercies, and gives glory to God.

3. It will be the work of heaven, and should, therefore, be our employment on the way to it.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

I. A CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE. The Christian may rejoice evermore because —

1. Nothing that befalls him can hurt him.

2. Everything must benefit him in proportion as it aims to injure him.

II. A CHRISTIAN PRECEPT. The act of rejoicing has a power —

1. Remedial.

2. Acquiring.

3. Conquering.

III. A CHRISTIAN PROMISE.

1. As to the Christian's future.

2. That the cause for joy should be inexhaustible.

3. That the duration of joy should be endless.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS THIS REJOICING. There is a carnal rejoicing (Luke 12:19), and a spiritual rejoicing in God (Philippians 4:4).

1. God Himself, as God, is a lovely nature, and the object of our delight (Psalm 119:68; Psalm 145:2, 10; Psalm 130:3).

2. We are to rejoice in God as revealed in Christ (Luke 1:46, 47).

3. We rejoice in God in the fruits of our redemption (Romans 5:11; Psalm 32:11).

4. We rejoice in God when we delight to do His will and are fitted for His use and service (Psalm 119:14; 2 Corinthians 1:12).

5. We rejoice in God when we rejoice in the blessings of His providence, as they come from Him and lead to Him (Joel 2:23; Psalm 5:11; Deuteronomy 28:47, 48).

II. HOW THIS MUST BE PERPETUAL.

1. In all estates and conditions.(1) Affliction is not inconsistent with it (2 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Peter 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:4; Acts 16:25). Whatever falleth out there are always these grounds for joy.

(a)God's all sufficiency (Habakkuk 3:18).

(b)The unshaken hope of heaven (Matthew 5:12).(2) Affliction much promotes it (2 Corinthians 12:10; Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 12:11).

2. From first to last, because it is of use to us at all times.(1) Christianity is begun with joy in the world, so in the soul (Luke 2:10, 11; Acts 8:8; Acts 16:34; Luke 19:2; Acts 2:41).(2) Our progress in the duties and hopes of the gospel is carried on with joy (Philippians 3:3). Rejoice evermore —

(a)So as to pray without ceasing (Job 27:10).

(b)So as to give thanks in everything (Job 1:21).(3) The end comes with joy.

(a)The joy of God is the comfort of our declining years.

(b)At death we enter into the joy of our Lord.

III. THE REASONS WHICH ENFORCE THIS DUTY.

1. God hath done so much to raise it.(1) The Father gives Himself to us, and His favour as our felicity and portion (Psalm 4:6, 7).(2) The Son is our Saviour. Consider what He has done to make our peace (Colossians 1:20); to vanquish our enemies (Colossians 2:14, 15); to be the ransom of our souls (1 Timothy 2:6) and the treasury of all comfort (John 1:16; Hebrews 6:18). Abraham rejoiced to see His day at a distance, shall not we now it has come (Romans 14:17).(3) The Holy Ghost as sanctifier lays the foundation for comfort, pouring in the oil of grace, then the oil of gladness — whence "joy in the Holy Ghost."

2. All the graces tend to this.

(1)Faith (1 Peter 1:8; Romans 15:13).

(2)Hope (Romans 12:12; Romans 5:21.

(3)Love (Psalm 16:5, 6).

3. All the ordinances and duties of religion are for the increase of joy.

(1)Reading (1 John 1:4).

(2)Hearing (2 Corinthians 1:24).

(3)Prayer (John 16:24).

(4)Meditation (Psalm 140:34).

IV. ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF THIS DUTY.

1. Its necessity.(1) That you may own God as your God; delighting in God is a duty of the first commandment (Psalm 37:4).(2) That you may be thankful for the blessings God bestows in Christ.(3) That yon may follow the conduct of the Comforter (John 16:22).

2. Its utility.(1) With respect to the temper and frame of our own hearts (Nehemiah 8:10). It quickeneth us to a life of holiness (Psalm 40:8).(2) With respect to God's acceptance. Rejoicing is —

(a)More honourable to God (Micah 6:8).

(b)Most pleasing to Him, since He so often calls for it.

V. HOW TO PERFORM THIS DUTY.

1. Be prepared for it.

(1)Our state must be altered, for we are the children of wrath, and under the curse.

(2)Our hearts must be altered.

(3)Our life.

2. Act it continually.

3. Take heed you do not forfeit or damp it by sin (Psalm 51:8; Ephesians 4:30).

4. When lost renew your repentance and faith (1 John 2:1).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

How can man, constituted as He is, rejoice evermore? And if it be the duty of the believer sometimes to think with sorrow of his sins, how can it be his duty to be always glad? Let two considerations serve for a reply.

1. The penitence required of the believer is not the unmitigated anguish of remorse, but a feeling, painful, as from its very nature it must be, but soothed and sweetened by the exercise of Christian faith and hope — a dark cloud, but gilded by the glorious sunshine.

2. "Evermore" does not necessarily mean, without the slightest intermission, which is physically impossible, but without abandoning the practice — habitually and onwards to the end. Even the calamities of life, and the sense of his own unworthiness, must not make the believer permanently cease to be happy. In order to the habitual experience of joy on the part of the child of God, his mind must come into contact with what is fitted to make it glad; and it is obvious from the nature of the case, and from a multitude of texts (Isaiah 50:10; Luke 2:10, 11; Acts 8:39; Romans 5:2, 11; Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:9, etc.), that spiritual happiness may be derived from the following sources: —(1) The believing and realizing apprehension of the gospel — the "glad tidings of great joy";(2) The recognition, by faith and its fruits, of a personal interest in Christ;(3) Filial confidence in God;(4) The anticipation of the heavenly glory;(5) The promotion of religion in the world.

(A. S. Patterson, D. D.)

Bless the Lord, I can sing, my heavenly Father likes to hear me sing. I can't sing as sweetly as some; but my Father likes to hear the crow as well as the nightingale, for He made them both.

(Billy Bray.)

Rejoice with a rejoicing universe. Rejoice with the morning stars, and let your adoring spirit march to the music of the hymning spheres. Rejoice with the jocund spring, in its gush of hope and its dancing glory, with its swinging insect clouds and its suffusion of multitudinous song; and rejoice with golden autumn, as he rustles his grateful sheaves, and clasps his purple hands, as he breathes his story of fruition, his anthem of promises fulfilled; as he breathes it softly in the morning stillness of ripened fields, or flings it in AEolian sweeps from lavish orchards and from branches tossing bounty into mellow winds. Rejoice with infancy, as it guesses its wondering way into more and more existence, and laughs and carols as the field of pleasant life enlarges on it, and new secrets of delight flow in through fresh and open senses. Rejoice with the second birth of your heaven-born soul, as the revelation of a second birth pour in upon it, and the glories of a new world amaze it. Rejoice with the joyful believer when he sings, "O Lord, I will praise Thee," etc. Rejoice with Him whose incredulous ecstasy has alighted on the great gospel secret; whose eye is beaming as none can beam save that which for the first time beholds the Lamb; whose awestruck coun tenance and uplifted hands are exclaiming, "This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend." Rejoice with saints and angels as they rejoice in a sight like this. Rejoice with Immanuel whose soul now sees of its travail. Rejoice with the ever blessed Three, and with a heaven whose work is joy.

(J. Hamilton, D. D.)

If it be a part of Christian charity to alleviate the miseries of mankind, then the cultivation of a cheerful spirit is a Christian duty. Why should you lighten the sorrows of the poor by your alms, and make your own house miserable by your habitual gloom? And if you have learnt any thing of human nature, you will know that among the pleasantest things that can find their way into a house where there is anxiety and want, are the music of a happy voice and the sunshine of a happy face. The best person to visit the aged and the poor — other things, of course, being equal — is the one whose step is the lightest, whose heart is the merriest, and who comes into a dull and solitary home like a fresh mountain breeze, or like a burst of sunlight on a cloudy day. No one can make a greater mistake than to suppose that he is too cheerful to be a good visitor of the sick and wretched. Cheerfulness is one of the most precious gifts for those who desire to lessen the sorrows of the world. It can do what wealth cannot do. Money may diminish external miseries; a merry heart will drive the interior grief away. It is possible to cherish and encourage this spirit of joyousness, even when it is not the result of natural temperament. Consider what it is that depresses you. If it is the consciousness of sin, often confessed, never heartily forsaken, appeal to Him who can pacify as well as pardon; master for a single week the temptation to which you habitually yield, and you will find yourself in a new world, breathing clearer air, and with a cloudless heaven above you. If it is incessant thought about your own personal affairs, escape from the contracted limits of your personal life by care for the wants of others. Determine, too, to think more of what is fair and generous and noble in human nature than of what is contemptible and selfish. Those who distrust the world and think meanly of it can never be happy. There is sin enough, no doubt; but there is more of goodness than some of us suppose. It makes my heart "merry" to think of the patience and courage with which many whom I know are bearing heavy troubles; the generosity with which some of the poor relieve the distresses of those more wretched than themselves; the firmness which some are showing in the presence of great temptations; the energetic devotion of others to the highest welfare of all whom their influence can reach. Christ has not come into the world for nothing. If sometimes it is necessary to dwell upon the moral evil which clings even to good men, and upon the terrible depravity of the outcasts from Christian society, I find in Him a refuge from the sore trouble which the vision of sin brings with it. He is ready to pardon the guiltiest, and to bring home to Himself those who have gone furthest astray. Why should those who have seen God's face be sad? "In His presence" both on earth and in heaven "there is fulness of joy."

(R. W. Dale, D. D.)

This want of laughing, this fear of being joyful is a melancholy method of praise. It is ungrateful to God. I would rather dance like David than sit still like some Christians. I remember being in a church once in America. They certainly had a warm church, and that was pleasant; but in one sense it was a fine ice house, for no one seemed to feel any joy. When we came out I was asked what I thought of the service. I said that if someone had come in and howled out a "hallelujah," it would have been a joy; but nobody had shown anything but conceit — it was all intellectualism.

(G. Dawson, M. A.)

When Richard Williams, of the Patagonian Mission, with his few companions were stranded on the beach by a high tide, and at the beginning of those terrible privations which terminated his life, he wrote in his diary: "I bless and praise God that this day has been, I think, the happiest of my life. The fire of Divine love has been burning on the mean altar of my breast, and the torchlight of faith has been in full trim, so that I have only had to wave it to the right or left in order to discern spiritual things in heavenly places." Later, when severe illness was added to circumstantial distress, he could say: "Not a moment sits wearily upon me. Sweet is the presence of Jesus; and oh, I am happy in His love." Again, though held fast by fatal disease, he wrote: "Ah, I am happy day and night, hour by hour. Asleep or awake, I am happy beyond the poor compass of language to tell. My joys are with Him whose delights have always been with the sons of men; and my heart and spirit are in heaven with the blessed."

(J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

If you have one joy now, and will become a Christian, you will have ten thousand joys then. The grace of God will not deplete you; it will not rob you of a single satisfaction. There is not one thing in all the round of enjoyments that will be denied you. God gives especial lease to the Christian for all sunlight, for all friendship, for all innocent beverages, for all exhilarations. I will tell you the difference. You go into a factory, and you see only three or four wheels turning, and you say to the manufacturer: "How is this? you have such a large factory, and yet three-fourths of the wheels are quiet." He says the water is low. A few weeks afterwards, you go in and find all the spindles flying, and all the bands working — fifty, or a hundred, or five hundred. "Why," you say: "there is a great change here." "Oh, yes," says the manufacturer, "the water has risen. We have more power now than before." I come into this man's soul, who has not surrendered himself to God, and I find there are faculties employed; but only a part of his nature is working. The water is low. After a while I come into that man's nature, and I find that all his capacities, all his energies are in full play. I say there is a great difference. The floods of Divine grace have poured their strength upon that soul, and whereas only a few faculties were employed then, now all the energies and capacities of the soul are in full work. In other words, he who becomes Christian is a thousand times more of a man than he was before he became a Christian.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Religion is often regarded as a morose and melancholy duty, a duty abridging delight rather than a delight irradiating duty. And much of the character both of the precept and conduct of the Christian Church has been well calculated to betray the world into this erroneous supposition. Extremes meet. And the extreme Puritan view of religion combines with the extreme Papal view in identifying religion with austerity. These opposite yet kindred asceticisms has done much to misinterpret to the world the true nature of religion. For surely it is obvious that God has not created His world to be a gloomy conventicle or intended the chambers of human life to be cheerless as a monastery. He has made the earth surpassingly beautiful and pleasant, rich in fragrance, song, and joy. And is it to be supposed that birds and trees and fields may laugh and sing, but that man, the top and crown of creation, is doomed to pass through life a sad and mirthless pilgrim? Does not the page of inspiration proclaim that (Proverbs 3:17). Angel voices all around us echo again the first Easter question, Christian, why weepest thou? Rejoice, they say, "in the Lord always!" And again their message is, "Rejoice." No doubt the happiest religion has its yokes and crosses, its travails and its tears. Repentance and contrition are not things pleasant in themselves. The ascent up the hill of self-sacrifice is thorny, laborious, steep. But, like the brave mountaineer, the Christian enjoys the exhilaration of climbing, no less than he enjoys the serenity and largeness of the prospect from the summit. True pleasure is never the child of indolence. The intellectual giant, e.g., who now sports with gladsomeness among the deep questions of the mind, found the first steps of his training wearisome and painful. It is only after years of mental effort that he has attained the elevation of pure and full intellectual delight. Similarly the pleasures of religion are not sweetest at the commencement. Ideals of pleasure also differ. The clearer and nobler the soul becomes, the deeper will be its delights in the pleasantness of religion. And what nourishment for the mind is comparable to the studies of religion? What contemplation so matchless as the contemplation of God? What ideals so beautiful as those of Christ? What aspiration so glorious as to copy Him? What manliness so robust, yet so refined, as the manliness of the Son of God?...The joys of meditation upon God, the delights of adoring the Author of the mysteries and the majesty of existence, the happiness of touching the hem of Christ's garment, and leaning on His breast, and shedding the tears of devotion at His feet, make the latest years of the religious life a continuous jubilee.

(J. W. Diggle, M. A.)

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