You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
Joy and pleasure are things so truly desired by all mankind, that religion suffers by being thought an enemy to them. Religion restrains us from nothing, but what our own reason and interest should restrain us from, In all harmless and innocent satisfactions, that neither entrench upon the honour of God, nor the rights of others, nor our own peace and quiet, we have leave to pick and choose.
I. THE NATURE OF THIS INWARD JOY AND PLEASURE. Not a natural gaiety and cheerfulness of humour, or a few light and transient fits of mirth, nor yet any strong and confident presumptions of God's love and favour, or any rapturous transports, and sensible ravishments of joy. That which I intend is, a solid and rational satisfaction of mind, in the goodness and soundness of a man's estate towards God, and flows usually from these two things — from a sincere and regular discharge of our duty, which brings its own comfort and tranquillity along With it. And from a cheerful reflection upon a man's innocency, and the integrity of his actions, when a man dares look back upon what he has done, and knows that he has the testimony and approbation of heaven on his side, bearing witness to the vote and suffrage of his own conscience.
II. WHAT INFLUENCE RELIGION HAS UPON THE JOY AND PLEASURE OF A MAN'S MIND.
1. Religion restores a man to the grace and favour of God, and assures him that his sins are pardoned, and his peace made with heaven.
2. A course of virtue and religion subdues our inordinate appetites and vicious inclinations, which are the great fountains of inquietude and trouble. Religion circulates through all our powers, disposes every faculty to act in its due place and order, and determines every affection to its peculiar object.
3. A pious and religious life secures to a man the peculiar care and protection of the Divine Providence, than which there cannot be a stronger support and comfort to the mind of a wise and good man.
4. Religion refreshes the mind of a good man with a joyful assurance of the glory and blessedness of the Other world.
III. THE EXCELLENCY OF THE PLEASURES OF RELIGION, ABOVE ALL THE DELIGHTS AND PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD. "More than when the corn and the wine increases."
1. The delights of this world are gross and corporeal, and affect only the external senses, and are the pleasures of the brute, rather than of the man.
2. The pleasures of religion are more solid and satisfying than anything this world can afford. They fill our appetites, and fix our desires, and settle the soul upon the right basis and temper.
3. Religions pleasures are more large and comprehensive, they take in a vaster compass, the delights both of this and of the other world.
4. The pleasures of religion have infinitely the advantage of all others in point of duration and continuance. They abide with us when other comforts fly, or are rifled away from us The sum is this — "the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever."
(William Cave, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.