Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.…
I. THE DUTY. "Rejoice in the Lord." Look upon religion in its actions and employment: and what are they? "Rejoice and give thanks." Are not these actions that are grateful and delightful? What doth transcend Divine joy, and ingenuous acknowledgments?
II. THE REASON. It is "comely." Whatsoever is the true product of religion is grateful, beautiful, and lovely. There is nothing in religion that is dishonourable or selfish. Then we are to rejoice in the Lord.
1. For Himself, God is the most excellent object in the world. But whosoever are pleased with God, God is pleased with them: but to the wicked and unregenerate, God Himself (as good as He is) He is a burden. Let men pretend love to the things of God never so much, they will not relish them, unless they be born of God. 'Tis they that are naturalized to heaven, that relish and favour Divine things. That which is born of the world is enmity against God. Our rejoicing must be with some respect to God; and though it be in other things, yet it must be in the Lord. And this is done when we acknowledge God as the Fountain of all good, and better than all other enjoyments whatsoever; and count our enjoyments as all from Him and so endearing Him to us and obliging us to Him. Now, to enforce this joy in God, we note that joy is necessary to the life of man. The apostle hath told us that worldly sorrow causeth death. Sorrow and sadness, melancholy and discontent spoils the temper of a man's mind; it vitiates the humours of the body; it prevents the Divine, and hinders the Physician. For the Divine deals by reason; but this being obliterated, he can do nothing. And it also hinders the Physician; for if the mind be discomposed by melancholy, it doth not afford due benevolence to the body. The sour and melancholy are unthankful to God, and cruel to themselves, and peevish in their converse: so that joy and rejoicing are necessary in respect to ourselves. But also, joy is so safe for us: it will hold us back from sin, it will never be in excess, will always be sincere, and will offend none: it will keep company with gratitude and humility, and will always leave us in a good temper, which worldly joy will not do. If our triumph be in the Lord, it separates from sensual things, and from the spiritual sins of pride and arrogancy. Therefore let there be always something that is spiritual in the ground, reason, or occasion, or motive of your joy.
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.