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they rejoice in such circumstances as these ? and supposing they could, is it fit and decent that they should ? Doth not Solomon the wiseft of men fay, that there is a time to weep as well as a time to laugh ; a time to mourn as well as a time to dance ? and doch noc nature itself dictate as much ? When God removes from us our dearest friends ; when he blesses not our endeavours to thrive and prosper in the world, but blasts our projects and designs; when he visits us with fickness and infirmity of body, or any other way chastises us for our fins; doth it not become us to mourn? Will not a good man mourn for the profaneness and impiety of the age in which he lives; and be ready to say with holy David in the CXIXth Psalm ; Horror hath taken bold upon me, because of the wicked that forJake thy law; and, Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law ? Will he not be deeply and forrowfully affected for the calamities of his country, and cry out with the holy prophet Jeremiah, IX. 1. Ob ! that

my bead were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the sain of the daughter

of of my people! Finally, will not a good christian sympathize with his christian brother in his afflictions ? will he not partake of his griefs, and enter into his sorrows ? nay, doth not our apostle himself recommend this very thing in his epistle to the Romans, XII. 15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep? What then can be his meaning, when in my text he bids christians to rejoice evermore ? We cannot suppose that this precept was designed only for the Theffalonians, to whom he wrote this epistle : for neither were the Thessalonians in so much better circumstances than other christians, as that they should be under any peculiar obligations to rejoice evermore ; neither were the precepts of the apostles designed only for those to whom they were immediately directed, but for all christians in all ages. What shall we say therefore to this difficulty ? On the one hand it cannot be denied, that there are seasons when the best christians may lawfully mourn ; and on the other hand, we dare not contradict an apostle of our Lord and Saviour, who expresly commands us to rejoice evermore,


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Therefore it is possible for these two things to consist together : that is to say, for a christian at once to mourn and to rejoice. ? Sorrow (as one well ' defines it) is an uneasiness of mind

upon the thought of a good loft, · which might have been enjoy'd longer,

or the sense of a present evil: and joy ' is a delight of the mind arising from " the consideration of the present or

the assured approaching poffefsion of

any good. Now is it not possible to feel fome uneasiness upon the account of a good that we have lost, and yet to be delighted with the confideration of a greater good that we are still in pofseffion of? And may not the sense of a present evil give us some disturbance, whilst at the same time we are pleased with the profpect of a greater future good ? Why may not a christian regret the loss of his friend, and yet rejoice in a sense of the divine favour? Why may not he be grieved at any unhappy accidents which befal him in this world, and yet be delighted with the prospect of everlasting blessedness in the world to come? The gospel is a glorious scheme; it always affords occasion of rejoicing to those who fin


cerely embrace it. It reconciles the contrary passions of sorrow and joy, and unites them in the same person. It neither extirpates grief, nor abandons men wholly to it. It indulges the innocent affections of human nature, and allows us to mourn for the misfortunes both of ourselves and others. But then it teaches us to moderate our sorrows; and not to suffer ourselves to be so much taken up with the thought of our present afflictions, as to lose the sense of those blessings which we still enjoy, and of those which we are in the expectation of. In a word, it doth not forbid christians to mourn whenever they have just cause of mourning : but it obliges them to rejoice evermore, because by the gospel they are made partakers of many great privileges, and are put into a very happy state and condition. They are justified or made righteous : they are fanctified or made holy: they enter into a filial relation to God, and become his children : and they are heirs of eternal glory.

I. They are justified, or made righteous. The apostle Paul preached this doctrine to the men of Antioch; as we read Acts XIII. 38, 39. Be it known

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unto you, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of fins ; and by him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. He teaches the same thing in his epistle to the Romans, III. 22-24. The righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference ; for all have finned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ. And V. 1. Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And VIII. 1, 2. There is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit : for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of fin and death. And X. 4. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness

, unto every one that believeth. And i Cor. I. 30. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us righteousness. And II. 16. We have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ. And Ephef

. 1. 7. In whom (i. e. in Chrift) we have redemption through bis


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