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greatest pleasure and delight. Oblessed and glorious day! when every vicious appetite shall be extirpated out of our souls ; when nothing Thall remain in us chat is opposite to God, but we shall be perfectly conformed to his holy nature and will! Who would not long for such a time ? and who would not re-, joice in the expectation of it? Well may our apostle call
christians to rejoice evermore ; who are begotten again unto a lively hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them.
I will conclude this discourse with an address 'to two sorts of persons: first, to christians who are full of trouble and sorrow: and secondly, to wicked and unregenerate men.
What can you
1. To christians who are full of trouble and forrow. plead in your own defense ? Put your selves in the most miserable condition that you will ; yet you are
; yet you are not exempted from an obligation to rejoice. I know of no cafe more wretched than that of persecution for righteousness fake :
and yet even in that case our Saviour pronounces his followers blessed, and commands them to rejoice, Matt. V. 10-12. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness Jake ; for theirs "is the kingdom
of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and mall say all manner of evil against , you falsly
, for my fake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven. And the apostle Peter putting the same case, inculcates the fame duty: 1 Pet. IV. 12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some Atrange thing happened unto you : but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings.
Now if christians are to rejoice, even under persecution ; then to be sure they should do so under any calamity that is inferior to it : if under greater evils, undoubtedly under those which are less. Poverty Ihould not prevent the christian's joy. What tho thou art poor in this world: yet thou art rich in faith, and an beir of the kingdom which God bath promised to them that love him? Tho thou haft no treasure upon earth; yet thou hast a treasure in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor feal. Therefore thou shouldest take
up the song of the holy prophet Habakkuk: and say, Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive fall fail, and the fields Mall yield no meat ; the flock Mall be cut off from the fold, and there fall be no berd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Again: Christians should rejoice, tho they are Nighted and despised by their fellow creatures. Let the world treat you with as much contempt as it will, yet still
you are beloved of God; he is not ashamed to be called your God; nor Christ ashamed to call you brethren. If you serve Christ, you may depend upon it that you shall be honoured of God : for our Lord exprefly says, If any man serve me, him will my father honour, John XII. 26. Again: Put the case that
labour under bodily pains and diseases; yet still you cannot plead an exemption from this duty of rejoicing : for God designs these things for your good, and doth hereby manifest his paternal affection
have lost any
for you : For whom the Lord loveth be chafteneth, and scourgeth every fon whom be receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with fons, for what fon is be whom the father chasteneth not ? Once more : If
you dear and useful friends, yet still it is your duty to rejoice : for God is
your portion and happiness, and with him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. In a word, let
circumstances in this world be what they will, yet it can never be unsuitable for you to rejoice ; because you are interested in all the great and precious promises of the gospel ; and neither death, nor life, nor angels
, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor beight, nor depth, nor any other creature, Mall be able to separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Vesus your Lord.
But there are some christians who are full of doubts and fears; they are in great uncertainty about their spiritual state and condition, and can scarce tell what class to put themselves in, whether that of the converted or unconverted. Sometimes they entertain pleasing imaginations concerning themselves, accounting themselves to be the children of God; and at other times they write bitter things against themselves, suspecting that they are the children of the devil : therefore being so unsettled and divided in their opinion of themselves, they cannot arrive at any settled and habitual joy.
Now I would ask such persons how they expect to have their doubts resolved, and to be satisfied in this important affair. Do they hope for this in some extraordinary way ; as by a voice from heaven, or by an angel fent on purpose to reveal it unto them, or by some secret and powerful impression made upon their minds, which Ihall satisfy them of it beyond all pofsibility of doubting? If they expect to get information about this matter in any of these ways, they are much mistaken; for God doth not now-a-days make use of such methods as these to discover things to his creatures : and with regard to that which we are now speaking of, I am sure there is no need that he should ; because a man may come to the knowledge of it easily enough, without any such methods of discovery. The word of God furnishes