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light. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. Ps. cxix. · Again; strong faith is another part of the christian's happy experience. He is enabled to give credit to God's word, to believe in his promises, to submit to his providences, and refer all his concerns into his hand. “ I know that my Redeemer liveth,” said Job. David says, “ The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? he is the strength of my heart; of whom shall I be afraid ?" " Although,” says Habakkuk, “ the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be.cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord ; I will joy in the God of my salvation.” “ I am persuaded,” says the apostle Paul, “ that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Job xix. 26. Ps. xxvii. l. Hab. iji. 17, 18. Rom. viii. 38, 39. Such are the noble declarations and delightful effects of faith! With what pleasure can the christian look up to the Sovereign of the Uni. verse, believing him to work all things according to the council of his own will! They see his wise hand in all the events of time; they know he leads them by a right way. Without presuming, they can read their names in the book of life. They have the witness within themselves that they are born of God. In times of outward calamity, they can repose confidence in a faithful God. What pleasing instances have we of this ! Time would fail us to mention a Moses, a Noah, an Abraham, a Joseph, a Daniel, a Paul, with a number of others, who faced danger without fear, encountered difficulties without murmuring, endured hardships with fortitude, and bore opposition with patience. Nor let it be supposed that these feelings were peculiar to extraordinary men, such as patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. Christians in general, when in a state of soul prosperity, can commit all into the hands of their Sovereign Lord. They know in whom they believe, and that he will supply their wants, and be with them to the end. When Mr. Dod, in the time of the wars, was plundered of all he had in his house, his wife was in great distress about it. “Wife !” says he, “ be not trou. bled; I have a bond yet to live upon.” “ What bond ?" says she. " Why, this bond,” said he, “ in the Hebrews; “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' Come, let us put this bond into suit; let us go to prayer." The next morning the neighbours sent him in more than he had lost. “ I am filled with the grace of God," said the pi. ous Rivet, in his last illness :: “ I fear no more the inconveniences of temporal life; the Spirit of God strengthens me, and affords me abundant consolations. I have no doubt of my salvation. He hath set me, on high. He hath hid me in his hiding place. I am like a vessel filled with pure water, which no agitation troubles.”
Sincere and strong affection to God enters into the christian's happy experience. His mind not only perceives the excellency of the divine character and the beauty of holiness, but his heart is powerfully drawn to God as the best of beings.“ He feels ardent affection to him, and longs to enjoy, more of bim. With what delight he exclaims, “o Thou, whom unseen I love, by what powerful influence dost thou attract my soul! The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it en. tered into the heart of man to conceive, what thou. art; and yet I love thee beyond all that mine eye hath seen, or my ear heard; beyond all that my heart can comprehend. Thou dwellest in heights of glory, to which no human thought can soar; and yet thou art nearer and more intimate to my soul than any of the objects of sense. These ears have never heard thy voice, and yet I am better acquainted with thee, and can rely on thee with more confidence than on the dearest friend I have on earth. My heart cleaves to thee, O Lord, as its only refuge, and finds in thee a secret and constant spring of consolation. I speak to thee with the utmost confidence, and think thy being my greatest happiness. I love thee. Thus far I can speak, but all the rest is unutterable, and I must leave the pleasing tale untold till I can talk in the language of immortality ; and then I'll begin the transporting story, which shall never come to an end, but be still and still beginning ; for thy beauties, O thou fairest of ten thousand ; will still be new, and shall kindle fresh ardour in my soul to all eternity! The sacred flame shall rise, nor find any limits till thy perfections find a period. I love thee; and, O thou that knowest all things, read the characters that love has drawn on my heart: what excellence but thine in heaven and earth could raise such aspirations of soul, such sublime and fervent affections as those I feel? What could fix my spirit but boundless
perfection? What is there else for whose sake I could despise all created glory? Ye flowery vanities of the earth, and you sparkling glories of the skies, your blandishients are vain, while I pursue an excellence that casts a reproach on all your glory. I would fain close my eyes on all the various and lovely appearances you present, and would open them on a brighter scene. I have desires which nothing visible con gratify, to which no material things are suitable. O when shall I find objects more entirely agreeable to my intellectual faculties! My soul springs forward in pursuit of a distant good, which I followed by sume faint ray of light, which only glimmers by short intervals before me. , 0 when will it dis. perse the clouds, and break out in full splendour on my soul!" See Mrs. Rowe's Devout Exer. cises.
Notwithstanding the christian considers all here as vanity and vexation of spirit, and longs for the presence of God in a future state, yet it must not be concluded that he is destitute of holy, joy. No. thing is more common than to hear the world inveigh against religious characters, as persons who are of a melancholy cast, unfit for society, and strangers to happiness. If by happiness they mean: that which the world only affords, the mere gratification of the appetite, the frivolous pleasures of time and sense, we grant they are not happy in their sense of the word. For they seek not feJicity in these objects; they are taught to set their affections on things above, and not on things on the earth. Their taste is spiritual, their judgment of things enlightened, their affections placed, on nobler objects than what this world can pro
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duce. They have, it is true, their moments of depression, their seasons of distress, and, alike with others, are exposed to the common calami. ties of human life. But although weeping may endure for a night, yet joy cometh in the morning. Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. If there be any truth in the declarations of holy men, in the testimony of experience, and the decisions of sacred writ, the righteous are of all men the most happy. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my • soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clo
thed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Is. Ixi. 10. " Whom having not seen, ye love; whom, though, now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” 1 Pet. i. 8. The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all the paths thereof are peace.' Prov. iii. 17. Indeed, what can be more reasonable than to suppose this? My God, if there be not happiness in communion with thee, in the enjoyment of thy presence, in the prospect of beholding thy glory for ever in a better state, where can happiness be found in the universe? If he be not happy whose sins are pardoned, whose conscience is purified, whose feet are directed in the way to heaven, who then can be happy? If he be not happy whose nature is renovated, whose rebellious passions are subdued, whose heart is attached to the truth, who then is? If he be not happy whose mind is enlightened, whoşe will is inclined to good, whose soul is taken