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detained from religious ordinances, rejoice notwithstanding; for God is ever ready to meet with you. In the prospect of death rejoice notwithstanding, because your names are written in heaven; for then it is that your perfect happiness draweth nigh.
In short, in whatever circumstances you may be placed, whether prosperous or adverse, rejoice in this glorious privilege. The maintenance of this joy is most important to your active obedience, for the joy of the Lord will be your strength. Rejoice, then, evermore.' "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice."-" Be glad in the Lord, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart." That you should be dejected is most unbecoming of your privileges, and most unjust to your God. Rejoice with trembling," but rejoice with all your heart. Rejoice with all humility, but with all confidence. It is meet that you should rejoice now in that in which you shall rejoice for ever: for "the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
But, the right dividing of the word of truth calls for the concluding admonition that those of you who are not so joined to the Lord, and to the Church, on earth, by conversion, as to have reason to believe that your names are written in heaven, have no solid cause of joy in anything. The converse of this Scripture holds true: and we beseech you to note this, lest you deceive yourselves to your ruin. What though you are outwardly prosperous? Notwithstanding, rejoice not in this, for you have no evidence that your names are written in heaven. Why boast of your liberty, when you are the slaves of corruption? Why speak of your honour, when you have reason to fear that you shall come forth to shame and everlasting contempt? Why rejoice in your health, when, spiritually, your whole head is sick, and your whole heart faint, and from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head, there is nothing but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores? Your bodily health cannot last for ever; sickness, your last sickness, will come, and death will come, and where are you then? Why, ye profane ones, and why, ye decent formalists, boast of your religious privileges? Think of the words, " And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell." Why rejoice even in life itself? at least,
why rejoice in life as you are now spending it? While you live in this way, you are only treasuring up to yourselves wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of God's righteous judgment. Nay, what would be all your griefs, if you should be in trouble, compared with the grief which should now press on you in the thought of your present and coming condemnation? Cease, then, from your foolish rejoicing. "Be afflicted and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. Repent in dust and ashes. Betake yourselves to the free mercy of God, by faith in the Redeemer. Thus, though weeping may endure for a night, joy will come in the morning; you will have reason ever after to rejoice in everything, whether painful or pleasant; and at last, the sanctified joys of time will usher in the triumphant joys of eternity.
LUKE X. 21-24.
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 22. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them: and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
THE seventy had just returned to Christ, and related to him, with much exultation, the miracles which they had performed on their mission; and he, perceiving that they were dwelling on the mere miraculous gift, to the forgetfulness of a far more important point, had said to them: "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." At the same time, what had happened was, in itself, and still more in its consequences, a just cause of joy; and Luke now tells us that “in that hour Jesus" himself " rejoiced-greatly rejoiced, for so the word signifies. And is it not refreshing to find him who was so correctly described as "the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," now rejoicing? He rejoiced, when he saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven; and he still rejoices in every instance of Satan's overthrow. He rejoices over every single lost sheep that is found; and the pleasure to arise from the united triumphs of his love, in the salvation of all his people, was an important ingredient in the joy which was set before him, and for which he endured the cross, despising the shame. When he thus sees of the travail of his soul, he is satisfied. Let us mark, my friends, this truly ingenuous and winning motive to exchange sin and ruin, for piety and salvation, namely, that we shall thereby gratify the divine Redeemer,
and give joy to the heart which, for us, was melted like wax, and pierced through with many sorrows. Surely, we are the most obdurate and ungrateful of creatures, if we deem any pleasure whatever equal to the pleasure of pleasing him. Jesus rejoiced in spirit;"-his joy was inward, and deeply seated, and then vented itself in words of grateful praise. And so, all our prayers and praises should be the expression of the sincere feelings of our hearts. In this act of praise, Christ addressed himself to his "Father." God the Father is Christ's Father, in respect both of his human and divine nature; that is, in respect both of his miraculous conception and eternal generation. This relation of Father and Son, in respect of Christ's divine nature, implies equality of nature: for while, in respect of his human nature, Christ says, "My Father is greater than I;" in respect of his divine, he says, "I and my Father are one." In like manner, in so far as it can be said of us dependent creatures, we should come to God as our Father, not merely as he is our Creator, but as he is our reconciled Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus also addresses his Father, as "Lord of heaven and earth." Heaven is his throne, and the earth is his footstool. He is the Creator, Preserver, Governor, and Owner of all. And so we should regard and acknowledge him in all our approaches. Taking the whole of this invocation together, we are reminded of the combination of reverence and confidence which becomes us in our devotional addresses. "We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;" and yet we should, at the same time, guard against indecent familiarity and levity; for the Lord of heaven and earth is worthy to be feared, and he will be sanctified in all that draw nigh to him.
"I thank thee,"* says Jesus: the word might have been rendered, I confess unto thee, or, I full agree with thee; and the nature of the subject shows that this is a confession of joy, thanksgiving, and praise. I thank thee, "that thou hast hid these things," the mysteries of the gospel, "from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." There may here be some reference to the description of persons to whom the truths of the gospel were first miraculously revealed, in order that they might publish them authoritatively to the world. God did not choose, for this purpose, philosophers or politicians, or scribes or pharisees, but plain, * Ἐξομολογοῦμαι.
simple, and in general, illiterate men. Now, this was a reason of thankfulness. Had philosophers been chosen, they might have debased the gospel by a mixture of their own theories: had secular politicians been chosen, they might have sought to spread it by dexterous contrivances, or carnal power, and thus one grand proof of its divinity might have been wanting. This, too, showed God's sovereignty, in proceeding in a way that poured contempt on human sagacity and human power.
But these words seem chiefly to refer to the description of persons who then had, and who always have, gospel truths revealed in a saving way to their minds. Our Lord says that God hides these things from the wise and prudent. We are not to suppose that God exerts any positive influence on the minds of men, to conceal from them the truth and nature of the gospel, and to make them unbelieving and disobedient; for that would be blasphemously to represent him as the author of sin. The strong expressions, blinding and hardening, which frequently occur in Scripture, are only properly understood when we remember that those who obstinately and wilfully shut their eyes and harden their hearts to the truth, are often judicially and righteously left by God to their own blindness and hardness, so that they, of course, continue in them; and when we remember that, according to Scripture language, and in this sense, God is said to do what he permits. This opens up at once the strong and pious meaning of what is said of God's hardening Pharaoh's heart. This, too, explains the passage repeatedly quoted from Isaiah, as in John xii. 39: "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias had said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias when he saw Christ's glory, and spake of him." And nearly to the same purpose are these words, Acts xxviii. 24: "Some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying: Go unto this people, and say, Hearing, ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing, ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed: lest they should see