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with him, &c. In these they juftly joy, If. lxi. 10. Will a man rejoice in the favour of his prince? Sure then a faint may well rejoice in the favour of his God.
(2.) The precious privileges they have in hope, Rom. V. 2.-Rejoice in hope of the glory of God. They have heaven and the eternal weight of glory in view: and this hope makes them fing the triumph before the victory. Yet are they not rafh and foolish; for it is a fure hope, and will never make one afhamed. One counts his riches, not only by what he has in hand, but by what he has in bills and bonds, and joys in the latter as well as the former.
III. I fhall confider the grounds of this joy in these things. They are twofold.
1. A fuitablenefs of the objects to the heart and mind of the child of God. Thefe objects are the great defire of a believer, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. So the receiving of them in hand, or in hope, makes him to joy, Pfal, iv. 6. 7. Without this there can be no joy, Prov. xiii. 12. When the defire cometh, it is a tree of life, If ye would make a starving man rejoice, you must give him meat; if a condemned man, a pardon. Ho linefs and communion with God are faplefs to the unrenewed man, God himfelf is not the object of his defire; neither is the holiness of heaven fuited to his mind therefore he cannot rejoice in thefe. But it is otherwife with the faints; fo ftrangers intermeddle not with their joy.
2. A fenfe of an intereft in thefe objects, John xx. 28. My Lord and my God. One has more joy in his own cottage than in another's palace, because he can fay, It is my cottage. Hagar could not rejoice in the well of water, till the Lord opened her eyes to fee it. Though a pardon were flipt unawares into a man's pocket, he cannot joy in it till he knows he has it. So a fenfe of our intereft is neceffary to fpiritual joy.
IV. I fhall next confider the author of this joy. The Holy Spirit of God is the author of it, and there
fore it called joy in the Holy Ghost, Rom. xiv. 17. i. e. wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghoft, fhedding abroad the love of God, in the fenfe thereof, like a fweet-fmelling ointment, in the heart of the faint. It is he that adminifters the reviving cordial to the fainting foul, draws off the faint's fackcloth, and girds him with this gladness.
V. I come now to confider the means which the Spirit makes ufe of to convey this joy into the hearts of the faints.. Thefe are twofold.
1. External means are the word and facraments. These are the wells of falvation to the people of God, If. xii. 3.
(1.) The word of God, which brings the glad tidings of falvation from heaven to poor linners; it dif covers the enriching treasure to the foul, Pfal. cxix. 162. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. And no earthly treasure will raife fuch a joy in one's heart, as a word of promife will do, when the Spirit of the Lord fhines on it unto a foul.
(2.) The facraments, which feal and confirm the word of grace to the foul. This is plain from the exercife of the eunuch, Acts viii, 39. who when he was baptized, went on his way rejoicing; and of thoufands who have met with that joy at fealing ordinances, which they never could find in all earthly things: and no wonder,for then is the great feal of heaven fet unto the covenant betwixt the Lord and his people.
2. The internal mean is faith, Rom, xv. 13. The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 1Pet. i. 8.-Believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Faith receives and applies the glad tidirs brought by the word, and confirmed by the facraments. The Spirit of the Lord works faith at first, and excites and ftrengthens it; and fo the peace which the Lord fpeaks to his people, is firmly believed by the faint, and thus his heart is filled with joy.
VI. I come now to fhew the difference betwixt this joy and the joy of the hypocrite. That a hypo
crite may have a joy in fpiritual things, is evident from Matth. xiii. 20. and is confirmed by the cafe of many deluded fouls, who may have their joys, as well as forrows, which are unfound as themselves.
1. True fpiritual joy rifeth in the heart, ordinarily after the word has had a precedent effect on the heart, to rend it for fin, and from it, Pfal. cxxvi. 5. They that fow in tears, fhall reap in joy. Matth. v. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. But delufive joy fprings up more quickly, while yet the heart is not rent for fin, at leaft not from it, Matth. xiii. 20. Compare Jer. iv. 3. Much pains the hufbandman is at ere he can expect a crop, but weeds will grow up without pains or labour for them.
2. True fpiritual joy comes by the word, and that rightly understood; but delufive joy comes either without the word, or by mifunderstanding of the word. The channel of divine communications is the word of God, If. lix. 21. That joy which comes by pretended revelations, dreams, or impreffions, without the word, and regard to it, is moft likely to be the effect of a heated fancy, and people had need to beware of being beguiled with thefe things. The written word is particularly the channel of fpiritual joy, 1 John i. 4. These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. And if an angel from heaven would fpeak joy to one whom the written word does not give ground of joy to, it would be but a deceit ; If. viii. 20. To the law and to the teftimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light
3. True fpiritual joy is lafting; but delusive joy vanishes away, and comes to nothing, as wanting a root, Matth. xiii. 20. 21. It has a feason, and when that is over it is extinguifhed, John v. 35. Te were willing for a feafon to rejoice in his light. I own a child of God may lofe his joy too: but here lies the difference. The ground of the believer's joy, fenfe of intereft, is fometimes removed out of his fight, and
fo he muft needs lofe his joy. But though the ground of the hypocrite's joy continue, namely, his fancied intereft in the favour of God, and privileges of the gofpel, yet the joy goes; thofe things grow ftale and faplefs with him, which mightily affected him when they were new to him.
4. True fpiritual joy humbles the foul, and fills it with high and honourable thoughts of God; but delufion never ceases to puff up, Gen. xxviii. 17. How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Exod. xxxiv. 8. Mofes made hafte, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 2 Cor. xii. 11. Compare Col. ii. 18. For. all the divine communications tend to empty men of themselves, to make Chrift and his free grace all to a man; and holy familiarity with God impreffes an awe on one's spirit, in fo far as the more one fees of God, the more he muft admire and adore him. But nature will always build up nature.
5. Lastly, True fpiritual joy is fanctifying, makes one the more tender and holy, the more he has of it. But delufion will never fanctify, Phil. iii. 3. Delufion is a cover to and nourisher of inward lufts, which get a peaceable fhelter under it: but true fpiritual joy makes one forward in the duties of universal obedience, Pfal. cxix. 32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. And it makes one tender in moral duties towards God, and towards man.
Inf. 1. Unjuftified perfons cannot intermeddle with this joy, for it is a benefit that flows from juftification. It is a privilege peculiar to the faints; childrens bread, that is not caft to dogs. Ye may rejoice in the worldly comforts ye have, faying, This cloathing, this money is mine; but you cannot fay, This God is mine.
2. When created streams are dried up, the joy of the ungodly is quite gone: but it is not fo with the godly, job vi. 13. Is not my help in me? and is wif
dom driven quite from me? Hab. iii. 17. 18. The great ground of the faints joy, and the objects of it, are beyond the reach of men, fo that they cannot take them from them.
3. Moft groundless is the prejudice against religion, that it is a melancholy thing, Prov. iii. 17. Her ways are ways of pleafantnefs, and all her paths are peace. None have fuch reafon to rejoice as the believer has. If the poor wretched and condemned creature has more ground to rejoice, than he that is pardoned and enriched with his prince's favour; then the wicked has as much ground to rejoice as the believer who is juftified by grace. O, if the ungodly faw their ftate, they would never rejoice; and if the godly faw theirs, they would never defpond.
4. It is not God's allowance for his children to harden themselves in forrow, and refufe to be comforted; Phil. iv. 4. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I fay, Rejoice. As it is uncomfortable to themselves, it is difhonouring to God, and is the fruit of unbelief.
5. O unconverted finners, let the joy of religion draw you to it. Come to Chrift, in a way of believing on him, that ye may be juftified. Clofe with the way of holiness, in renouncing all known fin, and complying with all known duty, that ye may have this fpiritual joy, 2 Cor. i. 12.
6. Lastly, Let the godly ftrive to attain this fpiritual joy, and to maintain it, for God's honour, and their own comfort and usefulness.
Of Increase of Grace, and Perfeverance therein to the End.
PROVERBS iv. 18.
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that Shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
HITHERTO we have fpoken of the benefits flowing from or accompanying the fense of juftiVOL. II.