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peevishness, or disquiet it by the violence of agitation. It infuses, in their room, those mild and gentle dispositions, whose natural effect is to smooth the tenor of the soul. Benevolence and candour, moderation and temperance, wherever they reign, produce cheerfulness and serenity. The consciousness of integrity gives ease and freedom to the mind. It enables good men to extract from every

object, the whole satisfaction which it is capable of yielding; and adds the flavour of innocence to all their external pleasures.

In the second place, As religion naturally inspires joy; so what it inspires, it commands us to cherish. As a necessary proof of our sincerity, it requires cheerfulness in performance of our duty; because, if this be wanting, our religion discovers itself not to be

genuine in principle, and in practice it cannot be stable.

Religious obedience, destitute of joy, is not genuine in its principle. For, did either faith or hope, the love of God, or the love of goodness, rule the heart, they could not fail to produce satisfaction in piety and virtue. All those causes of joy which I have mentioned, would then operate; and their native effect on the mind would follow. The prospects which

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religion opens, would gladden, and the affections which it inspires, would soothe the heart. We serve, with pleasure, the benefactor whom we love. We rejoice in

We rejoice in every study and pursuit, to which we are sincerely attached. If we serve not God with pleasure, it is because we know him not, or love him not. rejoice not in virtue, it is because our affection is alienated from it, and our inclinations are depraved. We give too evident proof, that either we believe not the principles of religion, or that we feel not their power. Exclude joy from religion, and you leave no other motives to it, except compulsion and interest. But are these suitable grounds, on which to rest the whole of our obedience to the Supreme Being? My son, give me thy heart, is the call of God. Surely, if there be no pleasure in fulfilling his commands, the heart is not given him; and, in that case, the multitude of sacrificesandburnt-offerings is brought to his altar in vain.

As religion, destitute of joy, is imperfect in its principle; so, in practice, it must be unstable. In vain you endeavour to fix any man to the regular performance of that in which he finds no pleasure. Bind him ever so fast, by interest or fear, he will contrive some method of eluding the obligation. Ingenuity is never

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so fertile of evasions, as where pleasure is all on the one side, and mere precept on the other. He may study to save appearances. He may dissemble, and constrain himself. But his heart revolts in secret ; and the weight of inclination will, in the end, draw the practice after it. If perseverance is not to be expected, still less can zeal be looked for from him, who, in his religious duties, trembles without rejoicing. Every attempt towards virtue which he forms, will be feeble and aukward. He applies to it as a task; he dreads the task-master; but he will labour no more than necessity enjoins. To escape from punishment, is bis sole aim. He bargains for immunity, by every duty which he performs; and all beyond, he esteems superfluous toil.Such religion as this, can neither purify the heart, nor prepare for heavenly bliss. It is the refuge of an abject mind. It may form the ritual of the monk, or prescribe the penance of the idolater ; but has no concern with the homage of him, who worships the Father in spirit, and in truth. His character is, that the joy of the Lord is his strength. * It attaches his heart to religion. It inspires his zeal. It supports his constancy; and accelerates his progress.

Neh. viii. 10.

There is no man but has some object to which he cleaves for enjoyment; somewhat that flatters him with distant hope, or affords him present pleasure. Joy is the end towards which all rational beings tend. For the sake of it they live: It resembles the air they breathe, which is necessary for the motion of the heart, and all the vital functions. But as the breathing of infected air proves fatal to life; in the same manner joy, drawn from a corrupted source, is destructive, both of virtue and of true happiness. When you

have no pleasure in goodness, you may with certainty conclude the reason to be, that your pleasure is all derived from an opposite quarter. You have exhausted

your
affection

upon the world. You have drunk too much of its poisoned waters, to have any relish for a pure spring.

Estimate, therefore, the genuineness of your religious principles; estimate the degree of your stability in religious practice, by the degree of your satisfaction in piety and virtue. Be assured, that where your treasure is, there will your delight be also. The worldly man rejoices in his possessions ; the voluptuous in bis pleasures ; the social in his friends and companions. The truly good man rejoices in doing justly, loving mercy, and walking lum

of my

bly with the Lord his God. He is happy, when employed in the regular discharge of the great duties of life. Spontaneous they flow from the affections of a pure heart. Not only from the keeping of the divine commandments, he expects, but, in the keeping of them, he enjoys a great reward. Accordingly, in the sentiments of holy men, recorded in Scripture, we find this spirit every where prevalent. Their language was :. Thy statutes have I taken as mine heritage for ever; for they are the rejoicing

heart. They are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. They are sweeter than honey, and the honey-comb. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. They did not receive the spirit of bondage, but the spirit of adoption. They were filled with peace and joy in believing. They rejoice in hope of the glory of God. As soon as the Ethiopian eunuch received from Philip the light of the Gospel, that light revived and cheered his heart. A new sun seemed to arise; a new glory to shine around him. Every object brightened; and he went on his way rejoicing. * After the same manner should every good man proceed in bis journey through life, with a serene and cheerful spirit. Consterna

* Acts, viii. 39.

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