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ments of salvation. In that day, ye will count it an honour to have been employed in ministering to its necessities, and extending its limits in the world. All your services of this kind will then be publicly acknowledged, and abundantly rewarded. Blessed, then, are those servants, whom their Lord, when he cometh, shall find so engaged ! verily, I say unto you, that he will number them with his children, and enrol their names, with the names of all his saints, in the Lamb's book of life. Seeing therefore, brethren, that
look for such things, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
DEUT. XII. 7.
And ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand
We find exhortations to joy and gladness very profusely scattered through many passages of the old and new Testament; a circumstance from which it may be reasonably concluded, that true religion is of an amiable and exhilarating nature. It is not the will of God that we should drag heavily along the way,
that leads to the consummation of all our largest and best desires : but he would have us to pass the time of our sojourn upon earth in the exercise of a lively hope, making his promises our songs in the house of our pilgrimage. When the treasurer of Queen Candace was on his
from Jerusalem to his own country, it pleased God very unexpectedly to furnish him with an able expositor of those sacred writings, which he carried in his hand as the companion of his journey. The Evangelist Philip was suddenly brought in contact with this illustrious traveller, while his mind was deeply occupied and somewhat perplexed about a certain passage in the prophecy of Isaiah. He frankly confessed his difficulties and proposed his enquiries to the welcome stranger; who, without any unnecessary circumlocution, began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. The discourse of Philip, it may readily be imagined, was of a novel kind to the ears of this Ethiopian nobleman: yet was it, at the same time, so clear and convincing, as to fix his attention and affect his heart. He listened to the Evangelist with equal admiration and pleasure, till a divine light broke in upon his mind, dissipating all his doubts, and affording him an affecting manifestation of the truth as it is in Jesus. And what was the immediate effect of such manifestation? Did he continue his journey in a state of perplexity and dejection ? Nay, but it is triumphantly recorded, that he went on his way rejoicing. His long-continued prayer had now received a satisfactory answer. Like the merchant-man in the Gospel, he perceived that a pearl of great price was put into his hand; and, with such a treasure in possession, he could do no otherwise than rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Now this is not to be considered as a solitary or rare instance of the cheering influence of true religion, but rather as the natural and almost invariable effect of it upon every sincere believer. It is the common privilege of the righteous, to rejoice from the rising up of the sun to the going down thereof. And lest they should seem to live below the immunities of their sacred charter, they are very frequently invited and admonished by the inspired writers, to cultivate diligently this desirable frame of soul, so refreshing to man and so honourable to God. The passage of scripture now before us is of this description ; and it was intended to quicken every hearer of it in the high and binding duty of gratitudeYe shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto.
The subject, then, which claims our attention at this time, is that of sacred joy. And lest I should utterly lose myself on a
theme so diversified and so vast, I shall confine
remarks to a few of the more general grounds and causes of this joy ; which indeed are so wonderfully abundant as to meet us wherever we turn our steps. But, to be more distinct, the matter of this holy joy is supplied
First-By the visible creation. The Lord, saith the Psalmist, shall rejoice in his works. He who formed the heavens, the earth, and the unfathomable deep, surveys the operations of his own almighty hand with an inconceivable degree of complacency; because they tend to shadow forth his glory, and to promote the general good. Job tells us, that, on the first appearance
of the material creation, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. They every where beheld some striking display of the almighty power and wisdom, in the form and furniture, in the order and harmony, of the new world : and while they gazed upon the grand production, that sweet appropriate song was heard among themWorthy art thou, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all