CCLXXV. The Joyfulness of a Christian Life.

1 JOHN i. 4. “And these things write we unto you, that your
joy may be full.”

EVERYWHERE we turn in life, we see the law illustrated—
that, in proportion to the moral susceptibility to any object
of pursuit or attainment, will be the delight in it which is
inspired in the heart, and, as that is wanting, the object of
pursuit or attainment becomes unattractive, or positively
repulsive. The same law holds in the department of reli-
gious activity. To multitudes of men religion is simply
a burden and a yoke. To others the religious life on earth
for its own sake is precious and delightful.
The apostle was writing to those who were in the ob-
scurest walks of life, surrounded by a thousand perils, and
exposed to persecutions and trials of which we know
nothing. Yet, that their joy may not only commence but
be consummated, these things concerning the Lord of life
were written to them.
I. The sense of worth in character which comes with
the deep, full experience of the life of God, manifested in
Christ and wrought in us by the power of the Spirit. This
is an element of gladness and delight.
A man, when he has overcome a temptation and con-
quered a passion feels himself ennobled by that fact.
II. There is a sense of holy relationship to God which
is an element of joy to the Christian. He who guides the
universe is the guardian of our interests; His power and
wisdom have become the guarantee of our security. Some-
times even in the midst of the utmost peril and sorrow,
there is a glad, sweet, and triumphant sense of this.
III. There is a sense of intimate fellowship with God
in which there is an unspeakable delight. That sense of
fellowship with God is found in the experience of those
who have wrought and suffered and conquered most in His
service.
IV. There is the consciousness of gladness in doing the
work of God on earth, in co-operating with Him in our
small measure. The grandest workers have been the hap-
piest Christians.
Let us make it the purpose of our life, and the constant
burden of our prayer to God, that we may be brought into
this state of gladness and strength in God, so that others
may be swept by the contagion of our joy into the King-
dom of Light.
R.S. Storrs, D.D.

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