CCXXV. Joy in the Soul.

PHIL. iv. 4. “Rejoice in the
Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

OF all the Epistles of St. Paul, this to the Philippians is
the brightest. There is throughout an under-current of
buoyant thankfulness and hope which from time to time
bursts upwards in such exclamations as that of the text.
All the emotions and passions of the human soul find
their most legitimate exercise and complete satisfaction in
the service of God. The range of joy is almost as wide as
that of human thought and enterprise. Its complete satis-
faction is only to be found in God.
I. This joy is intellectual. In revelation the being, the
perfections, the life of God are spread out before us, like
a boundless ocean, that we may rejoice in Him always as
the only perfect satisfaction of our intellectual nature.
II. This joy in the Lord is moral.
It is the active satisfaction of a created moral nature
at coming in contact with the uncreated and perfect moral
Being; for God is not merely a self-existent Being, but He
is sanctity, justice, goodness, mercy. And these attributes
may well delight the human soul; but involuntarily, as we
gaze on God, we turn our eyes upon ourselves, and we see
how little we are like Him. Our Lord Jesus made it
possible for man honestly to rejoice in God, “We are
accepted in the Beloved.” Joy, as it is one of the first
experiences, so, in its more magnificent forms, it is the
crowning gift of the new life in the soul of man.
III. The power of rejoicing in the Lord.
1. It is a fair test of our moral and spiritual condition.
The heart which does not break forth into joy at the sound
of Jesus’ name, at the mention of His words, at the sense
of His presence, is surely paralysed or dead. There is
something wrong in our moral being; for the soul that is
at all in a state of grace must rally at a bound to the
voice and touch of its redeeming Lord.
2. This power of rejoicing in the Lord is a Christian’s
main support under the trials of life. “Although the fig-
tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines,
yet will I rejoice in the Lord: I will joy in the God of my
salvation.”
3. It is one of the great motive forces of the Christian
life. It fertilizes everything, giving a new spring and im-
pulse to what before was well-nigh dead. This joy in the
Lord should diffuse itself over a Christian’s whole life. He
has a right, as no other man living has a right, to be in high
spirits. Ask for this gift of the Spirit, and it will not be
refused
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

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