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of faith in believing, and then upon that rejoicest, then it is seasonable and true joy, and not the counterfeit joy of the wicked: when it arises and springs from believing, when that procureth it, it likewise distinguishes it from all false joys. The apostle tells us: "Having this confidence, I know that I shall continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith." It is called "the joy of faith," because it springs from that principle of rejoicing, from that mother-grace, that your rejoicing may be the more abundant.
The preaching of the word whereby faith is wrought, brings abundance of joy. That place of St. Peter is remarkable: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory:" yet believing, that is, exercising the acts of faith, which we too much neglect. If we did exercise these acts every day, we should have our charter of joy renewed every day; "yet believing, ye rejoice."
3. Pray and be thankful; praise and thanksgiving are those fruits which fulfil all our joy. When thou prayest, thou conversest with God, thou speakest with him face to face, as Moses did. He who can pray spiritually, and pray hard unto God, as Moses' face shined when he talked with God, so will thy soul thrive, praying hard, and being thankful: there is no greater means than this to get this joy: "Rejoice' in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praising is comely for the upright." Upon this hangs all our comfort; praise always brings rejoicing, the one begets the other. In Isaiah, the comfort there that God's children receive, is the changing of raiment: "Christ preaching the acceptable year of the Lord to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness." The ground of praise is joy; one follows the other: observe, God
P Philipp. chap. 1. ver. 24.
r Psalm 33. ver. 1.
1 Peter, chap. 1. ver. 8.
will give us the oil of joy: "Christ was anointed with this oil above his fellows:" Christ hath fullness of joy ; this oil doth not come on his head alone, but it trickles down unto the lowermost hem of his garment, even upon all the lively members of his mystical body.
Psalm 32. ver. 1.
* Tit. chap. 2. ver. 13.
I will add in the last place, when a man considers the great things which are given to him by God, and what an estate we get by Christ. I have forgiveness of sins; and "blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven." Christ's blood is mine, and my name is written in the book of life. "Do" not rejoice," saith our Saviour, "because the devils are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." When I consider that I am not in the black roll, and it is my faith which strengthens me, which makes me reckon Christ my chiefest wealth; this makes me rejoice in mine inheritance, and in hope of the glory of God. When I consider the great reward in the world to come, this is a great cause of rejoicing; and therefore God's children long for the coming of Christ: it is made a mark of those that shall be saved: "that they long for the appearance of Jesus Christ, looking for, and hastening unto the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." And "looking for, and hastening unto the coming of the day of God." A longing expectation there is in all the creatures after the second coming of Christ; "they wait," saith the apostle, "for the manifestation of the Sons of God:" and presently he adds: "not" only they, but we also that have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan and long for the coming of that day." And therefore the last breath of the Scripture is breathed out in the confirmation of this hope: "Hea that testifieth these things, saith, Surely, I come quickly; Amen, even so be it, come Lord Jesus." There is a sweet allegory to
"Luke, chap. 10. ver. 20.
y 2 Peter, chap. 3. ver. 12.
a Rev. chap. 22. ver. 20.
express this: " Make" haste, my beloved, and be like the hind and like the roe; come, Lord Jesus, come quickly; and come as the hind, and as the roe, and as a hart upon the mountain of spices:" make haste, and come quickly; be swift, and do not tarry: and in a better place I cannot end.
SEAL OF SALVATION,
GOD'S SPIRIT WITNESSING WITH OUR SPIRITS,
WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
IN TWO SERMONS.
PREACHED AT GREAT ST. BARTHOLOMEWS.
ROM. CHAP. VIII. VER. 14.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.