Home      Back to Advent 4




Joy in the Lord.
by H. P. Liddon
from Advent in St. Paul's: 
Sermons Bearing Chiefly on the Two Comings of Our Lord, 
Volume I.  Rivingtons, London, 1889 [Second Edition, Revised]
Sermon XVII. for the Fourth Sunday in Advent.
PHIL. iv. 4.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

OF all the Epistles of St. Paul, that to the Philippians is the brightest. It was, indeed, written out of a Roman prison, and it touches upon some depressing subjects. Such were the recent illness of Epaphroditus, (Phil. ii. 25-27.) the disagreement between the two ladies, Euodias and Syntyche, (Phil. iv. 2.) the want of disinterestedness in those about the Apostle, when Christ was preached in Rome by some of the missionaries, “even of envy and strife; “ (Phil. i. 15.) not to speak of the personal discomfort which was inseparable from his own circumstances. Yet, such was the happy state of the Philippian Church that, alone among St. Paul’s Epistles, this contains no word of censure for those to whom it is addressed. And throughout it there is an undercurrent of buoyant thankfulness and hope, which from time to time bursts upwards in such exclamations as that of the text: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” St. Paul had already written, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. iii. 1.) But, as if this was not enough, he repeats the precept, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Thus this Epistle has had a particular attraction for Christians who have severely felt the pressure whether of duty or of sorrow; and among these may be mentioned one, who was a great student of Holy Scripture in its practical aspects—the late Bishop of Salisbury, Dr. Hamilton. He used to say that when he felt depressed and discouraged, he commonly read the Epistle to the Philippians through, as soon as he could make time to do it; for in this letter of the great Apostle, more than anywhere else, he found the sustaining force and motives which helped him on his way.

And it is not hard to see why this passage of the Epistle has its place in the services of the Last Sunday in Advent. We are now very near the Great Festival of the Birth of Christ. We are pausing as pilgrims have described themselves as pausing on the hills near Jerusalem, to prepare for their entrance into the Holy City. We are waiting for the sunrise, and already the horizon is brightening with the splendour that precedes the sun. Christmas, though not the greatest of the Christian Festivals, is yet scarcely inferior to Easter, while the custom of Western Christendom, and of our own country in particular, has made it even more joyous. Not merely is the season dear to every Christian heart that knows something of the lovingkindness of God, as shown by sending His Divine Son into our human world; but all lawful human joys, all family relationships, all that brings light and sweetness into our natural life, finds shelter, sanction, consecration, in the Stable at Bethlehem. Joy, in short, is the keynote of the Festival of Christmas. And therefore, in immediate preparation for it, the Last Sunday in Advent heralds this joy, but, at the same time, insists upon its true source and motive, and undertakes to regulate as well as to stimulate it. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

My brethren, all the emotions and passions of the human soul find their most legitimate exercise and their complete satisfaction in the service of God. Bishop Butler, in a famous sermon, has shown that this is true even of anger or resentment. (Works, ii. 97, sqq.) Anger is so almost invariably roused for selfish or sinful purposes, that we are apt to regard any exercise of it as wrong, and to forget that God gave it us to be employed in His service and for His glory. There are certain actions which ought to make us angry. One of the darkest touches which the Psalmist throws into the character of a bad man is, that “neither doth he abhor anything that is evil “ (Ps. xxxvi. 4.) one of the most urgent of the Apostolic precepts to Christians is, “ Be ye angry, and sin not.” In the same way, wonder, awe, gratitude, affectionateness, and the like, though they are often roused by very unworthy objects, have each of them one legitimate object in which they find their perfect satisfaction. They are perfectly satisfied in Almighty God; and they do not find satisfaction, except of an imperfect and unsubstantial kind, anywhere beneath His Throne. For God has made the human soul, and every faculty or instinct that composes it, for Himself. He is the key that can unlock its mysterious powers, and discover their true range and capacity. And as this is the case with other emotions and passions and faculties, so it is with the emotion of joy.

Joy is that active sense of happiness which caresses the object that provokes it, and seeks some outlet or expression for its buoyancy; and it has an immense field of modified exercise in the sphere of sense and time. Scripture in many ways recognizes this. “To the counsellors of peace is joy.” (Prov. xii. 20.) “It is joy to the just to do judgment.” (Prov. xxi. 15.)  “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth.” (Prov. xv. 23.) The virgin, in Jeremiah, rejoices in the dance. (Jer. xxxi. 13.) Isaiah speaks of the joy of harvest, and of the rejoicing of men after victory who divide the spoil. (Isa. ix. 3.) Solomon observes that even “folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom;” (Prov. xv. 21.) and St. James knew some Christians who rejoiced in their boastings, while he adds tersely, “all such rejoicing is evil.” (St. James iv. 16.)  The range of joy is almost as wide as that of human thought and enterprise; but its complete satisfaction is only in God. God is the “exceeding joy” (Ps. xliii. 4.) of the Psalmist; God is the One Object Who can draw out and give play to the soul’s capacity for active happiness; and therefore, before God, the Psalmist’s heart danceth for joy, (Ps. xxviii. 8.) and his mouth praiseth God with joyful lips; (Ps. lxiii. 6.) and he bids the children of Zion be joyful in their King; (Ps. cxlix. 2.) and he looks out upon heathendom, and would have all the lands come before the Lord’s Presence with a song (Ps. c. 1.) and he looks out upon Nature, and bids the field be joyful, and all that is in it, and the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord ; (Ps. xcvi. 12.) and the floods clap their hands, and the hills be joyful together before the Lord. (Ps. xcviii. 9.) This is the language of exuberant delight; and St. Paul only adopts the expression of the Psalmist, of Isaiah, of Joel, of Habakkuk, of Zechariah, when he bids the Philippians “Rejoice in the Lord.”


Now, this joy is, first of all, intellectual. The human reason has its profound satisfactions, its ecstasies, its moments of bounding, inexpressible delight. “Why do you sit up so late at night?” was a question once put to an eminent mathematician. “To enjoy myself,” was the reply. “How?” was the rejoinder. “I thought you did nothing but spend the whole night in working out mathematical problems.” “So I do,” was the reply. “In the working out these problems consists the enjoyment. Depend upon it,” he added, “those persons lose a form of enjoyment too keen and sweet to be described who do not know what it is to recognize at last, after long effort and various failures, the true relation between abstract mathematical formulas.” Well, my friends, that is probably a form of enjoyment to which you and I are strangers; and yet we may know enough of other subjects to believe in its reality. In different degrees, all real knowledge is delightful to the human mind, and for the reason which makes pure mathematics so peculiarly delightful; the delight is caused by contact with fact, with truth. Why is this contact so welcome to the mind of man? Because the mind is made for God, the Truth of all truths, the One Supreme Fact, the Absolute Being, Who is the meeting-point of all that really is; in Whom, as manifested in His Word or Son, are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. ii. 3.)

In our day, this delight of the human mind in coming into contact with fact is especially observable in those who study the physical sciences. The scientific spirit, as it is called, is at present concentrated on these studies with passionate eagerness. And in themselves they are deserving of a warm welcome from Christians. For if Revelation is God’s second book, nature is His first. Nature, according to the Apostle, is the book which God opened before the eyes of the heathen world. And men were not meant to learn His Existence by a laborious process of argument and inference, but to read, stamped on Nature’s every page, His Being, His Power, His Beauty, the resource and many-sidedness of His Life. “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” (Rom. i. 20.) If this wonderful lesson is so often missed; if a film would sometimes seem to be drawn over the eyes which see deepest into the processes of nature, so that the Hand Which is everywhere behind her, or rather, ever moving on her surface, is unnoticed, this does not show that their study in itself is bad. It shows that some inward disability prevents their making the most of it.  The student of nature, whether he knows it or not, is animated by that love of contact with truth which makes knowledge of the Highest Truth a source of the highest and purest enjoyment. If this be so, if the contact of the mind with any kind of reality has a charm all its own, what should not be the delight of steadily contemplating God as He presents Himself in Revelation?  In Revelation, the Being, the Perfection, the Life of God, are spread out before us like an illimitable ocean, that we may rejoice in Him alway as the only and perfect satisfaction of our intellectual nature. This Being of beings, to Whom nothing can be added, because nothing is wanting; Whom no place, nor time, nor will, nor intelligence can contain; Who fills, penetrates, transcends all created things, Himself uncircumscribed and unbounded Life; — This Being, upon Whose Nature the shadow of change never rests; Whose Essence, Thought, Heart, Will, Working, are alike unchanging and unchangeable ;—This Being, Who never began and will never cease to be; Whose existence knows no succession, no division of time, but includes in one single point of an indivisible Eternity the duration and the divisions that belong to time, so that with Him each moment is as eternity, and eternity as a moment;—This Being, Whose Power is limited only by His own Moral Nature; Who knows not what we men name infirmity or fatigue; Who has created this universe out of nothing, and could with equal readiness resolve it into the nothing out of which He has taken it, since He momentarily upholds it in the existence which He has bestowed;—This unbounded, vast Intelligence, in Which darkness and ignorance can find no place, Which can never err, never be deceived; before Which all that is, is spread out in its widest extent and in its minutest detail; all things and occurrences, whether past, or present, or to come; all that is possible, and all that is imaginable; all that is not, yet might be, as well as all that is;—This awful Will, perfect in Its power, in Its freedom, in Its sanctity, Which ever wills and loves the good, because the good is Its nature; and that so perfectly that the presence of evil in the world is but a weird product of Its love of the moral freedom wherein the excellence of Its rational creatures consists;—This awful Will, Which is ever the same in Its principle and Its direction, yet Which, as It deals with us men, we name by turns Justice or Mercy, but always Goodness;—surely here is a Being, in contemplating Whom the intelligence of man might well rejoice. Nor is this all. He has not merely revealed Himself as an All-embracing Intelligence and a perfectly Holy Will. “My reason tells me,” it was once said, “that before He created anything, the Maker of this universe must have dwelt in eternal solitude; but my experience shows me that—at least, for a created being— solitude must mean madness; the mind cannot, dare not, beyond a certain point, feed only on itself.” Here, as man gazes at what to him is unintelligible, God again lifts the veil, and discovers in that solitary Existence Which preceded creation the activities of a complex Life, when It had not yet passed by creation beyond the circuit of Its own being. Not alone, as we men think of solitude, but as Three in the Unity of His Self-existing Being, God existed, exists, will exist for ever. Long ere He created—to use poor human words—God was, as He is, and ever will be; the Centre and Sphere of an unbegun, unending productiveness. As “in the beginning” was God, (Gen. i. 1.) so “in the beginning was the Word.” (St. John i. 1.) A plant slowly develops itself, till it bears its flower and its fruit; man passes the long years of boyhood and of youth ere he becomes a parent; but God, the Everlasting Being, ever begets within Himself an Everlasting Word or Son, and from Son and Father there is everlastingly breathed forth the Spirit, the Bond of Love That unites Them. This generation of the Son, this going forth of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, always has been, is at this moment, ever will be. This never-begun, never-ending activity within the Divine Being never impairs His Unity; the same undivided Nature belongs to Father, Son, and Spirit; They exist, Each possessing without dividing, a common uncreated Essence. Each contains the Others; Each is in the Others, so that there is perfect Unity. And yet this Unity is not a barren solitude; for within it subsist, in Eternal companionship, without being separated, without being confined, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Alas! how can a few human words trace the distant outline, the remote frontier, of the greatest subject that can present itself to the intelligence of man—the Being of the Everlasting God? And yet a new plant flowering in your botanical gardens, a newly discovered animal secured for your menageries, a sea-fish or octopus in your aquariums, will send a thrill of interest through those sections of society which claim to represent the most active thought of the day. But all the while the Being of beings, with all the magnificent array of His attractive and awful Attributes, is above you, around you, ay, within you. How much of that mental life, which you bestow so ungrudgingly on His creatures, is devoted to Him? Surely that is a question which greatly concerns not a few of us at the present time. As we give our time and strength to art, to science, to politics; as the hours which are allotted us are passed almost exclusively in dealing with topics and publications of the day, which have little or no reference to the One Absolute and Eternal Being, do we not hear the Apostle paraphrasing his own words: “O intelligence of man, that wast made for something higher than any created thing, understand at last thy true, thy magnificent destiny; ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice’”?


This joy in the Lord is, secondly and pre-eminently, moral. It is the active satisfaction experienced by a created moral nature at coming into contact with the Uncreated and Perfect Moral Being. For God, we know, is not merely the Self-existing; He is not merely boundless Intelligence and resistless Force; He is, as we have already said, Sanctity, Justice, Goodness, Mercy. And thus He appeals to another side of man’s nature than the reason; He is, to use an expression of the Psalmist, “the Joy of the heart.” (Ps. cxix. 111.)

Now, the emotion which we commonly mean by joy has much more to do with our affections than with our reason. It is in the play of the affections upon an object which satisfies and responds to them that most men ordinarily feel joy. Thus, among things here below, a man’s family, his wife and his children, call out and sustain this bounding sense of delight which the ordinary occupations of his understanding do but rarely stimulate. When his wife welcomes him as he returns from his work with a bright smile of tender attachment; when his child smiles half unconsciously from its cradle at hearing its father’s voice, a man feels a profound emotion, which ministers to his inmost being the truest and deepest satisfaction. This, he says to himself, is real joy; this is nature. Ay, it is nature; but it is something more. Little as he may think it, on that threshold, beside that cradle, he stands face to face with the attributes of the Everlasting Being, Who has thus infused His Tenderness and His Love into the works of His Hands. What is here but the shadow or fringe of that Eternal Kindliness Which in Itself knows no stinted measure nor bounded form; Which depends on no other; Which embraces all other forms of excellence, blessedness, perfection; Which ministers out of Its exhaustless resources to all things tender their tenderness, to all things bright their splen-dour, to all things perfect their perfection; Which is the Sun of all moral beings, around Which they move, by Which they are sustained, in Which they rest, as the End and Object Which alone satisfies their desire, their appetite, their movement, their life?

Certainly, God’s attributes of Holiness, Justice, Mercy, may well delight the human mind as illustrating His Perfection, not less than do those other attributes we have been considering. But they have also a very direct bearing on our moral nature. As we gaze on Him Who is thus Holy, Just, Tender, True, we involuntarily turn an eye upon ourselves. If He is “of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,” (Hab. i. 13.) what does He see in us? If He is Righteous in Himself, and true in His Judgments, (Ps. cxix. 137.) what must we sinners expect? If, indeed, we could contemplate His Being only as an abstract problem, we might still find satisfaction in it; but how is this satisfaction possible when these His characteristic Attributes have so close and so stern a message for ourselves? It was not ever thus—that were a libel on His goodness. But between that Uncreated Beauty and our poor enfeebled life a dark shadow has passed; and yet light enough is left to enable us to see how little we are like Him.

No, my brethren, joy in a perfectly holy being is impossible while man is as his first father left him; a fallen being, with a fatal inclination to evil. Conscious of this radical flaw, man, from generation to generation, like his first parent, hides himself from the Lord God among the trees of the garden of life. (Gen. iii. 8.) He not merely feels his insignificance; he sees that his nature is warped and degraded; a deep gloom takes possession of him when he thinks steadily on the Eternal and the Unseen; when he turns his face towards the God Who made him. He would fain bury himself in amusement, in work, in self-forgetfulness; he must get out of the sight of God.

And not the least gracious work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is this: that He has made it again possible for man to rejoice in God; in His Justice and Sanctity, not less than in His mercy; in His Justice and Sanctity, not less than in those other aspects by which He touches the reason rather than the conscience of His creatures. For our Lord has, in His own Person, destroyed this discord between the conscience of man and the Holiness of God. He, representing our whole race, has offered to God a Life of perfect obedience, ending in a Death which expressed absolute submission of the human to the Divine Will; and this His Death, being the Death of the Only Begotten, had a value transcending all earthly estimate. Thenceforward all who will may unite themselves by faith to the Perfect Moral Being Who has appeared on earth, Our Lord Jesus Christ; and since true faith eagerly seeks and accepts what He has to bestow, from the channels through which He bestows it, His grace establishes an intimate union between the believing soul and its Object; an union so intimate that, in the sight of the All-Holy, they form but one moral Person. “We are members of His Body, of His Flesh, and of His Bones.” (Eph. v. 30.) "We are accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph. i. 6.) “He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. v. 21.) Read the great passage in which St. Paul enumerates the consequences within the soul of the new relation towards God which is established by the Atoning Work of Jesus Christ. (Rom. v. 1-11.) The first is peace. “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then, as the soul finds what it is to have entered the state of grace, “this grace wherein we stand,” comes joy. We “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” As joy is one of the first experiences, so it is the crowning gift of this new life in the soul of man. Not only, says the Apostle, being reconciled, shall we be saved by Christ’s Life, “but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the Atonement.” (Rom. v. 11.)  The old fear, which skulks away from the Sanctity and Justice of the All-Seeing and the All-Powerful, is gone. Clinging to the Cross of Jesus, we look into the Face of the Everlasting Father. “With joy we draw water out of the wells of Salvation;” (Isa. xii. 3.) out of the Wounds of the Crucified, out of the Sacraments of the Church; and, in blissful anticipation of eternity, we cry, “Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy Countenance.” (Acts ii. 28.)

May we not again hear the Apostle paraphrasing his words? “Rejoice, O heart of man; not in any of those passing forms of beauty which would fain exhaust thy enthusiasm in this earthly scene, since thou art capable of a higher and nobler joy than this. Rejoice in the Uncreated and Eternal Beauty; rejoice in God. Not only as He presents Himself to thy gaze in the Everlasting Attributes; but as, bending to thy weakness and thy need, He takes a Form of flesh and blood, and would win thee by sharing the nature that is thine. Rejoice in Jesus. Rejoice in His pre-existent glories; rejoice in His Birth, His Temptation, His Example, His Miracles, His Teaching, His Passion, His Death, His Resurrection, His Ascension, His Perpetual Intercession, His Covenanted Presence with His people unto the end. All this is but one long and varied effort on thy behalf of the Eternal Mercy Which has a first claim on thee, Which never has left thee to thyself, Which seeks the homage of thy joy, not for His own sake only, but for thine. ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.’”


In conclusion, note four practical points.

1. Our power of rejoicing in the Lord is a fair test of our moral and spiritual condition. St. Peter describes Christians as men who, though they see not the Lord Jesus Christ, yet believing on Him, rejoice with joy unspeakable. (1 St. Pet. i. 8.) How, indeed, if we think of Him as He is, can it be otherwise? How can we reflect that those Eternal Years, that lowly Incarnation, that spotless Character, that Cross of triumphant shame, that open grave, and that unceasing Intercession, all are ours; and yet not rejoice in Him Whom we thus possess? The heart which does not “break forth into joy “ (Isa. lii. 9.) at the mention of His Name, at the sound of His Word, at the sense of His near Presence, is surely, for spiritual purposes, paralyzed or dead. If earthly pleasures, friends, literature, employments, objects of art, or beauties of nature rouse in us keen sensations of delight, and this Name which is above every name, this language which is unlike any human speech, this Love which transcends all earthly affection, finds and leaves us cold, languid, unconcerned; be sure that it cannot be well with us. There is something wrong in our moral being, ay, in its secret depths; the soul, in a state of grace, must answer at a bound to the voice and touch of its Redeeming Lord.

2. This habit of rejoicing in our Lord is a Christian’s main support under the trials of life. Sooner or later those trials must come to all of us; and whether they shall sweep the soul along with them down the torrent of despair, depends upon the question whether the soul has or has not learnt to rejoice in an Object above and independent of them. David’s exclamation, “Thou hast set my feet upon the Rock,” (Ps. xl. 2.) means that he was thus resting on One Who does not change with the things of time; and St. Paul, after saying of himself, “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” adds, “and not only so, but we glory in tribulation.” (Rom. v. 2, 3) So he describes himself to the Corinthians as “exceeding joyful in all our tribulations.” (2 Cor. vii. 4.) He prays that the Colossians may be “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” (Col. i. 11.) The Hebrew Christians are congratulated for that “they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods,” (Heb. x. 34.) and St. James bids Christians count it all joy when they fall into divers trials. (St. James i. 2.) The explanation of all such language is, that whatever is outward and transient is easily put up with, when the soul has secured that which is inward and imperishable; delight in the thought and Presence of God. “Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps. xxx. 5.) “He that now goeth on his way weeping, and beareth forth good seed, shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him.” (Ps. cxxvi.) Nay, he has already the joy of Christ fulfilled in himself. A Christian may say with Habakkuk, and in a deeper sense, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the field, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. iii. 17, 18.)

3. And thus this power of rejoicing in our Lord is one of the great motive forces of the Christian life. Within the regenerate soul it is, in our Lord’s words, as “a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” (St. John iv. 14.) It fertilizes thought, feeling, resolution, worship; it gives a new spring and impulse to what before was passive or well-nigh dead; it makes outward efforts and inward graces possible which else had been undreamt of. Thus St. Paul, speaking of the Macedonian Christians, says that “the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” (2 Cor. viii. 2.) Thus he prays God to fill the Roman Christians “with all joy and peace in believing,” that they “may abound in hope.” (Rom. xv. 13.) In fact, joy is enthusiasm; and enthusiasm is a great motive force, which carries men out of themselves, and makes them able to do and suffer much which is beyond their natural strength. This was why St. Stephen’s face at his trial looked like the face of an angel. (Acts vi. 15.) That Divine Saviour Whom he had found and preached enabled this young Deacon to confront his judges, not in a spirit of fierce defiance, but of strong placid joy which gave him words to speak, and endurance to suffer, and, withal, a brightness of countenance which provoked the wonder of his persecutors.

4.And thus, lastly, this joy in the Lord should diffuse itself over the whole of a Christian’s life.  A man’s look, his manner, his work, his worship, should, if possible, all be cheerful. A Christian in a state of grace has a right, as no other man has a right, to be in high spirits.  Nowhere does the New Testament imply that there is a special sort of spirituality in moroseness and gloom; and gloom is least appropriate in those solemn duties which, more than any other, express our relations to and feelings towards the Source of our joy. The brighter public worship can be, the more Christian it is.  What else do we mean by saying, as we do, deliberately over and over again, “My mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips;” (Ps. lxiii. 6.) “Make a cheerful noise unto the God of Jacob;” (Ps. lxxxi. 1.) “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation ; (Ps. xcv. 1.) “Let the children of Sion be joyful in their King;” (Ps. cxlix. 2.) “Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them rejoice in their beds;” (Ps. cxlix. 5.)  “I will go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness: and upon the harp will I give thanks unto Thee, O God my God” ? (Ps. xliii. 4.) The Psalms are full of this language.  What does it mean, but that the worship no less than the life of those who use it should be uniformly joyous?

Pray then, brethren, for this great grace, before the Christmas Festival is upon us.  Pray that, through God’s pardoning mercy in Christ, you may have a right to it.  It is the gift of the Holy Spirit; ask Him for it.  The first works of the Spirit, says the Apostle, are love and joy. (Gal. v. 22.)  “Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” (Rom. xiv. 17.) this is the Kingdom of God within the soul of man.  This great grace will not be refused us if we ask for it; we shall experience, not a passing convulsion—spasmodic, unseemly, boisterous; but a tranquil, yet strong emotion, which like a river, bearing the soul upon its surface, sparkles brightly as the beams of the Sun of Righteousness fall upon it, while slowly, but surely, it pursues its way towards the ocean of Eternity. For there is the end. There, at the last, in His Presence is the fulness of joy; and at His Right Hand are pleasures for evermore. (Ps. xvi. 12.)