Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rejoice with Joy Inexpressible -- A Puritan Reading

You...rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.  1 Peter 1:8

As Christians, we should not enjoy just an ordinary level of cheerfulness; we should go way beyond those of the world both in quality and quantity. Our happiness should be sweeter, higher and more constant than any carnal man. Consider the transcendent objects of our thoughts above all men. Consider your justification and sanctification through Christ. Do not even let a part of a day pass without such wonderful contemplation. Your soul deserves to have her breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts as well as your body. Your precious time will glide swiftly and easily away, like a boat with the full wind and tide. All of your days can be holidays. There is no envy of Felix's happiness, Festus' festivity, and Dives' bounty. Our life, as we enjoy spiritual blessings, is a kingly life. Yes, but does it not strip us of our joy when we stumble before our God? Certainly those who daily keep watch will not run their ship against any dangerous rock. If they do, it will not lay there long. Your faith will set you to work, weeping bitterly before the Lord to find peace of conscience. As for ordinary sins, your faith will seek daily pardon and washing, with even greater effort than a Pharisee in washing his hands. Each day we take the red lines of Christ's cross over the black lines of God's debt book. And if God looks upon the handwriting against us, he sees the bill cancelled with the precious blood of his Son. Such blood is all-sufficient to cover, nullify, abolish, and wholly take away our sins in such a way that he neither sees, will see, nor can see them as sins and debts against us. Though we cannot enter into the joys of heaven while yet on earth, we certainly do rejoice in gospel joys now. It is enough now for us to secretly enjoy all of the colours of the gospel. They are beloved above all other joys and states.

Samuel Ward, Sermons, pp. 27-30 as quoted in Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings, Edited by Richard Rushing, Banner of Truth Trust, 2011, Page37

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