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V.

DISC. " and gives it it's proper value; confecrates << every field and wood, and turns an ordi"" nary walk into a morning or evening fa"crifice"."

Such are the obligations to cultivate a cheerful difpofition, which affect us as men, wishing to poffefss a sound mind in a healthful body; to taste the beauties and excellencies of the world in which we are placed; and to make a due return of gratitude and thankfulness to God who placed us in it. Let us now confider the additional motives afforded us, as Chriftians, by the religion we profess.

The nature of that religion is fufficiently expreffed by the term so often used to denote it. It is a communication of good news, which fhould be received, in this cafe, as in all others, with a joy proportionable to it's importance; and as it is of the highest importance, should be therefore productive of the greatest joy. The patriarchs and

prophets,

* SPECTATOR.

с

V.

Ifaiah is in rap

prophets, who viewed afar off that wonderful DISC. event, which hath fince taken place, were affected by it in a very fenfible and lively manner. "Your father Abraham," fays our Lord to the Jews," rejoiced to fee my day, and he faw it, and was glad." tures whenever he has occafion to touch upon the subject—“ How beautiful upon "the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings!-Break forth into "joy, fing together, ye waste places of Je"rufalem; for the Lord hath comforted "his people. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord

hath done it; fhout, ye lower parts of the "earth; break forth into finging, ye moun"tains, O foreft, and every tree therein; "for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Ifrael." When the predictions were accomplished, and the divine person, who had been the subject of them, made his appearance in the flesh, the heavenly meffenger published the news in the following terms-" Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall "be to all people." The Gospel was ac

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cordingly

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V.

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DISC. cordingly received by the first converts on the day of Pentecoft, "with gladness and fingleness of heart." Into whatsoever city or country it came, "there was great joy "in that place;" and the joy, we find, was such that it raised it's poffeffors above the world, and triumphed over all afflictions. Of other things they were often defpoiled; but "their joy no man took from them." In every fituation and condition they did then what the Apostle exhorts all Christians to do; they " rejoiced evermore."

Nor can we wonder, that the Gospel should, in it's name and nature, portend joy, when we reflect, that its end was, to deliver mankind from forrow. Sorrow first entered into the world, as a neceffary attendant on fin, which filled the minds of men with difquietude and anxiety, their bodies with diseases and pains. The Gospel removes the former by the pardon it holds forth, and enables us cheerfully to bear the latter, by the grace it confers. God therefore represents himself in it, as "the God of love,

" and

V.

"and of all confolation." Our Lord calls DISC. us to him, that he may "give us rest and "refreshment;" that he may

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wipe all

"en

"tears from our eyes;" that we may
"ter into our Mafter's joy;" and that "our
joy may be full." For this purpose he
has fent us a bleffed "Comforter, to abide
"with us for ever," whose first fruits are,
"love, joy, and peace;" a Spirit, cheerful in
himself, and making those cheerful, who
are partakers of him; cheerful in trouble,
cheerful out of trouble; cheerful while they
live, cheerful when they die; cheerful in
ufing well the bleffings of this life, cheer-
ful in expecting the bleffedness of the next;
cheerful through faith, while they believe
in the
great and precious promises made to
cheerful through hope, which de-
pends upon
their accomplishment; cheerful
through charity, in doing acts of mercy and
loving kindness; till they come to that land
of plenty, where none fhall want; to those
regions of joy, from whence forrow shall
be for ever excluded.

them;

There

DISC.
V.

There is no occafion to be more particular upon this topic. It appears evidently, that, whether we confider the name, the nature, or the end of the Gospel, it's author, it's doctrines, it's duties, or the Spirit which accompanies it; every way, it is a difpenfation of love and peace, confolation and joy. So that a good Chriftian, of all men, has most cause to be cheerful. Some have gone fo far as to affirm, that it is impious in fuch an one to be otherwise.

A celebrated writer on the fide of scepti cism and irreligion, in a book published, fince his death, to recommend atheism to the world, has been pleased to say, that all the devout perfons he had ever seen were melancholy. This might very poffibly be; for, in the first place, it is most likely, that he faw very few, his friends and acquaintance being of another fort; and, fecondly, the fight of him would make a devout perfon melancholy, at any time.

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