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water out of the wells of salvation." Isaiah xii. 1-3.
Your attention was directed, in an early part of this volume, to the pleasures which arise from the knowledge of Divine truth, and the study of the word of God. And what intellectual delight can be compared with the pleasures conveyed to the mind of the enlightened reader of the Bible, by the histories it records, the discoveries it imparts, and the revelations it conveys; especially by the history of redemption, the discovery of a Saviour, and the revelation of future blessedness!
Are not these sacred sources of enjoyment found to be congenial to the taste of the renewed mind, under all possible varieties of feeling and of circumstances; even when every book of human production, the most valuable and the most fascinating not excepted, would lose all power of imparting delight? May every one of you, my young friends, be distinguished by that correct and spiritual taste, which, being daily gratified by this purest aliment of the mind, will prepare you to say, “ Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart!” Jer. xv. 16.
In the progress of these discussions, I endeavoured to describe the pleasures arising from the exercise of sanctified affections. Has not the blessed God consulted our happiness no less than his own glory, in requiring us to love Him, who is infinitely lovely, with all our heart and with all our soul, with all
our mind and with all our strength? Can we be sufficiently thankful, that while he has commanded us to love him, he has granted such a manifestation of his love to us, as is most admirably adapted to inspire the very affection which he claims ? « Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John iv. 10. Ought we not then to yield, with grateful delight, to the constraining influence of Divine love? Happy, beyond a doubt, he must be, whose heart is the abode of love to God and love to man; for where love dwells, there dwells the God of love, and it is not too much to say, that “ love.is heaven, and heaven is love."
I have endeavoured to depict the pleasures which are to be realized in the path of unreserved obedience to the will of God. And must it not ever be delightful to cherish the full persuasion, that the God whom we serve is supremely worthy of our most devoted obedience? Is it not pleasurable to feel deeply convinced, that of all his holy injunctions, there is not one unfriendly to our enjoyment? Is there not a joyous satisfaction in avowing, that we are not our own, but “ bought with a price,” i Cor. vi. 19, 20, while we feel that the service which is our highest honour, is also our truest freedom; so that we are pre pared to give our thankful attestation to the truth of our Divine Master's assurance, that his yoke is easy and his burden light. Matt xi. 30. May a settled conviction dwell in
every heart, that “his commandments are not grievous,” but that in keeping his precepts there is great reward. Psa. xix, 11.
It has been my object to exhibit, in their true character, the pleasures of devotion, including those which are to be found in the act of pouring forth our desires before God, with all the confidence of filial love, and those also which arise from the emotions of gratitude and the utterance of praise. In connexion with these elevated joys, I directed your thoughts to the pleasures of the Sabbath, endeavouring to exhibit the principles on which the pleasures of devotion are heightened, by being enjoyed on that hallowed day, which is sacred to the memory of our risen and adorable Redeemer; and may I not venture to cherish the persuasion, that you are already impelled by a desire of happiness, no less than by a sense of duty, to consecrate to God all the hours of that welcome day, to which he has attached his special benediction?
I have attempted to describe the pleasures arising from the Scripture doctrine of a puternal and particular providence. And can it be otherwise than delightful, to have the assurance, that all the events of life, however mysterious, shall be ultimately conducive to the glory of God, the honour of the Redeemer, and the happiness of them that love him? Is it not happiness to know, that if such be our character, we may entirely dismiss from our minds all corroding and disquieting care, and yielding ourselves to the serene influence of
the peace that passeth all understanding, may say with all the confidence of unwavering faith, “ Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory?" Psa. lxxiii. 24.
To the benevolent and refined delights of doing good, in this world of sin and sorrow, I have also directed your regard; endeavouring to impress upon your minds those memorable and exciting words of the Lord Jesus, when he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts xx. 35. By him, who himself realized this blessedness in its most exquisite degree, are we thus assured, that it is not only more noble, but that it is also more pleasurable to act the part of the giver, than the part of the receiver of good; so that there is a more refined and elevated delight to be experienced in the communication than in the reception of benefits.
I have made some attempt, however inadequate, to expatiate on the pleasures of hope, during our continuance in the present state of existence on earth, and on the pleasures of unmingled and unalloyed felicity in that world, where the hopes of the Christian will be fully realized, and far surpassed. It was the object of the last chapter to direct your thoughts to the glory of that world which is to be the scene of future blessedness; to the joys which spring from the direct vision and immediate presence of our God and Saviour; to the blissful worship of the heavenly temple; to the rapturous enjoyments
of social delight in communion with saints and angels; and to the pleasures which will accrue, in that world of life, from the glorious excitement of all the active energies of the soul!
And now let me ask you, my beloved young friends, with what feelings have you read these discussions, and this recapitulation? Are these views of happiness, in your own estimation, correct? Are they not founded on principles derived fairly and obviously from the word of God, and from the experience of those who have received and obeyed its dictates ? May not, must not, true delight and real satisfaction spring from every one of the sources to which I have directed your regard? Must not that man unquestionably be happy, who is habitually resorting not to one only of these sources of blessedness, but to them all? Are they not all the pledges and the foretastes of the consummate felicity of that world which is prepared for the very purpose of enjoyment, where he who is the fountain of life and joy will cause his people “ to drink of the river of his pleasures, and where the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall lead them to living fountains of waters, and shall wipe away all tears from their eyes? Rev. vii. 17. Will you
not then concur with me in the sentiment which I have endeavoured to recom-' mend to your adoption, that true religion is a source of the highest satisfaction, and the purest delight which it is possible for us to enjoy? If such be your full persuasion, it will not, I trust, be difficult to convince you,