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“ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,” 2 Cor. vi. 2.
“To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts," Heb. iii. 7, 8.
O happy soul that lives on high,
While men lie grovelling here!
And faith forbids his fear.
While grace and joy combine
Are hidden and divine.
He waits in secret on his God;
His God in secret sees ;
He dwells in heavenly peace ;
Beyond this world and time,
Nor thoughts of mortals climb.
He wants no pomp, nor royal throne,
To raise his figure here;
To meet that glorious day;
How long is thy delay !
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
London: J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.
HAPPINESS REALIZE D.
Do you wish to be happy? Certainly I do. Happiness is the mark at which all men aim. But where is happiness to be found ? Always in the next room,” answered a friend, of whom the question was asked. There is much truth in this answer, as it respects the means generally adopted to find the object. It is never where we at present are, till we find Him who is the chief good, and is every where, Acts xvii. 26-28. An Israelitish monarch could not find it in all the pursuits of science, nor in all the enjoyments of sense.
He was constrained to acknowledge that “all is vanity and vexation of spirit," Eccles. ii. An accomplished English nobleman could not find it in the honours and pleasures of civilized society, accompanied with every
advantage. “I have run,” he says, “ the silly rounds of business and pleasure, and I have done with them all. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently know their futility, and do not regret their loss. I appraise them at their real value, which in truth is very low; whereas those who have not experienced always overrate them. When I reflect upon what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have done, I can hardly persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry, and bustle, and pleasure of the world had any reality ; but I look upon all that has passed as one of those romantic dreams which opium commonly occasions, and I do by no means desire to repeat the nauseous dose for the sake of the fugitive dream. Shall I tell you that I bear this melancholy situation with that meritorious constancy and resignation which most people boast of? No: for Í really cannot help it. I bear it because I must bear it, whether I will or no.” *
Thus it is evident that no worldly prosperity can make men happy. And is there no better portion? Surely as the
* Lord Chesterfield, as recorded in Bishop Horne’s Sermon on Joshua's choice.
Creator has planted the desire in our hearts, there is that which can fill up all our capacities of happiness, which can give rest to our souls, and be to us that chief good we are inquiring after. And assuredly it will be found if we seek it where God has placed it. It is the object of the following pages to assist you in the discovery.
Happiness consists in a right disposition of heart towards God. But this right disposition of heart towards God cannot exist without some knowledge of him. Hence, happiness must be sought,
If we were innocent creatures, his works of creation would appear to us so to display his wisdom, power, and goodness, as to call forth our admiration and love. But, as sinful creatures, it is in the Holy Scriptures, as accompanied by the Holy Spirit, that we make such discoveries of God as can affect our hearts and promote our happiness. Let the veil of ignorance be removed from the human mind, let the glory of God as it is displayed in the person of Jesus Christ be revealed, let his fatherly love and tenderness be seen, and then we know God, 2 Cor. iv. 6. “ No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him," John i. 18. In the character and work of our Saviour, wisdom and goodness, justice and mercy, holiness and grace, faithfulness and love, are clearly exhibited. Then God is known aright when he passes, as it were, before us, and proclaims his name, as he did to Moses, as " the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, and forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin," Exodus xxxiv. 6,7. Then God is known aright when his character leads us to exclaim with Micah, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again; he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,” Micah vii. 18, 19. Then God is known aright when with the apostle we believe that “ He was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and beseeching us to be reconciled to him,” 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. Thus we discover that while he “ will by no means clear the guilty” he can justify sinners “ freely, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," Rom. iii. 24; and while “ he visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate him, he shows mercy unto thousands of those that love him.”
Have you this knowledge of God? It is most essential to your peace, and would be productive of your joy. “ Acquaint now thyself with him; thereby good shall come unto thee," Job xxii. 21; for thus you will learn to love his excellences and be ready to obey his will. And this experimental knowledge of him will excite right dispositions towards him, in the exercise of which alone can true happiness be found.
The happiness of such a being as man can never be attained while the heart “is enmity against God,” Rom. viii. 7, 8. Happiness, therefore, consists
II.-IN THE LOVE OF GOD.
Is there any happiness in the mind when agitated by anger or inflamed by hatred ? Does not the internal fire devour our peace? But those wlio are possessed of natural affection will readily acknowledge that every exercise of love is accompanied with delight. All the excellences of character in him we love add to our joy: all the friendly offices of him we love are welcomed with delight. Our happiness increases as the measure of our affection increases, when that affection is rightly placed. What then must be the happiness of supreme love to God! The love of God is the best and most satisfactory exercise of human affection.
never exceed due bounds; and it will never meet with chilling returns. Nothing on his part shall damp its ardour or extinguish its flame. Increasing knowledge of his character, and of his purposes of mercy and goodness, will but enlarge the heart with more abounding love and joy. Let then our best affections be placed on God, and happiness is ours.
The man who loves God derives more happiness from his works in nature than the man who disregards the hand that made them.
“ He looks abroad into the varied field
Of nature, and though poor, perhaps, compared