A COLLOQUY ON REJOICING
REMEMBER, O MY SOUL,
It is thy duty and privilege to rejoice in God:
He requires it of thee for all his favours of grace.
Rejoice then in the Giver and his goodness,
Be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
for whatever a man trusts in,
from that he expects happiness.
He who is the ground of thy faith
should be the substance of thy joy.
Whence then comes heaviness and dejection,
when joy is sown in thee,
promised by the Father,
bestowed by the Son,
inwrought by the Holy Spirit,
thine by grace,
thy birthright in believing?
Art thou seeking to rejoice in thyself
from an evil motive of pride and self-reputation?
Thou hast nothing of thine own but sin,
nothing to move God to be gracious
or to continue his grace towards thee.
If thou forget this thou wilt lose thy joy.
Art thou grieving under a sense of indwelling sin?
Let godly sorrow work repentance,
as the true spirit which the Lord blesses,
and which creates fullest joy;
Sorrow for self opens rejoicing in God,
Self-loathing draws down divine delights.
Hast thou sought joys in some creature comfort?
Look not below God for happiness;
fall not asleep in Delilah’s lap.
Let God be all n all to thee,
and joy in the fountain that is always full.
Bennett, Arthur, ed. The valley of vision: a collection of Puritan prayers & devotions. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002, pp 278-279.
For those deep thinkers out there.
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In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.