The Christian Life, A Life of Joy.

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by Oxenden, Ashton, 1808-1892 We know, all of us I suppose, what joy is ; and we have all tasted it in some shape or other. Who is there that cannot call to mind some event in his past life, when he was for a time unusualh^ happy, and his heart was filled with joy? But observe, this may be, without there being a spark of re- ligion in our souls. For the joy I am speaking of is a mere natural joy — mere earthly joy — it is quite different from that higher joy which is so often spoken of in Scripture.
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  THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, A LIFE OF JOY. by Oxenden, Ashton, 1808-1892We know, all of us I suppose, what joy is ; and we have all tasted it in some shape or other. Who is there that cannot call to mind some event in his past life, when he was for a time unusualh^ happy, and his heart was filled with joy? But observe, this may be, without there being a spark of re-ligion in our souls. For the joy I am speaking of is a mere natural joy — mere earthly joy — it is quite different from that higher joy which is so often spoken of in Scripture. I have sometimes heard people say, that there is no joy but in religion. If they mean there is no true joy, no lasting joy, then I agree with them. But if they mean that the unconverted man can never feel happy, I think that they are mistaken. For there is a joy which the world gives, and which per-haps you and I have often felt; and it is 1  (220) A LIFE OF JO V. 221 folly to deny it. Why, David draws a pict-ure of earthly happiness, even in the case of an ungodly man, when he describes him as ** prospering in the world, and spread-ing himself like a green bay tree. I think that it will be useful to us, and interesting also, first to trace some of the peculiar features which mark the Christian's  joy, and then show its difference from worldly joy. I. Spiritual joy comes direct from God. He alone can give it. The happiness of worldly persons comes from what is around them. If their circum-stances in life are prosperous, they are 2  happy. If they enjoy health, and freedom from pain and anxiety ; if they meet with no opposition or unkindness ; if all goes smoothly ; then they are happy, it may be. But the Christian's happiness is not bound up in these things. It is not acci-dental happiness. It does not depend on circumstances. But it comes straight from God. It is His blessed gift to His own people. It is spoken of as *' the joy of the Lord. Christ calls it ''His joy. His peace. 222 THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. This was His farewell legacy to His people, ** peace I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you ; and, again, These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. And yet we are almost surprised to hear 3  Christ speaking of His joy. For was He not a man of sorrows ? Was not His life one of toil and tears ! Where then is the  joy of which He speaks, and which He prays that we may have as our portion ? Are burdens, insults, sorrows, persecutions, crucifixions, joys ? Truly He was acquainted with grief, as regards His outward condition. But there was within a deep well of love and joy which never failed. He delighted in His suffering errand. It is true, He was often grieved at the hardness of men's hearts. It is true, He was sometimes hungry, and thirsty, and weary ; but He had *' meat to eat, which men knew not of And so it is with His people. He calls upon them to cut off right hands, and pluck out right eyes, and deny and crucify them-selves, and be poor in spirit, and bear the cross after Him. And what joy, it may be 4
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