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whom he shewed kindness. Even so it is in respect of God ; if God be not endeared to us by his kindness, and we obliged to him for his goodness, all is loft. But
4. We then may be said to rejoice in the Lord, when we make God the final end, and make all things subservient to his glory; and account ourfelves bound to dispose of what he gives us according to his appointment, and for the ends of virtue. And to this purpose, that we may rejoice in the good things, that through providence we do enjoy, with some respect to God; two things are necessary.
1. It is necessary to give God place in the world. 2. That we take pleasure in the works of his
providence. For there is nothing that God doth, or that he doth permit to be done, but it doth offer to the intelligent mind, some notion from God, and cause some obfervance of God in the world ; and doth give advantage to some divine contemplation, and so doth put the soul upon some action of acknowledgment and adoration of God.
To enforce this joy in God; I subjoin two things.
1. That joy is necessary to the life of man. The apostle hath told us, that worldly sorrow causeth death, Sorrow and sadness, melancholy and discontent spoils the temper of a man's mind; it vitiates the humours of the body ; it prevents the divine, and hinders the physician. For the divine deals by reason ; but this being obliterated, he can do nothing: for he applies himself to the mind and understanding ; but sorrow and melancholy hinders the receiving of
true reason, and then his work is at an end. And it also hinders the physician ; for if the mind be difcomposed by melancholy, it doth not afford due benevolence to the body. You have an instance in Nebuchadnezzar, who was by melancholy transformed into a beast : not that he was so by external form, but he did so esteem himself; and things are as men conceive them. The four and melancholy, they are unthankful to God, and cruel to themselves, and peevish in their converse ; so that joy and rejoicing is necessary in respect to ourselves. But
2. In respect to God ; joy and rejoicing is safe for us, and preservative to us, as I shall shew you in sundry respects.
1. If we have respect to God in our joy, we can never transgress.
2. We cannot exceed, nor any ways misbehave ourselves : we cannot do ourselves any harm. For we read of some that have suddenly died, by reason of joy, at the tidings of good, as well as sudden bad news.
3. Our joy will then be fincere and puré, not frothy and fantastical.
4. It will offend none, nor be irksome to any.
5. It will always keep company with gratitude ånd humility. For observe it in the text, they are made reciprocal, to rejoice in the Lord, and to give thanks unto him.
6. It will always leave us in a good temper ; which worldly joy will not do
7. It is wholly separate from all surfeiting, drunkennels and uncleanness, and will free the foul from the spiritual sins of haughtiness, insolency and self-assuming. If our triumph be in the Lord, it separates from sensual things, and from the spiritual fins of pride and arrogancy : therefore let there be always something that is spiritual in the ground, -reason, or occasion, or motive of your joy ; some notion of God's providence in all your mirth. Sadness and joy are things of the most powerful influence in the life of man; the former breaks his heart, and the latter many times greatly transports him. But now an eye to God in both, doth poise-and baJance them, and makes the soul safe and steady under them. And so much for the former part of the text, rejoice in the Lord.
II. For praise is comely for the upright. Ist. These words you fee are exegetical to rejoicing. Rejoice in the Lord, for praise is comely. If praise and rejoicing were not the same, there were no argument in the words, for praise is comely. And then, 2dly. Uprightness is exegetical to righteousness. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright. By uprightness is here meant our sincerity and integrity, our honest meaning and true intention ; which through God's gracious acceptance is our righteousness. We are, none of us, at all better than que mean : our gracious God takes us by what we understand, intend and mean. And the truth is here, there is no difpensation for failure in intention. For misapprehension, God doth grant allowance, and dispense with human frailties; but for a failing of
intention there is no dispensation. Fail here, and you are hypocrites, and false-hearted; and therefore, uprightness is our perfection, and our righteousness. For, either you intend well, or you do not ; if you do, you are upright; if you do not, you are hypocrites. It goes mighty far in religion, that a man doth fimply, honestly, and in plainness of heart, mean and intend God and goodness, righteousness and truth. He is upright that means well : though he be in many particulars, mistaken and incumbred with weakneffes, yet he is righteous in the fight of God, through God's gracious acceptance. Therefore it becomes us to be highly charitable, one towards another, since God is fo gracious, and sets fuch a value upon our good meanings and fincere intentions, as to account of this for righteousness, either in practice or opinion. If a man, in the integrity of his heart, doth honestly mean God, goodness, righteousness and truth, God will receive him. Every man's mind is himself, and a man is what he means and intends ; and what a man means not, that he is not, that he does not. And this I have said, because in the text, there are two words made exegetical, praise and rejoicing, righteousness and uprightness. Rejoice in the Lord, o ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright.
This remains to be spoken to; and 'tis a gallant notion in this age that tends so much to atheism.
Praise is comely. This is spoken by way of argument; and 'tis no argument, if this be not true, that there is a reason for what we do, from the things themselves. I mean this, and if you grant but this, VOL. 1,
that there is that which of itself is good and come ly, juft and right, and there is that which of itself 'is finful and abominable; we exclude atheism out
of the world and this must be acknowledged, otherwise there is no argument in these words, for praise is comely. If all things are alike, and no difference of things, one thing is no more comely than another. Now because this is an excellent 'rule; and a way to exclude atheism out of the world, I will fhew you that this notion is abundant in fcripture, viz. That goodness and truth are firft in things ; and though they are fo in mens apprehensions fecondary ly, yet they are so first in themselves; and that men live in a lie; and are in a lie, if their apprehenfrohs be not conformed to things in their reality and existence. Several fcriptures have this notice : Phil. iv. 8. runs upon it all along. Whatsoever things are venerable, just, honeft, praise-worthy; &c. How insignificant were these fayings, if all things were alike as men would have them ? To Rom. xiii. 13:: Walk decent ly or honestly. 1 Cor. vii. 35. 1 Cor. xiv: 40. Let all things be done decently. I Cor. xi. 13. Is it comes ly, is it decent ? Eecles. v. 18. Pfal. xcii. 1. It is good to fing praise to the Lord. Pfalo cxlvii. 1. Praife is comely, &c.
The reason of things is, that law and truth which none must transgress : I say, the reason of things is a law and truth which none, either by power or priviledge may transgress. And for this I will give you fuch arguments for conviction, that greater can+ not be given : for I tell you, 'tis a law in heaven; and that which God takes notice of in all his dispensati: