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CHRISTIAN JOY.

A TRACT,

BY THE

REV. BEAVER H. BLACKER, M.A.,

ST. MARY'S, DONNYBROOK, DUBLIN.

“Why those fears? behold, 'tis Jesus

Holds the helm, and guides the ship :
Spread the sails, and catch the breezes
Sent to waft us o'er the deep,

To the regions
Where the mourners cease to weep."

Fifth Thousand.

LONDON:
WERTHEIM AND MACINTOSH,

24, PATERNOSTER-ROW.

DUBLIN: W. CURRY AND CO., UPPER SACKVILLE-STREET.

1852.

Price One Penny.

BY THE SAME.

1. THE IMPRECATORY PASSAGES IN

THE PSALMS, AND THE ATHANA

SIAN CREED. 4d. 2. CHRIST THE ONLY MEDIATOR. ld., or

25 for 1s. 6d. 3. PERFECT PEACE. 2d. 4. THE PROPHET JONAH. ld. 5. THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD. ld. 6. “ WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?” ld. 7. SOLOMON'S BRIDE A TYPE OF THE

TRUE BELIEVER. 2d. 8. MINISTERIAL COUNSEL ; or, the Duties

of a Minister and his People. 1d. 9. “ DO THYSELF NO HARM.” ld. 10. ARE WE THANKFUL ? ld.

CHRISTIAN JOY.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

PHIL. iv. 4.

The infinite variety of occupations in which mankind are engaged, however contrary their directions may appear, all terminate in the pursuit of the same object. Happiness is the prize for which all men are struggling; it is the motive of every effort, the universal stimulant of our exertion; and yet, of all the subjects which in every age and country have employed the speculations of the wise and the deepest thoughts of man, there is not one which has so effectually baffled their efforts, or so perplexed their plans, as the nature of true enjoyment, and the means of acquiring that inestimable treasure.

It would indeed be a melancholy task to trace the failure of disappointed hopes, and the wanderings of deluded expectations, as exhibited in the efforts made by those who have vainly endeavoured by their own unaided strength to unravel this deep mystery. The wisest of the heathen sages unanimously declare that the search, conducted on their own principles, has never been attended with success, and that even he must be accounted a happy mortal who catches a passing gleam of joy. In fact, all human experience agrees with what the inspired wise man has declared : “I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” (Eccles. ii. 11.)

If, then, happiness is so difficult to be found, and at best so imperfectly obtained, must it not be wisdom to desist from following a course which (to judge from the past) is sure to end in disappointment, and to try whether an untrodden path may not be more successful ? Are we restless ? are we unhappy? do darkness and uncertainty surround

Perhaps Christianity may clear the prospect which we acknowledge to be so clouded ? It certainly professes to do so; it proposes to guide the sinner's feet into the paths of peace; it promises to teach that wisdom, which is with truth declared to be “a way of pleasantness." Let us therefore examine its pretensions; and, if these seem reasonable, and can be proved to be authentic, let us embrace its requirements, that we may enjoy its privileges, and find rest to our wearied and unsettled souls.

us ?

It is greatly to be feared that religion is often represented as a state of melancholy gloominess; as a cheerless desert, through which the believer is compelled to wander, before he can reach the land of promise; or as a system which strictly forbids even innocent pleasure, and opposes even necessary relaxation. Indeed, there are, and there have been, many who ignorantly believe that austere seclusion and monastic penances are the chief ingredients of a godly life; and, under the influence of these doctrines, many a tender heart has grown hard and cold from the severe and useless habits of the convent. Nor have such errors been confined to the members of that Church under whose avowed teaching bodily penances are introduced to take the. place of spiritual abasement; for, alas ! even among ourselves, it too often happens that the young and careless heart is deterred from the cultivation of religion, and scared (if I may so say) from Christ, by the forbidding manner and soured aspect of those who call themselves disciples. Oh ! how they misapprehend the nature of true religion, who fancy that it must be robed in austerity. There is too much love in that well-ordered system, of which Jesus is the Author and the Finisher, to suffer it to assume so harsh and sad an appearance. It was announced by the hymns of peaceful angels; and it was intended to be one plan of heartfelt joy, by imparting present comfort, and by promising future bliss. The Gospel means “glad tidings ;” and well may

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