Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happiness in Christ

It is happier to be in Christ than out of Christ.—Many that read these words are saying in their heart, It is a dull thing to be religious. Youth is the time for pleasure — the time to eat, drink, and be merry — to rise up to play. Now, I know that youth is the time for pleasure: the foot is more elastic then — the eye more full of life — the heart more full of gladness. But that is the very reason why I say youth is the time to fly to Christ. It is far happier to be in Christ than to be out of Christ.

First, it satisfies the heart.—I never will deny that there are pleasures found out of Christ. The song and the dance, and the exciting game are most engaging to young hearts. But ah! think a moment. Is it not an awful thing to be happy when you are unsaved? Would it not be dreadful to see a man sleeping in a house all on fire? And is it not enough to make one shudder to see you dancing and making merry when God is angry with you every day?

Think again. Are there not infinitely sweeter pleasures to be had in Christ? "Whoso drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whoso drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." "In thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore." To be forgiven — to be at peace with God — to have him for a Father — to have him loving us and smiling on us — to have the Holy Spirit coming into our hearts, and making us holy — this is worth a whole eternity of your pleasures. "A day in thy courts is better than a thousand." Oh to be "satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the Lord!" Your daily bread becomes sweeter. You eat your meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God." Your foot is more light and bounding, for it bears a ransomed body. Your sleep is sweeter at night for "so he giveth his beloved sleep." The sun shines more lovingly, and the earth wears a pleasanter smile, because you can say, "My Father made them all."

Second, it makes you glad all your days.—The pleasures of sin are only "for a season;" they do not last. But to be brought to Christ is like the dawning of an eternal day: it spreads the serenity of heaven over all the days of our pilgrimage. In suffering days, what will the world do for you? "Like vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart." Believe me, there are days at hand when you will "say of laughter, It is mad and of mirth, What doth it?" But if you fly to Jesus Christ now, he will cheer you in the days of darkness. When the winds are contrary and the waves are high, Jesus will draw near and say, "Be not afraid; it is I." That voice stills the heart in the stormiest hour. When the world reproaches you, and casts out your name as evil — when the doors are shut— Jesus will come in and say, "Peace be unto you." Who can tell the sweetness and the peace which Jesus gives in such an hour? One little girl that was early brought to Christ felt this when long confined to a sick bed. "I am not weary of my bed," she said, "for my bed is green; and all that I meet with is perfumed with love to me. The time, night and day, is made sweet to me by the Lord. When it is evening, it is pleasant; and when it is morning I am refreshed."

Last of all, in a dying day, what will the world do for you? The dance and the song and the merry companion will then lose all their power to cheer you. Not one jest more. Not one smile more. "Oh that you were wise, that you would understand this, and consider your latter end." But that is the very time when the soul of one in Christ rejoices with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. "Jesus can make a dying bed softer than downy pillows are." You remember when Stephen came to die; they battered his gentle breast with cruel stones; but he kneeled down and said, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." John Newton tells us of a Christian girl who, on her dying day, said, "If this be dying, it is a pleasant thing to die." Another little Christian, of eight years of age, came home ill of the malady of which he died. His mother asked him If he were afraid to die? "No," said he, "I wish to die, if it be God's will: that sweet word, Sleep in Jesus, makes me happy when I think on the grave."

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again till Christ be formed in you," if you would live happy and die happy, come now to a Saviour. The door of the ark is wide open. Enter now, or it may be never.

taken from The Works of the Late Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne. 2 vols. New York: Robert Carter, 1848-1850.

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