RELIGION — A PRESENT ENJOYMENT
Religion has its present enjoyments. Speak, you that know them, for you can tell; yet you cannot recount them all. O, would you give up your religion for all the joys that earth calls good or great? Say, if your immortal life could be extinguished, would you give it up, even for all the kingdoms of this world? O, you sons of poverty, has not this been a candle to you in the darkness? Has not this lightened you through the heavy shades of your tribulation? O, you sons of toil, has not this been your rest, your sweet repose? Have not the testimonies of God been your song in the house of your pilgrimage? O, you children of sorrow, racked with pain, has not religion been to you a sweet quietus in your sufferings? Is not religion worth having in the sick chamber? And you men of business, speak for yourselves. You have hard struggles to pass through life. Sometimes you have been driven to a great extremity, and whether you would succeed or not seemed to hang upon a thread. Has not your religion been a joy to you in your difficulties? Has it not calmed your minds? When you have been fretted and troubled about worldly things, have you not found it pleasant to enter your closet and to shut the door and tell your Father in secret all your cares? And, O, you that are rich, cannot you bear the same testimony, if you have loved the Master? What had all your riches been to you without a Savior? Can you not say that your religion did gild your gold and make your silver shine more brightly? For all things that you have are sweetened by this thought, that you have all these and Christ too. Was there ever a child of God who could deny this? We have heard of many infidels who grieved over their infidelity when they came to die: did you ever hear of any one on his deathbed looking back on a life of holiness with sorrow? Never, never did we know a Christian who repented of his Christianity. We have seen Christians so suffering, that we wondered that they lived; so poor, that we wondered at their misery; we have seen them so full of doubts, that we pitied their unbelief; but we never heard them say, even then, “I regret that I gave myself to Christ.” No; with the dying clasp, when heart and flesh were failing, we have seen them hug this treasure to their breast and press it to their heart, still feeling that this was their life, their joy, their all. If you would be happy, if you would be saved, if you would strew your path with sunshine and dig out the nettles and blunt the thorns, seek not happiness first; seek Christ first, and happiness shall come after. Seek ye first the Lord, and then He will provide for you in this life, and He will crown it with everything that is glorious in the life to come.