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what impressions of joy are felt
cooling water to one burnt up
our extreme want of it, and the strength of our desires to obtain it. Without the pardon of our sins, "it had been better for us we had never been born;" or made in a lower rank of creatures incapable of damnation. According to the conviction of the greatness of our misery, our longings will be for deliverance: "the desire accomplished is a tree of life." The tree of life was in the midst of paradise, the centre of its pleasures. According to the degrees of our desires, such is the sweetness of fruition. Now when the soul is overwhelmed with the fearful apprehensions of everlasting death, how ardent are the desires of pardon? how unsatisfied without it? and from the sealing its pardon? news from a far country is like with thirst." How much more refreshing is the testimony of the blessed Comforter from heaven, to one fainting in the estuations of conscience, that his sins are pardoned? David expresses his valuation and earnest longing for the favour of God, and his joyful sense of it: "there be many that say, who will show us any good? Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon me: thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine increased:" Psal. 5. an inward cordial joy, that far exceeds the counterfeit joy in the countenance, that ends in heaviness. Now the thankful sense of a benefit is correspondent to the joyful sense of it, and the joyful according to our languishing longing after it. Fervent prayer for the pardoning mercy of God, and a frozen acknowledgment of it, are utterly inconsistent. There is no joy in the world so sensible and affecting, as the joy of one saved from present death. A condemned man values and rejoices more in receiving two lines where his pardon is contained, than in the conveyance of a kingdom. Hezekiah, when under the sentence of death in his sickness, how passionate were his addresses for recovery? How exuberant were his joy and thankfulness for his rescue from perishing? "The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day." Isa. 38. 19. He resolves to renew the praises of his gracious preserver every day: "the Lord saved me; therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life, in the house of the Lord." Ver. 20. Had he so quick and warm a sense of the divine mercy that saved him from the grave, how much more ardent should our acknowledgments be for the saving us from
hell? If we have the feeling of sin, as we have of sickness, and are as duly sensible how much the life of the soul, our excellent and immortal part, is to be preferred before the life of the frail and perishing body, our joy and thankfulness would be in the highest elevation, in remembering forgiving mercy. This will be the argument of the high and everlasting praise of God in heaven.
I shall conclude with this advice, Let us not content ourselves with verbal acknowledgments of this real and glorious benefit: let our thanksgiving be joined with thanksdoing; then we shall be accepted. Of this we have the most comforting assurance from God himself; "he that offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, I will show the salvation of God." Psal. 50. ult.