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“That My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be full.”—John xv. 11.

IT is an extraordinary thing that our Lord should speak of His joy in the dark season through which He was passing. The circumstances were most oppressive. Antagonisms were blazing with fiercest enmity. Hatreds had deepened into black passions of the midnight. Malicious nets were being woven around Him. Calvary was only a stone’s throw away, and on the morrow the grim cross would be on the hill! It was a very wilderness of stern surroundings. And yet the Master quietly spoke about His joy, an inward joy which these outer things could not disturb. His joy was like a well in the inner keep of a castle when all the streams of the countryside are locked in the bondage 191of frost. It was like the light and the fire in a cottage, quietly shining and burning while the tempest rages outside. It was a joy that was victorious over the unfriendly world.

And this inner joy has always been one of the distinctions of the triumphant saints. They have been self-possessed in the tumult. They have been radiant in the night. They have been hopefully quiet even when terrible things have shown their faces at the door. They have revealed a cheery mastery of rough and brutal circumstances. The privileged readers of “Men of the Knotted Heart” will remember that Grant was once at Ayr Station, and there was a little lad running up and down the platform, skipping and singing. A man was sweeping out the waiting-rooms, doing the most menial work about the place, and wanting an arm, and most ill-thriven looking. Grant said to him, “How much would it take to set you dancing and singing like that boy?” “Not much, sir,” he said, “for I’m singing inside me a’ the time.” And taking off his cap he lifted his face to the sky above, “Ay, sir,” he said, “just that! In God’s house for evermore my dwelling place shall be!” That is the 192victory of the saint—the inner joy which rises above the painful and crippling antagonisms of the world.

And what is this joy? It is much more than high spirits. High spirits often fail in the crisis. And it is much more than a happy temperament. Happy temperaments can be blown out like candles in a gusty night. This joy arises from the deep secrets of spiritual satisfaction. It is the sense of health and wholesomeness when the soul lives and breathes in its native air. It is fellowship with the eternal springs. It is the assurance of all-rightness in our relations with the eternal God. One gropes for all sorts of analogies to express the wealthy fact. It is the joy of the wedded union between the soul and the Lord. It is the interpassage of covenanted love. It is the interchange of sacred confidences. The soul has come to herself, and she has found herself in God, and all her springs are in Him! “Have you water all the year round?” I said to a friend who had built a house in a somewhat droughty place. “Yes,” he answered, “our wells are very deep!” And “there is a river 193the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God!” “Therefore will not we fear, though the mountains be shaken in the hearts of the seas!”

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