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The Cause and Character of Religious Joy.

The Cause and Character of Religious Joy.

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Published by glennpease

"And he went on his way rejoicing." — Acts viii. 39.

"And he went on his way rejoicing." — Acts viii. 39.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 07, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CAUSE AD CHARACTER OF RELIGIOUS JOY. BY THE REV. WILLIAM BROW. "And he went on his way rejoicing." — Acts viii. 39. In the preceding context we are pre- sented with some brief notices concern- ing the distinguished individual to whom these words refer. We are presented more particularly with an account of his conversion to God, an account which, though very short, must, I should think, be deeply interesting to every Christian. Attached as a proselyte to the Jewish church, he had travelled, it should seem, no less a distance than from Ethiopia to Jerusalem, for the purpose of worshiping God within that church's consecrated veil, and according to her appointed ritual. The object of his journey being thus accomplished, he was now on his return, it appears, to the court of Candace, the queen of his native land, to whom he acted in the capacity of chamberlain or treasurer ; and while prosecuting his homeward way, we find he was profitably employed in perusing the Old Testament Scriptures. The Bible, we learn, was opened before him in the fifty-third chap- ter of Isaiah ; but to him, in his circum- stances at that time, it was a dead letter and a sealed book. That impressive pro- phecy respecting our Redeemer's suffer- ings was read by him with little under- standing and with little emotion ; it might, perhaps, be somewhat interesting
to his natural feelings, indeed it could scarcely fail to be so, but then it must have appeared to him dark, unintelligible, and obscure. He perceived, no doubt, that it referred to something of more than usual importance ; but he had no accurate idea either as to the dignity of the suffer- VoL. I.— 53 er, or as to the design of his sufferings, or as to the persons for whom he suffered. His mind, accordingly, appears to have been upon the stretch for further informa- tion on the subject ; and suspecting, pro- bably, that the passage which he had been reading in Isaiah had reference to some vital points on which he was yet ignorant, his soul would most likely be seized with certain painful anxieties, which would not be easily allayed, either by the attractive beauty of the surround- ing scenery, or by the attentions of his official retinue, or by the reveries of his own imagination. It was at this crisis, my friends, that he was accosted by the disciple Philip, who, in obedience to the angel of the Lord, had recently left Jerusalem for the very purpose, and soon overtook him by the way. Unattended and unintroduced, this faithful servant of Christ immediately entered upon his commission, by one of those delicate questions, which, without revolting the feelings of this nobleman, was yet sufficiently explicit to show, that as the stranger who addressed him was evidently acquainted with his anxieties,
so he had in all probability the means in his power to relieve them. The sub- sequent part of the narrative, my friends, declares to us the issue. " Philip," it is said, " opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." The remaining events of the interview now followed each other in rapid succession; in short, the sermon was blessed and sanctified — the person to 2 M 409 410 THE BRITISH PULPIT whom it was addressed believed and was baptized — the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip — the eunuch saw him no more, but "he went on his way rejoic- ing." In order, liowever, to give the greater unity and simplicity to our subsequent observations on this subject, they may suitably be comprised, I think, under the two following general heads. I. The character and condition of THE PERSO REJOICIO. II. The causes of his joy.

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