THE HAPPINESS OF RELIGION

Let a man truly know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be a happy man; and the deeper he drinks into the Spirit of Christ, the happier will he become. That religion which teaches misery to be a duty is false upon the very face of it, for God, when He made the world, studied the happiness of His creatures. You cannot help thinking, as you see everything around you, that God has sedulously, with the most strict attention, sought ways of pleasing man. He has not merely given us absolute necessaries, He has given us more; not simply the useful, but even the ornamental. The flowers in the hedgerow, the stars in the sky, the beauties of nature, the hill and the valley — all these things were intended not merely because we needed them, but because God would show how He loved us and how anxious He was that we should be happy. Now, it is not likely that the God who made a happy world would send a miserable salvation. He who is a happy Creator will be a happy Redeemer; and those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, can bear witness that the ways of religion “are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” And if this life were all, if death were the burial of all our life, and if the shroud were the winding sheet of eternity, still to be a Christian would be a bright and happy thing, for it lights up this valley of tears and fills the wells in the valley of Baca to the brim with streams of love and joy.