Joy in Christ
Though their outward sufferings were very grievous, yet their inward spiritual joys were greater than their sufferings; and these supported them and enabled them to suffer with cheerfulness...
(Referencing 1 Peter 1:8) The nature of this joy; "unspeakable and full of glory." Unspeakable in the kind of it; very different from worldly joys, and carnal delights; of a vastly more pure, sublime and heavenly nature, being something supernatural and truly divine and so ineffably excellent; the sublimity and exquisite sweetness of which there were no words to set forth. Unspeakable also in degree; it pleasing God to give them this holy joy with a liberal hand, and in large measure, in their state of persecution.
Their joy was full of glory. Although the joy was unspeakable, and no words were sufficient to describe it, yet something might be said of it, and no words more fit to represent its excellency than these, that it was full of glory; or as it is in the original, glorified joy. In rejoicing with this joy, their minds were filled, as it were, with a glorious brightness, and their natures exalted and perfected. It was a most worthy, noble rejoicing, that did not corrupt and debase the mind, as many carnal joys do; but did greatly beautify and dignify it; it was a prelibation of the joy of heaven, that raised their minds to a degree of heavenly blessedness; it filled their minds with the light of God's glory, and made themselves to shine with some communication of that glory.
Hence the proposition or doctrine, that I would raise from these words, is this:
True religion, in great part, consists in Holy Affections.
- Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections
(First Published in 1746)