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depressed: he may be full or hungry, be in comparative comfort or in lonely neglect. He
may be even in fetters and prison, but his joy remains unchanged.
Strictly speaking, there should be no need in a magazine of this type specifically to
deal with such a subject. We should all be so keen to learn all that is possible concerning
the Lord and His Word, that the pursuit of some intricate piece of grammar should be a
joyful undertaking, the labour of discovering or of verifying and using a structure should
be as joyful a piece of work as the singing of a lovely melody. Indeed, a peep behind the
scenes would sometimes reveal that when after hours of close study, some intricate point
had been resolved, or a complicated structure discovered, and the writer's manner of
celebrating the event so far removed from such the deportment we usually associate with
such studies. Some exuberance not only echoes Archimedes' famous cry of Eureka, but,
and which is more to the point, is an echo of a joy such as that of Jeremiah who
exclaimed: "Thy words were found and I did eat them: and or of the Psalmist who said:
"I rejoice at Thy word, as one that findeth great spoil" (Psa. 119:162).
"I will not leave thee"
The subject of Christian joy may be approached from several angles, and it is
associated with a variety of themes, but the one theme that calls for immediate expression
seems to be the close association that Scripture indicates as existing between joy and the
presence of the Lord. We might establish the truth of this by an appeal to the epistle to
the Philippians, where one of the key-words is "rejoice", and where in chapter four the
secret is revealed that "The Lord is near". We might appeal to the Psalmist who said: "in
Thy presence is fullness of joy" (Psa. 16:11), and realize that all such enjoyment of the
Lord's presence in this life is an anticipation of that future day of resurrection when we
shall be satisfied (Psa. 17:15).
But in the first epistle of John we read: "These things write we unto you, that your
joy may be full" (1 John 1:4). Upon examination it will be discovered that John is writing
about fellowship with the Father and with the Son, of walking in the light as He is in the
light. In other words he associates joy with the presence of the Lord.
Looking back to the verse in Psalm 16, proceeding that quoted above we read: "For
Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell" (Psa. 16:10), and this reference provided us with the
first of many aspects of that experimental enjoyment of the presence of God, which is our
"Thou wilt not leave me". These words of the Lord spoken in the very valley of the
shadow of death are calculated to minister to the joy of all who trust in Him. We observe
(1) The promise, "I will not leave thee" arises out of salvation itself:
"Hide not Thy face far from me; put not Thy servant away in anger: Thou has been
my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation" (Psa. 27:9).
As the God of our salvation we can confidently call upon Him to "leave us not", and
when we contemplate all that salvation has cost Him, we may gladly rest upon the fact
that He will not leave those to perish who have been bought with such a price.