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Doctrine 1. That rejoicing in outward mercies is warrantable; the Lord Christ doth here allow of it, even when he preferreth the joy of a name written in heaven before it.
Doctrine 2. That when the Lord vouchsafeth us any matter of rejoicing in the mercies and blessings he bestoweth upon us, the best of us are too prone to take up with a carnal selfish joy; this doctrine is implied in that, “Rejoice not.”
Doctrine 3. That though rejoicing in outward mercies is good and warrantable, yet to terminate our joy, and let our hearts rest in them, is evil and sinful. “Rejoice not in this;” that is, not in this as the chief good, not as the highest cause of joy, not so as to hinder your hearts from a higher and nobler matter of rejoicing.
Doctrine 4. That a right to, and interest in the glories of the world to come, is a greater ground of joy than any thing this world can afford. The greatest ground of joy imaginable is to have a name written in heaven.
I shall pass by the two former doctrines, being only implied in the text, and speak a little to the third, to make way to the last, which I chiefly intend to insist upon.
Doctrine 3. That though rejoicing in outward mercies is good and warrantable, yet to terminate our joy, and let our hearts rest in them, is evil and sinful. It proceeds from an evil cause.
It hath an evil effect.
First, It proceeds from an evil cause, and that is inordinate love of sensual objects; for joy in anything is proportioned to love. We never rejoice much in any thing but what we love much. Now, to have the choicest respects of an immortal soul laid out upon, and centre in, present and perishing comforts, is a great evil. Secondly, It hath an evil effect; hereby God is disparaged, the Lord Christ despised, the unseen glories neglected, and the soul in danger of being misled and ruined. See Job 21.7-15.
Thirdly, We hereby make a wrong use of the mercies of God, which are given to raise our hearts, not for our hearts to rest in; to elevate our affections, not to terminate them; to draw our hearts up, not to swallow them up.
Present enjoyments should be as a glass for the soul to take a view of the goodness of God in; David saith, “The earth is full of his goodness,” Psalm 33.5. You may enjoy God in every creature, and have an account of his goodness from every comfort.
—-Matthew Mead A Name in Heaven”