Superiority of Pious Joy
Proverbs 3:17
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

I know that sometimes the worldling may seem to have the best of it. He laughs a louder laugh, and is more boisterous in his mirth. He has need to be. He must laugh aloud to convince himself that he is happy. He is obliged to be demonstrative in his merriment, or he could not give himself credit for it. What is the value of it all? Listen to one who had laughed more than most men, or, at any rate, had tried to laugh more: "I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?" The worldling's joy, such as it is, is fitful and short-lived. It is a fine-weather joy, like that of some of the songsters of the wood; like that of the nightingale, which, though she sings in the night, cannot sing in the wild; like the notes of the blackbird, which die away as the season advances and when her nestlings are all hatched, as though parental anxieties had been too much for her; like the light-heartedness of the cuckoo, which is a summer bird, but has no song to enliven our winter's gloom. The worldly heart has its songs, but they do not last. They are only songs of sunshine, songs of summer. But the robin sings all the year round. In the spring, upon the orchard spray, canopied with apple blossoms; in the summer, in the still depths of the forest shade; and in the winter, too, on the naked blackthorn, exposing his little red bosom to the wintry blast, he twitters cheerily amid the snows. Such is the Christian's joy, stable and lasting. The other is but a counterfeit, and the tinsel soon wears off. Yonder clown, who by his antics end grimaces upon the stage sets the spectators in a roar, is not a merry man. He has left a sick child at home, and the last look he had at her pale face, as she lay upon her poor pallet in their mean lodging, smote him to the heart, for it told him she was like to die. And from that dying couch he has come to grin and caper at the pantomime to make English holiday. And haunted by that wasted face and those sunken eyes, every jest to him is agony, and every burst of laughter a cruel pang. Such is the pleasure of the sinner, a mere surface mirth, a forced hilarity, with a poisoned barb rankling at the heart. But now religion, the fear of the Lord, is joy, all joy, and always joy. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, end all her paths are peace." "Rejoice... and again I say rejoice," is not only a permission, but a command to the Christian. When he is not happy, it is not because of his religion, but because for some reason in himself he has missed its consolations.

(J. Halsey.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

WEB: Her ways are ways of pleasantness. All her paths are peace.

Religion and its Value
Top of Page
Top of Page