Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
I. CHRISTIANS ARE SUBJECT TO A VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE. "Afflicted." "Merry." Suffering. Enjoyment.
1. They imply the existence of two opposite principles: good and evil.
2. The susceptibility of the human heart to the influences of circumstances. Like -AEolian harp swept by wind. Emotions rise and fall with events.
3. The unsettledness of human life.
(1) All are subject to them.
(a) Both are found at the same time in different persons.
(b) Both are found at different times in the same persons.
(2) No one rests long in either.
(a) The change from the one to the other is sometimes sudden.
(b) the change from one to the other is sometimes extreme.
(3) They are necessary —
(a) To prevent evil. Pride on the one hand; despair on the other.
(b) To promote good. Complete development of character.
(4) They are under Divine control.
II. CHRISTIANS HAVE A CORRESPONDING "VARIETY OF RELIGIOUS DUTY TO DISCHARGE. "Pray." "Sing psalms." This teaches —
1. The naturalness of religion. Instinctively men pray in troubles and sing in joy. Nothing arbitrary in piety.
2. The permanence of religion. Whether God "gives" or "takes away," the response is, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
3. The value of religion.
(1) In affliction it teaches prayer. This means communion with God. He is almighty, loving, unchangeable.
(2) In prosperity it teaches praises.
(a) Acknowledgment of the Author of it.
(b) Satisfaction with the measure of it.
(c) Enjoyment of the possession of it. Happiness is a religious duty; recommends religion; most resembles heaven.Conclusion:
1. Misery is possible in prosperity. Belshazzar, &c.
2. Joy is possible in adversity. "Rejoice in tribulation."
3. Uniformity of experience and duty in heaven. No prayer; no affliction. All prosperous; all sing.
(B. D. Johns.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.