Holiness Brings Happiness
Happiness is what everybody wants and yet few find. It is rarer than the most precious jewels. When our English language was made we created the word happiness – that which haps or happens, because there is so little of it. The ancient heathen philosophers declared there is no such thing as happiness in this world. Solon, the famous wise man of Greece, said, “No man ought to be called a happy man as long as he lives,” because he could not know what his life was to be. Varro reckoned up two hundred and eighty different opinions of what constitutes happiness. Lucian gives a long catalogue of the ideas of the philosophers on the subject and refutes them all. Byron, the gay voluptuary, who had sought happiness in the pleasures of the world, while still a young man writes:
Though gay companions o’er the bowl
Dispel awhile the sense of ill,
Though pleasure fill the maddened soul,
The heart, the heart is lonely still.
To die, and go where all must go;
To be the nothing that I was
E’er born to living woe.
Count o’er the joys, thine hours have seen
Count o’er the hours from sorrow free
And know whatever thou hast been
‘Twere better not to be.
And as for me, so dark my fate,
In every state of life hath been,
Man and the world, I so much hate
I care not when I quit the scene.”
We used to think as we saw the crowd rushing to the theaters by the thousands, that they went because they were happy but we have discovered that they go because they are not happy, but are seeking happiness. The character of the slush, that they seek, shows how desperately unhappy they are, who
“Vainly seek with earthly toys
To fill an empty mind.”
The great secret that mankind have not yet learned is that happiness does not consist in what we have or see or hear, but in what we are. You thought you would be happy if you had this or that or were in a more favorable position in life, but happiness is in the soul and not in its surroundings.
God never intended that man should be unhappy. He created him to be happy. To deny this is to accuse our Creator. Who dares to say the good and merciful God ever desired man to be unhappy? The fault is with man. He is out of harmony with his Maker’s plan because out of harmony with his Maker.
All through nature God shows His desire for our happiness. He gave us a beautiful world to please our senses. He gives us fruitful seasons and harvests. He might have had the trees bring forth their fruits without a blossom, but He gives the blossoms to delight us as well as the fruit to nourish us. And that nothing might be wanting, He has in salvation provided a remedy for our unhappy souls.
The cause of unhappiness is sin in us. This is the cause of all the troubles of the human race. Man has lost God out of his soul and cannot be happy until he is right with God. As soon think of a fish at ease out of its native element, or an eagle happy, taken from its native cliffs and put in a cage.
When sin is cleansed from the heart by the blood of Jesus Christ, the friction is gone. The soul is at ease and is happy in God, even when storms rage on the outside. Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” The martyrs were happy even when the fire was devouring their flesh; happier than many ever get, who see no tribulation. Madame Guyon finds the experience of entire sanctification by faith in spite of the darkness of the Roman Catholic Church and fairly reveled in happiness. Persecution, estrangement of family and prison walls could not dampen her happiness. She declared that when put in prison “the very stones of my prison appear like rubies in my eyes.” And in that four years’ confinement for her profession and preaching of holiness she wrote these lines:
“A little bird am I,
Shut from fields of air
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him, who placed me there,
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because my God, it pleaseth Thee,
Naught have I else to do;
I sing the whole day long;
And He whom most I love to please,
Doth listen to my song.
He caught and bound my wandering wing,
And still He bends to hear me sing.
My cage confines me round;
Abroad I cannot fly,
But though my wing is closely bound
My heart’s at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.
Oh! it is good to soar,
These bolts and bars above,
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose providence I love,
And in Thy mighty will I find
The joy, the freedom of the mind.”
Jesus says, “Blessed (happy) are the pure in heart.”
If the religion of Jesus did not provide for happiness, then it breaks down where most needed, for this is a world of unhappiness. We declare then, that holiness is in harmony with good common sense, in providing for happiness in this world as well as the world to come.