“That I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation.”
What is “the gladness of God’s nation?” To be saved “without money and without price;” to be saved by grace—free, rich, sovereign, distinguishing grace, without one atom of works, without one grain of creature merit, without anything of the flesh. This is “the gladness of God’s nation;” to rejoice in free grace, grace superabounding over the aboundings of sin, grace reigning triumphant over the dreadful evils of our heart. It is grace that “gladdens” a man’s heart. Oh! sweet grace, blessed grace! when it meets our case and reaches our souls. Oh! what a help, what a strength, what a rest for a poor toiling, striving, labouring soul, to find that grace has done all the work, to feel that grace has triumphed in the cross of Christ, to find that nothing is required, nothing is wanted, nothing is to be done. It is a full and perfect, complete and finished work. Oh! sweet sound, when it reaches the heart and touches the conscience, and is shed blessedly abroad in the soul.
This is “the gladness of God’s nation;” this makes their heart glad, that the work is finished, that the warfare is accomplished, that the Church of God “hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins;” this is the comforting sound wherewith God “comforts his people;” this makes the nation glad, and their heart to leap and dance for joy. Has your heart never leaped at the sound?—only for a moment? Has grace never sounded sweetly in your soul, and made your very heart dance within you? If it has, you know what is “the gladness of God’s nation.”
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869