happiness does not consist in laughter and smiles. The
face is very often a poor index of the heart.
There are thousands who laugh loud and are merry in company--but are
wretched and miserable in private! On the other hand, there are
hundreds who are grave and serious in their demeanor--whose hearts
are full of solid peace. Smiles are worth but little: "A man may
smile and smile--and be a villain!"
The eternal Word of God teaches us that "even in laughter, the heart
may be sorrowful." (Proverbs 14:13.) Tell me not merely of smiling
and laughing faces! I want to hear of something more than that, when
I ask whether a man is happy. A truly happy man no doubt will often
show his happiness in his countenance; but a man may have a very
merry face--and yet not be happy at all!
Of all deceptive things on earth--nothing is so deceptive as mere
worldly gaiety and merriment! It is a hollow empty show,
utterly devoid of substance and reality! Listen to the brilliant
talker in society--follow him to his own private room, and you will
very likely find him plunged in melancholy despondency. Colonel
Gardiner confessed that even when he was thought most happy--he
often wished he was a dog! Look at the smiling beauty in the
ball-room, and you might suppose that she knew not what it was to be
unhappy; see her next day at her own home, and you may probably find
her out of temper with herself and everybody else besides!
Oh, no! Worldly merriment is not real happiness! There is a
certain pleasure about it, I do not deny. There is an animal
excitement about it, I make no question. There is a temporary
elevation of spirits about it, I freely concede. But do not call it
by the sacred name of 'happiness'. When glass is called
diamond, and tinsel is called gold--then, and not until then,
those people who can laugh and revel will deserve to be called happy