Joy (usually some form of גּיל, which prop. means to spin round with pleasurable emotion, and is thus a stronger term than שָׂמִח, which expresses gladness; but less so than עָלַוֹ, to exult or leap with exuberant joy, Gr. prop. χαρά), a delight of the mind arising from the consideration of a present or assured approaching possession of a future good (Ezr 6:16; Es 8:16).
1. NATURAL joy is of various degrees: when it is moderate, it is called gladness; when raised on a sudden to the highest degree, it is then exultation or transport; when we limit our desires by our possessions, it is contentment; when our desires are raised high, and yet accomplished, this is called satisfaction, when our joy is derived from some comical occasion or amusement, it is mirth; if it arise from considerable opposition that is vanquished in the pursuit of the good we desire, it is then called triumph; when joy has so long possessed the mind that it is settled into a temper, we call it cheerfulness; when we rejoice upon the account of any good which others obtain, it may be called sympathy or congratulation.
2. MORAL joy is also of several kinds, as the self approbation, or that which arises from the performance of any good actions; this is called peace, or serenity of conscience; if the action be honorable and the joy rise high, it may be called glory.
3. There is also a SPIRITUAL joy, which the Scripture calls a "fruit of the Spirit" (Ga 5:22), "the joy of faith" (Php 1:25), and "the rejoicing of hope" (Heb 3; Heb 6). The objects of it are —
(1.) God himself (Ps 43:4; Isa 61:10).
(2.) Christ (Php 3:3; 1Pe 1:8).
(3.) The promises (Ps 119:162).
(4.) The administration of the Gospel and Gospel ordinances (Ps 89:15).
(5.) The prosperity of the interest of Christ (Ac 15:3; Re 11:15,17).
(6.) The happiness of a future state (Ro 5:2; Mt 25). The nature and properties of this joy:
[1.] It is, or should be, constant (Php 4:4). [2.] It is unknown to the men of the world (1Co 2:14). [3.] It is unspeakable (1Pe 1:8).
[4.] It is permanent (Joh 16:22). See Watts, On Pass. sec. 31: Gil's Body of Div. 3, 111, 8vo ed.; Grove's Moral Philippians 1, 356.