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God, to behold and admire his excellency and goodness, and his free love. Oh! that happy word of David, worthy to be twice repeated, when shall we say it? O God my heart is fired; well might he add, I will sing and give praise". Oh! that we would pray much that he would fix our hearts; and then he having fixed them, we would praise him much. Direct. II. If any due disposition be once at.
.' tained for praises, then must the heart, so disposed, be set to study the matter of praises.
And that, 1. The infinite excellency of God in himself; which though we know little of, yet this we know, and should consider it, that it is far beyond what all the creatures and all his works are able to testify of him; that he transcends all we can speak, or hear, or know of him. 2. Look on him in his works. Can we behold the vast heavens above, or the firm earth beneath us, or all the variety of his works in both, without holy. wonder stirred in us, and that stirring us up to sing praises? Oh! his greatness, and might, and wisdom shining in these, Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all. But above all, that work, that marvel of his works, the sending of his Son forth of his bosom. This is the mystery which the apostles do so much magnify ir, their writings, this is the chief incentive whereby our apostle was induced to close this epistle with praise, ascribing glory to him. This praise looks particularly back to the style in the prayer, The God of all grace, who hath called us to his eternal glory by Jesus Christ. So many
other mercies are not to be forgotten, but chiefly is he to be praised for that choice of mercies, to his glory, who hath called us to his glory. Then look through the work of saving his chosen, so redeemed by the blood of his Son, his maintaining his own work in them, against all surrounding enemies and oppositions; the advancing it in the midst of them, and even by those oppositions, and bringing them safe to glory; that perfecting and establishment, as in the de Psm. lvii. 7.
"Psm. civ. 24.
foregoing words; it is that which so affects the apostle in the very entry of this epistle, that there he must break forth into praise"; Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotton us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He begins there in praise, and here ends in it, and so incloses all within that divine circle. And as we should consider these things in general, so should we also reflect on his particular dealing with us; his good providence in spirituals and temporals. Would we search, oh! what a surcharge of innumerable mercies should each of us find! and were we better acquainted with the holy scriptures, had we more our delight in them, they would acquaint us better with all these things, and give us light to see them, and warm our hearts
, and excite them to his praises, who is the God of all our mercies.
Direct: III. The heart being somewhat disposed to praise, and then studying the matter of it, should be applied actually to render praise; and in order to this we must be careful, 1. To aim at God in all, which is continued praise, to eye his glory in every thing, and chiefly to desire that as the great end of all, that his name may be exalted. This is the excellent way indeed; whereas most are either wholly for their self-ends, or often squinting out to them. That soul is most noble that singly and fixedly aims at exalting God, and seeks this stamp on all it speaks and does, and desires; all to the greater glory of my God. 2. To abound in the express and solemn return of praise this way. To him be glory, not a customary dead saying or it over, as is usual with us, but the heart offering it up. What is so pure and high as this exercise, the praises of the ever glorious Deity? What is heaven but these? and were it not best as we can, to begin it here, and long to be there, where it shall never end? To him be glory, and dominion for ever and ever.
Amen. chap. i. ver. 3.
Ver. 12. By Sylvanus, a faithful brother unto you, (as I sup
pose), I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. 13. The Church that is at Babylon, elected together with
you, saluteth you ; and so doth Marcus my son. 14. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be
with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
This is a kind of postcript, and contains its testimony of the bearer, and the apostolic form of saluting. Withal, he expresses the measure of his writing, that it was brief, and the end of it, that it was to testify the true grace of God. And this is, indeed, the end of our preaching; and we ought each to seek it by the word, and by mutual exhortations; and sometimes a few words may avail much to this purpose, to our hearty establishment in the faith; and not only are we to believe, but to remember that we have the best of it; that there is truth in our hopes, and they shall not deceive us. They are no fancy, as the world thinks, but the true grace of God'; yea, when all things else shall vanish, their truth shall most appear in their full accomplishment.
The entertainment and increase of Christian love, of due esteem of one another, and affection one to another, is no matter of empty compliment, but is the very stamp and badge of Jesus Christ upon his followers: It is, therefore, most carefully to be preserved entire, and unhappy are they that do by any means willingly break it. Oh! let us beware of doing so, and follow peace, even when it seems to fly from us.
This peace that is the portion of those in Christ, is indeed within them, and with God; but through Him it is likwise one with another, and in that notion to be desired and wished jointly with the other.
They that are in Christ are the only children and heirs of true peace. Others may dream of it, and have a false peace for a time, and wicked men may wish it to themselves and one another; but it is a
most vain and insignificant hope: but to wish it to them that are in Christ, hath good ground; for all solid peace is founded in him, and flows from him. Now the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Amen.
ON PART OF THE
EIGHTH PSAL M.
know concerning God, he hath been pleased to reveal, and our most excellent and happy employment in this world, is to learn it.
The third verse of this Psalm affords us clearly the doctrine of the creation. That part in the Psalmist's eye, the Heavens, being the highest and largest of the visible world, surrounding and containing all the rest, is mentioned ;-the work of thy fingers, importing the curious embellishments of them; The moon and stars which thou hast ordained, placed them in their orbs, and set them a going, and appointed their periods and revolutions which they observe. So, the same hand hath fetched all other things out of the same nothing as we have it in the beginning of this Book. In the beginning God created, &c. And, therefore, to be believed, because we find it there.
Can the Worker, and his operation, be discovered by strength of reason? Certainly they that have been of most confest and famous ability that way, have been partly of another mind, and we see it reduced to its truest principle”; By faith, &c. Yet this we may boldly affirm, that there is not only nothing in sound reason crossing it; but that all the
a Heb. xi, 4