Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

sacrifice which was offered morning and evening con. tinually. As we are to pray always with all prayer, so we are to offer the sacrifice of praise continually. This must be a part of our morning and evening oblation every day. “Be careful for nothing," says the Apostle, “ but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Whenever we approach the throne of God, we should bring thither hearts enlarged with gratitude for the things we enjoy, as well as with the desires of the things we need. Every day," says the Psalmist, so will I bless thee; I will praise thy name. for ever and ever

It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to thy name, O most High, to shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,”

All special favors should be distinctly observed and acknowledged. God daily loads us with benefits. “ Many are the wonderful works which he has done, and his thoughts, which are to us ward ; they cannot be reckoned up in order to him ; if we would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." But there are, in every man's life, and perhaps, in every year, some remarkable interpositions of God —some seasonable protections and deliverances, supplies and comforts, directions and restraints, which cannot be wholly unnoticed, and which ought to be always remembered. If for such as these we give thanks explicitly, and exercise a general gratitude for benefits which cannot bé recollected, we then give thanks always.

We should be thankful in every condition. Pros. perity should not dissipate; nor adversity drown a sense of our obligations to God. When we receive evil, we also receive good at his hands. And the good becomes more conspicuous, when it is placed over ågainst the evil. God has set the one over against the the other, that man might find nothing after him. Vol. III.

3Q

“ Though the figtree shall not blossom," says the prophet, o neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation."

We should never cease to give thanks. " While I live," says the Psalmist, “ I will praise the Lord, I will sing praises to my God, while I have any being. Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee ; thus will I bless thee, while I live. Every day will I praise thy name, I will bless thee for ever and ever."

IV. We will next consider the matters for which we are to give thanks. These are all things.

Walk forth in a cloudless evening ; look up to the skies, and attempt to number the stars. Where will you begin? How will you proceed? You gaze and wonder at the scene. The objects soon lose their distinction. They are mingled in a generai blaze.

Such was the state of the Apostle's mind. He re. commends the duty, prescribes the manner, and delineates the temper of thanksgiving ; but the matters ad. mit no detail. They baffle the power of numbers. It can only be said, “ Give thanks for all things.”

David, bringing his thankoffering before God, begins his address with this remarkable expression,

“ Praise waiteth,” or praise is silent, “ for thee, O God, in Zion.” It is as if he had said, “ Such is thine inconceivable excellency, and unbounded goodnesssuch is the countless multitude of thy mercies, that, when we attempt thy praise, our tongues faulter, our devotion sinks under the weight of the subject. We cannot express ; we silently adore thy glories."

“ Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord ? Who can shew forth all his praise ?"-How precious are thy thoughts unto us, O God ? How great is the sum of them ? If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”_“I will hope continually ; I will praise thee more and more ; I will shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day, for I know not the number thereof."

Take a review of your life from the early period of youth. How kindly have you been sustained ? How bountifully have your wants been supplied ? How often have dangers been prevented, afilictions shortened, temptations diverted, disappointments turned to suc. cess, and imagined evils made productive of real good?

Look around on your neighbors, and see what blessings attend them. For these blessings give thanks, Their charity will impart to you a share in the good they enjoy ; and your benevolence may appropriate the whole. While you rejoice in another's prosperity, you divide it with him. You take the better half. Yours is pure and refined ; The grosser part is left to him.

Blessings bestowed on others are for your sake as well as theirs. How often has your thirst been relieyed by streams from the fountain of the rich ? How often has your heart been cheered by the smiles of the contented and happy ? How often have your good resolutions been strengthened by the counsels of the wise and the example of the virtuous ?

Contemplate the benefits of civil society. You par. take in the national peace, plenty, prosperity and happiness. Under the protection of a righteous govern. ment you sit securely in your house, sleep undisturbed in your bed, go forth into your field without danger of an enemy, walk the streets without fear of an assassin, and lay up the fruits of your labor without concern that thieves will break through and steal.

Consider your religious privileges. The gospel of the Son of God, which is in your hands, opens to your view most astonishing glories in the future world-glories which eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart imagined. It marks the path to heaven by the plainest precepts, and encourages your progress by the most gracious promises. And though darkness may sometimes surround you, yet light soon arises in ob. scurity. Though the dispensations of God seem mysterious, yet all things are working for good to them who love him. They are heirs of his kingdom; they shall inherit all things.

What is there, then, for which the good man may not give thanks ? All things are his. No real good will be withheld. Nothing will separate him from the love of God.

V. We are now to consider the medium of our access to God in this duty, “ The name of Jesus Christ.”.

God putteth no trust in his saints ; the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much less man that is a worm-man that is a sinner? We are not worthy to speak to him in praise for the benefits which we receive much less to ask of him farther benefits-least of all to receive the benefits which we ask. We are therefore directed not only to pray, but also to give thanks in the name of Christ, who has purchased by his blood the blessings which we need, who has opened for us by his intercession, a way of access to the throne of grace, and through whom alone, such guilty creatures can acceptably draw near to God.

« Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life ; no man cometh to the Father, but by him.” Whatever therefore we do, in word or deed, we must do all in his name, praying and giving thanks to God, even the Father, by him.

We have taken a view of the important duty of thanksgiving. And we see, that this is not a work merely for one day in a year, but for every day that we live. We must give thanks always. · Let us not imagine, that by recounting a few remarkable favors, we have discharged our obligations to God; we are to give thanks for all things.

Let us not think, that to appear publicly in God's house and to feed plentifully at our tables, is the essence of thanksgiving; we must bring to God the offering of grateful hearts, feel a sense of his goodness and our unworthiness, exercise repentance for our sins, devote ourselves to him to walk in newness of life and do good, and communicate to one another, as there is occasion. With such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Nature itself points out our obligation to thanksgiv. ing. Being endued with reason and speech, we are capable of observing the merciful works of God, and of expressing

the grateful and admiring sentiments of our hearts. David calls his tongue his glory, because with this he could praise his Creator. My heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise with my glory." The Apostle exhorts us to offer unto God the fruit of the lips, giving thanks to his name.”'

Even sinners love those who love them; and do good to those, who do good to them. This is natural. Hence the unthankful are ranked among those who are without natural affection. If gratitude to one another is a dictate of nature, shall not reason and religion lead up our hearts to God?

The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib. Shall not we consider and acknowledge him who has nourished and brought us up as children?

The creation around us, gives us lectures on thankfulness, and exhibits the propriety of making returns for benefits. The rivers discharge into the sea the waters which they derive from it. The skies remit in copious showers the collections which they exhale from the earth in vapors. The fields by a fruitful increase repay the husbandman's toil, and bring forth herbs meet for those by whom they are dressed. All nature subsists by an interchange of kindnesses. Harmony and order are the beauty of the natural world. Piety and benevolence are the beauty of the moral world.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »