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III. How this access to praise God in the world,
is and wil be the peculiar mercy of the liv
ving. IV. lastly, Apply.
1. We shall consider the praising or glorifying God in the world. - And here we shall shew,
1. What praising of God is.
2. What are the peculiarities of the praises of the living
Firsi, What praising of God is. It is the ac. knowledging and declaring of the glorious excellencies of God, as he has manifested himself in his word and works, and imports,
1. The belief of the being of God: Heb. xi. 6. He that cometh to God, must believe that he is. Atheism wholly cuts off the praises of God; for who can praise that which he does not believe to.. be? The works of creation and providence proclaim his being : but such is the natural enmity', of man against God, and his addictedness to his lusts, that he secretly wisheth there were not a God, and so is disposed to believe fo, if he could get any footing for it: Psal. xiv. 1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God: and that is at the root of mens living to a contrary end to his praise, Tit. i. ult. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, quid elisobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
2. The knowledge of God. To whom he is an unkown God, he will be an unpraised God. Henco ignorance is ruining ; Hof. iv. 6. My people are defreyed for lack of knowledge. Il. xxvii
. 11. It is a people of no understanding : therefore he that made them, will not have mercy on them, and
he that formed them, will mew them no favour. To live to the prailing of God, requires,
it, The knowledge of who he is, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, 1 John v. 7. In the pame of the three persons we are baptized by divine appointment: if we know him not so, we know not the God to whom we are engaged in baptism ; and so cannot praise him,
2dly, The knowledge of what he is; the discerning of his glorious perfections, which are the matter of his praise. We must know him to be the greatest and best of beings, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth ; more excellent than any creatures, or all of them together, as being the fountain of all excellency in them.
3dly, The knowledge of what he has done. His works are glorious, creation, providence, and redemption. By them he-thews what he is, (Psal. xix. 1. The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmument Theweth his handy-wark), and affords us matter of praise : and we are to think on them for that end, that we may from thence praise him, Pfal. cxi.' 2. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. And it is highly offenlive not to regard them: Psal. xxvii. 5. Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of bis hands, he shall deffroy them, and not build them up. That is to deny him his praise.
3. The love of God. Love is the mother of praise, and natively brings it forth. They that do not love God, can never kindly or acceptably praise him. i Jahn iv. 16. God is love, not only
fubjectively, infinitely loving ; but objectively, wholly lovely. And so he is in the eyes of all. who live to his praise. To them the Father is lovely, the Son lovely, the
Holy Spirit lovely. Every attribute of God is lovely. The holiness and purity of his nature, the great eye-fore of carnal men, is most lovely to them : Exod. xv. 11. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ? Psal. xxx. 4. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. His works are lovely. The creation of the world is a lovely work, the guiding of it by providence a lovely work; but the most lovely is the redemption of the world by the blood of Christ,
4. The admiration of God; which is, love and esteem raised to a high pitch. This is the nearest cause of praise ; for it is the heart swelling with admiration of the object, that bursts forth in praises, Exod. xv. ). above cited. They that live to God's praise, are admirers of him : they see all excellencies in him to be transcendent, no. thing comparable to them in the whole creation, and believe there are infinite treasures of excellency in him, which they cannot comprehend. So their heart faith, with the Psalmist, whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee, Pfal. lxxiii. 25. Lanching into the ocean of the glories of his nature and works, they fee it is shoreless : Psal. cvi. 2. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? , who can shew forth all his praise?
5. lastly, The expressing that love to, and admiration of him : Exod. xv. 11. forecited. Micah vii. 18. Who is a God like unto thee, that
eth iniquity, and passeth by the transgreffion of the remnant of his heritage ? he retaineth not his anger for ever, becuuse he delighteth in mercy. This is it in which the essence of praising God confifts, and is the great end for which man was made: and it is the native becoming return the creature is to make to its Creator, from whom it has received all, and to whom it can give nothing, but only commend him, and set forth his glory. And this not being confined to words, is twofold.
ili, Vocal, by words. It is called the calves of our lips, Hol. xiv. 2. ; and the fruit of our lips, Heb. xiii. 1 s. Man's tongue is called his glory, Pfal. xvi. 9. as being a prime instrument wherewith he is furnished for praising and glorifying God. And thus we are to praise him, solemnly and Itatedly, in the duties of worship, singing his praises ; and occasionally, in spcaking to his praise, as we have occasion offered.
2dly, Real, by deeds or actions, though it be not accompanied with words: for as there is a practical Atheisin, Tit. i. ult.; fo there is a practical praising or glorifying God. And this is the main thing in that praise which is the end of life, without which vocal praise avails not. It is twofold.
(1.) In heart : 1 Cor. vi. 20. Ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God-in your spirit, which is God's. Mens praise of men from the teeth outward may pass, but God knows the heart, and if the heart harmonize not with the tongue, it cannot be accepted of him, l. xxix. 13. He must be praised in our understanding, thinking and esteeming him above all, Pfal. Ixxii. 25. ; in our will, chuling him above all, for our portion, Psal. cxlii. 5.; and in our affections, lo.
ving, rejoicing, and delighting in him above all, Pfal. xxxvii. 4.
(2.) In life and conversation: Matth. v. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may fee your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. A holy life is a shining light, to let a blind world see the glory of God : for as God has expressed his nature in his word, fo his word is expressed again in a holy life, Philip. ii. 15. 16. The study of holiness says God is holy; mourning for every sin proclaims him spoilefs; and horror of fecret, as well as of open fins, is a testimony to his omnipresence and omniscience.
Secondly, What are the peculiarities of the praifes of the living ? The praises of living faints have these peculiarities, which the dead have no access to.
1. They are the praises of the whole man, in foul and body too : 1. Cor. vi. 20. Ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, And in your spirit, which are God's. Those of the dead are of their fouls only; but the living have access to praise God, foul and body in concert. Even the clay body bath, for the time of life, access to join in this honourable work: but death breaks it in pieces, that it can no more bear a part in God's praise.
2. They are praises which may spread among the living, as in their land, from whence the dead are cut off: Col. iii. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and Spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts
to the Lord. The voice of the praises of living faints, may be heard under this vault of the hea