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sider what is there, how worthy the affection, worthy the earnest eye and fixed look of an heir of this glory! What can he either defire or fear, whose heart is thus deeply fixed ? Who would refuse this other clause, to suffer a while, a little while, any thing outward, or inward, he thinks fit ? how foon shall all this be overpast, and then overpaid in the very entry, at the beginning of this glory that shall never end!
Ver. 11. To bim be glory and dominion for ever and
"HEY know little of their own wants and empti
ness, that are not much in prayer; and they know little of the greatness and goodness of God, that are not much in praises. The humble Christian hath a heart in some measure framed to both. He hath within him the best fchoolmafter, that teaches him how to pray, and how to praise, and makes him delight in the exercise of them both.
The Apostle having added prayer to his doctrine, adds here, you see, praise to his prayer. To bim be glory and dominion for ever.
The living praises of God spring from much holy affection, and that affection springs from a divine light in the understanding. So says the Psalmist, Sing ye praises with understanding, or you that have understanding, Psal. xlvii. 7.
It is a spiritual knowledge of God that sets the soul in tune for his praises, and therefore the most can bear no part in this song: They mistune it quite, through their ignorance of God, and unacquaintance with him. Praise is unseemly in the mouth of fools; they spoil and mistune it.
Obf. 1. The thing ascribed. 2. The term or endurance of it. 1. The former is, expressed in two words, glory and power. Glory, when ascribed to God, imports the shining forth of his dignity, the VOL. II. Xx
knowledge knowledge and acknowledgment of it by his creatures; that his excellency may be confessed and praised, his name exalted, that service and homage may be done to him ; which all adds nothing to him; for how can that be? But as it is the duty of such creatures as he hath fitted for it, to render praise to him, so it is their happiness. All the creatures, indeed, declare and speak his glory; the heavens sound it forth, and the earth and sea resound and echo it back. But his reasonable creatures hath he peculiarly framed, both to take notice of glory in all the rest, and to return it from and for all the reft, in a more express and lively way.
And in this lower world, it is man alone that is made capable of observing the glory of God, and offering him praises. He expresses it well, that calls man the world's high priest ; all the creatures bring their oblations of praise to him, to offer up for them and for himself, for whose use and comfort they are made. The light and motion of the heavens, and all the variety of creatures below them, speak this to man: “ He that made us and you, and made us for you,
is great and wise, and worthy to be praised; " and you are better able to say this than we; “ therefore praise him on our behalf and your own. " Oh! he is great and mighty, he is the Lord our “ Maker."
Power is also ascribed to God, which here expresses not only ability, but authority and royal fovereignty ; that as he can do all things, he rules and governs all things, is King of all the world, Lord Paramount; fo that all hold their crowns of him, and the fields of the earth belong unto God, he is greatly to be exalted, Psal. xlvii. 9.; disposeth of states and kingdoms at his pleasure, establisheth or changeth, turns and overturns, as seems him good, and hath not only might, but right to do so. He is the Most High, ruling in the kingdoms of the children of men, and giving them to whomfoever be will, Dan. iv. 32.
and feldom fails to pour contempt upon princes when they contemn his power.
2. The term or endurance of this glory, is also worthy of our remark, for ever. Even in the short life of man, men that are raised very high in place and popular esteem, may, and often do, outlive their own glory; but the glory of God lasteth as long as himself, for he is unchangeable, his throne is for ever, and his wrath for ever, and his mercy for ever ; and therefore his glory for ever.
Reflection 1. Is it not to be lamented, that he is so little glorified and praised ? that the earth being so full of his goodness, is so empty of his praise from them that enjoy and live upon it?
How far are the greateft part from making this their great work, to exalt God, and ascribe power and glory to his name? so far, that all their ways are his dishonour; they seek to advance and raise themselves, to serve their own lufts and pleasures, while they are altogether mindless of his glory! yea, the Apostle's complaint holds good against us all, we are Seeking our own things, and none the things of the Lord Jesus Chrift, Phil. ii. 21. It is true, fome there are, but as his meaning is, they are so few, that they are, as it were, drowned and smothered in the crowd of self-seekers, so that they appear not.
After all the judgments of God upon us, how doth still luxury and excess, uncleanness, and all kind of profaneness, outdare the very light of the gospel, and the rule of holinefs shining in it ! scarce any thing is a matter of common shame and scorn, but the power of godliness; turning indeed our true glory into fame, and glorying in that which is indeed our foame : yet holiness is not only our truest glory, but that wherein the ever glorious God doth especially glory, and hath made known himself particularly by that name, The boly. God. And the express style of his glorious praises uttered by seraphims, Isa. vi. 3. is, Holy, boly, holy is the Lord of Holts, the whole earth is full of bis glory.
Instead of sanctifying and glorifying this holy name, how doth the language of hell, oaths and curses, abound in our streets and houses! How is that blefsed name, that angels are blesling and praising, abused by base worms! Again, not withstanding all the mercies multiplied upon us in this land, where are our praises, our songs of deliverance, our ascribing glory and power to our God, who hath prevented us with loving kindness, and tender mercies ; hath removed the strokes of his hand, and made cities and villages populous again, that were left desolate without inhabitants?
Oh! why do we not stir up our hearts, and one another, to extol the name of our God, and fay, Give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto the Lord the glory due unto bis name, Plal. xxix. 1, 2. Have we not seen the pride and glory of all flesh stained and abased! Were there ever affairs and times that more discovered the folly and weakness of men, and the wisdom and power of God! Oh! that our hearts were set to magnify him,, according to that word, so often repeated in Psal. cvii. Oh! that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and his wonderful works to the children of men.
Reflection 2. But what wonder is it that the Lord loses the revenue of his praises at the hands of the common ungodly world, when even his own people fall so far behind in it, as usually they do! The dead cannot praise him, Pfal. cxv. 17. But that they whom he hath quickened by his Spirit, should yet be so surprised with deadness and dulness as to this exercise of exalting God; this is very strange. For help of this, take the three following directions.
Direct. I. We should seek after a fit temper, and labour to have our hearts brought to a due disposition for his praises. And in this view : 1. See that they be spiritual. All spiritual services require that, but this most, as being indeed the most spiritual of all. Affections to the things of this earth draw down the
soul, and make it so low fet, that it cannot rise to the height of a song of praife: And thus, if we observed ourselves, we should find, that when we let our hearts fall, and entangle themselves in any inferior desires and delights, as they are unfitted generally for holy things, so, especially, for the praises of our holy God. Creature-loves abase the foul, and turn it to earth, and praise is altogether heavenly. 2. Seek a heart purified from self-love, and possessed with the love of God. The heart which is ruled by its own intereft, is scarce ever content, still subject to new disquiet. Self is a vexing thing, for all things do not readily suit our humours and wills; and the least touch that is wrong to a selfish mind distempers it, and disrelishes all the good things about it. A childish condition it is, if crossed but in a toy, to throw away all. Whence are our frequent frettings and grumblings, and why is it that we can drown a hundred high favours in one little displeasure ; fo that ftill our finger is upon that string; and there is more malcontent and repining for one little cross, than praises for all the mercies we have received ? Is not this evidently the self-love that abounds in us? Whereas, were the love of God predominant in us, we should love his doings and disposals, and bless bis name in all : Whatsoever were his will, would, in that view, be amiable and sweet to us, however in itself harsh and unpleasant. Thus would we say in
“ This is the will and the hand of my Father, “ whó doth all wisely and well; blessed be his “ name."
The soul thus framed would praise in the deeps of troubles ; not only in outward afflictions, but in the saddest inward condition, would be still extolling God, and saying, « However he deal with me, he is “ worthy to be loved and praised. He is great and " holy, he is good and gracious; and whatsoever be « his way and thoughts towards me, I wish him $ glory. If he will be pleased to give me light and