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Praise is comely. It is nature's fenfe, 'tis the ima port of any man's reafon : every man's mind tells him that this is decent ; and no man can have peace, quiet and satisfaction in the contrary ; unless he be funk down into baseness, and degenerated into a fordid temper, he will acknowledge the kindness of his benefactor. Now, becaufe God doth infinitely transcend all the benefactors in the world, if any man doth not acknowledge his goodness, and praise him for his benefits, he is funk down into baseness, and fallen beneath his creation and nature.
God loves us, and therefore he doth usgood : we love God because we are partakers of his benefits. Now praise and thanksgiving is all the return that. our necessity and beggary is capable of : and it is very comely for us, that are so much beholden to the divine goodness, to make our duě acknowledge ments; and therefore it is observed that in ingratitude there is a connexion of all vice.
AH disingenuity and baseness are concentred in the bowels of ingratitude. He that will not be engaged by kind . ness, no cords of man will hold him. It is observed both by God and man, as degeneracy in its ultimate issue, the greatest depravation that nature is capable of, to be insensible of courtesies, and not to makedụe acknowledgments. How often doth David complain of those persons, that were obliged to him by kindness, that they turned his enemies, Psal. xli. and xlv. he that sat at meat with me, hath lift up his heel against me.
How is he represented by him, as a most fordid wretched person, one that was degenerated to the fullest degree? and then God hime
self complains, Deut. xxxii. 15. Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked, he forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation. God and man complains of the ungrateful, becaufe all favours and courtesies are lost. Yea, 'tis well observed, that it is the only way to make a desperate enemy, to bestow kindness upon an unthankful person. 'And this is too well known, that those that have been made friends by courtesy, proving false, have been the greatest betrayers. Therefore, of all persons and tempers, the insensible and ungrateful are the worst : yea, truly, these are the very pests of the world, the enemies of human nature ; they harden mens hearts, who otherwise were free to do courtesies, because they do not know but that they may make an enemy. I will make this out (viz. the baseness of ingratitude) in these two words.
1. Because nothing is more due to God than our gratitude ; for he loadeth us with his benefits, and is pleased to please us, and doth many things to gratify
2. By this we give testimony of our minds to God; for we have nothing at all to sacrifice to God, but the consent of our minds; an ingenuous acknowledgement. We have nothing to bring him, but the consent of our minds; and this the grateful person doth, and by this he signifies, that if it were within his compass, he would requite the divine goodness; for 'tis not so much the gift, as the mind of the giver. He that is unthankful, is most full of himself, and apt to think that all the world was made for him, and that all men are bound to be
his servants, and to attend his purpose, and that he may serve himself of all mens parts, powers, priviledges and opportunities; but he himself is exempt from all men; so that he is an enemy to God and
The secret B LASTING of MEN.
PSA L M xxxix. 11. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity,
thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth; surely every man is vanity. Selah.
OTHING is less true, nothing more une becoming us, limited, finite, and fallible
creatures, than the thought of independency and self-sufficiency. And indeed, the whole creation of God, in comparison with God himself, is less than the dust of the balance ; and if you come to compare, will hold no weight. Nothing becomes us more, than to know what we are : nothing befits us better, than that we know our own state, and to be sensible of our own dependence and necessity, and to make due acknowledgement to God. If a man seriously weigh these words, he will always veil to God, humble. himself, submit, and deprecate. So many things there are emphaa tical in these words, When thou, &c.
Sin, on man's part, is that that makes him much more liable and obnoxious to God, than he is in respect of his creature-state : when thou with rc. bukes dost correct man for iniquity thou makes his beaus ty, that that he values himself by, that that is his only thing, his top excellency, to consume away like a moth, without any resistance, without any stop, insensibly : so that he that doth contemplate what is faid in the former part of the words, will presently acknowledge, that every man, even in his best estate is vanity, altogether vanity.
These words give an account of two things which are the matter of the greatest wonder.
First, How it comes to pass there are so so great evils in the world.
Secondly, How so many persons come to wither and fall away, and come to nothing in the world. And these two are the greatest matters of wonder and admiration among men.
First, How it comes to pass that there are so many, and so great evils in the world : and the wonder is this, that God governs the world, and God is known by his goodness : what, these evils from the hand of a good God ! how can this be? the greatest questions that have ever been in the world, have been these two.
1. Whence evils come ? and
2. člow it comes to pass they were not subdued, as soon as they did appear; I believe it would puzzle the head of any one in the world to answer them ; if he do not learn an answer from scripture. Now this place resolves you : you have here God chal
lenging, controuling and rebuking it. For if you: find out the procuring cause, you find out all : not he that doth the thing, but he that was the cause of the thing being done, doth the mifchief:
Secondly, Then how comes it to pafs that so many wither in the world, with all advantages, honour; titles, dignity and estate, that they never spent their thoughts about getting; and out-live it all. Whereas you have others born naked into the world, and through the improvement of natures powers, they rise to estates and revenues. How comes this to pafs ? in these words you have an account. When thou with rebukes doft correct a man for iniquity, thou makeft his beauty to consume away like a moth,
These two considerations are enough to engage your attention : every body hath their ears open to hear resolutions of wonders.
in the words you have four things.
I. What is intimated, and that is, that fin is the procuring caufe of punishment. When thou with rebukes doft correct man for fin, &c. Sin is the procuring cause of punishment. It is sin that doth the world all the mischief that is in the world. A fault deserves punishment : the fault going before, doth naturally draw on with it punishment.
II. Take notice of what is supposed, that God doth regularly and usually chastisefinners. God doth, as a tħing becoming him in the government of the world, he doth controul finners, and chastise men for sin. The word is very remarkable, When thou with rebukes, &c. which intimates fomething in sea cret : not only openly punished in the view of the