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■ 1 All we know
Of what the Uejfed do above,
Is, that they Jing and that they love.
I question not but we all hope to come to the general ajfembly and church of the frjl born who are written in heaven, to an innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. If so; then let us beforehand inure ourselves to the exercises of this blessed society. Here let us tune our voices to the praises of God, before we join the heavenly choir.
4. I will exhort you to praise and thanksgiving, from the consideration of the usefulness of it. It is useful, because it fixes the idea of God upon our minds: it engages us in the contemplation of his attributes and perfections; and the more we meditate upon them, the more holy and religious shall we be. The psalmist giving the character of a wicked man says, that God is not in all his thoughts:. by which he insinuates, that thoughtksness about God is the foundation of a vicious practice j and undoubtedly so it is. Did men seriously consider that there is a supreme being, who knows all the actions of their h 4 lives, lives, and the very secrets of their hearts, who is armed with almighty power, who hates sin with a perfect hatred, and will one day severely punish it j they could not be so wicked and sensual as they are. The thoughts of God and of his attributes naturally tend to suppress sinful inclinations, and dispose to all virtue and goodness: and we cannot take a more effectual method to cherish these thoughts, and to keep alive a fense of God upon our spirits, than to employ ourselves in this work of praise lor hereby we express a firm belief and persuasion of his existence and perfections.
Thanksgiving is profitable to us, as it enflames our love to God, which is the principle of all holy obedience. It makes us regard him as the source of our happiness, and the author of all our mercies: and this will be an inducement to us to yield ourselves to his service, and practise those things which are pleasing in his sight; for nothing is more natural than to strive to please our bent factors.
Thanksgiving is profitable, as it begets in us a chearfulnels of spirit, which is very requisite to the right performance of our duty. A melancholy disposition is by no means friendly to virtue. Then are we most fit to do the will of God, when our spirits are most lively and vigorous: but there is nothing that tends more to quicken and enliven them, than praise and thanksgiving.
Finally, thanksgiving is profitable, as it tends to make God more favourable and propitious to us. If we are thankful to him for past mercies, he will, very probably, bestow upon us more, and greater; but if we are insensible of former benefits, we have no ground to expect any future favours. On the contrary, we have reason to be afraid that his judgments will overtake us; for nothing is more provoking to him than ingratitude. Tne children of Israel are severely threatens for this crime, in the XXXIId chapter of Deuteronomy. From the 7th to the 14th verse, there is a recital of the mercies of God towards them: and then at the 15th verse their carriage towards him is represented. But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked; he forsook God who made him, and lightly ejleemed the rock of his salnation And verse 18. Of the rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hajl forgotten God that formed thee. The
anger anger of God against them for this unthankful carriage sufficiently appears from what follows. And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them: and he said, I will hide my face from them / will see what their end shall be; a sire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, ana shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains; I will heap mischiefs upon them, I will spend mine arrows upon them. Hezekiah was in the main a good and virtuous prince; yet when God had healed his disease, and he rendred not again according to the benefit done him, it is said that the wrath of God was upon him, 2 Chron. XXXII. 24, 25. Therefore, if it is profitable for us to escape God's wrath, and to secure his favour, it is profitable for us to be thankful to him for the mercies which we receive from him.
5. I will exhort you to the practice of thanksgiving, from, the examples of pious and good men.
Moses composed a song of praise upon occasion of the miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel from the Egyptians at the RedSea. This song i9 recorded in tho XVth chapter of Exodus. David was never weary of this delightful exercise. He met with many remarkable deliverances: and there is scarce any one of them but he hath writ a psalm, or song, in commemoration of it. And he did not only praise God after he had received some signal favour, and upon extraordinary occasions, but it was his common and ordinary practice. Seven times a-day do I praise thee, because of thy righteous judgments; Psalm CXIX. 164.»Every day will I bless thee; and I •mll praije thy name for ever and ever-y Psalm CXLV. 2. While I live, I will praise the Lord; I will fing praises 'unto my God while I have any being. Psalm CXLVI. 2. Daniel is another example of this virtue of thankfulness. When king Nebuchadnezzar had, in a great fury, commanded the Chaldean magicians and astrologers to be flain because they could not find out his dream, and Daniel and his companions were like to be involved in the destruction j he went in to the king, and desired of him to give him time, and he would shew him the interpretation. And when the secret was revealed to him, we read that then Daniel blessed the God os heaven;