« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
cations. This is illustrated under a variety of in-
[Wherever we turn our eyes, we cannot but see that “ the Lord is good.” Survey the heavenly bodies, and contemplate the benefits derived from them: view the earth with its innumerable productions for the good of man: examine your corporeal frame, and think how every part performs its office for the benefit of the whole: above all, reflect on the
powers and faculties of our immortal souls, and mark how by them we are elevated above all the rest of the creation, and fitted for an infinitely higher state of existence in the presence of our God: and then say whether we have not reason to proclaim the goodness of our God
But the “ mercy” of our God is yet, if possible, a more stupendous object of admiration ; because goodness manifested itself to us in innocence; whereas mercy is exercised towards us under an inconceivable load of guilt. Think how it was displayed to man at first, in promising him a Saviour: think a Matt. viii. 11. b Isai. xliii. 5, 6. and lvi. 8. c Gen. xlix. 10.
how it wrought in due time, in sending that Saviour into the world, even the eternal Son of God, and in laying all our iniquities on him. Think how it has shewn itself to every individual amongst us, in bearing with all our iniquities, and in following us with offers of a free and full salvation. Think how it has lasted towards the children of men, and how it shall last towards all who embrace its gracious offers. Surely if our minds were affected as they ought to be with this wonderful subject, we should never cease to praise and adore our God -] 2. The duty itself
[“ O give thanks unto the Lord” for these things, all of you, old and young, rich and poor, one with another! If there be one amongst us that has not participated in these benefits, we will be content that he shall be silent: but the very circumstance that we are still on mercy's ground is abundant evidence that we have reason to join in one universal song of praise and thanksgiving. Think of the fallen angels, who never had a Saviour provided for them: think of the millions of the human race who never heard of the Saviour that has been provided for them, or that, having heard of him, have been left to perish in a neglect of his salvation : think of these things, and then, if you can, deny your obligations to the goodness and mercy of your God
-] But let us more especially consider, II. The peculiar obligations of the redeemed to doso
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so:" yes, if ye“ whom he has delivered out of the hand of the enemy, and gathered to himself,” are silent, “the very stones will cry out against you.” Think, 1. From whence you have been gathered—
[The remotest ends of the earth are not so far from each other, as ye were from God and in this state ye were led captive by the devil at his will ----] 2. By what means ye were redeemed-[It was by the precious blood of God's only dear Sona
It was also by the effectual working of his power: for he, as a good Shepherd, sought you out, and apprehended you, and brought you home on his shoulders rejoicing e -] 3. To what ye are brought
[As the Lord's redeemed people, ye are brought into a state of peace with God: ye have the privilege of constant communion with him: ye may expect at his hands every blessing which your souls can desire: and ye shall finally possess all the glory and felicity of heaven.
d Eph. ii. 13. e Ezek. xxxiv. 12. Luke xv. 5.
Think now what, in the view of these things, should be the state of your minds. If those who have never yet experienced one of these benefits, have yet abundant reason to celebrate the goodness and mercy of their God, have not ye much more? O" let the redeemed of the Lord say so:" let them sing his praises day and night: let them adore him with their whole hearts --] ADDRESS1. Those who are yet insensible of God's goodness
[Alas ! how great a portion of every assembly are comprehended under this description ! - --Well, know ye then that we require no other proof of your perishing condition. Tell us not from what sins ye are free: we will grant all that ye are pleased to say: but we declare you to be blind, ignorant, base, ungrateful creatures: ye have no hearts to adore your God; and therefore if ye die in your present state, ye can never enter into the kingdom of heaven, where the one employment of the blest inhabitants is to sing the praises of redeeming love. If ever ye be truly converted unto God, this new song will be put into your mouths, and be sung by you day and night'- --] 2. Those who love the blessed work
[Some there are, and may God increase their number an hundredfold! who delight to bless and praise their God — Go on then, dearly Beloved, and abound more and more. Though your songs are as yet but faint, they are truly pleasing in the ears of your reconciled God and Father. This song in particular is grateful to him. Mark what notice he took of it when sung by Solomon
So will he come down and fill your souls with his glory Mark also what honour he put upon it when sung by Jehoshaphath. So will he defeat all the confederacies, whether of earth or hell, that may be formed against you - - Sing on then with increasing gratitude, even to the end; and soon shall the golden harp be put into your hands, and you shall join with that heavenly choir in that more perfect song in which they all unite, even in singing, “ Salvation to God and to the Lamb for ever and ever."]
Ps. xl. 1-3. with Jer. xxxiii. 11.
h 2 Chron. xx. 21. 22.
& 2 Chron. v. 13.
THE DUTY AND GROUNDS OF PRAISE.
Ps. cvij. 8, 9. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his
goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! for he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
AMONG the various graces which characterize the true Christian, that of gratitude to God is very conspicuous. Others indeed will confess their obligations to the Supreme Being; but none are duly sensible of them, till they have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. When once we have “ tasted that the Lord is gracious,” and been impressed with a sense of redeeming love, we shall view the goodness of God in all his dispensations; and, not only glorify him ourselves, but earnestly desire that all should render him the honour due unto his name. This disposition was eminently displayed in David, when he penned the Psalm before us. No less than four times does he repeat the fervent wish, that men would praise the Lord: and at each time does he suggest the most ample grounds for the performance of that duty.
From his words we shall take occasion to consider, I. The duty here recommended
Wherever a superior being is acknowledged, there a tribute of prayer and praise is considered as due to him. The light of revelation confirms this general sentiment; and expressly inculcates thanksgiving to God as an universal duty. The manner in which the Psalmist urges us to praise our heavenly Benefactor, deserves peculiar attention: it speaks more forcibly than the strongest injunction could have done; and intimates that praise is, 1. An indispensable duty
[Praise is the external expression, whereby a soul, filled with admiration and gratitude, gives vent to its feelings towards its heavenly Benefactor. It is an exercise of which the glorified saints and angels are never weary a; and in which we enjoy a foretaste of heaven itself- Words can scarcely convey
a Rev. iv. 8, 9. • 1 Ρet. i. 8. χαρά δεδοξασμένη.
a more sublime idea of this employment, than those by which David describes its effects upon the soul — In this view he strongly recommends it to us, and we may also recommend it to each other, as “ good, pleasant, and comelyd.” It is a duty which we owe to God. There is not any precept in the Bible more plain than those which relate to this subjecteThere is not any duty, the neglect of which is represented in a more heinous light' - On the other hand, there is not any religious act of which more honourable mention is made than this ------ Nor any to which, if accompanied by a suitable deportment, more exalted privileges are annexedh Hence it is, that thirteen times in the space of six short verses, David renews his exhortations to every living creature to praise the Lordi.] 2. A much neglected duty
[Whatever blessings men enjoy, they rest in the gift, and forget the Giver. In fact, we scarcely know the value of our blessings till we are bereaved of them. The generality of men, instead of acknowledging with gratitude God's kindness towards them, and requiting him according to the benefits he has vouchsafed to them, take occasion from his mercies to sin the more against him Not even the godly themselves abound in this holy employment as we might expect. Many, alas ! live at so great a distance from God, that they can scarcely ever rise above a petition for mercy, or, at most, a sense of thankfulness that he has not utterly cast them off. They cannot soar to a contemplation of the divine perfections, or of the excellency of Christ, or of the blessedness of those mansions that are prepared for them. They have so much of the world in their hearts, and so little faith, that they cannot realize their principles, or glorify God in any measure as they ought. Instead of cultivating the devout spirit of David", they rest satisfied in a lukewarm state, saying, “ It is high; I cannot attain unto it!" Yes; though there are some who delight themselves in God; yet, in reference to the greater part even of real Christians we must say with sorrow and regret, “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and according to his excellent greatness m!"]
To stir up ourselves to a due performance of this duty, let us consider, II. The grounds proposed for the performance of it
c Ps. lxiii. 5. d Ps. cxlvii. 1. e 1 Thess. v. 18. Eph. v. 20,
* It is the strongest mark of an ungodly sta-e, Rom. i. 21; and a certain ground of eternal condemnation, Deut. xxviii. 45, 47.
& It glorifies God, Ps. 1. 23. h Ps. 1. 23. i Ps. cl. k Ps. Ixiii. 3, 4. and cxix. 164. 1 Ps. cxxxix. 6. m Ps. cl. 2.