« PreviousContinue »
Dan. II. 19–13. And Daniel answered and said : blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are his, and he changeth the times and the seasons ; be revealeth the deep and secret things ; be knoweth what is in the darkness
, and the light dwelleth with him: I thank thee and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who bast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now, what we desired of thee for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter. And we find him afterwards practising this duty, at a time when the performance of it was very dangerous. We read in the sixth chapter of Daniel, that at the instigation of fome noblemen who were Daniel's enemies, king Darius made a decree, that whosoever should alk a petition of any God, or man, except of him, should be cast into the den of lions. Yet Daniel, nothing daunted hereat, continued his wonted practice of praise. When he knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house ; and his windows being open in his chamber to wards Jerusalem, be kneeled upon his knees three times a-day, and prayed, and
gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime ; Dan. VI. 10.
I shall mention' but one person more as an instance of thankfulness; and that is the apostle Paul. See 1 Tim. 12, 13. I thank Christ Jefus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry ; who was before a blafphemer, a perfecutor, and injurious. And he did not give thanks for personal favours only, buc for mercies bestowed upon others also. 'Tis a common thing with him, in the beginning of his epistles, to return thanks to God for the graces and virtues conspicuous in those to whom he wrote them, or some benefit or other confered upon them. Thus in the epistle to the Romans, chap. I. ver. 8. First I thank my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. And to the Corinthians, chap. I. ver. 4, 5. I thank my God ala ways on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ, that in every thing ye aré enriched by him in all utterance, and in all knowledge. And to the Ephesians, chap. I. ver. 15. I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
ceafe cease not to give thanks for you. And to the Philippians, chap. I. ver. 3, 5. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, for your fellowship in the gospel, from the first day until now.
All these that I have mentioned were eminent for piety' and virtue. And if they were so diligent in the practice of thanksgiving, we may well suppose that it is a duty of great excellence and im
6. The last motive that I shall use to excite you to thanksgiving is, because it will recommend our holy religion. Many perfons are prejudiced gainst religion from a conceit of its being a dull unpleasant thing, and an enemy to joy. If christians would be more hearty and frequent in this work of praise and thanksgiving, they would do a great deal towards the removing of this prejudice ; for hereby they would demonstrate, that religion is not chat gloomy and melancholy thing which it hath by some been represented to be. Men will be ready to imagine that there is something noble and beautiful in the christian religion, when they see the professors of it so much disposed to joy and thankfulness. When they fee chrif
tians more chearful and grateful than other men, they will impute it to something in the doctrine which they embrace, and to some peculiar instances of the divine favour. We shall hereby shew that we serve a kind and bountiful master, and shall allure others to his service. Therefore for the hom nour of God our creator, and of Jesus our saviour, and of that holy religion of which he is the author, let us always, and in every thing give thanks.
But let us take special care that we honour God, not with our lips only, but also in our lives. To praise him for his mercies, whilst we rebel against his government, is vile hypocrisy. Therefore let us evidence our gratitude by yielding a sincere obedience to his precepts, and leading sober, and righteous, and godly lives. Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth him; and to him who ordereth his conversation aright, will be sew the falvation of God.
Psalm CXIX. 32. I will run the way of thy com
mandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart
Believe there never was a
more pious man than David. I
A spirit of true devotion breathes thro' almost all the
psalms which he hath composed ; and discovers itself in none of them more than in this of which