hot more left, both in number and value? Let our sufferings be what they may, they are nothing in comparison of the misery we have deserved, or the glory which shall be revealed in us. Such was the reckoning of an apostle, yea, of a prophet also, after he had considered all the temporal evils that could befal him; vines and fig-trees blasted, fields become barren, and flocks and herds destroyed; yet, says he, will I rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation. As a holy martyr said of queen Mary, 'If she release me, I will thank her; if she imprison me, I will thank her; if she burn me, I will thank her;' so should every believer say of God. Let him do what he will with me, I will still be thankful. Much of this lovely spirit was found in the primitive church; for we are told that it was customary in those days, when christians met in the street, and heard either good or bad news, to say, thanks be to God!-Hab. iii. 17, 18. Rom. viii. 18.

This grateful temper is to pervade every religious duty that we perform, as well as accompany all our sufferings and enjoyments. We are required not only to continue in prayer, but to watch in the same with thanksgiving; not only to receive the word, but to receive it gladly; and to be thankful that it has not only reached our ears, but also our hearts. In our attendance on public worship, it becomes us to say, This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it; let us enter his courts with thanksgiving, and his gates with praise. Especially when we attend the ordinance of the Supper, to commemorate the dying love of our Redeemer, our hearts should overflow with gratitude and love to Him who died for us. If any duty excludes the immediate exercise of this heavenly temper, it seems to be when we humble ourselves before God in penitential confession of our sins. This requires shame, sorrow, self-abhorrence, and indignation; yet it is as much our duty to rejoice in God, as to mourn before him; and to exalt his mercy, as well as to tremble

at his wrath. These sentiments were united in Daniel's prayer: "O Lord, says he, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him." We deserve to be consumed, but we are not; let us therefore be thankful. We should rejoice that there is a Saviour, whether we can call him our Saviour or not; that there is a heavenly inheritance, though we have many doubts about our title to it; and that God will be glorified, though we and all the world should be destroyed.

3. Thankfulness should be expressed by every possible means, as well as on all occasions. If our tongues be thus employed, they will become our glory; but if otherwise, our disgrace. While the tongues of the wicked are employed as if they were set on fire of hell, those lips which have been touched as with a live coal. from God's altar, are required to shew forth his praise. We cannot but speak, says the apostle, the things which we have seen and heard. If God speaks to us from heaven, and Christ speaks for us in heaven, we should speak for both on earth. It was the prayer of the Psalmist, Open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. The language of the apostles also breathes the same spirit, and expressions like the fol lowing are to be met with in various parts of their writings; "Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory-Thanks be to God for his unspeakable giftBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings-who hath begotten us again to a lively hope.' Such language becomes the lips of the redeemed, and let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

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4. Our whole lives should be devoted to his praise. Every power of the mind-every disposition requires to be so exercised, and every action so performed, that God in all things may be glorified. Such is the end of

our high vocation; Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. As every thing praise-worthy is derived from him, so it ought to be ascribed to him, that he may have all the glory. Nothing is to be done in order that men may think the better of us, but every thing that they may think the better of God. Our mercies are not only to be acknowledged, but improved; and this is a more excellent way of expressing our gratitude. "Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of God." The former is acceptable, but the latter is much more so; and good works, rather than good words, are the offering which he requires. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. Psal. L. 23. John xv. 8.-We are next to consider,

III. The reason given for the duty itself: "This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'

1. It is the will of God, and that is reason sufficient for the observance of every command. He intends that his people should be a thankful people, and therefore he will make them so; he also requires them to be thankful, and has furnished them with sufficient motives for that purpose. And his revealed will is to be complied with, not because it suits our interest or inclination, but because it is his will, and from a regard to his authority. He who has said, thou shalt not steal, has also said, in every thing give thanks; and this is warrant enough for those who love him, and who seek his glory.

2. It is the will of God in Christ Jesus; not only revealed and made known through a Mediator, but the abundant grace displayed through that medium, lays a foundation for unceasing praise. Our sacrifices of thanksgiving are also to be offered in his name, depend

ing alone on his atonement and intercession for accep tance with God. Without this neither ourselves nor any thing we do can be pleasing in his sight. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God con. tinually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. For ye are a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Heb. xiii. 15. 1 Pet. ií. 5.

Praising and loving God is a distinguishing evidence of grace. We may attend to other duties from very inferior motives; but this is an exercise of the heart, and it is that which he requires. It is however much easier to obtain blessings from God, than to be thankful for them. To cultivate this spirit, it is necessary to consider both our sins and our mercies, and to labour after low thoughts of ourselves, and high thoughts of God. Above all, we need the quickening influences of the Holy Spirit; for none can sanctify the Lord God of hosts in their hearts, till their hearts are sanctified by him. Our most elevated praises and thanksgivings will be no better than solemn mockery without this, and we ourselves shall be regarded only as sounding brass or a tinkling symbol. Israel of old remembered, that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer; nevertheless, they flattered him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongues; for their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. Psal. lxxviii. 35–37.

Praise the eternal Three,

Who form'd the glorious scheme
To set the happy captives free,
Lost sinners to redeem.

Praise his unbounded love,
From whom all blessings flow,
This work will never cease above;
Begin it here below.

To your incarnate God,
Your tuneful voices raise;

Come spread his honours all abroad,

In strains of lofty praise.


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Quench not the Spirit.

THIS short, but comprehensive exhortation, very naturally follows the preceding; for if we would rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks, we must not quench the Spirit, whose influence is essential to the performance of each of these duties.

Previous to an explanation of the particular precept enjoined, and the motives by which it is enforced, it will be necessary to attend to a few general remarks on the subject.

1. The holy Spirit of God, who is the great agent in the work of sanctification, is figuratively represented as fire, or the source of light and heat to the christian world. This is evidently implied in the word "quench," which can relate only to something which really is, or which resembles fire. Hence it was foretold by John, that Jesus should baptize his disciples with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; and when the day of pentecost was fully come, this promise was fulfilled. For suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting; and there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.

This emblem. may hold forth to us the clearness, purity, and splendour of those divine illuminations which D 3

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