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SERMON XII.

EPH. V. 20.

Giving Thanks always for all Things unto God and the Father, in the Name of our Lord Jefus Chrift.

I'

HAVE endeavoured, in three Discourses, to inftruct you in the Duties of Patience, Contentment and Refignation: each rifing higher than the other in the Scale of right, Difpofition, and advancing further from mere Virtue into the fuperior Region of Piety. Happy, in Comparison of others, are fuch as poffefs these Attainments in any good Degree: but even they have another Step to take; for yet fhew I unto you a more excellent Way a. It is not fufficient, that we bear Sufferings of every Kind with all the Composure, which our Nature admits; that we reflect on the various

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Difadvantages of our refpective Conditions without repining; that we yield ourselves up to the just and wife Disposal of the fovereign Lord of the Univerfe: we are bound alfo to feel Gratitude and express Thankfulness to our heavenly Father continually for whatever in the Course of his Providence befalls us; and this we are to perform, as Difciples of his bleffed Son our Saviour. Let us confider diftinctly the feveral Parts of this most fublime Precept for certainly higher we cannot go.

I. We are to give Thanks always to God.
II. We are to do it for all Things.
III. We are to do it in the Name of our
Lord Jefus Chrift.

I. We are to give Thanks always to God and the Father.

The different Orders of fenfible Beings were created every one for fuch a Degree of Happinefs, as God faw to be moft for the Good of the Whole and rational Beings were creat'ed to confefs and celebrate his Bounty to themselves and the rest of the World. Giving Glory is the due Return for having experienced Goodness. It is therefore neceffarily expected from us by him, who hath made all Things for

himself;

himself; and muft require them to answer the End, for which they were formed. We are fenfible it is extremely wrong and unworthy, when we fail of owning the Favours, which we receive from each other. And what fhocking Bafeness is it then to forget his Liberality, who hath given us Life and. Breath, and all Things richly to enjoy! For how inconfiderable is whatever any one of us can do for the Person whom he loves beft, compared to what God hath done for us all! Our very Capacity of receiving Pleasure from our Fellow-creatures proceeds from our Creator, as well other Source of Joy, which we feel to fpring up within ourselves. And we feel much lefs of both, than we might and ought. We are fo taken up and difquieted, with imaginary or fmall Misfortunes, with Uneafineffes and Pains for the most Part very fupportable, with groundlefs or exceffive Difcontents and Refentments, with needlefs Purfuits, and immoderate Hopes and Fears, that we fuffer Multitudes of Satisfactions, which Providence brings perpetually in our Way, to pass by us unperceived or unnoticed. Yet many of them we should find to be great Bleffings; for we Acts xvii. 25. 1 Tim. vi. 17.

as every

b Prov. xvi. 4.

frequently

frequently overlook the very greatest that we have the Means granted us by Reason and Scripture, fituated as we are in a Land of Light and Liberty, of improving in religious Knowledge, in Rightness of Heart and Goodnefs of Life; the Delights of social, and in particular of domeftic Friendlinefs; the continual Feafts, which mere Health and Strength afford, if they are enjoyed with cautious Innocence, prudent Activity, and a chearful Equality of Temper. Inconfiderately throwing away, or fupinely difregarding, fuch bountiful Provifions for our well-being, is furely the most dreadful Wafte, of which we can be guilty. But even the lower Benefits, Entertainments, and Amusements of Life, even thofe of them in which all Perfons may fhare, fuch as the very opening of our Eyes and looking around, such as the Use of every one of our Senfes, may give us, though fingly but little Matters, yet being inceffantly within our Reach, arise on the Whole to a vast Amount. We do receive a great deal of Pleasure from them and we might receive much more, if we would frame our Minds to obferve and be pleafed with the feveral Objects and Oc

currences,

currences, that present themselves to us almost every Moment.

But unhappily even they, who imagine they are the most judiciously attentive to enjoy from what they like, or from every Thing about them, all that they can, are very apt to confider but few Things, if any, as Matter of Thankfulness to God. Yet evidently Nothing, which we have Caufe to think in any Degree good, ought to escape being confidered in this View. For he is the fole original Fountain of Good, of every Sort of Good: not only the Father of Mercies, and God of all Comfort, with Respect to our higher Expectations; but the Giver of Rain and fruitful Seafons, filling our Hearts with Food and Gladnefs; who openeth his Hand, and fatisfieth the Defire, the very lowest Defire, of every living Thing. Now would we but reflect on our various Enjoyments in this Light; as Marks and Inftances of the Good-will and Kindness of the great Lord of all; as Presents, which he graciously condefcends to make us; it would raise the Worth and Dignity of them inexpreffibly; it would imprefs us with the strongest Conviction of their Guilt, who when they know

42 Cor. i. 3.

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