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the honour of his name, upon which he will never suffer a stain, or even the shadow of an impeachment. As many as know the name of God will trust in him, and they, who trust in the name of the LORD, are not easily moved. The minds of those, who are staid upon the rock of ages, are kept in peace, and their spirits rejoice in God their Saviour. They sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also, and they magnify the LORD with thanksgiving. But there was a time when some of us thought, and there are many, who still think, that God is as effectually praised by the lamentations of corroding sorrow, as by singing and rejoicing. Surely such persons forget, that it is not the gloomy, but the cheerful servant, who does honour to his master. Yet it is in vain we call upon any one to be thankful until he be made fully sensible of his obligations to the Saviour of sinners. In or der, therefore, that upon this auspicious occasion, we may render unto the LORD unreserved thanks, and thus unequivocally comply with the direction of those, who are so deservedly invested with authority. We will endeavour to point out, under the following heads, a few of the innumerable blessings, by which we are eminently distinguished.
First, Natural, secondly, civil, and thirdly, spiritual blessings.
First, Natural. We have abundant cause to thank God, that we are. There was a time when many of us might have been unable to determine, whether existence was really a blessing. Is there who could give God thanks for a being appointed to endless sorrow? We humbly conceive, it is hardly possible for any individual, to render to Deity the grateful incense of sincere praise, for a life, however eligible its present investiture, which must, or probably may terminate in exquisite and never-ending torment. But for us when we reflect that infinite wisdom could not have produced an order of intelligence without any design, that Infinite goodness could only entertain the most benificent design, and that Infinite power could not be disappointed respecting his benignant purposes, purposed in himself concerning the work of his hands. When we have the joint suffrages of the writers of revelation, even all God's holy prophets from the beginning of the world, together with the authority, of the assembly of divines, who, in answer to the first question in their Shorter Catechism, inform us, that God's chief end in making man, was kis
own glory, and their good. When we are moreover assured, that for the pleasure of the Creator, who taketh no pleasure in the death of the sinner; we are and were created, we cannot but adopt the language of the poet, and while gratitude expands and lifts the spirit, we join issue with him, and reverentially exclaim, Surely the Creator had never created but to bless. It is thus, under the influence of reason and revelation, that we joyfully believe, and when believing, in the name of our faithful Creator, we spontaneously praise him with songs of triumph, we extol that mercy, which endureth forever, and with the orisons of thanksgiving, we magnify his goodness. But we are blessed with many blessings, which serve to render this being, even in the present state, a well being. First, Sight.
This is an inestimable blessing, for which we are bound to give thanks to him, who made the eye; how innumerable are the blessings to which this blessing serves as an inlet. With the eye, we behold the wonders of God in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, and rapt in filial wonder, and holy extacy we exclaim with the inspired bard,
"These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
With the eye we behold the reviving countenances of our beloved friends, inhaling from the transporting view, ineffable delight.
Secondly, Hearing. Is there, who can calculate the value of this blessing? It is at the same moment the vehicle of instruction and pleasure, it is a source of unbounded satisfaction, the avenue through which uncounted gratifications obtain admittance to the soul.
Thirdly, Speech. How great the magnitude of this mercy, how innumerable our obligations to the maker of our frames for the organ of speech; conversation is but another term for the highest felicity, of which our nature is susceptible; it is the stamina of social enjoyment, the medium through which the invisible becomes visible. The musick produced by the modulation of the human voice, is enchanting: how far doth its tones surpass all those, which have ever yet been drawn from instruments, constructed by the most skilful artist. Speech doth indeed proclaim the divinity of its Artist, and it is endowed with corresponding powers. It is frequently the harbinger of peace, and many have been redeemed from the grasp of despair by the heaven taught strains, which have issued from this distinguishing organ,
Fourthly, The use of our limbs. How invaluable is this blessing, how much are we indebted to him, who has furnished us with these useful members of our bodies, for the strength by which they are nerved, and for that agility, flexibility and ease, with which they are accommodated to the various purposes of life.
Fifthly, Health. What would the whole world be without this prime source of felicity. Health may be compared to the sun in the natural world; it gilds and beautifies every surrounding object, it tranquilizes and sooths the soul, and extorts, by its genial influence, even from the bosom of frigidity, the song of praise.
Sixthly, Reason. The health of the mind. This endowment is transcendently great; its worth is beyond all utterance, nor is it possible too highly to appreciate its value. The Being who made, and who illumined the mind of man with this heavenlighted lamp, is, indeed, worthy of all adoration. Reason secureth to our species, an indubitable superiority over every other part of animated nature; it enricheth us by the possession of the first of blessings, and it bestoweth a luminous hope of an ample harvest in reversion.
Seventhly, The earth, the sea, and the treasures produced by both. These loudly call for our grateful and unceasing acknowledgments to that Being, who causeth the earth to bring forth abundantly, who hath furnished it as a garden, liberally supplying it with whatever may serve to treat the taste, or smell, or sight, for food, for medicine, or delight; who hath made the treasures of the deep our own, fashioning those seas, which seem to roll their waves, insurmountable barriers to all communication between the nations, as convenient paths for those commodious vehicles, which wafted forward by propitious winds more effectually produce reciprocal advantages, disseminating the conciliating idea of universal brotherhood.
But how little do we know of ourselves or our accommodations; how very little of the parts that are most obvious. We dwell in a house, that is indeed admirably contrived both for ornament and use; we look out at the windows, and obtain a confused prospect of surrounding scenes, while at home we are strangers! Yet the most cursory or superficial view will give us to know, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that he who made us upholdeth us in life, that his goodness far transcendeth VOL. III.
all description, and that it is therefore our most reasonable service, to celebrate his praises, who hath thus fashioned, and who still preserveth us, with the song of gratitude, magnifying his name with thanksgiving.
Let us not say, that the inestimable blessings, which have been so feebly sketched, are not peculiar to us, that we partake them in common with our species, and that therefore they do not call for our grateful acknowledgments. Are then the largesses of a benefactor lessened, because his munificence is as extensive as his power? What, because God is good unto all, shall we refuse to render him the tribute of thanksgiving? Because his tender mercies are over all his works, shall we refuse to raise to him the song of gratitude? What, depreciate the value of a blessing because it is enjoyed by others? Far, very far from every one of us, be such disingenuous, such illiberal, and selfish conclusions.
But the truth is, that we enjoy many discriminating mercies, and while it is a fact, that no individual is destitute of a call for thanksgiving; upon us the calls for gratitude are immeasurably accummulated. We can see the blind, we can hear the deaf, we can talk of the dumb, we can walk to the lame, we can visit the sick, we can pity the maniac, that poor unfortunate being, who pierced by the barbed arrows of affliction, is doomed to suffer all the tortures attendant upon" moping melancholy, and moon-struck madness." We can behold many, very many suffering in the want of those comforts, which we so richly enjoy,and the question is natural.-"Why are we not in a situation similar to that of those distressed sufferers, whom we contemplate?" With reverential gratitude our hearts should answer, It is of the LORD's free mercy alone, that we are not thus circumstanced; and we will therefore say with the Psalmist, I will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify him with thanksgiving.
Secondly, It is a very pleasing part of our duty, which enjoins us to give thanks to God for the blessings of civil government. Without that order, which is produced by government, we should hold the blessings of life on a very precarious tenure. Mankind, from the earliest ages, have seemed in some sort sensible of this important fact; the absolute necessity of civil arrangements is ascertained by experience, and various are the modes of government, which the wisdom of legislators hath devised.
Different modes have been allowed probationary terms, and approbated or condemned as they have been found capable of an
accommodation with the circumstances and exigencies of mankind, and with the different periods during which they were operative.
The mode of government, which either by force or fraud, hath most generally prevailed in our world, is monarchical. Writers of distinguished eminence and great celebrity have conceived, that the mode of government, which is the most simple, is the best calculated to promote the true interest of society, and they have not hesitated to pronounce, that an absolute monarchy, being the least complex, would undoubtedly be the most beneficial, supposing the prince a perfect man; but as man in his best estate is vanity, and there is no one completely good but God, no being, save the Monarch of heaven, can safely be entrusted with unlimited power. Men of reason and retiection have imagined, that the interest of society was promoted by substituting for an absolute, a restricted monarchy; and this not fully answering the purposes of civil government, an aristocracy has been adopted; thus destroying one tyrant by the establishment of a government, administered by a combination of tyrants; and thus a few influential men impiously divide among themselves, the spoils of royalty, by which they aggrandize themselves and their descendants by the labours of the many.
The next mode of government is a democracy. The children of Israel, dazzled by the pageantry, which is an appendage of royalty, envied their gaudy neighbours, the possession of these gewgaws; they sought to imitate them, and became clamorous for a king; the prophet of the LORD laid before them the dreadful consequences, that would assuredly result from the regulation they so ardently solicited, and he expatiated in language the most emphatick, upon the glaring impropriety, and God dishonouring levity of rejecting the equitable domination of the only sovereign, who swayed the sceptre with an equal hand, who wore the crown for the general benefit, and whose administration was in every instance the result of infinite goodness, and infinite wisdom. The pride however of the Israelites got the better of their piety; they rushed into the snares, which were laid for them, and by obtaining a king, fatally realized the prophetic prediction.
Perhaps no nation under heaven, at any period of time, hath had so much reason to praise the name of God with songs, and to magnify him with thanksgiving, as we, the inhabitants of these