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A Practical Discourse on the general Thanks

giving. S.III.XLmighty God, Father of all merctes, we

thine unwozthp berbants do gide thee mot humble and hearty thanks foz all thy Goodness and loving kindness to us and to all gen.]

The first care in the offering our Sacrifice of Praise must be, that it be directed to the right Object. We muft not with the rude Heathens sacrifice to fortune,nor with the viler Atheists to our net, Habac.i. 16. No nor yet with the proud man to our felves; but our praise is to be given to Almighty God, who (as St. Paul teacheth us) is the father of all mercies, 2 Cor.i.13.And justly so called, since all things come from him, i Chron.xxix. 14. and every good gift comes down from above, where he dwells in glory, James 1.17. which made the Royal (though Pagan) Philosopher say , That when any good thing befell bim, he took it as the gift of God (f). To him we pre (f) Συμβαίνει fent our Thanksgivings here, and i uos, rexomicu s we shall do it with greater solemni- ritss Jids ay apity and devotion, if we consider a

swr. Marc. Anton. while, to whom we are addressing ad feipf. lib.8. S. our felves, even to that omnipotent 23. and gracious God, on whose goodness many millions do every moment depend, and none of them perisheth for want of his care; what blefling is there which now makes any Creature in the world to rejoyce? or what Mercies have they been which have relieved the whole Creation hitherto ? They are, and were, all from him. Oh! what an abyss of goodness is


there in our heavenly Father, that gives continually and very liberally,yet hath no less, nor can he be exhauftod, that hath bestowed upon all that ever had a being, and yet hath sufficient left for all that trust in him? Methinks it should be a mighty pleasure to us to praise so glorious and gracious a God, if we were wholly uuconcerned upon our own account, much more when our felves have a share in his distributions, and we have received Mercies more than we can reckon, greater than we did expect or could deserve, who are inolt unworthy;which carries us to the second considcration, viz. Who we are that do praise him,bis anwozthy Servants,we ought to serve him as he is our Maker and Preserver, though he gave us no reward ; and he hath glorious Servants in Heaven much more worthy than we; yea considering our frailty and folly, our treachery and disobedience, we are unworthy to be htg Servants, only he is pleafed to accept of us, yet even so we must confess with holy facub that we are not worthy of the least of all bis Mercies, Gu Xxxii. 10. Our Service could never merit the smalleit favour or the meanest reward : Stripes indeed we have deserved for not serving him as we ought ; but instead of our deserved Punilhment behold we have many undeserved blessings heaped upon us, which we can make no requical for, unless by confefling, that we are his unwo2tby Servants. Thirdly, therefore what kind of praises ought such unworthy Creatures to give to so glorious and kind a Master ? doubtless both bamble and bearty thanks; for the less we deserve his blessings,the more he deserves our praises,and our unworthiness makes his kindness the more lovely : If we consider our selves, we owe moft hamble thanks unto him, who hath been pleased to regard us, whose condition is so low, and our lins so many, that we might seem only fit objects for his anger or his scorn: Again if we regard the freeness and


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fulness of his Mercy and loving kindness, we owe moft hearty thanks to his bounty; for who can be so base to return real goodness and sincere Love with feigned thanks or hypocritical praise ? His favours flow from a sincere pity and loving kindness ; and our Thanksgivings must spring from a hearty gratitude, or else they are not fit to be offered, nor likely to be accepted. Hu

mility and Sincerity are the neceffa(g) Et habere te

ry qualifications of all our acts of cogno'ce, do nibil ex

Praise , and either Pride or Hypo. te habe: e,8t nec suspy bus fis, nec ingratus. crify will makethem de rejected[g). Pfalm.

Fourthly, we may

learn what is to

be the subject matter of our praises, viz,2111 bis goodness and lovingkindness to our selves in the first place, for these we are best acquainted with, these we have most comfort from, and are most obliged by; and if every Man would praise God for his own peculiar Mercies , none of his bleflings would return empty, or be buried in ungrateful filence : but becaufe too many do neglect their duty;therefore St.Paul commids us to give thanks for all men, 1 Tim.ii..And the Church appointech we lhall also bless God for his mercies to all

because we are all Brethren, and Members of the same body, so that when any Member rejoyceth, all ought to rejoyce with it, and Charity will teach us to be as really glad to see another man prosper as to prosper our selves. Now God is merciful to all men, but fome are Heathens and do not know him, others are wicked and do not regard hiin, some are wholly given up to the world, and forget to praise him, and scarce any praise him so o ten or so heartily as he deserves ; wherefore the grateful Soul endeavours to make up all these defects, wishing it could supply the negligences and ignorances of the whole Creation or repair the glory that God seemeth to lose by all the ungrateful wretches in


other men,

the World, so that it doch most heartily praise him fo his. Goodness and Love to all Mankind. S.IV. CP Articularly to mbole, who desire now to offer

their praises and thanksgivings for thy late Mercies voucbsafed unto them.) ]

We cannot pass this so generally neglected Parenthefis without a just complaint of the base ingratitude of this present age; wherein though many detire the particułar Prayers of the Church to be made for them, in their fickness or danger ; yet fcarce any take care to return publick thanks upon their Recovery. The Church hath provided Thanksgivings, as well as Prayers, and expects we should use the one (when God gives occafion) as well as the other; so that it is the fault of private men, if either of them be omitted. When our Lord Jesus had cured the ten Lerers, though all received their detired health ; yet none returned to give glory to God, but one poor Samaritan stranger, Luke xvii. 16, 17,18. But now men are more negligent, for of many Hundreds which do recover by the Churche's Prayers, we hear of not one that comes to make a juft acknowledgınent. Whether it be out of ingratitude or negligence I will not determine, but whatever be the Cause, I am sure the Crime is very great. When the God of Israel had healed Naaman, he came back to confess the Mercy he had received, and profered large Oblations, yea and craved as much consecrated Earth, as might ferve to build an Altar within his own Conntry,whereon he might particularly facrifice to the true God for the health he had received, 2 Kings 1.15, &c. For it was the Custom of the very Heathens to come and offer Sacrifices and gifts, and to pay their Vows at the Temples of those Gods to whom they had prayed in time of fickness or danger. Strabo mentionech a famous


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