Page images

we shall have it, and our security is as firm as the Truth of God can make it; and verily this blessed hope is that, which bears up our hearts in the midst of all the miseries of this Lite, this makes us love God and serve him chearfully, this causeth us to despise the pleasures of Sin, which are but for a Season, and to contemn the fears of Suffering, and the terrors of Death it self; This Hope is that Anchor of the Soul, by which it lays such hold on the divine Abyss of Mercies, that it rides secure amid it all the storms and billows with which the World attempts to overwhelm it ; This bope of Glory is a very comfortable,and a very profitable thing, for which we ought daily to praise God, and by doing so, we shall confirm it; by constant and frequent reflecting upon cur future happiness, and the divine Mercy which hath prepared it for us,our Faith will grow stronger, and our hope more lively, so that they will carry us on with joy to the end of our course, and then Faith shall be turned into fruition, and hope shall end in the actual poffefsion of this glory and then we may make up what is wanting in the best of our earthly Praises.

S.VII.2 No We beleech thee give us that due sense

of all the mercies, that our Hearts may be unfeignedly thankful.]

The serious confideration of the foregoing Catalogue of mercies is fufficient to strike us into admiration, if we be duly sensible of them: and the devout Soul doth with great delight meditate upon the Greatness and Glory of the giver, the misery and unworthiness of the receivers, the infinite number and the transcendent worth of the blessings that are received, till it be swallowed up in joy, and wonder at this vaft Abyss of the divine goodness; and then it is fit to pause a while. And in regard it is impoffible wc should return such praises as


all this deserves ; we must turn our Thanksgivings into Petitions, and pray to our gracious Father to add orę · favour more to all the relt, even to make us onfeignedig thankful for them: Now no man is so, but such as have a due sense of these mercics wrought upon their hearts, such as rightly apprehend and truly value his infinite Love in beltowing them. There are many who will by this and other Forms pretend to praise God, but alas so long as their hearts are not touched with a due sense of his Mercies, their Praises are but formal and feigned , slight and customary, and there is no agreement between their thoughts and expreilions; so that all their gratulations must needs be odious to him who sees them to be nothing but Hypocrisy: Let us therefore beg that our hearts may be exceedingly affected with the loving-kindness of the Lord, and then we thall need no artifice nor force to move us to give thanks, for our Souls will be filled with the Love of God (p), and that Love

(p) Laudit Deum wil make us uneasie, till

veracitèr qui cum a. we have

mat. D. Augusta given vent to our thoughts by lincere Acknowledgments. And that we may endeavour as well as pray for this dae sense of God's goodness, which is the foundation of all real gratitude ; we must observe every little mercy in all its obliging Circumstances, and often fum them up together, we muli think of them frequently and seriouily, till we feel our frozen hearts warmed with holy love and delight: and when we are in this frame, we must set about this duty of Thanksgiving, and then we shall find it very calie and very sweet to us, very real and vigorous in it self, and very pleasant and acceptable to our heavenly Father.


S.VIII.2 Po that we may fhebu forth the Pzaile not

only with our Lips, but to our Lides, by giving ap our felics to the pervice, and by walking before thee in bolinels and righteousness all car daye.]

There is a threefold effect of the forementioned dae Sense of God's mercies. First, it hath influence upon the beart, and makes that unfeignedly thankful. Se condly, upon the Lips, causing them to be perpetually grateful. Thirdly,upon the Life,procuring it to be compleatly holy; of the first we have spoken already. Now if the Heart be once truly thankful , the gratitude thereof will not long be contained there ; for these holy flames once kindled will break forth at the Lips for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth Speaketh, Math.xii.34, whereupon David,

vho never wanted a thankful heart, faith, I will always give thanks unto the Lord, his Praisesall ever be in my mouth, Pfal. xxxiv. I. His mercies to us are publick, and done fo openly, that a!l the world may,or do, see them; wherefore we mus not stille or conceal his praise in the secret corners our hearts , nor pretend we give him thanks in our private thoughts, for that is but an Excuse for ingrati

tude (q), and no just rețurn for (9) Quidam furti. Mercies so apparent; wherefore we nè agunt grains do in angulo, bond au

must openly praise God with our rem, non eft isti ve Lips in publick, and let our praises recundia sed infiei. have as many witnesses, if andi genus, ingratus as his favours to us have had ; fo ofi qui remotis arbi.

shall we spread the glory of God Iris gratias agit.Sen. de benef. 1.2. cap.

further, and excite others to joyn 23.

with us and affit us: Yet when we

have thus praised God, our Duty is not presently at an end;'or we must not onlę pzaile him



with our Lips, but also glorifie him to oar Libes, as we
are taught in thisForm out of HolyS. Angustine, who faith,
Let not your Tongue and your Voice only praise God but
your.Conscienee your life and actions also ; for though we
now praise God in the Church while we are together, yet
when we return everyone to his bome, we shall give over
these vocal Praises; but if we do not give over living well,
then we praise him for evermoré. Aug. homil. 16. And
doubtless this is the best and most real Thanksgiving of
all other; for if the Tongue be filent, the Adions of a
Holy man declare that he truly lo.
veth God (r), they publish to all

(r) 5i à vita bona the world, that he esteems him. nurgnam declinesylinself obliged by the divine favours,

gui facet, vita cla.

mat. Aug lom. it. that he is sensible of them, and fo thankful for them, as to be ashamed to displease fo gracious a Father:Whereas the most pompous and solemn Thanksgivings, presented by a wicked wretch, are but Hypocrify,and odious in God's sight, because their good words do not bring him so much glory, as their evil Actions bring him dishonour; and their praises are in vain(s), because their abufing of his Merties, breaking his Laws, (6) karlu yaş and provoking him to anger, do -coxBoi thuar make it manifest that they were ne τον τον δι δια των ver sensible of his goodness, nor ob- kegay autor átiliged by it, so as to love him or re Máortes: Theoph. Verence him, to defire his favour, in Mat.xv. or seek his glory:

There is a Con Qui male hiuunt, tradiction between their Praises

non laudant Deun,

quia tifi prædicunt and their Deeds, which is suffici

lingwa blafphemant v ént to demonftrare, that they are 14. Aug. in Pfal. 47. highly ingrateful, let them never so often verbally give thanks ; rightly therefore doth the wise man afirm, Praise is not seemly in the mouth of

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

a finner, Ecclus.xv.5. but on the contrary David faith, It becometh well the just to be thankful,Pfal.xxxiij.i. There is a blessed Harmony between the Heart,the Lips and the Life of a Holy man, and all of them agreeing make a most ravilhing Concord in the ears of God; He hath a thankful heart, and his mouth is frequently exercised in Thanksgivings; and all his Actions are the Verifications of his Praises; for when the Offices of the Church are over, he returns home with a heart full of the divine Love, and his whole Conversation publisheth afterwards, that he is conquered and made Captive by the force of God's stupendious and amazing goodness, fo that he can no longer resist the mighty power thereof; for it hath caused him to give up himself wholly to serve his glorious Benefactor, and obliged him to walk befoze God in Holiness and Righteousness so long as he breathes upon the Earth. And oh how visible is this thankfulness! When it produceth such noble effects, as to make a man resolved to despise all the pleasures of Sin rather than offend God, and to chuse the most difficult parts of Virtue and Piety to obtain and fecure his Love: When it causeth us to delight in his Serviceand dcfire his favour above all things; when we love what he loveth, and hate what he hateth, wishing nothing so much as to please him, and dreading nothing more ihan to offend this Father of Mercies, and Fountain of all goodness. Pray we then that the divine bounty may have this happy effect upon us , that it may shame us from our Sins, and encourage us in our duty, and then God's bleffings will not only be occasion of our present Praises,and Instruments of our comfort on Earth, but means of our eternal Salvation, and causes of our endless felicity in Heaven, God's mercies will make us love him,and be thankful, and our Love and Gratitude will move him to give us more still, and the encrease of his


« PreviousContinue »