Page images

A Practical Discourse upon this Thanksgiving.

S.III. God, our Heavenly Father, who by thy

gracious pjovtdence doft cause the former, and the latter Kata to descend upon the Earth, that it may bring fozty ftatt foz the ale of man.]

The giving of Rain in due Season is so great a bles. smg, that the holy Scripture compares the mod delirable things unto it, the favour of a King,

the Grace of God is expressed by (w) Pluvia tempe- this Metaphor , Hos. vi. 13. (w), stius in facra Scrip. And yet when we have it year af tura pro omni benea&tionum Spirituali

ter year in due time, we are scarce um do temporalium

ever mindful of it, or thankful for largi: ione fumitur.Ki- it; wherefore now that we have loc.Hor. felt the want of this excellent mer

cy, the Church takes occasion to admonish us to supply our former defects by a particular Thanksgiving for those seasonable Rains, which we have formerly had in the ordinary course of divine Providence : And here we bless our God by the same Title of Dur heavenly Father, by which we called upon him in the foregoing Prayer, and we acknowledg, that the Rain is ordered by a most wise and gracious Providence and therefore when our Sins do not withhold it, it usually falls especially at two Seasons of the year, which Scripture calls the former and the latter Kain, Deut.xi. 14." The former Rain among the Jews (whose year as well as their Seed-time began in September) was that which fell upon the new sown ground, and made the Seed at first to spring and grow, for which cause it is called the rain of their Šeed, The


latterRain with them was that which came about March, when their Corn was shooting and caring, that it might sill and ripen kindly, and yield a plentiful encrease. And among us the same words muft fignifie in the same proportion the Rain soon after our Seed-time,and that a

ittle before our Harvest, for both which we are plainly commanded to give thanks, Joel ii.23. And if we do neglect it,the very Heathens would shame us ; the Athenians having a double Sacrifice, The first of an Hegoat folemnly offered to Minerva by all the Magistrates for the first Springing of all fruits, which they called 11 soxapesugia:The second an Oblation at the time, when the fruits were ripe, called 'An@a, as Suidas testifies. facrif. cap.2. pag.29, 30. And shall we be less grateful to the true and living God, whom we know to be the Cause of Fruits and Grass?for he created them before ever there had been any Rain in the World, Gen. xi. 12. with chap.ii.5. for this very Cause, ( as S. Augustine notes) that the fruitfulness of the Earth might not be attributed to the power of Rain, but the blessing of God (a): for he gives Rain, and he gives it vertue to nourish the (x) si enim poft Earth, that it may bzing forth fruit pluviam fæmum fefor the use of man ; for our fakes

ciffet Deus pluvin

magis exortum, quam he chiefly sends it, and therefore we fačtum ab co vid seare bound to praise him for it. The tur. Aug. Genes. ad beasts devour the productions of Lic.lib.5. the field, and cannot look up to the Author of them: and those men are few degrees above the brute Creatures, who enjoy all the blessings of the Earth, and look pot up to God who gives them; unless we shall account these the more brutish , who may know the first Cause of all, but never do regard him.

S.IV.We give thee hamble thanks , that tt bath

pleased thee in our great necelity to seno us at the lat a jopfal Kata upon thine Inheritance,to refrech it when it was dry.]

[ocr errors]

Having blessed God for his giving Rain in ordinary we come now to give him extraordinary thanks for the late refreshing Showrs, which our great necessity hath made to be a greater Mercy; we wanted them long, and suffered much while we were without them, w prayed much and earnestly for them, but our Iniquities did withold them for a great while, Jer. V.25. And our God seemed to deny our Requests, it may be, that we

might know the worth of it by (y) Cum aliquando our want thereof, and that we - tardiús dat, commen- might pray for it more heartily til dat donis non negat,

it came, and be the more thankful diu defiderata dulcius obtinentur.Aug.verb.

for it when it did come (y). $ Dom.Serm.s.

that now (I hope ) we know the

sweetness of this biefling, and so we Thallgide most bumble thanks for it, remembring our late great neceatty. And if our hearts be fo disposed, here is a Form out of Holy Scripture, where the Church faith, Thou O God sentejt a gracious Rain upon thine Lix beritance, and refreshedit it when it was weary,Pfal.lxvi. 9. Our Land is God's Inheritance, as well as the Land of Canaan, and we are his people as well as they, ground was dry and even weary as well as theirs,and we have had a joyful Rain now, as well as they had then our Care and Cause is the same, and I wish our tude may

be the same allo. Let us consider how the parched ground with gasping clefts did lately declare its intolerable Thirst, and remember how it grew weary




of bringing forth : The Earth is the common Mother of us all,and for want of Rain from Heaven her breafts, at which both man and beast are broughti up, began to be dry and withered,Bebold (says the Greek Office) the Earth lyes desolate before thee, like a Mother with dry Breasts; and as the empty Breasts do threaten the Infant with present death, so doth the Earth for want of its streams and shopors threaten the grass, and plants, beasts and

men, with one common destruction. Euchol,678. This was our Case of late, but now God hath refreshed our univerfal Nurse, and given her a new vigour to bring forth fruit for us ; blessed be the name of the Lord.

S.V. TD the great comfozt of as thine unwozity

Servants, and to the glory of the holy Pame through the merctes in pelas Chailt oar LD3D. Amen.]

I hope we have not forgot that when we prayed for Rain, we then desired it as a means that we might receive the fruits of the Earth to our comfozt and to his honour;and now that we have our desire, we do acknowa ledg, that it is to our comfozt, and we promise it shall be to bts glogy. It is a great refreshment to us to see the scorched Earth refreshed, and beginning to look green and brisk again, to behold our own and our Neighbours goods and fruits to thrive and prosper,to perceive a new spring, and a return of Plenty to our Land; and we know full well that we are unwozthy and unprofitable Servants to Almighty God,who never did nor could deserve this favour ; but the freeness of his love in it makes it to be a greater comfozt to us, wherefore we must give most hearty Thanks for it, and then it will advance the glory of his Holy Name; we must obferve his goodness in it, till our hearts be enflamed

with love and gratitude, and then we must publish his praise , and engage others to joyn with us in admiring his power, who can water a whole Nation at once in celebrating his wisdom,who chofe so seasonable a time, and in magnifying his mercy, who gave it in fo abundant ineasures : Let us endeavour that all who prayed for it, and all who have the benefit of it, may joyn in this Thanksgiving, that his glory may extend as far as his Mercy hath done ; and if we make his favours return with so much glory to his name, we shall be more readily heard the next time we frand in need, and we shall have all blessings, which we want or desire, through Jelus Christ our Lord.


The Paraphrase of this Thanksgiving. [:D God,] thou art (our heavenly Father, who,] though thou dwellest so high, yet (by top graeious Providence] thou takes care of all Creatures, in order to whose supply crdinarily thou [ooft cause the fozmer] Rain after Seed-time, [and the latter Katn, ] when Harvest draweth near, (to descend 7 from Heaven, diftill [apon the Eartb,] to the end (that it may baling forth tratt,) and all kind of provifion [foz the ofe og man] and Beasts: We acknowledg the great Mercy oł these usual blellings at all other times ; and especially at this time (we give thcc] most hearty and (bamble thanks,] as thou deservest, because [that it hath pleased tbee] to take pity on us [in our great nececitp.) when Men and Beafts suffered to extremely by the late exceffive drought, and that thou haft vouchsafed [to send us at the laữ] what we so earnestly prayed for,and long exe pected, even la joyfuland plentiful [ Kain aper] our Land, which is [thine Inyerttance] to water Canu id

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »