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long hours are spent in the most light and trivial concerns. If you do this, can you wonder that your souls do not prosper? May we all be deeply humbled for our negligence and sin! May we learn wisdom even from our past folly! And, invigorated by heavenly influence, may we wait on the Lord, till our prayers are turned into praise, and our sighs into everlasting songs!
EPHES. V. 20.
Giving thanks always, for all things, unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE duties of a Christian are various. Many are performed without exciting any particular feeling. Some are painful duties; as repentance, the mortification of sin, and the believer's inward conflict with the corruptions of his heart. Others are pleasing duties; and among these is thanksgiving. There is something in its very nature reviving and consoling.
The Apostle is giving the Christians at Ephesus salutary counsel. The chapter, indeed, is full of friendly admonition. He says, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess." Drunkenness is a beastly vice it is worse, for a brute knows when it has had sufficient, and is not easily induced to take more. "But," instead of intemperate drinking, "be filled with the Spirit:" as professing Christians, imbibe his sacred influences, seek large supplies of his sanctify
ing grace and satisfying consolations: these will be productive of the best effects. And, instead of that froth and folly which intemperance yields, be found "speaking to yourselves"-not to yourselves only, but to one another also-" in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord." How rational is this; how worthy of a man, and of a Christian! Singing is a scriptural ordinance. It may be either private or social; but, in order to its being spiritual and pleasing to God, there must be " melody in the heart." The text follows, which is remarkably clear and comprehensive. May our pleasure and our profit be promoted, while we consider-The duty of THANKSGIVING-The OBJECT to whom it is offered-The MEDIUM through which it is presented-The TIME when it is seasonable-and the THINGS which it particularly regards.
I. The duty of THANKSGIVING.
This is what the text enjoins; "giving thanks."When thanks are given, thankfulness, of course, is implied, and must be felt, or it is mere lip-service, lifeless formality. The seat of thankfulness, or of gratitude, is the heart: there it ought to be cherished with the utmost care, and every motive remembered by which it is enlivened and increased. But if the heart be thankful, it is perfectly reasonable and proper that its feelings be expressed. The most powerful arguments are at hand to justify so pleasing a service, to enforce so important a duty.-Its antiquity. may be urged. It is as old as the creation. sooner did intelligent beings exist than gratitude was expressed: "the morning stars sang together, and
all the sons of God shouted for joy." Our first parents were not strangers to this delightful exercise. Paradise was the seat of thanksgiving before man fell; and consequently before the voice of prayer was heard, or the sigh of penitence was known.—Its perpetuity may be pleaded. It not only commenced sooner, but it will continue longer than other duties: it will survive most other acts of service. Prayer will cease; repentance will be no more; faith and hope, as to their present use, will terminate; but thanksgiving will be the delightful business of the upper world, and will extend to the countless ages of eternity.- Express injunctions to give thanks are numerous in the holy Scriptures: we need not repeat them: such precepts as these are fresh in our recollection; "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever;"-" Praise ye the Lord; for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is comely."-The example of the best of men sanctions the practice; for what good men have ever lived without gratitude? What eminent characters are recorded in the Bible who abounded not in thanksgiving?--All nature conspires to engage us in this exhilarating employ: "All thy works praise thee, O Lord, and thy saints shall bless thee." "Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places
of his dominion; bless the Lord, O my soul."
If our hearts were as much in tune for the exercise, as our judgments are convinced of its propriety thanksgivings would assuredly abound, and unceasingly grateful would be our praise.
II. The OBJECT to whom thanksgiving is offered f6 to God, and the Father."
We ought to give thanks to men for the favours we receive from them. So far as they are our benefactors, they are entitled to grateful acknowledgments: and ingratitude is justly marked as one of the worst of crimes, and as evidencing the basest disposition of heart.
But there can be no doubt that God is our greatest Benefactor: every other is but his instrument and agent. The Most High is our best Friend: for other friends we are indebted to him, and they are all of his sending. Hence that injunction, "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High."
Giving thanks unto God, and the Father." It may be read, "even the Father;" as that passage to Titus," looking for the glorious appearing," or the appearing of the glory, "of the great God, and (rather even) our Saviour Jesus Christ." God is indeed the Father of all: the whole universe was produced by his power, and hangs dependant on his care. He is "our Father who is in heaven:" he teaches us to address him thus in prayer, as well as in praise he is the former of our bodies, the Father of our spirits; "we are all his offspring." Thus we are particularly reminded of his paternal character; giving thanks to God" as a Father. The Most High, the adorable object of our religious worship, bears this endearing relation: he has the heart of a father, the tenderest feeling, the kindest affection. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." Indeed, there is no father so affectionate and feeling as this. If all the love and kindness of all the best fathers in the world centered in one man, it would fall infinitely short of the love and kindness of this heavenly Father! Such