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the world, which ought to wean our affections from it. Happy, happy they! who can ufe the language of the apoftle to the Philippians, Phil. iii. 20, 21. "For our "converfation is in heaven, from whence alfo we look for "the Saviour, the Lord Jefus Chrift; who fhall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is "able even to fubdue all things unto himself." And, Titus ii. 13. "Looking for that bleffed hope, and the glo"rious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour, Je"fus Chrift." That there are fome who have been formerly, and of late, fo happily vifited with the divine prefence, I have little doubt; and to as many as have been fo, furely I am warranted to fay, the Lord hath dealt bountifully with you.
II. I come now to the fecond thing proposed, viz. to explain the import of the Pfalmift's refolution, or his exhortation to his own foul, which all in the fame fituation ought to imitate, Return unto thy rest, O my soul. It may, perhaps, be fuppofed only to imply, that he refolves to forget his anxiety and care, and folace himself in that flate of quiet and fecurity to which he was happily brought by the kindness of Providence; but though, no doubt, this may be confidered as, in part, the meaning of the words, I cannot think it is the whole. It would be doing great injury to the holy Pfalmift, to fuppofe that he was not carried upward, in his views, to the Author of his reft, or to God himself, as the reft of his foul. The whole Pfalm, indeed, breathes his piety and gratitude to God; and his defire of teftifying it by every proper and acceptable expreffion. Taking the words, therefore, in this light, we may fuppofe them to imply the following parti
1. Return, and give the praife where it is due; and humbly acknowledge God as the author of thy mercies. He had, as we fee by the preceding verses, earnestly implored help from God in his diftrefs; and now defires to confefs that it came from no other quarter. We are exceeding ready to fail in this particular; fometimes we
look upon the outward means and visible inftruments of our deliverance, and forget the Supreme Difpofer of all events, who employs them, directs them, and bleffes then. Sometimes we embrace the mercy itself with fo much complacency, that we forget both our former necef fity, and the author of our deliverance. In oppofition to both thefe, it is our indifpenfable duty, to afcribe every mercy we receive, and every deliverance with which we are favored, to God, as its proper author, and to offer him the tribute of praife, and to blefs his name for ever. James i. 17. " Every good gift, and every perfect gift is "from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." I admire the manner of fpeaking frequently found in fcripture, where the kindnefs of men towards us is immediately and exprefsly attributed to the agency of God, Gen. xxxix. 21. "But the Lord was with Jofeph, and fhewed "him mercy, and gave him favor in the fight of the keeper "of the prifon." Acts vii. 9, 10. "And the patriarchs, "moved with envy, fold Jofeph into Egypt; but God was “with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions, "and gave him favor and wisdom in the fight of Pharaoh, "King of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt, "and all his houfe." Dan. i. 9. "Now God had brought "Daniel into favor and tender love with the Prince of "the eunuchs."
How great a duty, and how important a part of religion, praise and thanksgiving to God are, may be seen in every page of the holy fcripture, both in the way of precept and example, Deut. viii. 10. "When thou haft eaten, and art full, then thou fhalt blefs the Lord thy God, "for the good land which he hath given thee." Plalin cxxxvi. 1, 2, 3. "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he "is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. O give "thanks unto the God of gods; for his mercy endureth "for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords; for his"L mercy endureth for ever." Pfal. ciii. 1, 2, 3. "Blefs "the Lord, O my foul, and all that is within me, blefs "his holy name. Blefs the Lord, O my foul, and for
get not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniqui"ties; who healeth all thy difeafes." Pfalm cxlv. 1, 2. Q
"I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless "thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless "thee; and I will praife thy name for ever and ever." And that this duty ought particularly to be discharged by those who have been highly favored of God in any refpect, is very plain. Though the glory of God is the fubject of habitual adoration, and the conftant course of his bounty, the subject of habitual gratitude, yet new and special mercies, give, as it were, a new fpring, and add strength and vigor to the foul in this exercife. Our praises ought to be particular, as well as general; and those who obferve and record the fpecial inftances of divine mercy toward them, will find a fulness of heart in this duty, to which they are perfect ftrangers, who fatisfy themselves with a general and indifcriminate acknowledgment of the divine bounty. Many of the Pfalms of David are monuments of his gratitude, for particular interpofitions of Providence in his behalf, and bear particular marks of reference to the time and circumftances of his diftrefs.
I only add, upon this fubject, that the Pfalmift might well fay, in this fense, Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for a tender and affectionate acknowledgment of the mercies of God, not only makes us find our rest in him, but makes his mercies reft with us; it increases the sweetness of every comfort;-it purifies its nature;-it prolongs its duration. It increases the sweetness of it: for this I appeal to the experience of every child of God. Do you ever tafte fo much real delight in any mercy, as when you pour out your heart to God in gratitude for bestowing it; even in gifts from men we are fometimes fenfible of a higher value in them, on account of the person who gave them, than any worth they have in themselves. This holds, in the strongest manner, with regard to God; the more we return our mercies in praise to the giver, the more we poffefs them, and the greater richness we difcover in them.—It also purifies their nature. Many inftances of divine goodness regard our state and circumstances in the prefent life; they are the objects of fenfible gratification, as well as religious gratitude. Now, when we obferve and celebrate the kindness of him that beftows
them, they not only ftrengthen the body, but fanctify the foul. Is it not fomething more than barely outward provifion, when we fay with the Pfalmift, Pfalm xxiii. 5, "Thou prepareft a table before me, in the presence of "mine enemies; thou anointeft my head with oil; my 66 cup runneth over?"-Again, it prolongs the duration of our mercies. One of the confequences of the weakness and imperfection of the present ftate, is, that we are ready foon to forget our mercies, and to lose the relish of them. In how many inftances do we find, that what gave us great and fenfible pleasure at first, becomes, in time, habitual, and, at last, indifferent to us? Now, praifing, and confeffing the goodness of God in them, ferves to write them upon our hearts; to continue the sweetness of common mercies; and keep up the memory of fignal mercies, or those of an extraordinary kind. Health, ftrength, provision, and comfort, when they are not interrupted, are apt to be quite overlooked; but the daily acknowledgment of divine goodness, gives us not only the poffeffion, but the ufe of them. Signal mercies, in time, flip out of the memory, but the more we have acknowledged them, they will be the more eafily recalled to remembrance. I have known instances of pious perfons appointing fixed days of thanksgiving for extraordinary deliverances, which ferved. to renew their sense of them, and gave them fome degree, at least, of the fame joy and gratitude which they felt when the event happened. Some alfo, by keeping a record in writing of the paths of divine providence toward them, are able to read them over at proper times in their order, to compare them together, and thus, as it were, to have a rich feast upon a whole life of mercies, the remembrance of many of which would otherwise have been effaced by time.
2. This expreffion may imply returning to God, and delighting in him as our reconciled God, and fupreme portion and happiness. This is indeed the reft of the gracious foul, which gives him more joy than all outward poffeffions taken together. His outward poffeffions have no value, but as they flow from it, and lead back to it. He says with the Pfalmift, Pfal. iv. 6, 7, 8, "There be
"many that fay, Who will show us any good? Lord, "lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou "haft put gladnefs in my heart, more than in the time "that their corn and their wine increased. I will both "lay me down in peace and fleep: for thou Lord only "makeft me dwell in fafety. Pfal. lxxiii. 23, 25. Never"theless I am continually with thee: thou haft holden me "by my right hand. Thou fhalt guide me with thy coun"fel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I "in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that "I defire befides thee." Now, my brethren, this reft is frequently disturbed, and meets with interruption in the prefent life. Sin is the chief caufe of interruption; it raifes an interpofing cloud, and feparates between God and us. But it is alfo fometimes interrupted by affliction, and diftreffes of various kinds. Thefe two caufes have a mutual relation, and a mutual influence one upon another. Afflictions bring fin to remembrance, and fin fqueezes the bittereft ingredients into the cup of affliction; fo that it fometimes becomes a cup of trembling. The believer is often ready to mistake the rod of fatherly correction for the exterminating ftroke of avenging juilice: hence the bitter and heart melting complaints of many of the children of God. Job vi. 4. "For the arrows of the Almighty are "within me, the poifon whereof drinketh up my fpirit, "the terrors of God do fet themfelves in array against me." Pfal. xlii. 6, 7. "O my God, my foul is caft down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of "Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
Deep calleth unto deep at the noife of thy water-spouts : "all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." Lam. iii. 1-4. "I am the man that hath feen affliction by the "rod of his wrath. He hath led me and brought me in"to darknefs, but not into light. Surely against me is he "turned, he turneth his hand againft me all the day. My "flesh and my fkin hath he made old, he hath broken my "bones."
While this continues, the believer is excluded from his reft; and indeed the more peace he can take in any thing, while at a diftance from God, fo much the worfe fign it