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Seafon, if Need be, we are in Heaviness through manifold Temptations; well knowing the
gracious Intention of our heavenly Father to be this, that the Trial of our Faith may be found unto Praise, and Honour, and Glory, at the Appearing of Jesus Christe.
Let us therefore seriously and often recollect not only the monstrous Ingratitude of repining, and the very blameable Unreasonableness of Defpondency, but the strong Obligation of being as thankful for all Things, as the Infirmity of our Nature will permit. Indeed merely using pious Words of Thankfulness for Afflictions, insincerely, without any correspondent Sense of what we utter, would be an Affectation, disgustful to Men, and provoking to God. But forming our Hearts, in the Degree that we are able, to the real Spirit of it, is one of the noblest Exercises of inward Devotion. As we are imperfect in every Duty, we shall in all Likelihood be more peculiarly imperfect in so exalted and difficult a one: and we should not be dejected on finding that we are.
But neither should we ever cease either praying or endeavouring to attain, S1 Pet. i. 6, 7.
what is in Truth a valuable Part of the Temper of Heaven. When we come thither, we shall clearly perceive the Usefulness of our most exquisite Sufferings here, and praise God for them to Eternity; therefore let us be perfuaded of their Usefulness in the mean Time, and begin to praise him for them now.
But these and all our Praises the Apostle directs us,
III. To offer up in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By him, as the Scripture expressly teaches, God made the Worlds h : by him were all Things created, that are in Heaven and that are in Earth, visible and invisible : all Things were created by him and for him, and by bim all Things confift i. Therefore in
every Act of Worship, his Name is to be joined with that of the Father Almighty. By him have the various Dispensations of Providence been administered from the Beginning: and partiçularly that most important one of the Restoration of fallen and corrupted Man, through the tender Mercy of our God", who hath delivered us from the Power of Darkness, and hatb tranflated us into the Kingdom of his dear Son ; in Heb. j. 2. i Col. i. 16, 17.
* Luke i. 78.
whom we have Redemption through his Blood, even the Forgiveness of our Sins!. Therefore, all our Thanksgivings ought to commemorate the Source of all our Blessings. Honour, and Glory, and Power, be unto him that fitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, For thou wast Nain, and haft redeemed us to God through thy Blood, out of every Kindred, and Tongue, and People, and Nation". By him also, was the Knowledge of their Duty and Hopes revealed to Mankind : by him the DaySpring from on high visited us to give Light to them that sat in Darkness and in the Shadow of Death, and guide our Feet into the Way of Peace". Through the Spirit of Christ, which was in them', the Prophets of the Old Testament directed and cheered the earlier Ages : his own personal Instructions much more abundantly enlightened the Apostles : and the Succession of Teachers, which he appointed, hath conveyed the glad Tidings of his Gofpel down to us, and will to the World's End. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.
Reasoning had bewildered Men in Multi
Luke i. 78, 79.
Col. i. 13, 14, i Pet. X. II.
m Rev. v. 13,90
P2 Cor. ix. 15.
tudes of Errors, and led them into very little Truth. It could not lead them into any Certainty of those Truths, which were of the greatest Importance to Sinners : Pardon, Grace, and eternal Happiness. It could not assure us of that comfortable Doctrine of the Text, that we have Cause to thank God for every Thing which befalls us. For how should the wiseft of Men attain, by the mere Exercise of his own Faculties, to know, whether it be possible in the Nature of Things, and fit upon the Whole, for the Supreme Being to order all Events in such a Manner, as that every one of them shall be for the Benefit of every good Person? We may wish this indeed ; we may hope it; and it is the most glorious Hope, that we are capable of : but a Ground of firm Reliance can be only from the gracious Declarations of our blessed Lord, or his authorized Servants : and we are strictly bound to ask and receive this and every Bounty from above, as Believers in him. Juftly then doth St. Paul direct us : Whatsoever je do, in Word or Deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving Thanks to God and the Father by bimo. And again : In every Thing give Thanks : for this
9 Col. iii. 17.
this is the Will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you'. Suitably to which Precepts, St. Peter represents it as the great End of our whole Behaviour that God may be glorified in all Things through Jesus Chrif'. By bim therefore, as the Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts, let us offer the Sacrifice of Praise to God continually, giving Thanks to his Name'. His merciful Purpose in what he hath done for us, and what he hath taught us, is that we may be happy, not only hereafter but even here. These Things bave I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have Peace. In the World ye shall have Tribus lation : but be of good Cheer; I have overcome the World u. He underwent on our Account the most dreadful of all Afflictions, for this Reason amongst others, to leave us an Example, that we foould follow bis Steps ", and look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith, that we may not be wearied and faint in our Minds *; but rejoice in as much as we are Partakers of Christ's Sufferings, that when bis Glory shall be revealed, we may be glad with exceeding Joy y,
i Theff. v. 18. ” John xvi. 33 vi Pet. iv, 13.
$ 1 Pet. iv. Į1. Vi Pet. ii, 21,
i Heb. xiii. 15 x Heb. xii. 2, 3.