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THE GREAT DUTY OF ACKNOWLEDGING AND GLORIFYING GOD, PUT INTO PRACTICE.
ASSIST me, glorious God, by thy Holy Spirit, fo to think and speak of Thee, as that they who hear me may fee and acknowledge Thee in thy wonderful and beneficial works of Creation and Providence; and that we may all fear, and love, and obey, and glorify thy great name, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
PSALM XXIX. 2.
GIVE UNTO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE UNTO
VERY body owns it to be a most neceffary duty to praise and glorify the God who made us, and who holds our fouls in life. But many, too many, are at a lofs, through a careless, unthoughtful temper, how to do it as they should do. At the fame time, there is no one thing which we can caft our eyes may afford us an occafion of adupon, but miring, and glorifying, either the power, or the wisdom, or the goodness, or the providence of God.
* See Pfalm iii. 2. xix. 1. cxlv. 5, 10. and cl. 6. Jer. v. 24. Acts xiv. 17. Rom i. 2. Rev. iv. II.
Now, the want of thus obferving the works of God is the great occafion of that scandalous indifference in the religion which the generality of Chriftians pay to God. And it cannot be otherwife, forafmuch as the knowledge of God is the root and the foundation of all true religion;--and the observing his wondrous works, and glorifying him for them, is the only way of preferving an holy fear, and love, and reverence of God, and an high efteem of him in our minds.
It is true, God does not need any honour we can pay him; he is infinitely great, and good, beyond what we can think or fay of him; but it is altogether for our fakes, that he has made it our duty to glorify him; that we may think, and speak, and live, as becomes those who have a due fenfe and knowledge of God, in whom they live, and move, and have their being: and that they may pay him an holy, reasonable, and cheerful fervice.
And pray take notice, that in this duty of glorifying God for the works of the creation, we hold communion, in fome fense, with the whole world of thoughtful people; which is an inftance of communion and charity not to be flighted.
I might entertain you with very many fur
prifing inftances of God's wonderful wisdom and goodness in the things he has made; and which, by an amazing providence, he preferves in being; which have been the subject of
of many learned men, in order to glorify the great Creator: but left these things fhould be above the understanding of ordinary capacities, I will set before you, in one short view, the meaning of that hymn of praise in our morning fervice, which begins with these words, O all ye works of the Lord, blefs ye the Lord: praife him, and magnify him for ever.
Now the church, in this hymn, would have her children inftructed to take all occafions offered them to praise, and bless, and magnify their great Creator, for the wonderful provifion he has made for the welfare of all his creatures, and efpecially for the happiness of man both in this life and in the next.
Our duty, therefore, being to glorify God for his works of wonder and mercy; what I now intend is, to fhew you the many occafions you will have of putting this duty in practice; and efpecially in the many inftances given us in this fong of praife, which is, in effect, the fame with the 148th Pfalm, but here more particularly set forth.
Now, this hymn begins with the most noble part of the creation: O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord, &c. which every time we repeat, we fhould give God thanks for, that he gives these his angels charge concerning us poor mortals, as his holy Spirit affures us he does.
Let us alfo remember what the fame Spirit tells us, that thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand of these glorious beings
being wait upon God continually, to minister unto him, and to receive his commands. With what thoughts of reverence and fear of his glorious Majesty will this thought affect the mind of every ferious Christian! And with what comfort will it fill our fouls, when we confider, that we fhall, one day, be as happy as these very angels, if in this ftate of trial we behave ourselves as God has commanded us!
And let us not forget that these angels are in fcripture called the eyes of God; and that they are in every place beholding the evil and the good; and especially in the religious affemblies of Chriftians, as St. Paul intimates. And indeed, and as fure as I now speak to you, they are here now prefent with us in this place, and hear the charge I give you, and are witneffes of your behaviour, and of the attention you give to the fervice, and to the word of God read and preached unto you.
In the next place, we are led to bless God for the heavens he has made; whether they are those where his majefty, in an especial manner, together with his glorious angels, refides; or those heavenly bodies which we fee with our eyes, and by which all nations are led to acknowledge the God that made them; and are without excufe if they do not adore and magnify their great Creator.
Mofes, in his account of the creation, mentions the waters that are above the firmament: and the Pfalmift does the fame.
Gen. i. 7. • Pfalm cxlviii.
are, or their uses, we know not perfectly; and fo it is with all God's works. But this we may be affured of, that God made them for his glory, and our benefit; and we ought to praise him for them, as we do for the rest of the creation.
In the next place, we are called upon to bless and praise God for those wonderful powers by which all nature is governed, and by which all his works are preferved, and do anfwer the end of their creation. Let us also magnify God for thofe fpiritual powers and agents, by which he orders the affairs of this lower world, protecting and rewarding the good, and bringing the wickedness of the wicked upon their own heads; whether they be particular perfons, or whole nations. This is called the providence of God, which we have every day occafions and reason to adore, to fear, and magnify: and let us not forget to do it.
In the next place, how can any man, who has his eyes open, forbear to blefs and honour God for those two great lights, the fun and the moon, which he has created? Do but confider the multitude of bleffings and comforts which we receive from their light and heat; without which this whole earth, and all the creatures in it, would foon perish.
Can any man fee, and confider, these glorious bodies, without faying in his heart, How much more glorious must the Maker of