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the miserable; inaccessible only to the unrighteous and impure. Thou beginnest on earth the temper of heaven. In thee, the hosts of angels and blessed spirits eternally rejoice.
ON THE DUTY OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING. The duty of praise and thanksgiving is the debt and law of our nature. We had such faculties bestowed on us by our Creator, as made us capable of satisfying this debt, and obeying this law; and they never therefore work more naturally and freely, than when they are thus employed. . It is one of the earliest instructions given us by philosophy, and which hath ever since been approved and inculcated by the wisest men of all ages, that the original design of making man was, that he might praise and honour him who made him. When God finished this goodly frame of things, we call the world, and put together the several parts of it, according to his infinite wisdom, there was still wanting a creature in these lower regions, that could apprehend the beauty, order, and exquisite contrivance of it; that from contemplating the gift, might be able to raise itself up to the great Giver, and do honour to all his attributes. Every thing indeed that God made did, in some sense, glorify its author, inasmuch as it carried upon it the plain mark and impress of the Deity, and was an effect worthy of that first cause from whence it flowed; and thus might the heavens be said, at the first moment in which they stood forth, to declare his glory, and the firma
ment to show his handy-work : but this was an imperfect and defective glory: the sign was of no signification here below, whilst there was no one here as yet to take notice of it. Man therefore was formed to supply this want; endowed with powers fit to find it out, and to acknowledge these unlimited perfections; and then put into this temple of God, this lower world, as the priest of nature, to offer up incense and thanks of praise for the mute and insensible part of the creation.
This duty takes the further and surer hold of us by means of that strong bent towards gratitude, which the author of our nature hath implanted in it. There is not a more active principle than this in the mind of man; and surely that which deserves its utmost force, and should set all its springs a-work, is God, the great and universal benefactor, from whom alone we received whatever we either have, or are, and to whom we can possibly repay nothing but our praises or our thanksgivings. Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things :' of him, as the author; through him, as the preserver; to him, as the end and perfection : to whom, therefore, be glory for ever.
MOTIVES TO PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING, FROM
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD OVER US DURING
THE STILLNESS OF NIGHT. The glorious sun is set in the west; the nightdews fall; and the air, which was sultry and oppressive, becomes cool. The flowers of the garden, closing their coloured leaves, fold themselves up and hang their heads on the slender stalk, wait. ing the return of day.
The birds of the grove have ceased their warblings; they sleep on the boughs of the trees, each one with his head behind his wing. The chickens of the farm-yard are gathered under the wing of the hen, and are at rest; the hen, their parent, is at rest also. There is no murmur of bees around the hive, or amongst the honeyed woodbines; they have finished their work, and now lie close in their waxen cells.
The sheep rest in the fields upon their soft fleeces, and their loud bleating no longer resounds from the hills. There is no sound of the voices of the busy multitude, or of children at play, or the trampling of feet, and of crowds hurrying to and fro. The smith's hammer is not heard upon the anvil ; nor the harsh saw of the carpenter. All men are stretched upon their quiet beds, and the infant reposes in peace and security on the bosom of its mother. Darkness is spread over the skies; and darkness is upon the ground; every eye is shut, and every hand is still,
Who takes care of all people when they are sunk in sleep? when they cannot defend themselves, nor see if danger approaches? There is an eye that never sleeps; there is an eye that sees in the darkness of night as well as in the brightest sunshine. When there is no light of the sun, nor of the moon; when there is no lamp in the house, nor any star twinkling through the thick clouds; that eye sees every where, in all places, and watches continually over all the families of the earth.
The eye that sleeps not is God's; his hand is always stretched over ns. He made sleep to refresh us when we are weary : he made night that we might sleep in quiet.' As the affectionate mother stills every little noise, that her infant be not disturbed; as she draws the curtains around its bed, and shuts out the light from its tender eyes; so God draws the curtains of darkness around us ; so he makes all things to be hushed and still, that his large family may sleep in peace.'
When the darkness has passed away, and the beams of the morning sun strike through your eye-lids, begin the day with praising God, who has taken care of you through the night. Flowers, when you open again, spread your leaves and smell sweet to his praise. Birds, when you awake, warble your thanks among the green boughs! Let his praise be in our hearts when we lie down; let his praise be on our lips when we awake.
PRIVATE PRAYER, MORNING AND EVENING,
· RECOMMENDED. Let us take care, that every morning, as soon as we rise, we lay hold on this proper season of ad. dress, and offer up to God the first-fruits of our thoughts, yet fresh, unsullied, and serene, before a busy swarm of vain images crowd in upon the mind. When the spirits, just refreshed with sleep, are brisk and active, and rejoice, like that sun which ushers in the day, to run their course; when all nature, just awakened into being, from insensibility, pays its early homage; then let us
join in the universal chorus, who are the only creatures in the visible creation capable of knowing to whom it is to be addressed.
And in the evening, when the stillness of the right invites to solemn thoughts, after we have collected our straggling ideas, and suffered not a reflection to stir but what either looks upward to God, or inward upon ourselves, upon the state of cur minds; then let us scan over each action of the day, fervently entreat God's pardon for what we have done amiss, and the gracious assistance of his spirit for the future: and after having adjusted accounts between our maker and ourselves, commit ourselves to his care for the following night. Thus beginning and closing the day with devotion, imploring his direction every morning as we rise, for the following day; and recommending ourselves, every night before we lie down, to his protection, 'who neither slumbers nor sleeps; the intermediate spaces will be better filled up : each line of our behaviour will terminate in God, as the centre of our actions : our lives, all of a piece, will constitute one regular whole, to which each part will bear a necessary relation and correspondence, without any broken and disjointed schemes, independent of this grand end, the pleasing of God. And while we have this one point in view, whatever variety 'there may be in our actions, there will be an uniformity too, which constitutes the beauty of life, just as it does of every thing else; an uniformity without being dull and tedious, and a variety without being wild and irregular.
llow would this settle the ferment of our youth