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SERMON are frequently apparent to the world, in bringing down the mighty, and raising up the fallen. In the books of the law and the prophets, we hear his threatenings against rebellious sinners denounced with a tremendous voice; and in the dispensation of the gospel, a most striking instance is exhibited to us of the strict justice of his government, in the expiation that was required for the apostacy of a guilty world. So that both the law and the gospel, the works of nature and the conduct of Providence, unite in uttering that solemn voice which ought often to resound in our ears: Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth. Fear before him all nations: Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. For honour and majesty are before him ; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. He alone doeth great things and unsearchable ; marvellous things without number*.
On this head of discourse I have insisted the more, because I apprehend that such sentiments as I have now been inculcating
*Ps. xlvi. 10. Ps. xcvi. 6-8. Job, v.9.
occur too rarely among many professed SERMON
* Hosea, iii. 5.
SERMON love of him, but forms a material part of II. it. The pretended love of God disjoined from reverence of him, would no longer be genuine love, but would rise into arrogant presumption. I proceed to ob
II. THAT gratitude forms an essential part of that disposition which we ought to bear towards God. This implies an affectionate sense of God upon the mind, and enters directly into love, understood in its most common acceptation. It were a gross mistake to imagine, that the reverence of which I have discoursed has any tendency to check gratitude: on the contrary it heightens it, by uniting the sense of our benefactor's condescension with the benefits which he conveys. The more eminent the qualities of a benefactor are, and the higher the rank is in which he stands, our hearts are warmed the more by the feeling of his goodness.
It is impossible to think of God at all, without conceiving him as the benefactor of mankind. Mysterious as this world is in many of its appearances, it nevertheless carries,
on the whole, a strongly marked character SERMON of goodness and benignity in its author. We behold a vast system obviously contrived to provide, not food and nourishment only, but comfort also and enjoyment to an infinite number of inhabitants. The more that philosophy has enlarged our views of nature, the more it has been discovered that, throughout the wide extent of creation, there is no useless profusion of magnificence, but that every thing has been rendered subservient to the welfare of the rational or sensible world; nay, that many objects, which were once considered as not only superfluous but noxious, hold an useful place in the general system. Such provision has been made for our entertainment on this earth, such care has been taken to store the world with a variety of pleasures to cheer our senses and enliven our imagination, that he whose eye opens on all the beauty of nature, must be of insensible heart indeed, if he feels no gratitude to that Being who has brought him forth to enjoy this wonderful scene.
But the gratitude of a good man will naturally go farther than this. He will D 2
SERMON think not only of the benefits which he enjoys in common with the rest of his fellow-creatures, but of those which are appropriated particularly to himself. Who is there amongst us, my brethren, but in fairly reviewing the events of his life from infancy to this day, in thinking of the comforts he enjoys, and recollecting the dangers from which he has been delivered; who is there, I say, that has not cause to acknowledge an invisible guardian, who has all along watched over his frail estate, has protected and blessed him? Perhaps of the blessings which you enjoy, or the deliverances you have received, you are more disposed to trace some human cause; one favourable distinction you ascribe to your birth, your parents, or your education; for some other happy circumstance you think yourself solely indebted to the kindness of an earthly friend, or you refer it to the exertions of your own dexterity and talents. Thoughtless and inconsiderate man! Have you forgotten that there is a First Cause of all, a Supreme Lord, who, from the beginning, has arranged and prepared the whole series of causes and effects, of whose