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tinual nutrition, the Creator has put within us an
The natural passions, acting in their proper places, appear to be essential parts of our constitution, and display the wisdom and goodness of him who made us. Fear guards us from danger-desire quickens our pursuit of happiness-hope animates and sweetens our labours-shame restrains us from unworthy actions-love unites us in society-compassion interests us in each other's welfare, and prompts our exertions for the relief of distress.
As our infant state is helpless and dependent, God affechas implanted in the parent's breast a strong tion for his offspring, which, while it secures them from neglect, sweetens his duty to them, and comforts him in the toil of his hands.
To preside over the inferior powers, the inspiration of the Almighty has given us understanding. This elevates us above the animal tribes, and renders us capable of superiour services, enjoyments and prospects.
"The earth is full of his riches." The table of his providence is widely spread, and bountifully furnished, to supply our outward wants, and gratify our natural desires.
"The heavens declare his glory: The sun enlightens and warms us with his beams; and when he retires, the moon and stars hang out their lamps to abate the gloom and soften the horrors of night.. The winds, by their various motions, preserve the salubrity of the air, waft around the clouds freighted with enriching showers, mitigate the sultry heat of the summer's sun, kindly fan the weary laborer and the panting animal, facilitate the process of vegetation, and aid the intercourse of distant nations.
We are visited with unfailing returns of day and night, which alternately invite us to labour and rest. The vicissitude of the seasons, without which the greater part of the globe would be incapable of habitation, is regularly maintained.
The heavens and the earth hold out to our view, various objects of contemplation for the improvement of the mind. They present us with scenes of grandeur to strike us with astonishment: They exhibit works of wisdom to raise our admiration: They discover endless proofs of divine bounty to excite our gratitude.
Besides these daily benefits, which are common to all, every one may recollect a thousand personal and domestick favours; such as the continuance of his reason and health; success in his calling; deliverance from danger; a capacity for refreshment and repose; the joys of peace and friendship; and quietness and safety in his dwelling. God compasses our paths by day, and our beds by night: He keeps us while we sleep; and when we awake we are still with him. To the blessings of his providence are added those of his grace. By his lively oracles and instituted worship, he affords us the means of spiritual knowledge and comfort. Through the redemption of his Son he offers us the pardon of sin, the assistance of his spirit, access to him in prayer, and the light of his countenance.
These are not transient, but permanent privileges. He continues them to us, until, by putting them away, we judge ourselves unworthy of them. Lo, these are a part of his ways. In vain we attempt to recount his benefits: As well may we number the stars of heaven, which, while we gaze, lose all distinction, and mingle in one general glow.
2. Daily benefits are the greatest in their nature. These are essential not only to our temporary existence in this life, but to our eternal happiness in
the next. Compared with these, the mercies, which we call special, are of small importance.
A providential deliverance from unforeseen danger will deeply affect the mind: But, Are we not more indebted to divine goodness for the prevention of such danger? It is a mercy to be snatched from the jaws of death: But, Is it not a superiour mercy to be preserved from falling into this extremity? Recovery from severe sickness is a favour: But, Is not continued health a far greater favour? The sudden accumulation of property, by God's blessing on our lawful designs, would be regarded, at least, with a transient gratitude : Shall we then forget the daily supply of our wants, and the daily success of our labours? These are bounties of superiour consequence.
Still more precious is the privilege of daily converse with God's word, access to his throne, hope in his mercy, and assistance from his spirit.
3. Daily benefits are the most extensive.
The man, in whom the benevolence of the gospel reigns, rejoices with them who rejoice. The pleasure which results from his personal blessings, is heightened by a participation in the blessings enjoyed by others. Special and extraordinary favours are the lot of but few, and of these but seldom. Ordinary mercies flow every where; they appear widely spread among the human race. In the contemplation of these, as enjoyed by mankind in general, the benevolent heart rejoices daily. In the view of the other it can rejoice but rarely, because they are thinly scattered, and seldom seen. Great riches, elevated honours, and remarkable success in business, if they are to be called benefits, yet are benefits vouchsafed to a small proportion of mankind; and they are oftener the objects of envy, than of real, sincere congiatulation. They yield little satisfaction to the possessors, and little pleasure to the spectators. Common
mercies are so equably diffused, that they offer no provocation to envy; and so generally enjoyed, that the good man, every where, meets a gratification of his benevolent wishes.
The heavens declare the glory, and the earth displays the goodness of God to all men. The common Parent causes his sun to shine, and his showers to fall promiscuously, on the rich and the poor, on the evil and the good. The seasons dispense their influence, and the earth distributes its bounties without partiality. Health and competence are indulged to men in general, for much the greater part of life. There are few, who cannot number more days of ease, security and fulness, than of pain, terror and
The blessings of God's grace are held cut to men, with a free and undistinguishing hand. Pardon is offered, on the same terms, to sinners of every description. The doors of heaven are set open for the reception of all who will enter. The aids and comforts of God's Spirit are promised, without exception, to all who seek them. In Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, Greek nor Jew, but all are one in him.
4. Common mercies are permanent, because they are necessary. Special benefits are but occasional, and therefore transient. We neither need them often, nor can enjoy them long. As they usually succeed some great affliction, or imminent danger, they are well suited to awaken the slumbering mind into gratitude and praise. But we cannot receive them often, because we are not often in adversity. We are continually with God. He guides us by his counsel, protects us by his power, and supplies us by his goodness. The mercies which attend us one day, return with the returning day. They fail not; they are new every morning.
We see how justly it may be said, "We are daily loaded with benefits," Our daily mercies are innumerable-they are of infinite weight-they are constant-they are extended to all.
While we enjoy them ourselves, we may look a round, and see thousands sharing them with us, The pleasures of benevolence may unite with the joys of gratitude, to enliven and exalt our praise.
II. Let us now contemplate our obligations to render praise to the God of our salvation.
Blessings which flow from pure, selfmoving goodness and love, without any merit on our part, or selfishness on the part of the giver, are the proper matter of our thanksgiving. Such are all the blessings which come from God. It is not his own profit, nor our worthiness; but his mercy, and our necessity, which move him to bestow them. As he is possessed of infinite wisdom and power, he can need nothing from his creatures, and can have no motive out of himself-no motive but his own goodness, to dispense his favours to them. He is not worshipped by men's hands, as though he needed any thing from them, seeing he gives to them life, and breath and all things." Of him, through him, and to him are all things. To him be glory forever." We are not only dependent, but guilty: We have done nothing to merit, but much to forfeit, the blessings of God's love. In this view our obligations to gratitude are mightily increased. His mercies and our iniquities are heightened by the contrast. Our iniquities, committed against his rich mercy, are vastly aggravated. His mercy, exercised amidst all our guilt is inconceivably exalted. The Psalmist contemplates them together, that he may feel the stronger sense of both. "Many, O Lord, are thy wonderful works, and thy thoughts which are to usward. They are more than can be numbered."—" Mine iniquities have taken hold on