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ON THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING.
PRAISE is an essential part of the worship of God; and it is due from every rational being to Him, who of His goodness created all things, and who upholds them by the word of His power. Our church, in the exhortation that precedes the general confession, when she is recapitulating the several constituent parts of Divine worship, and assigning the reasons of our frequent and stated visits to the house of God, tells us that « we as
semble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits which we have received at His • hands, to set forth His most worthy praise, to • hear His most holy word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as • well for the body as the soul.' Here praise stands foremost in our list of duties : and indeed it is not without solid reason, that it obtains a distinguished place. For it is that, for which
man was at first created. Confession of sin, deprecation of punishment, and supplication for mercy, became necessary only in consequence of the fall; but praise is the work, for which man originally received his being. This is the great business of heaven, from which its blessed inhab. itants cease not day and night : and, if ever we join the highly favoured throng, it will also be our's to all eternity. The necessity of confession and prayer will then be superceded ; because we shall be perfectly delivered from all evils both of soul and body, and shall have no wants unsatisfied. Then faith will be swallowed up in the immediate vision of its glorious object ; and hope will be lost in the complete fruition of its expected felicity. Then the din of war, from which the militant church is never free, shall be exchanged for the voice of harpers, harping with their • harps ;' and the fatigues of the conflict, which is past, be forgotten, while the once harrassed combatant shall incessantly drink of the water of the river of pleasures, which proceeds from the eternal throne, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.
Should a charge of tautology be brought against qur church, on account of her frequent introduction of thanksgiving in her services, we are not without a precedent to quote in her defence, That church, in whose worship there are no defects, ceases not day and night, crying, Holy, • holy, holy is the Lord of bosts.' It is not to be wondered that those unhappy persons, who rove from one sublunary object to another, seeking rest in an endless variety of gratifications, but finding none; should consider our worship as insipid, and condemn it as tautologous. Were they locally admitted into heaven, they would feel the same irksomeness in all its engagements; because they have no taste for those living waters, at the fountain head of which, saints made perfect, drink, and from the streams whereof believing sinners on earth quench their thirst, and refresh their weary souls. Believers understand the Psalmist's exhortation ; • Praise ye the • Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God : * for it is pleasant, and praise is comely."* They know that it is meet, right, and their bounden • duty, that they should at all times, and in all
places give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy • Father, Almighty and Everlasting God; there• fore with angels and arch-angels, and with all • the company of heaven, they laud and magnify • Thy glorious name ; evermore praising Thee,
and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of • Hosts, heaven and earth are full of Thy glory • Glory be to Thee, O Lord most High.'t
* Ps. cxlvii. L.
+ Communion office.
The rationality of a frequent, yca a constant performance of this duty will be denied by no persons, who are sincere in their acknowledgments that all good proceeds from God. And to all those, whose hearts are tuned by penitence, the employment is also joyous and delightful ; and we may safely assert that he, who has never found it pleasant to sing praises unto our God; whose emotions have never been in unison with the harp of the son of Jesse, is a stranger to all real religion, and lives without God in the world. This act of worship is of universal obligation. No worldly engagements, however important, can ever be a sufficient excuse for its neglect. No circumstances, in which the poorest among us are involved, exempt them from presenting to the Lord this oblation : for, though their means be too small to furnish expensive eucharistic offerings ; yet every man, who is possessed of a heart to feel, and a tongue to speak, is bound to employ them both in the work of thanksgiving. The heart that never felt, and the tongue that never tried to lisp the gratitude that is due to God, are totally disqualified for the felicity and and employments of the courts of Heaven ; and must be banished forever to that abode, where the worm, that dieth not, will corrode the thankless heart ; and the fire, that is never quenched, will torment the unprofitable tongue.
Our church has provided for our use a form adapted to the feelings of every bosom in which the love of God is kindled, distinguished by the name of the General Thanksgiving.
. Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we Thine unworthy servants do give Thee most « humble and hearty thanks for all Thy goodness 6 and loving-kindness to us and to all men. bless Thee for our creation, preservation, and • all the blessings of this life, but above all for • Thine inestimable love in the redemption of the « world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means
of grace, and for the hope of glory. And we beseech Thee give us that due sense of all Thy 6 mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly 6 thankful, and that we may shew forth Thy * praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, • by giving up ourselves to Thy service, and by 6 walking before Thee in holiness and righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ our • Lord; to Whom with Thee and the Holy Ghost, 6 be all honour and glory, world without end. • Amen.'
The object of all praise is • Almighty God,' because He is the Father of all mercies.' The favours which we acknowledge to have received, are such as afford the most luminous evidence of the infinite power and goodness of the Giver. The former of these His glorious perfections, calls for our devoutest adoration ; while His pa