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rest until he have his desire: he who hath this valour, resolution, and constancy I speak of, this is he whom the Lord will bless, from whom the Lord will not withhold any good thing.
Let us, therefore, in this our dulness and deadness, blame ourselves, because we strive not to stir up ourselves; we beg not grace earnestly, as a thing which stood us upon our life. O should profane Esau beg a blessing with tears of an earthly father, and can we find no means to procure tears in begging of our eternal blessing from our heavenly Father! The cause of this our dulness is, because we bring no fire with us, no true love, zeal, hunger, or feeling of our wants, but we come carnally, in a blockish manner, rather for fashion's sake and custom than any feeling or earnest desire, and then it is no wonder if dulness and hardness of heart do always follow the same. Now when the prophet David hath roused himself up from this deadness and dulness, what doth he? He propoundeth two duties to be done.
I. To praise the Lord.
II. To a thankfulness to remember all God's benefits. First, he (as it were) striketh up the drum unto a general praising of God, telling first, what God hath done for himself; and next, the benefits the Church had received. Now in that he speaketh of the name of God to be praised: the name of God is nothing else but God himself; for in his glorious name dependeth all things. So Solomon, speaking of his father David, saith, "And" now I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God." This was as much as unto God himself. And the apostle, speaking of Christ Jesus, saith: "Wherefore" God hath also exalted him, and given him a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of things in Heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord." Here the name of Jesus is Jesus himself, unto which the devils and all shall be subject unto his sovereignty. Therefore in that he placeth the name of God for God himself, we must
n1 Kings, chap. 5. ver. 5.
Phil. chap. 2. ver. 9, 10.
therein behold his mercy, his goodness, his power, his justice, &c. with all other his attributes. So we see when God would be seen, and shew himself (after a manner) unto Moses, it is said, "Then the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord." And what was this name? "So the Lord passed before his face, and cried: The Lord, the Lord, strong, merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in goodness and truth, reserving mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquities, transgressions, and sin." And so David, in this place, when he inviteth himself and others to praise this holy name, commenteth, or rather augmenteth, that proclamation of God himself in Exodus. Whence the doctrine arising for our instruction is, that we are all bound to observe and take especial notice of the attributes of God, not only for ourselves but also for others. Every soul, I say, is bound to take notice thus of his great and glorious name, engraven in his creatures; and this shall be a most sure and safe way to attain unto the knowledge of God, wherein we are all faulty. So the apostle affirmeth that the invisible things of God, that is, his eternal power and Godhead, are seen by the creation of the world being considered in his works, to the intent that they should be without excuse. And St. Paul, speaking to this purpose, saith, that notwithstanding that former darkness of the Gentiles, "nevertheless', he left not himself without witness in that he did good, and gave us rain from Heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." Therefore it followeth, in the former chapter to the Romans, "for as they regarded not to know God, even so God delivered them up unto a reprobate mind." You see then if they, in their time of ignorance, were not excused for not knowing of God, nor taking notice of his mercies, how much less, think you, shall we be? The point then for our observation is, when a man beholdeth God to shower down his blessings, not only upon himself but also upon his other creatures, as the rain, the fruitful seasons, and other of his mercies, and taketh no notice
4 Rom. chap. 1. ver. 20.
P Exod. chap. 34. ver. 5.
Psalm 19. ver. 1, 2, 3.
" Psalm 145. ver. 1, 2, 3.
thereof; this is a great fault, and God will be revenged of such. So the Prophet David (to make us inexcusable) telleth us, that "The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth the work of his hands; day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where the voice is not heard:" so going on in a number of other creatures who all point to their Creator and his glorious name. How senseless then are we? How great is our fault, which cannot read when so fair a book is opened unto us. The prophet therefore having thus prepared himself to this thanksgiving, proceedeth next to entreat of the particular benefits, wherefore he is stirred up unto this praising of God: and first, he calleth to mind and stirreth up his own soul unto this praise, as unto the end for which he was created, as though he would thus chide his soul. Thou art negligent, my soul, in performance of that especial duty for which thou wert created. Thy God created thee for his praise, although thou art not worthy to look up unto him; why art thou then so backwards, being of him so highly honoured? This the twenty-four elders confess to be true," when they fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for evermore, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy will's sake they are and have been created." And Psalm 100, because of this creation, all the earth is exhorted unto this praise: "Sing ye loud unto the Lord all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyfulness. Know ye that even the Lord is God; he hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." Then, secondly, he praiseth God, because He only is worthy to be praised who hath given all these good things which are to be considered in the nature of God. As "Ou my God and King, I will extol thee, and will bless thy name for ever and ever. I will praise thee daily, and bless thy
Revel. chap. 4. ver. 10, 11.
name for ever and ever." Great is the Lord, and most worthy to be praised, and therefore he saith that he will bless and praise God daily, who only is to be praised; he I will never cease. But yet when he hath done all he can, the exceeding excellency of this name overcometh him; he confesseth it is too high for him; his greatness is incomprehensible; no thought can pierce unto the same.
And, thirdly, he is so much the more invited unto this praise, because the comfort of all redoundeth unto ourselves, as though he would say unto his soul, My soul, so much the rather oughtest thou to praise the fearful and glorious name of thy God, even for thine own good. For when thou hast done all thou canst do, all is nothing unto him thou canst add nothing to him who is all in all, but the comfort of these praises are for thy good, strengthening the assurance of thy safe estate, and giving unto thee assured testimonies that thou art in the favour of God, and hast a portion in Him, yea, that He is thine. As the prophet David saith, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord." I will take (saith he) the good unto myself; the cup of salvation by this means is mine. So Elihu, reasoning with Job, saith thus unto him, "If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? Yea, when thy sins are many, what doest thou unto Him? If thou be righteous what givest thou unto Him, or what receiveth He at thine hand ?" He is like unto a good master, or Father, keeping all for thee; all is for thy good. And then he addeth, "thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, but thy righteousness may profit the Son of man." All thy goodness is for thyself. It is an holy name. This name of God is therefore a fearful and a glorious name, let us then praise it continually since the comfort redoundeth unto our own souls, that we may have peace in the day of the Lord Jesus, being able to stand before Him to our everlasting consolation. But the time is spent, now let us pray for this strength with all other his good graces, and that for Christ Jesus' sake, Amen.
Psalm 116. ver. 12, 13.
Job, chap. 35. ver. 6, 7, 8.
a Psalm 103, ver. 20.
c Psalm 108. ver. 1.
PSALM CIII. VER. 1, 2, 3.
My soul praise thou the Lord, and all that is within me praise his holy name.
THIS psalm (as you may remember) I told you was a psalm of praise, and thanksgiving for God's manifold mercies, wherein the prophet stirreth up his own soul unto this praise for others, as well as for himself, that all may join with him in this action; for he calleth unto the holy angels, who excel in strength, to the hosts of all his servants, the creatures: then first he awaketh himself, tuning his own harp, that nothing on his part be wanting, both without and within, with "Awake, awake, my soul, and all that is within me praise his holy name." For before our hearts be true, all our music (how sweet soever it seem to our senses) is but harsh in God's sight. He therefore first prepareth his heart to seek unto God, to show unto us, that nothing is acceptable before God without a good heart. The heart must be good before the sacrifice be able to mount, or procure favour from heaven, no blessing without this can be expected. Therefore the prophet David', when his heart is first prepared, then he saith he will sing praises; when the heart is in tune, when all the other faculties of the soul are ready, then he saith, "Awake my tongue, awake viol and harp, I will awake right early." The heart being aloft, all the rest follow as ready and willing servants. Then (saith he) I will praise thee being awake. The same is repeated, "O God, mine heart is prepared, so is my tongue, I will sing
b Psalm 57, ver. 7.