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and give praise. Awake viol and harp, I will awake early and praise thee."
Again we see, he is not only content to summon one part unto the praises of God, but he summoneth all, nothing must be wanting. "And all that is within me praise his holy name." He is not content with the body, but the soul, with all the faculties and powers thereof, must also join. According to the great and main commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind," here must be a consent of all parties, to accomplish this holy action; for then and then only may we expect comfort in these holy duties, when we continue fervent therein; like unto Moses' handse which were continually bent upwards in prayer, whilst the people fought Amalek, you know the text mentioneth when Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed, but when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. So is it with us, whilst our heart is not tuned, nor our affections kindled, whilst we practise heavenly things carelessly, rather with formal knowledge, than true zeal and feeling of our wants, let us fight, as we will, we can have no comfort, all this while Amalek prevaileth, until, as Moses' heavy hands being supported by Aaron and Hur, to be constant till the sunsetting, so by watchfulness and continual intreaty the strengthener of the weak hands, and supporter and comforter of the feeble knees, lift up our hands, which hang down, and our weak knees, in an holy, fervent constancy to obtain victory. Being awakened then, two duties thereafter are proposed, praise and thanksgiving. And the praise, the main duty which he propoundeth, is to give praise unto his holy name, engraven in the creatures, who all show forth his glory, power, and majesty. I will not repeat what hath been said, but only, before I proceed, speak one word of the holiness of this name. The name of God, you see, is called an holy name, therefore there must be always an holy respect in naming thereof. As we see St. Paul, speaking
a Matt. chap. 22. ver. 37.
f Heb. chap. 12. ver. 12.
• Exod. chap. 17. ver. 11.
of God, draweth sundry and divers words of praises. "Nows unto the King everlasting, immortal, invisible, unto God only wise, be all honour, and glory." Therefore there must be a singular respect taken of this holy name, because our God is holiness itself, even the infinite depth of all holiness. Be ye holy (saith he) to the children of Israel, for I the Lord your God am holy.
The use hereof shall be for us to remember, that which is written in the third commandment, that we be wary, since his name is a holy name, that we profane not the same in our wicked mouths. This is a common fault, throughout the whole land, to abuse this blessed name, with profane and horrible oaths. But what saith God unto this? Shall these men escape? No, I will not hold them guiltless that take my name in vain. Though they escape for awhile, yet a day will come, when they shall appear before my bar of justice, and then they shall be found guilty, where they shall be punished with hell fire for evermore. And if this temporal first death be so grievous to a natural man, what will eternal death be, to be separated for ever from the presence of God? The curse of God is threatened upon the swearer and abuser of God's name, that it should be a flying book on this and on that side of them, and every one that sweareth shall be cut off, as well on this as on that, it shall abide and never depart from the house of the swearer. I would the gallants and gentlemen of this age would remember this, who swim in wickedness, delighting who should coin most oaths.
1 Tim. chap. 1. ver. 17. 11 Kings, chap. 6. ver. 3.
The book, you see, is a long book, twenty cubits in length and ten in breadth, like unto Solomon's porch', just of that measure, even as long and as wide as is the church, for you see, it goeth forth through the earth, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that falsely sweareth by my name, and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the stones and timber thereof.
Many think, I am no thief, I shall escape, but I say art
h Zach. chap. 5. ver. 3.
k Zach. chap. 5. ver. 4.
thou a swearer, a profaner of this blessed name, thou art then worse; this flying book shall follow thee to thy confusion, the curse shall be in the midst of thine house. Let us then make use of these things, that we never speak of this blessed name, but that our hearts may be lifted up, and rise aloft with an holy reverence to the same.
Secondly, after praise, he now stirreth himself up to a remembrance of all God's benefits. He meaneth, not only ofhis own benefits, as none of the elect, but of all his benefits as one of the elect, who hath a feeling compassion, to give thanks for God's mercies unto all. First, therefore, he sheweth what should be the ground of this duty. Even a thankful remembrance of all God's benefits past to ourselves and others. The Lord for his part is not wanting in helps, he hath been beneficial unto all; he hath given thee matter of thanksgiving round about. He hath shewed thee matter enough both for himself in his love for thee, and in his mercy towards the whole Church. The point then for our instruction is, the end of God's mercies is, that we should give praise unto him for all his particular benefits, both unto ourselves and the whole Church. The most part of the world are continually receiving of gifts, one from another, and are thankful for the same; but chiefly if we do receive a gift from a king, we will be thankful for the same. Then, look what proportion is betwixt the King of glory and an earthly king! and yet thou wilt be thankful to the one, and not unto the other. Thou wilt be thankful and remember what thou hast received of an earthly prince: this is thy folly, in not weighing duly the founder of the one, and the other. Secondly. By this we see the Lord will not only have thee to remember his present benefits, whilst he is a giving them, but also he will have thee to remember his mercies past so long as thou livest. As, "I will praise the Lord during my life; as long as I have any being I will sing unto my God." So, Psalm 147 and 148, the Lord is there praised for his marvellous mercies and goodness towards all his creatures, taking particular
1 Psalm 146, ver. 2.
m Psalm 145. ver. 1.
notice of all his mercies unto them; and not only so, but we must be thankful unto him for all his benefits. Let us remember the year '88 who are thankful for that great deliverance from Popish tyranny. Again, he saith, "Om my God and my King, I will extol and bless thy name for ever; I will bless thee daily, and praise thy name for ever and ever." And the apostle saith, "We" give thanks unto God for you, always in our prayers making mention of you." And "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, that when ye received the word of God received it not as the word of man." But was he content only of the present? No: you see it followeth, we give thanks without ceasing. And again, in the same Epistle, "For what thanks can we recompense unto God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we rejoice for your sakes before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face." Thus, you see, he is so earnest in this thanksgiving that he can never be thankful enough unto God. So should we be for all his benefits, for, thirdly, if these benefits were but a small number, it were another matter, and not so much: he speaks of all his benefits as being compassed about with a great number of them. As," It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, they are renewed every morning. Great is his faithfulness." We still complain of want, and cry yet more, more; and yet if the matter were examined, we are not worthy of that we have, not being thankful, nor duly weighing those mercies we have received. It is a note of hypocrites to value at a high rate those things they have; but the true child of God is always humble in his gifts, because he acknowledgeth all to be of God, nothing of him; he desireth more, but still he is so humble in those good things he hath, considering his unthankfulness, that he confesseth still himself not to be worthy of those, as Jacob confesseth. "I am not worthy, O Lord, of the least of all thy
Thess. chap. 2. ver. 13.
9 Lament. chap. 3. ver. 22, 23.
Thess. chap. 1. ver. 2.
mercies, and all the truth which thou hast shewed unto me, for with this staff came I over Jordan." If so great a patriarch, walking with God continually, was not worthy of the least of these mercies, how much less are we who exceed in unthankfulness ? So David saith unto God, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?" And he afterwards addeth," and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree." And yet what exceeding cause have we to rejoice, who are advanced to an higher degree than he speaketh of? even to the blood-royal of heaven, to be heirs and sons, yea, heirs annexed with Christ, yea, the very poorest of us have great things promised to us, and glorious.
Now in this matter of thanksgiving for all this the prophet is not contented with himself: but in that he saith unto his soul, forget not all his benefits, he therein secretly upbraideth his soul of forgetfulness, not to remember God's mercies, wherein is signified that part of original sin which tainteth the memory, stirring himself up unto sanctification. Because as sin is a thing which spreadeth itself over all, so sanctification is that which meeteth this part of original sin, and rectifieth the memory by a continual practice of holiness; as original sin, it is that which corrupteth the will, the understanding, the memory, and affections, &c.
Now that we may entreat of the memory, you then see it is more prone, a great deal, to forget than to remember chiefly good things. If God would have us to remember anything, that we are sure to forget soonest; and if he would have us to forget anything, that we will be sure to remember. God he commandeth us to keep the Sabbath, with a memento to show our sluggishness and forgetfulness in this duty. All God's children are in this fault. Our memories are frail, neither do we remember or labour to stir up ourselves to holy cheerfulness on the Lord's day, as we should. Christ biddeth us let not our right hand know what our other doth, and yet we love to take witness of
1 Chron. chap. 17. ver. 16.