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them be! How infinitely good and kind must he be, who for us poor creatures has made fuch wonderful, fuch astonishing works! And how infenfible, how ungrateful, shall we all be, if we do not blefs and magnify our God for these his works!
Let any man look upon the heavens in a clear night, and fee the innumerable multitude of bright stars which adorn the sky, and give us an occafion of glorifying the Maker of fuch vaft bodies of light, which, though by reason of their distance they appear fmall to us, yet are many times larger than this earth we tread on.
Let us come to things nearer us. Showers, and dews, are bleffings which both man and beaft feel the effects and the comfort of, when God, in whofe hands are all these bleffings, refresheth the earth with the former and the latter rain in their season: and when he denieth us these bleffings, it is to punish us for our unthankfulness, and to made us more fenfible that all the bleffings which we hope for, or enjoy, are to be asked of him, and that he is to be praised for them.
Little do men confider the uses and blessings of those winds, which clear the air we breathe in, and keep it free from infection. For whenever God thinks fit to punish a finful people, he needs but command the winds to ceafe; and fickness, plagues, peftilence, and death, will follow of course.
This, experience has taught the world; infomuch as, during the laft great plague in England, the wind never ftirred; and when God gave the word, and the wind arose, the fickness ceased. What reafon therefore have not men to confider this, and to magnify the wonderful goodnefs of God for this part of his works, fo beneficial to us, and to the reft of the creation.
What a comfortless world fhould we live in, (if we could live at all) if our good God had not created fire and heat for our use, comfort, and neceffity; and yet we enjoy them every day, without confidering who it is that has provided for us fo neceffary, fo useful a blessing; and who ought therefore to be praised for it.
The winter and fummer return every year at their proper feafons: would to God our praise and thanksgiving for the fame did alfo return with them! But the commonness of God's bleffings and wonders makes us to forget the author of them, and to forget too to praise him for their feveral uses. We fhould not do fo, if we did but confider what the fad effects of a conftant fummer must needs be; what a parching heat and drought, or what a perpetual pinching cold, would certainly produce. But God has ordered these grateful changes for his glory, and for our benefit, and that we might have conftant occafions of bleffing and praising him for them.
The dews and frofts; that is, the hoar frost, or frozen vapours, the froft and cold, the ice and fnow, are all neceffary in their seasons, to cleanse the air, and to make the earth more fruitful, according to the old obfervation of the husbandman, that the fnow manures every poor man's croft, and makes it more fruitful. So that both poor and rich ought to bless God for thefe inftances of his love and care for his creatures.
Nights and days, light and darkness, obferve and keep the rules and laws which God hath appointed them from the first creation. These glorify their great Creator, by observing the laws he has fet them; while men, unthoughtful men, enjoy these bleffings without adoring the bounteous goodness of God. They enjoy the reft and quiet of the night-too, too many, without giving God thanks for his mercies renewed unto them every morning. They take the advantage of the light, and of the day, to follow their labours, and too often neglect to blefs God for the many days he affords them in which to provide neceffaries for themselves and their families.
The darkness of the night should put us all in mind how uncomfortable our lives would be, if God did not afford us the blefsing of the light; by which we can see, and admire, and enjoy the works of the creation.
This leads us to confider the earth, and its wonderful provifion for all its numerous inhabitants;
habitants; and to take occafion, from every bleffing we meet with, to obferve and to adore the power, the wisdom, and the goodnefs of God, who hath made the earth so full of his riches, and who filleth all things living with plenteousness.
For example:-Let us take occafion, and blefs God for the fruits of the earth, by which, through his bleffing, our lives are fuftained; the number of herbs for food and for phyfick. Let us give God thanks for the grafs of the field, by which fuch a number of creatures are fed for the ufe of man. Let us take notice of the great variety of those creatures, which are made for our ufe; fome for labour, fome for food, fome for clothing, fome for our pleasure.
Who does not fee, and feel, the furprising goodness of God, in providing fo wonderfully for our ease and welfare? At the fame time, let us remember, that our right in these creatures is not abfolute; we hold them from God, and he can deprive us of them whenever he fees fit, and whenever we abuse them. And therefore the Spirit of God has given us this rule: The merciful man is merciful to his beaft. And whoever abuses any of God's creatures, or tortures them, or deftroys fuch as are neither hurtful while they are alive, nor of use when they are killed, will have more to anfwer for than men ufually think of.
We look upon the mountains and bills, without confidering, that without these the earth
would be but an uncomfortable habitation; thefe being made, by a merciful God, to fupply the lower parts of the earth with springs and rivers so pleasant, so comfortable, fo useful to man and beast. Let therefore the water we drink and use put us in mind of that moft kind God, who furnishes every country, and especially this of our's, with this neceffary element.
The feas and floods, are the next bleffings which are called upon to blefs and magnify their Maker; that is, we that enjoy these bleffings are directed, when we see them, to praise God for the great benefits we receive by them. And indeed, if people who are encompaffed by the fea, who cannot, unless they are very stupid indeed, but obferve the wonderful laws God hath fet it, its furprising ebbings and flowings; who fee daily its great advantage to mankind, by the trade it enables men to carry on, and whereby every country has its wants fupplied: whoever fees this, great will be their crime, and their judgment fevere, if they do not admire, and adore, and praise God for this part of his creation; and efpecially for the vaft provifion with which the whole world almoft is fupplied.
Both great and fmall fish, whales, and all that move in the waters, do all of them give us an occafion of admiring and praising God.
[And here let me put you in mind, of what I have often hinted to you, that though the