Ps.cxxxvi. 26. give thanks unto the God of Jieaven; for
his mercy endureth for ever.
PRAISE is the employment of heaven: and praise
should be the employment of earth also. " Rejoice
evermore," is a special command of God : and to
express our joy in praises and thanksgivings is
equally commanded : " Tn every thing give thanks ;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning
you." The calls which are given us in the Psalms
to the performance of this duty are very numerous :
but in none more urgent than in the psalm before us.
The particular object here proposed as the subject
of our thanksgivings, is the Mercy of God, which we
are here called upon to contemplate and adore.
Let us then, in compliance with the Psalmist's
exhortation, endeavour,
I. To contemplate it —
Two things in particular respecting it we would
propose to your consideration :
1. Its unbounded extent —
[The Psalmist, after speaking of mercy as constituting one
of the most glorious perfections of the Deity "*, notices the ma-
nifestations of it which we behold in all the wonders of Creation'',
and Providence % and Redemption '^. Whilst we acknowledge the
hand of God in these things, we are but too apt to overlook his
mercij as displayed in them. But on this we should principally
fix our attention, as being most calculated to inflame our love
and gratitude towards our heavenly Benefactor. Contemplate then
the benefits which you receive from the sun, and moon, and stars,
and from the infinitely diversified productions of this terraqueous
globe Then behold all the interpositions of God in behalf
of his people Israel, and see in them what he is yet daily
performing both for the bodies and souls of all who trust in
him— Then, in the temporal redemptions vouchsafed to
Israel under their most desperate and degraded states, behold the
redemption of our souls from sin and Satan, death and hell,
through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ
Here are subjects of contemplation which might well
occupv the mind of the highest Archangel, and which therefore
deserve our most serious attention.
But we would more particularly recommend to every one to
consider the mercies which he himself has received : we would
have every one trace them from his earliest infancy to the
present moment: and, in reference to those interpositions of the
Deitv v.'hich appear to have been more conspicuous, we would
recommend that they be inspected with peculiar care, entering
minutely into all the particulars of each, and viewing in each
distinct particular the transcendent tnercy of God. Let the
psalm before us be particularly noticed in this view as a pattern^.
When we take only a superficial view of things in the general,
we remain unaffected by them : it is by entering into them in the
detail, and dwelling on the minutest particulars, that we get our
hearts properly affected with them. 'J'his therefore we would
most earneijtly recommend to all who would obtain a due sense of
the mercies conferred upon them.
But we must not imagine that the dispensations which have
been pleasing to flesh and blood have been our only meieies; for
amongst our severest trials will be found, for the most part, our
' ver. I. '' ver. — 9. . *- ver. 10 — 22. * ver. 23, 24.
* ver 9 — 22.
richest mercies. The successive trials of Joseph were of the most
painful nature : yet they were all mercies in disguise. If we
descend to more trifling incidents, such as Balaam's ass proving
restive, and crushing his foot again>it a wall, and afterwards
falling with him, they, as we know, were the very means by wii'ch
his life was saved *". Thus the things v.-hich grieve and irritate
us at the time may be the most merciful dispensations that we
could possibly have received : and we ought to receive them as
expressions of God's love^, sent to promote our good in this
world'', and to work for us an augmented weight of glory in the
world to come'. Even the darkness and temptations with which
our souls may be oppressed, must also be numbered among the
means which God in his infinite mercy makes use of for the
humbling and quickening, the sancti Tying and saving, of our
souls'" ]
2. Its everlasing duration —
[See how the mercy of God wrought in all the days of
old, even from the foundation of the world ! Precisely in the
same manner it still operates, and shall ever continue to operate,
towards all who fear his name ' God will not withdraw it
from those who are united unto Christ by faith"" He may
hide his face from them for a season ; but with everlasting mercies
will he gather them" The repetition of this truth twenty-
six times in as many verses is a very sufficient ))ledge to us that
" the gifts and calling of God are without repentance"," and that
*' whoin he loveth, he loveth to the end p."]
Having contemplated, though so imperfectly, the
mercy of our God, we now call upon you,
II. To adore it —
A tribute of praise and thanksgiving for such mercy
is the least that can be demanded of us. And well
may it be demanded ; for,
J. It is due from us —
[Can we conceive, that, after all the mercies vouchsafed
unto us, no return is required ? Are we to be as stupid and
insensible as beasts ? Is this a state that becomes persons
who haxe been redeetned by the blood of God's only dear
Perhaps it will be said by some, I have not yet obtained an
interest in Christ : how then can I render thanks for what I
^ umb, xxxiii. 22 — 33, ^ Heb. xii. 6.
'' Rom. viii. 28. ' 2 Cor. iv. I7, 18.
I' Isai. xxvii. 8, 9. & Hos.v. 15. & Ps. xxv. 10.
' Ps. ciii. 17. '" Ps. Ixxxix. 28—30.
"Isai.liv. 7—10. " Rom.xir29. " Jobnxiii, l.
470 PSALMS, CXXXVI. 26. [434,
have never received ? To this we reply. Have you no temporal
mercies for which to give thanks ? and, if you are not yet par-
takers of spiritual mercies, have you no reason to thank God
for the offer of them, and for not having been yet visited with
the judgments which you have so richly merited ? Think what
is the state of millions who have not committed either more
or greater sins than you ; and what might at this moment have
been your state also, if God in his infinite mercy had not spared
you ; and given you space for repentance ? Do but think of this,
and you will want no further incentive to gratitude and thanks-
giving. But think also of the offers of salvation now made to
you, a salvation free, and full, and everlasting: Oh ! what thanks
does this call for at your hands ! What if one such offer were now
made to those who are shut up under chains of everlasting dark-
ness and despair ; would no thanks be expressed by them P I call
upon you then to give thanks unto the God of heaven, who yet
waiteth to be gracious unto you, and " whose long-suffering you
should account to be salvation."]
2. It is pleasing and acceptable to God —
[The acknowledgment so often repeated in the psalm before
us has received more striking tokens of God's approbation than
any other that was ever uttered by mortal man : David, knowing
how acceptable it would be to God, appointed officers for the ex-
press purpose of repeating it in the service of the tabernacle "i.
And, when Solomon had brought the ark of God into the sanc-
tuary that he had prepared for it, and the priests were singing the
praises of God in the very words of our text, at that moment,
I say, did God descend into the sanctuary, so that the priests
could no longer stand to minister there by reason of the over-
whelming presence of the divine glory"". Another and no less
remarkable testimony of God's approbation was that which was
given to Jehosaphat's use of these words at the time that he was
going forth against three confederate armies : at the very instant
that the priests began to utter this acknowledgment, God set the
three confederate armies against each other, and stirred them up
to kill one another; till they were utterly destroyed, without any
conflict on the part of Israel ^. What greater proof can we have
of the delight which God feels in the exercise of mercy, and in com-
mending it to the admiration of the whole universe ? Begin then
this song : continue this song throughout the day: let every fresh
occurrence call forth fresh acknowledgments of the mercy of your
God : and rest assured, that the more you abound in these expres-
sions of your gratitude, the richer displays you shall have of the
Divine glory, and the more entire victory over all your spiritual
'' 1 Chron. xvi.41, ^ 2 Chron. v. 13. * 2 Chron.xx. 21 — 23.

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