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engage you to mix your worship with that of glorified intelligences, than this, on which we are come unto tbe city of the living God, the beavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, and to the first-born which are written in beaven? Heb. xii. 22, 23.
But, who are we, to be admitted into a fociety so holy? Great God! Thou dost appear to us to-day, as thou didst formerly to thy prophet, sitting upon a tbrone; bigb and lifted up, and thy train filling the teniple, Isa. vi, 1. Around thee stand the feraphims, covering themselves with their wings in thy majestic presence, and crying one to another, Holy, boly, boly, is the Lord of bosts, the wbole earth is full of his glory, ver. 3. We are stricken, as thy prophet was, with such a tremendous vifion, and each of us cries with him, Woe is me! I am undone !' I am a man of unclean lips! and yet, mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of bosts, ver. 5.
O'great God! command one of thy seraphims to fly to us, as he flew to hid ; bid him touch our mouths, as he touched his, with a live coal taken from off the altar, ver. 6. and, in this day of grace and mercy, let him fay to each of us, Lo, this bath touch: ed tby lips, and thine iniquity is taken away; and-tby sin purged! Amen, ver. 7.
" Praile is comely for the upright." The prarling of God is a duty, of which we may form two different notions, a general and a particular notion. By a general notion of praise, I mean, the exercise of a man, who, being capable of examining lublime objects, and of comprehending grand subjects, fixeth his attention on the attria butes of God, feels the fórce of those proofs which establish the truth of them, is delighted with them to a certain degree, and is happy in publishing their praise. I mean, by a particular notion of praising God, the exercise of a man, E 2
who, having received some signal favour of God, loves to express bis gratitude for it.
Each of hele exercises of praise fupposeth reWo... ducetions and sentiments. To praise God in the forft sense, to reflect on bis attributes, to con.. verse, and to write about them, without having the heart affected, and without loving a Being... who is described as fupremely amiable, is a life. Jess praise, more fit for a worldly, philosopher than for a rational christian.. To praise God in the fecond sense, to be affected with the favours of God, without having any distinct notions of God, without knowing whether the descriptions. of the perfections, that are attributed to him, be flights of fancy or real truths, is an exercise more fit for a bigot, who believes without knowa. ing why, thay for a spiritual man, who judgethi all things I Cor. ii. 15. If we distinguilh thepart, which thefe two faculties, reflection and Sentiment, take in these two exercises of praise,.we may observe that the first, I mean the praise of God taken in a general sense, is the fruit of: reflection, and the fecond of sentiment. The first: is, if I may be allowed to fpeak fo, the praise of. the mind; the fecond is the praise of the heart..
It is difficult to determine which of these two notions prevails in the text, whether the psalmist use the word praise in the first or in the fecond fense. If we judge by the whole fubject of the psalm, both are included. The praise of the heart is easily discovered. Whether the author of the psalm were Hezekiah, as many of the fathers thought, who say, this prince composed it after the miraculous defeat of Senacherib; or whethe. er, which is most likely, David were the compofa er of it, after one of those preternatural delivere ances, with which his life was so often signalized; what I call the praise of the heart, that is, a lively sense of some inestimable blessing, is clearly to be seen. On the other hand, it is still
clearer; that the sacred author doth not celebrate only one particular object in the pfalm. He gives a greater scope to his meditation, and compriseth in it all the works, and all the perfections of God.
Although the folempity of this day calls us less to the praise of the mind, than to that of the. heart ; although we intend to make the latter the principal fubje& of this discourse ; yet it is necessary to attend a little to the former:
1. Tbe praise of ibe Lord, taking the word .. praise in the vague sense, that we have afxed to: the term, is comely for the uprigbt : and it is: comely for none but for them.
“ Praise is come!y for the upright." Nothing is more worthy of the attention of an intelligent being, particularly, nothing is more worthy of the imitation of a superior genius, than the won-derful perfections of the Creator. A man of fueperior genius is required, indeed, to of his talents to cultivate the sciences and the liberal arts;. but after all, the mind of man, especially of that man to whom God hath given fuperior talents which alsimilate him to celestial intelligences, was: not created to unravel a point in chronology, to learn the various founds by which different na-. tions fignify their ideas, to measure a line, or to lose itself in an algebraic calculation; the minds of such a man was not created to study the stars,, to count their number,, to measure their magni.tude, to discover more than have yet been observa ed. Nobler objects ought to occupy, him. becomes such a man to contemplate God, to guide the rest of mankind, to lead tirem to God, who dwelleth in the light, wbicb no man can approacbunto, 1. Tim. vi, 16. aid to teach us to attend. ate the clouds, that hide him from our feeble eyes. It becomez fuck a man to use that 'superiority, which his knowledge gives him over us, to elevate our hearts above the low region of terrestrial
things, where they grovel with the brute beasts, and to help us to place them on the bright abode of the immortal God. The praise of the Lord is comely for upright men.
But praise is comely only for upright men. I believe it is needless now to explain the word uprigbtness. The term is taken in the text in the noblest sense : this is a sufficient explication, and this is sufficient also to convince us that the prailing of God is comely for none but upright men. I cannot see, without indignation, a phie. · losopher trifle with the important questions that
relate to the attributes of God, and make them fimple exercises of genius, in which the heart hath no concern, examining whether there be a God, with the same indifference with which he inquires whether there be a vacuum in nature, or whether matter be infinitely divisible. On deter: mining the queftions which relate to the divineattributes, depend our hopes and fears, the planswe must form, and the course of life we ought to pursue ;; and with these views we should examins i be perfections of God; these are confequences that thould follow our inquiries. With such die positions the pfalmift. celebrated the praises of God, in the psalm out of which we have taken . the text. How comely are the praises of God ins the mouth of such a man !!
Let us follow the holy man a moment in his meditation. His psalm is not composed in schola astic form, in which che author confines himself to fixed rules, and fcrupulously following a philofophical method, lays down principles, and infers confequences.
However, he establisheth principles the most proper to give us sublime ideas of the Creator ; and he speaks with more precision of the works ard attributes of God, than the greatest philosophers have spoken them.
How abfurdly have philosophers treated of the origin of the world? How few of them have
reasoned conclusively on this important subject ? Our prophet folves the important question by one single principle, and what is more remarkable, this principle, which is pobly expresféd, carries the clearest evidence with it. The principle is this :- By the word of the Lord were the beavens“. made, and all the host of them by tbe breath of bis mouth. This is the most rational account that was ever given of the creation of the world. The world is the work of a self-efficient will, and it is this principle alone that can account for its creation. The most simple appearances in nature are fufficient to lead us to this principle.. Either my will is felf-efficient, or there is some other being whose will is felf-efficient.
What I say of myself I say of my parents, and what I affirm of my parents I affirm of my more remote ancestors; and of all the finite creatures : from whom they derived their existence. Most certainly, either finite beings have self-efficient wills,, which it is imposible to suppose, for a finite creature with a self-efficient will is a contradiction ; either, I say, a finite creature hath a felf-efficient will, or there is a first cause who hath a felf.efficient will'; and that there is such a being, is the principle of the pfalmift: By the word of the Lord were the beavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
If philosophers have reafoned inconclusively on the origin of the world, they have spoken of its government with equal uncertainty: The psalms ist determines this question with great facility, by a single principle, which results from the for mer, and which, like the former, carries its evia dence with it. “ The Lord looketh from heav. en :. he confidereth all the works of all the inhab. itants of the earth," ver. 13, 14.
This is the doctrine of Providence. And on what is the doctrine of Providence founded ? On this prin. siple : God fashioneth their bearts alike, ver. 15.