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SER M. drawn from the Praise and Honour that w was (not only to redound to God from
him, but) to be given to God by him.
This Duty, therefore, is the Debt and Law of our Nature. And it will more distinctly appear to be such, if we consider the two Ruling Faculties of our Mind, the Understanding, and the Will, apart; in both which it is deeply founded: In the Understanding, as in the Principle of Reason, which owns and acknowledges it; in the Will, as in the Fountain of Gratitude and Return, which prompts, and even constrains us to pay it.
Reason was given us as a Rule and Measure, by the help of which we were to proportion our Esteem of every thing, according to the Degrees of Perfection and Goodness which we found therein. It cannot, therefore, if it doth its Office at all, but apprehend God as the best and most perfect Being; it must needs see, and own, and admire his infinite Perfections. And this is what is strictly meant by Praise; which, therefore, is
express’d in Scripture by confessing to God, SERM.
The Duty takes a farther and surer Hold of us, by the Means of our Will, and that strong Bent towards Gratitude, which the Author of our Nature hath implanted in it. There is not a more active Principle than This in the Mind of Man; and surely, that which deserves its utmost Force, and should set all its Springs a-work, is God; the Great and Universal Benefactor, from whom alone we receiv'd whatever we either have, or are, and to whom we can possibly repay nothing but our Praises, or (to speak more properly on this Head, and according to the strict Import of the Word) our Thanksgivings. Who hath first given Rom. xi. to God, (faith the great Apostle in his
6 ER M. usual Figure) and it shall be recompened
unto him again? A Gift, it seems, al-
Gratitude consists in an equal Return
that, which is fittest for us, to difpute SEAM how they come to be taken as an Equivalent, or to pay them?
It is, therefore, the Voice of Nature (as far as Gratitude it self is fo) that the Good Things we receive from above, should be sent back again thithet in Thanks and Praises, as the River's run Ecclef. into the Sea; to the Place (the Ocean ofi. 7. Beneficence,) from whence the River's come, thither fhould they return again.
II. We have confider'd the Duty II. absolutely; we are now to compare it with Others, and to see what Rank it bears among them. And here we shall find, that, among all the Aets of Religion, immediately address’d to God, This is much the Nobleft, and most Excellent; as it must needs be, if what hath been laid down be allow'd, that the End of Man's Creation was, to praise and glorify God. For That cannot but be the most noble and excellent Act of any Being, which best answers the End and Design of it. Other Parts of Devotion, such as Confession and Prayer, seem not Oringially
SERM. to have been design'd for Man, nor Man
for them. They imply Guilt, and Want,