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PSALM 139, 14.
“ I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.”
I HAVE often observed, that the great duty of man towards God, is thanksgiving, which is a most comprehensive, exalted, and perpetual duty indeed. Whatever, therefore, hath a tendency to excite this duty in us, who are continually learning almost all things more perfectly, must be of essential use to our souls. And what can be a better subject of this description, than that of our own very formation, construction, and existence! Few reflect upon this as they ought, and this is one reason why few give God the
glory due unto his holy name. But, the more we do reflect upon it, the more we shall be lost in astonishment and adoration, at the great things God hath done for us.
The generality of men, alas! live without God in the world, because they forget to praise him, or form a right estimation of themselves. They pass their time mechanically, like the brute creation, or a piece of clock-work, and are more disposed to murmur at the apparent and occasional deprivations of the divine goodness. than to dwell upon the angelic and rapturous theme,“ He hath done all things well.” And, how often are the defects and miseries induced by indolence, luxury, and spiritual rebellion, attributed to divine love and wisdom! And thus, the great Creator is belied and abused, and sometimes his very existence called in question, by those very beings of the highest rank, designed and qualified to glorify God the best of all others. Thus also, are men willing to depreciate and disown their sublime faculties and capacities, while they are proposing superior laws of wisdom to the Most High! Many are brought into such a state, through infernal
perversion, as to be ready to curse God for their existence, and wish themselves out of existence as soon as possible, or at least, out of this state of probation and preparation! Such is the madness, blasphemy, inconsistency, infatuation, and delusion, too commonly prevalent in this world. But, my brethren, let us look out for subjects of rejoicing in the God of our salvation. He is never imperfect, inattentive, or absent. Materials are not wanting for praising him: and it is our duty, priviledge, and honour, in time and eternity to collect them all together. And as the proper study of mankind is man, by which he may ascend to his origin and be conjoined with the infinite Creator of all things; therefore, let us now examine, pursue, and apply the doctrine of our text, so that we may see its divine harmony and use, in making us praise the God that made us. “I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made : marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.”
In this divine passage, the praise of God is the end intended. The doctrine of man’s having that spiritual and independ
ent principle of intelligence and life called the Soul, is also here evidently discovered, and it is by virtue of this alone, that any man is (able to contemplate the divine workmanship, and is prompted thence to adore the divine workman himself. But this very soul, and the body too, in which it lives for a time, are each in themselves respectively an epitomy of the divine wonders, above all other things. And, what is equally surprising, we have the power of meditating upon our own existence, as well as upon all other things; and, the more we meditate, the more we are lost in admiration, amongst the labyrinths, and in the depths of the divine wisdom. And what is still more suprising, we are not to hesitate on this account, and give up such an investigation altogether; but rather to be frequently dwelling on it, for the great and important purpose of glorifying God, in our bodies, and in our spirits, which are God's. If we consider the doctrine of the text, and of our own existence only, under such a desire and impression, to the eternal exclusion of vain curiosity and ineffectual speculation, then we shall obtain our end, by adyancing in