Thomas Wilson.

The works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) online

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selves under His protection, and not to fear what man can
do against us. He puts us in mind of another instance of
God's care : " Consider (saith He) the fowls of the air : they [Matt. 6.
reap not, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly
Father feedeth them ;" that is, they meet with food conve-
nient for them, as certainly as the day cometh. A sufficient
reason why man should depend upou God for his daily
bread, and be very thankful for it.

In short; every thing we stand in need of, every thing we
enjoy, every thing we see, is capable of exciting in us devout
affections, if we would but consider them. For example :
have we not great reason to bless God, that for so many
ages He has never denied the world His blessings so long as
to destroy it for want of necessaries? If we should want
rain but for one summer, neither man nor beast could live
one year longer. If it should rain one whole winter, all
things necessary for our support would perish. If we should
have a long calm, the very air would be corrupted, and we
should be soon destroyed ; and if we should have too long a
storm, we should want many things from abroad, which are
necessary to our well-being. Does not this convince us of
the goodness of God; and should not this make us very
thankful when we come before Him ?

And then, do but consider the power of God in that one
instance which St. Paul mentions, and which every farmer [i Cor. 15.]
experiences to his comfort : that every grain of corn he sows
is, to all appearance, utterly lost ; and so would he and his
family be too, but that God, by His mighty power, makes
the earth to restore it him again, after another manner, and
with a sevenfold increase. And so He will restore us to life
again, though our bodies are laid in the earth. He has told
us He will do it, and this one instance shews us that he can ;
and that we ought therefore to serve Him most faithfully
here, that we may be raised to glory at that great day.

And oh ! that these considerations might prevail with
christians to humble themselves in the presence of God, as
becomes sinners, as becomes petitioners, as becomes creatures


SERM. in the presence of their Creator, and suhjects in the presence

'— of the great King of all the earth ; without whose protection

we are exposed to most powerful enemies; without whose
providence we cannot subsist one moment ; and without
whose mercy and pardon we are undone for ever.

Now, because we are but too apt to forget all these conside-
rations, our Church puts us daily in mind how we should be-
have ourselves before the face of Almighty God our heavenly
Father; that we should confess our sins with humility and
sincerity ; that we should hear His holy Word with reve-
rence ; that we should render thanks to God for all the
benefits which we have received at His hands, and ask those
things which are requisite and necessary as well for the body
as the soul. She puts us in mind that these duties are to be
performed with an humble voice as well as a pure heart ; she
directs us to fall upon our knees when we ask God^s mercy
and favours, and to stand up when we give Him thanks, or
praise His holy name. She orders the Psalms of David to
be read, that we may learn to bless God in the words of His
Holy Spirit ; and we hear the Holy Scriptures, that we may
know the will of God, and how He has been served by His
faithful servants ever since the world began.

Well then ; you will perhaps say, we do all this as we are
directed. What, and pray to God without concern; scarce
minding what you say, sitting at your ease, or gazing about
as if God did not see you, or as if holy angels were not
present ?

For shame : let us not call this worshipping God ; call it
unthoughtfulness, profaneness, an evil habit, or any thing but
serving God, for that it is not.

To conclude : all thoughtful christians will take a more
than ordinary care of their behaviour while they are in God's
house and in His presence. We are, you see, in the Scrip-
ture way of speaking, before God. We would seem to know
this, by falling upon our knees as soon as we come into a
church. Our business at God's house is, to glorify God in
the first place, and then to beg such blessings as we cannot
want without being very miserable. And then, if we beheve,
as we have good reason, that the angels of God are person-
ally present in the house of God, we shall behave ourselves


with a little more decency than we usually do in our own
houses; lest they, seeing our ill behaviour, our sloth, and
indifference, forsake our Church, return to heaven, and there
report, that of a truth the fear of God is not amongst us.
This has been the case of an infinite number of Christian
churches, which have been destroyed, or are now in the
hands of unbelievers, because christians did profane them, or
became unworthy of them.

It is a melancholy thing to consider, that too many chris-
tians do not think of these things ; but fancy that they have
done enough when they have been at the house of God,
though they have honoured Him neither with their bodies
nor souls. But all serious people will consider, that they
come to church to pray for pardon of their sins, and that it
would be a real misfortune to return home without absolu-
tion ; which, therefore, they receive with the humility of an
offender receiving his pardon. They feel the want of grace
and strength to do what they are convinced they ought to
do ; Avhich, therefore, they pray for with the concern of peo-
ple who will not easily be denied. And lastly ; they often
remember, Avith what /ear, and reverence, and humility, the
holy spirits approach the presence of God; and this they
resolve and strive to make their pattern.

And God grant we may all do the same, for Jesus Christ's




Assist me, glorious God, by Thy Holy Spirit, so to think and speak of
Thee, as that they who hear me may see and acknowledge Thee in Thy
wonderful and beneficial works of creation and providence ; and that we
may all fear, love, and obey, and glorify Thy great name, through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

Psalm xxix. 2.

See Ps. 19. ^'>ve unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.

1 ; 145. 5,

j'^r 5^24^' Every body owns it to be a most necessary duty to praise

Acts 14. 17; and fflorify the God Who made us, and Who holds our souls

Rev. 4. 11.

in life. But many, too many are at a loss, through a careless,

unthoughtful temper, how to do it as they should do. At the
same time, there is no one thing which we can cast our eyes
upon, but may afford us an occasion of admiring, and glorify-
ing, either the power, or the wisdom, or the goodness, or the
providence of God.

Now, the want of thus observing the works of God, is the
great occasion of that scandalous indifference in the religion
which the generality of christians pay to God. And it can-
not be otherwise, forasmuch as the knowledge of God is the
root and the foundation of all true religion : and the observing
His wondrous works, and glorifying Him for them, is the
only way of preserving an holy fear, and love, and reverence
of God, and an high esteem of Him in our minds.

It is true, God does not need any honour we can pay Him;
He is infinitely great, and good, beyond what we can think or
say of Him ; but it is altogether for our sakes, that He has


made it our duty to glorify Him ; that we may think, and
speak, and live, as becomes those who have a due sense and
knowledge of God, " in Whom they live, and move, and have
their being ;" and that they may pay Him an holy, reason-
able, and cheerful service.

And, pray take notice, that in this duty of glorifying God,
for the works of the creation, we hold communion, in some
sense, with the whole world of thoughtful people ; which is
an instance of communion and charity not to be slighted.

I might entertain you with very many surprising instances
of God's wonderful wisdom and goodness in the things He
has made; and which, by an amazing providence. He pre-
serves in being ; which have been the subject of many learned
men, in order to glorify the great Creator: but lest these
things should be above the understanding of ordinary capa-
cities, I will set before you, in one short view, the meaning of
that hymn of praise, in our morning service, which begins
with these words, " O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the [The Song

XT • TT- 1 •£• TT- !• )j of the Three

Jjord : praise Him, and magnify Him tor ever. Hoiv Chii-

Now the Church, in this hymn, would have her children 3^*^^^' ^ ®'^'
instructed to take all occasions oflFered them to praise, and
bless, and magnify their great Creator, for the wonderful
provision He has made for the welfare of all His creatures,
and especially for the happiness of man both in this life and
in the next.

Our duty, therefore, being to glorify God for His works of
wonder and mercy ; what I now intend is, to shew you the
many occasions you ivill have of putting this duty in practice ;
and especially in the many instances given us in this song of
praise, which is, in effect, the same with the 148th Psalm,
but here more particularly set forth.

Now, this hymn begins with the most noble part of the
creation : " O ye angels of the Lord," &c., which every time
we repeat, we should give God thanks for that He gives these
His angels charge concerning us poor mortals, as His Holy
Spirit assures us He does.

Let us also remember what the same Spirit tells us, that
thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand
of these glorious beings wait upon God continually, to mini-
ster unto Him, and to receive His commands. With what


SERM. thoughts of reverence and fear of this glorious Majesty will

'- this thought affect the mind of every serious christian ! And

with what comfort will it fill our souls, when we consider,
that we shall, one day, be as happy as these very angels, if
in this state of trial we behave ourselves as God has com-
manded us !

And let us not forget that these angels are in Scripture
[Prov. 15. called the eyes of God ; and that they are in every place be-
ll. 10.] holding the evil and the good; and especially in the religious
assemblies of christians (as St. Paul intimates). And indeed,
and as sure as I now speak to you, they are here now present
with us in this place, and hear the charge I give you, and are
witnesses of your behaviour, and of the attention you give
to the service, and to the Word of God read and preached
unto you.

In the next place, we are led to bless God for the heavens
He has made ; whether they are those where His Majesty,
in an especial manner, together with His glorious angels, re-
sides ; or those heavenly bodies, which we see with our eyes,
and by which all nations are led to acknowledge the God that
made them ; and are without excuse if they do not adore and
magnify their great Creator.
Gen. 1. 7. Moscs, in the account of the creation, mentions the waters
Ps. 148. that are above the firmament ; and the Psalmist does the same.
What these are, or their uses, we know not perfectly ; and so
it is with all God's works ; but this we may be assured of,
that God made them for His glory, and our benefit ; and we
ought to praise Him for them, as we do for the rest of the

In the next place, we are called upon to bless and praise
God for those wonderful powers by which all nature is go-
verned, and by which all His works are preserved, and do
answer the end of their creation. Let us also magnify God
for those spiritual powers and agents, by which He orders the
affairs of this lower world, protecting and rewarding the good,
and bringing the wickedness of the wicked upon their own
heads ; whether they be particular persons, or whole nations.
This is called the providence of God, which we have every day
occasions and reason to adore, to fear, and magnify : and let
us not forget to do it.


In the next place, how can any man, who has his eves
open, forbear to bless and honour God for those two great
lights, the Sim and moon, which He has created ? Do but con-
sider the multitude of blessings and comforts which we re-
ceive from their light and heat; without which this whole
earth, and all the creatures in it, would soon perish. Can
any man see, and consider, these glorious bodies, without
saying in his heart, how much more glorious must the Maker
of them be ! How infinitely good and kind must He be, Who
for us poor creatures has made such wonderful, such astonish-
ing works ! And how insensible, how ungrateful, shall we
all be, if we do not bless and magnify our God for these His
works !

Let any man look upon the heavens in a clear night, and
see the innumerable multitude of bright stars which adorn
the sky, and give us an occasion of glorifying the Maker of
such vast bodies of light, which, though by reason of their
distance they appear small to us, yet are many times larger
than this earth we tread on.

Let us come to things nearer us. Shoivers, and dews, are
blessings which both man and beast feel the effects and the
comfort of; when God, in whose hands are all these blessings,
refresheth the earth with the former and the latter rain in
their season : and when He denieth us these blessings, it is
to punish us for our unthankfulness, and to make us more
sensible that all the blessings which we hope for, or enjoy,
are to be asked of Him, and that He is to be praised for

Little do men consider 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
sinful people, He needs but command the winds to cease, and
sickness, plagues, pestilence, and death, will follow of course.
This, experience has taught the world ; insomuch as, during
the last great plague in England, the wind never stirred; and
when God gave the word, and the wind arose, the sickness
ceased. What reason therefore have men to consider this,
and to magnify the wonderful goodness of God for this part
of His works, so beneficial to us, and to the rest of the crea-
tion !


SEEM. What a comfortless world should we live in (if we could

live at all), if our good God had not created firs and heat for

our use, comfort, and necessity ; and yet we enjoy them every
day, without considering who it is that has provided for us
so necessary, so useful, a blessing ; and who ought therefore
to be praised for it.

The winter and summer return every year at their proper
seasons : would to God our praise and thanksgivings for the
same did also return with them ! But the commonness of
God's blessings and wonders makes us to forget the author
of them ; and to forget too to praise Him for their several
uses. We should not do so, if we did but consider what the
sad effects of a constant summer must needs be ; what a parch-
ing 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
constant occasions of blessing and praising Him for them.

The deivs and frosts ; that is, the hoar frost, or frozen
vapours, the frost and cold, the ice and snow, are all neces-
sary in their seasons, to cleanse the air, and to make the
earth more fruitful, according to the old observation of the
husbandman, that the snoiv manures every poor man's croft,
and makes it more fruitful. So that both poor and rich .
ought to bless God for these instances of His love and care
for His poor creatures.

Nights and days, light and darkness, observe and keep the
rules and laws which God hath appointed them from the
first creation. These glorify their great Creator, by observ-
ing the laws He has set them ; while men, unthoughtful
men, enjoy these blessings without adoring the bounteous
goodness of God. They enjoy the rest 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 bless God for the many days He
affords them in which to provide necessaries 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 blessing of the light ; by which we can
see, and admire, and enjoy, the works of the creation.


This leads us to consider the earth, and its wonderful pro-
vision for all its numerous inhabitants ; and to take occasion,
from every blessing we meet with, to observe and to adore
the power, the loisdom, and the goodness 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 occasion, and bless God for the
fruits of the earth, by which, through His blessing, our lives
are sustained. Let us give God thanks for the grass of the
field, by which such a number of creatures are fed for the
use of man. Let us take notice of the great variety of those
creatures, which are made for our use; some for labour,
some for food, some for clothing, some for our pleasure.
Who does not see, and feel, the surprising goodness of God,
in providing so wonderfully for our ease and welfare? At
the same time, let us remember, that our right in these
creatures is not absolute ; we hold them from God, and He
can deprive us of them whenever He sees fit, and whenever
we abuse them. And therefore the Spirit of God has given
us this rule. The merciful man is merciful to his beast : and [Pmv. 12.
whoever abuses any of God's creatures, or tortures them, or ^ "^
destroys such as are neither hurtful while they are alive, nor
of use when they are killed, will have more to answer for
than men usually think of.

We look upon the mountains and hills, without consider-
ing, that without these the earth would be but an uncom-
fortable habitation; these being made, by a merciful God,
to supply the lower parts of the earth with springs and rivers,
so pleasant, so comfortable, so useful to man and beast. Let
therefore the water we drink and use put us in mind of that
most kind God, Who furnishes every country, and especially
this of ours, with this necessary element.

The seas and floods are the next blessings which are called
upon to bless and magnify their Maker; that is, we that
enjoy these blessings are directed, when we see them, to
praise God for the great benefits we receive by them. And
indeed, if people who are encompassed by the sea, who
cannot, unless they are very stupid indeed, but observe the
wonderful laws God hath set it, its surprising ebbings and
Howings ; who see daily its great advantage to mankind, by


SERM. the trade it enables men to carry on, and whereby every

— country has its wants supplied : whoever sees this, great will

be their crime, and their judgment severe, if they do not
admire, and adore, and praise God for this part of His
creation; and especially for the vast provision with which
the whole world almost is supplied. Both great and small
fish, whales, and all that move in the waters, do all of them
give us an occasion of admiring and praising God.

And here let me put you in mind, of what I have often
hinted to you, that though the blessings of the seas are
innumerable, yet God keeps these blessings under His own
especial direction, and gives or withholds them, just as He
finds men disposed to receive them with gratitude or un-
thankfulness. And pray remember the words of Christ's
[Luke 5. 5.] disciples; "Master, we have toiled all the night, and taken
nothing.'^ And do not many of you, my good friends and
neighbours^ do not you do the same too often? And what
can you imagine may be the reason ? Either you do not
pray for, and give God thanks for His blessings, or you pray
for the blessings of the seas, and take your own unlawful
ways to procure such gains as God never will bless, never
will prosper.

The fowls of the air are the next order of blessings which
we are called upon to praise God for creating for our use and
benefit. And indeed their number, the variety of their use,
and the beauty of some, is so wonderful, that the most igno-
rant cannot but see the great and good God in their creation.
And when we consider what our Saviour has told us, that
not the meanest of these creatures but is under the care of
God's providence ; that a sparrow falleth not without His
knowledge ; we shall conclude two things especially ; First,
that we, the very meanest of us, are most certainly under
His care and protection, and that nothing can befall us
without His knowledge and permission. And secondly, that
the lives of His creatures are not to be wantonly taken away;
but only (as we observed before) when they are hurtful to us
when alive, or useful to us when killed.

When the children of men have recounted all these
works of the Lord, then are they themselves called upon to

^ [InhaMtaiits of the Isle of Man.]


bless the Lord, to praise Him, and magnify Him for ever.
All the rest of the creation do glorify God in the way which
He has appointed them : that is, they give men and angels
an occasion of admiring, of loving, of adoring, and oi praising
the Maker of them.

Wherever we tnrn our eyes (if we do but give ourselves
leave to consider), we meet with occasions of praising God,
either for His works of mercy, or of judgment. This was one
great end of our creation, to consider, to understand, and to
adore God. And the more we do this, the more we shall be
disposed to love and to serve Him sincerely.

But if all men in general are obliged to praise Him, much
more the Israel of God; all those to whom He has made
Himself, and His will, and laws, known; whom He has
chosen for His peculiar people. These will be inexcusable,
if they do not adore and praise the Lord Who has been so
good and kind to them.

And among these, the Priests of the Lord stand bound to
glorify Him, by all the obligations of duty and gratitude;
and dreadful will be their punishment if they do not. For
it is their business to make others sensible of the ways and
works of God, of His mercies and judgments. His favours
and corrections, and His designs in all His dealings with the
children of men.

In short ; all that call themselves the servants of the Lord,
and are really so, will take all occasions of glorifying their
Lord and Master, and endeavour and rejoice to see others
do so also. And by doing so, they will join in spirit with all
those holy souls of the righteous who are in paradise, waiting
for a blessed resurrection, and who cease not to bless and
praise God for His mercies to them when in this world, and
to those whom they have left behind them.

Lastly; all the holy and humble men of heart, all that
fear God, that are afraid to offend Him ; who in imitation of
those holy confessors Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, will lay
down their lives, rather than provoke Him who can destroy
both body and soul in hell ; all these will glorify God for
giving them grace and courage to do their duty to Him, at
the hazard of every thing that is dear to them.

We have seen, my christian brethren, our duty, which is,


SERM. to observe the wonderful works of the creation, and to praise

■ '- and magnify God ; to acknowledge His hand in every thing,

and upon all occasions : and this, in order to keep in our
minds a constant sense of His glorious perfections, and of
our whole dependance upon Him; and an holy fear, and
love, and reverence of God in our hearts.

And indeed, it is for want of this, that so many peo-
ple forget their Maker, and grow careless, profane, unthank-
ful, and wicked; because God is seldom or never in their
thoughts. They will not take notice of the ways and works
of God, and what daily reasons they have to love and adore
Him. They receive His blessings, and will not acknowledge
Him; so that He gives them over to a reprobate mind, a
mind insensible and void of judgment.

To prevent this very great judgment, let us, before I con-
clude, consider, how this duty of acknowledging and praising

Online LibraryThomas WilsonThe works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) → online text (page 28 of 49)