In honor of Thanksgiving and the intentional time of remembrance that it brings of our blessings reaped from the hand of God, Hendrickson would like to share this excerpt from Day by Day with the English Puritans. Robert Dingley’s sermon, named “To Be Thankful,” delves into the importance of thanking God for our blessings and turning our face upwards to the heavens.
There is a grateful and thanksgiving eye; an eye that on all occasions looks upward to bless and praise God for all His mercies, promises, and fatherly corrections. “Jesus listed up His eyes, and said, ‘Father I thank thee, that thou hast heard me'” (John 11:41). The little birds do not sip one drop of water, but they look up, as if they meant to give thanks, to shame all of a swinish diposition, that devours mercies but never looks up to the hand that gives them. Plato thanked God that he was a Grecian, an Athenian, and the scholar of Socrates. And Theodosius thanked God more than he was a member of Christ than the head of an empire. With Him and Paul we should especially lift our eyes to God, and bless Him for all spiritual blessings in Christ. Yet there is no mercy so small but it requires thankfulness. At meals we must look up to God; so did Christ. “And when He had taken the five loaves, and two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to His disciples” (Mark 6:41). Epictetus wished he were a nightingale, to be ever singing contentedly day and night. …This is the sure mark of a man unregenerate, to be earnest in craving mercies, but slow and dull in returning praises. Then the dumb devil possesses men. Pliny tells of some that have no mouths, but live on the smell of herbs and sweet flowers. You had better believe him, than go and disprove him. Sure I am, some have no mouths to praise the Lord. They greedily smell the fading flowers of earthly vanities. There is no grace but love, and not duty but thankfulness goes with us to heaven. A good man is not only grateful for blessings, but with holy Job, he lifts up his eyes, and sincerely blesses God for His fatherly corrections: “The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord” (Job 8:21). For, says one, if the Lord whip His children, it is with sweet briar, He does it in faithfulness and mercy; and if He hides His face for a moment, with everlasting kindness He will embrace them. Every Christian knows how to bear afflictions, not only with patience, but also with thankfulness.
Day by Day with the English Puritans is a book of 365 daily devotions by 80 different English Puritans, including John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, Thomas Manton, Thomas Watson, Richard Sibbes, and John Flavel. Diverse and profound devotions cover topics like faith, spiritual growth, temptation, holiness, God’s character, prayer, joy and sorrows, etc.
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