Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with
praise be thankful unto Him, and bless His name' (Ps. C. 4).
In every thing give thanks' (i Thess. v. 18).
As lilies of the valley pour forth perfume, so good hearts pour
forth thanksgiving. No mercy is too small to provoke it, no trial
too severe to restrain it. As Samson got honey from the carcass of
the lion he slew, and as Moses got water from the flinty rock, so
the pure in heart are possessed of a sort of heavenly alchemy, a
divine secret by which they get blessings out of all things, and for
which there is giving of thanks.
A jubilant old saint in Boston came down to hoary hairs in deepest
poverty and had to live on the charity of such friends as God raised
up, and He raised them up. Bless His name! He who fed Elijah in the
wilderness by the brook and in the poverty-stricken home of the
desolate widow, found a way to feed His child in Boston. God is not
blind, nor deaf; nor indifferent, nor indigent. He is not 'the
silent God' that some people in their self-conceit and wayward
unbelief suppose. He knows how to be silent, and how to hide Himself
from the proud in heart. But He cannot hide Himself anywhere in His
big universe from childlike faith and pure, obedient, longsuffering,
patient love. Hallelujah!
This old saint believed, obeyed and rejoiced in God, and He raised
up friends to supply her needs. Now, one day one of them went
upstairs with a dinner for the old lady, and as she came to the
door, she heard a voice within, and thinking there was a visitor
present, and delicately wishing that her charity should not be a
cause of embarrassment, she stopped and listened. It was the voice
of the old Christian at her table, and she was saying, 'O Father, I
do thank Thee with all my heart for Jesus and this crust.'
To her thankful heart that crust was more than a feast and a
well-filled cupboard and a fat bank account to him who has not a
trustful, thankful spirit.
I heard of a rich man the other day who killed himself because he
feared he might become poor. He was poor. Jesus said, 'A man's life
consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth'
(Luke xii. 15), and no more does a man's real riches; but rather in
the spirit with which he possesses them.
Heaven is not parceled off into lots and estates. The angels own
nothing and yet they possess all things and are eternally rich. And
so with the true saint that trusts God and loves and obeys and is
The stars in their courses fight for him. He is now in harmony with
the elemental and heavenly forces and eternal laws of the universe
of God, and all things work together for his good. Not a hair of his
head falls without God's notice. Not a desire rises in his heart but
God's great heart throbs responsive to fulfill it, for does not the
Psalmist say, 'He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him'?
(Ps. cxlv. 19). Not simply the fervent prayer, but the timid, secret
desire that has not been voiced in prayer, shall be fulfilled. And
how dare God do that? Because holy fear will not allow a desire that
is not in harmony with God's character and the interests of His
Napoleon gave blank checks on his bank to one of his marshals. One
complained to the Emperor that the drafts made were enormous and
should not be allowed. 'Let him alone; he trusts and honors me, and
I will trust him,' said Napoleon. God puts all things at the command
of His saints, and trusts them while He asks them to trust Him. Why,
then, should we not be thankful?
Nothing will keep the heart so young and banish carking care so
quickly and smooth the wrinkles from the brow so certainly, and fill
the life with such beauty, and make one's influence so fragrant and
gracious and shed abroad such peace and gladness as this sweet
spirit of thankfulness.
This spirit can and should be cultivated. There is much in the lot
of each of us to be thankful for. We should thank Him for personal
liberty, and for the measure of health we have. There is a good old
soul up the Hudson who for thirty years or thereabouts has been
lying in bed, while her bones have softened, and she is utterly
helpless and always in pain, but she praises and praises and praises
We should thank Him that we are not insane, that our poor minds are
not unbalanced and rent and torn by horrid nightmares and dread and
nameless terrors and deep despair and wild and restless ravings. We
should thank Him for the light and blessings of civilization, past
mercies, present comforts and future prospects; for food, with the
appetite to eat it, and the power to digest it, raiment to wear,
books to read; for the Church, The Salvation Army, the open Bible,
the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Fountain opened for sin and
uncleanness, the glorious possibility of escape from the penalty and
the power, the consequences and the character of sin; for home and
friends, and Heaven bending over all, with God's sweet invitation,
'Come!' Truly, we have much to thank God for, but if we would be
thankful, we must set our hearts to do it with a will. We grumble
and complain without thought, but we must think to give thanks. To
murmur and repine is natural, to give thanks -- to really give
thanks -- is supernatural, is gracious, is a spirit not earth-born,
but comes down from God out of Heaven, and yet, like all things from
God, it can be cultivated.
David said, 'I will praise Thee' (Ps. ix. 1). He put his will into
it. Daniel 'prayed, and gave thanks' (Dan. vi. 10) three times a
day. David outdid Daniel, for he says, 'Seven times a day do I
praise Thee' (Ps. cxix. 164).
Know this, that if you are not thankful your heart is yet bad, your
soul unclean, for good hearts and pure souls are thankful. So go to
the root of the matter and get rid of sin and get filled with the
Holy Spirit. Flee to Jesus for riddance from the unholy spirit, and
the subtle selfishness that possesses you.
People who live in the midst of foul odors and harsh sounds cease to
smell and hear them, but if for a while they could slip away to the
sweet air and holy quiet of the woods and fields, and then return to
their noxious and noisy homes, their quickened senses would be
shocked by their noisome surroundings. And so selfish people often
live in themselves so long that they do not realize their
selfishness and sin, except as light from Heaven falls upon them.
But when God's sweet breath blows over them and His light shines
into them, then they are amazed at themselves. When some humble
saint, full of faith and joy and the Holy Ghost, crosses their path,
if they will but look, they may see themselves as in a glass.
But especially is this so when we look at Jesus; and if we continue,
the look will transform us. It is of this that the Apostle speaks
when he says, 'But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to
glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord' (2 Cor. iii. 18). And when
this change has taken place, the joy of Jesus will be poured into
the heart and praise will well up and bubble forth in thanksgiving
as an unfailing fountain of sweet waters, filling it with joy, and
earth, your little corner of earth, with peace, and gladdening all
who see and hear. But if that change has not fully taken place in
you, do not withhold the praise that is God's due, but think of His
loving-kindness and tender and multiplied mercies, and begin to
thank Him now, and your very giving of thanks will help to hasten
the change. Begin now! Praise the Lord!