Offer to God thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the most High:
"Offer unto God thanksgiving." Which that we may do, let us inquire first how we are to understand this command of offering praise and thanksgiving unto God; and then how reasonable it is that we should comply with it. Our inquiry into what is meant here will be very short: for who is there that understands anything of religion hut knows that the offering praise and thanks to God implies our having a lively and devout sense of His excellencies and of His benefits; our recollecting them with humility and thankfulness of heart; and our expressing these inward affections by suitable outward signs; by reverent and lowly postures of body, by songs, and hymns, and spiritual ejaculations; either privately or publicly. Our praise properly terminates in God, on the account of His natural excellencies and perfections; and is that act of devotion by which we confess and admire His several attributes: but thanksgiving is a narrower duty, and imports only a grateful sense and acknowledgment of past mercies. Now, the great reasonableness and obligation of this duty of praise or thanksgiving will appear if we consider it absolutely in itself as the debt of our natures: or compare it with other duties, and then the rank it bears among them; or set out, in the last place, some of its peculiar properties and advantages, which recommend it to the devout performer.
1. It is the most pleasing part of our devotions. It proceeds always from a lively, cheerful temper of mind; and it cherishes and improves what it proceeds from.
2. It is another distinguishing property of Divine praise, that it enlargeth the powers and capacities of our souls; turning them from little and low things, upon their greatest and noblest objects, the Divine nature; and employing them in the discovery and admiration of those several perfections that adorn it.
3. It farther promotes in us an exquisite sense of God's honour, and an high indignation of mind at everything that openly profanes it.
4. It will work in us a deep humility and consciousness of our own imperfections.
5. A conscientious praise of God will keep us back from all false and mean praises, all fulsome and servile flatteries, such as are in use among men.
Parallel VersesKJV: Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
WEB: Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Pay your vows to the Most High.