III. A knowledge of gratitude is necessary to our comfort:

First, because God is pleased to grant deliverance only to the thankful. It is only in such that his purpose is realized, which is his glory and gratitude on our part. Gratitude is, therefore, the principal end, and design of our deliverance. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." "He hath adopted us to the praise of the glory of his grace." (1 John 3:8. Eph. 1:4.)

Secondly, that we may return such gratitude as is acceptable to God, who will not have us to be grateful under any other form than that which he has prescribed in his word. True gratitude is, therefore, not to be rendered according to our own notion, but is to be learned from the Word of God.

Thirdly, that we may know that whatever duties we perform towards God and our neighbor, are not meritorious, but are a declaration of our thankfulness; for that which we do from gratitude, we acknowledge we have not deserved.

Lastly, that our faith and comfort may be increased; or, that by this gratitude, we may assure ourselves of our deliverance, as we are made acquainted with the causes of things from their effects. Those who are grateful, acknowledge and profess that they are certain of the good which they have received. We may learn what true gratitude is, in general, from the gospel, because it requires faith and repentance in order that we may be saved, as it is said, "Repent, and believe the gospel, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Mark 1:15.) In the law, however, it is taught particularly, because it distinctly declares what works, and what manner of obedience is pleasing to God. We must, therefore, necessarily treat of thankfulness in the catechism.

Objection. It is not necessary to teach that which follows of its own accord. Gratitude naturally follows a knowledge of our misery and deliverance. Therefore there is no necessity that it should be taught.

Answer. There is here an incorrect course of reasoning, in supposing that to be true generally, which is so only in part; for it is not a just inference that because gratitude follows a knowledge of our deliverance from misery, that the manner of it must also necessarily follow. We are, therefore, to learn from the Holy Scriptures, the nature of true gratitude, and the manner in which it should be expressed, so as to be pleasing and acceptable to God. Again; the major proposition is not universally true; for that also which follows of its own accord, may be taught for the purpose of increasing our knowledge and confirming us therein. And it is in this way, that is, through the revelation and knowledge of his Word, that God awakens, increases, and confirms in us, true gratitude.