Thomas Scott on Thankfulness
This post is the first of what will likely be many posts related to the life and thought of Thomas Scott (1747-1821). Thomas Scott was an evangelical, Anglican minister who was famous for producing a 6 volume commentary on the Bible and for being the first secretary of the Church Missionary Society (which was founded in 1799). Scott’s writings are largely unknown today, but the reader will find them highly practical and often very insightful. Below, I have provided a sample from Scott’s Theological Works which I thought was convicting. This selection was part of the preface to a thanksgiving sermon (not to be confused with the American holiday) Scott preached at the conclusion of the American War for Independence. His comments take on added significance when we consider that Thomas Scott was British and therefore on the losing side of the war.
Mankind in general look at the dark side of their circumstances, and the supposed bright side of their character; whence arise pride, discontent, and murmurs, dishonourable to God, and tormenting to themselves. But true religion teaches us to consider the dark side of our character, and the bright side of our circumstances; and, reflecting how many undeserved comforts we enjoy, to exercise humble gratitude and cheerful praise. But few, however, comparatively, are truly religious; and those few are only in part influenced by their principles: so that they are often repining, when they might be praising: and discontent almost everywhere prevails, instead of gratitude. Well then might the Psalmist repeatedly say, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonders to the children of men!” (Thomas Scott, Theological Works: Published at Different Times and Now Collected into Volumes, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: William W. Woodward, 1810), 2:369.