Thanksgiving the act of giving thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercy received. It implies, according to Dr. Barrow (Sermons, 1, ser. 8,9),
(1) a right apprehension of the benefits conferred;
(2) a faithful retention of benefits in the memory, and frequent reflections upon them;
(3) a due esteem and valuation of benefits;
(4) a reception of those benefits with a willing mind, a vehement affection;
(5) due acknowledgment of our obligations;
(6) endeavors of real compensation, or, as it respects the Divine Being, a willingness to serve and exalt him;
(7) esteem, veneration, and love of the benefactor. The blessings for which we should be thankful are (1) temporal, such-as health, food, raiment, rest, etc.;
(2) spiritual, such as the Bible, ordinances, the Gospel and its blessings, as free grace, adoption, pardon, justification, calling, etc.;
(3) eternal, or the enjoyment of God in a future state;
(4) also for all that is past, what we now enjoy, and what is promised; for private and public, for ordinary and extraordinary blessings; for prosperity, and even adversity, so far as rendered subservient to our good.
The obligation to this duty arises
(1) from the relation we stand in to God; (2) the divine command; (3) the promises God has made; (4) the example of all good men; (5) our unworthiness of the blessings we receive; (6) the prospect of eternal glory.
Whoever possesses any good without giving thanks for it deprives him who bestows that good of his glory, sets a bad example before others, and prepares a recollection severely painful for himself when he comes in his turn to experience ingratitude. See Chalmers, Sermons; Hall, Sermons; Dwight, Theology.