The things for which thanks are to be given; and they are all things; the rule, and which is, according to the will of God, is "giving thanks always for all things;" and again, "In everything," or for everything, "give thanks" (Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18), to which agrees what the apostle says (Phil. 4:6). And,
1a. First, for temporal mercies; for God is the "Father of mercies," even of all such mercies; the author and giver of them, and therefore thanks should be returned to him for them. As,
1a1. For our beings; to be, is better than not to be; and none could give us existence but God, the fountain of being; "In him we live, and move, and have our being;" that is, we have it from him, as well as are supported in it by him; "It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves:—be thankful unto him, and bless his name" (Acts 17:28; Ps. 100:3,4), the wonderful formation of man, the structure of his body, the symmetry and perfection of its parts, as well as soundness of limbs, are matter of praise and thankfulness; as they were to the Psalmist David (Ps. 139:14-16).
1a2. For our life, which is from God; he "giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25), some creatures have a being, and yet not life, as inanimate ones; some have life, yet only a vegetative one, as plants; and others only an animal one, as brutes; but God has given to man a soul, both living and rational; Adam’s body was made out of the dust of the earth, and then God breathed into him the "breath of life, and man became a living soul;" and such a life every man has, which is a grant and favour from God (Job 10:12), and therefore thanks should be given to him for it, and for all the mercies of life, and for that more than for them; since "the life is more than meat," or drink, raiment, and everything by which life is nourished, supported, and made comfortable; and, indeed, is preferable to all a man has besides (Matthew 6:25; Job 2:4).
1a3. For the preservation of our being and life be God; his visitation, which is every day, every morning, preserves our spirits; he upholds our souls in life; he is therefore truly called, the "preserver of men," and is worthy of praise and thanksgiving on that account; the reason given is, not only because he has made the heaven, earth, and seas, and all therein; but because he "preserveth them all" (Neh. 9:5,6).