« AnteriorContinuar »
parts of good conduct, and readie to every SERM. good word and work.
3. They who fear God from their youth, especially, if it be with much steadineffe, are ufeful in the world many ways. Such men promote the good of fociety in their several stations. They alfo adorn, and recommend religion to others. By their means fome are brought into a good liking of it's ways or are induced to confider and examine it's pretenfions, till they find them just and reasonable, Others are confirmed, and they persevere with joy and refolution. It is very likely, that many pious Ifraelites were animated and encouraged by the example of Obadiah: though their circumftances were fuch, that they could not all act with the fame openneffe that he did. They were obliged to greater privacie. But yet they did not bow the knee to Baal, or render him any act of homage.
4. They who fear God from their youth have the happinesse of being always prepared for the various events of providence. If they are removed hence, their end is peace, and their reward is fure. If they live, they go on to perform the duties of life: and are
SERM. the beft qualified of any men to bear the troubles and afflictions of this ftate with a calm and compofed mind, and comfortable truft in God. For God is their refuge, and their portion in the land of the living. They have none in heaven but him. Nor is there any upon earth, whom they defire in compariSon of him. And when flesh and heart fail, God is the ftrength of their heart, and their portion for ever.
What has been now obferved should induce all, whatever is their age of life, to fear the Lord.
They who are in early age have encouragement to give up themselves to God now, without delay, and to fear and serve him henceforward all the days of their life. There is great virtue in fo doing. And it will be attended with very defirable advantages. None will difcourage them from being early in this defign. They who have feared God from their youth, will readily affure them, that it is the wifeft thing that
can be done. They who are now ferious and religious at length, after trying the ways of fin, will likewise affure them, that if they neglect the prefent opportunity, and defer to come to a full determination, and form effectual refolutions of obedience to all God's commandments; that delay will fome time. be matter of grief and bitter lamentation.
This difcourfe then may be confidered as an invitation to young perfons, to be truly religious without delay: to weigh and confider the things of religion seriously, and to determine accordingly to remember now Ecc. xii. their creator in the days of their youth, and to serve him conftantly with inviolable fidelity.
But it fuggefts no difcouragements to others, who have as yet deferred. It does indeed fhew, in fome measure, the evil of procrastination. But it does not infinuate, that there is no hope or remedie for those who have long delayed.
They who have feared God from their youth have fome diftinction. They were early wife, and they have proceeded in Wisdom's paths. But they are not taught to boast, or fay fcornfully: They are not, as other men.
SERM. They likewife have failings. And do own, that if God were ftrict to mark iniquity, they could not be juftified in his fight. Their hopes therefore are founded in the mercie of God. They believe, and it is what they would recommend to the confideration of others: That with God there is forgiveneffe, that he may be feared and ferved by fuch weak and fallible creatures as we are.
Goodneffe is as certainly a property of the
If. lv. 7. Deity, as any other. If finful men forfake the evil of their ways, and unfeignedly return to God, they will find reft for their fouls: for he will have mercie upon them, and will abundantly pardon.
A Future State provable by Reason.
PSA L. lxxxiv. 11.
For the Lord God is a fun and Shield. The Lord will give grace and glorie: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
HE Lord God is a fun. He is not only glorious and excellent in himself but from him iffue ftreams of knowledge and wifdom, joy and comfort. Whatever the fun is
to the material world, that God is in the most eminent manner to his people.