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folved that he would do, supposing all Ifrael should revolt from God. And thus did the Prophet Elijah, in a time of general apostacy, when Israel had forsaken the covenant of their God, and thrown down his altars, and fain his prophets ; Elijah was left, as he
thought, alone, 1 Kings xix. 10. and yet he
this did not at all abate his zeal for his God: in such a case, it is much better to stand alone, and serve God by one's felf, than perish
with a multitude. Fashion, that models our by garb and dress, should have nothing to do with our religion. Once more
4.) A good man will resolve and endeavour, that not only himself, but his family with him, may serve the Lord. As for me, and my house, we will ferve the Lord; he will
serve the Lord alone, if none will join with 1 him ; but he earnestly desires, and will do all
that he can, that others may serve him and glorify him too, and especially those who are of his own family. Thus, it is mention'd in the word of God, to Abraham's everlasting honour, that he would use all his endeavours to promote religion in his house and family. I know him, faith God, that he will command bis children, and his housold after him, and they fall keep the way of the Lord, Gen. xviii. 19. and it is recorded of Cornelius, and mention'd as an excellent inftance of his piety, that be feared God with all his house, and prayed to God alway, Acts x. 2.
Masters, and heads of families, have, .cer tainly, a truft committed to them from Gods with respect to the souls of those who are . put under their care: it can never be thought, that the care of their bodies should be so great duty, as the Apostle represents it, I Tim. v. 6. so that to neglect it, is, in effect, to renounce christianity; and yet that the care of their souls, the nobler and immortal part, should be no duty at all. If he be worse than an infidel, who careth not, and provideth not for the bodies of his children and servants ; what must he be? Worse than a brute sure ! who does not care and provide, in the best manner he can, for their souls. We may suppose the great God
God and Judge of all; questioning with such persons at the great day, as once he did with Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? Where are thy fons, and thy daughters, and thy servants, whom I did, by my providence, commit to thy care and charge? What care haft thou taken of their precious fouls? Didst thou teach them and command them to keep the way of the Lord? Didit thoy pray in thy house ? and hast thou done what thou couldst do to save the souls of all that dwelt under thy roof? These are serious questions ; it greatly concerns all, who are parents and heads of families, to consider, now. before hand, how they will answer them at the great day. But I must not stay upon this head at present. I am to
direct my discourse chiefly to young persons ; and I take it, that it will be very suitable to fuch a design, to enlarge upon the third obfervation, which I have raised from the text, viz. That whatever others do, and whatever choice others make, it is both our duty, and our prudence to serve the Lord.
Fashion and custom are, commonly, very a weighty considerations with younger minds ; W and fingularity is the abhorrence of the brisk and gay “ I shall be nothing but laugh'd at,
says the young person, if I don't do as “ other young people do of my age and 4. condition; ihould I fet up for precisedess “ and piety so soon, I must never shew my "head among my companions any more". But who can think of this? what young perfon can bare to be made a jest of? as any young person may propably enough expect to be, who will dare to make youa's resolution, that let others do what they will, he
will serve the Lord. Now to remove this e prejudice against fingular piery, and to thew
the reasonableness and advantage, as well as
I. Consider Joshua's resolution and choice.
chose and resolved upon. It was that he would serve the Lord; as for this phrase, to serve the Lord, I take it to comprehend in it the whole of religion ; and several such general phrases are to be met with in scripture ; -as, the knowledge of God, and the fear of God, which are sometimes put for all that practical regard which creatures owe to God, or for the whole of what we call religion. It is most natural and easy to understand this: phrase, in our text, in the same general and comprehenfive sense: when Joshua declares that he was resolved to serve the Lord, he means no less, than that he was determined to be whatever God would have him be, and to do whatever God would have him do. Thus much, however, you may particularly observe from the phrase in our text, that true religion is not a mere name and profession only, but a real and practical business ; 'tis serving the Lord, and we must make a business of it if ever we are accepted of God; for not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, says Chrift, but he that doth the will of my Father, which is in heaven, Matt. vii. 21. Religion does not lie only in notion and opinion, but it is a service, which requires labour and diligence to perform it faithfully, and so as to obtain the master's approbation at last. Our blessed Saviour compares it, in one of his parables, to the work of a labourer in a
vineyard, and elsewhere to the toils of a soldier in the wars. He tells us that we must strive to enter in at the strait gate, and that we must even uje violence to get into the kingdom of heaven. Religion, then, according to the fcripture account of it, is a practical business.: 'tis the serving of God, which must undoubtedly imply these tvo things.
First, That those who resolve to ferve God, must renounce and forsake all foreign service, which is contrary to God's service., And such is the service of the world, and of the flesh, and of the Devil. Ye cannot serve two masters, God and mammon, says Christ, and his servants ye are, to whom ye yield yourselves to obey, whether of fin-unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness, says the Apostle, Rom. vi. 16. it can't be both, but it must be one, or the other. If we resolve, with Foshua, to serve the Lord; we must resolve, at the same time, that we will serve fin no more for ever ; we must renounce the Devil as our master, and the world as our portion, and the gratifying of our fleshly luft as our chief interest. The language of such a resolution and choice must be, and will be, like that in Isaiah xxvi. 13. O Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us : but by thee only will we make mention of tby name. “From this very moment I change
my master, I will serve the Devil and the “ world no more: I am sorry that I have.