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Being God is, will be very desirous of Serm. the Continuance of his Favour, and very I. unwilling to do any thing which may displease him; and, secondly, He, who reflects upon his Justice, must needs conclude, that he will certainly punish him, according to his Demerits, if he goes on wilfully and obstinately to offend him; as also that his Power is so great, that he is able to inflict what Punishment he pleases upon him, and not only to kill the Body, but to destroy both Body and Soul in Hell fire.

2. The other part of the good Man's Character is, that he obeys the Voice of God's Servant ; he hearkens diligently to the Word of God preached, and performs whatsoever he apprehends to be his Duty. For the Prophets of old not only foretold Things to come, but interpreted the Law, and expounded it to the People : And, under the Gospel, the Ministers of Christ succeed the Prophets in their Calling and Office; and, therefore, Preaching in the New Testament is called Prophefy- Cor. ing. He, therefore, is reputed a truly good xiv. 6. and religious Man, who constantly frequents the public Worship of God, is a diligent Hearer of the Word ; and, not only a Hearer, but a Doer of the fame;

SERM. he obeys whatsoever God reveals to him, 1. by his Servant, to be his Duty. He doth

not take up his Religion, either from Education, or Custom, or any low and mean Interest, but he attentively hearkens to the Word of God preached, he examines the Truth of what he hears, he treasures it up in his Mind, and brings forth the Fruits of it in an holy Life and Conversation ; the End of his hearing the Voice of God's Servant, is not to tickle his Ears with some eloquent Oration, curious Remark, or the grateful Turns of Thought or Language ; much less to censure the Preacher, or, to pick out something to find Fault with (though generally without Cause, or any tolerable Reason) but that he may be put in Mind of what he already knows, and prevailed upon to live accordingly; that his Affections may be enlivened, his Love to God inflamed, his Hatred against Sin increafed, and in short, that he may conform his Life more exactly to the Rule of God's Word, be a better Man, and a better Christian,

These are the Ends which we ought to propose to ourselves, when we enter into the House of God; and, unless we do so, we shall lose the greatest Part of that Benefit and Advantage, which we might otherwise reap by the Hearing of his SERM. Word. For though God may bestow upon

I. such Men, as are bare Hearers of the Word, and only make an outward Profession of Religion, many Blessings in this Life, (as in the Case of Ahab, who, though he is re- 1 Kings corded, not only to have done Evil, but XXI. 25, to have fold himself to do Evil in the Sight of the Lord, yet because he humbled himself before God, put on Sackcloth, and went softly; God promises that he would not bring upon him the Judgment he threatened in his Days. I say) though God is sometimes pleased so far to en courage the bare outward Profession of Religion, and to reward the first Steps and Approaches towards Holiness and a good Life; yet this will not be a sufficient Foundation to build our Trust upon in this Life, nor our Hopes of Happiness hereafter; he that would have sure Grounds to rely upon God's Protection, must obey the Voice of bis Servant. And therefore, Fearing God, and Obeying the Voice of his Servant, are, in the Text, both put together ; for he, that truly fears God, will yield a fincere Obedience to his Com. mands: And, on the other Hand, an universal and evangelical Obedience can proceed from no other Principle, B 3

26, 27.

than

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16.

Serm. than a filial Reverence and Fear of God, I. Having thus considered the Character of

the good Man in the Text, I proceed,

II. To the Duty injoined him : To trust in the Name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. Let bim trust in the Name of the Lord, i. e. Let him trust in the Lord, for, in the Holy Writ, the Name is frequently put for the Person,

because every Person is distinguished by Matt. i. his Name; they fall call his Name Em

manuel, i. e. he shall be an Emmanuel, or

a. God with us, as the Word in the OriA&s iii. ginal fignifies. And the lame Man is

said to be made whole through Faith in the Name of Christ, i. e. through Faith in Christ. And thus, Let bim trust in the Name of the Lord, is as much as to say, Let him trust in the Lord.

Now to trust in God, is to depend on him for all the Blessings of this Life, and a better ; to rely on him for Protection from all Dangers, and Deliverance out of all Calamities. And, that this is our Duty, is evident, not only from many plain Texts of Scripture, but from the Light of Nature itself. For, if there is a God who governs the World, who can do what best pleases him, and will perform whatsoever he has promised us ; common Reason tells

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kis, that we ought to crave his Help and SERM. Assistance, in every Thing we perform ; I. to rely on his Word, and to assure ourfelves that he will defend all who cast themselves under his Protection; he will keep them in perfet Peace, whose Minds are stayed upon him. He is obliged to do this, by the Goodness of his Nature, as well as his own free Promises : For a good God, and a gracious and beneficent Being, must needs take Delight in doing Good to his Creatures, and filling all their Capacities with the Streams of his Bounty; he is never better pleased, than when his poor, indigent Creatures qualify themselves to receive those Blessings, which he so plentifully showers down upon them: On the Contrary, God is represented in Holy Scripture, as very much grieved and troubled, when Men, by their Sins, defeat the gracious Purposes of his Love, and render themselves uncapable of those Favours he designed to bestow upon And, if there is no greater Pleasure to a good Man, than to do Good to others, if he is kind and tender-hearted, and ready to relieve the Necessities of his indigent Brother, shall not God (who is the Source and Fountain of all Good, and made Mankind on Purpose to communicate B 4

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them,

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