« AnteriorContinuar »
ousness was made over to him, and so accounted his. This, this is gospel ; this is the only way of finding acceptance with God: good works have nothing to do with our juftification in his fight. We are justified by faith alone, as faith the article of our church ; agreeable to which the apostle Paul says, “ By grace ye are faved, through faith; and that. not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God.” Notwithftanding, good works have their proper place; they justify our faith, though not our persons; they follow it, and evidence our justification in the sight of men. Hence it is that the apostle James alks, was not Abraham juftified by works? (alluding no doubt to the story on which we have been discoursing) that is, did he not prove he was in a justified state, because his faith was productive of good works? This declarative juftification in the fight of men, is what is directly to be understood in the words of the text; “ Now know I, says God, that thou feareft me, since thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from me." Noc but that God knew it before ; but this is spoken in condescenfion to our weak capacities, and plainly thews, that his offering up his son was accepted with God, as an evidence of the sincerity of bis faith, and for this, was left on record to future ages. Hence then you may learn, whether you are blessed with, and are fons and daughters of, faithful Abraham. You say you believe ; you talk of free grace and free justification: you do well ; the devils also believe and tremble. But has the faith, which you pretend to, influenced your hearts, renewed your souls, and, like Abraham's, worked by love! Are your affections, like his, fet on things above? Are you heavenly-minded, and like him, do you confess youríelves ftrangers and pilgrims on the earth? In short, has your faith enabled you to overcome the world, and strengthned you to give up your Isaacs, your laughter, your most beloved luits, friends, plaiures, and profits for God? If so, take the comfort of ir; for justly may you say, “ We know ail uredly, that we do fear and love « God, or rather are loved of him." But if you are only ta'king believers, have only a faith of the head, and never felt the power of it in your hearts, however you may bolster yoursches up, and far, “We hare erabam for our father, " or Christ is our Saviour;" unless you get a faith of the
Abraham, Maac facob.
lives your own lived in
heart, a faith working by love, you shall never fit with
Isaac), Jacob, of Jesus Christ, in the kingdom of heaven.
But I muft draw one more inference, and with that I mall conclude: 5 9d1 Budy of 53299105
97899 v9 Learn, O faints ! from what has been faid, fo fit loose, to all your worldly comforts ; and stand ready prepared to part every thing,
on when God thall require it at your hand. Some of you perhaps may have friends, who are to you as
own souls ; "and others may have children, in whose Isaacs, their particular delights of some kind or other. Las
2009 abril bour, "for Christ's lake, labour, ye Yons and daughters of Abraham, to relign them daily in affection to God, that, when he shåll require you really to facrifice them, you may not confér with Aeth and blood, any more than the blessed patriarch now before us. And as for you that have been in any measure tried like unto him, let his example encourage and comfort you!" Remember, Abraham your father was tried só before you think, O think of the happiness hé now enjoys,
and how he is incessantly thanking God for tempta ing and trying him when here below. Look up often by the eye of faith, and see him fitting with his dearly beloved Ifaac in the world of spirits. Remember, it will be but a little while, and you thall fit with them also, and tell one anotñer what God has done for your souls. There I hope to fit with you, and hear this story of his offering up his Son from his own mouth, and to praise the Lamb that fitteth upon the throne, for what he hath done for all our fouls, for ever and ever.
).jnu r. As for me and my House, we will ferve the LORDU'
C18116 HESE words contain the holy resolution of pious
, discourse recounted to the Ifraelites what great chings God had done for them; in the verse immediately preceding the text; comes to draw a proper in:erence from what he had been delivering; and acquaints them, in the most pressing terms, that since Gon had been so exceeding gracious junto them, they could do no leis, than out of gratitude for such - uncommon favours and mercies, dedicate both themselves and families to his fervice. “Now therefore, fear the LORD, and serve him in fincerity and cruth, and put away the Gods which your fathers ferved on the other side of the food." And by the fame engaging motive does the prophet Samuel afterwards enforce their obedience to the commandments of Gon, 1 Sam. xii. 24. “ Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, with all your heart; for contider how great things he hath dune for you.” But then, that they might not excuse themselves (as too many might be apt to do) by his giving them a bad example, or think he was laying heavy burdens upon them, whilft he himlelf touched them not with one of his fingers, he tells them in the text, that whatever regard they might pay to the doctrine he had been preaching, yet he (as all ministers ought to do) was refolved to live up to and practise it himfeli : « Chuse you therefore, whom you will ferve, whether the Gods which your fathers served, or the Gods of the Amerites, in whole land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
A resolution this, worthy of Joshua, and no less becoming, no less necessary for every true son of Joshua, that is intrusted with the care ard government of a family in our day : and, if it was ever seasonable for minifters to preach up, or people to put in practice family-keligion, it was never more to than in the present age; fince it is greatly to be feared, that out of those many housholds that call themselves christians, there are but few that terve God in their respective families as they ought.
It is true indeed, visit our churches, and you may perhapš see something of the form of godlines Itill
, subsisting amongst us; but even that is scarcely to be met with in private houses.o. Bo that were the blessed angels to come, as in the patriarchal age, and observe our spiritual oeconomy at home, would they not be tempted to fay as -Abraham to Abimitech, * Sutely; the fear of God is not in this place?". Gen. xx. Įi.
How such a general Neglect of family religion first began to overspread the christian world, is difficult to determine. As for the primitive christians,.I am pofitive, it was not so with them. No, they had not so learned CHRIST, as falfely to imagine religion was to be confined solely to their allemBlies for public worship but, on the contrary, behaved wish such piety and exemplary holiness in their privaterfamilies, that $e. Paat often styles their housesa church:14 Salute such a one, Tays He, and the eKürch which is int his house." And, I Beliere, we must for ever" despair of seeingola primitive spirit of piety revived in the world, till we are so happy as to Tee a revival of primitive family'religion ; and persons unanimdully:
resolving with good old Joshua, in the words of the text, ** As for me and my house, we will ferve the LORD.”
From which words, I shall beg leave to insist on these three things.
I. First, That it is the duty of every governor of a family
to take care, that not only he himself, but also that
those committed to his charge, “ ferve the LORD.” IF. Secondly, I shall endeavour to shew after what manner
a governor and his houshold ought to serve the LORD. And,
II1. Thirdly, I hall offer some motives, in order to excite tub all governors, with their refpective housholds,'to serve :5754 Lord in the hanner that that be recommended. gn, IWO 2 VEC" Ctyn
pt not And Fifft, I am to shew that it is the duty of every gover, 13. nor of a family to take care, what not only he himself, but 29.1 also that those committed to his charge, Mhould serve the LORD.
'11 while And this will appear, if we consider that every governor of a family ought to look upon himfelf as obliged to act in three capacities as a prophet, to inltruct; as a 'priest, to pray for and with as a king, to govern,' direct,4 and provide for thetti.' It is true indeed, the latter of there, their Ringly office, they are not so frequently deficient in, (iay in this they are generally too solicitous :) but as for the two former, theit priestly and próphetic office, like Gallio, they care' for no such things. But however'indifferent fome governors may bé about it, they may be assured, that God will require a due dilcharge of these offices as their hands. For if,' as 'the aponie argues, He that does not provide for his own house,” in temporal things, " has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel , " to what greater degree of apostály must he have arrived, who takes no thought to provide for the spiritual welfare of his family!
But farther, person's are generally very liberal of their incóndia of that minin 82 over the Pock, of which the Holy Ghost has made him 'overseer : but may not every governor of a family, be in a lowes degree liable to the same ćensure, who takes no thought for those" fouls that are committed to his charge? For every house is as it were' a little parish, every governor (as was bebfore observed) a priest, every family a 'Rock: and if any of them perish through the governor's neglect, their blood will God require at their hands.
Was a minister to disregard teaching his people publicly, and from house to house, and to excuse himself by saying, that he had enough to do to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, without concerning himself with that of others; would you not be apt to think fuch a minifter, to