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3. Let none be ashamed to own Chrift and his truths and ways before the world, remembering that the day cometh in which he will confefs thofe that confefs him, and deny thofe that deny him.
4. Though the day of judgement be an awful thought, it will be a happy day to believers, as they will then be for ever delivered from all moral and penal evils, and admitted into the greateft felicity in the enjoyment of their God and Redeemer for ever.
5. That there is no true happiness till we come to the enjoyment of God, nor full happiness till we ar rive at the full enjoyment of him.
6. Lastly, Miferable is now, and at the refurrection will be the ftate of the wicked, where the reverse of all the happiness of the faints will be found, and that in the moft dreadful manner. Let us then all feek to be found among thofe who fhall be partakers of the better and glorious refurrection.
Of the Duty which God requireth of Man.
I SAMUEL XV. 22.
And Samuel faid, Hath the Lord as great delight in burntofferings and facrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
HIS text is a reproof given to one that wore a crown, teaching him, that though he was If rael's fovereign, he was God's fubject. Saul had been fent, by God's exprefs command, on an expedition against the Amalekites, with a folemn charge utterly to deftroy all that they had, and Spare them not; but to flay both man and woman, infant and fuckling, ox and heep, camel and afs, ver. 3. The expedition was crowned with fuccefs. Saul having deftroyed all the people, took Agag their king prifoner, and faved the beft of the cattle, and when quarrelled by Samuel for
this his partial obedience to the heavenly mandate, he pretended that the people had fpared the fheep and oxen, which had been devoted to deftruction as well as the people, to facrifice unto the Lord in Gilgal. The words of the text contain Samuel's anfwer to this filly apology: Hath the Lord, fays he, as great delight in burnt-offerings and facrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? importing, that obedience to the voice and will of God is more acceptable to him than all the facrifices in the world.
In the words we may notice, 1. The duty which God requires of man; which is obedience. This is required of man, of all men, rulers and ruled: thofe whom others must obey, muft obey God. 2. What they are to obey; the voice of the Lord, whereby he manifefts his will: it is his revealed will, whatever way he is pleased to notify it to them. Hence obedience in the text is called hearkening; the foul first receiving the knowledge of God's mind, and then complying with it. 3. The excellency and eminency of this duty. (1.) God delights in it. (2.) All other things muft yield to it, but it to none. Burnt-offer ings and facrifices, even the fat of them, are nothing in comparison of this.
The text affords the following doctrine, viz.
DocT. "The duty which God requireth of man, "is obedience to his revealed will."
In difcourfing from this doctrine, I fhall,
II. Deduce a few inferences for application.
I. For explication, let us confider the duty which man owes to God, of whom he requires it, the rule of it, the properties of it, and on what accounts we
First, Let us confider the duty which man owes unto God. That is obedience. We are in a state of fubjection to God. He is our fuperior, and his will VOL. II. 3 A
we are to obey in all things. He is our King, and we must obey him as his fubjects, by complying with all his ftatutes and ordinances. He is our Father, and we muft fhew him all refpect, reverence, and affec tion, as his dutiful children. He is our Lord and Mafter, and we muft yield him the most chearful and unlimited fervice, as is our reasonable duty. He is our fupreme Lawgiver, and we must receive the law at his mouth, every law and precept, every ordinance that is ftamped with his authority, whatever is fuperfcribed with a Thus faith the Lord, readily obeying it.
Secondly, Let us confider of whom the Lord requires this duty. Of every man without exception, capable of knowing his will. The greateft are as faft bound to this obedience as the meaneft, the poor as well as the rich, Pagans as well as Chriftians, kings as well as fubjects. No man can be free from this duty more than he can be a God to himfelf. Not a fon or daughter fprung from Adam can plead an exemption from this duty of obeying the will of the Lord. It is an eafy yoke wreathed upon the necks of all, and is impofed on them by an indifpenfable law.
Thirdly, Let us confider the rule of that obedience. It is the will of God. His will is our fupreme law. Not the fecret will of God; for that which God never revealed to man, cannot be his rule; but the revealed will of God, Deut. xxix. 29. The fecret things belong unto the Lord our God; but thofe things which are revealed, belong unto us and to our children. Men may fulfil the fecret will of God and determination of his providence, and be deeply guilty, as we fee the Jews did in crucifying the Lord of glory, Acts ii. 23. under the guilt of which hainous fin that people groan to this day. But conformity to God's revealed will is our duty. Whatever is revealed in the facred fcriptures as the will of God, whether relating to what man is to believe or what he is to practife, is to be performed and done, and that at our peril.
Fourthly, Let us consider the properties of this obedience which God requires of man.
1. It is fincere obedience to his will. Hence David fays, I was upright before him, Pfal. xviii. 23. Hypocritical obedience may pleaíe men, but not God the Searcher of hearts. It was the commendation of the obedience of the Romans, that they obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered them, Rom. vi. 17. That facrifice that wants the heart, will never be accepted on God's altar. God weighs not the affections of his people to him by their actions, fo much as their actions by their affectio is, as in the cafe of Abraham's offering up Ifaac, Heb. xi. 17. in that of the Ifraelites offering to go into the promifed land, Numb. xiv. 40. compared with ver. 42. 44. which was an act of downright difobedience to the commandment of the Lord notified to them by Mofes, All obedience, without uprightness or fincerity, is a mere counterfeit, an empty pretence, which will be rejected with abhorrence.
2. It must be conftant obedience. We must keep God's law continually, for ever and ever, as the pfalmut refolved to do, Pfal, cxix. 44. Man is ever doing fomething, yet he must always abide within the hedge of the law. Our obedience to God is all wrong when it comes only by fits, as heat in an ague, or is broke off like thote that go to fea for pleasure, who come afhore when the ftorm rifes, God is unchangeable, and we must be constant and steady in obeying his will; at no time daring to act contrary to it,
3. It must be tender obedience. We must abstain from all appearance of evil, Theff. v. 22. We inult bate even the garment fped with the flesh, Jude 2 3. We must not rub on this hedge, nor come too near the borders of wickednefs, We have to do with a jealous God, whom whorish looks will offend, Ezck, vi. 9. We cannot be too nice in obedience. We muit not, in order to practice, examine whether it be a little or a great fin. All fuch diftinctions are highly
criminal, and inconfiftent with the difpofition of the perfon of a tender heart, who hates every fin of every kind, whether great or small, the wicked act as well as the wicked thought. A tender, a relenting heart, a heart afraid of fin, and cautious of the leaft wrong thought or act, is that which God requires, and the obedience refulting from it is the tender obedience here required.
4. It must be ready obedience, like that of those of whom the pfalmift fpeaks, As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me, Pfal. xviii. 44. We must do, and not delay; but be like the good David, who faid, I made hafte and delayed not to keep thy commandments, Pfal. cxix. 60. We are not to difpute, but obey; not to confer with flesh and blood, Gal. i. 16. It was Jonah's fin that he did not readily comply; and it was Abraham's commendation, that he did not dispute God's orders, but went not knowing whither he went, Heb. xi. 8. The leaft intimation of God's will, either as to doing or fuffering, must be immediately and readily complied with, notwithstanding all difcouragements, and carnal reafonings. God's call and command muft drown the voice of carnal eafe, and all arguments arifing from Spare thyself. Does God fay? we muft immediately go whither he directs us: does he fay, Come? we must inftantly obey the fummons, faying, Lord, We are here, ready to do what thou pleafeft to order or enjoin us. Without this readinefs and alacrity, all our obedience is ftark naught, a matter of mere force and compulfion; and therefore unacceptable to the great God, whom we are bound to ferve with a perfect heart and a willing mind.
5. It must be univerfal obedience, Pfal. cxix. 6. in having a refpect unto all God's commandments. The whole of the commands of God have the fame divine ftamp upon them. They are one golden chain: whofo takes away one link, breaks the chain; if the connection be deftroyed, the whole machine falls afunder. Hear what the apoftle James fays on this head,