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Gen. xviii. i9.
For I know Him, that he will command his children, and his houfehold after him, and they pall keep the way of the Lord, to do fufiice and fudgment.
H E S E words are part of the s E r M. character, which God himfelf, in different places of^^ the Old Teftament, has given of that Great and Good Man, the Patriarch Abraham. And they G 2 are
S E R M.are spoken in this place, as a ground or *V- reason of the great and lasting Blessings ^"^"^ which God declared he intended to con^ fer upon him. Ver. 18. Abraham Jhall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the Earth Jhall be bleJJ'ed in Him: For I know Him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they Jhall keep the way of the Lord, to do Justice and Judgment; that the Lord may bring upon A* braham, that which he hath spoken of him. Upon account of This character, and the Blessings consequent upon it, he is elsewhere stiled in Scripture 7he Friend of God, and the Father of all them that believe, And in the book of Ecclefajlicus, ch. xliv. 19. his history is thus briefly and elegantly summ'd up: Abraham was a great Father of many people, in glory was there none like unto him: Who kept the Law of the most High, and was in covenant with him; he established the Covenant in his flesh, and, when he was proved, he was found faithful: Therefore he ajured him by an Oath, that he would bless the nations in his Seed, and that he would mu'^ (iply him as the Dust of the Earth, and
exali exalt his Seed as the Stars, and cause themSz R M. to inherit from Sea to Sea, and from the River unto the utmost part of the Land.
The Virtues, upon account whereof these great Blessings were promised to Abraham, were personal: But the Blessings themselves, 'tis evident, were, with regard to Him, figurative only j being fulfilled not till some hundreds of years after, upon his Posterity; whereas He himself did but sojourn in the land of Promise, as in a strange country, and confessed that he was a Stranger and Pilgrim on the Earth. From whence the Apostle to the Hebrews very justly infers, That Abraham understood the promised Blessing, with regard to Himself, to be of a spiritual and better kind. Ch. xi. 14, 16. 10. For they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country; a better country, that is, an heavenly; For le looked for a City which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.
The particular Virtue which procured to Abraham the character given him in my Text, was his keeping the way of the Lord, that is, his adhering to the Belief and Worship of the One 'True God of the G 3 Universe,
Se R u.Universe, in opposition to the general corraption of the idolatrous Nations among whom he lived; and his commanding his children and his household after him, to do the like. 'Twas his exemplarily putting in Practise, what Joshua publickly declared before all the tribes of Israel, that He also would do in the like case: Ch. xxiv. 15. If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, chuse ye this day whom ye will serve; whether the Gods which your Fathers served that were on the other fide of the food, or the Gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell: But as for Me and my House, we will serve the Lord. In the New Testament, This practice is stiled, [i-ijtecv ix. T5 Byd*,] Rev. xv. 2. not (as we render the words,) getting the viclory over the Beast; but, getting the victory (or overcoming) from out of the midst of the Beast; That is, adhering stedfastly to the True Religion, in the midst of ido-* latrous and corrupt Nations.
The Great and Principal Design of every man's life, ought to be the promoting the Glory of God; the encouraging of Virtue, and discouraging every kind of Vice. Not that any man is obliged to be perpetually