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114

SERMON V.

I KING'S II. 2, 3. Verses.
I go the way of All the Earth; Be thou
Atrong therefore and show thyself a

Man :
And keep the charge of the Lord thy

God, 'to Walk in his Ways, to keep
his Statutes, and his Commandments,
and his Fudgments and his Testimonies ;
as it is written in the Law of Moses;
That thou mayest Prosper in all that
thou doest, and whitherfoever thou
turneft Thyself.

E find God complaining of fome, by the Mouth of the

Prophet Malachi, that were still grumbling and repining, That they Serv'd God for Nought, That his Worship was a Useless Unprofitable Thing, that

lay

W

For ye

lay as a Dead Rent-Charge on their Estates, and serv'd only to drain their Folds and their Stalls for Sacrifices and Oblations, but turn'd to No Account; Mal. iii. 14. Your Words have been stout against me, saith the Lord;

bave said, It is Vain to Serve the Lord, and what Profit is it, that we have kept his Ordinances? And when they came, as the Apostle expresses it, grudgingly and as of Necessity to offer their Sacrifices and Oblations, No wonder if God rejected their Vain Oblations, and they returned with out a Blessing

But those that Serve God with Faithfulness and Integrity, Reap other Fruits of their Service. The Holy David that had walkt before him, with a True and Upright Heart, towards the Close of his Days, upon the result of all the Observation he had made, gives us a very Different Account of God's Dealings with his Servants. - I have been Toung, (fays he,) and now am Old; and yet saw I never the Righteous Forsaken, nor his Seed begging their Bread.

Being Now therefore to leave the World, and at his Departure to give Advice, from his own long Experience, to Solomon his Son, how He might Flourish and Prosper in it, he takes Care to Instruct him now in his Youth, of what

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mighty Advantage the Favour of God would be to him all his Days; and of what Fatal Consequence it would be to him to Provoke God, and Incur his Difpleasure : As in the Parallell Place, i Chron. xxviii. And now Solomon my Son, Know thou the God of thy Father, and Serve Him with a Perfect Heart and with a willing Mind

For if Thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if Thou Forsake him, he will Cast thee off for Ever.

He Conjures him therefore with his Dying Breath, to take Care above all Things to Secure God on his Side, as the only way to Prosper in all bis Úndertakings -I am going the way of all the Earth ; Be Thou Strong therefore, and flow Thyself a Man; And Keep the Charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and Keep his Statutes, and his Commanda ments and his Judgments and his Testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Mofes; That Thou mayest Prosper in All that thou doest, and whitherfoever Thou turneft thyself.

There are Two Things here Recommended, Courage and Piety. The Former of These, (Courage, and Resolution,) was perhaps recommended to him, with Special Regard to his Regal Dignity. Not but that Courage and Constancy of

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Mind is necessary, in fome degree, for every One of what Condition soever, for the Discharge of their Duty to God and Men; But is more especially Necessary for Princes, who have so many Difficulties to go through, so many Temptations to Conquer; The Temptations to Wealth and Power and Flattery : Who Seem to be Above Laws, and have None to Restrain or Correct them if they Do Amiss; And have this farther Duty incumbent upon them, that they are not only to take Care Themselves to Keep God's Commandments, but must see that Others Do so too; and Punish All that Transgress them, of what Quality or Degree foever they are. ---- These Considerations might make Courage more especially Requisite for Solomon, in his Regal Capacity : But Piety and Obedience to God's Laws, are necessary to Eve. ry one, of what Rank or Condition foever : And they are recommended upon This Argument, that they are the Proper Means to procure God's Favour and Blessing - That thou mayest Prosper in All that thou Doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself.

This was the Death-bed Charge of the Man after Gods own Heart, the Best Legacy he could leave to his Son: Which will afford us this General Point

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of Doctrine, That God's Providence does usually favour Vertue, and Crown Piety and Obedience with Prosperity and Success, in all Good and Honejt Undertakings Keep the Charge of the Lord thy God, to Walk in his Ways, &c. That thou mayest Prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turn, eft thyself.

Not that Prosperity and Worldly Success are certainly to be depended upon, as the Necessary never-failing Fruits of Piety; But that the Service of God, and the Practice of Vertue, are the likeliest Way to Prosperity and Success, even in Our Worldly Affairs; and, (unless it be in fome Particular Cases, and for Particular Reasons of Providence, hereafter to be mentioned,) do very fairly lead and Contribute to them. And that first by Moral; and secondly by Natural Efficacy

First Morally; For as much as they are the Only Means to intitle us to God's Favour, and Engage His Blessing on our Enterprizes, who has the Management of all Natural Means, and the Final

Disposal of all Events; and who Ruleth
Ep. 1. 11. All Things after the Counsel of his own

Will : So that the Success of All our
Affairs must Finally depend upon His
Good Will and Pleasure, Now his

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