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ty acts. The former generation of the righteous, by keeping the law, contended with the wicked, and maintained the honour of God in the world; they rowed against the stream of an ungodly crew, in the face of persecution, fining, confining, banịíhment, violent, death, till they fell by death holding up the standard for the honour of God: and then they gave it to you, saying, The living, the living, he full praise thee, as I do this day ;. the father to the children fall make known thy truth. On this I would say,
!!, Ye muft answer for the standard pow. If it go now while ye live, your life shall go for ever for it, though ye were left alone to hold it up: Psal. Ix. 4. Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee : that it may be displayed because of the truth. Mark viii. ult. Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels. Take heed then,, there is a sacred trust committed into your hands; the generations of martyrs all along have conveyed it to you at the expence of their blood, it having been set up first at the expence of the blood of Christ.
2dly, Ye must either hold it up, or treacherous. ly desert into the enemies - camp, formed to disą honour God. Hence says our Lord, Matth. xii. 30. He that is not with me, is against me: and" be that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad. Many set up for neutralists; they go not into all excess with the openly profane, but they are as far from making it the business of their life to honour God. God will rank fuch with his ene
mies : Psal. cxxv. ult. As for such as turn afide un. to their crooked ways, the Lord Shull lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.
3dly, The faints of former generations will condemn you, as a fpurious brood of treacherous men, that made fo little account of what they wared their all on to transmit to you: 1 Cor. vi. 2. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? Ye do by your ungodly lives, dithonouring God, declare them fools : the day will come, that they will declare you fools, worthy to perish for ever, though ye have come out of their loins : Rev. xix. 3. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoak rose up for ever and ever.
3. The business of honouring God in the world ye are to transmit to the succeeding generation, since it is the living, all along in a succession of generations to the end of the world, that have access to the praising of God. Hence says the Plalmist, Pfal. lxxviii. 2. 3. 4. I will open my mouth in á parable : I will utter dark suyings of old : which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Shewing to the generation to come, the praises of the Lord; and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. As ye have received the standard from the former, ye are to hand it down to the succeeding generation; that when ye are gone, instead of the fathers, there may
be the children. See to it then, what ye do, that God may be honoured when ye are in the dust.
1st, It lies on every one of you to do for it something : Rom. xiv: 7. For none of us liveth to him. self, and no man dieth to himself. Love to God
and your neighbour binds it on you; and none of you can want occasion for it, while ye live among persons, some of whom may live after you ; and have a tongue to speak, and hands to act.
2dly, If ye do it not, the honour of God is far from your heart. They that have nothing of God to communicate to others fucceeding them, have nothing of God within themselves. Grace is a fire, and fire will go about to set on fire whatever is next it; so that if it do not buin, it is because it is not combustible. In the creation of plants, every tree was made with its feed in itself: so it is in the new creation of the trees of righteousness, John iv. 29.
3dly, If ye do it not, ye lay a stumbling block before the succeeding generation, which they may be ruined by. The generation of Jews in Christ's time rejecting the gospel, as they murdered Christ, they have murdered lixteen or teventeen generations of their offspring since. What will come of the succeeding generation thar looks to you, that live not to the honour of God? When God calls for the standard for his honour at their hand, they will say, they never saw it; though that will not ex. cuse them, it will aggravate your condemnation.
4. Know, that ye muft honour God in the world now or never : Eccl. ix. 10. Whatsoever. thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goeft. Now is the accepted time, wherein ye may act for your own salvation ; miss this time, and the door will be shut on you never to be opened again, Prov. i. 24. &c. Now is the working time for the honour of God, wherein ye may do something for
you for it.
God; miss it, and the occasion you will never more have. I would ask you,
ift, Does it concern you to honour God? or is it none of your business? If the Father created you, certainly ye are bçund to live for his honour, Rom. xi. ult. If the Son redeemed you, there is a double tie on you to live for him who died for you, Philip. i. 21. If the Holy Ghost has fanctified you, he has dedicated, fitted, and disposed
2dly, When will ye lay out yourself for it then? It is not a work to be done at any time, but confined to one time, the time of life. Hence said our Saviour, John ix. 4. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. Now the glass is set: up to you : there is much of it run, as ye may fec by looking to the lower end, the time ye have lived: the upper end ye cannot see, what time yo have yet to live ; bow foon it may run out then, ye know not. But it will never be turned for When the last fand runs out, the word is given, The Master allows no more time for his work to you, Give account of your ftewardship.
5. laftly, Life is valuable, as giving access to honour God in the world. Hence says Hezekiah in the text and context, H. xxxviii. 18. 19. The grave cunnot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day; the father to the children fall make known thy truth. There are many impressions of vanity on life. In itself by sin it is become a puff of wind, that passeth away; a vapour suddenly vanishing : it is like a poft for swift
passage, a dream for vanity, and a dunghill for vileness. It is the place of rendezvous for innumerable troubles and afflictions, and is a low station for an immortal foul, with much meanness about it. There are only two things which it is valuable for, viz. that there is access in it,
if, To act for eternal salvation to ourselves, which the dead can no more do: 2. Cor. vi. 2.Behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation. And in this respect an hour's Jife may be worth a thousand worlds, because eternity may depend on it, and heaven be secured.
2dly, To act for the honour of God in the world, john ix. 4. forecited, which the dead have no more access to. To a good man an opportunity of doing good is valuable, as to an ill man to do mischief. What folk love, they will value access to serve : so the Ginner values access to serve his lusts; and the faint to serve his Lord, and his neighbour. So, on this consideration,
(1.) Life is carefully and honourably to be preferved, as a valuable thing; and not to be thrown away, by neglect of the means of its preservation, or exposing it wilfully to means of destruction: Exod. xx. 13. Thou shalt not kill.
(2.) The access to honour God in life, is to be laid in balance with the troubles of life, that the former may downweigh the latter, by that 0verweight that God's honour bears to our 'ease : Philip. i. 20. According to my earnest expectation, and my hope, that in nothing í sall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, So now also Chrift fall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. (3) It is nicely to be improven to its proper