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possible any man should withstand them; and yet you see he did. Nay, did not the guards, who were eye-witnesses of our Saviour's resurrection; who saw the angel that rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre; who shook and trembled with fear, and became as dead men; did not they, after all this, receive money to deny all they saw, and to give false evidence against the Person they beheld coming from the grave? So, you see, it is in the nature of man to withstand such evidences, where the power of sin is prevalent.

Besides, there are many sinners who are not infidels: they may believe Moses and the Prophets, though they will not hear them, that is, obey them. Now, should one come from the dead to these men, the most they could do, would be to believe him. But that does not imply their obeying him; for they believe Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, and yet obey not them; and why should obedience be the consequence of belief in one case more than another? There can be no greater arguments for obedience than the Gospel affords; and, therefore, he who believes the Gospel, and disobeys it, is out of hope to be reformed by any other evidence. So that, considering this case with respect to all manner of infidels or sinners, there is reason in our Saviour's judgement; If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.'

And hence perhaps we may learn the reason, why this sort of intercourse between the other world and this is so very rare and uncommon, because it could serve no good end and purpose; for God having already given a sufficient evidence of all things which we are concerned to know, there is no room to expect or hope for such kinds of admonition. He sent the greatest Person of the other world to us, his own Son, and sent him, too, from the dead: He has come himself down to us in signs, and wonders, and mighty works; and why he should send a man from the dead to tell you, what is legible in the book of Nature, what He, his Son, his Apostles and Prophets have already told you, you that can give the reason, give it.





JOSHUA Xxiv. 15.- -But as for me and my house, we will serve
the Lord.

THIS being the only Sunday, on which our Church has borrowed her lessons from the book of Joshua, we may, with great propriety, select the subject of our present meditations from that instructive portion of Holy Writ.-Joshua having brought the Israelites into the promised land, his great desire was to establish them in the worship of the one true God, who had brought them out of Egypt, and given them the possession of the good land of Canaan. And finding himself weak and declining, he, like a wise and good governor, considers how he might keep them firm and stedfast in their religion, and prevent their defection to idolatry. To this end he calls a general assembly of all the people of Israel; and in a very eloquent speech, gives them a brief historical account and deduction of the great mercies of God to them and their fathers, from the days of Abraham to that time. From the consideration of which, he earnestly exhorts them to renew the covenant with God, and solemnly to promise, that they would for ever fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods, which their fathers served in Egypt, and serve the Lord." And then in the text, as if they had never engaged themselves to God by covenant before, he leaves them to their free choice and liberty: And if it seem evil unto you, to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the God whom your fathers served on the other side of the flood, or the Gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell.' Not that they were at liberty whether they would serve the true God or not, but to insinuate to them, that religion ought to be their free choice; and that true religion hath those real advantages peculiar to it, as to recommend it to any considerate man's choice. As if he had said, "If it seem evil to you, after all demonstrations God hath

given of his miraculous preservation of you, and the mighty obligations he hath laid upon you, by bringing you out of the land of Egypt, and the house of bondage, by so outstretched an arm, and giving you a rich land to possess; if, after all this, you can quit the service of this God, and worship the idols of the nations, whom you have subdued, and their vanquished deities; if you can think it reasonable so to do, which sure you cannot, then take your choice, and choose you this day whom you will serve." And to direct and encourage them to make a right choice, he declares his own resolution, as a pattern and example for them, in which he is fixed and immoveable, whether they will follow him or not; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' So that what he said was in effect this: "I have proposed the best religion to your choice, and I both think and hope you will all stedfastly adhere to it; because it is so reasonable and wise, so much for your interest and happiness: but if you will be so weak, so wilful, and so wicked, not to discern and embrace the truth, though you should all make another choice and depart from the true God, to the worship of idols,-yet for my part I am stedfastly resolved, in a case so manifest and reasonable, that no number or example shall prevail with me to the contrary. For if this whole nation should revolt from the worship of the true God, and join in the worship of idols, and my family was the only one left in the whole world who worshipped the God of Israel, I would still persist in this resolution, that, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."" A resolution truly worthy of so great a prince and so good a man; and which is a double pattern to us; first, that we should, if occasion was, stand alone in the profession and practice of the true religion; secondly, by recommending the pious care of a good father and master of a family, to train up those under his charge, in the true religion and worship of God. 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' But at this time, I shall only treat concerning the duty of family religion.

I shall show, I. Wherein this duty doth consist; II. Consider our obligation to it; and, III. Endeavour to retrieve the practice of it, by representing the fatal consequences attending the neglect, both to ourselves and the public.

I. As this duty is much better known than practised, I need not be long on this head. One principal part of it

consists in the constant worship of God in our families; by daily prayers to God, morning and evening; by reading some part of the holy Scriptures; and this is absolutely necessary to maintain and preserve a sense of God and religion in the minds of men. Besides reading the holy Scriptures, the great fountains of divine truth, we should add other pious good books, which are plain and fit for the instruction of all capacities, in the most necessary points of faith and practice; and this we should more especially do on the Lord's day, when the whole family may be easily brought and kept together, and have the opportunity to attend upon these things. But I must not omit to recommend one thing, which is greatly neglected in most families; I mean the craving God's blessing at our meals, upon his good creatures provided for our use, and returning thanks to him for the benefit and refreshment of them. Though this is a part of natural religion, owed and practised in all ages and places in the world, yet it is shamefully neglected by some. Shall we thus requite the Lord for his bounty and liberality, who is the great author of all good things, on whom the eyes of all do wait, that he may give them their meat in due season? It is a sure sign of the prevalency of atheism and infidelity among us, when so natural and reasonable a part of religion, just and grateful an acknowledgment of God's constant and daily care and providence over us, grows out of use, in a nation professing religion, the being, and providence of God. May it not provoke God to take his blessings from us, when we deny him this just and easy tribute of praise and thanksgiving?

Another very considerable part of this duty consists in instructing those, committed to our charge, in the fundamental principles and careful practice of the duties of religion; instilling these into children when capable of them, line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and into those of riper years, by proper means of instruction, teaching them those things in religion, which are most necessary to be believed and practised. Our children and servants, having been brought to read, should be taught the first principles of religion, and by reading the holy scriptures and other good books, be prepared to receive the greater benefit and advantage from the public ministry. We are carefully to instruct

them in those principles of religion which are most fundamental, and like to have the greatest influence on their whole lives; such as right and worthy apprehensions of God, of his infinite goodness and purity, and that he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity also to impress on them a lively sense of the great evil and danger of sin, and a firm belief of the soul's immortality, and of the unspeakable endless rewards and punishments of another world. If these principles once take root, they will continue and abide with them all their days.

This work of instruction ought not to be neglected at any time, but it is more peculiarly seasonable on the Lord's day, which ought to be employed in the religious exercises of piety and devotion; particularly in the public worship and service of God, where our children and servants should diligently and devoutly attend; it being the means which God hath appointed for increasing piety and goodness, and to which he hath promised his more especial blessing: because there they have an opportunity of joining in the public prayers, and of receiving the benefit and advantage of them; and of being instructed by God's ministers in the doctrine of salvation, and the way to eternal life, and incited to the practice of virtue and piety. There they will be invited to the Lord's Table, to participate of the Lord's Supper, which is the most solemn institution of the Christian religion; and the frequent partaking thereof, in remembrance of his dying love, those under our charge, as soon as they are capable, should be often and affectionately exhorted to. And after the public service is ended, we should read the scriptures and other good books to our families, and so should they themselves; the Lord's Day being the best opportunity for servants to think seriously of religion and another world. And it is of great consequence to the preserving a sense of religion among us, that this day be religiously observed in the exercises of piety and the care of our souls; for as some time ought to be set apart for the service of religion, there is no season so proper as on this day, when all may have leisure and opportunity for it. And parents and masters of families, if they would have their children and servants in good earnest religious, must not only allow time, but strictly and earnestly charge them to retire every day, more especially on the Lord's Day, morning and evening, to pray to God for the pardon of their sins, for his

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