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The Character of a Good Man.
Gen. xviii. 19.
OKOLO HESE words are part of the Serm.
ha felf, in different places of ☆ S o the Old Testament, has gi
ven of that Great and Good Man, the Patriarch Abraham. And they
Ser M.arę spoken in this place, as a ground or
IV. reason of the great and lasting Blessings IV.
which God declared he intended to confer upon him. Ver. 18. Abraham Mall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the Earth skall be blessed in Him : For I know Him, that he will command his children and his housebold after him, and they all keep the way of the Lord, to do Justice and Judgment ; that the Lord may bring upon Az braham, that which he hath spoken of bim. Upon account of This character, and the Bleffings consequent upon it, he is elsewhere stiled in Scripture The Friend of God, and the Father of all them that believe. And in the book of Eccleßafticus, ch. xliv. 19. his history is thus briefly and elegantly summ'd up: Abrabam was a great Father of many people, in glory was there none like unto bim : Who kept the Law of the most High, and was in covenant with him; be establised the Covenant in his flesh, and, when he was proved, ke was found faithful: Therefore be assured him by an Oath, that he would bless the nations in kis Seed, and that he would mu? tiply him as the Dust of the Earth, and
exalt bis Seed as the Stars, and cause them Serm. to inherit from Sea to Sea, and from the ti River unto the utmost part of the Land.
The Virtues, upon account whereof these great Blessings were promised to
Abraham, were personal : But the Blesfings themselves, 'tis evident, were, with regard to Him, figurative only ; 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 ke 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,
Ser m.Universe, in opposition to the general IV.
corruption of the idolatrous Nations among whom he lived ; and his commanding bis children and his housebold 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 feem evil unto you to ferve the Lord, chule ge this day whom ye will serve ; whether the Gods which your Fathers ferved that were on the other side of the flood, 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, [vixão éx að Sneir] Rev. xv. 2. not (as we render the words,) getting the victory over the Beast; but, getting the victory (or overcoming) from out of the midft of the Beast ; That is, adhering stedfastly to the True Religion, in the midst of idolatrous 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 perpe