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SERM. determination at first would have a great IX.

effect in the rest of his life.

If he had the advantage of good instructions from the begining, he did not neglect them, but attended to them, meditated

upon them, and let those things which appeared reasonable sink down in his heart. Moreover, as he had opportunity, he studied the laws of God, recorded in those Scriptures, which were in the hands of the people of Ifrael. And he read with a mind open to conviction, resolving to receive what appeared to be the will of God, and act according to it: whether it should be for his own present interest, and tend to his promotion and advancement in the world, or not. By this means his judgement was well informed, and his resolutions fettled upon a firm foundation.

I make no scruple of mentioning this particular here. For I think, there is good ground for it. Without this, it is not easie to conceive, how Obadiah's conduct should have been such as it was.

And certainly this ought to be observed by young persons. It is desirable, to understand some art or businesse, by which men

may

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may subsist in the world. It is also desirable, Serm. to understand the things of religion. They

IX. who have a quick apprehenfion, have a great advantage, provided they apply their thoughts this way.

Nevertheless, there are few or none, but may attain to a competent knowledge of the great truths and obligations of religion, and the grounds of them : if they are attentive, and seriously - inquisitive about them. Moses reminds the people of Israel : The commandment, which I command thee this Deut xxx. day, is not hiden from thee, neither is it afar off: but it is nigh thee, that thou mayest hear it, and do it. The revelation of the gospel, superadded to that of the law, is not designed to make the principles of religion more abstruse and difficult : but more easie, more intelligible, more affecting, which must be for the good of all men.

3. Obadiah's fearing the Lord from his youth was partly owing to a fixed purpose and resolution of acting according to the rule of right, and that no temptations of any kind Tould induce him to act contrarie to his fedate judgement.

We may well put this into the character, we are observing. In the course of his life O 3

there

SERM. there had offered to him temptations of va-
IX.

rious kinds : some suited to youthful affecti-
ons, others more especially suited to the
common and prevailing paflions of mature
age. But in every stage of life bis conduct
had been uniformly religious. And though
he lived at a time, when multitudes did
evil, he had not followed them. Though
the way of religion was then a strait path,
and almost deserted, his feet had not declined
from the way of it. We cannot but con-
clude from hence, that the resolution of Oba-
diah was very firm.

4. We do also reasonably suppose, that this steady good conduct was not without conflant circumspection and watchfulnesse. Indeed, we are all encompaffed with snares,

which makes it needful to be upon our guard. Pr. iv. Undoubtedly, this person had kept his heart

with diligence. He had attended to the frame
of his mind. He used his best endeavours to
maintain the fervour of his love to God, and
a lincere respect for his laws. His mind was
carefully kept free from ambition and covet-
ousnesse. And he looked with a jealous eye
upon every thing and person, that tended to

abate

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abate his zeal for God and religion, and lef- SERM. sen his aborrence for that which is evil.

IX. This temper of watchfulnesse he had

preserved always, by which means he had been greatly affisted in fearing God from his youth.

.

17.

III. In the third place I should shew the

benefit of so fearing the Lord. But I
need not enlarge, having had frequent

occasions to touch upon this point. 1. They who fear the Lord from their youth up enjoy the pleasure and comfort of a religious life: which is no small advantage. For, as Solomon fays of wisdom, her ways Prov. iii. are ways of pleasantnelse, and all her paths are peace. Such have the satisfaction of

approving themselves to God, and doing the things that please the sovereign of the world. Their minds are rightly disposed, and their conduct approves itself to their own judge

And they avoid the bitternesse of that repentance, which is necessarie for those who have greatly strayed froin Wisdom's ways.

2. They who fear God from the youth may, and often do become eminent in piety. Their continued practise of virtue' renders O4

them

ment.

SERM. them perfect in it. So was this person. It IX.

appears from the account which we have of hiin here. The writer of this historie in the book of Kings observes it to his honour expressly : Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. His virtuous habits were confirmed, and almost above temptation.

He had a post of high honour. But he possessed it without

any sinful compliances. Nor did he at all conceal his regard for God and true religion : but was known to be a worshiper of the God of heaven. When his Prophets, who were most zealous for God, and taught the people the knowledge of him, were in danger ; at the hazard of all his own interests, he took care of them : he hid them from their persecutors, and provided for them. At the same time his disinterednesse and integrity in public affairs, and the discharge of civil offices, was so conspicuous, that he was Chief Minister to a Prince, who was an enemie to his religious principles. By which we perceive, that Obadiah knew how to give to Cesar the things that are Cesars, without denying to God what was due to him. - In a. word, this person, who had feared God from bis youth, was now eminent in the various

parts

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