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neral, especially those who were in the chief SERM. IX. city, and at Court, that he feared the Lord.

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He worshiped and ferved God according to the rules of reafon, and the directions of the law of Mofes, the revelation that had been made to the people of Ifrael. It was the first of the principal commandments of that law. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. The next commandment is: Thou fhalt not make unto thy-felf a graven image, the likeneffe of any thing. Thou shalt not bow down thy-felf to them, and ferve them. And according to thofe laws, given to the people of Ifrael, as their King and Governour, he who worshiped any other God was to be cut off from his people. This perfon respected thofe laws, and the fanctions by which they were enforced. And though many did not regard them, he did. He was perfuaded, that God was able to reward the obedient, and punish tranfgreffors.

In the following chapter Elijah, lamenting his cafe, fays, he only was left. But God affures him, that he had left to him feven thoufand in Ifrael, all the knees that had not bowed unto Baal. Obadiah was one of these, but

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Kings

xix. 14.

Ver. 18.

SERM. more known, as a worshiper and fervant of the true God, than many of that number.

IX.

Pr. viii.

13.
xvi. 6:

Ec. xii.

13.

Deut. vi. 1. 2.

3. Fearing the Lord implies obferving the precepts of true religion, or making the will of God, fo far as we are acquainted with it, the rule of our conduct.

This is an ordinarie meaning of the fear of the Lord in Scripture. It includes all religion in general. At left obedience is represented as fo connected with fearing God, as to be a neceffarie concomitant, or immediate effect of it. For it is faid, that the fear of the Lord is to depart from evil. Again, By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. And, Fear God, and keep, his commandments: for this is the whole duty, or concern of man.

So Mofes inftructed the people under his care: Now thefe are the commandments, and ftatutes, and judgements, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you: that thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his ftatutes and commandments, which I command thee.

For certain, religion, or the fear of God, is not a speculative fcience. It lyes not barely in admiring thoughts, and sublime conceptions of the Deity. God is not only a being of

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of great power, and understanding, but he is SERM. also a righteous, holy being; true, gracious, IX. merciful. And a true worshiper of God is led to an imitation of him in thofe perfections. All hopes of his favour depend upon a conformity to him therein. And truth and righteoufneffe and goodneffe are the great things in those laws, which have been delivered by his authority.

Such an one the perfon in the text evidently was. There was no one befides, in whom Ahab could fo fafely confide for an upright, and confcientious discharge of any office and commiffion, in which the welfare of his kingdom was concerned.

4. It is here alfo faid of Obadiah, that be feared the Lord from his youth: that is, from very early age to that time. As foon as he was arrived to a full exercife of his reason, and came to be fenfible of moral obligations; he had by his own voluntarie and fedate judgement and choice fignified his approbation of the great truths, and principles, and precepts of religion. From the begining he had been perfuaded, that the Lord, Jehovah, is God alone and all his days he had worshiped and served him, as the one true God, and loved

SERM. him with all his heart and foul: esteeming IX. his fervice the most honorable, the most delightful, and the most profitable fervice, which any creature can be engaged in. He had likewife in the whole courfe of his life had a ftrict and confcientious refpect to the great rules of right and wrong. Such had been his early resolution and practise. And the rest of his life to that time was of the fame tenour.

I prefume, I do not put too much into the defcription of this property, fearing the Lord; or the character of the perfon, here spoken of. I have ftudiously avoided fo doing. We are not obliged to conceive of Obadiah, as perfect, or without fin: but he was upright, he truly feared God, and fincerely respected all his laws. He had been free from great tranfgreffions. And the failings, or offenses of a leffer kind, which he had been furprised into, were not allowed of, nor perfifted in.

This is what is implied in fearing God from the youth.

II. In the next place we are to observe the virtue of this.

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1. It was partly owing to a quick difcern- SERM. ment of the truth and value of things. The IX. things of religion were controverted in his time. The grounds and reafons of the worfhip of Jehovah and Baal were debated. Or, if the idolatrous worship of Baal was not begun in Ifrael, in his early youth: it is, nevertheless, likely, that there were fome queftions put concerning the high places fet up by Jeroboam, who had been, followed in fome measure by all, or most of the fucceding Kings of Ifrael. Obadiah foon difcerned the merits of the controverfie. By the help of a good understanding he readily perceived, who' ought to be worshiped as the true God, and what is the most acceptable way of worshiping, and wherein true religion principally confifts.

2. He
gave a ferious attention to the things
of religion, and carefully weighed and examined
them. His right choice was not foly owing
to a quick understanding, and ready appre-
henfion. But he ufed diligence and applica-
tion. He perceived religion to be a weighty con-
cern, and he bestowed many ferious thoughts
upon it. He was early fenfible, that a right
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deter-

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