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its general or gross bulk; next surveyed in its principal meme bers,
First, in general, God is honored by a willing and careful practice of all piety and virtue for conscience sake, or in avowed obedience to his will. This is the most natural expression of our reverence towards him, and the most effectual way of promoting the same in others : instanced in the conduct of a good subject towards his prince; and in this we are encouraged by the precepts of holy Scripture.
Secondly; there are some members of this duty deserving a particular consideration ; some acts which more signally conduce to the illustration of God's glory. Such are, 1. the frequent and constant performance of all religious duties, in a seria ous, reverent manner: 2. the using all things peculiarly related to him, his holy name and word, his holy places and times, with especial respect : 3. the yielding due observance to his deputies and ministers: 4. the freely spending what he has given us in works of piety and charity: 5. all penitential acts by which we submit unto God, and humble ourselves before him: 6. the cheerfully undergoing afflictions or losses in pro. fession of his truth, or obedience to his commands : 7. especially the discharging faithfully those offices with which God has intrusted us, improving diligently the talents he has committed to us, and using carefully those means and opportunities which he gives us of doing good : this topic enlarged on, and recommended most strongly to those who are in power thority, whose example has the strongest effect and most extensive influence on others.
III. It is shown why the duty is required of us, or how reasonable it is. This point so clear, that many words need not be spent on it. God surely does not exact honor from us because he needs it, because he is the better for it, or because he delights in it for itself: this we cannot suppose if we consider his nature and attributes. It is then only his pure goodness that
moves him, for our benefit, to demand it of us. For to honor God is, 1. shown to be the most proper work of reason : 2. a most pleasant duty: 3. that it disposes us to imitate him : 4. that it is most beneficial to us, because by an eternal rule of justice our final. welfare is annexed to it, God having promised to confer honor on those who honor him. And,
IV. This promise he makes good several ways; some of which are briefly suggested. 1. The honoring God is of itself an honorable thing, the employment which ennobles heaven itself. 2. By it we are immediately instated in great honor; we enter into noble relations, acquire illustrious titles, enjoy glorious privileges, are adopted into God's family, and are styled his children. 3. By God's peculiar ordinance honor is naturally consequent on our honoring him; for he has made goodness a noble thing, an object of esteem and reverence to all men. 4. By his extraordinary providence, as there is reason and occasion, he interposes to maintain and further the reputation of those who honor him. 5. Whereas men are naturally inclined to regard the judgment of posterity, and are anxious to leave a good name behind them, God so disposes things that the memory of the just shall be blessed. Lastly, to those who honor him here, he has reserved an honor hereafter, to which all the glories of this world are but as duskish fleeting shadows an honor most solid, most durable; an eternal weight of glory.
THE REWARD OF HONORING GOD.
I SAMUEL, CHAP. II. — VERSE 30.
For them that honor me I will honor.
The words are in the strictest sense the word of God, uttered immediately by God himself; and may thence command from us an especial attention and regard. The history of that which occasioned them is, I presume, well known; neither shall I make any descant or reflexion thereon ; but to take the words separately, as a proposition of itself, affording a complete instruction and ample matter of discourse. And as such, they plainly imply two things : a duty required of us to honor God; and a reward proffered to us on performance of that duty, being honored by God. It is natural for us, before we are willing to undertake any work, to consider the reward or benefit accru. ing from it; and it is necessary, before we can perform any duty, to understand the nature thereof. To this our method of action I shall suit the method of my discourse ; first endeavoring to estimate the reward, then to explain the duty. Afterward I mean to show briefly why in reason the duty is enjoined; how in effect the reward is conferred.
I. The reward may be considered either absolutely, as what it is in itself; or relatively, as to its rise, and whence it comes.
1. For itself, it is honor; a thing, if valued according to the rate it bears in the common market, of highest price among all the objects of human desire; the chief reward which the
greatest actions and which the best actions do pretend unto or are capable of; that which usually bears most sway in the hearts, and hath strongest influence on the lives of men; the desire of obtaining and maintaining which doth commonly overbear other most potent inclinations. The love of pleasure stoops thereto: for men, to get or keep reputation, will decline the most pleasant enjoyments, will embrace the hardest pains, Yea, it often prevails over the love of life itself, which men do not only frequently expose to danger, but sometimes devote to certain loss, for its sake. If we observe what is done in the world, we may discern it to be the source of most undertaki, ings therein: that it not only moveth the wheels of public action, (that not only for it great princes contend, great armies march, great battles are fought ;) but that from it most private business derives its life and vigor: that for honor especially the soldier undergoes hardship, toil, and hazard; the scholar plods and beats his brains; the merchant runs about so busily, and adventures so far; yea, that for its sake the meanest laborer and artificer doth spend his sweat and stretch his sinews. The principal drift of all this care and industry (the great reason of all this scuffling for power, this searching for knowlege, this scraping and scrambling for wealth) doth seem to be, that men would live in some credit, would raise themselves above contempt.*
In such request, of such force, doth honor appear to be. If we examine why, we may find more than mere fashion (or mu
"Ιδοις δ' αν και των ιδιωτών τους επιεικεστάτους, υπέρ άλλου μεν ουδενός αν το ζην αντικαταλλαξαμένους» υπέρ δε του τυχεϊν καλής δόξης, αποθνήσκειν έθέdovras.--Isocr. Orat. ad Philip.
Mors tum æquissimo animo appetitur, cum suis se laudibus vita occidens consolari potest.-Cic. i. Tuso.
– Laudis avidi pecuniæ liberales erant, gloriam ingentem divitias honestas volebant; hanc ardentissime dilexerunt, propter hanc vivere voluerunt, pro hac et mori non dubitaverunt. Cæteras cu. piditates hujus unius ingenti cupiditate presserunt.-Aug. de Civ.. Dei, v. 12. • Αί. γάρ δυναστείαι και ο πλούτος δια την τιμήν έστιν αιρετά.--Arist. Eth. iv. 3. .
Honos alit artes, omnesque incenduntur ad studia gloria, &c.Cic. Tusc. Quaest. I.
tual imitation and consent) to ground the experiment on. There is one obvious reason why no mean regard should be had thereto; its great convenience and usefulness : for that a man cannot himself live safely, quietly, or pleasantly, without some competent measure thereof; cannot well serve the public, perform offices of duty to his relations, of kindness to his friends, of charity to his neighbors, but under its protection, and with its aid : it being an engine very requisite for the managing any business, for the compassing any design, at least sweetly and smoothly; it procuring to us many furtherances in our proceedings, removing divers obstacles out of our way, guarding a man's person from offences, adding weight to his words, putting an edge on his endeavors: for every one allows a favorable ear to his discourse, lends an assisting hand to his attempts, grants a ready credence to his testimony, and makes a fair construction of his doings, whom he esteems and respects. So is honor plainly valuable among the bona utilia, as no small accommodation of life; and as such, reason approves it to our judgment.*
But searching farther, we shall find the appetite of honor to have a deeper ground, and that it is rooted even in our nature itself. For we may descry it budding forth in men's first infancy, (before the use of reason, or speech ;) even little children being ambitious to be made much of, maintaining among themselves petty emulations and competitions, as it were about punctilios of honor. We may observe it growing with age, waxing bigger and stronger together with the increase of wit and knowlege, of civil culture and experience ; that the maturest age doth most resent and relish it; that it prevails most in civilised nations; that men of the best parts, of the highest improvements, of the weightiest employments, do most
Vide Hier. Ep, ad Celant. Conscientia nobis necessaria est, fama proxima. Qui conscientia fidens, famam negligit, crudelis est.-Aug.
Προς χρείας επιτήδειον όργανον η δόξα.-Galen.
Nec vero negligenda fama est; nec mediocre telum ad res gerendas existimare oportet benevolentiam civium.-Cic. de Amic,
Vide Chrys. tom, vi. Orat, 17.