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The fame fubject continued,
SERM Q N I.
Family Worship recommended.
By ANDREW HUNTER, D. D.
Jos. xxiv. 15.
As for me and my houfe, we will ferve the Lord.
HESE words are part of a folemn addrefs to God's ancient people Ifrael, delivered by Joshua at the clofe of an active and ufeful life; and could not fail to command attention, as they proceeded from one no lefs venerable for age, wifdom, and experience, than for his unfhaken integrity, high rank, and illuftrious deeds. Verf. 14. "Now "therefore fear the Lord, and ferve him in "fincerity and truth, and put away the "gods which your fathers ferved on the o"ther fide of the flood, and in Egypt; and "ferve ye the Lord. And if it feem evil "unto you to ferve the Lord, chufe you this "day whom you will ferve, whether the gods "whom your fathers ferved that were on the "other fide of the flood, [viz. Jordan], or "the gods of the Amorites, in whofe land cr ye dwell." Then he adds his own fixed determination," But as for me and my house, A
we will ferve the Lord;" that is, I am refolved to be religious myself to the end of life, and to recommend the service of God to my relations, and all under my roof, by my advice, example, and influence: I am determined to check impiety and licentioufnefs, and to use my beft endeavours that all my family join me in the worship and obedience of the living God. Such is the purport of the refo lution of this worthy general.
Imagine not, however, that Joshua thought it entirely in his own power, or in the power of any mafter of a family, to make all thofe who dwell in his house fincerely pious and holy. Many, after their best endeavours, have had melancholy experience of the contrary. To change the heart, is the work of God. But Joshua was refolved, that nothing fhould be wanting on his part to promote the spiritual wwelfare of all in his houfe; and trufted, that the divine bleffing would render his endeavours fuccefsful. It is not unlikely, indeed, that the domeftics of this good man were piously disposed, like himself; and that, from his knowledge of their character, he might venture to promise on their faithful adherence to the duties of religion: "As for me and ཐ་ my house, we will ferve the Lord."
Various are the methods by which the head of a family may promote the religious interefts of thofe under his roof; by inftructing them in the principles and duties of religion, joining with them daily in the exercises of devo
tion, frequent catechifing of younger perfons, admonishing and reproving the thoughtless and vitious, and finally exhibiting in his own life an amiable reprefentation of religion, a bright pattern of every Chriftian virtue.
To no caufe can the prefent declining state of piety, and growing licentioufnefs of manners, be more juftly attributed, than to the great neglect of family-religion, Were heads of families at due pains to perform the important duties now fuggefted, we might with reafon indulge the pleafing hope, that our Zion would yet flourish, "that righteousness "would run down our ftreets as a ftream,
and judgement like a mighty current." To thofe therefore in this affembly who are pla ced in that character or relation of life, would I now addrefs myself; and gladly would I perfuade them to adopt and effectuate the refolution of the victorious leader of Ifrael, "As for me and my houfe, we will ferve the "Lord."
The particular branch of family-religion which I propose to recommend at prefent, is family-worship: A very important duty; and which I am perfuaded there is at this time the greatest need to inculcate; for there never was a period in which it was more generally neglected. Every attentive reader of the context will difcover, that ferving the Lord means here, paying worship or homage to him, as expreffed by adoration, thanksgiving, and fup plication; for it is put in oppofition to the A 2 neglect