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thers. This noble testimony of Christian love, has the most powerful influence in warming the heart, and enlivening the affections in prayer. It happens frequently, that those who have hardly a word to say for themselves, and whose desires are quite heavy and languid as to what regards their own interest, no sooner come to supplicate for others, than they are enabled to pour out their whole fouls before God with the greatest fulness of expression, and enlargement of asfection; as if it were the purpose of God, to invite us to this exercise, by honouring it with a particular mark of his acceptance and approbation. Oh that it would please God to revive among professing Chiistians a spirit of prayer, that when they cannot unite in sentiment, they may unite in prayer; that when impiety and immorality are bold and insolent, they may oppose them by prayer; and that when they are slandered, insulted, or abused by their enemies, they may sind unspeakable comfort in imitating their dying Saviour, loving them that hate them, blessing them that cuise them, and praying for them who tiespitefully use them and persecute them. I conclude w i'.h the words of the apostle, Jude, ver. 24. 25. "Now unto him that is able to keep "you from falling, and to present you faultless "before the presence of his glory with exceed''' ing joy, to the only wife God, our Saviour, "be glory and majesty, dominion anjf power, *' both now and ever. Amen."
i Samuel Xv. 22.
Bath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offer. ings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the sat os rams.
THat obedience is due to God from all his intelligent creatures, I suppose none here present will deny. It is the original unchangeable law of creation, which every after-discovery served not to undetermine, but to support and confirm. It was the religion of man in his primitive state of innocence; and it shall be the religion of heaven, when we shall see our Maker as he is. The very excellence of truth itself lies in its influence on holiness, and the very purpose of every sacred institution is to form our minds to a habit of obedience, and subjection to the will of God. In the mean time, it is of the utmost moment, that we have clear and just conceptions of ihe nature and principles of obedience, and that we guard against the errors that are often committed on this subject. Some, from a partial or excessive attachment to one branch of duty, are
apt apt to disparage another; and some are apt to make a merit of their zeal or diligence in one duty, as if it would procure indulgence for them in the wilful neglect of another. From the language in the remarkable passage of scripture which I have chosen for my text, it is plain, that sacrisices, or the outward worship of God, are sometimes made a cover for the neglect of obedience. Nor are there wanting other passages where complaints are brought against the same mistake. On the other hand, this passage where the text lies, and another expression akin to it in the gospel, "I .will have mercy, and not "sacrisice," have been often grossly misapplied, to bring contempt upon every positive institution, and even upon the whole exercises of piety; and that by such persons as do very little honour either to themselves or their opinions, by the perfection of their obedience. 1 have cho. fen these words, with a view to the information and conviction of both these sorts of persons, and for the instruction and edisication of those who desire to walk in the straight path of duty, without turning to the right hand or to the lest. In discoursing further upon them, I propose,
1. To open a little, and make a few remarks on the history which gave occasion to the words of the prophet.
2. To shew in what respects it is, that obedience is opposed and preferred to sacrisice, or justly called better, as in the words of the text.
3. In the last place, To make some application of the subject.
L First, then, I am to open a little, and make a few remarks upon the history which gave occasion to the words of the prophet. This will be the more proper, that the setting this part of the sacred story in a clear light, will both afford us some excellent instructions, and alfa obviate the cavils of unreasonable men. The people called Amalekites were derived, and had their name, from one Amalek, the son of Esau's eldest son Eliphaz, by a concubine, (Gen. xxxvi. 12.). The sirst mention we have made of them as a people, was their being engaged in a very unjust war with the children of Israel, (Ex. xvii. 8.). This provoked God to determine, or at least upon this occasion he was pleased to intimate, their being devoted to utter destruction; as Exod. xvii. 14. 15. 16. "And the Lord said "unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in st "book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: "for I will utterly put out the remembrance of "Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built '< an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah"nissi. For he said, Because the Lord hath "sworn, that the Lord will have war with Ama"lek from generation to generation."
The injustice and impiety of this action of the Amalekites, which provoked God, not only to threaten, but to swear their destruction, may be learned from the account of this matter given. us in Deut. xxv. 17. 18- 19, "Remember what "Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye '< were come forth out of Egypt: how he met <' the? by the way, and smote the hindmost of
"thee* "thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, "when thou wast faint and weary; and he fear"ed not God. Therefore it shall be, when the "Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all "thine enemies round about, in the land which "the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inherit** ance to possess it, that thou (halt blot out the "remembrance of Amalck from under heaven; "thou shalt not forget it." From this it appears, that the Amalekites attacked the Israelites unprovoked, and without any cause; for the Israelites neither intended to possess themselves of their country, nor were they so much as pasting by their borders, which might have given them some cause of suspicion. Without any thing of this sort, they came out of their own country, to attack the Israelites in the wilderness, either in consequence of the old grudge between Esau and Jacob, or from a principle of covetousness, to seize upon the riches which they heard the children of Israel had brought out of Egypt.
It is further observed, that they cut off those that were faint and weary, when the distresled condition of that people seemed rather to call for compassion and help. This was unjust and cruel; and discovers them to have been a savage and prossigate people; especially if one circumstance more be taken notice of, that they did all this in open desiance and contempt of God. They had no doubt heard, that he interested himself in a particular manner in the preservation of the Israelites, and was, in a literal fense,