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ciety, that it is rather a curfe, than a bleffing, to the world. Seeing the evils which refulted from the abuse-the devaftation of men, and morals, which it occafioned, this good man, from love to his offspring, warned them wholly to abftain from it. And what evils would many others have avoided, had they confidered the counsel as given to them, and like this family, religiously regarded it? The ravages of intemperance, exceed those of the fword; and the moral evils it hath occafioned furpass description!
BUT why the other reftrictions included in the charge? Why muft the defcendants of Jonadab be denied the comfort of warm and convenient dwellings, and refide in tents through every season of the year, to all generations? Why muft they poffefs neither fields nor vineyards, which were allowed to others, and promised to Ifrael, as part of the bleffing, when they should settle in Canaan? PECULIARITIES unknown to us, might render it proper for them to submit to felf denials to which others are not called. What they were we prefume not to determine.*
MANKIND are exceedingly prone to set up their rest here, and promise themselves permanent dwellings on this rolling ball. Could this man of God perfuade his pofterity that this was not their home, and engage them to feek another country, that is, an heavenly, and lay up their treasure there, whatever felf denials it might cost them, it must
* MR. HENRY undertakes to affign the reafons of all these injunctions; but as none can be affigned which are not merely conjectural, we choose rathfr to leave each one to make his own conjectures, as he may find occafion.
have been, on the whole for their advantage. This might be the general defign of his counfel.
BUT whatever might be the defign, admirable was the effect. The whole family feem to have liftened to his advice, and for many ages to have obeyed his voice! "Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab, the son of Rechab our father, in all that he charged us-and done according to all that he commanded us!"
THIS was not faid only of themselves, who then flood before the prophet, but of the whole family, from the time the charge was given, down to that day. There is not the fmallest probability that a numerous family would inquire after, and find out a code of rules and regulations which had been given nearly three centuries before, and all take it on them to obferve them, if they had been neglected by their fathers, down to their time. They had doubtlefs been obferved with punctuality from the days of Jonadab. Their anfwer to the prophet implies it. This had been known in Ifrael. Therefore were they brought into public view, and made the occafion of a folemn rebuke of that favored, but ungrateful people who had difregarded the injunctions of an infinite God! This was the end propofed in bringing the Rechabites into the temple at this time, and gave occafion to the record here made to their honor, and to the bleffings promised them from above.
SOME may laugh at the fingularity of this frange family-may confider it an evidence of weakness to pay fuch regard to the filly requifi
tions of a fuperftitious ancestor-deny themfelves fo many comforts-make themselves fo fingularengage thofe with whom they married to conform to the rules of their house, and inftil the fame into their children from generation to generation! But whatever we may think of them, it is manifest that this supposed weakness met the divine approbation. The prophet speaks of them with honor; bleffeth them in the name of the Lord, and declares, in his name, that their filial piety fhall not go unrewarded. "And Jeremiah faid unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus faith the Lord of Hofts, the God of Ifrael, Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and—done according to all that he commanded you: Therefore, thus faith the Lord of hofts, the God of Ifrael, Fonadab the fon of Rechab, shall not want a man to fland before me forever."
THESE are not fimply expreffions of appro bation, but contain invaluable promises. They are made in the language of the old teftament, but to those bleffed with gofpel light, their meaning is not obfcure or difficult. The promise fecured the continuance of this family, and a fucceffion of men of piety and virtue in it as long as God's people continued-They fhould never want a man to ftand before the Lord-to serve him. That family had no office at the temple, but in a course of regular devotion, they ftood before God, to minifter unto him. This fhould continue-they fhould remain a religious family. Men of piety fhould always be found among them.
WHEN the prophet had laid these matters before the Jews, he made the application, and denounced the judgments of God against them, unless they turned by repentance. "Thus faith the Lord of Hofts, the God of Ifrael, Go, and tell the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? Saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab, the fon of Rechab, that he commanded his fons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: Notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me."
THE prophet then proceeded to remind them. of the warnings which had been given them, and the means which had been used with them, and to denounce the judgments of God against them— "Thus faith the Lord of Hofts, the God of Ifrael, I will bring upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerufalem, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and have called unto them, but they have not answered."
If we confider the ftate of that people, and the advantages which they had neglected and abused, we shall be convinced that their guilt was attended ed with many aggravations-no other people had fo many advantages and means of information; and few beside were equally depraved."
THE family of Rechab might rise up against them and condemn them. That family had been
long obedient to a man like themselves-the Jews had been difobedient to the God who is above. Jonadab was dead-if his descendants difregarded his injunctions, he might have no power to punish their disobedience; but the God of Ifrael lived-was acquainted with all their crimes, and able to punish their fin upon them. Neither doth it appear that the Rechabites had ever been reminded of the orders of their progenitor, or their obligation to obey him; but the Jews had been often reminded of their duty; in the ftated, and ordinary means of grace they were daily reminded of their obligation to obey God; and he had alfo fent all his fervants the prophets, to call them to repentance; neither had God required fuch felf denials of his people, as Jonadab of his pofterity-yet Jona. dab had been obeyed, and God had been disobeyed! His people "would not receive inftruction." Therefore were his judgments executed upon them, agreeably to his threatenings; and they are left on record for our inftruction. "Now these things happened unto them for enfamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
I. In the part acted by the father of the Rechabites, we witness the concern of a good man, that his children fhould mind the things of religion. That good man did not fcruple to lay hea. vy burdens on his defcendants, and cut them off from many temporal enjoyments, if it might ferve to keep them humble, and cause them to ftand be