Summary: This Sermon is #23 from Rev. Andrew Lee’s SERMONS published in 1803 by Isaiah Thomas, Jr. at Lisbon, Connecticut.
The entire book Andrew’s Lee’s Sermons is available free at Project Gutenberg as e-Text #15031.
The Blessing of God on Filial Piety.
"Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Jonadab, the son of Rechab, shall not want a man to stand before me forever."
ISRAEL were greatly depraved before the days of this prophet, who was sent to reprove and call them to repentance. The prophet faithfully discharged his trust; but labored to very little effect. The chiefs of the nation were offended at its warnings and predictions--rose up against him--shut him up in prison; yea in a dark dungeon, where he sank in the mire; and even sought his life! He was not, however discouraged.. He continued "to warn the wicked from his way, that he should turn from it. None of these things moved him."
THIS was not the only messenger sent of God to warn that people--he sent to them all his servants, the prophets; but they would not hear; The Jews of that age flattered themselves, that God would never enter into judgment with them. "He might pour his fury on the heathen; but they should escape--their place and nation would never feel the effects of his wrath, or become the theatre of his judgments--they were his people--necessary to his honor--he was their God; and would continue their God, whatever their character, or conduct."
THE prophets warned them of their mistake----told them that the judgments of heaven hung over them--that their city and sanctuary would be destroyed, many of them perish in the war, and the residue he removed into strange lands, there to serve their enemies--"but they seemed to that degenerate people as those who mocked, and they believed them not."
THERE is a certain grade of depravity which scoffs at warnings and laughs at the shakings of God’s spear! When this hath become the general character of a people, desolating judgments are near. Those who conceive mercy to be the only attribute of Deity; or the only attribute which he can exercise _towards them_, are commonly deaf to warnings. Sure evidence that they are given up of God--that his spirit hath ceased to strive with them. Rarely are those brought to repentance who entertain such views of God. Perhaps never, unless their views of him are changed. They have no fear of God before their eyes. If mercy absorbed every other attribute, there could be no place for fear. And of what enormity are those incapable who have lost thefear of God? Such corruption of principle is the bane of practice, and prelude of ruin and wretchedness. The history of the Hebrews, and the history of mankind, confirm the truth of this remark.
THIS prophet having long warned his charge to no purpose, is here directed to apply to them in another manner--to try to shame them into contrition, by setting before them the part acted by a particular family which dwelt among them--the Rechabites, who had for ages religiously obeyed the injunctions of one of their ancestors, left probably as his dying charge.
SOME of that progenitor’s requirements seemed rigorous, but being the order of a respected ancestor the family considered them as obligatory; nor could they be persuaded to violate them in anyparticular, though publicly invited to it by a prophet.
IT _may be proper here to make some inquiries relative to these Rechabites--to the person whose charge they conceived so binding; and the nature and design of the charge_.
THE Rechabites are said to have been a branch of the Kenites, and to have descended from Hobab, the son of Jethro, Moses’ father in law. *
* Vide Henry and Brown’s Dictionary.
WHILE Israel were encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai, that Midianitish priest, or prince, visited Moses, bringing with him, Zipporah, the wife of Moses and her children, who had been sent to her father’s as a place of safety, during the troubles in Egypt. Not long after, Hobab, the son of Jethro, appears to have been with Israel in the wilderness; and he was invited to go with them to the land of promise, and take his lot among them, and was promised an equal share of blessings with the seed of Jacob--"If thou wilt go with us, it shall be, that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee." At first Hobab declined, but he eventually complied; as his descendants were among the Hebrews after their settlement in Canaan, and they continued among them, and remained a distinct family, down to the captivity.
ONE branch of these Kenites was denominated from Rechab, an illustrious chief of the house of Hobab; who had a son, or descendant, named Jonadab, or Jehonadab, as his name is sometimes written. Jonadab was renowned for wisdom and piety. He flourished in the days of Jehu, almost three centuries before the Babylonish captivity; and was so famed for sanctity and attachment to true religion, that only being seen in his company was a recommendation to the regard of its friends. Therefore was he treated with respect by Jehu, while he pretended a regard for the true God--therefore was he taken up by that prince into his chariot, and made his partner in the destruction of idolatry. Such was the man who left this charge to his descendants, which was so sacredly regarded by them, for so long a term.