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Chaldea, about the time. But that very silence afforded room to hope that his own eyes should see the budding hon. ours of his race; that his own hand should grasp the ri sources of Palestine, and convey them down in succession to the men of future times. But now he is taught to ex. pect no such great things for himself. He is told that God would at a future day bestow that land upon bis descende ants. But Abram is now an old man, and he has no childa Remote indeed is the prospect of this inheritance which he had come so far to gather. God is faithful, and he must expect that his posterity would one day master it; but what remains to him, an old and banished man, but the prospect of spending the residue of his years without a country, and of leaving to his descendants to acquire for themselves a land which he had fondly hoped himself to bestow upon them.
It was but natural that such a discovery should chill the warm feelings of our aged patriarch. But still it did not shake his piety; it did not undermine his faith, To whom could he go, under these discouraging circumstances, so properly as to the Being who had brought him hither? From whom should he seek the consolations of friendship, when doomed to spend the residue of his years in a land where he had no place that he might call his home, if not from the converse of God Omnipresent, who shelters under his wings all them that trust in him? If he might not provide an hearth, he could at least prepare an altar. And it was proper that “the stranger” should not forget "the stranger's shield.” Far different in this case was the course of Abram from that pursued by most of those who are -burdened with the perplexities of an unsettled life. Yet how foolish to make the multiplicity of our çares a plea
for neglecting the God of Providence who watches ove: all! How unfortunate to overlook the most steadfast and powerful friend when cast among strangers, where we are apt to feel most sensibly our loneliness and helplessness! How wicked to waste at a distance from the throne of God the moments best calculated to call forth the strongest and tenderest feelings of the heart!! 0, let the traveller and the stranger recollect how soon they may be plunged into circumstances of utter helplessness, where none is disposed to aid them, and none will care for them but God; and then let them say whether it is wise to forfeit his protection by neglecting to solicit it; or whether it is not better to prepare, like Abram, their altar, though they pitch their tent but for one night in Moreh. The worldling may be brought to do homage to high heaven in seasons of full leisure, or on days of state; but it is the province of that piety which fits the human mind to maintain uninterrupted fellowship in the world of spirits- it is the province of that piety to account as chief on earth, the employments and interests which shall undoubtedly be chief when earth is ours no more.
Circumstances of which no account is left us, rendered the plain of Moreh an undesirable abode; and in a short time we find our patriarch removing about twenty miles further southward, and pitching his tent at the foot of a mountain between Bethel and Hai, not more than twelve miles to the north-east of the site of the afterwards fa mous Jerusalem. It was a portion of that rocky plais where the wandering Jacob slept when flying from the fue ry of his brother; and was by no means adapted to the numerous flocks and herds of Abram and Lot. He was probably compelled to take up bis abode on so unpropitioas &
spot, by the numerous Canaanites who claimed the country, and would be naturally unwilling that the flocks of a stranger should consume the pasturage which they needed for their own.
His abode in that spot was consequently short. Again, we are told, “he journeyed, going on still toward the south.”-But short as was his stay by the mountain of Luz, it was of sutficient duration to demand the erection of another altar. The ceremonials which typified the attonement of Messiah, were both laborious and expensive. Independently of that more direct and less formal intercourse with heaven, which is common to the patriarchal, the mosaic, and the christian church, when the worshippers of the Most High raise the voice of thanksgiving or prostrate themselves in humble supplication, the New Testament has her supper to shew forth Messiah's death; it is simply bread and wine; while under the old economy there was the altar and the knife by which many a costly sacrifice was immolated and consumed. But the shortness of his stay, the labour or the expense, did not influence our patriarch to dispense with the accustomed altar. He felt and he acted as short-lived mortals should do, whose high privilege it is to maintain intercourse with heaven; and who know that the time must speedily arrive, when of all their occupations and of all their acquisitions there will remain to them nothing that can console or bless, except what they may have treasured up for the world to come. And who will not prefer-infinitely prefer the spirit of our patriarch, erecting an altar wherever he pitched his tent, and assembling all his family to bow around it as it blazed: who will not prefer the condition of a man who, though a wanderer, still derived consolation from his
piety, confidence from the power, and gladness from the fellowship of God to the condition of that man, be his pretensions what they may, who is without one real friend in heaven or upon earth; and who, compelled to rely solely on his own resources, feels his spirits sink and his hope wither just in proportion as those resources fail! Precious at all times, but doubly precious in the day of our adver. sity is the assured kindness of our Almighty Maker. Tender as we paint to ourselves some pitying angel, far more tender is that God of all the angels who gave them what they have of sympathy and goodness; and happy are they who cultivate, like Abram, the regards of such a friend. He will never be the first to break off a settled intercourse. If in the day of our prosperity he has our best affections far be it from bim to desert a friend who loved him in the day of our calamity he will prove a tower of strength.
But we pray you mark the emphasis with which this circumstance is noted: whe builded an altar unto the Lord,” and did not then devolve it upon others to wore ship him whose altar was prepared; he himself bent low before that altar, "and called upon the name of the Lord.” Oh, would to God it might never be recorded that men act far less rationally in many a christian land. Would to God ît never could be said that many a temple rises fair toward the heavens, and others draw nigh to offer their homage to the Lord of Hosts, while they by whose enterprize that temple was founded, by whose liberality it was completed and adorned, forget that it is provided to build men up for salvation; and disdaining to reap advantage from their own munificence, and forgetful that the Saviour is God's greatest gift to man, help others to a salvation which they themselves neglect Let no man imagine that his altar will epa er profit him if he neglect communion with the God of Hosts. That fountain of liberality will indeed reward the minutest service which his people render him. The San viour himself has said it, that when he shall judge the world he will not overlook even a cup of water given to a disciple for his Master's sake. But where will be the room to heap recompense on them who by' neglecting the Sa. viour fall short of his salvation. To our pardon or justific cation no work of ours contributes. The Saviour suffers all. The Saviour obeys for all. And it is only the person who bowing before that altar, fit emblem of the sacri. fice of Messiahs cross; it is only the person who devoutly trusts to him and follows him and worships him, that can ever be in a condition to receive a recompense. If other reward be given, this life alone must witness it. There is: but the one name given under heaven among men, byr which they can be saved.
It was well for our patriarch that he possessed this spirit of unfailing piety, for new trials awaited him which more than equalled the utmost of his resources. He was not long fixed in his new situation, before a mighty famine 2 rose in the land. That country which was to sustain the descendants of Abram, when numerous as the stars of hea. ven, was found inadequate to provide for the consumption of the comparatively small numbers who at present occupied it. And he who had sought it as the home of his old age, and had looked to see it abundant in those resources which should give wealth to his posterity, was obliged, afri ter roaming from place to place, to desert it altogether.
Still moving to the south, they fled for Egypt. And here a new series of difficulties awaited him. But they were difficulties from which he did not escape 50 safely and hone