Imágenes de páginas

view shall serve to introduce the history of hand of a brother; but immortal by his faith the other lives, which the sacred volume in and piety, qualities not liable to the stroke succession, presents to our observation, and of death. " By faith he offered to God" an has sketched for our information and im- excellent and an acceptable sacrifice. In provement.

presenting the firstlings of his flock, he had In Adam, we behold at once our natural a respect to the great Lamb of atonement, first father, and our federal head : from whom, and thereby, “ being dead, he yet speaketh.” as men, our existence is derived, and by Prematurely taken away, but not for a crime; whose conduct our character has been deeply “ a victim to malice and envy, he typified affected, and our state in some respects de- Messiah, the Prince, cut off, but not for termined. “Our father Adam, where is he?" himself,” crucified and slain in the prime of He fulfilled his day, he accomplished the life, by the impious hands of his nearest kinpurposes of the eternal mind, he then fell dred. And, living under the influence of the asleep, and is now seen no more. But, how- same principle, we too shall become immorever remote the date of his formation, and of tal, shall “ endure as seeing bim, who is inhis death ; however distant from us the re- visible, and present our bodies a living sacrigion in which he lived, however apparently fice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our unconnected with us in interest, in fame, or reasonable service.'* fortune, we are, we know, we feel ourselves In the life, and more particularly in the deeply involved in what he was, in what he exit of the patriarch Enoch, life and immor. did. In Adam we all died; we all forfeited tality were more clearly brought to light. a natural, and lost a spiritual and divine life : Hitherto, men had terminated their earthly and, in Adam, we received the promises course by descending into the grave and which have since been fulfilled, and to him seeing corruption. But, when we come to first were opened prospects, which the course inquire concerning Enoch, “where is he?" of Providence has realized, even the restora- The scriptures reply, “By faith Enoch was tion of our fallen nature, by one “greater translated, that he should not see death; and man,” who has regained for us seats more was not found, because God had translated blissful than those from which by transgres- him: for before his translation, he had this sion he fell; namely, the "seed of the wo- testimony that he pleased God.”+

“ He was man, who has bruised the serpent's head.” not, for God took him." Our thoughts here Our first father, where is he? Lost indeed settle, not on the gloomy mansions of the to us, but not to God. All traces of him, ex- dead, “ the house appointed for all living," cepting those only which perpetuate the but on the regions of eternal day, irradiated memory of his guilt and its woful conse- with the glory, and beautified with the prequences, are effaced and forgotten; but his sence of God. We rise in faith and hope to station before God remains unchanged, his that bright world from which Christ descendimportance undiminished. Dead to us, heed, and to which, having finished his work, lives to Him, with whom "a thousand years and achieved his victory, he afterwards reare as one day, and one day as a thousand ascended, leading captivity captive. And all years."

who are partakers of the same precious faith, Can we meditate upon the first man who contemplate with joy that same mansion of was created upon the earth, without rising everlasting rest,“ prepared for them from in our thoughts to Him who created him out the foundation of the world,” and “ ready to of the dust of the ground, and " breathed be revealed in the last time," when the body into his nostrils the breath of life? And who shall be redeemed from the power of the has of one blood formed all nations of men grave, and the Saviour, lifted up on high, to inhabit upon the face of the whole earth." shall “ draw all men unto him." ' In Enoch, Can we think of our father after the flesh; "walking with God,” and passing immediand not connect with him the idea of our ately, soul and body, from earth to heaven, Father who is in heaven? Is not the pain the world that then was, saw, in a figure, ful recollection of him in whom all died, hap- Him that was to come, whose meat and drink pily relieved and done away by reflecting it was to do the will of his heavenly Father, on the glorious second Adam, in whom an and who has opened a passage, through the elect world is made alive? And O, how is very gates of death, into the heavenly world, the loss of an earthly paradise compensated and that not for himself only, but for all who by the promise of “new heavens and a new believe on his name, and who love his apearth, wherein dwelleth righteousness;" that pearing. Enoch, our father, where is he? paradise of God, in the midst of which grows There, O my soul ! there, O my christian the tree of life, always blossoming, always friend, where, through the grace that is in bearing fruit, and exempted from the dan- Christ Jesus, we have everlasting consolagerous neighbourhood of the tree of know- tion, in the good hope of arriving also. “O ledge of good and evil.

death, where is thy sting! O grave, where Our brother Abel, where is he? Cut off is thy victory! Thanks be to God, who in the bloom of life; fallen, fallen by the

| Heb. xi. 5.

• Rom. xii. 1.

our Lord."*

giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christten. Let him who is rearing a mansion of

one thousand feet by five hundred, meditate Advancing to the times of Noah, we be on one of six by two, and learn to die. hold the world first deluged with an over The ark which Noah prepared for the flowing flood of sin, and then with an inun- saving of his house, where is it? It fulfilled dation of waters. The measure of human ini- its destination, it escaped the wreck of worlds, quity full, and the vials of divine wrath filled, it preserved, and rendered up, its precious in order to punish it, up to the brim, and poured deposit, then fell into decay. It exists but out upon an impious generation, to its utter in description, it has no form but what fancy extinction and ruin. Nevertheless, a rem- has bestowed upon it in a picture, or upon a nant is saved, and mercy rejoices in the midst coin. But its fame, its use, its end, its antiof judgment. . Animated by the same prin- type, are immortal. That magnificent vessel, ciple which inspired his venerable ancestors, not the contrivance of man, but the appointthat principle which gave value to Abel's ment of God; constructed according to the sacrifice, which strengthened Enoch to walk pattern, formed and prescribed by infinite with God, and through which he was trans- wisdom; preserved in the wild uproar of lated without tasting of death, Noah “pre- conflicting elements, by the almighty power pared an ark for the saving of his house." of God;-resting at length on solid ground, The history and method of redemption, by and unloading its precious treasure without the Lord Jesus Christ, are so clearly prefi- the loss of a single life-are so many succesgured in every part of this wonderful event, sive, distinct, pleasing, and instructive views that he who runs may read them. Noah, “a of the plan formed, followed, and, in due just man, and perfect in his generations ;” time, perfected, of man's deliverance from Noah, who “ walked with God," and was “a sin, and death, and hell, by the Lord Jesus preacher of righteousness;" Noah, who, Christ; who thus speaks of his redeemed, * warned of God of things not seen as yet, and of himself, in his last solemn address to and moved with fear, prepared an ark for the his Heavenly Father, “While I was with saving of his house,” is evidently in all these them in the world, I kept them in thy name: characters and actions, a type of the Holy those that thou gavest me, I have kept, and and Just One, whom the world despised and none of them is lost;"* and in another place, rejected; a type of " the only begotten Son," I give unto them eternal life, and they shall who is in the bosom of the Father, and hath never perish, neither shall any pluck them declared him" unto men; a type of the great out of my hand. My Father which gave " teacher sent from God," to warn a guilty them me is greater than all: and none is devoted race to flee from the wrath to come, able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”+ and to conduct them to a place of safety; a

The emblems of the raven, the dove, the type of him, who, chosen of God, and moved rainbow, the altar, the sacrifice, and others by pity and affection, prepared a present re- which enter into the history of this patriarch, fuge, and an everlasting habitation, for pe- are beautiful and significant illustrations of rishing sinners. Of Noah, his pious pro- the same interesting, all-important subject. phetic father, when he imposed his name, And the whole taken together, satisfyingly exultingly exclaimed, “This same shall com- demonstrate, that if "death reigned from fort us concerning our work and toil of our Adam to Noah," and the “offence abounded,” hands, because of the groụnd which the Lord yet " grace did much more abound;" and that hath cursed :"| and, in the blessed Redeem- out of the ruins of human apostacy, guilt er of mankind, all his pious, believing chil- and misery, the hand of Heaven was gradren, enjoy the prospect of a period, and a dually rearing that glorious fabric of salvaworld, wherein "there shall be no more tion, which, when completed, an enraptured curse;" and on whom the eternal Father by universe shall contemplate with astonishment the tongue of an angel, imposed the name of and delight. “ This is the day which the Jesus, because he should save his people Lord hath made: this is the Lord's doing ; it from their sins.” Noah, our father, where is is marvellous in our eyes.” The sight of the he? where is the man who was Enoch's con- world restored, renewed, and blessed to Noah, temporary, who conversed with the sages of the second father of the human race, leads the old world, who saw the globe one vast us forward, borne on the wings of promise, ocean, whom all the waters of a deluge could to the still more magnificent prospect of the not drown, who received a grant of the whole restitution of all things;" to the day when renewed earth for an inheritance ? All these he who sitteth upon the throne shall say, successive changes led but to the grave, and" Behold I make all things new;" when, acwe see him no more. “ All the days of Noah cording to his word, a new, more splendid, were nine hundred and fifty years, and he and more durable system of the universe died.” Let the possessor of a continent think shall arise under the plastic hand of the great of this, and check his pride. Let florid, vi- Author and Finisher of the Christian faith, gorous youth, think

three score years and from the wreck of worlds consumed by fire; . 1 Cor. xv. 55. 57. Gen. . 29,

* John xvil. 12. John 2. 28, 29. L

sons at once.

same manner.

dence of faith, are at length rewarded by two casion, applied to both, equally and in the

I mean not to recapitulate the extraordi The next important event of Isaac's life, nary circumstances of Isaac's conception and upon the sacred record, is his marriage. birth, as they have already been considered Swallowed up of sorrow for the loss of his in the history of Abraham. We shall only mother, or absorbed in devout meditation, he take up those particulars of his story which leaves all concern about his future fortunes, are more personal and peculiar; in which and establishment in the world, to the care Isaac himself was either an agent or a suf- and wisdom of his father. And he thereby ferer. And, we find him at an early period reproves the forwardness and self-sufficiency indeed, feeling distress and suffering perse- of our young men, who presume to think for cution. The day he was weaned, how was themselves in every thing before they have the festivity of that joyful occasion embittered learned to think at all; who attempt the to his childish, innocent heart, by the cruel works of men with the knowledge and the taunts and mockings of his brother Ishmael! strength of children. In the various particuIt is remarkable that almost all, at least the lars of this transaction, we have a beautiful severest trials which this patriarch endured, and interesting picture of the simplicity of arose from his nearest and dearest relations. ancient manners and customs. Is it not a Hated and scorned from the womb, by his custom rather ancient and obsolete, to see all brother; devoted in sacrifice of his father; parties piously acknowledging God, upon called early to mourn the loss of his affec- such an occasion as this? Is it not rather tionate mother; afflicted for twenty years uncommon to see a prudent father, anxious with the barrenness of his only and beloved to match his only son with virtue and reliwife; vexed from their very conception, with gion, not with rank and affluence, to the enthe strife of his jealous sons, struggling for dangering of his moral and religious princisuperiority; mortified and grieved to the ples? With us, the most valuable accomheart

, with the inconsiderate, unwise, idola- plishments, whether bodily or mental, go for trous marriages of his favourite Esau; prac- nothing, unless set off with gold; but Rebetised upon, and deceived in old age and blind- kah, without a dowry, was with jewels and ness by the address and cunning of his wife, gold courted to the arms of Isaac. Has the and younger son; involved in quarrel upon female heart alone in all ages been the same; quarrel with his powerful neighbours, through perpetually accessible to the allurements of the rashness and contentiousness of his ser- finery, presents, and praise? Where shall vants: never faulty, yet throughout unfortu- we now look for servants such as Abraham's, nate. Indeed a man's liableness to distress at once affectionate to his master, faithful to and disappointment is in exact proportion to his trust, and filled with reverence to his God. the number and quality of the good things This part of the history is an excellent comwhich he possesses.

Do we enjoy pecu- mentary upon that injunction of the wise liar delights? We are on the brink of man," In all thy ways acknowledge him, and danger.

he shall direct thy paths.”* Abraham's serAt the partiality of Sarah to such a son as vant has hardly finished his address to heaven, Isaac, we need not be at all surprised. It is when lo, Providence which works unseen, pleasant to observe, however, that this par- unknown, unobserved by us, has brought the tiality neither corrupted his understanding subject of his prayer already to his eye. nor his heart. Neither the indulgence which And in what place, in what employment he met with, nor the prospects to which he is the destined bride of Isaac found ? Indowas born and brought up, seem to have ren- lently reclined under a canopy of state, or dered him, on any occasion, insolent or as- issuing forth to breathe the evening air, acsuming. And maternal fondness met with companied by a numerous and splendid retiits dearest, best reward, in filial duty and nue of domestics ? No, my fair hearers, look tenderness. Sarah lived respected, and died at Rebekah, beautiful, and young, and high lamented, by her only and beloved son. born, bearing her pitcher on her shoulder to

In reviewing the sacrifice of Isaac, that I the well, to draw the evening's water for the may not encroach on your time, I shall only family—and learn, that the humble, yet usemake this remark—that this memorable trans- ful employments of domestic life, are a viraction was not less a proof of the faith of tuous woman's most honourable station ; that Isaac, than of Abraham himself. As the obe- whether in virginity, wedlock, or widowdience of the father was prompt and cheerful, hood, God and nature have destined you to so was that of the son. If the resignation of occupations, not perhaps highly honourable Abraham merits praise, the submission of in the eyes of unfeeling wealth, or giddy disIsaac claims no less; for his consent must sipation, but highly consequential to the hapundoubtedly have been obtained. In both it piness of others, and therefore essential to was “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable your own. Look yet again to Rebekah, and unto God, and a reasonable service;" and the learn affability, and kindness, and condescenblessing pronounced from heaven on that oc

* Prov. di. 6.

sion-learn at once to perform your duty, ' with some degree of comfort and of credit. and to promote your interest. It suits the | The transition from a dutiful and affectionate early bloom of life, it suits your sex, it is son, to a kind and indulgent husband, is natucongenial to your natural propensities, to be ral and easy. And here, my young friends, gentle, to be courteous; and, believe me, it you are furnished with a plain, but importis equally conducive to your honour and ad- ant rule, for forming the great choice of vantage. The obliging deportment of Rebe- life. Is an undutiful child likely to make a kah to the servant, paved the way to her good husband or wife? Have I reason to advancement to the rank of his mistress. And expect that one who has violated the first can you think the dignity of Isaac's future law of nature, of morality, of religion, will wife in the smallest degree impaired, by her fall at once, and without preparation, into civilities to his servants, or by her humanity the more complicated and more difficult to the poor dumb brutes which followed him? duties of the conjugal state ? Believe me, an insolent, unfeeling, uncomply But what lot of humanity is free from ing young woman, is an odious, contemptible, anxiety, free from disappointment, free from unnaturala monstrous thing. Look at Re- pain? The heir of Abraham's wealth; but bekah yet once more, my beloved daughters, what signifies Abraham's wealth? The heir and learn openness, frankness, sincerity. of the promise goes childless. Who is so Was she deficient in virgin modesty, that foolish as to look for perfect happiness in a most attractive of all female graces, if, when world of vanity, in a valley of tears ? Those asked, "wilt thou go with this man ?" she to whom the blessing of children is denied, ingenuously replied, “I will go.” No; but are fretful and discontented; and those on the honest simplicity of nature was not then whom it is bestowed, are in terror, anxiety, corrupted and disguised by modes of beha- and vexation every hour. Happily, I hear viour, the beggarly refinement of modern of Rebekah's suggesting no dangerous, no education. Then, what the heart and con- unwarrantable expedient as a remedy for science dared to avow, the cheek blushed this sore evil; and holy Isaac thinks of seeknot at hearing, the tongue scrupled not to ing relief there only, where he was accusutter. I cannot yet cease to speak of that tomed to seek, and to find the cure of all sweet, that amiable creature. Mark again, his ills. “ Isaac entreated the Lord for his I beseech you, as she approaches her des- wife, because she was barren: and the Lord tined lord, how female delicacy, how maiden was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife diffidence and reserve, resume their empire ! conceived. And the children struggled to“She alighted off the camel, she took a veil gether within her; and she said, If it be so, and covered herself.”

why am I thus? And she went to inquire And where, and how was Isaac found of of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, his fair spouse? He had gone out “to medi- two nations are in thy womb, and two mantate, or to pray in the field at the even-tide.” ner of people shall be separated from thy This is the leading, prevailing lineament in bowels : and the one people shall be stronger the good man's character: a heart turned to than the other people ; and the elder shall devotion, an eye continually directed to serve the other."* " He asked a child, and wards heaven. Meditation and prayer are his prayer is answered by the gift of two the proper improvement of all, mercies past, sons. And thus Providence, often slower and the best preparative for mercies yet ex- than our wishes and desires, frequently compected; a cordial balm for the 'woes which pensates that delay by greatly outdoing our we already endure, and an infallible antidote requests and expectations. But lo again to the poison of those evils which we have how care and sorrow arise out of our greatyet to fear. What is not to be hoped for, est comforts! The children are hardly confrom an union built on such a foundation ! ceived when their strife begins; and Isaac The fear and love of God on both sides ; has as much reason to entreat the Lord, that calmness, wisdom, fidelity, and affluence on his wife might be spared in the pangs of an the part of the husband; humility, decency, unnatural labour, as he formerly had, that meekness, frankness, and discretion on the she might be delivered from the infelicity of part of the wife; a mutual desire of pleasing, barrenness. Indeed, “who knoweth what and of being pleased. Isaac brought her is good for man in this life, all the days of into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Re- his vain life, which he spendeth as a shadow ?" bekah, and she became his wife; and he But this we know, " that all things work toLoved her: and Isaac was comforted after gether for good to them that love God, to them his mother's death."* So wisely and so who are the called according to his purpose.”+ graciously hath God provided a suitable re The strife which thus began in the womb, lief from every human calamity. And thus becomes visible at the birth, and continues Providence prepares us, in one form of the through life : nay, is transmitted to posterity. school of relative duty, for a higher and a The remark of the fanciful and ingenious higher still, till we have filled every station bishop Hall on the passage, is to this pur*Gen. xxiv. 07.

. Gen. xxv, 21–23.

1 Rom. viii. 28.

pose. “ Before Rebekah conceived she was persecuted of his brother, the son of his own at ease : so before spiritual regeneration, all father; and the persecution of Jesus from the is peace in the soul : but no sooner is the new sinful world he came to save, began at his man formed in us, but the flesh conflicts with birth, continued through the whole of his the spirit. There is no grace where there life, and issued in a shameful, painful, and is no unquietness. Esau alone would not accursed death. “He came to his own and have striven ; for nature will ever agree with his own received him not. He was despised itself. Never any Rebekah conceived only and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and an Esau, or was so happy as to conceive none acquainted with grief." but a Jacob: she must be the mother of both, But what was seen in the mountain of the that she may have both joy and exercise. Lord, forms the closest resemblance, and afThis strife began early : every true Israelite fords the sublimest instruction. In the sacribegins his war with his being. How many fice on Mount Moriah, we behold the father actions which we know not of, are not with and son like-minded in presenting it cheerout presage and signification. In this con- fully at the command of God. Abraham withtest, Esau got the right of nature, Jacob of held not his son, his only son, and Isaac vograce: yet that there might be some pre- luntarily surrendered himself, as a lamb, for tence of equality, lest Esau should outrun a burnt offering. And on Mount Calvary what his brother into the world, Jacob holds him do we behold? “God so loved the world, that fast by the heel, so his hand was born before he gave his only begotten Son, that whosothe other's foot. But because Esau was ever believeth in him should not perish, but some minutes the elder, that the younger have everlasting life."* "God spared not his might have better claim to that which God own Son, but delivered him up for us all, and had promised, he buys that which he could how shall he not with him also freely give us not win. If either by strife, or purchase, or all things?"† And Jesus gave himself for us, suit, we can attain spiritual blessings, we "a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour unto are happy. Had Jacob come out first, he God." He “ loved us, and washed us from had not known how much he was indebted our sins in his blood." Here also the Father to God for his advancement.” Thus far the and Son like-minded, and in the same view, bishop. And thus, at the age of threescore and for the same end, the redemption of an years, and after twenty years from his mar- elect world. “O the height and depth, the riage with Rebekah, Isaac became the happy length and breadth, of the love of God: it father of two hopeful sons. And here, the passeth knowledge!" expiration of your time obliges me to inter The private personal character of Isaac, a rupt his story. But I must not conclude the man of calmness, contemplation, and peace; Lecture till I have, in a very few short hints, the dutiful son of his affectionate mother; the endeavoured to show you the analogy of respectful observer of his father's will, might, Isaac the son of Abraham, and Jesus Christ without doing violence to the subject, be the son of God.

brought into comparison with the pure and They were both raised up for one and the perfect character of his antitype, whose spisame purpose; even to manifest the mercy rit nothing could discompose, whose nights and love of God to fallen men; the one as were spent in prayer, and his days in doing the bright and morning-star to usher in the good; " whose meat and drink it was to do day, the other as the meridian sun, “ travel the will of his Heavenly Father, and to finish ling in the greatness of his strength.” Isaac, his work," and whose dying breath uttered the natural root and progenitor of Christ: the accents of filial affection, and provided a Christ, the spiritual author, root and head of son, a protector, and a home, for his desolate, Isaac. Isaac was the son of much expecta- afflicted mother. O the glorious excellency tion, the subject of many prophecies. The of that character, which exhibited the examset time of his birth was determined and ple of every personal, every relative virtue : foretold by almighty Power, by unerring which comprised the essence of all that is Wisdom, long before it happened'; thus the amiable in every other character, and left all birth of Christ, the desire of all nations, was created goodness at an infinite distance beannounced to the world by a cloud of wit hind! Look to Isaac and be instructed. Look nesses, not years, but ages, centuries, many to Jesus and " grow in grace," and go on tocenturies before the time. The time, the wards perfection, and press towards the place, all the circumstances attending it, mark, for the prize of the high calling of God were written as with a sun-beam, so as to in Christ Jesus.” render mistake impossible. Both Isaac and The next Lecture, with the divine permisChrist were conceived out of the usual course sion, will contain the remaining part of the of nature, that the finger of God might be life of Isaac, from the death of his father to his seen and acknowledged in both events; own. May God communicate saving knowIsaac of a mother beyond the natural possi- | ledge to us all, by every mean of instruction: bility of having children, Jesus of an im- and to his name be praise in Christ. Amen. maculate virgin. Isaac was early hated and

Rom. viii. 32.

John iii. 16.

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