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Whatsoever ye would that men should do
unto you, do ye even so to them: for
Page raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached unto theni
2 SAM. i. 23. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and plea
sant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided
GENESIS, Chap. xxiv. Ver. 63.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at
cient times, as recorded in Scripture, without a mixture of pleasure and surprise. We there see nature in her artless form : we there behold man in his genuine dignity, with the recent impress of his God upon him—such as he came from the hands of his Maker, and such as he certainly was intended always to remain.
But, at the same time, the comparison we cannot help making between those times and our own, will naturally give pain to every consider ate mind. When we look back upon what man has been, and consider what he now is, we can scarce forbear crying out, in the language of
the Prophet of old,“ how art thou fallen, O “ Lucifer,, son of the morning !”
And perhaps no part of Scripture affords a more striking contrast between the manners of ancient and present times, than the words now read to you. They describe to you a man of the first rank and eminence in his country, the heir to a very noble fortune, in the prime and vigour of life, surrounded with every apparent blessing. You would therefore naturally expect, according to the present system of manners; to find him amidst the gay scenes of pleasure and dissipation, surrounded with companions of the midnight revel or devouring dice. But the wise son of Abraham had better learned the value of life and the blessings he enjoyed. He knew, that they were too precious to be squandered away in thoughtless folly or sinful enjoyment. He was unwilling to buy repentance at so great a price. Nature and innocence had to him superior charms. He therefore went out into the fields to meditate at the eventide.
And there would he find sufficient scope for his meditation. The great volume of nature was before him, with all its beauties and wonders. The sun, declining in blazing majesty, and hasting to enlighten other worlds; the flowers of 9