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ture, the conduct of Providence, or the me- | jects contemplated shall be brought nearer thod of salvation. I will thus simply reply; the eye, placed in a fairer point of view, and Do you comprehend the whole? Are you of irradiated with a fuller glory; when God the privy council of heaven? Can you ac- shall in the most complete and satisfactory count for any thing you behold? Do you manner vindicate his ways to men. know to what all these things tend, and in The next Lecture will conclude the Hiswhat they are to issue ?
tory of Abraham, and the proposed course for Rest, Christians, in general, obvious, use this season. If to your former attendance ful, practical truth; and know that devoted- and kind attention, you will indulge me with ness to God is the essence of religion, and one audience more, it will increase the affecthe sum of human happiness. Look forward | tionate regard of a grateful heart, and afford to that day when light shall arise out of ob- an opportunity of expressing that gratitude scurity, when all mysteries shall be unveiled; at greater length. May God bless all the when the faculties of the human mind shall means of knowledge, of piety, and of improve se prengthened and increased, and the ob-I ment. Amen.
HISTORY OF ABRAHAM.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises; but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned : but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God' is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city.—HEBREws xi. 13—16.
What is the amount of human life? Vanity | desire; and he is now as eager to bury her and vexation of spirit. All our wanderings out of his sight, as he formerly was to retain tend towards the grave. The anxieties and the possession of her wholly to himself. Let solicitude, the hopes and fears, the disappoint- the beautiful and the vain, the gay, the adments and successes which alternately oc- mired, and the flattered, think of this and be cupy and agitate the mind, at length come humbled. The latter end of her life, howto one issue, and all-conquering death settles ever, is better than the beginning. Torthe account. The tirne is at length come mented with the unaccomplished desire of that Sarah must pay the debt of nature. That having children, subjected to all the hardbeauty which conjugal affection doated on, ships of a pilgrimage state, and stung with and which princes coveted, becomes deformed the keen pangs of jealousy, almost up to her with wrinkles; the cold hand of death chills ninetieth year, life at length subsides into the fond maternal heart, and even the delight a delightful calm of thirty-seven years more, of an Isaac is enjoyed no more. The Jewish cheered and cherished by the unabated afRabbins, fruitful in legends, affirm, that grief fection of her beloved lord, and blessed with for the sacrifice of Isaac shortened her life. the progress and accomplishments of the son For that the devil, who had exulted in the of her womb, Isaac, the favourite of God and prospect of seeing Isaac perish by the knife man. But she must finally make one remove of his father, to revenge himself for the dis- more; not to that country from which she appointment which he felt upon his deliver- came out, but to that land“ from whose ance by the angel, conveyed intelligence to bourne no traveller returns.” A partaker as Sarah that the sacrifice was actually per- of the fortunes, so of the faith of Abraham, formed; which news speedily proved fatal to she sees the promises afar off, is persuaded of her. As if the oppressive weight of one them and embraces them; desires and looks hundred and twenty-seven years did not suf- for another country, that is, an heavenly. ficiently account for the death of a frail wó God had promised to Abraham and his seed man, without the necessity of a preternatural the possession of Canaan, and lo, it cominterposition.
mences in the purchase, at their full value, Affecting change! The eyes of Abraham of a little field and a cave, for a burying himself cannot now endure to look upon her, place. He had been threatened with a severe whom once he shuddered to think that the stroke in the demanded sacrifice of Isaac, he eyes of another should behold with too much is made to feel one in the loss of Sarah.
The mellowed friendship of so many years, | one kind of goods for another, is derived from and union cemented at last by so dear a that which signifies a lamb ;* the verb which pledge, could not be dissolved without pain. is translated to sell, comes from the noun, Abraham is sensible of his loss, and bewails which translated signifies a colt or young it. His religion is not of that sort which horse ;t the Greek word, which in our lanvalues itself on doing violence to nature; he guage is to buy, comes from that which knows nothing of that vain philosophy which signifies an ass :f the term that denotes rent affects to deny what it feels : neither has an or revenue, and that which signifies a sheep, old age of one hundred and thirty-seven are of kindred composition and import. A years extinguished in the heart those tender criminal, according to the magnitude of his emotions, which the deprivation of an object, guilt, was condemned to pay a fine of four, once fair, and ever dear, naturally excites.. twelve, or an hundred oxen.!! A wealthy He who does not weep on such an occasion person is called a man of many lambs. I Two as this, is something more or less than a rival brothers are represented in Hesiod, as
But to persevere in bewailing the fighting with each other about the sheep of dead, to the neglect of our duty to the living, their father; that is, contending who should is both folly and impiety. Abraham's sor- be his heir. But even so early as the time row encroaches upon none of the valuable of Abraham, we find silver employed as a principles of a good mind. His whole con- more commodious mean of traffic; and the duct in the purchase of the field of Ephron concurrence of all civilized and commercial the Hittite, and the cave of Machpelah, ex-nations to this day, in employing the precious hibits a soul replete with the most amiable metals for this purpose, is a proof how early and respectable virtues. Tender and af- men learned the wisdom of this world; and fectionate, he is desirous of honouring in discovers to us, how readily they invent, death the remains of what he prized in life. how accurately they reason, and how pruNoble-minded, generous, and independent, dently they act, in matters that are conduhe refuses to show respect to the memory of cive to their temporal interest and advanSarah with that which cost him nothing. tage. But to returnCivil and polite, he repays the courtesy of By the death of Sarah, the care and anxiehis neighbours with affábility and condescen- ty about the dear object of their common sion. Scrupulously just and honest, he will affection becomes naturally much increased give nothing less than the full price, and in to the surviving parent. Isaa full tale, weight, and purity, for what was rived at man's estate, and it is fit that the frankly tendered him as a gift. The dia- heir of the promise should be established in logue of the twenty-third chapter is a mas- a family of his own. For how are the proterly picture of the beautiful simplicity of mises of God brought into effect, but by the ancient manners, and exhibits a strife of intervention of the means which nature and unaffected kindness, good-nature, and civili- Providence have appointed ? Abraham, with ty, which at once pleases and instructs. Let the solicitude of a good father, is desirous of me beseech you to peruse it carefully when matching his son, rather prudently and piousopportunity offers. Would to God such con- ly, than nobly or wealthily. In these days tentions were more frequent in the world. of simplicity and nature, the partner for life The purchase is made, the price is paid, was sought after, not for the largeness of possession is made sure, and then was Sarah her possessions; but gold, and silver, and buried. And thus, first, Abraham became jewels, were employed to court beauty and seized of the land of promise. So different- virtue to their proper sphere of importance ly does Providence shape events from our and usefulness in life. Abraham judges it preconception of them.
unwise to marry his son into a Hittite famiIt is worthy of observation, that this is the ly, because they had deviated from the wor. first money transaction which we read of in ship of the true
God. He could esteem their the world. Till then, and long after, both hospitality, kindness, and civility, as they among the posterity of Abraham and other deserved, without falling in love with their nations, wealth was estimated by the num- religion. And he who cannot make this ber and quality of cattle; and cattle were distinction must either be unfaithful to God the principal instruments of commerce.— or unfriendly to man. Affecting view of Thus we read in many places of Homer, of the corruption and degeneracy of human a coat of mail worth' an hundred oxen; a nature! that Isaac, the son of faithful Abracaldron worth twenty sheep; a cup or goblet ham, should be deemed in greater danger of worth twelve lambs; and the like. The being perverted by an idolatrous wife, than words belonging to commerce or exchange that a woman of Canaan should be converted of commodities, in the Greek language, are to the worship of the living and true God, by mostly derived from the names of certain a believing husband. animals, by means of which that exchange was originally carried on. Thus the word *arnusthai-arnos. tpoolein-poolos. tooneisthai. itself which signifies to truck or commutelboion, doodekaboion, ekatomboion.
§ Probmasis-Probalov. | Timeema tessara.
was now ar
Isaac, it would appear, devoted to retire-| whom he dignified by the title of his friend, ment and contemplation, little attached him- only by such things as are the common gifts self to the concerns of this life ; the manage of his providence to all, and which are often ment of his affairs and his settlement in the bestowed on the vilest and most worthless of world, he leaves to the wisdom of his father, mankind ? If the grave were to terminate and the fidelity of an ancient domestic. The the existence of man, such questions would journey of that servant into Mesopotamia, be indeed of difficult solution. But the diffiand the success of it, belong more properly culty of them scatters and disperses before to the history of Isaac. As far as Abraham one word of God, spoken three hundred and is concerned in it, we behold a holy man thirty years after the patriarch's death, even acknowledging God in all his ways, and to Moses at the bush in Horeb. I am the making the ordinary concerns of life a re- God of Abrahain. His relation to God was ligious service: and we see God, in return, as entire three centuries after his body was directing every step to a happy issue. consumed in dust in Machpelah, as when he
Having seen his beloved son settled en- was entertaining angels in Mamre, or sacritirely to his satisfaction, he enters again him- ficing upon Mount Moriah. “God is not the self into the honourable state of marriage, God of the dead, but of the living.” To Him, and is blessed in it by a progeny of six sons and for Him, and with Him, now live the and ten grandchildren born in his life time. faithful of all past ages; and precious is their In order to prevent strife after his death, as very dust in his sight. Judge nothing then far as human sagacity and foresight could before the time, till the day come which shall do it, and knowing that property is the great unfold the purpose of Heaven, which shall source of contention among men, he settles clear up the mystery of Providence, and fully. his worldly affairs, bequeathing the great vindicate the ways of God to man. bulk of his fortune to Isaac, the son of his It appears that some intercourse between first and principal wife ; following in this the Ishmael and his father's family had been destination of Providence, and fulfilling the kept up; for we find him apprized of Abracondition of the covenant under which Re-ham's death, and assisting at his funeral. He bekah was induced to become Isaac's wife. must be a wild man indeed, not to have He makes a suitable provision for the young- been tamed, at least into a temporary sorrow, er branches of his family, and sends them, by such an event, and melted into forgetfulby dint of his paternal authority, into a dis-ness of all past resentments, by the death of tant part of the country, where he yet lived, a father. Providence wisely produces this that the quiet and peaceable temper of Isaac good effect, by the common calamities wheremight not be exposed to disturbance and with families are visited ; they tend to recontrouble, from the neighbourhood of ambiti- cile the alienated, they extinguish bitterness ons, violent, or avaricious brothers, after his and strife, they rekindle the dying embers death.
of filial duty and brotherly love. Isaac and That fatal period at length overtakes him Ishmael, men of different natures, of oppoalso, and he comes to the grave, “ like as a site interests, rivals from the womb, forget shock of corn cometh in his season,” in a all animosity, and mingle tears over a father's good old age, “an old man, and full of years," tomb. at the age of one hundred three score and It remains, in conformity to our plan, that fifteen. A life shorter by far than any we we point out in a few particulars, the resemhave hitherto studied, but much fuller of in-blance betwixt Abraham and Christ, that cidents and events. A life chequered with we may see wherein the former typified the uncommon trials, and blessings as extraordi- | latter. nary. A life distinguished by the most bril Abraham, at God's command, leaving his liant virtues which adorn human nature, but country, and his father's house, points to us not wholly exempted from its frailties and obviously, Jesus, at the fulness of time, leavinfirmities. Abraham purchased a grave for ing heaven's glory and the bosom of the FaSarah. Alas! he was only providing a ha- ther, and coming into our world and living a bitation for himself! How short, how unim- pilgrim and a stranger in it. Abraham, in a portant the distance between the funeral land which was his own by the gift and prorites which we prepare, and those which are mise of God, nevertheless obtained no fixed prepared for us!
residence in it, but wandered about from But can this be all that God intended to place to place; Jesus, in a world which he bestow upon our patriarch by promises so made and upholds, which is his by the most lofty, conveyed in language so solemn? Was undeniable title, was without a place where it for this he was called to leave his country to lay his head. Abraham was called the and his father's house? Did vision upon vi- friend of God, and to him God communicated sion, covenant upon covenant, promise upon his purposes of mercy and of judgment; Jepromise, conduct only to a little cave in He- sus, the only begotten Son, who is in the bo- bron? Was the favour of the Almighty, the som of the Father, and knows intimately the all bountiful Jehovah, expressed to the man mind of the Lord, he hath declared him.
With Abraham God established the political with the antediluvian world; giving you covenants which secured to him and his only names and dates for the sake of brevity. family the possession of Canaan, and all the Shem the second son of Noah, and father of temporal and spiritual blessings of a transi- Arphaxad and of all the children of Heber, tory and preparatory economy; Jesus is the to whom the family jewel, that is, the proMediator of a better covenant, established mise of the Messiah, was committed, who upon better promises; even the covenant of saw two of the great calamities of the worlá redemption, whereby the kingdom of heaven, and outlived them, the deluge, and the conand eternal life, are made sure to all his fusion of languages, and who lived no doubt spiritual seed; for thus it is written of him, to see and rejoice in Abraham and Isaac as “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I the heirs of the promise; Shem, I say, is the have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed great link of these two eras of the world. will I establish forever, and build up thy For, he lived before the flood ninety-eight throne to all generations;” and “ according years, and after it five hundred and two; of to his abundant mercy he hath begotten us consequence he died only twenty-five years again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection before Abraham. His life accordingly may of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inherit- be calculated thus, with regard to the great ance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth persons and events with which he was connot away." * In Abraham we venerate the nected. Before the flood, he lived ninetynatural head of great family, raised up, eight years. After the birth of his own son multiplied, preserved and distinguished by Arphaxad, five hundred. After the death of the hand of Providence to this day. Of Christ, Arphaxad, sixty-one. After the death of " the whole family of heaven," and all the Noah, one hundred and fifty-two. After the families of the earth “are named," "and he confusion of tongues, three hundred and foris before all things and by him all things con- ty-eight. After the death of Sarah, thirteen. sist.” Abraham stands forth the typical re- Before the birth of Jacob, ten. Before the presentative, father, and pattern of believers; birth of Moses, two hundred and seventy-five. Christ is "the head of the body, the church," When Abraham was one hundred and fifty the real source of a spiritual and divine life years old, Isaac fifty, and before the descent to all them who believe.
into Egypt, one hundred and forty. The Abraham's intercession in behalf of Sodom, chronology of Abraham's life, according to and Christ's lamentation over Jerusalem, are the scripture account, stands thus. He died a beautiful and striking counterpart to each in the one hundred and seventy-fifth year of other. The sacrifices which Abraham and his age, and of the world, two thousand one Christ respectively offered up unto God, hundred and eighty-three. Before the birth wonderfully illustrate and explain one an- of Christ, one thousand eight hundred and other.
twenty-one. After he discomfited and slew But in the midst of so many marks of re- Chederlaomer, and the other kings, ninetysemblance, who does not by a glance discern one. After the intended sacrifice of Isaac, as many characters of dissimilitude; and an fifty. After the death of Sarah, thirty-eight. infinite superiority claimed by Him who “ in After his marriage with Keturah, thirty-five. all things must have the pre-eminence ?" After the death of Shem, twenty-five. BeWho shall declare his generation, who saith fore the descent into Egypt, one hundred and of himself*before Abraham was, I am?" fifteen. When Isaac was seventy-five years Abraham was a man of like passions with us, old; Esau and Jacob, fifteen; Ishmael, eightyand even the father of the faithful stumbled nine, and Heber his great grandfather, from and fell; Jesus was "holy, harmless, unde- whom the name of Hebrew comes, four hunfiled, and separate from sinners,” and the dred and sixty. “By faith he sojourned in prince of this world himself, when he came, the land of promise as in a strange country, found nothing in him. Abraham was ready dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the to offer up Isaac: Christ actually offered him- heirs with him of the same promise," and self " a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour when he gave up the ghost, was buried in unto God." The faith of Abraham could not the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, by his redeem him from death; the power of Christ sons Isaac and Ishmael. 'triumphed over the grave. The first cove And thus, my dear friends, we have, nants, being of a temporary nature, having through the help of God, finished the first fulfilled their design, are passed away. The part of the plan of these Lectures. And the New Testament in the blood of Christ being season of interruption and separation being for everlasting, continues in full force, and now come, permit me, with a heart overshall last while sun and moon endure, nay, flowing with affection and gratitude, to rewhen “ all these things shall be dissolved." turn you my sincere thanks for your regular
Being arrived at one of the great epochs attendance and patient attention. You were in the history of the world, we shall just for invited hither with much humility and diffia moment look back, and mark the link which dence; you have come hither with much connected this period with the flood, and even alacrity and steadiness, and you must not
depart hence, without bearing along with or to feel the powers of a world to come senyou the grateful acknowledgments of the sibly, verily he has his reward. Lecturer. He has the consolation of believ But he affects not fastidiously to undervaing, that as neither he, nor his undertaking, lue some considerations of inferior importare the creatures of party, or of human sys- ance; he dwells with secret delight on the tem, nor aim at any interests but those of disinterested attachment and generous servirtue, good sense, and religion; so they have vices of his private friends; his heart glows been encouraged by wise and good men of at the public marks of regard he has received ; various sects and denominations. He hum- and the temporal emolument arising from his bly hopes he has interfered with the happi- labours, he receives with much thankfulness ness, fame, or usefulness of no good man to you, and to that kind Providence, which whatever. If he has led any one to read the is pleased to smile upon another effort to rear Bible more carefully, to trace the connexion up a numerous family. May the kindness betwixt the Old and New Testament charac- you have shown the preacher, return a thouters, institutions, and events more accurately; sand fold upon your own heads. The God to trace the ways of Providence more closely; of love be with you all. Amen.
Your fathers, where are they ? and the prophets, do they live for ever? But my words and my statutes,
which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? And they returned and said, Like as the Lord of Hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.-ZECHARIAH, i. 5, 6.
REFLECTIONS upon the shortness of human mercifully hid from our eyes; and every man life, and the uncertainty of sublunary enjoy- is taught to consider himself, his life, his acments, naturally present themselves, in the tions, as of importance, that we may exert various changes which we daily observe, and ourselves to the last, and “do with our might daily feel. But alas, our reflections are too whatsoever our hands findeth to do.” Though superficial and transitory, to produce habitual our fathers are no more, and the prophets do superiority to the world, uniform submission not live for ever, yet the words and statutes to the will of God, and efficacious impres- which God commanded his servants the prosions of eternity. Wasting and decaying phets, "took hold of our fathers, and they every hour, we form and prosecute schemes returned and said, Like as the Lord of Hosts of futurity, as if “our strength were the thought to do unto us, according to our ways, strength of stones, and our bones brass." and according to our doings, so hath he dealt Reasoning and reflecting as men, we live with us.” This leads us, in a direct road, to and act as children; and pursue the bauble make a just estimate of the lives and actions of the moment, as if it were “the pearl of of other men; and to consider seriously how great price.” When the drama of human we ought to order our own conversation, life is ended, and the curtain drops, lo, it has how we ought to spend our own days and shrunk to a measure so small, and contains years. events of so little importance, that it is diffi In the preceding course of these Lectures cult to render a reason why man should have we endeavoured, beginning at Adam, and existed at all;
and we are constrained to cry ending with Abraham, historically to delineout with the Psalmist, “Verily, every man ate, and practically to improve, the lives of at his best state is altogether vanity ; surely those venerable men, by whom the world every man walketh in a vain show ; surely was first peopled, instructed, and governed: they are disquieted in vain."*
and who, in their persons, by their actions, But my text greatly relieves this apparent or the events which befel them, successively insignificancy of our fleeting existence in typified, or foretold to their contemporaries, this world, by conveying to us this important the great Saviour and Deliverer of the huidea, that the Divine Providence is carrying man race, during a period of more than two on its great and wise designs, by feeble, thousand years. By entering into the spirit short-lived and even worthless instruments. of the prophet Zechariah, in the words now And the date of our latter end is wisely and read, we shall be enabled to review that pe• Psalm xxxix. 6, 7.
riod with profit and delight. And this re