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: froni 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 him, 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 immordid. 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 • Rom. xii. I. 1 Heb. xi. 5.

our Lord."*

giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ, ten. 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 naine, 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 Noan,” and the “offence abounded," hands, because of the ground which the Lord yet "grace did much more abound;" and that hath cursed :"t 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 of three score years and from the wreck of worlds consumed by fire;

Gen. v. 29

* John xvil. 12. John X. 82, 20. L

• 1 Cor. xv. 53. 57.

All the world before them, where to choose

when Jesus shall bring all his ransomed ones in his bosom,” resting from all his own trouto Zion, with “songs and everlasting joy bles; and cherishing the poor, the outcast, upon their heads; when sorrow and sighing the afflicted, the tormented; enjoying “ the shall flee away.”.

end of his faith, the salvation of his soul,” Sailing down the current of sacred history, and waiting for the adoption, to wit, the rethe plains of Mesopotamia and Ur of the demption of his body; " beholding him face Chaldees appear in sight; and we behold an to face, whom once he beheld afar off, and as illustrious exile and his family, on their way in a glass darkly." from their country, kindred, and father's Who is this that breaks in upon us at once house, like the first pair expelled from Eden, in meridian glory? What bright day dazzles

the wondering eye, preceded by no dawn, Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.

succeeded by no evening? It is Melchize

dec, that “ king of righteousness and peace," We behold Abram, at God's command, that priest of the most high God, whose going out, “not knowing whither he went;" generation none can declare, whose nature Abram, the respected father of all them that and person none is able to describe. Is he believe, raised up of Providence, in the same but as one of the prophets, or is he the Lord important view, to carry on the same grand of the prophets himself, pronouncing the design. In the declarations which were blessing which he alone can confer; celemade to him, we behold the plan of redemp- brating in an early age, that eucharist, which tion assuming a clearer and more distinct should be the memorial of his office and glo form; unfolding its nature, and arranging rious achievement, till time expire? In him, its several parts. The glorious person who whatever he were, a type, or the son of God was promised to Adam, immediately upon revealed; a shadow, or the substance; in the fall, under the more obscure description him we behold the great leading object of of the "seed of the woman,” who should Providence disclosed to our view ; that priest“ bruise the head of the serpent," was now hood which is unchangeable, that kingdom announced to the world, as the “ seed of which shall never be destroyed, that Prince Abram,” in whom “all the families of the of peace, who has reconciled guilty men unto earth should be blessed.” And henceforward God, that righteousness through which we we have prediction upon prediction, ordi- have access with humble confidence to the nance upon ordinance, promise upon promise, throne of grace.

“ Abraham rejoiced to see event upon event, leading to, rising above, that day. It strengthened him to wait paimproving, enlarging upon one another, like tiently for the promised seed; it cheered his the light of the ascending sun, gradually in- wanderings from place to place; it fortified creasing from the early dawn to the perfect his heart to the sacrifice of his Isaac; it laid day. We observe types, shadows, ceremo- his hoary head with hope in the dust. nies, sacrifices, disappearing by little and lit Having from this eminence surveyed the tle; patriarchs, priests, prophets, lawgivers, ground through which we have travelled ; a and kings, retiring one after another, and delightful landscape, terminating in the disgiving place to “ the Lord, our Judge, our tant hills of Eden, and watered by the fair Lawgiver, our King, to save us :" as the river of Promise, meandering through its twinkling fires of the night hide their dimi- whole vast extent-we look forward, in hope nished heads, and the vapours disperse before and desire, to the happy plains where Isaac the glorious orb of day.

pitched his tent, and Jacob fed his flocks; to But, Abraham our father, whither is he the nations which Joseph saved by his wisalso gone? Even the faith which surrender- dom, and ruled by his power. And, in our ed an Isaac at God's command, and which intended progress, Eternal Spirit of Wisdom! has forever preserved his name from death, vouchsafe thou to bo our instructer and our could not rescue his body from the power of guide: point out to us the objects which dethe grave. It sleeps and is dissolved in the serve our notice: enlighten thou our eyes, cave which was purchased from Ephron the guard our hearts, direct the paths of our feet. Hittite. He had not a principle of life in What we know not, that do thou teach us, himself, nor the power of communicating it, what we do know, help us wisely to improve. to either his natural or spiritual posterity. Following thee, “ the crooked shall become But the “ words and the statutes, which God straight before us, and the rough places plain. commanded him and his other servants the The sun shall not smite us by day, nor the prophets, took hold of them,” and continue to moon by night. We shall go from strength lay hold of us. In the midst of all this mor- to strength,” after them who “ inherit the tality and change, one thing is immutable promises, till every one of us also, in Zion, and eternal, the word, the purpose, the de- appeareth before God.” cree of the Most High. “Heaven and earth Have you ground of pride and joy, my may pass away, but it shall not pass away." friends, in the acknowledgment or recollecOur father Abraham, where is he? Behold tion of your forefathers ? Were they wise him in yonder world of bliss, with “ Lazarus and good ; blessed in themselves, and a bless

ing to the world? Take care that ye dege- , distance from your fellow-creatures, nor peenerate not from their virtues, that ye disho- vish discontent. Live in the world, associate nour not their name, that ye swerve not from with mankind, enjoy your portion which God " the good old way" of piety, in which they allotteth you. But “ use the world so as not trode. Is there in the line of your ancestry, to abuse it;" and while you are cumbered any circumstance humiliating and painful ? about many things, never forget that one Efface it, annihilate it, sink it, in a new ex- thing is needful; and make choice of that istence, derived from a celestial stock. Change “good part which shall not be taken away the tainted, corrupted current of an earthly from you." pedigree, for the adopted honours, the gra While we speak and hear, we change; tuitous inheritance, the ennobled spirit of and the hand of the executing angel hastens your Heavenly Father's love. Strive to be to number us with the dead. We are going the first of your race; and leave to your heirs to join the venerable men whose memory we a possession infinitely better than the de- revere, whose faith we profess to follow, mesnes of princes, even the savour of a good whose virtues we are bound to copy. Yet a name, a pattern worthy of imitation, the re- little while, and time shall be no more; and membrance of qualities which are not subject we shall be contemporary with our fathers to the stroke of death.

who have preceded, and with our children You see, Christians, what is the leading, who are to follow us, until the dissolution of the commanding object, in the eye of eter- this system. We look back to Adam, the nal Providence. The salvation of a lost father of us all, and we look forward to his world by Jesus Christ. Adopt the same ob- youngest son. We look up, and “ see heaven ject, cleave unto it, keep it continually in opened, and Jesus standing on the right hand view. All things else are vain and worth of God." We look around and behold "the less; for they are passing quickly away. nations of men that are saved” bending beOur interest in, our hold of the world is di- fore the throne. We hear the Saviour's minishing every hour. Our consequence, as voice, “Here am I, and the children thou candidates for immortal bliss, as the heirs of hast given me.” We hear the word of the glory, is rising in proportion. When we ETERNAL FATHER proclaiming aloud; and the cease from importance, as the citizens of this myriads of an assembled universe, angels and world, our real importance begins to be felt men, joyfully echo it back, “ All is good, yea, ad understood. I recommend not sullen very good." Amen. Hallelujah!



And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac: And Isaac dwelt by the

well Lahai-roi.-GENESIS Xxv. 11.

THOSE scenes in human life which make the repose of others; the history of one, who, the greatest figure in history, are far from by the example of his piety and virtues, did being the most beneficial to mankind; nei- more to instruct and to bless mankind, than ther were the persons, whose names have all the conquerors which ever existed, from been transmitted to us with the most renown, Nimrod of Assyria, down to Frederic of and whose actions have dazzled posterity with Prussia. The life of Isaac, for seventy-five their lustre, either the happiest in themselves, years of it, is blended with that of his illusor the greatest blessings to the age in which irious father. For though, upon the face of they lived. To make one man å hero, how the narration, the birth of Esau and Jacob many garments must have been dyed in blood? oes not appear till considerably after the And what are the acclamations of a triumph, death of Abraham, yet, by comparing dates, but the miserable echo of the cries of the we find, that the lads must have been fifteen wounded, and the groans of the dying ? years old when their grandfather died. And

We are this night to trace the history of a we may justly consider it as no slight trial man of peace: the history of one, who was of the faith both of the father and son, that not indeed exempted from his share of the Isaac the heir of the promise, should live ills which flesh is heir to, but whose attlic- twenty years childless, from his marriage tions, being private and domestic, were pa- with Rebekah. But their patience of hope, tiently borne by himself, and disturbed not their importunity of prayer, and their confi

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 Änd 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 unfécling 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, iii. 6.

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