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with much appearance of truth, as a young and son on this occasion, striking and paman of singular accomplishments, both of thetic indeed, but far inferior to the beautifu body and of mind. The trial was, without simplicity of Moses. Having built an aldoubt, greatly increased to Abraham by the tar, having laid the wood in order upon it, delay, and the distance of the place of sacri- and made all other necessary preparation, fice. Had the oracle demanded an instant the unhappy father is thus represented as oftering, the immediate impression of the communicating to the devoted victim the heavenly vision would account for the sud- will of the Most High: “O my son, begged denness and despatch of the execution. But of God in a thousand prayers, and at length leisure is afforded for reflection ; parental unexpectedly obtained ; ever since you were affection has time to strengthen itself; the born, with what tenderness and solicitude powerful pleadings of nature must in their have I brought you up! proposing to myselt turn be heard; the oppression of grief, of no higher felicity than to see you become a fatigue, of old age; the sight, the society, man, and to leave you the heir of my possesthe conversation of Isaac, combine their sions. But the God who bestowed you upon operation to make him relent, and return.me, demands you again. Prepare then to But though nature knows faith, such as Abra- yield the sacrifice with alacrity. I give you ham's knows not what it is to relent. With up to Him, who at all seasons, and in all steady steps, and unshaken resolution, he ad- situations, has pursued us with loving kindvances to the fatal spot, now first distinguish- ness and tender mercy. You came into the ed by the choice of God, for the scene of this world under the necessity of dying; and the wonderful sacrifice; distinguished in the se- manạer of your death is to be singular and quel, as the seat of empire and of religion illustrious, presented in sacrifice by your among Abraham's chosen race; and finally, own father to the great Father of all: who, distinguished most of all by a sacrifice ini- we may presume, considers it as unfit and nitely more valuable and important, and of unbecoming, that you should depart out of which this of Isaac was but a shadow. this life by disease, in war, or by any other
Being arrived at the foot of the mountain, of the usual calamities to which human nawhich was pointed out by some sensible to- ture is subject: but who waits to receive ken, thc servants are left behind, and Abra- your spirit, as it leaves the body, amidst the ham, armed with the fire and the knife, and prayers and vows of your affectionate parent, Isaac bearing the wood destined to comsume that he may place it in perfect blessedness the victim, ascend together. And now, had with himself. There, you shall still be the his faith been capable of failing, could his consolation and support of my old age, not inpurpose have changed, the question which deed by your presence and conversation, but Isaac, in the simplicity of his heart, proposed, bequeathing me, when you depart, the premust have triumphed over his resolution, sence and the blessing of the Almighty." and decreed the victory to flesh and blood. Isaac, the worthy offspring of such a father, * And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, cheerfully complies, and piously answers and said, My father: and he said, Here am "I should be unworthy of life, were I capaI, my son: and he said, Behold the fire and ble of showing reluctance to obey the will the wood: but where is the Lamb for a burnt of my father and my God. It were enough offering? And Abraham said, My son, God for me that my earthly parent alone called will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offer- me to the altar, how much more when my ing: so they went both of them together."* heavenly Father redemands his own." The heart that feels not this is lost to sen He accordingly submits to be bound, and sibility. Every endeavour to illustrate or en- to be laid as a victim upon the wood. And force it, were idle as an attempt to perfume now behold a sight from which nature shrinks the rose, to paint the tulip into richer tints, back, and stands confounded ;-a father liftor to burnish the sun into a brighter lustre. ing up his hand armed with a deadly weapon,
At length with weary steps they arrive at to slay his only son, he is already made the the place which God had told him of. The sacrifice; for with God, intentions are acts; mighty secret, which had hítherto laboured and he receives his Isaac a second time from in the anxious paternal breast, must at last the hand that gave him at first. The voice be disclosed, and “the lamb for the burnt of God is again heard. It is ever welcome offering" must be produced. It is not the to the ear of faith : welcome when it ansacrifice of a bullock or a sheep, which are nounces heavy tidings, welcome when it deable to make no resistance; nor of a child mands an Isaac ; and O, how welcome when unconscious of its situation; but of a man, it brings glad tidings of great joy; when it whose consent must be obtained ; and who, says, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neieither by entreaty, by argument, by speed, ther do thou any thing unto him, for now I or by force, might have delivered himself. know that thou fearest God, sceing thou hast The Jewish historian presents us with the not withheld thy son, thine only son, front dialogue which passed between the father me.*
* Gen. xxii, 7, 8.
. Gen. xxii, 12
Abraham prophesied without being con- | with his stripes we are healed. All we like scious of it, when he said, “ My son, God sheep have gone astray: we have turned will provide himself a lamb for a burnt of every one to his own way; and the Lora fering:" for lo, behind him a ram caught in hath" laid on him the iniquity of us all." the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went From the tendered sacrifice of Isaac arose and took the ram, and offered him up for a new prospects and new promises to his famiburnt offering instead of his son."* We know ly; from the death of Christ sprung up the but in part, and we prophesy in part, but God hope of "an inheritance incorruptible, unsees the end from the beginning; he is the defiled, and that fadeth not away," to all them rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are that believe. The substituted sacrifice was judgment: a God of truth, and without ini- of God's appointment, providing an acceptquity, just and right is he."
ance, both in the figurative and the real his With what different feelings does the pa- tory, and by both we are instructed, that triarch descend from the mountain ! His when men have the wisdom to submit to, and Isaac lives, and yet his sacrifice is offered. follow God their Maker, they may safely comHe came to yield his dearest earthly delight mit the issue of all to him. at the call of God, and he goes away en To view the history of Abraham in de riched with new blessings and fresh promises. tached parts, is to involve ourselves in diffiWho ever sacrificed to God and was a loser? culty and distress,—to read patiently to the “Who ever hardened himself against God end, is the road to light, and peace, and joy. and prospered ?"
The prejudiced Jew, and the self-conceited It is impossible that any one can be so in- Greek, look at the cross and pronounce it attentive as not to observe, through the whole foolishness, or fall over it as a stumbling of this wonderful history, the mystery of re- block; but to them that believe, who wait the demption shadowed forth? Is the divine issue, who look to the end, “ Jesus Christ is conduct, in this trial of Abraham, dark and the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” inexplicable to human reason? Angels de- Presumptuous men will take upon them to sire to look into the plan of gospel salvation, judge of a plan which is not yet executed, and are unable to comprehend it. Was Abra- and will apply to the narrow and erroneous ham ready at God's command to offer up his scale of their own reason and understanding, only son for a burnt offering ? “God himself the infinite and eternal designs of the only so loved the world, that he gave his only be- wise God. When the fabric of creation was gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him completed, God pronounced all to be very should not perish, but have everlasting life."good, and then “the morning stars sang tó God had pity upon an afflicted, earthly father, gether, and all the sons of God shouted for and a devoted child, and sent his angel to de- joy;" when the plan of redemption is exe liver him: but God “spared not his own Son, cuted, then, and not till then, let men or anbut delivered him up for us all."$ Isaac was gels presume to judge of the fitness or unready to be slain, Jesus was actually put to fitness of it. Determine nothing before the death. Isaac cheerfully submitted to the time. The Lord, and the day of the Lord, will of Heaven, and offered his throat to the is at hand. sacrificing knife; and of Jesus it is written In meditating on this history, may it not in the sacred volume, “ Lo, I come, I delight be asked—Who among you is with Abrahain
thy will, O God, thy law is within my sacrificing, I do not say, his lawful joys, but heart;"Il “he gave himself for us, a sacrifice his sinful lusts? Who among you is rising of a sweet smelling savour unto God.” up early, and, with a resolute hand, slaying
Isaac having first typified the Saviour, pass- his sloth, his pride, his avariee, his lust, his c:s into a type of the elect sinner, bound and malignity, before the altar of God? Who stretched upon the altar, in trembling appre- among you is rising betimes to offer unto hension of the fatal blow. He is reprieved God thanksgiving:" to contemplate the globy a voice from heaven; and thus, when ries of nature; to adore and admire the wonthere was no eye to pity, nor hand to save ders of Providence; to look into the mystery our sinful devoted race, a voice is heard from of redemption, and to meditate with new and the most excellent glory, “deliver from going increasing delight on that love of Christ down to the pit, I have found out a ransom. "which passeth knowledge ?
I have laid help on one who is mighty to The little good which we do, we wish to save.” Behold the ram caught in the thick- be seen of all men; not like Abraham, who nt, conducted and detained of Providence, would have his devotion neither witnessed nnd substituted as a sacrifice in the room of nor interrupted by any one. But glory pursues Isaac, and think of him of whom it is writ- true goodness, notwithstanding its own moten," he was wounded for our transgressions, desty and humility. Why should I suffer he was bruised for our iniquities; the chas- myself to be teazed and vexed with the cavils tisement of our eace was upon him; and of an unbeliever? Let him start ten thou† Deut. xxxii. 4. John iii, 16.
sand objections, if he will, to the frame of naRom. viii. 32. | Psalm xl. 6, &
* Isaiah liij. 5, 6.
• Gen, xxii. 13.
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 be strengthened and increased, and the ob-I ment. Amen.
HISTORY OF ABRAHAM.
LECTURE X VIII.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises; but having seen them afar off, and were per
suaded 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 tiine 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 looke hundred and twenty-seven years did not suf- for another country, that is, an heavenly. ficiently account for the death of a frail wo 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 anotner, 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 noling of that vain philosophy which signifies an ass I 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 man. 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 return-, Civil and polite, he repays the courtesy of
By the death of Sarah, the care and anxiehis neighbours with affability 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. Isaac was now arfull 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 Hiitite famiIt is worthy of observation, that this is the ly, because they had deviated from the worfirst money transaction which we read of in ship of the true God. He could esteem treir 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 wise, 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. poolein.poolos. Tooneisthal
$ Probmasis-Probator. |Timeema legsana i self which signifies to truck or commute l boion, doodeka boion, ekatomboion. Poluarnos.
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 Relf 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 coniention 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 ous, 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 oppo also, 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 ve 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 FaSırah. 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 Bion, covenant upon covenant, promise upon his purposes of mercy and of judgment; le promise, conduct only to a little cave in He-sus, the only begotten Son, who is in the bou bron! Was the favour of the Almighty, the som of the Father, and knows intimately the all bountiful Jehoval, expressed to the man mind of the Lord, he hath declared him