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nation of God have been warrantably pleaded as a reason why Abram should have the first choice? Abram no doubt, both might and could have asserted the preference; and he proves that he well deserved it, by giving it up. What person in this assembly but stands reproved or admonished by the example of the patriarch's humility, moderation, and affability? It is indeed a perfect contrast to that tenaciousness of their opinions, that punctilious adherence to the least iota of their rights, that inflexibility of self-love and self-conceit, that perpetual assumption or demand of preference and superiority, which mark the conduct of most men. Were it necessary to enforce the example of Abram by the precepts of the gospel; the whole spirit of christianity, a multitude of particular injunctions, and above all, the temper and conduct of the great pattern of all that is amiable and excellent, might be adduced, to expose and condemn, if not to cure, that selfish spirit, equally inconsistent with good sense and with religion, which exacts a perpetual sacrifice from others, without discerning the propriety or necessity of making the slightest sacrifice to others in return. Permit me to recite a few passages on the subject. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another. Be of the same mind one towards another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. “Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”+ then that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me. Now the God of patience and consolation, grant you to be like-minded one towards another, according to Jesus Christ.”. Thus have we precept upon precept, pattern upon pattern, on a subject as plain as the light at noon-day, and which is presenting itself to us almost every hour we live. But alas ! it is not preaching that can confer the temper of an Abram; and that can induce men to forego the claims which pride and self-conceit are incessantly urging them to advance.

Behold then Abram and his nephew at length constrained to separate. Nature, affection, religion, affliction, had all conspired to unite them; but a flow of worldly success dissolves their union; and the old adage is exemplified in them, “ relations sometimes agree best at a distance from one another.” The power of choosing was given to Lot, and he exercised it accordingly; Lot listed up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan: and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves the one from the other."$ How wisely this choice was made, we shall have occasion to remark in the sequel of the history.

So good a man, and a relation so kind as Abram, must sensibly have felt this separation from his nearest kinsman. But whatever blank was made in his happiness by the failing of this creature comfort, he has the consolation of reflecting, that it was not brought upon him through his own fault; and it is speedily and abundantly compensated by the visions of the Almighty, by the

66 We

" And

** Rom. xii. 3, 4, 5, 10, 16, 18.

+ Phil. ii. 3.

#Rom. xv. 1, 2, 3, 5.

Gen. xii. 10, 11.

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promises of Him that is faithful and true, and by the presence and affection of that Friend, who sticketh closer than a brother. " And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward. For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth : so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it, and in the breadth of it: for I will give it unto thee.' There is something delightfully soothing to the human heart in the idea of property ;-one's own home, his own field, his own flock. If any thing can add to the satisfaction of this kind of possession, it is the having acquired it honourably, and the capacity of enjoying it with cheerfulness, wisdom, and moderation. Dishonest gain can never bestow contentment, and seldom descends to a remote heir. But the gratiñcation of honest prosperity and success is capable of being still unspeakably heightened and sweetened, namely, by the heart-composing, spirit-elevating consideration, that the blessing enjoyed is the gift of God, is the pledge of paternal love, and the earnest of eternal felicity. In such happy circumstances did our patriarch inhabit the plains of Mamre; blessed in the present, more blessed in the prospects of futurity ; blessed in the fulness of this world, more blessed in the favour of God, which is better than life; blessed in the promise of a numerous and prosperous offspring, infinitely more blessed in the promise of that holy seed in whom “ all the families of the earth are blessed.” When we find the good man abiding in tents, a pilgriin and a stranger in Canaan, do we not perceive it written in legible characters, "arise ye and de part, for this is not your rest ?". Hear we not the voice of God, saying plainly,

another country, that is an heavenly one ?" But even the life of a pilgrim, and of a shepherd, is not secure; neither does any worldly condition admit of a certain or long repose. Let a man be ever so peaceably inclined, how easily may he be involved in the feuds of contentious neighbours

s? This was the case with Abram. In the fourteenth chapter of this sacred book, we have the history of a powerful confederacy of four kings against five; founded no doubt, as all such confederacies are, in a lust of power or wealth ; or directed by a spirit of cruelty and revenge. It issues in a bloody conflict in the vale of Siddim. Sodom, where Lot had chosen to dwell, becomes a prey to the conqueror, and he himself is made a prisoner, and his goods are plundered. These facts are related by Moses, and become interesting to us, merely from their connexion with the history of Abram. What, but for this, are Chederlaomer, Amraphel, and Arioch, to the men of this day, but mere names ? Lot must now have greviously felt the consequences of his imprudent choice of a place of residence, had it not been for the friendship and valour of his venerable uncle ; who, roused by the intelligence of his nephew's distress and danger, flies instantly to his relief. Behold the good old man exchanging his shepherd's crook for the warrior's spear, and rushing with all the ardour and impetuosity of youth on the insulting victor. Which shall we most admire in this important and interesting transaction, the strength and eagerness of his natural affection ; his honest indignation at violence and oppression; the skill with which he planned his enterprise : or the vigour, boldness, and intrepidity with which he executed it; the moderation with which he exercised his victory ; his disinterestedness in declining any share of the fruits of it for himself; or his justice and good faith in attending to, and supporting the just right of his allies ? All, all together, constitute an unequivocal and a brilliant proof, of a mind truly noble

66 seek ye

* Genesis xiii. 14,-17.

Is a

and dignified : and his conduct on this occasion suggests a crowd of reflections both pleasing and useful.

Remember, christians, it is the same man, who for the sake of peace with a brother gave up his just claim to a junior and inferior; that was not afraid in the cause of the injured and oppressed, to attack a numerous host, headed by princes, and flushed with victory. With whom then does true magnanimity reside? Surely with the humble and condescending. The man who has subdued his own spirit is invincible. Behold in this the nature, and the foundation, of true courage. It is not to make light of life ; it is not "to rush like the horse into battle ;” it is not to talk high swelling words of vanity : It is to fear God; it is to be calm and composed in danger; it is to possess hope beyond the grave; it is to be superior to the pride, and incapable of the insulting triumph of success. Behold how the kindred graces and virtues delight to reside in unity and harmony, in the bosom of a good man! Neither good nor bad qualities are to be found solitary in the breast of any one. man pious ? Then he is humble. Is he humble? Then meek and conde, scending. Is he condescending ? Then bold, then just, then generous, then merciful. Is he a child of God, a disciple of Jesus? Then he is all that is amiable. Behold in Abram, a soul superior to the love of riches and consequently greater than a king; “And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself

. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up my hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abram rich."* That integrity is incorruptible which considers life and happiness as consisting not in “the abundance of the things which a man possesseth :" which prizes an honest, though humble independence, above the honours and treasures which princes have to bestow,

Abram, on this occasion, is found in connexion with a most extraordinary person, who bursts upon us like the sun from behind a thick cloud, unveils his splendour for a moment, and then hides himself again in the shades of night: “Melchizedec, king of Salem, and priest of the most high God;" whose appearance, history, and character, we could have hardly comprehended, had not a brighter day since arisen, and an inspired apostle unfolded the meaning of what one inspired prophet acted, and another has recorded. The history of Melchizedec, short as it is, with the apostolic comment upon it, will easily furnish materials for a Lecture by itself, and shall not now therefore be anticipated. The story of Abram himself shall for the present stand still, to be resumed and prosecuted in its order: it being now high time to look forward, and to bring that patriarch, with those who went before him, to the feet of Jesushis “offspring ;" yet his “root:" later than him by almost two thousand years ; yet before him “ of old, even from everlasting ;” receiving existence from him in the order of nature, and by the tenor of the covenant; yet bestowing existence upon him, as the eternal Word, “ by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made that is made."

Abram may be first compared to Adam, being both the fathers of many nations, and especially constituted of God for that end. With both, the covenant of God was established, which included and involved their posterity, though the children were not as yet born : for with God, that is effected, which is purposed to be done ; and his promises are gifts already bestowed. Adam's

's transgression transmitted evils innumerable to his offspring ; Abram's faith entailed blessings unspeakable upon his family for many generations,

* Gen, xiy, 21,-,

Abram may

Both of them typified Christ in their day; and both “saw his day afar off.”

be

compared with the princes and great men of the age in which he lived. And in true dignity of mind, in elevation of spirit, in generosity of sentiment, in propriety of behaviour, he will be found superior to most, and inferior to none. We see kings receiving obligations from him ; while he nobly shews himself above receiving an obligation from any one. And Abram is a type of every real christian giving up the world as a portion, at God's command, and sacrificing the dearest delights of nature to the demands of duty; living as a stranger upon earth, and looking for “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

But the great venerability of Abram's character arises from his relation to Jesus Christ, whom he shadows forth in a great variety of respects.

Abram was called and constituted of God, to be the natural head of a great and powerful nation ; Jesus,“ the first-born among many brethren,” to be the spiritual father of the whole vast family of believers. The covenant of God with Abram eame in aid to the insufficiency of the first covenant; which had become weak, and ineffectual to salvation, through the corruption of human nature; and it prefigured a covenant still more sure and immoveable than itself, " established upon better promises,” even the sending of “the Son of God, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin; to condemn sin in the flesh.” The prompt obedience of Abram to the call of Heaven, leads us directly to Him, who

says of himself, “my meat is to do the will of him who sent me;" and the language of whose whole life, spirit, sufferings, and death is," Father, not my will, but thine be done." Abram's appearing on the stage, and entering on the discharge of the duties of his public character, in the full maturity of his age, suggests to us, the Saviour of the world entering upon, and discharging his public ministry, in the full vigour of life, and flower of his age. When I behold Abram sojourning in the land of promise as in a strange country, I think of him, who 66 came to his own and his own received him not :” and meditate on “the Son of Man, who had not where to lay his head." Abram, chased into Egypt by famine, reminds me of Jesus flying into Egypt from the wrath of a jealous and incensed king. Who can read of Abram discomfiting confederate princes, without bethinking himself straight of the triumphs of a Redeemer over “principalities and powers, and the ruler of the darkness of this world :" Satan, sin, and death “ cast into the lake of fire ?” When we behold Lot brought back from captivity by the kindness and intrepidity of his affectionate kinsman, can we refrain from turning our eyes to our compassionate elder Brother, who "through death has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and delivered them who through fear of death were subject to bondage;" and who has restored his younger brethren to“ the glorious liberty of the sons of God ?" Abram nobly refuses to be made rich by the bounty of the king of Sodom ; thus when the Jews would have taken Christ and made him a king, he withdrew himself: and when the prince of the power of the air presented him with the prospect of the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and proffered all to him on condition of his doing homage for them, he rejected the offer with disdain, “get thee behind me, Satan.” The amiable qualities of Abram's mind bear a lively resemblance to the spirit that dwelt in our divine Master. But in Abram it was a spirit imparted, in Jesus a spirit inherent; it was bestowed on the former in measure, on the latter it was poured out without measure : in the patriarch it was mingled with dross, alloyed by a mixture of human imperfection; in the Saviour it was unmixed, unalloyed, for “ he did no sin, neither was guile found in his lips."

But the time would fail to enumerate all the marks of resemblance. Many others will occur to the careful and attentive reader of Abram’s history ; these shall for the present suffice from this place. The farther continuation of it shall be suspended, and give way, according to the order of the narration, and to give these exercises all the advantage of variety which their nature will admit, to the singular history of Melchizedec; which, God willing, shall be the subject of the ensuing Lecture, and to which permit me to implore your patient and candid attention. Earnestly praying that the blessing of the Most High may crown what has been spoken, we ascribe praise to His name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

HISTORY OF MELCHIZEDEC.

LECTURE XII.

GENESIS XIV. 18.

And Melchizedec, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine : and he was the priest of the most

high God.

PSALM CX, 4.

The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedec.

HEBREWS VI. 20.

Jesus, made an high priest forever, after the order of Melchizedec. The eagerness and avidity with which men pry into abstruse and difficult subjects, can be exceeded only by their coldness and indifference to obvious and important truth. The religious controversies which have engaged so much attention, occupied so much time, and furnished employment for so many rare talents; which have whetted the tempers, and too often the swords of men against each other, are, in general on points of doctrine too deep and mysterious ever to be fathomed by human understanding, too lofty to be scanned without boldness and presumption, or too trifling to merit regard. Revealed religion, like every thing that is of God, must necessarily present many difficulties to a creature so limited as man. But instead of being rejected on that account, it is the more to be prized and reverenced; as having this evidence, among many others, of coming from Him, whose nature, whose works, and whose ways, none " can find out unto perfection." Curiosity, guided by humility, and aiming at useful discovery, is a laudable and useful principle. But curiosity impelled by self-conceit, and resting in mere speculation, is generally rash and presumptuous, often trifling, impertinent, and contemptible. In every branch of knowledge, those truths are the most valuable which are the plainest, and which present themselves in the greatest abundance : just as nature produces in the greatest profusion those commodities which are most useful and necessary to man.

The subject of this night's Lecture, is one of those which have afforded ample employment to critics and commentators. Were our object amusement only, it were easy to entertain you for months to come, with the ingenious, the fanciful, the absurd, and nonsensical expositions which have been given of the person and history of Melchizedec. But as we aim at useful

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