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give him the full value of it, and refusing to accept it otherwise. Nor is there any thing wanting on their part; but every thing appears generous and lovely. Abraham calls bimself a stranger and a sojourner ; but they call him a mighty prince among them: give him the choice of their sepulcbres ; offer any one of them gratis ; and when he insisted on paying for it, mention its value in the most delicate manner, intimating that such a sum was as nothing between them. Were commerce conducted on such principles, how pleasant would it be ! How different from that selfish spirit described by Solomon, and still prevalent among men : Naught, naught, saith the buyer : but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth! Civility, courtesy, and generosity adorn religion. The plainness of Christianity is not a rude and insolent one: it stands aloof from flattery, but not from obliging hebaviour. Some who are very courteous to strangers, are very much the reverse to those about them ; but Abraham's behaviour to his neighbours is

l no less respectful than it was to the three strangers who called at his tent. It is painful to add, however, that civility and courtesy may be where there is no religion. However it may tend to smooth the rugged paths of life, and howerer much we are indebted to the providence of God for it; yet this alone will not avail in the sight of God.

Ver. 17–20. Respecting the purchase of this sepulchre, I conceive it was an exercise of faith. Jacob and Joseph had certainly an eye to the promise, in requesting their bones to be care ried up from Egypt. A sepulchre was like an earnest, and indicated a persuasion of future possession.* It would tend also to endear the land to his posterity. This was so much a dictate of nature, that Nehemiah could urge it to a heathen king, whom no religious considerations would probably have influenced :t and when to this was added, the character of those who should be there deposited, it would render the country still more endearing. Heathens venerate the dust of their forefathers, but contemplate it without hope. It is not so with believers : those who should lie in this sepulchre, walked with God in their generations ; and

* Isa. xxii, 16. + Neh. ii. 3.

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though dead, yet lived under the promise of a glorious resurrection.

Upon the whole, it is natural to wish to mingle dust with those whom we love : Where thou diest, there will I be buried. And sometimes with those whom we only respect : When I am dead, said the old prophet of Bethel to his sons, bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried, and lay my bones beside his bones. But after all, the chief concern is, with whom we shall rise ! DISCOURSE XXXII.


Gen. xxiv.

The last chapter contained a funeral: this gives an account of a marriage. Such are the changes of human life! Let not this minute narrative seem little in our eyes. It was thought by the Spirit of God to be of more importance than all that was at that time going on among the great nations of antiquity. It is highly interesting to trace great things to their small beginnings ; and to them that love Zion it must be pleasant to observe the minute turns of Providence in respect of its first fathers.

Ver. 1-9. Abraham being now an old man, and having lost the partner of his life, feels anxious to adjust his affairs, that he may be ready to follow her. The Lord kad blessed him in all things, and he had doubtless much to dispose of : but the greatest blessing of all related to his seed, and this occupies his chief attention. Aware that character, as well as happiness, greatly depended on a suitable connexion, he was desirous that before he died he might discharge this part of the duty of a father. Calling to him therefore his eldest servant, who was already steward of his affairs, and in case of death must have been his trustee in behalf of Isaac, he bound him in a solemn oath respecting the wife that he should take to him. We are not here told the servant's name ; but by the account which is given of him, compared with Chap. xv. 2., it is not unlikely that it was Eliezer of Damascus.


The characters of men are not so easily ascertained from a few splendid actions, as from the ordinary course of life, in which their real dispositions are manifested. In this domestic concern of Abraham, we see several of the most prominent features of his character. (1.) His decided aversion to idolatry. I will make thee swear by Jehovah, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell. Had Abraham then contracted a prejudice against his neighbours? This does not appear, by what occurred between them in the last chapter. He does not com. plain of their treatment of him, but of their alienation from his God. He has no objection to an exchange of civilities with them; but to take their daughters in marriage was the sure way to corrupt bis own family. The great design of God in giving the land to Abraham's posterity, was the eventual overthrow of idolatry, and the establishment of his true worship on earth. To wbat purpose then was he called from among Chaldean idolaters, if his son join affinity with those of Canaan ? Such, or nearly such, were the sentiments which dictated the address to his servant. The Lord God of heaven, WHO TOOK ME FROM MY FATHER'S HOUSE, and sæare unto me, saying, Unto THY SEED WILL I GIVE THIS LAND, he shall send his angel before thee. (2.) His godliness. There does not appear in all this concern the least taint of worldly policy, or any of those motives which usually govern men in the settlement of their children. No mention is made of riches, or honours, or natural accomplishments ; but merely of what related to God. Let not the woman be a daughter of Canaan, but of the family of Nahor, who had forsaken Chaldean idolatry, and with Milcah his wife settled at Haran, and who was a worshipper of the true God. Chap. xxxi. 53. (3.) His faith and obedience. The servant being about to bind himself by oath, is tenderly concerned lest he should engage in more than he should be able to accomplish. Per. adventure, saith he, the woman will not follow me into this lando must I needs bring thy son again to the land whence thou camest ? No: as Isaac must not marry a daughter of Canaan, neither must he leave Canaan to humour a daughter of Haran : for though Canaan's daughters are to be shunned, yet Canaan itself is to be


chosen as the Lord's inheritance bestowed on the promised seed. Nor do these supposed difficulties at all deter Abraham : The Lord God of heaven, saith he, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and who spake unto me, and sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land, HE shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. On the ground of this promise, he would send him away, fully acquitting him of his oath, if the party should prove unwilling; only charging him not to bring Isaac to Haran, as he had before charged bim not to marry him to a daughter of Canaan.

Ver. 10–14. Abrabam's servant having, on the above terms, consented to take the oath, now betakes himself to his journey. No time seems to have been lost ; for his heart was in the business. He did not trouble his aged master in things of inferior moment; but having all his affairs intrusted to him, adjusts those matters himself. Taking with bim ten camels, and of course a number of attendants, partly for accommodation, and partly, we may suppose, to give a just idea of his master's substance, he set off for Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. Nothing remarkable occurs by the way: but arriving on a summer's evening at the outside of the city, he espies a well. Here he causes his camels to kneel down for rest, and with a design, as soon as opportunity offered, to furnish them with drink. Now it was customary in those countries for the women, at the time of the evening, to go out to draw water; of this Abraham's servant is aware. And having placed himself and his camels by the well, in a waiting posture, he betakes himself to prayer for divine direction. Light as men make of such concerns in common, there are few things of greater importance, and in which there is greater need for imploring the guidance and blessing of heaven. Upon a few minute turns at this period of life, more depends than can possibly be conceived at the time. Young people! pause a moment, and consider .... Think of the counsel of God. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. That which is done for life, and which may involve things of another life, requires to be done well; and nothing can be done well in which the will of God is not consulted, and his blessing implored. Let us each pause a few minutes too,

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