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, to make room for men. But because this sphere narrow and contracted, and unable to contain and pport the increasing multitudes of many generations, the Lord's hand shortened, that he cannot expand nore spacious firmament, and compact a more spaus globe, to contain, at once, the countless nations them that are saved ? O how greatly do men err; not owing the power of God! Death is no part of the n of Providence for the government of that world bliss. In our Father's house above there are many .nsions; there is bread enough, and to spare; there room for all, provision for all: the father need not lie, to give space to the son, nor the mother to spare, t the child may have enough. For they are “as - angels of God,” says our Lord, according to Matw, “ equal to the angels,” says our evangelist, nd are the children of God.” This describes their happiness positively. Men on th“ see in a glass darkly; know in part, prophecy part,” are encompassed with infirmity; but the ngels in heaven” excel in strength, stand before the one of God, serve him day and night in his temple, hout wearying, see face to face, know as they are own." Their number is completed, their interrse is pure and perfect, without the means of inafe and union which exist here below. Iaving thus reproved their ignorance and presump1, respecting the “ power of God,” our Lord proIs to expose their ignorance respecting “ the scrip:5," and produces a passage from Moses, in whom i trusted, which they had hitherto overlooked or inderstood, wherein the doctrine in dispute was rly laid down ; and which we had principally in v in leading your attention to this passage on the 'ent occasion. The passage quoted, is that noted declaration of i to Mofes, from the midst of the burning bush, am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”* T God should have condescended to hold this langua concerning Enoch, "who was translated that he shor not see death,” had been lefs wonderful; for that he man, who walked with God upon earth, was exal immediately to a more intimate union with God heaven. But to speak thus of men who were lo ago mouldered into dust, of whom nothing remain among men but their names, conveys an idea of man existence, before which the life of a Methusel dwindles into nothing, an idea which swallows mortality, and gives a dignity and a duration to m that bids defiance to the grave. That God should i to Abraham, while he lived, “I am thy shield, a thy exceeding great reward,” t was a miracle of gra and condescension ; but to speak thus, more than thr centuries after he had been consigned to the tomb, am the God of Abraham,” this exhibits a relation ! tween God and the faithful, which perfectly reconci the mind to the thoughts of diffolution. Indeed it impossible to conceive any thing more elevating, a thing more tranquillizing to the soul, than the vie of future bliss with which the text presents us. Ai this tranquillity and elevation are greatly heighten by the consideration, that Jehovah from the midst flaming fire, under the Old Testament dispensation, a Jehovah, in the person of the great Redeemer, und the New, taught the same glorious truth to the worl And what is it? “I am the God of Abraham, and t God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” · When God was pleased to express his favourab regard to Abraham upon earth, what did it amou to? He led him through a particular district of lan in the length and the breadth of it, and said "I w give it thee.” But Abraham now expatiates throug a more ample region, and contemplates a fairer i heritance, an inheritance his own, not in hope, bin poffeffion. Abraham, though following the lea
B 2 * Exod. iii, 6.
en. Xy. I.
ing of the Divine Providence, saw the Redeemer's day only afar off: but, in virtue of his relation to God, he has now beheld the dawning of the morning expanded into the pure light of the perfect day. He once felt the events which affected his family, with the emotion natural to a man; he has since beheld them extending their influence to nations which he thought not of; and he now looks forward in holy rapture, to that period when he, and his Isaac, and an earthly Canaan, and every thing of a temporal and transitory nature, shall bring their glory and their honour, and lay all at the feet of “ Him, who sitteth upon the throne, and before the Lamb.”
From Abraham we are removed to a distance of time and place, in which thought is lost, and we seem to have no more interest in him than if he had never existed. But the doctrine of the text brings us so close to him, that we recognise the friend of God, in the midst of myriads of saints in glory; we converse with him, and continue to be instructed by him.
The dust of Abraham sleeps unnoticed and forgotten in the cave of Machpelah; but lift up thine eyes, and behold Abraham on high, and Lazarus in his bosom ; his spirit united to God “the Father of spirits,” and to all “ the spirits of just men made perfect.” « And even that dust” also “rests in hope:” It shall not always be left in the place of the dead; it shall not remain forever a prey to corruption. Abraham purchased a tomb, and buried his Sarah out of his fight; but he has overtaken, regained her, in the regions of eternal day, where virtuous and believing friends meet, never more to be disjoined. Abraham received his Isaac from the wonder-working hand of Heaven, when nature was dead to hope ; at the command of God he cheerfully surrendered him again, and devoted him upon the altar: again he receives him to newness of life, and that darling son lives to put his hand upon his eyes. But they were not long disunited; the son has overtaken the parents; they
whom alle er of the promo of affliction. Les exem
much mortificarols of sight, and arly in life was
o of the Divine Providence, saw the Redeemer's day lly afar off: but, in virtue of his relation to God,
has now beheld the dawning of the morning exnded into the pure light of the perfect day. He ce felt the events which affected his fainily, with
emotion natural to a man; he has since beheld em extending their influence to nations which he ought not of; and he now looks forward in holy ture, to that period when he, and his Isaac, and an thly Canaan, and every thing of a temporal and nsitory nature, shall bring their glory and their hon, and lay all at the feet of “ Him, who sitteth upthe throne, and before the Lamb.” from Abraham we are removed to a distance of e and place, in which thought is lost, and we seem have no more interest in him than if he had never ted. But the doctrine of the text brings us so e to him, that we recognise the friend of God, in midst of myriads of saints in glory; we converse 2 him, and continue to be instructed by him. The dust of Abraham sleeps unnoticed and forgotin the cave of Machpelah ; but lift up thine eyes, behold Abraham on high, and Lazarus in his bo-; his spirit united to God “the Father of spirits,”
to all - the spirits of just men made perfect.” nd even that dust” also “ rests in hope:" It shall always be left in the place of the dead; it shall remain forever a prey to corruption. Abraham hased a tomb, and buried his Sarah out of his
; but he has overtaken, regained her, in the re- of eternal day, where virtuous and believing Els meet, never more to be disjoined. Abraham ved his Isaac from the wonder-working hand of en, when nature was dead to hope"; at the com
of God he cheerfully surrendered him again, devoted him upon the altar: again he receives o newness of life, and that darling son lives to s hand upon his eyes. But they were not long Eed; the fon has overtaken the parents; they
" I am the God of Isaac.” This Isaaç, the hei Abraham's poffeffions, of his faith, and of his virt was, on earth, united to the God of the spirits of flesh, by many tender and important relations : by ety, by filial confidence, by goodness, by patience a submission, on his part; by election, by special favo by highness of destination, on the part of his heaven Father. Yet these distinguished advantages exem ed him not from the stroke of amiction. Many yea did this heir of the promises, this chosen feed, 66 whom all the families of the earth should be blessed many years did he go.childless. Early in life was visited with the loss of fight, and thereby exposed much mortification and dejection of spirit. Childre are at length given him, and they prove the tormer of his life; they excite a war betwixt nature an grace in his own breast; discord and jealousy ari them against each other; he is in danger of " losin them both in one day.” The one must be banishe from his father's house, the other mingles with idola torş. Behold a wretched, blind old man, a prey t “ grief of heart.” But these things, on the othe hand, dissolved ņot, interrupted not his covenant rela tion to God: they served but to cement and strength en the divine friendship: and death which, to humai apprehension, separates every connexion, and indeer tears asunder every mortal tie, only brought him into a clearer light, and to intercourse and intimacy, which can never expire.
“I am the God of Jacob.” In all the wanderings, in all the dangers, in all the distresses of this patriarch ; in all his successes, all his acquisitions, all his joys, we discover the relation of God to him, expressed in these words; and we behold the presence of God with him whithersoever he went, constantly relieving the wretchedness of one state; dignifying and supporting
hand, diffolve they served and deat
the felicity of the other. This gave him security from the violence of an incensed brother; this cheered the solitude of Luz, and turned it into a Bethel ; by this the slumbers of a head reposed on a pillar of' stone were made refreshing and instructive; this repressed and overbalanced the rapacity of Laban; this supported and fanctified the loss of Joseph; this sweetened the descent into Egypt, and dissipated the gloom of death; by this, though dead, he exists, though filent he speaketh, “ absent from the body he is present with the Lord;" the moment of his departure is on the wing to overtake that of his redemption from the power of the grave. Before God, the distance shrinks into nothing. That word, that one little word, I AM, . unites the era of nature's birth with that of its dissolution, it joins eternity to eternity, “and swallows up death in victory."?
The same gracious declaration applies, with equal truth and justice, to every fon and daughter of faithful Abraham," to every 6 Ifraelite indeed.” We speak of departed friends in the past time, we cannot but remember such things were ; and were most dear to us ;" but it is the glorious prerogative of Jehovah to employ eternally the present in describing his own essence, and his covenant relation to his people ; “I AM THAT I AM.” “I AM the God of thy father,” of thy buried, thy lamented brother, friend, lover, child. And to us also is the word of this consolation sent, “ Fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, I am thy God.” “ Thus faith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel ; Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by name, thou art mine. When thou paslest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I ain the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." Believing and resting upon this sure foundation, the
Introductory Lecture. Lect. I.
The same gracious declaration applies, with equal
I AM THAT I AM." "I AM the God of thy fa.
Israel ; Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have
ither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the
Lect. I. Introductory Lecture. christian triumphs in the prospect of " departing being with Christ;" he smiles at the threate looks of the king of terrors, exults and sings "with sweet singer of Israel,” 6 yea, though I walk thro the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no e for thou art with me, thy rod, and thy staff, they c fort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the he of the Lord forever :"* and triumphs with the raptured apostle of the Gentiles, 6o O death, wl is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory ? Tha be to God who giveth us the victory through Lord Jesus Christ.”+
It is a transporting reflection, that the fond wil and desires of the human heart are warranted, enco aged and supported by the revelation of God: that life and immortality which we naturally pant after, brought to light by the gospel. It is pleasant to f wise and good men, guided only by the light of reaf and the honest propensities of nature, cherishing t very belief, cleaving to that yery hope, which the t. inspires. Cicero, in his beautiful treatise on old a while he relates the sentiments of others, sweetly livers his own on this subject. The elder Cyrus cording to Xenophon, thus addressed his fons bef his death: “Do not imagine, O my dear children, t. when I leave you, I cease to exist. For even whil was yet with you, my spirit you could not discern ; ! that it animated this body you were fully afsured the actions which I performed. Be assured it continue the same, though still you see it not. I glory of illustrious men would sink with them into grave, were not their surviving spirits capable of ex tion, and concerned to rescue their names from ob. ion. I can never suffer myself to be persuaded, t the man lives only while he is in the body, and when it is diffolved; or that the soul loses all inte gence on being separated from an unintelligent lu
uth andham,” to cevends in the perfe; and were of Je ! jeak of depamber fuch falorious prero describing his of butus;" but eternally the relation tood of thy ta .
imayed, nt, “Pearto us alle inented brood of this the
latichel; Fear note, thou art mwith thee, and en thou lled thich the water not overfo thalt not be I am the te rivers, rough the kindle upoillrael, thy stron, the
* Psal. xxiii. 4, 6.
Cor. XV. 15, 57.