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Mercy, grace, and peace accompany them on
At the end they enter into rest, and inherit the kingdom.
But should you disregard the Call: should you prefer to remain in sin, and in a world that lieth in wickedness ; then in sin must you perish, and with the world be destroyed. No spiritual blessings on earth, no entrance into heaven will ever be yours. Nay, on the contrary, the wrath of God will abide upon you; you will die in your sins, and be miserable eternally. Oh! that the grace of God may effectually dispose you to render a willing obedience to the Gospel Call! The Lord Jesus Christ in mercy grant, that you may become followers of them“ who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
THE CHARACTER OF ABRAHAM.
GENESIS ,xii. 7.
And the Lord appeared unto Abraham, and
said, Unto thy seed will I give this land : and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.
We have seen the departure of Abraham from his native country and its idolatries, and his entrance into the land of Canaan, in obedience to the call of God. The remaining part of the history of this renowned patriarch is now before us; but as it is not my intention to expound every minute particular recorded of him, I propose, in the present sermon, to take a general view of several circumstances together, as presented to us in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters. These, it is hoped, will tend to bring us somewhat more acquainted with his life and character.
I. The first circumstance which I would notice is that of which mention is made in the text, namely, his regard to religion.
No sooner does Abraham arrive in the land which was destined to be his; no sooner does he receive the grant of it from God, than he begins to take measures for establishing the worship of Jehovah in it. He builds an altar unto the Lord, where he and his family might offer their sacrifices and all their religious service, thus taking possession of it in the name of his God. Again, in the next verse, we see that when he removed, and went into the neighbourhood of Bethel, there also his first care was to build an altar unto the Lord, and to call upon the name of his God. Afterwards, on his coming out of Egypt, whither he had been driven by a famine in the land of Canaan, the principal reason of his return to Bethel seems to have been,-because his altar was there. And once more, after his separation from Lot, when he went and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, the worship of God
still occupied his thoughts and labour, for there also “ he built an altar unto the Lord.”
Now this marks the piety of the man, and proves that his first and ruling principle was a devout regard to the honour of God. Religious worship was evidently, in his estimation, a matter of the first importance; a duty which, claimed precedence of all others, and without the observance of which he would not be happy, wherever he settled. We read of the children of men, that is, of the men of the world, that, when they find a fruitful plain, where they think of taking up their abode, they first apply themselves to the building of a city, where they may live together at ease; and the worship of God, if it be thought of at all, is postponed to their own accommodation. So also we see a very striking difference, in this respect, even between Abraham and Lot. When Abraham returns out of Egypt, he comes to Bethel, because there was his altar; there he had the opportunity of worshipping God, and there he had received testimonies of the Lord's presence and favour : when he is obliged to remove elsewhere, he carries his
religion along with him, and establishes that in every place where he takes up his abode. But when Lot has to separate himself from Abraham, what does he do? What is that which governs his choice? Does he look for some place already consecrated by an altar of Abraham, where he might renew his solemn worship, and where God might continue his blessing to him? No: he chooses the plain of Jordan, and pitches his tent towards Sodom, because the plain was “ well watered every where,” and fruitful “ as the garden of the Lord :” and this he did though “ the men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Nay, so intent was he upon the fertility of the soil, that his flocks and herds might be increased, and his riches multiplied, that we hear nothing of the building of an altar, nor any establishment of the worship of God.
Herein is much practical instruction for you. Here you learn what is your first duty, and what should be your first care in choosing a residence. What are your inducements to settle in any place ? Are the spiritual