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by Abraham's example not to be ever consulting our own interest, and insisting upon our own rights; but rather to forego our claims, and even to suffer wrong, that we may live in peace and quietness. And there is more advantage in this than many are aware of. It is the great preservative of our own private comfort; it keeps our minds free from angry and irritable feelings, than which we can have no greater tormentors; and leaves us the blessing of enjoying communion with God in a serene and quiet spirit. Moreover, the history will shew us that Abraham lost nothing, even in a temporal respect, by his condescension and liberality ; for he secured the blessing of the Lord, and that maketh rich. Though Lot had his choice of all the land, and he used it in pitching upon that which was the most fruitful, yet we do not find him prospering like Abraham. Nay he was soon obliged to become indebted to the patriarch for the recovery of his property, and even of his personal liberty. Thus godliness has the promise of the life which now is, as well as of that which is to come ; and
Abraham, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, had all other things added to him.
IV. The last circumstance in the history of Abraham to which I would at present call your attention is, his engagement in war. This sounds strangely, and seems contrary to the peaceable disposition which he had before shewn. But here was an unjust invasion of a country bordering upon him; and Abraham appears in the character of a protector of the oppressed. The history is briefly this. An assault was made by five confederate nations upon
Sodom and its associates. These proved unable to withstand the force of the invaders. Sodom and Gomorrah were sacked, their goods seized as the property of the victors, and the inhabitants marched off to become their slaves. Lot was amongst them. When he had separated himself from Abraham, and gone to live in so wicked a place as Sodom, we might well expect to hear of some mischief befalling him. And now we find him seized as a prisoner by the victorious army, and being carried away into captivity. great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he, being “ without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but, made alike unto the Son of God, abideth_a priest continually.” Hence the Apostle, exalting the unchangeable priesthood of Jesus, as being formed after the similitude and order of Melchisedek rather than after the order of Aaron, whose successors, as well as himself, “ were not suffered to continue by reason of death,” draws this animating conclusion for believers under the Gospel, “Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
It is pleasant to review these scripture histories, and I hope that it may be profitable also. Many advantages arise from the consideration of them. It brings us acquainted with our bibles, and affords an orderly and connected view of God's dealings with the world, and of the whole of his counsel. It greatly strengthens our faith in the word and promises of God; for when we see how the patriarchs walked by faith, and how Jehovah ordered all things respecting them, and was erer present with them, and watched over them, this mightily confirms our faith in his providence and grace, and teaches us to see his hand in all occurrences. It sets many most useful examples before us; for various excellencies are here recorded, and in these good men of old we see patterns of faith, meekness, patience, godliness, and every holy temper and righteous deed. It lifts up many a beacon also to warn us from those rocks upon which they occasionally struck, and where they were in imminent peril of making shipwreck of faith and holiness. Finally, it leads us to a more perfect knowledge of Christ and his gospel; for all things written here are preparatory to the revelation of his unsearchable riches and infinite love. see Abraham, his progenitor, receiving intimations of the grace which should afterwards be brought to the world by him : and we see Melchisedek, his type, shadowing forth his eternal existence, his perfect sacrifice, and prevailing intercession.
Oh! study then the word of God, that in every part it “ may dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” And let not the impressions, which are made by the reading of it, be mere evanescent ones, like that of the track of a bird through the air, or a ship's passage through the sea; but let them be durable and abiding ones, and such as may shew, by their visible effects, that they are deeply and profitably imprinted on your hearts. Bring every portion to a practical use and benefit, remembering that they are written “ for our admonition;" and that “ all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Endeavour then to reap this benefit which they are intended to convey. Form yourselves upon the pattern which they set before you. Mark the excellencies of every character which they exhibit, and transcribe them into your own.
Avoid the faults and failings which they record. Draw the moral from each historical fac