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himself in authority in the family, who is called in the second verse, “ the eldest servant of his house,” and is doubtless the Eliezer of Damascus mentioned in the fifteenth chapter as “the steward of his house,” and who in default of any child of his own, would be his heir. Of him he exacted a solemn oath that he would not negotiate a marriage between Isaac and any of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose country they were then living. These were Idolaters; and Abraham justly feared lest, by marrying among them, his son should be led to renounce the God of his father, and do after their abominations; or at least lest his posterity, partly deriving their origin from the heathen and mingled among them, should learn their ways. Abraham knew moreover that the inhabitants of Canaan were devoted to destruction. He saw them filling up the measure of their iniquities, and he feared lest his beloved Isaac, and his descendants, becoming partakers of all their evil deeds, should share in their future punishment.Thus moved by piety and faith, he would not

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upon any account that his son should form an alliance with them.

Let me take this opportunity of making few observations to you on the great care which is necessary in entering into the mar. ried state.

No concern of life is of such importance; all the future circumstances of a person's life are more or less affected by it, and it has a greater influence on the spiritual state of the soul, through life, than any other relative condition in which we can be placed. In entering into marriage you join yourself, probably for

whole life, in the nearest union with one, who thenceforth becomes the principal cause and constant sharer of all your prosperity and adversity, of all your cares and comforts, and of all the peace and happiness, or the trouble and grief, which you are to experience in your domestic life, and who will also thenceforth become your principal helper or hinderer in your way to heaven. A matter that involves such important objects, and is so lasting withal, should be set about with the greatest circumspection, with much prayer, and in the fear of God. Unhappily many persons bring nothing but worldly considerations to this important subject; and the outward advantages of fortune, or station, or personal attractions, are the only things regarded. But these bear no comparison whatever, even in respect of mere earthly satisfaction, to the internal qualities of principles, sense, character, and temper. When indissoluble unions for life are formed solely from such motives, no wonder that happiness and content do not enter the doors of the house, or are soon driven out of it; no wonder that there arise estrangement of affection, diversity of pursuits, contrariety of will, domestic jangling, mutual accusations and retorts, and all that embitters or poisons the springs of love and peace.

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But it is evident that it was an apprehension lest the religion of his son should suffer by a marriage with one of the daughters of Canaan which occupied the mind of Abraham, and this is the point to which I desire principally to address myself.

I observe then that if care and prudence be necessary in contracting marriage, on

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account of the influence which that circumstance has on our earthly happiness, much more are they called for by the manner in which it will probably affect our religion. Oh! that this point were deeply regarded by every child of promise, as was Isaac. Oh! my Christian friend, if you have a due sense of religion, and at the same time any acquaintance with yourself and the world, you must know that you are naturally prone to be forgetful of God and your duty to him, and that you are too easily led away into things of which you doubt or disapprove; even now you feel that your conscience is often made uneasy by the things which you do, or do not do, from the influence of others among whom you live. You must consequently know that you need every help to enable you to maintain your ground, and make that advancement in piety and holiness which you ought, and that you should avoid every hindrance to your progress towards heaven. What would it be then, if you were to live constantly with one of immoral habits, or with one of a vain and dissipated mind,

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intent upon worldly pleasures, and immersed in worldly cares? , Nay, what would it be, even if

you lived constantly with one, who, though moral and orderly, and maintaining an outward propriety of conduct, could not understand your views, nor enter into your feelings ; to whom you could not speak on religion so as to be understood, and sympathized with, and advised, and comforted; with whom you could not take sweet counsel on the things most interesting to you, and most necessary for your peace? Where would be your comfort? where the serenity and composure of your mind? where a satisfied conscience ? where your growth in grace ? Alas, even if you retained your own religion, these would be all irrevocably destroyed.

Let the influence which such an unsuitable union would have upon the well-ordering of a family be also considered. What prospect could there be that the sabbath day would be spent as it ought? One party would desire that it should be sacredly devoted to the great purposes for which it has been set apart, namely, a regular attendance on the services

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