Page images

what can be attained by divided counsels and separate efforts. The church of Christ should be builded as a city that is compact together, and at unity with itself; and if we may not hope to see the whole body of Christians of one heart and one mind in every particular, we may at least say to the members of our own church, “I beseech you; Brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you ; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” And wherein in any respect we differ from others, let us " endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

5. Lastly, let us all remember that here we have no continuing city. The strongest edifices and mightiest works of human power fall into ruins, and the life of man is even far shorter than their duration. Let us seek a city which hath foundations, that can never be subverted, whose builder and maker is God, and where death and separation are never more to be feared. Let us feel that this is not our rest ; let us seek the rest which remaineth for the people of God. If we gain a place in their blessed society, then we shall have a name that will endure for ever : there we shall all have one language, the language of praise and thanksgiving : there we shall all be of one heart and one way, and together with the voice of many angels, and the thousands of thousands of the redeemed, sing “ Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”



GENESIS xii. 1-3.

Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get

thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee : and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing : and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee : and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

In the preceding sermons we have seen the creation, the fall, and the destruction of mankind, with the merciful preservation of that particular family, from which the earth was in due time repeopled. But the scriptures are not the history of the world, but of the church. They therefore leave the


rise and fall of other nations, that they may especially record the circumstances of one particular people, with whom the God of heaven was pleased to enter into covenant, and whom he selected from all the rest as “a peculiar people” unto himself. On the history of that people we are now entering ; that wondrous people whose rise, and progress, and splendour, and downfall, are all accompanied with miraculous displays of almighty power ; whose pristine glory and present dispersion form a great part of the prophecies already accomplished, and whose future restoration occupies a very large portion of those which yet remain to be fulfilled. Here we have their origin. Here is the first planting of that Olive, which long bore such precious fruit, the branches of which are now broken off, but which yet again shall take root downward, and bear fruit upward. Here is the quarry, out of which was hewn the first stone for the building of the Church of God. Here is the call of Abraham, by which he, and his posterity, were separated from all the other nations of the earth, that God might place bis

name amongst them, and that he might become their God, and they his people. Such is the subject of the present sermon.

It seems that the call had been previously given, before the time which is here mentioned. For in the preceding chapter we find Terah, who was the ninth from Noah, living with his sons Abraham, Nabor, and Haran, in Ur of the Chaldees. In nine generations there had occurred a great and perhaps general defection from the service of Jehovah, the only living and true God. These descendants of Noah were fallen into idolatry, when “the God of glory appeared unto Abraham, and said, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.” Obedient to the call, . Abraham arose and departed out of his country, with his wife, and his father, and Lot, the son of his brother Haran, who had been sometime dead; and, setting his face toward Canaan, he arrived in Charran, where he remained five years, and where his father Terah died, being one hundred and five years old. After his father was dead,

« PreviousContinue »