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so every offering and sacrifice from the garden of Eden, "to the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all," became typical of him. (Heb. x. 10.) Hence we read, "Christ hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour." (Eph. v. 2.) Hence the Lord Jesus called himself, "the rest of his people." (Matt. xi. 21-30.) Hence the Lord promised by the prophet, to accept his people with their sweet savour." (Ezek. xx. 41.) And hence the Psalmist declared his faith in the same, when he said, Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." (Psalm cxvi. 7.)
And there is a very great blessedness in what this Scripture hath recorded; that the Lord said in his heart, on this subject, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake," meaning the Lord Jesus Christ's sake. But as what the Lord said, "he said it in his heart," unless the Lord had communicated the thing, it would have remained for ever a secret. How blessed is it therefore to find, that at a period of sixteen hundred years, the Lord, by his servant Isaiah, made known to the church his great grace in this dispensation. For this is," saith the Lord, " as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee." (Isaiah liv. 9.)
And in confirmation, still more, the Lord pledged his word, as well as his oath; yea, both in confirmation, that while the earth remaineth, the several seasons of the years, and of day and night, and the different temperaments of cold and heat should not cease. And by his servant the prophet Jeremiah, in three successive chapters, hath left upon record a constant appeal, that these ordinances are to be considered as a standing memorial of the covenant grace in Christ Jesus, throughout all ages. (See
Jer. xxxi. 35, 36. Jer. xxxii. 40, 41. and Jer. xxxiii. 25, 26.) And the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, at the present remote distance of near four thousand years, hath this renewed proof given her every night and morning.
Let not the reader overlook the vast subject of blessedness opened to the view in this Scripture of the patriarch's coming form the ark, beginning the new world with an eye to Christ; and offering his sacrifice of praise, on the one all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ, "whereby he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Heb. x. 14.) And shall not the savour of Christ's name be to him, as the church of old," as the oinment poured forth," for fragrancy, when beholding how Christ's person, and blood-shedding, and offering is esteemed before Godas a sweet smelling savour for the salvation of his people.
I only add from the whole, for I must not trespass farther, that the Lord in confirmation of this promise, and word and oath, added yet that sweet testimony of his love, in the rainbow which the Lord set in the cloud; and which the Lord said he would look upon, and remember his everlasting covenant between himself and his people. (Gen. ix. 16.) And when to this rainbow of nature, which is formed by the reflection of the rays of the sun on the watery cloud, and which we behold in that beautiful arch in the heaven; we consider, what the New Testament hath said of Christ, "being clothed with a cloud; and his head encircled with a rainbow." (Rev. x, 1.) we see the divine confirmation of the whole, not only in nature and providence, but in grace; let the reader at any time, as he beholds the rainbow, call to mind what the Lord hath said, and take confidence in the Lord's word, and oath and promise: ❝I, saith the Lord," to his church," will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her." (Zech. ii 5.)
STANDING UP BEFORE
THE CHILDREN OF HETH,
TO PURCHASE A BURIAL GROUND FOR HIS BELOVED SARAH.
"And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
"I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." (Gen. xxiii. 3, 4.)
WHAT a very interesting representation is here made of the great father of the faithful in that memorable season of his life, when the Lord had made a breach in his house, and in his family; by the death of his beloved Sarah. And never surely, was there a more finished portrait of all that can be deemed unaffected, simple, and truly sublime, than what is here drawn of Abraham, thus standing up before the sons of Heth, to seek a burying ground for depositing the remains of one that had been so near and dear to him, and who was now no more! I have often thought, that if this patriarchal record was any where but among the Sacred Writings, how continually would men of letters speak of the beauties and elegancies of it, as the first standard of all composition.
But while we figure to ourselves the venerable patriarch, thus appearing before the sons of Heth, in all the manners of the gentleman, and the man of feeling; we shall do well to look at him in a much
higher character, as the man of godliness, and of sound faith, in submission to the will of the Lord. We very plainly discover in this short history, (short as it is) how all the finer sensibilities of nature were combined with those of grace; and that while the husband mourned, as became him, over the bereaving providence, the saint of God rose above the affliction from confidence in God.
We are not forbidden to sorrow at any of those sharp exercises, which are the natural consequence of our present fallen state; provided, we" sorrow not as others which have no hope." The Son of God himself, hath sanctioned the tears of mourners, by weeping at the grave of Lazarus. And the Holy Ghost hath recorded, with marks of seeming approbation, the sympathizing tokens of such as wept over the death of the faithful servants of the Lord. (Gen. 1. 3. 10. Numb. xx. 29. Deut. xxxiv. 8.) Indeed, tears become a sweet relief to the afflicted, by giving vent to an overburthened breast of sorrow; similar to the operations of the Lord, in other departments of nature, when as by the sun's heat, vapours are exhaled; and which by descending in gentle showers, clear the atmosphere of what was before oppressive: so when our prosperous circumstances have induced vapours, too great to be profitable for a continuance, the Lord causeth a reverse to follow; which like the falling rain to the air, tends to cool the ardour of all our earthly delights.
The refinements of grace therefore, are very blessedly felt and enjoyed, when under a sanctified affliction, be it what it may, (and the first paroxysms of grief have somewhat subsided,) the faithful followers of the Lord have their minds tranquilized, and brought into an holy submission to the divine will. It is a sad symptom of a rebellious and revolting heart in the Lord's people, when they give that a first place in
their esteem, which never ought to be more than secondary. And it is a sin which cannot fail to bring with it its own punishment. For whatever is suffered to take deep root in our affections, of things in their nature perishable; must give a proportioned pain when the Lord is pleased to dig them up. It was this which made the lamentation of Rachel so bitter and piercing, that was heard in Ramah; "Rachel weeping for her children, and refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not." (Jer. xxxi. 15.) Whereas, had that mother in Israel had her first joy in the God of her children, instead of making her children her God; she would have found comfort in that, though the Lord had taken her children, he had not withdrawn himself. Every providence of the Lord therefore is gracious, when sanctified with this blessing. They teach the vanity and emptiness of all creature comforts. They tend to wean the heart from setting our affections on what is precarious and uncertain. They compel the soul to look for somewhat more sure and substantial to lean upon for good. And when the vanity of all things here below, of creature comforts, is not only seen, but felt and understood; that forms a blessed conclusion to the trial, when constrained to cease from man, we are drawn to God; and to say with one of old; "When heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." (Psalm Ixi. 2.)
Neither is this all. Dispensations of this kind when sanctified by grace, teach above every other lesson, God's sovereignty.—And it is a subject of all others, which the spiritual church of the Lord hath need continually to study. In every minute event which relates to the Lord's people, the Lord is carrying ou one great and gracious design; and all for good concerning them. "The Lord's voice (saith the prophet) crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom