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was the first, but it was not the only lesson the friend of Abram received on this important subject. We shall find him the loser a second time in Sodom, when it was a second time visited by desolating judgments. May we now remember the lesson it should teach us!-"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
BIOGRAPHY OF ABRAHAM.-(CONTINUED.)
"And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, (after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him,) at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale," &c. Gen. xiv. 17-.
WERE we to name the particular in which more than in any other the world is apt to rank itself above the disciples of the Saviour, we should say it is in the native elevation of its sentiments and grandeur of its view.. And yet nothing is more demonstrable than the vast superiority which christianity may boast in the facilities she possesses for moulding the feelings and enlarging the conceptions of the human race. The objects with which her disciples are familiar are of the most stupendous order. The God of immensity is always in her eye: the regions she explores are those of immortality: the destinies she unfolds are lofty as the heavens, deep as hell, lasting as eternity: the principles she inculcates, the standard she sets up, are pure and perfect as spirits of heaven can know. How comes it then to pass that christian views and conceptions can be otherwise than lofty? How can degraded sentiment and feeling spring from such alliance.
There are two principal causes, my brethren, of this un
just imputation. It is seldom that christians act a conspicuous part in any of those transactions which excite the deepest interest or the fondest admiration in the world. "It is from high life high characters are drawn;" and he who treads the heights of moral grandeur will move unrecognized, if not unseen, unless the splendor of acccompanying circumstances attracts the general gaze. We need not say to you that a thousand things combine to deprive the mass of christians of these incidental advantages. As humble men they move in humble circumstances, and their noblest deeds are like the widow's mite.
There is a second reason of peculiar force. The unbending rigor of eternal righteousness, and of course the stern integrity of those who shape their conduct by that rule, will doubly subject them to the operation of that custom, "men's evil deeds we grave in brass: their good we write on water." It is the revenge which the accusing conscience takes on those whose customary deeds reprove it. And who under heaven may hope the meed of justice when borne down by such a rule! Ours is a world of weak. ness and of sin. The noblest spirit, the purest bosom, do not always dictate a high and even course: the intellect that marches and moves among the stars, with a step as firm, with a port as commanding as archangels know to practice; that intellect may have its moments when it cannot rise, but trips and faulters like the veriest childhood. have then but to forget the ten thousand deeds of nobleness; you have but to overlook that amazing march of mind which often strained your utmost faculties to follow its ascent when it stretched its broad pinions like an eagle toward the sun--you have but to commit this record to the waters; and fix all your attention on those unhappy mo
ments which exhibits your hero sluiced of all his strength, shorn of all his beams—which exhibit him deprived of all his christian energies; and then measure by this sample the operation of his principles on the heart and understanding.
We have seen that our patriarch, the father of the faithful, had his peculiar moments when weak as other men; and we know how a temper malignant as unjust may paint with outline strong and colouring so vivid the melancholly story of Abram's cowardice and Abram's unbelief, till we forget in the rehearsal of a patriarch's feelings the many noble qualities that embalm his memory; forget the lofty daring which precipitated destruction on invading armies, and the strong but quiet confidence that gave direction to his destiny and tranquillity to his life. But though others may forget them so will not we. We mark his errors, for we would be cautioned by them; and in the moments of our bitterness for that we too have fallen, it is consolatory to reflect that we are not single in abasement. But we will mark his errors in connexion with his excellencies, that our courage may revive and our energies be marshalled when we see that men have mounted from the lowest depths, and moved and triumphed as though they had never fallen. Let others if they will record our goodness on the water. Let others take note of transient imbecility; we will remember also the years of the right hand of the Most High, we will remember then to arise like those whom he has aided.
We left our patriarch when last we traced his footsteps, returning from the slaughter of the invading armies. The slaughter was immense, the triumph complete as it was glorious. All the captives were freed from the miseries
of their bondage; Lot and his family had the double sat isfaction of hailing at once a deliverer and a friend; and he, the chief of these desolating hosts, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, was numbered among the slain. And here for the most part terminates the record of those magnanimous efforts to which the world is accustomed to adjudge the meed of glory. Your heroes who have triumphed amid the horrors of the battle are generally seen to put the finish to their fame ere they have retired from the field of their victories, or changed the garments stiffened and stained with blood. But the heroism of Abram was the least conspicuous of his virtues. His magnanimity is not summed up in putting all to the hazard that he might free his relative. No doubt there were many in that little band who with inferior motive had done bravely as himself. It is in the milder lustre of his moderation and modesty that we scan his highest praise.
At the valley of Shaveh, about forty miles from Sodom, he was met by the kings of Sodom and of Salem. The king of Sodom was one of those brave patriots who in flight had found their safety. A slime pit had concealed him in the hour of danger. Abram now returning with his released captives might well be hailed with gladness by a man whom he had saved from the mortification of being a king without a people. Such a man however merits nothing of our notice. He occupies no space in this inspired record. But he was accompanied by another person whose char acter and station equally claim our attention. He was a prince in Canaan, and at the same time a priest of the Most High God. Actuated at once by the spirit of a patriot and christian, we find him first pour forth acknowledg ments to the God of battles who had accomplished this