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greatest strangers upon earth: and the Scripture holds out their examples to us, that we may prepare ourselves to be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. The promise of an inheritance was first offered to Abraham: but no sooner had he received this promise, than he was called away from his country and his kindred, trusting to the word of God for a land afterwards to be revealed to him. When God had conducted him to the land of Promise, the apostle (in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews) tells us, he sojourned in it as in a strange country (a place which did not belong to him), dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Of the land promised to him as an inheritance, he had actually no possession; not enough to set his foot upon, that he could call his own; insomuch that he was under the necessity of purchasing a burying-ground for a sum of money of Emmr the father of Sychem. We read in the book of Genesis, that his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Macpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before



Mamre; the field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth; there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. These circumstances, so exactly related, may seem to be scarcely worth a place in the Bible; but we learn from them this important truth, that Abraham, the father of the church, a man distinguished from all other men as the friend of God, the first elected heir of all his promises, was a pilgrim upon earth, and died without receiving any possession in it, more than a small spot to be occupied at his Death. Then at last did he begin to take possession of it: to teach all his children, that the righteous hath hope in his Death, and that this world is not worth their enjoyment: if it had been such, God would have given it to Abraham.

VI. The Patriarch Jacob who shall be the subject of our present meditation, was conformed, in his way of life, to the example of his forefather. In his youth he fled from his brother, and served many years as an hireling under a hard master. When he wanted a spot of ground to erect an altar upon, he purchased it, as Abraham had done before him. He was the heir of the promised land, yet lived only as a stranger there so long as he dwelt in it and at a time of his life, when

his grey hairs were nearly brought down to the grave with sorrow, he went down into Egypt. When he was introduced to Pharaoh the king enquired after his age: and the answer he makes to this question is worth our attention--The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and I have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their pilgrimage. If we had beheld the figure of this venerable old man when he was brought before the king, and had heard his words, we should have thought his advice worth listening to: let us think it so now, and weigh it accordingly-Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been-He had lived an hundred and thirty years; and does he call these but few? To us who look forward upon such a space of time, it may ap-. pear long; but to him who looked back upon it, it was short. Take the oldest man you can meet with, and ask him whether his life seems to have been short? I dare promise you what his answer will be. And if you were to ask him also, whether it seems to have been vain and empty? here again we may judge what his answer would be, unless his head




too should be empty: for every wise man, after he hath tried human life, hath reason to pronounce, as Jacob did, that the days of it have been evil: as to Jacob himself, the case is plain to those who consider his history. He was twenty years in the service of the hard-hearted Laban, his kinsman. In the day the drought consumed him, and the frost by night; and his sleep departed from his eyes. His mind was agitated with the terrors of Death when he was about to meet his savage brother Esau, and his body was maimed in a mysterious struggle with an angel. In after time, he was afflicted by the unnatural offence of Reuben; disgraced by the cruelty of Simeon and Levi; wounded to the heart by the untimely Death of his favourite Rachel in the midst of a journey; bereaved of his comfort afterwards by the supposed loss of his beloved Joseph; terrified with the apprehension of losing Benjamin; distressed by a famine, and called away at an hundred and thirty years of age to a strange country, when he was rather wishing to be released from the burthen of life. Surely we must allow that the days of this man were evil. He calls them the days of his pilgrimage, and with great propriety; for he was never settled any where, till his Death.

Death. In the last stage of his life, he lived in a state of dependence on one of his sons, to whom he owed the very bread that he eat. It is said, that Joseph nourished his father and his brethren, and all his father's household with bread, according to their families. In Egypt, a strange and idolatrous country, he died; and the journey of his funeral at last concluded his pilgrimage: he was carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money.

VII. Such was the Life, Death, and Burial of this holy Patriarch. In his life he was a distressed wanderer, at his Death an alien, and a pilgrim even in his Burial. What shall we say to these things? was this man forsaken. of God? certainly not: for every step of his Life was under the special direction of an extraordinary providence. He died without receiving the inheritance which had been promised to him. Did the promise therefore fail? we have an answer to this question from the apostle, who assures us, that this same Jacob, with the other Patriarchs, died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They

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