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are guilty, but look with faith to the great atonement; meek but zealous worshippers of God, bearing the fruits of righteousness, patiently submitting to afflictions and persecutions for the sake of Christ, ready to lay down their lives rather than abandon him ? Such have the character of Abel: like him they are beloved by God; with him their hearts and their voices shall hereafter be united in celebrating that “ Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world."

3. Abel, “ being dead,” says the apostle, “yet speaketh.” Yes! from the height of heaven he addresses us; and how many important instructions does he communicate to us. He declares to us the efficacy of that blood of Jesus, by which he has obtained salvation : he shows us the duty of following the Redeemer through affliction, through persecution, through death itself: he teaches us the necessity of a constant and lively faith to support us in our trials, and render our duties acceptable. He calls to you, young people, and reminds you that youth and health, that the tenderness and desires, the prayers and tears of parents, cannot shield


from the stroke of death. He bids us all remember that we may suddenly sink into the tomb; that there is not a moment of our lives in which we may not be summoned to the bar of our God. Oh! may these instructions sink deep into our souls.

4. “ The blood of Christ speaketh better things than that of Abel.” It attracts not, but repels the thunders of divine indignation: it cries not for vengeance; but its language is, Grace, grace to the guilty. Let us seek to be sprinkled with this precious blood ; let us, with this plea in our mouths, draw near to God for pardon; let us continually look


grace and glory, for forgiveness and salvation, to that “great Shepherd of the flock,” who was offered as a sacrifice to God, who was hated, persecuted, and murdered by his brethren. Though for shedding this blood they were accursed, scattered, and made a monument of divine justice; yet let our souls be washed in it and they shall be purified, forgiven, and prepared for heaven.

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GENESIS ix. 29. * And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty

years, and he died."

Your attention, during the greater part of the ensuing lecture, will be called to that venerable patriarch, who beheld a world destroyed and a world restored; who was safely sheltered by the Almighty during the fury of the delage, after he had stemmed the more dangerous torrent of vice and general depravity. Before entering upon his life, it will however be proper to review those events which conneet his history with that of the persons whose character we have already been considering.

You sympathized with our first parents, deprived of both their sons. You entered into the deep sorrows of their hearts when they beheld all their hopes crushed, as they leaned over the bleeding body of Abel, and as they remembered his murderous brother, worse than dead, a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth-tortured by the reproaches of his conscience, and pursued by the curse of God. But did they remain in this state of wo? Was no consolation given them by their merciful Father? Ah, Christians! how often have you found that he never forsakes the destitute! How often have you found, that when he removes from us one enjoyment, when he deprives us of one comfort, he confers on us another to supply its place! Another son is born, and Eve “ called his name Seth; for God, saith she, has appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew." Gen. iv. 26. For some time he and his descendants were noted for their piety and devotion. Whilst the offspring of Cain were infamous for their violence and dissipation, for their forgetfulness of God, and their neglect of piety,—the happy children of Seth believed, loved, and worshipped the God of their fathers. In the days of Enos his son, “ men began to call upon the name of the Lord;” or, as it is translated in the margin of your Bibles, they “ began to call themselves by the name of the Lord.” The pious were filled with new zeal for God—they diligently and solemnly observed the outward institutions of religion--and, separating themselves from the idolatrous and profane, they received that most honourable of titles, “ the sons of God.” Alas! in some few generations they forfeited this appellation, and the privileges connected with it. They yielded to temptation—they listened to the seductions of their criminal passions, and became deeply depraved. “ The sons of God," the posterity of Seth, and the professors of true religion, “ saw the daughters of men,” the idolatrous and unholy descendants of Cain, “ that they were fair;" and se

duced by their beauty and allurements, they neglected the dictates of prudence and religion, the command and the example of their fathers, and “ took them wives of all whom they chose.” Gen. vi. 2. The consequences of this improper alliance can readily be imagined: the line of Seth was corrupted -many professors fell away—their graces were withered, and they eagerly grasped at the forbidden pleasures of the world. Seductions and persuasions similar to those which had overcome the constancy of Adam, plunged his descendants into guilt, and all the abominations of idolatry, all the impurities of sensuality, succeeded to the strictness of their ancestors. From these unhappy marriages sprang giants,* either men of enormous stature, who, according to the tradition of all nations, lived in these first ages of the world, or, rather, according to the usual import of the original term, and most of the ancient versions, apostates, rebels, or assaulters. This unholy progeny included also “ mighty men, men of renown,” [Gen. vi. 4.] heroes and conquerors, whose fame then filled the earth, who were panegyrized by the poets and celebrated by the orators who then lived, and who fondly trusted that their memory would be preserved to the latest generations.

Christians, let this history, and many others of a similar nature recorded in Scripture, warn you against forming too near an affinity with the wicked. Especially in entering into the most intimate connexion of life, regard more the piety of the heart than any external qualifications. Listen not to the pleadings of passion, avarice, or pride; otherwise there is cause to fear that you will lose the warmth

נפילים *


your sons be


devotional feelings, that you will gradually be led away from God, and that your children, even if you should retain in some degree the principles of piety, will follow the example of that parent, whom, from the tendency of their natural corruption, they will be most prone to imitate. Let the warning of the apostle be ever solemnly remembered, “ Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." [2 Cor. 6. 14.] If they seduce you into sin, of what avail throughout eternity, will be the remembrance of their attractions ? Will the ardour of the flames, which encompass you, be mitigated by recollecting the soft smiles with which their face was clothed when they lured


to destruction; the facinating graces with which they presented to you the cup mingled with poison? Of what avail will it be that come “ mighty men, men of renown?” Probably, in a few generations, they, like the heroes before the flood, will be forgotten, or remembered only with execrations. Infinitely better is it for them that their names should be inscribed in the Lamb's book of life; the records of which shall survive the smoking ruins of the world, than on the fading pages of history. Infinitely better is it for them, like the former children of Seth, in holy retirement, in sacred obscurity, in the exercise of the unobtrusive acts of piety and benevolence, “ to keep the noiseless tenour of their way,” than to rise to the pinnacle of power, to be celebrated for their splendid achievements, to wear laurels dipped in blood, and have the curse of the Almighty resting upon them.

We cannot certainly tell at what precise period this apostacy took place. There are, howeyer, some reasons which render it probable that it was in the

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