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infinite space. O that you may not has been so eminently practical, that neglect the privilege, that you may we should fear to weaken the imprescultivate the habit, of ejaculatory pray- sion by repetition. Only, if there be er! and that you may, meditate on the any thing sacred and touching in the example of Nehemiah. If I would in- sepulchres of our fathers; if the spot, cite you to habits of private devotion, where those dear to us sleep, seem I might show you Daniel in his cham- haunted by their memory, so that it ber, "kneeling upon his knees three were like forgetting or insulting them times a day.” If I would commend to suffer it to be defiled, let us remem. to you the public gatherings of the ber that the best monument we can church, I might remind you of what rear to the righteous is our copy of David has said, "A day in thy courts their excellence-not the record of is better than a thousand.” If I would their virtues graven on the marble or inculcate the duty of family prayer, I on the brass, but their example repeatmight turn attention to Philemon, and ed in our actions and habits. If with l the church in his house.” But, wish Nehemiah we would show respect to ing to make you carry, as it were, the the dead, with Nehemiah let us strive altar about with you—the fire ever to be useful to the living. Then, when burning, the censer ever ready,-wish- sepulchres shall crumble, not through ing that you may resolve nothing, at. human neglect, but because the Altempt nothing, face nothing, without mighty bids them give back their prey, prayer to God for his ever-mighty we may hope to meet our fathers in grace, I give you for a pattern Ne- the triumph and the gloriousness of hemiah-who, asked by Artaxerxes immortality. Our countenances shall for what he made request, tells you, not be sad, though " the place of their "So I prayed to the God of heaven, sepulchres lieth waste, and the gates and I said unto the king, Send me unto thereof are consumed with fire,” even Judah, the city of the sepulchres of my with the last tremendous conflagrafathers."
tion ; we shall exult in knowing that There is nothing that we need add they and we " have a building of God, in the way of concluding exhortation. a house not made with hands, eternal The latter part, at least, of our subject in the heavens."
" And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren, and his mother called his name Jabez, sar.
ing, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granied him that which he requested."'-1 Chron. 4:9, 10.
If we had to fix ona portion of Scrip. Bibles without being much missed, we ture which might be removed from our should probably select the first nine day, and a collection was afterwards made in cles. A mere record of names, a cata.
* This Sermon was preached on New Year's chapters of this first Book of Chroni. aid of a District Visiting Society.
logue of genealogies; the eye glances
rapidly over them, and we are inclined | told myriads, the rich, the poor, the to hasten on to parts which may pre- mighty, the mean, the old, the young, sent something more interesting and the righteous, the wicked, who, havinstructive. Yet what a startling, what ing once been reckoned amongst men, an impressive thing, should be a record must everlastingly remain inscribed in of names, a catalogue of genealogies! the chronicles of the race; inscribed the chapters deserve the closest atten- in them, not as beings which have been, tion, even if you keep out of sight their but as beings which are? We have all bearing on the descent and parentage heard of the dissolute man, said to have of the Christ. It is a New Year's day been converted through hearing the sermon, this long list of fathers and fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis, their children. What are all these in which mention is made of the long names which fill page after page? The lives of Adam, Seth, Enos, Methusenames of beings who were once as lah, and others, and each notice is warm with life as ourselves; who concluded with the words, and he moved upon the earth as we move died.” It came appallingly home to now; who had their joys, their sor- the dissolute man, that the most prorows, their hopes, their fears, their tracted life must end at last in death ; projects; who thought, perhaps, as he could not get rid of the fact that little of death as many of us, but who life had to terminate, and he found no were sooner or later cut down, even peace till he had provided that it might as all now present shall be. They are terminate well. But suppose that each the names of those who once lived; notice had been concluded, as it might nay, they are names of those who still have been, with the words, live; and this is perhaps even the lives,” would there not have been as harder to realize of the two. The much, would there not have been more dead are not dead; they have but to startle and seize upon the dissolute changed their place of sojourn. The man? " He died," does not necessamighty catalogue, which it wearies us rily involve a state of retribution; "he to look at, is not a mere register of lives,” crowds the future with images those who have been, of trees of the of judgment and recompense. You forest which, having flourished their hear men often say, in regard of someappointed time, have withered or been thing which has happened, something cut down; it is a register of existing, which they have lost, something which intelligent, sentient creatures; not one they have done, or something which who has been inscribed on the scroll they have suffered, “Oh, it will be all which, headed by Adam, looks like a the same a hundred years hence !" leaf from the volume of eternity, has All the same a hundred years hence ! ever passed into nothingness: written far enough from that. They speak as amongst the living, he was written if they should certainly be dead a hunamongst the immortal; earth might dred years hence, and as if, therefore, receive his dust, but his spirit, which it would then necessarily have become is more nearly himself, has never unimportant what turn or course events known even a suspension of being: may have taken. Whereas, they will thousands of years ago the man was ; ; be as truly alive a hundred years hence at this moment the man is; thousands as they are now; and it will not be the of years to come the man shall be. same a hundred years hence whether
We repeat it--there is something this thing happened or that, this action very hard to realize in this fact, that I were performed or that. For there is all who have ever lived are still alive.* nothing so trivial but that it may affect We talk of an over-peopled coun- ; man's future being: in the moral world, try, even of an over-peopled globe- ias in the physical, "no motion imwhere and what, then, is the territory pressed by natural causes, or by human into which generation after generation agency, is ever obliterated ;" * of what, has been swept, the home of the un
* Babbage, the ninth Bridgewater Treatise.-* This fact is excellently treated in a striking "What a strange chaos is this wide atmosphere sermon by Mr. Newinan, on" the Individuality, we breathe! Every atom, impressed with good of the Soul."
and with ill, retains at once the motions which
then, dare we allirm, that, let it be as it even that dust shall live again; and all may, it will be all the same a hun. the while their spirits, conscious still, dred, or a thousand, or a million years sentient still, occupy some unknown rehence ?
gion, miserable or happy beyond what We recur, then, to what gave rise to they ever were upon earth, though rethese remarks; the long lists of names served for yet more of wretchedness or which occupy the first nine chapters gladness at an approaching resurrecof this First Book of Chronicles. We tion and general judgment. Neither is affirm of these lists, that, without any the past year dead: not a moment of comment, they furnish a most appro- it but lives and breathes, not one of its priate sermon for New Year's day. buried occurrences that has not a preNames of the dead, and yet names of sent existence, exercising some meathe living, how should their mere enu
sure of influence over our actual conmeration suggest the thought of our dition, and reserved to exercise a yet days upon earth being as a shadow, stronger, when it shall come forth as a and yet of those days being days of witness at the last dread assize, bearprobation for an everlasting existence! ing testimony which must help to deAnd what thought is so fitted to New termine whether we are to be for ever Year's day, when, as we commence with the Lord, or banished for ever one of the great divisions of time, the from the light of his presence. Thus very season might seem to speak of these registered names might themthe rapid flight of life, and of the con- selves serve as an appropriate sermon. sequent duty of attempting forth with God is witness that it is in perfect sinpreparation for the future? To read cerity, and with every sentiment of these chapters of the Chronicles, is like christian affection, that, adopting the entering a vast cemetery where sleep customary language, I wish you all a the dead of many generations. But a happy new year. But I must give a cemetery is the place for a New Year's voice to the old year. It must speak to day meditation, seeing that we have you from its sepulchre. No burying just consigned the old year to the of the past as though it were never to grave, with its joys, its sorrows, its revive. No reading of names in the plans, its events, its mercies, its sins. Chronicles as though they were names And are they dead, the multitudes of those who have altogether ceased to whose names
are inscribed on the be. Oh, I wish you a happy new year; gloomy walls and crowded stones of but happy it shall not, cannot be, in the cemetery, Gomer, and Javan, and any such sense as befits beings of such
Tubal, and Nahor? Nay, not so: their origin, such capacity, such destiny as dust indeed is beneath our feet, but yourselves, unless you bear diligently
in mind that you are mortal, yet canphilosophers and sages have imparted to it, not die; that things may be past, yet inixed and combined in ten thousand ways with cannot perish; that days may be forall that is worthless and base. The air itself is one vast library, on whose pages are for ever
but never can forget.
gotten, written all that man has ever said, or ever whis
We should receive, however, a pered. There, in their mutable but unerring wrong impression in regard of these characters, mixed with the earliest as well as chapters of the First Book of Chroni: corded, vows unredeemed, promises unfulfilled, cles, were we to suppose them valua. perpetuating, in the united movements of each ble only on such accounts as have alparticle, the testimony of man's changeful will. ready been indicated. “ If the Almighty stamped on the brow of the mere record of names, though, on a
They are not a earliest murderer the indelible and visible mark of his guilt, he has also established laws cursory glance, we might conclude by which every succeeding criminal is not that they contained nothing else, and less irrevocably chained to the testimony of his that therefore, after one or two genecrime; for every atom of his mortal fracie, ral reflections, we might safely prothrough whatever changes its severed particles may migrate, will stilĩ retain, adhering to it ceed to more instructive portions of through every combination, some movement i Scripture. Interspersed with the names, derived from that very mustular effort by there occur, here and there, brief, but which the crime itself was perpetrated.”— Chapter ix. "On the Permanent Impression of pregnant, notices of persons and things, our Words and Actions on the Globe we in as though inserted to reward the dili habit."
gent student, who, in place of taking
for granted that a catalogue of names prayer. Come, and let us see whether could not be worth reading, should there be not something to instruct us go through it with all care, fearing to even in the brief narrative of his life, miss some word of information or ad- and whether, as strangers and pils monition.
grims upon earth,” with a battle to Our text is a remarkable case in fight, a race to run, an inheritance to point. Here is a chapter which seems possess, we can find more appropriate made up of genealogies and names. supplications than those in which this Let me skip it, might be the feeling of Jabez called on the Lord God of Israel. the reader; what good can I get from Now there is no denying-for it is learning that Penuel was the father forced on us by every day's expeof Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hu- rience—that we are short-sighted beshah ?" But if he were to skip it he ings, so little able to look into the fuwould miss one of the inost beautiful ture that we constantly miscalculate and interesting passages in the Bible, as to what would be for our good, anfor such, we think to show you, is a ticipating evil from what is working just description of our text. We know for benefit, and reckoning upon benenothing whatsoever of the Jabez here fit from that which may prove fraught commemorated beyond what we find in with nothing but evil. How frequentthese two verses. But this is enough ly does that which we have baptized to mark him out as worthy, in no ordi- with our tears make the countenance nary degree, of being admired and imi- sunny with smiles! how frequently, tated. There is a depth, and a compre- again, does that which we have welhensiveness, in the registered prayer comed with smiles wring from us of this unknown individual-unknown tears! That which has raised anxious except from that prayer—which should thoughts proves often a rich source of suffice to make him a teacher of the joy; and, as often, that which hardly righteous in every generation. And if cost us a care, so bright was its prowe wanted a prayer especially suited mise, wounds to the quick, and burto New Year's day, where could we dens us with grief. We do not know find more appropriate utterances? If the particular reasons which influenced we would begin, as we ought to begin, the mother of Jabez to call him by the year with petitions that such por- that name, a name which means “Sortion of it as God may appoint us to rowful.” We are merely told, "His spend upon earth may be spent in mother called his name Jabez, saygreater spiritual enlargement, in deep- ing, because I bare him with sorrow.” er purity of heart and of life, and in Whether it were that she brought more abundant experience of the good forth this son with more than common ness of the Lord, than may have mark- anguish, or whether, as it may have ed the past year, what more copious, been, the time of his birth were the more adequate, expressions could any time of her widowhood, so that the one of us use than these, "Oh that child came and found no father to thou wouldest bless me indeed, and welcome him—the mother evidently enlarge my coast, and that thine hand felt but little of a mother's joy, and might be with me, and that thou looked on her infant with forebodings wouldest keep me from evil that it and fears. Perhaps it could hardly may not grieve me?" Happy, happy have been her own bodily suffering man, happy woman, happy child, who which made her fasten on the boy a should pray this prayer in faith, and dark and gloomy appellation, for, the thus insure that it shall have to be danger past, she would rather have said, as of Jabez, " And God granted given a name commemorative of de. him that which he requested.” But liverance, remembering " no more her this is anticipating our subject. Let anguish for joy that a man was born us now take the several parts of the into the world.” Indeed, when Rachel text in succession, commenting upon bare Benjamin, she called his name each, and searching out the lessons Benoni, that is, the son of my sorrow; which may be useful to ourselves. The but then it was as her soul was in de. first verse contains a short account of parting, for she died.” And when there Jabez; the second is occupied by his pressed upon a woman in her travail
heavier things than her bodily pains-, her ear, as it was woven into message as with the wife of Phinehas, to whom after message, each announcing that were brought sad " tidings that the ark the child of sorrow was all that the of God was taken, and that her father- most affectionate parent could wish, in-law and her husband were dead”— and more than the most aspiring could the mind could fix on the more fatal | have hoped. She may then have refacts, and perpetuate their remem- gretted the gloomy and ominous brance through the name of the child; name, feeling as though it reproached she called--and it was with her last her for having yielded to her grief, breath, for she too, like Rachel, died, and allowed herself to give way to she called the child Ichabod," saying, dreary forebodings. It may have seemThe glory is departed from Israel, for ed to her as a standing memorial of her the ark of God is taken."
want of confidence in God, and of the We may well, therefore, suppose falseness of human calculations; and that the mother of Jabez had deeper as she embraced Jabez, whose every and more lasting sorrows to register action endeared, as it ennobled him the in the name of her boy than those of more, she may have felt that the sor. the giving him birth. And whatsoever row had to be transferred from the may have been the cause, whether do- name to her own heart; she herself mestic affliction or public calamity, had to grieve, but only that, through we may consider the woman as having mistrust of the Lord, she had recorded bent in bitterness over her new-born her fear where she should have exhichild, having only tears to give him as bited her faith. his welcome to the world, and feeling And is not this brief notice of the it impossible to associate with him mother of Jabez full of warning and even a hope of happiness. She had admonition to ourselves? How ready probably looked with different senti- are we to give the name Jabez to perments on her other children.
She had sons or things, which, could we but clasped them to her breast with all a look into God's purpose, or repose on mother's gladness, and gazed upon his promise, we might regard as dethem in the fond anticipation of their signed to minister permanently to our proving the supports and comforts of security and happiness. "All these her own declining years. But with things,” said the patriarch Jacob, "are Jabez it was all gloom; the mother against me,” as one trial after another felt as if she could never be happy fell to his lot: if he had been asked to again: this boy brought nothing but name each event, the loss of Joseph, an accession of care, anxiety, and the binding of Simeon, the sending grief; and if she must give him a away of Benjamin, he would have name, let it be one which may always written Jabez upon each-so dark did remind himself and others of the dark it seem to him, so sure to work only heritage to which he had been born. wo. And yet, as you all know, it was And yet the history of the family is by and through these gloomy dealings gathered into the brief sentence, "Ja- that a merciful God was providing for bez was
more honorable than his the sustenance of the patriarch and his brethren.” The child of sorrow out- household, for their support and agstripped all the others in those things grandizement in a season of extraordiwhich are "acceptable to God, and ap- nary pressure. As Joseph said to his proved of men." "Nothing is told us of brethren, "God did send me before his brethren, except that they were you to preserve life”—what man would less honorable than himself; they too have named Jabez was God's minister may have been excellent, and perhaps for good. Thus it continually happens as much is implied, but Jabez took the in regard of ourselves. We give the lead, and whether or not the youngest sorrowful title to that which is designia years, surpassed every other in piety ed for the beneficen t end. Judging and renown. Oh, if the mother lived only by present appearances, allowing to see the manhood of her sons, how our fears and feelings, rather than our strangely must the name Jabez, a name faith, to take the estimate or fix the probably given in a moment of despon- character of occurrences, we look with dency and faithlessness, have fallen on gloom on our friends, and with melan