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And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

IF we confider the sketch, given us in fcripture, of the life of this patriarch, we fhall find that few have had equal manifeftations of the divine favor. But the light did not at all times fhine on him. He had his dark hours while dwelling in this ftrange land. Here we find an horror of great darknefs to have fallen upon him. The language used to describe his ftate, on this occafion, is ftrong. It expreffes more than the want of God's fenfible prefence. It defcribes a ftate fimilar to that of the pfalmift, "While I fuffer thy terrors I am distracted." His fufferings probably bore an affinity to thofe of the Savior when the father hid his face from him; at which period there was more than the withdrawing of his fenfible presence, the powers of darknefs were fuffered to terrify and afflict him-" It was their hour"-God had left him in their hands. So Abram on this occafion. H

Just before God had smiled upon him-"Fear not, Abram I am thy fhield, and thy exceeding great reward." Then all was light and love. The candle of the Lord fhone on his head." When he complained that he had no child to comfort him, or inherit his poffeffions, God promised him an heir, and a countless progeny—“ Look now toward heaven and tell the ftars, if thou be able to number them--So fhall thy feed be. And he believed the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." What an occafion of joy? What ftrange manifeftations of divine favor? They are fcarcely paralleled in the hiftory of man. BUT how fudden the reverfe? The fame daywhen the fun was going down; lo! the brightness difappears, and an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

A DEEP fleep fell upon Abram. This was not a natural fleep. There is no probability that he would have given way to weakness, and fallen into a common fleep, while engaged in covenanting with God; binding himself with folemn engagements, and receiving tokens of the divine favor, and the promise of bleffings for a great while to come. If he could have flept while receiving fuch manifeftations of the divine friendship, it is not probable that his dreams would have been terrifying: His fituation would rather have inspired joyful fenfations, and excited pleafing expecta


THAT which for want of language more pertinent and expreffive, is here termed fleep, feems to

have been a divine ecftafy-fuch influence of the holy spirit operating on the foul, as locked it up from every thing earthly, and fhut out worldly things, as effectually as a deep sleep, which shuts up the foul and closeth all its avenues, so that nothing terrestrial can find admittance.

THIS was often experienced by the prophets, when God revealed himself to them, and made known his will. Thus Daniel, when the angel Gabriel was fent to folve his doubts, and let him into futurity-" Now as he was fpeaking with me, I was in a deep fleep on my face toward the ground." The holy prophet, filled with fear at the approach of the celestial messenger, could not have fallen asleep, like fome careless attendant in the house of God. Yet fuch is the language used to express his fituation at that time, and afterwards on a fimilar occafion.* The three difciples, who witneffed the transfiguration, experienced fimilar fenfations-fenfations which absorbed the foul, and shut out terreftrial objects, which the evangel ift compares to fleep.

BUT why was Abram's joy, occafioned by the communications of the morning, so soon turned

to horror.

THE reafons are with him " whofe judgments are unsearchable, and his ways past finding out.” We may obferve, however, that fuch is the way of God with man, while here on trial. If at any time a perfon feems peculiarly favored of heaven, fomething of a different nature is commonly fet

* Daniel viii. 18. x. 9.

over against it. Perhaps to remind him that this is not his reft. We feldom enjoy profperity without a fenfible mixture of adverfity; or without fomewhat adverfe following in quick fucceffion. "Even in laughter, the heart is forrowful, and the end of mirth is heaviness." Neither are fpecial trials or forrows fent alone; comforts and confolations are usually joined with them, or soon fucceed them. If we confider the matter, we fhall obferve this in ourselves; and may often difcover it in others. We fee it in the hiftory of this patriarch, and that of many of his defcendants.

THE pilgrimage of Jacob, how remarkably diverfified with good and evil, with joy and sorrow? That alfo of Jofeph-of Mofes-of Daniel? At times each of these were raised high and brought low-fometimes found themfelves at the fummit of earthly honor and felicity; at other times, were caft down, and hope seemed ready to forfake


IN the hiftory of Job the fame things are exemplified in ftill ftronger colors. That holy man experienced the extremes of honor and infamy, joy and grief, hope and terror. The prophets and apoftles, paffed through fcenes in many refpects fimilar; their joys and forrows were contrafted to each other. Daniel's mournings and faflings were followed with remarkable difcoveries and cheering revelations ; but the divine communications were almoft too ftrong for frail humanity; they filled him with difmay, and had well nigh destroyed his mortal body." He fainted and was fick certain days."

ST. PAUL was "caught up into paradife and heard unfpeakable words, which it was not poffible. for a man to utter"-had a view of the ineffable glory of the upper world; but trials no lefs remarkable, and very fevere, were contrafted to those ftrange diftinctions, and more than earthly joys! "Left I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a meffenger of Satan to buffet me, left I should be exalted above meaf



ST. JOHN fuffered fore perfecutions-was banished from the fociety of his fellow Chriftians, if not from the fociety of men. But divine difcoveries repaid all his fufferings-heaven's ineffable glories were opened to his view! What he witneffed could be but very partially communicated. Language is weak; only faint hints and general intimations could be given of the "glory which is to be revealed." But the fuffering apoftle enjoyed it, and was fupported, yea, enraptured by it.

THIS life is filled with changes. Good and evil, hope and fear, light and darkness, are fet over against each other. The faints, while they dwell in the duft, fometimes walk in darknefs, and have their hours of gloom and horror-" The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now-Even thofe who have the first fruits of the spirit, groan within themselves, waiting for— the redemption of the body. Thofe of whom the world is not worthy, are often in heaviness, through manifold temptations."

* 2 Corinthians, xii. 4-7.

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