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CHAP. XVII. ND when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD ap

peared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 8 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

Walk before me, and be thou per- sufficient (as the word ' Almighty' here fect.—This was like saying, 'Have re- signifies), then let your heart be satiscourse to no more unbelieving expedi- fied with Him alone. Let it be filled ents; keep thou the path of upright- with Him. Let it be so bottomed ness, and leave me to fulfil my pro- upon Him, and so strengthened by mise in the time and manner that Him, that you need not go out from seem good to me. What a lesson is Him to fetch in any comfort from any here afforded us, never to use unlawful creature whatever.-Dr. Preston. means under the pretence of being Write it in letters of gold, that more useful, or promoting the cause thy God is in covenant with thee, to of God! Our concern is to walk before love thee, to bless thee, and to save Him and be upright, leaving Him to thee.Rev. Isaac Ambrose. bring to pass His own designs in His 'Kings shall come out of thee.'—This own way.-A. Fuller.

was true in a literal sense, but chiefly Christian ! labour to see the fulness in a spiritual, in respect of the Mesthat is in God, and the emptiness that siah, who is King of kings.-Orton. is in the creature. If the Lord be all

? And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me

12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised : and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circum

and you.

16 And I

cised, that soul shall be cut off from his people ; he hath broken my covenant.

There is much of the Gospel in this neither male nor female in Christ, but covenant. Let us seek our own part all are one in Him. As we desire the in the blessings of it. They that blessings of this covenant, let us comare of faith are blessed with faithful ply with the terms of it, which are Abraham. Consider their value and faith and obedience. They who subextent. Submit cheerfully to the terms mitted to the circumcision were debtors of the covenant; and ever remember to the whole law, to all the ceremothat ' in Christ Jesus neither circum- nies and rites of the Jewish religion. cision nor uncircumcision availeth any- So is every believer in Christ a debtor thing, but a new creature.' God hath to the whole of what Christianity renow changed the seal of the covenant quires, viz., to baptism, the Lord's into a more gentle administration, of Supper, and all moral duties.-Orton. which both sexes partake; there is

15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. will bless her, and give thee a son also of her : yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations ; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred

years old ? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed ; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

Abraham said unto God (v. 18), 'O fore Him. Let parents, especially, be that Ishmael might live before thee!' concerned for the souls of their chilWhen God condescends to converse dren; pray for them that they may with us, when our souls are enlarged live; that they may live before God, in devotion, then we have a good op- holily and religiously, to His honour portunity to put in a word for our and the credit of their profession.friends and relations, to spread our Orton. own eases and theirs particularly be

23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the fiesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 4 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was' Abraham circumcised, and Ish

20 And as mael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

We should learn to obey God with- and difficult matters. Let us not conout delay: so Abraham did, the self- fer with flesh and blood, but resosame day. This is twice remarked by lutely perform those duties which God the historian, to show us how readily has commanded.-Orton. we must serve God, even in painful

CHAP. XVIII. AN ND the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and

he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day ; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him : and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 8 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant : * Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree : 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye

shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. ? And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

To prepare cakes upon the hearth covered with embers, after having is a method employed in the East been first several times turned upon even to this day, the hearth being the clean stones. These cakes are strongly heated with fire, the ashes very good to eat, and very savoury.swept off, and the paste laid down and

David Collyer. 9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife ? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also ? 18 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old ? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD ? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not ; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

15 Then

ner

17

Abraham heard the news brought that He who could know of her inward by the angel and laughed; Sarah laughter, could know of her concepheard it and laughed. They did not tion! And now she that laughed and more agree in their desire than differ believed not, believeth and feareth.in their affection. Abraham laughed

Bp. Hall. for joy, Sarah for distrust. Abraham We may imagine that what merely laughed because he believed it would passes in our own minds has in a manbe so; Sarah, because she believed it no existence, and may almost could not be. The same act varies persuade ourselves to think we are inin the manner of doing and the inten- nocent; but in the presence of God tion of the doer. Yet Sarah laughed all such subterfuges are no better than but within herself, and is betrayed. the fig-leaves of our first parents. How God can find us out in secret When He judges He will overcome.sins! How easily did she now think, A. Fuller.

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom : and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do ; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him ? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

V.19. A master of a family is culpa- by due discipline and a proper interble if he permit any vices among his ference.Paley. domestics, which he might restrain

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous ; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Men are apt to suggest that God's ishes upon report, or common fame, way is not equal; but let them know or the information of others, but upon that His judgments are the result of His own certain and infallible knowan eternal counsel, and are never rash ledge.-M. Henry. or sudden resolves. He never pun

22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went towards Sodom : but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked ? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein ? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee : Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

V.25. On the truth and justice of God judgment of common sense concerning the universe is built, as a house upon this subject : 'Let justice be done, ala rock. · Fiat justitia, ruat cælum,' is though heaven itself should tumble an adage proverbially expressing the into ruin.'— Dwight.

Whether we adopt Leibnitz's defini- nipotence is possessed of a complete tion of Justice, and regard it as a mo- sufficieney for the accomplishment of dification of Benevolence, or admit all His pleasure, and thus rendered abwith Aristotle that in Justice is in- solutely independent, it is evident that cluded every virtue, it is evident that He must be infinitely removed from we are very incompetent judges of what all fear on the one hand, and from all is 'right' in the government of God; favouritism on the other. From the for this will always depend, not upon former of these considerations, it is certhe conformity of His conduct to any tain that He cannot in any degree be one of His perfections, but upon deterred from the performance of any the agreement of such conduct with thing which is right and good; and His whole character, or with all His from the other, that He cannot possiperfections taken together. At the bly be allured to the production of same time, our confidence in the Di. anything which is wrong or injurious vine rectitude cannot but be clear and to His creatures. To Him who is unlimited, when we reflect on the na- raised above all actual and possible ture of those attributes of which the want, who can do what He pleases, Divine character consists. And while and has therefore everything in His here upon earth, as Dr. Clarke beau- possession, unchangeably and etertifully observes, “governing according nally, there can be no private, partiał to law and reason, and governing ac- interest, no conceivable prejudice, no cording to will and pleasure, are two bias, no undue regard towards any most opposite forms of government, being. His views and His conduct it is most consoling to know that in alike must be impartial, public, foundheaven these are only two different ed on the real state of things, and dinames for one and the same thing.'—L. rected towards any beings according to

With the believing mind, the abso- their proper character and real desert. lute rectitude of God—the perfect His creatures can plainly present no righteousness and wisdom of all His motive to Him to depart from that proceedings—is a fixed position; a course of conduct, which in His view is first principle never to be questioned ; wise and good. Here, then, in the a point from which all reasonings character and circumstances of the about God's dispensations must pro- Deity, an immovable foundation is ceed, and to which they must return. laid for universal, perfect, and glo-Binney.

rious rectitude.-Dwight. As God by His omniscience and om

20 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes : 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous : wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five ? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

When the beggar sees the rich man thee to ask, as Abraham, who, as God putting his hand into his purse, he yielded, made his approaches closer. cries more earnestly, When thou Gurnall. seest God giving, it should embolden

29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Be

27 And

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