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19 not of any particular nation but of God. And he, that it, chizedek, a finest, blessed him, that is, Mram, and said, Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heav

20 en and earth: And blessed [be] the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. Abram humbly received the blessing of Melchizedek,as his ««/¡cnor,and he gave him tithes of all the sfioils that were taten. This he did in gratitude for his kindness, and as a thank offering to God, to bf offered by his finest.

2 1 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons of my subjects -whom you have rescued, and take the

22 goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God,

2 3 the possessor of heaven and earth, and have sworn, That I will not [take] from a thread even to a shoe latchet, not the smallest thing belonging to thy subjects, and that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made

24 Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the spoil belonging to the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; this I have no right to disfiose of; let them therefore take their portion.

REFLECTIONS.

J. T E T us adore the providence of God in working these I j surprising things; in settling these nations near Abram, that they might see his devotion, be witnesses of God's blessing him, and thus making way for the knowledge of the true God and his worship among them. He fixes the bounds of our habitation, and rules among the kingdoms of men.

2. We see how liable good men are to suffer by bad neighbours. This is often a punishment for choosing situations, without considering the character of the inhabitants where we are going: so Lot left the neighbourhood of Abram to dwell in Sodom, and suffered sufficiently for it. If we choose to live in wicked places we must expect to share in their calamities. Let us not think it strange, if we meet with them ; but if we keep close to God's house, his worship and people, we shall dwell safe from the fear of evil.

3. We should think of God as the ¡Most High, the possessor of heaven and earth. So Melchizedek represented him; so Abram stiles him. He has sovereign dominion, for he made and supports all creatures. Reverence and praise are due to him ; trust and confidence should be placed in him, to give us what he thinks best.

4. Let us praise God as the author of the best of our actions, and those of others also. He gave Abram the victory, v. 1У, 20. and Melchizedek mentioned it to the honour of the God of all our victories. While we rejoice in the success of others, let God have all the praise.

5. Let the servants of the most high God maintain an honourable character. Thus Abram did, v. 23. Like him let us guard against a mean and servile temper. Abram might have accepted the king's offer; but true religion requires an indifference to these things, an holy decorum and superiority to worldly concerns; trust and confidence in God raise the mind above them. Abram showed nothing of a mercenary temper, which is a dishonour to religion: every degree of a niggardly disposition should be •voided, especially as we have so many enemies to watch for our faults. Let our conversation be without covetousness; and what' toever things arc just and true, and not only so, but whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report, if there he any virtue, and if there be any praise, let us think on these things.

CHAP. XV.

In the last chapter Abram appeared great in tite field; in this he is greater in converse with God, who condescends to enter into a treaty with liim; God's promise to Abram of a numerous issue, and of the land of Canaan.

1 AFTER these things, Abram's kindness to Lot, isfc. the jtx. word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, while

he was awake, saying, Fear not, Abram, be not alarmed at any of the dangers or enemies which surround thee in this strange land, I [am] thy shield to protect thee; [and] for thy faith and piety I myself will be thy exceeding great reward, and will give thee abundantly more than thou hast resigned to the king of Sod.

2 om ; I will reward thee both here and hereafter too. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, what will all the earth signify to me, seeing I go childless, have no heir to possess it, though thou gavest me hopes of a numerous seed; and the steward of my house, who is next to myself, is not one of

3 my own descendants, but [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram further said, Behold, to me thou has given no seed, though my life draws toward a close: and, lo, one bom in my hoii6C, as a servant, is mine heir.

4 And, behold, the word of the Lond [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out

5 of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, in his imagination,for the stars did not yet appear, (see v. 12.) and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So numerous and illustrious shall thy seed be.

6 And, notwithstanding the premise had been so long delayed, he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.*

7 And he said unto him, I [am] the Lord that brought thee out of U г of the Chaldees, to give thee tins land to inherit it.

8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inS herit it? This lie asks for the strengthening of lus failli. And

he said unto him, this shall be a sign, Take and offer to me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old,.and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pig

10 eon. And he took unto him all these, and, according to the usual method of ratifying a covenant, divided them in the midst, to represent the torn and distracted condition in which his seed ivas to be fur a season ; and laid each piece one against another, that the persons covenanting might pass between them: but the

11 birds divided he not. And when the fowls ofjirey came down in great numbers upon the carcasses to devour them, Abram drove them away.t

12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep, an ecstasy or trance, fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him, under an apprehension of the great distress nie

13 posterity nhould have by the vexation of their enemies. And he, that is, Jehovah, said unto Abram, to explain the vision, and to comfort him, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years,/ro?n the birth of Isaac to

14 their deliverance out of Egypt; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge or punish: and afterward shall

15 they come out with great substance. And thou shall go to thy fathers in peace, into the state of the dead, whither all thy

fathers are gone before thee; thou shall be buried in a good 1 б old age, after a seasonable and natural death. But in the fourth generation,./TM?» the descent into Egypt, they shall come hither again, to the country where thou nota art; but it cannot be sooner; for the iniquity of the Amerites and Canaanites in gcner

17 al, [is] not yet full, nor the time to punish them come. And it came to pass, thai, when Ihe sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace afi/ieared to Abram, perhaps representing Abram's seed afflicted in Egypt, and a burning lamp, a* a symbol of the divine presence, noting the covenant between God and Abram, and their future deliverance, that passed between those pieces, to note the ratification of the covenant between God

18 and his peo/de. Iji that same memorable day the Loud made a covenant with Alic>m,»o/f mnly ratifying his former promises, and saying, Unto tny seed have 1 given this land, and they shall ex

• Thus Abram was justified by faith, being as yet uncircumcised. Rom. lv-3. Caí. Hi. 6. Jamtí ii. 24.

+ Perhaps the fowls of prey -were an emblem of the Egyptians and other enemies, 4v ho should seek to devour And destroy his posterity; and las driving them away muy represent bis conquest over them by laiuianJ prayer.

tend their dominion from the river of Egypt, (not the river Mile, but some branch of ¿г,} unto the great river, the river Euphrates: so far did the countries become tributary in David1»

19 and Solomon's day* ; and shall include TheKenites, and theKe

20 nizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Periz

21 zites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

REFLECTIONS.

1. "ТЖ7" E see the happiness of good men; God is their

VV shield, v. 1, to protect them from their enemies, from wicked men, and Satan; from principalities and powers that are confederate against them. God would not have them to be fearful or sorrowful; he will be their exceeding great reward; •will give them grace and glory, and taill withhold no good thing from them that walk u/ir/ghtli/.

2. Let us learn to be content in those circumstances which Providence allots us. One cannot but pity the weakness of the father of the faithful, after what God had said to him. All his wealth and honour, the fine country he lived in, and the favour of God; all this was nothing without a child. Perhaps the Messiah or promised seed may be referred to, which may plead something in his excuse; but still he seems uneasy in his mind. If God denies us temporal blessings, let us still be patient and content, a.id seek him for our portion. Let those who are childless in the earth be more diligent and active in the service of God, as they have more leisure and fewer cares; then will fie give them a name and aplace-, which shall be better to tliem than sens and daughters.

3. We learn joyfully to embrace the promises of God; herein imitating the faith of Ábram; he believed in God, and staggered not at the promise through unbelief, Кот. xiv. 20. Let us be strong in faith, giving glory to God; guard against an evil heart of unbelief; and pray, Lord, increase our faith. If we trust his promises, and act agreeable to them, we have, through grace, a claim to all the benefits of the covenant; and by this we shall obtain witness that we are righteous.

4. Learn to adore the foreknowledge of God in these surprising predictions. They arc very remarkable; so many years shall they serve their enemies ; then their enemies shall be punished, and the oppressed shall go free. He knows, not only the external circumstances, but also the moral characters of men ; when their iniquity is full, and when it is time to punish. This knowledge is too high for us; v>e cannot attain unto it ; but it is found in a perfect manner in God. May we reverence this glorious God, who foreknows whatsoever shall come to pass, and xhoweth unto vían his counsel, declaring the end from the beginning. This God it our God for ever, and he will be our guide unto death.

5. Let us rejoice in the assurance of a better country ; Know of в surety, saith God to Abram. The promise to believers is sure; we have his word and oath, that by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, v>Ao havefledfor refuge to lay hold on the hofie set before us. We have a sign and sacrament to confirm our faith: to all the spiritual seed of Abram the promise is sure. Let us imitate the faith and piety of this patriarch, that we may at length possess an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not ati-uyt reserved in heaven for us.

CHAP. XVI.

The origin of nations and kingdoms is generally the darkest part of history : here чае have a plain account of one that was very considerable : it arose from Abram, by one of his maid servants, probably came with him from Egypt.

О ^V Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children : and she had an handmaid, or bond "¿lomtin, an Egyptian by birth, but a proselyte to the true religion, whose name [was]

2 Hagar. And Sarai, impatient to see the promise fulfilled, said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram, not consulting withGod, as he should have done, hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

•* And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, she greiv vain of the honour, and her mistress, as a punishment for her impatience and im

5 prudence, was despised in her eyes. And Sarai, growing jealous, upbraided her husband, as if he encouraged this insolence, and said unto Abram, My wrong [be] upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Loud judge between me and thee : plead my cause and vindicate my inno*

6 cence, since thou wilt not do it.* But Abram, far from taking Hagar's part, said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid [is] in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with lier, she fled from her face, with a view to return to her own coufitry.

7 And the angel of the Lord, appearing perhaps in a human form, found her by'a fountain of water in the wilderness, by

• By thw quarrel« in the family, Cod Wm pleased to correit both Abram and Sjrjf for seeking children ш such au un\v.u lauubu way.

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