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the fountain in the way to Shur, where she stopprd to rest herself and call upon God ; for she seems to hax>e been a devout
8 woman. And addressing her in her proper character, to make her sensible of her fault, he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence eamest thou ? and whither wilt thou go ? And she said, I flee
9 from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, return to thy mistress, and submit thyself
10 under her hands. And the angel of the Lord further said unto her. to comfort her in her distress, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou [art] with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael, that is, God shall hear; because the Lord hath heard thy
12 prayers made in thy affliction. And he will be a wild man, warlike and violent; exercising himself in hunting beasts, and oppressing men; his hand [will be] against every man, and every man's hand against him ; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren, near unto them, in spite of all their
13 attempts against him* And she called the name of the Lord, that spake unto her, Thou God seest me, hast taken care of me, and graciously manifested tltyself to me: for she said, Have I also here, even in this desert, as well as in my master's
family, looked after him that sceth me? and, notwithstanding my misbehaviour there, have liad a comfortable sight of him and
14 promise from him? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahai. roi, that is, the well of him that liveth and seeth me; behold, [it is] between Kadesh and Bered.
15 And Hagar returned to Abram's family, humbled herself to Sarai, and told what she had seen; and in due time she bare Abram a son : and Abram called his son's name, which Ha.
! 6 gar bare, Ishmael, as the angel had commanded. And Abram [was] fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
!. T E T us view the hand of God in all our afflictions and disI. A appointments, like Sarai, who acknowledged, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing. Sarai had every thing else she could desire ; but God continued this disappointment for the exercise of her faith and patience. It is a good thing to be sensible of this, and to say with Job, when tempted to repine, shall we rc.
* This is one of the most remarkaMe prophecies in the whole scriptures. TheHajra. renes, Saracens, and ArabUns, nil descended from Ishmael. Thry called themselves tfa. parenes, aa coming from Hagar; but Iv"itig reproached lor this, they changed their name ro Saracens, at coming from Sarai. They were the fiercest nee ot men ever kimwn on earth, and continue of the same spirit to this d.iy ', live by rapine and plundrr, in the very wm; place for more th m 40>l0 vears, and nil attempts to co'iqner them have been in vain. What a proof is this oi the divine authority of Mows I Woo but a prophet of God cooid hive foretold this .'
ctive good at the hand of God, and «hall we not recent evil, or afflictions also?
2. Let us avoid an insolent temper in prosperity, v. 4. This is one of Solomon's four things by which the earth is disquieted, an odious woman when she is married, and an liandmaid vvho is heir to her mietreg», Prov. xxx. 23. This is often the case, especially in persons who have been suddenly advanced from a low to a more exalted station; their height makes them giddy. However distinguished we may be from others, let us be careful not to despise them ; but remember lo -whom our prosperity is owing; consider who hath made ив to differ, and what it (here that •we hai'e not received.
3. Let us be careful not to appeal to God, under the transports of a peevish temper: this Sarai did, and it was very unbecoming. Abram might have said, S/ie sfieaketh as one of the foolish •women sficakcth. Let us take care not to make God a party in our quarrels. A readiness to appeal to him is no argument that •we are right; it is often a sign that we are wrong, end expect to be believed on that account, though we should have neither reason nor evidence on our side. God searcheth the heart, and it becomes us to guard against such transports of passion; for should •we be in the wrong, he certainly knows it, and an appeal to him will be indeed sealing the curse on our own head.
4. We should admire the condescension of God to a poor fu-gitive slave. He mercifully stopped her when going a foolish journey ; when her provisions perhaps were spent, he sent her back to pious Abram's house; improved her soul by her afflictions; and made her a blessing to the family. Again,
5. Learn to avoid that wretched character here given, of Ishmacl. Those who oppose others will be opposed themselves. Complaisance to such will not last long ; men will arm themselves in their own defence. Let us therefore govern our own spirits, and not suffer them to be boisterous. Persons of this character have lives full of trouble, run themselves into difficulties, and are paid in their own coin ; which is grievous, because they, of all men, are least able to bear such affronts. If our hand is against every man, every man's hand will be against us, from a principle of self preservation, but more commonly from that wretched principle of revenge, which too much prevails in the world. In like manner, if our tongue be against every man, and we reproach and censure others, with what measure we mete it shall be measured to us again. To prevent this, let us honour all men; be kindly affectioned we toward another; forbearing and
forgiving one another; do good to all men, then men in general will be disposed to do gootl to us. Once more,
6. Reflect on God's omniscience, and his favourable interposition for us. Let us remember, in every place, Thau God eeest me: look continually on him who looks on us , having our eyes
Vol I. 1
always up unto the Lord,' for direction, support, and encouragement, whose eyes are continually upon us for good. It is the character of the wicked, that God is not in all their thoughts. We should set the Lord always before us, for we depend entirely upon him; in him we live, and move, and have our being. If he will not look on ns, how miserable must we be i To live as under his eye will afford us the greatest pleasure and delight; it will be onr greatest security amidst dangers and difficulties. This should be the concern of every one; we should charge our hearts to maintain this temper. Nothing will be so likely to make us truly serious and religious, as to recollect, that whatever we do, God sees us, and wherever we are, God is there.
God renews his covenant with Abram; institutes circumcision as the seal of it ; changes the names of Abram and his wife, to whom he promises a son, in whom the covenant should be established; at the same time he blesses Ishmael; and Abraham circumcise* his family.
1 AND when Abram was ninety years old and nine, that I~\ is, thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty' God, able to fulfil all my promises; therefore walk before me, as always in my presence, and be thou perfect, or upright and
2 sincere in doing my will. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, renew, enlarge, and confirm it with a sacra
3 ment, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face, in token of fear and reverence, being afraid to look
4 on God: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, I declare on my part that my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations ; the Israelites and IshmaeliteSy and believers in all ages, shall be esteemed thy spiritual seed.
5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, an high or mighty father, but thy name shall be Abraham, that is, father of a multitude; for a fathtr of many nations have t
6 made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.*
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant,t to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, to
• Tbi» was true in a literal trust; but chiefly in a spiritual, in respect of the Messiah, who is king of kings.
t OHcmR.cnntinuance, in respect of the outward ceremony of circumcision/ but.for tit spiritual part, literally everlasting in Christ, lltb. xiii. so, i Peter i. 4.
employ all my perfections for thy protection, consolation and sal6 vation* 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, while they are a distinct and obedient people; and I will be their God. • And God said unto Abraham, And nou> on thy part I declare that thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, as a condition of all these blessings, thou, and thy seed after thee in their
10 generations. And This [is] my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee ; Every man
11 child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin ;t and it shall be a token of the
12 covenant betwixt me and you. % And he that is eight days okl shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with
13 money of any stranger, which [is] not of thy seed. 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, a sign of that everlasting
I I covenant I made with you. And the uncircumciscd man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, and .when he is grown up wilfully or unnecessarily neglects it, that soul shall be cut off from his people, from my church and people; he hath broken my covenant Ay his neglect and contempt of the condition required on his part, and hath forfeited the blessing promised on mine.
15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, which signifies, my princess only, but Sarah [shall] her name [lie,] which signifies, a multitude;
16 she shall be the mother of many people. And I 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
17 her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, in token of his inward joy and satisfaction at this news, 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 He did not doubt the nuitter, but was greatly surprised. And Abraham said unto God, in the midst of his holy joy, O that Ishmael might live before thee J live in thy favour, and not be cast off by thee, though I shall have anot/ier son to inherit the
19 blessing. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed ; and thou shalt call his name Isaac, that is, laughter,
* This promise include, all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings, t That part which serves for the propagation of mankind.
t It was designed to be a furthrr trial of Abraham's faith; to separate his posterity from the rest of the world by an indelible mark; for the preservation of true religion ; and In ixa perpetual memorial of CJud's covenant with Abraham. Thus a peculiar.p..ople w,'re nrpwattd to serve Cod. by such a iii»tincrion as evidently appeared to be of divine criginjl; atid was a proper emblem of purity and indifference to sensual enjoyments.
because Abraham rejoiced .• and I -will establish my covenant •with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed af
20 ter him. And as 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
21 will make him a great nation, But my covenant of grace, including the Messiah, will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah
83 shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham, withdrew the tokens of hi» sfiecialpresence, and disafifieared.
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 flesh of their fopeskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him ; euch waa his readiness to comflly vr////. the
24 divine command. And Abraham [was] ninety years old arid nine when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
25 And Ishmael his son [was] thirteen years old when he was
26 circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.* In the selfsame
27 day was Abraham circumcised and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, a great number and from different na-, lions, were circumcised with him; no wonder therefore^ that the practice sfiread to other countries.
1. T ET us consider the almighty God as self sufficient r. l. 1 j as having enough in himself to satisfy all our desires, and supply every want. Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there in none u/ion earth I desire beside thee. As we wish to say this, let us consider our duty ; walk before him with a perfect and upright heart; set him before us at all times, in every act of devotion, in all our behaviour; and do all as seeing him who is invisible. Without this we are not interested in hie all sufficiency, but forfeit all claim to his favour.
2. We should bless God that the covenant was made with Abraham, to be a God to him and to his seed after him. This covenant typified and contained better blessings than the land of Canaan, and was established on better promises; it is true and firm; established as an everlasting covenant with Abraham and all his spiritual seed. How rich and precious the promise, Ivnll be a God unto thee! How much comfort here, and glory hereafter, is contained in this! It includes not only an earthly but an heav* enly Canaan. How condescending was it in God to speak so familiarly to him, and give him such exceeding great and precious promises! There is much of the gospel in this covenant; and in
* Therefore the Arabs never circumcise till the age of thirteen.