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If ever a man might have pleaded an excuse for not openly acknowledging God - if ever a man might have said, “I will worship God in my heart, and in my chamber, but I will not run the risk of exciting enmity in a strange land, by an outward demonstration of His worship,” Abraham was that man. But, no! he was not content so to reason. He believed in God he feared and loved God. And no earthly consideration, no fear of man, weighed with him against this consideration - how he might approve his faith and love to God. Open avowed worship was as necessary to him as his daily bread; and so, as we have seen, wherever he halted, wherever he set up his tent, hard by he set up a “stone of witness” that the Lord was his God; there he builded an altar: there he called upon the Lord !

And this is written for our learning. That simple, but impressive record, made again and again, — Abraham builded an altar, and called upon the name of the Lord ! is a reminder to us that we take care in our day, and in our land, for God's public acknowledgment; that we build His house, where men may meet to pray to Him, and to praise Him, and to hear His most holy word, wherever it is wanted amongst us.

Abraham is in so many ways our pattern, that I cannot dwell longer on this particular point. Enough to observe, that he is the father of all who desire to honour God by setting apart fit places for His worship,—that he illustrates the words of one who came after him, the words of the Psalmist,Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thine house, and the place where Thine honour dwelleth !

But to pass on to other features in Abraham's character, wherein he is our example. Among the most noticeable is his peaceableness. He was one who sought peace, and ensued it--one who avoided strife, and all that leads to strife. Witness his dealing with his nephew Lot (Gen. xiii.), when a quarrel arose between the herdmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle,Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee ? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me : if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. When we read such words, we seem to be reading a page out of the Gospel. That spirit of forbearance—the waving our own right for the sake of peace—the giving the choice to another—the taking the lower room — that

- sense of brotherhood—that dislike to variance and emulation, which marks so strongly the conduct of Abraham, are the very signs by which our

Lord desires that His followers should be known. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another! Love, says His Apostle, suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked ; beareth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things !

Again, what is said of the way in which Abraham managed his household ?- 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. This is a feature in Abraham's character selected by God Himself for His approval, and, therefore, to be diligently marked and noted by us; more especially by those who are parents, and heads of families. Let ask


to consider it well. The bringing up of the children and the household in good religious ways is, we are assured, of the very first importance, both to the individuals and to society at large. It is a sure road to God's favour, just as the neglect of it is the sure road to His displeasure. Eli, himself a good and holy man, came to a sorrowful end; was brought down, in his grey hairs, with anguish to the grave; because he had neglected, to command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; while


Abraham died in a good old age, full of

, years

and honours, because he had not neglected this great duty. Both by His blessing, and by His punishment does God teach the same lesson, and enforce the necessity of ordering our households well, bringing up our children in the fear and love of His holy name!

I might dwell much longer on this, and on other points in Abraham's history, in which he sets us an example. I might speak of his generosity, of his hospitality, to which attention is called in the Epistle to the Hebrews,Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares ! But I must hasten on to that which is the crowning act of Abraham's life—the triumph of his faith and obedience in the offering up of his son Isaac.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac : and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son!

Nothing in the Old Testament is so awful, so touching, as the account of Abraham's trial. After years of waiting God had given him a son, and God had declared that through that son he should become a mighty nation,—In Isaac shall thy seed be called !

And now when the son is born, born to him in his old age, and has passed through the

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perilous years of infancy, and grown up almost to manhood, and has wound himself about his father's heart, and drawn upon his single head the affection and hope of his parents, now comes to Abraham the terrible order,- Take now thy son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah ; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of !

The order was so plain, so clearly from God, that Abraham could not, and would not dispute it. All his long life he had been obedient. All his long life he had walked not by sight, but by faith. All his long life he had hoped against hope, and staggered not at any of God's commandments. And that principle sustained him now. He prepared to do as he was commanded. He took his son Isaac, whom he loved, a three-days' journey, with all the apparatus for sacrifice, to the mount which God had told him of. And when they came to the place, Abraham built an altar there, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon

the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son !

That was the crisis of the trial. Abraham's faith, Abraham's obedience, had been tested to the utmost, and found true. He had shown himself ready to give up all at the command of God. He had not withheld his son, his only son, from

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