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to the Command to offer up his Son Isaac ; the last of God's Revelations to him, recorded in Scripture.

The first notice given us of this Patriarch is in the account of his Genealogy, Family, and Country* We are then toldt, that God called him from his father's house to a Land which he should shew him: And to excite his obedience, he promises to make of him a great Nation 1: to have him in his peculiar protection, and to make all the Nations of the Earth blessed through himą. The last part of this promise is remarkable, as it contains the proper end of God's Choice and Separation of him and his Posterity; and so, very fitly made, by the sacred Writer, the foundation of the history of God's Dispensations to him; and a mark to direct the reader to what, they are all ultimately to be referred. Which, by the way, exposes the extreme absurdity in Collins and Tindal, who would have the blessing here promised to be only an Eastern form of speech, honourable to the Father of the Faithful.- When Abraham, in obedience to this command, was come into the land of Canaan, God vouchsafed him a farther Revelation of his Will; and now told him, that this was the Land (which he had before said he would shew him) to be inherited by his Seed**

When he returned from Egypt, God revealed himself still farther, and marked out the boundstt of that Land, which he assured him should be to him and his Seed for ever ff. Which Seed should be as the dust of the earth for numbergs. After all these gracious and repeated assurances, we may well suppose Abraham to be now grown uneasy at his Wife's barrenness, and his own want of issue to inherit the Promines. Accordingly, we find him muntsturbed w apprehensions | || ; and that G love the

d to him in a vision,

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and said, Fear not, Abram; I am the shield, and exceeding great reward. Abraham, thus encouraged to tell his grief, confessed it to be for his want of issue, and for that he suspected the promised blessings were to be inherited by his adopted children, the sons of his servant Eliezer of Damascus*. To ease him of this disquiet, God was now pleased to acquaint him, that his design was not, that an adopted son should inherit, but one out of his own bowelst. And, for farther assurance, he instructs him in the various fortunes of his PosterityThat his Seed should be a stranger in a Land that was not theirs, which Land should afflict them four hundred years, and that then he would judge that Nation, and afterwards bring them out with great substance to inherit the Land of Canaant. At the same time God more particularly marks out the bounds of the Promised Land, and reckons up the several Nations which then inhabited it ş. Things being in this train, and Abraham now satisfied that the Seed of his loins was to inherit the Promises ; Sarah, on account of her sterility, persuaded her Husband to go in unto her Hand-maid Hagar, the Egyptian In this she indulged her own vanity and ambition; she would have a Son whom she might adopt; It may be (says she) that I may obtain children by her**; and she fattered herself with being, at the same time, an instrument to promote the designs of Providence: Behold now (says she) the Lord hath restrained me from bearing. To this project Abraham consented. Hagar conceived, and bare a Son, called Ishmaelft. The good Patriarch was now fully satisfied: He grew fond of Ishmael; and reckoned upon him for the inheritor of the promises. To correct this mistake, God vouchsafed him a new Revelation It; in which he is told, that God would not only (as had been before promised) bless and multiply his * Chap. xv. ver. 2, 3.

+ Ver. 4.

I Ver. 13, 144 Ver. 18. to the end. Chap. xvi. tt Ver. 15.

Chap. xvii.


** Ver. 2.

Posterity in an extraordinary manner, but would separate them from all other Nations, and he would be their God, and they should be his PEOPLE*. And this national adoption requiring a mutual Covenant, the rite of CIRCUMCISION is at the same time enjoined as the mark of the Covenantt. Lastly, Abraham is shewn his fond mistake, and told, that it was not the Son of the bond-woman, but of his Wife Sarah, who was ordained to be Heir of the Promises 5. But Abraham had so long indulged himself in his mistake, and consequently in his affection for Ishmael, that he begs God would indulge it too-0 that Ishmael might live before thee ş. And God, in compassion to his paternal fondness, graciously promises that the Posterity of Ishmael should become exceeding great and powerful|l

, but, that, nevertheless, kis Covenant should be with Isaac, and with his Seed after hims. However, this Revelation having been received with some kind of doubt, as appears by the words: of the historian **, God was pleased to repeat the promise of a Son by Sarah ft : and even to mark the time of his birth* †; according to which, Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a Son $$. After this, God revealed himself yet again to Abraham||, with a command to put away his Son Ishmael; and to assure him, that the CH06EN POSTERITY should come from Isaac: For Abraham was not yet weaned from his unreasonable partiality for Ishmael; but still reckoned upon him as his Second hopes, in case of any disaster or misfortune, that should happen to Isaac. This appears from Ishmael's insolent behaviour (T; from Abraham's great unwillingness to dismiss him *t; and from God's assuring him, in order to make him easy, That in Isaac his Seed should


* Ver. 7,


seq. | Ver. 16. Ver. 19 11 Ver. 10, 14.

Yer. 9.

* Ver. 17

+ See note [C] at the end of this Book,
§ Ver. 18.

ll Ver. 20, & seq.

++ Chap. xviii.
s § Chap. xxi. ver 2. ll|| Ver. 12.
*4 Ver. 11.


be called*. --We now come to the famous History of the Command to offer up his Son Isaac-And it came to pass (says the sacred historian) AFTER THESE THINGS, that God did tempt Abraham, and said, Take now thy Son, THINE ONLY son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee unto the land of Moriah : and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham arose t, &c. This was the last of God's Revelations to Abraham-And it came to pass after these thingsAnd with this, the history of them is closed.

Here we see all these Revelations, except the last, are plain and clear, as referring to TEMPORAL Felicities to be conferred on Abraham and his Posterity after the flesh; through whom, some way or other, a BLESSING was to extend to all Mankind. Not one of these therefore can pretend to be that Revelation of the Redemption of the world. The last is the only dark and obscure one of the whole; which, if indeed a Revelation of this grand Mystery, must of necessity, as we shall shew, be darkly and obscurely recorded.

But to this perhaps it may be objected, that the famous Promise of God to Abraham, that in him should all the. Families of the earth be blessed I, is that Revelation ; because St. Paul calls this the preaching of the Gospel unto him~And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Heathen through Faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed Ş. To this I reply, that the Apostle is here convincing the Galatians, that the Gospel of Christ is founded on the same PRINCIPLE with that which justified Abraham, namely, FAITH;Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness ll. He then pursues his argument in this manner, Therefore, they which be of Faith, are blessed

Chap. xxi. ver. 12. + Chap. xxii. ver. 1, 2, 3.
Chap. xii. ver. 3,

Gal. iii, &

|| Ver. 6.

with faithful Abraham*. The reason he gives is from the promise in question, given in reward of Abraham's Faith, that in him should all Nations be blessed. This is the force of the argument; and it is very fincly mana red. But then the terms, Faith and Gospel, are here used, as they very often are in the apostolic writingst, not in their specific but generic sense, for confidence in any one, and glad tidings in general. For it is plain, Abraham's Faith here recommended, was not that Christian Faith in JESUS the MESSIAH, but, faith in God, who had promised to make his Posterity according to the flesh, as numerous as the stars of Heaven, when as yet he had no offspring. In a like latitude of expression, St. Paul uses the word προευαγίελίζομαι, to preach the Gospel beforehand; not the tidings of the Messiah the Redeemer, but the effects of the Redemption wrought by him, a BLESSING on the whole race of mankind. Tidings which indeed referred to a future Dispensation; and, in this, differing from his use of the word Faith, which did not. But then, this is very far from his SEEING CHRIST'S DAY; of which indeed he speaks in another place, as we shall see presently. It is true, this promised BLESSING was the preparatory Revelation, by which, we were to estimate the ultimate end of all the following; and on which, we must suppose them to be built: And so much we are concerned to prove it was. I conclude therefore, that when Jesus says, Abraham saw his Day; and when St. Paul says, that he had the Gospel preached before unto him, they spoke of two different Revelations. We come, therefore,

II. To the second point : which is to shew, that the COMMAND to offer up Isaac was the very revelation of CHRIST'S DAY, or the Redemption of mankind, by his death and sufferings.

. Ver.g.

+ See what hath been said on this subject in the preceding discourse on the sith chapter to the Hebrews. Gen, xv. 6.

1. We

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