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the fountain in the way to Shur, where she stopped to rest her
self and call ufron God; for she seems to have 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
camest 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 Ish
mael, 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 thyself 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 seeth me? and, notwithstanding
my misbehaviour there, have had 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 fumily, 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 Ha16 gar bare, Ishmael, as the angel had commanded. And Abram
(was) fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
1. E Tus view the hand of God in all our afflictions and dis
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 receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil, or afflictions also ?
* This is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the whole scriptures. The Hagarenes, Saracenis, and Arabians, all descended from Ishmael. They called themselves Ha. Farenes, as coming from Hagar ; but being reproached for this, they changed their name to Saracens, as coming from Sarai. They were the fiercest race of men ever known on earth, and continue of the same spirit to this day; live by rapine and plunder, in the verv sam: place for more than 4000 vears, and all attempts to conquer them been in vain What a proof is this of the divine authority of Moses! Who'but a prophet of God could have foretold this!
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 handmaid who is heir to her mistress, 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 to whom our prosperity is owing ; consider who hath made us to differ, and what is there that we have 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, She speaketh as one of the foolish women speaketh. 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, and 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 Ishmael. 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 one toward another; forbearing and forgiving one another ; do good to all men, then men in general will be disposed to do good to us.
Once more, 6. Reflect on God's omniscience, and his favourable interposition for us.
Let us remember, in every place, Thor God seest me : look continually on him who looks on us; having our eyes VOL. I.
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 us, how miserable must we be ! To live as under his eye will afford us the greatest pleasure and delight ; it will be our 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 circumcises
his family. 1 ND when Abram was ninety years old and nine, that
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 be
tween me and thee, renew, enlarge, and confirm it with a sacra3 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, be
hold, I declare on my part that my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations ; the Israelites and Ishmaelites, 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 father of many nations have I 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 covenantot to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, to
• This was true in a literal sense ; but chiefly in a spiritual, in respect of the Messiah, who is King of kings.
+ of long continuance, in respect of the outward ceremony of circumcision, but for tBae spiritual part, literally everlasting in Christ, Heb. xiii. 20. Peter i..
employ all my perfections for thy protection, consolation and sal. 8 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. 9 And God said unto Abraham, And now on thy part I de
clare 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 circum
cise 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
okd 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 14 covenant I made with you. And the uncircumcised 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 by 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 [be,] 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 matter, but was greatly surprised. And
Abrahain said unto God, in the midst of his holy joy, O that Ishmael might live before thee ! live in thy favour, and not be
cast off by thee, though I shall have another son 10 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, because Abraham rejoiced : and I will establish my covenant
* This promise includes all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings. + That part which serves for the propagation of mankind.
1 It was designed to be a further 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 to be a perpetual memorial of God's covenant with .Ibraham. Thus a peculiar.p.opic were separated to serve God, by such a dietinction as evidently appeared to be of divine originali and was a proper enblem of purity and indifference to sensual enjoynents.
with him for an everlasting covenant, (and) with his sced af. 20 ter him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee : Behold, I
have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multi
ply 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 22 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 his special presence, and disappeared. 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 foreskin in the selssame day, as God
had said unto him ; such was his readiness to comply with the 24 divine command. 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 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 nations, were circumcised with him ; no wonder therefore, that the practice spread to other countries.
ET us consider the almighty God as self sufficient v. 1.
as having enough in himself to satisfy all our desires, and supply every want. Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon 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 his 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, I will be a God unto thee ! How much comfort here, and glory hereafter, is contained in this ! It includes not only an earthly but an heavenly 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,