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consequence of it, Abraham rejoiced, or earnestly desired, to see Christ's day ; and by faith he saw it, and was glad.
3. Let us seek our own part in the blessings of it ; they that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham, We should consider their value and extent ; submit cheerfully to the terms of the covenant ; and ever remember, that in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth any thing, but a new creature. God hath now changed the seal of the covenant into a more gentle administration, of which both sexes partake ; there is neither male nor female in Christ, but all are one in him. As we desire the blessings of this covenant, let us comply with the terms of it, which are faith and obedience. Those who submitted to circumcision were debtors to the whole law, to all the ceremonies and rites of the Jewish religion ; and every believer in Christ is a debtor to the whole of what christianity requires, viz. to bapLism, the Lord's supper, and all moral duties.
4. We learn to be particular in our addresses for those who are dear to us. Abraham said unto God, v, 18. O that Ishmael might live before thee! When God condescends to converse with us, when our souls are enlarged in devotion, then we have a good op-, portunity to put in a word for our friends and relations; to spread our own cases and theirs particularly before him. Let parents, especially, be concerned for the souls of their children ; pray that they may live ; that they may live before God, holily and relig. iously, to his honour, and the credit of their profession. Not on. ly that their temporal lives may be preserved, but the spiritual life carried on in their souls, and that they may be fitted for eter, nal life. Pray particularly for them all, as Job and Abraham did. We have great encouragement to hope that God will answer our prayers, as he did that of Abraham, v. 20. God hath never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain : and though the blessing may be long delayed, it will come at last ; at least our prayers shall not return into our bosom void,
5. Learn to obey God without delay, as Abraham did ; the selfsame day. This is twice remarked by the historian, to show us how readily we must serve God, even in painful and difficult matters. Let us not confer with flesh and blood, but resolutely perform those duties which God hath commanded. He hath requir, ed nothing of us that is unreasonable, nothing but what is for our comfort ; may we therefore resolve according to this example of Abraham, that whatever our hand findeth to do, we will do it with all our might, and that we will make haste and not delay to keen God's righteous judgments,
CHAP. XVIII. 1–19. The prophet Isaiah observes, that God will meet those who rejoice and work righteousness ;' this was exemplified in Abraham. No sooner had he circumcised his house, than God appears to him again ; sends him a comfortable message by three angels, whom Abraham entertains ; and renews his promise to Sarah of a son. 1 A ND the Lord appeared unto him, that is, Abraham, in
Al the plains of Mamre : and he sat in the tent door in the 2 heat of the day, for the sake of being cools And he lifted up
his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men* stood by him; and when he saw [them,] he ran in the most friendly manner to meet them from the tent door, and as they appeared to be per
Sons of rank and respectability, he bowed himself toward the 3 ground, And said to one who appeared to be the chief, and who
was probably Christ, by ruhom God had manifested himself to men, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass 4 not away, I pray thee, from thy servant : Let a little water, I
pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet,t and rest yourselves 5 under the tree, where it is cool and shady : And I will fetch a
morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts ; after that ye
shall pass on : for therefore, I presume, are ye come to your 6 servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.t And
Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead [it,) and 7 make cakes upon the hearth, or hot stone. And Abraham ran
unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave 8 [it] unto a young man : and he hasted to dress it. And he
took butter, and milk, and part of the calf which he had dress, ed, and set [it] before them; and he stood by them under the
tree, to wait upon them, and they did eat.ll 9 And they said unto him, Where [is] Sarah thy wife ? And
he said, Behold, in the tent. Surprised to hear them call her
by name, he began to think his guests were more than common 10 ones. And he, who appeared as the representative of God, said,
I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life, or in due time ; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And
Sarah heard [it] in the tent door, which (was] bebind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah (were] old, [and] well stricken in
age ; [and] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of 12 women. Therefore Sarah, not knowing her guests, laughed,
• Angels in human form; so the apostle assures us they were, Heb. xiii. 2.
+ This was necessary and very refreshing in those hot countries, where they were sandals, or went barefoot.
This gives us a beautiful idea of ancient hospitality, when there were no such places of entertainment as we have.
R A delightful instance of the simplicity of ancient times. So Honor represents Achilles as serving up, with his own hand, a dish that Patrolus had been cosking.
or smiled, within herself, and doubted of what was said, saying,
After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old 13 also ? And the LORD, who knew the thoughts of Sarah, said unto
Abraham, by the angel that represented him, Wherefore did Sa
rah laugh, and treat the promise with derision, saying, Shall I of 14 a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for
the Lord? At the time appointed will I return unto thee, accord15 ing to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah
came forward, and being in confusion, denied it, saying, I laugh
ed not ; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay ; but thou didst 16 laugh.* And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward
Sodom, where they had an awful commission to execute : and
on the way. 17 And the LORD said to the angels who attended him, shall 18 I hide from Abraham that thing which I do ; Seeing that
Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him ?
Since I have promised to do greater matters for him than this, 19 why should I hide this from him ? For I know that I shall not
acquaint him with this in vain, I know that he will command his children and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment ; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
1. T E Tus imitate Abraham's generosity in a readiness to
u do good offices. This is Paul's inference from this story, in Heb. xiii. 2. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Abraham did not stay to be asked ; but seeing these travellers weary and faint, he hastened to invite and relieve them. He did it with great modesty and humility; Let me fetch a little water and a morsel of bread; he said nothing of the provisions he intended ; he treated them with great decency and hospitality, and waited on them himself, though a prince who had vanquished kings. Thus we should learn to do good and to communicate. Those whom Providence hath blessed with abundance should be liberal and generous, sincere and hearty, without grudging. Here was no luxurious entertainment, no costly niceties, but all was plain and friendly. A good example of temperance and friendliness united. Luxurious entertainments are not instances of respect ; they are often the cause of sin in those who partake of them. While we imitate this good patriarch's charity and generosity, let us also imitate his
. She probably soon repented and believed the promise, for the apostle commends har Erich, Heb. xi. ll.
plainness and simplicity, and avoid those dainties which are so often deceitful meat.
2. Let the daughters of Abraham learn to be in subjection to their husbands. This is the apostle's inference from this story, 1 Peter iii. 1, 5, 6. Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands in all things lawful, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him, whenever she spoke of him, her lord, though she was of the same family, and greatly honoured both by God and men, as well as Abraham. Remember this excellent woman, whose daughters ye indeed are as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement; are not led hastily or inconsiderately, through shame or fear, to say or do what is wrong.
3. Let us imitate Abraham in a religious care of our families, v. 19. This was a bright part of his character ; I know Abraham, says the Lord, thut he will command his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. God himself approved of this, that he taught them diligently ; that his principal care was about practical religion, to keep the way of the Lord, and do justice and judgment; that he added his authority to his instructions, and insisted upon it, as a qualification for a place in his family. All heads of families should imitate this example, and take care of their servants as well as their children ; they have souls to be looked after, and in minding our business they too often neglect those souls. We should guard them against such an error ; not labour to fill their heads with notions and speculations, as too many parents and masters do ; but, like Abraham, teach them those things they can understand and practise; to keep God's ways, to be devout, and do justice and judgment; to be honest in their dealings, and faithful to their promises. Let us be concerned, like Abraham, that religion may flourish when we are gone; and therefore command our household to keep God's ways when we are taken from them. This is the way to secure God's favour, to enjoy his gracious presence in this world, and in that which is to come.
CHAP. XVIII. 20, to the end.
God here acquaints Abraham with his intention to destroy Sodom
and the cities of the plain ; upon which Abraham humbly and
carnestly intercedes for them. 20 A ND the LORD said, Because the cry, the sins and firov
locations, of Sodom and Gomorrah is great,* and because their sin is very grievous ; therefore, to speak after the 21 manner of men, I will go down now, and see, inquire into
the truth of the thing, whether they have done altogether
• These two cities only are mentioned, because they were the ch'ef, and perhaps the most wicked,
according to the cry of it, which is come unto me ; and if not,
I will know ; I will make a strict scrutiny, that my justice as 92 well as my righteous judgment may ahficar. And the men,
that is, two of the three, who were angels, turned their faces
from thence, and went towards Sodom : but Abraham stood 1 yet before the LORD.
And Abraham drew near, with reverence and humble ronfia dence, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the 24 wicked ? I am sure thout wilt not. Peradventure there be fifty
righteous within the city, in all the cities, the chief being put for · all the rest : wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place 25 for the fifty righteous that fare] therein ? That be far from
thee to do after this mariner, to slay the righteous with the wicked :* and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far froin thee : Shall not the judge of all the earth do right;
deal in that moderate and equitable way, which God is pleased to 26 use with the sons of men ? And the Lord said, if I find in
Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the 27 place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Bea
hold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, 28 which (am but) dust and ashes. Peradventure there shall
lack five of the fifty righteous : wilt thou destroy all the city
for (lack of] five ? And he said, If I find there forty and five, 29 I will not destroy [it.] And he spake unto him yet again,
and said; Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And 30 he said, I will not do [it] for forty's sake. And he said (unto
him,] Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak : Per
adventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I 31 will not do [it,] if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold
now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD : Perad
venture there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will 32 not destroy [it] for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not
the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once : Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for ten's sake. Abraham could not in decencu proceed any further, and he might reasonably hope that in all the
cities there were at least ten righteous pers078, including Lot 33 and his family. And the LORD went his way, withdrew the
tokens of his presence, and disappearcd, as soon as he had left communitig with Abraham : and Abraham returned unto his place to wait the event,
Sometimes the righteous are taken away in public calamities, but then it is in niercy to them.
+ The nearer we approach to God, the more sensible we are of our own meannoss and vileness.