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ance with God; so that God was pleased to give him a still further discovery of what should befal him and his descendants in future times. He was ordered to offer a solemn sacrifice,* and at the going down of the sun a deep sleep fell upon him, when it was revealed to him in a dream,y that he himself would die in peace in a good old age; but that his descendants would for four hundred years be strangers in a land not their own, would suffer hardships, and even bondage. But that after this, the nation which would oppress them should be severely punished, and that they would be brought out of all their difficulties in a very rich and flourishing condition; and that in the fourth generation they would return again into Canaan, and take possession of it; that they could not have it sooner, because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. God Almighty could foresee, that the Amorites would by that time have run into such an excess of sin, as to deserve the severe expulsion from the land of Canaan, which was afterwards appointed for them ; but he would in no wise order their punishment, until they should have filled up the measure of their iniquities, so as to deserve it. After Abram awoke from this dream, a fire kindled miraculously a and consumed his sacrifice ; and God covenanted with him to give to his seed all the land of Canaan, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.
Ten years after Abram's return into Canaan,' in the
eighty-sixth year d.of his life, A. M. 2094, he had a son by Hagar, Sarai's maid. Sarai herself had no children, and expecting never to have any, had given her maid to Abram to be his wife, to prevent his dying childless. Abram was exceedingly rejoiced at the birth of his son ; and looked upon him as the heir promised him by God, who was to be the father of that numerous people who were to descend from him ; but about thirteen years after Ishmael's birth (for so was the child named) God appeared unto Abram. The person who appeared to him, called himself the Almighty God, and can be conceived to be no other person than our Blessed Saviour." As he afterwards thought fit to take upon him our flesh, and to dwell amongst the Jews, in the manner related in the Gospels ; so he appeared to their fathers in the form of an angel, in the first ages of the world, to reveal his will to them, as far as he then thought fit to have it imparted. In the first and most early days he took the name of GoD ALMIGHTY, by which name he was known to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob;k but. afterwards he called himself by a name more fully expressing his essence and deity, and was known to Moses by the name JEHOVAH.'
GOD ALMIGHTY at this appearance unto Abraham entered into covenant with him, promised him a
a Gen. xvi. ver. 16.
e Ver. 3. * Chap. xvii. ver. 1. See vol. i. b. 5. p.2 262.
i John i. 14. * Gen. xviii. 1.xxvii. 3. XXXV. 11. xlviii. 3. xlix. 25. Exodus vi. 3.
· Exod. vi. 3, & ii. 14.
son to be born of Sarai, repeated the promise of Caanan before made to him, and gave him fresh assurances of the favours and blessings designed for him and his posterity; but withal acquainted him that the descendants of the son whom Sarai should bear, should be heirs of the blessings promised to him. That Ishmael should, indeed, be a flourishing and happy man, that twelve princes should descend from him ; but that the covenant made at this time should be established with Isaac, whom Sarai should bear about a year after the time of this promise. Abram's name was now changed into Abraham, and Sarai's into Sarah, and circumcision was enjoined him and his family.
The same divine appearance (for Abraham called him the Judge of all the Earth,“) accompanied by two angels, was some little time after this seen again by him in the plains of Mamre, as he sat at his tentdoor in the heat of the day. They came into Abraham's tent, and were entertained by him, and atè with him,o and confirmed to him again the promise which had been made him of à son by Sarah; ånd after having spent some time with him, the two año gels P went towards Sodom; but the Lord continued with Abraham, and told him how he designed to detroy in as most terrible manner that unrighteous city. Abraham was here so highly favoured as to have leave to commune with God, and was permitted to inter
m Gen. xvii. • Ver. 8.
nGen. xviii. 25. p Ver. 12.
cede for the men of Sodom.' As soon as the LORD had left communing with Abraham, he went his way, and Abraham returned to his place.' The two angels beforo-mentioned came to Sodom at even, made a visit to Lot, and staid in his house all night;" where a monstrous violence was offered them by the wicked inhabitants of Sodom; upon which they acquainted Lot on what account they had been sent thither; and after they had ordered him, his wife and children and all his family to leave the place, about the time of sun-rising, or a little after,' the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and upon some other cities in the plain, fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven," and wholly destroyed all the inhabitants. Lot's wife was unhappily lost in this calamity; whether she only looked back, contrary to the express command of the angel,* or whether it may be inferred from our Saviour's mentioning her,y that she actually turned back, being unwilling to leave Sodom, and to go and live at Zoar ; God was pleased to make her a monument of his vengeance for her disobedience, and she was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot's sons-inlaw, who had married his daughters, refused to go with him out of Sodom ;therefore they and their wives perished in the city. Two of his daughters, who lived with him and were unmarried, went to Zoar, and were preserved. Lot lived at Zoar but a little while ; being afraid that Zoar also might some time or other be destroyed ; 4 therefore he retired with his two daughters, and lived in a cave upon a mountain, at a distance from all converse with the world. Ilis daughters grew uneasy at this strange retirement, and thinking that they should both die unmarried, from their father's continuing resolved to go on in this course of life, and so their father's name and family become extinct, they intrigued together, and imposing wine upon their father, went to bed to him, and were with child by him, and had each a son, called Moab and Ammon. The two children grew up, and in time came to have families ; and from these two sons of Lot the Moabites and the Ammonites were descended.
4 Gen. xviii. 23, &c. Chap. xix.
Ver. 23. * Ver. 17.
y Luke xvi. 3. • Ver. 14. + Ver. 15.
Ver. 33. * Gen. xix. 24. * 2 Gen. xix. 26. • Ver. 8.
About this time Abraham removed southward, and sojourned between Cadesh and Sbur at Gerar, a city of the Philistines; where he s pretended that Sarah was his sister, as he had formerly done in Egypt; for he thought the Philistines were a wicked people. Abimelech the king of Philistia intended to take Sarah to be his wife ; but it pleased God to inform him in a dream, that she belonged to Abraham. Abimelech appears to have been a man of eminent virtue, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had made a deep impression on him. He appealed to God, for the integrity of his heart, and the innocency of his intentions. He restored Sarah to her husband, and gave him sheep, oxen, men-servants and women
Gen. xix. ver. 30.
• Ver. 31, 32.