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This promise, which we may consider as the beginning of a new period of prophecy, was two-fold, relating first to a temporal blessing, to be bestowed on Abram's descendants; and secondly, to a general blessing, to be conveyed through them to all the other nations of the earth.
Abram, without the least hesitation, immediately left his native home, journeying from place to place; and built an altar to the Loud, wherever he took up his abode, that he might fully express his faith, by offering the sacrifices ordained by the Lorp; and from this time he devoted himself entirely to the Lord God.
God's calling Abram, in the manner here related, is to be considered as an instance of His free grace or favour to mankind. We do not read that Abram had any claim to this distinction; but God knew that he would be faithful, and set a worthy example to the world: and the Scriptures teach us to regard Abram as a pattern of faith and obedience. In the first instance, he is exhibited to us as ready to follow the -light of Divine revelation. No sooner did the Lord God appear to him, and require him to leave his native country, than he obeyed, and went out, not knowing the place of hls destination *.—His ultimate hopes were fixed on a city, an eternal one, whose builder and maker is God f; and therefore he was not anxious about the concerns of this fluctuating world.
|t is supposed that Terah left Ur, because the people of Chaldea were such idolators, as entirely to neglect the worship of the true God, who was still adored by most nations of the earth, though instead of honouring the Lord, they made to themselves images or representations of the Deity, according to their own imagination.
As Abram was no more than seventy-five years aid, * See Heb. xi. 8, 9. f Ibid 10.
E 2 when when he left Haran, Sarai, who was the daughter of his youngest brother, must have been a young woman.
At the latter part of the chapter from whence this section is taken, it .is related, that Abram, being fearful that some of the Egyptians would be enamoured with his wife's beauty and kill him in order to "obtain her, desired Sarai to say she was his sister. Sarai obeyed him i in consequence of this, Pharaoli, king of Egypt, took her to his house, intending to make her his' wife, and the Lord sent plagues upon him and his family; but as soon as Abimelech knew that Sarai was Abram's wife, he returned her to her husband, and dismissed them from Egypt.
By what means the Lord directed Abram to Canaan is not related; but we may conjecture, with great probability, that the patriarch was guided by some visible token of the Divine presence, as his descendants were afterwards.
We find that Abram, after the Lord had called him, followed the religion of Noah; built altars to the Lord, acknowledged Him to be God, and offered sacrifices to Him alone. The calling of Abram may be considered as a kindness to the posterity of Shem, to whom the Lord had promised, by Noah, to be a God, in a peculiar manner*. *
Christians are taught, by the example of Abram, to direct their hopes. to the same heavenly country as he did; but without the aid of Divine revelation they cannot find the way to it. Happily for us, the same Lord, who was a guide to Abram, is ready to be our guide also. The Lord must not indeed be expected to appear to us as he did to Abram, nor is there occasion for Him to do so, because those purposes of Divine providence, for which the Lord so' particularly direct* See Section xi.
«d this good patriarch, have been completed; and the way to the heavenly country is exactly described in His fivrittin word; let us therefore study it with the utmost attention, and pay a ready obedience to those Divine commands which it contains, not suffering our worldly interest to attach us too strongly to the concerns of this transitory life.
7VE HISTORY OF ABRAM CONTINUED, GOD'S PROMISES AGAIN RENEWED.
From Genesis-, Chafi. xiii. / And Abrara went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich io cattle, in silver, and ingold.
And he went on his journeys from the south, even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai, unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flock* and herds, and tents. And the land was not able tobear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could, not dwell together.
And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle, and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled therAn the
land. - . ..L'-ii • V
And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, 1
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,
X pray thee, from roe: if thou wilt take to the left hand,.
E 3 then then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go the left.
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and' pitched his tent toward* Sodom.
. But the men of SoJcm were wicked, and sinners be-' fore the Lop D exceedingly. 1
And the Lord said unto Abram. after that Lot wasseparated from him, Lift up-now thine eyes,' and look from the place where' thou art, northward,-and south-ward, and eastward, and westward. •'
For all the land which thou seest,- to' thee will I giVe it, and to thy seed for ever.. i
And I will make thy seed "as the dust of the earth; so that if a man csn number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbe red:
Arise, walk through the land in the length of it, and in the breadth of it: for I will give it unto thee.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.;
The inhabitants of Canaan were not immediately driven away to make room for Abram; but from this time he had a right to consider the land as the inheritance of his posterity: however, he was contented with such a portion of it, as was sufficient for the maintenance of himself and his dependants; but it was, without doubt, c i Tery very comfortable to him to receive from the Supreme Governor of the world, a grant of country sufficient For the sustenance of the numerous posterity which "was promised to him. •. .
From this part of Abram's history, we should learn" to pay regard to religion, wherever we go: to be kind and obliging to relations, and to place a firm trust and confidence in the promises of God. The friendly and' courteous- behaviour of Abram to Lot, is highly worthy of imitation, as it was calculated to promote peace and harmony, which are too often destroyed by the dispute* of relations, and disagreements among their servants.
. SECTION XVI.
Abram's Covenant With Abimelech.
- • . -a * • •' •
i :v From Ginesis, Chap. xx.
An D Abram journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. ' And 'Abram said of Sarah his' wife, she lis my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerarsent and took Sarah.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by • night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken: for she is a man's wife. And Abimelech said, Loud, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother? In the integrity of my heart, and innocency of my hands, have I done this.
And God said unto him in a dream. Yea, 1 know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me.
Now, therefore, restore the man his wife; for he is a