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often astonishing to see the success of those who set out with very small portions; but as miraculous interposition is not now to be expected, parents should do their utmost towards providing for all their offspring; and then trust them to the protection of Heaven ; but above all,.it should be their care to season the minds of their children with early piety, that in the day of distress, when they-may chance to be exposed to perils, by land or by sea, and far distant from their native home, theyt may implore for themselves the aid of. the Lord, and, like Ishraael, be heard.
Mothers are admonished, by this portion of Scrip, ture, not to fall into despondency, as soon as they see a child in danger, as relief . is often nearer at hand thanthey are apt to imagine; and mankind in general mayunderstand from- it, that what appear to be ruinous misfortunes, may in the end prove the foundation of prosperky and happiness. A
ABRAHAM OFFES.ETH HIS SON ISAAC
From Genes ii, Chap. xxii.
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Behold here I airu
And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him diere for a burnt offi-ring upon one' of the mountains which I will teU thee of.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and sad. died his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and clave the wood for the burntoffering •ffeiing, and rose up, and went unto, the place of which God had told him.
Then on the third day Abraham lift up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide you here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife: and they went both of them together.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering; so they went both of them together.
And they came to the place which God had told him of: and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order ; and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham ; and he said, Here am I.
And he said, Lay not thy lwnd upon the kid, neither do thou any thing unto him, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and Abraham offeied him up for' a burnt offering, in the stead of his son.
Vol. I. G And
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh:yis it is said to this day, In the mount of the Loud it shall be seen.
Acd the Angel of the Loud called unto Abraham cut of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.
And it came to pass, after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;
Huz his first-born, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
And Bethuel was the father of Rebekah.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
It is said, that "God did tem/it Abraham," by which we are to understand no more than that he tried him; for it appears from the sequel, that the Lord had no design of leading Abraham into sin.' God cannot be tempted to do evil, neither doth He at any time tempt men in this sense of the word*.
* Jam. i. 13, 14.
The mountain, on which Abraham was <wmmanded to offer his son Isaac, was the same on which the Temple of Solomon was afterwards built.
A greater trial could not have been proposed for any human- being, than to require an affectionate father to sacrifice, as beasts were sacrificed, a son, in whom the hopes of his family's becoming a great nation were centered; yet we find Abraham, with the utmost composure, making every requisite preparation for this purpose.
The good patriarch had' so Jong been accustomed to trust in God, that faith in the Divine promises was become a settled habit, a fixed principle in his nature. The repeated assurances, which the Lord had give* him, that in Isaac his seed should be called, left him no room to fear that he should eventually be deprived of him. It is impossible to. tell what passed in Abraham's mind while he pursued his journey; but there is reason to think, from what he said to his yonng men, and from his answer to Isaac, that Faith produced Hope, and that he regarded God's command as a trial, not as a temptation.
When arrived at the place to which he was directed to go, Abraham saw no lamb provided, as he seems to have, expected. The command of the Lord was express, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou Invest, and offer him for a burnt offering. A painful con•> flict, no doubt, arose in Abraham's bosom. There were a thousand considerations to deter him from killing his ton. How could he bear to part with his darling child? What would Isaac's poor afflicted mother say? In what light would the world regard this inhuman action? And what would" become of the hopes of a numerous seed, if the branch that was to produce them should be cut off by his own unnatural hand? In opposition to G 2 these these weighty reasons, the promises of God presented themselves to Abraham's mind, with a thankful remembrance of the numberless blessings that had been conferred on him. Could he disobey such a gracious Being? Gratitude forbade this. Did lie not know, that the power of God was infinite? Could he then dare to offend him? He had at first received Isaac as a gift from God, out of the common course of nature: Who could tell, but that the Lord might design to shew forth his power, by raising his son from the dead? At all events, it was his indispensable duty to obey; for, besides the natural claim which the Creator. has to the obedience of his creatures, Abraham had entered into a solemn covenant to serve the Lord with a perfect heart; he therefore determined to fulfil the Divine will, trusting to the infinite mercy of God to save him from the miseries that threatened him. Animated by piety, and supported by the hope, that his son, who v/as now devoted to God, would be given to him again, even from the dead*, Abraham forbore to expostulate, or to entreat the Lord to alter his Divine purposes, but took the knife in his hand, and.lifted up his arm to give the fatal stroke. This God regarded as an evident proof that his faith was an active principle, not resting in the inward belief of his own mind, but ready to shew itself to the world in such waris as were necessary to prove his fear of Gon, anti reliance on those Divine promises, which had been vouchsafed to him. The purpose, was now fully answered, for which the Divine command had been given; and the Lord shewed, that he was far from wishing for the death. of Isaac, by desiring Abraham not to do any thing unto him. • .