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If Ishmael had continued to live, in Canaan, he would, in all probability, after Abraham's death, have contested the inheritance with Isaac ; and, by this means, would have lost the chance of becoming a great nation in another country; and we cannot suppose that GoD would have suffered him to obtain the inheritance which he designed for Isaac. We may easily conceive, that Abraham's distress on this occasion was very great; and, had not the LoRD commanded him to yield to Sarah, there is reason to think he would have made an earnest opposition to her request, which would have given rise to domestic bickerings, subversive of peace and good order; neither could he have had the satisfaction of seeing Ishmael in the way of becoming a mighty nation. The good patriarch, therefore, considering himself as called upon to give a fresh instance of his faith in the Divine promises; without hesitation, dismissed a son tenderly be." loved, and a woman who had an undoubted right to his kindness. It is said, that Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away with no other provision than a little bread and a bottle of water. He knew that the firovidence of God was infinitely better than the most ample portion he could bestow, and did not presume to invade the province, which the Lord had graciously taken upon Himself. It seems as if Hagar had forgotten the promise which had been made to her before the birth of her son, or that would have kept her mind from despondency. Ishmael, though famishing with thirst, remembered the lessons of piety he had learned from his father, and called upon the Lord, who never faileth to help those that apply to Him in the time of their distress. Hagar was gently admonished to have confidence in God ; and, as a reward for her maternal tenderness,
was made instrumental to her son's recovery. Who
Who the AN Gel of The Lo RD was has been explained in a former section *. We find that in a short time Ishmael (who, when he left his father's house, was 16 or 17 years old) made so good use of his bow and arrows, that, under the blessing of God, he gained a comfortable support for himself and mother. Game was at that time very plentiful; and it is likely, that being so expert an archer, Ishmael was able to shoot a sufficient quantity to ex-> change with his neighbours for other necessaries. It is supposed that he made himself lord of the place where he fixed his abode; and that he was in no kind of necessity, or he would not have married, because the maintaining his wife would only have increased his distress,' if he met with difficulties in providing for himself alone. From this section, we learn to confide in the promises of God. Many there are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, in which we all have an interest; and we may depend upon it, the expectations they are designed to raise will not be disappointed, if, like Abraham and Sarah, we fulfil the conditions required on our part, which are comprized in faith and obedience. No part of Scripture is written in vain; we may therefore justly infer, from the mention of Sarah's being a nurse to Isaac, that this endearing office is a part of the maternal duty. The misfortune that befel Ishmael should be a lesson to young heofile, not to give way to impertinence, especially towards those on whom they depend for maintenance and support. Abraham's acquiescence with the Divine will instructs parents to submit to the dispensations of Providence, in cases where there is a necessity for sending
their children to seek their fortune in the world. It is * See Section xix.
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, they may implore for themselves the aid of the Load, and, like Ishmael, be heard.
Mothers are admonished, by this portion of Scripture, not to fall into despondency, as soon, as they see a. child in danger, as relief is often nearer at hand than they are apt to imagine; and mankind in general may. understand, from it, that what appear to be ruinous misfortunes, may in the end prove the foundations of prosperity and happiness, or
ABRA ham O'FFERETH. H.I.S. Son: 13 Avacs
From Genetir, Chaft. 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 am. 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 there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and sad. dled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and clave the wood for the burntoffering
offering, 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 2 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 band upon the kid, neither do thou ary 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 offered him up for a burnt offering, in the stead of his son.
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And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh :, as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LoR D it shall be seen. o Acd the Angel of the Lo R D called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lo R D, 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 Lo RD 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