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way of preventing animosities and jealousies amongst them. We find, by the account that is here given us of the years of Abraham's life, that the Divine promise" respecting this particular, was faithfully fulfilled, for he lived to a good old age, considering that the period of man’s life was greatly contracted after the flood. It is said, that he was gathered to his feofile. This expression is synonymous with that in the prophecy, Thou shalt go to thy fathers, and cannot allude to the interment of his body, because his fathers were buried in a distant part of the world. Having brought the history of Abraham to a period, and seen that he was faithful to the Lok D, and that the Lord was true to all his promises respecting him, let us emulate the example of the good Patriarch, that we may be reckoned among his children. The history of Abraham abounds with wonderful events, and exhibits the character of this good man in different points of view. We sometimes find him guilty of faults, which shew that he was subject to the infirmities of human nature ; but it is proved by a variety of instances, that his faith in God's promises, and obedience to the Divine commands, were such, as justly entitle him to be called the Father of the Faithful ; and it is this part of his character that is proposed to our imitation. Let us then imitate the good Patriarch, that we may at length obtain (through the infinite mercy of Gop) a share of the blessings provided as the reward of faith and obedience by Him who changeth not: ; neither will he break his covenant, or alter the thing that is gone out of His mouth. The Lo R D hath sworn, and it shall come to pass ; He hath purposed, and it shall stand, that in the seed of Alraham all the mations of the earth shall be blessed. _2^
* Gen. xv. 15. + Mal. iii. 6. Jam. i. 17. towarm,
AND it came to pass, after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac ; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi. And Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare, had twelve sons, and these are their names: Nebaioth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles ; twelve princes according to their nations. And Ishmael and his sons dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, in the way to Assyria. And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years; and he gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people; and he died in the presence of all his brethren.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We find from this account of the family of Ishmael, that the lèivine Promise made to . Abraham concerning him, was literally fulfilled, for he had twelve sons who were princes, and a great nation proceeded from him, which has existed in an independent state down to the present time, called now Arabs. f It orears, that Isaac and Ishmael lived in harmony f together.
together, as they united in the pious office of giving honourable burial to their father. Neither had Ishmael any cause to envy the temporal firosherity of his brother, for having the advantage of being born so many years before him, his family had multiplied greatly, and was become of consequence in the world, before Isaac had any children grown up. - --
It is related of Ishmael, that he died in the firesence of all his brethren. Before his birth, it was predicted of him, that he should be a wild man; that his hand would be against every one, and every one's hand against him ; and that he should dwell in the firesence of all his brethren. We do not read of any particular contests, which Ishmael had with the other descendants of Abraham; but it may be inferred from these passages, that having permission from God to dwell in a certain part of the world, he and his posterity resolutely maintained possession of it, and were blessed with success, in spite of the invasions and opposition which the natives of the adjacent countries might think fit to make, to prevent their establishment. . Of the present race of Arabs, who are supposed to be the original descendants of Ishmael, it may literally be said that their hands have ever been against every one's, and every one's hand against them; and yet they have continued to live in the presence of all their brethren, for they were never wholly subdued, even by the greatest conquerors of the earth: but it appears like injustice to Ishmael and his sons, to suppose, that they were robbers by profession, because the present wild Arabs are so: it is much more reasonable and candid to imagine, that the pretence of seizing the property of others, as a lawful right derived from their progenitor, is a corruption of later times. The LoRD would not have placed any set of people in a situation where they should be under a necessity of practising
Vol. I. H immorality,
immorality; much, less, a son of Abraham, one on whom . He had promised to bestow an extraordinary blessing... If the Ishmaelites had a large tract of country to themselves, as the Scriptures inform us they had, there was no occasion for them to injure others, for their own territories were sufficient to afford them af. fluence. Abraham lived to see the sons of Isaac fifteen years old, , : ... It is a great confirmation of the truth of the prophecies in general, to see so ancient a one fulfilling at this very time. How wonderful it is to think that there should exist a Being so infinitely wise, as to see at once the beginning and the end of all things, even before they are created 1 and such a Being is God.
AND there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And the Lord appeared unto I aac, and said, Go not down into Egypt: dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee: for unto thee and unto thy seed I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father:
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven; and I will give unto thy seed all these countries: and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commapdments, my statutes, and my kaws. - t
And Isaac went unto Abimelech, king of the Philistimes, unto Gerar. And Abimelech the king charged his servants, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife, shall surely be put to death. - f, Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundred fold: and the Lo R D blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great. - ... . . . . For he had possessions of flocks, and possessions of herds, and great stores of servants: And the Philistines. envied him. For all the wells which his father's serwants had digged in the days of Abraham his father,
the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.
And Abimelech said unto Isaac,
Go from us, for thou art much mightier than we.
And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. - - . . " And Isaac digged again the wells of water which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham : and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. * * , And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Cerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek, because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also ; and he called the name of it Sitnah. ” And he removed from thence, and digged another well, and for that they strove not; and he called the name of it Rehoboth : and he said, for now the Lord
hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
H 2 And