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will-make nations of tliee: and kings shall come out of
And I will establish ray covenant between me and
thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an Everlasting Covenant ; to be a GOD unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
And I-will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan,for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant, therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee, in "their generations. .'' •
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me, and you, and thy seed after thee: Every male child amongst you shall be circumcised. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised; and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
And it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you. And the uncircumcised man-child shall be cut off from his people: he hath broken my covenant.
And God said unto Abraham, as for Sarai thy wife, thou shnlt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations ; kings of people shall be of her.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years, old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
And Abraha*i said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear a son. indeed
deed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly ; twelve princes shall proceed from him ; and I will make him a great nation.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised them, in the self-same day as God had saidiunto him. •
And Abraham was ^ninety years old and nine when he was circumcised. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
In a former section, we read of a Temporal Covenant, which the Lord God made with Abram; we here,find the Lord appearing unto this patriarch again, in order to make a General and Everlasting Covenant with him, or rather to confirm that at first made with Adam and Eve, and afterwards established with Noah, and from . him transferred to Shem, from whom Abram descended. - .
Abram was himself well convinced, that the Lord was the Almighty God ; but the Lord foresaw, that persons in succeeding generations would form erroneous opinions concerning Him ; and for this reason (as we
may presume) expressly declared, that he whw wst
going to- enter into covenant with- Afcrint waw God, and aot a; crtalnrn.
It was reofuired of Abra»n>, that he? should be fUerfM, or entirely devoted to (tor- A&Mitjsj'fV' Go** i forsaking all manner of false wowfeifc •!
We have reason to suppose*- tha«, a*i tins' enne, the Dm«! Dm Ag# wa* manifested with resplendent glory, for Abramftll ort his face in bumble adoration; •!
It i« observable, thati after having repeated-' the pttJi mises of the former covenant,. and changed Aferam's name to Abraham, which was .more grand-and honourable*, the Lord graciously proceeded w establish' the covenant, and extend it to spiritual blessings, for sb we may understand the expression,/ si«<'/ a Go© f* thee\ and to thy seed'after thee. It was yet a long time before Abram's race could be multiplied to so great a degree as is here promised; and.many generations'would successively pass away, before the heathen nations>were to he driven out; we may therefore conclude, that AEraham looked (as the Apostle to the Hebrews expresses it) for a better country, that is an heavenly; wherefore God tatted himself their Gob, having prepared for them a city in his eternal kmgdom\.
This is thenrst passage of Scripture, in which the Lord is styled the God of Abraham; it will therefore be proper to considerwhat construction may be put on this- expression. The text just quoted, implies that it meant something more than: the favour of Go D in this life, to the patriarch and his seed; and our S'^viOtWr, in his discourse with the Sadduceesj:, intimates very
* Abram signifies High Father;—Abraham, Father of a great Multitude!
•f Hcb. xi. 16. J Luke xx. 37, 38.
Vol. I. F strongly, strongly, that it has a reference to a future state. Whether Abraham had any expectation of a resurrection from the dead, is not expressly told us; but it is certain, that he believed the power of God to be equal to the bringing about such an event.
Having promised such great and extensive privileges to Abraham and his posterity, God next proceeded to appoint a rite, by which they should be distinguished as his peculiar people. This rite was to serve as a token of their faith and obedience: it consisted in making a mark in their flesh.
. That Sarai might have an equal dignity with her husband, her name was also changed*.
The good old Patriarch, pleased with the thoughts that Sarah would partake the honour intended for him, could not restrain his joy; but, recollecting thai he had already a son, parental affection pleaded in his heart in favour of him, and burst from his lips in the fervent wish— O that Ishnael might live before Thee!
To reconcile Abraham's mind to the disappointment of Ishmael'6 being sug planted, God graciously promised that he also should be very prosperous, and possess both riches and honour; one distinction was however reserved for him, who was yet unborn, namely, the blessing which related to the promised seed of the woman.
11 will be proper to remark here, that the particular person among Abraham's numerous posterity, to whom the distinguishing inheritance was to descend, was fixed by the sovereign will of God, and not left to Abraham's
* Sarai signifies a Princess; Sarah, a Princess or Mother of many nations. In those early ages, the heads of families had the supreme command over theirdescendants and domestics; and they were properly called Princes and Princesses.
pleasure. pleasure *; The Lord reserved to Himself the pri vilege of determining what nation should be His peculiar people.
From this section we are instructed to acknowledge the Lord to be the Almightx God; therefore, let us on no account degrade Him in our minds, but humble ourselves before him, with thanksgivings for His merciful condescension in making a covenant with Abraham, in which, as we may understand from the New Testament, all shall have an interest, who, like Abraham, believe in the Lord, sall on His Holy name, and obey those commands, which be has made known by . divine revelation.
The rite of circumcision is now abolished; but we have baptism in its stead, which is the token and pledge of a covenant conveying better promises. If it was necessary for Abraham and his family, and their descendants, to comply with the first, it must be our indispensable duty to comply with the latter. And as infants were to be initiated into the one, it is a natural inference that they should be partakers of the othsr. Can children too early in life be numbered amongst God's peculiar people, possessing the pledges of His
And the Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plains ofMamre: and he sat in the tent-door in the heat of the day.
And he lift up his eyes, and looked, and lo, three mes stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to