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be had in reverence of all them that are round about him." The most devout'soul has the nearest access to God, will fall lowest before God, because it knows most of Him, and therefore better understands the infinite distance between the Creator and the creature, and better appreciates his amazing condescension in permitting such creatures as we áre, to call upon his name, and enter into his presence. How great is the difference between the manner in which holy and upholy persons utter that great and fearful name the Lord our God. You may know frequently whether a person has any real devotion, by the manner in which His name is pronounced ; whether it occur in his word, in prayer, or in conversation. It is shocking to witness the hasty and irreverent carelessness, with which it is often uttered.
V.5.-Abram signifies" high or exalted father.” Abraham, “father of a great multitude.” This promise of an innumerable posterity was now repeated to Abraham for the fourth time.
V. 7-14, The covenant mentioned in these verses, is what is called Acts vii. 8. the Covenant of circumcision, that is, the Covenant of which circumcision was the token (v. 11.) on God's part, of performance; on man's, of acceptance. It appears to have borne a two-fold signification : on the one hand, to have been a token of the promise to Abraham and his seed, of temporal blessings in the land of Canaan.-On the other to have been a seal or pledge, or voucher of the spiritual blessings received by faith, namely, deliverance from the penalty and the dominion of sin. He received (says St. Paul) the sign of circumcision, a.seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised. And the expressions, “circumcision of the heart," (Deut. xxx. 6. Jer. vi. 10. and ix. 26.) and “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh;"! (Col. i. 11.) shew that it also re
presented the purification of the heart from 'sin, that putting off of the old man, and putting on the new man, which is the peculiar blessing of the believer.-As far as respected the temporal blessings of the land of Canaan, the mere external rite was sufficient. As respected spiritual blessings, it could be of no benefit to any but a believer; and the reason is plain; to the unbeliever it seals a privilege, under a name and character, to which, on examination and proof, he will not be found to answer. " He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God.” Regularly to have received the outward sign, satisfied men; it was all they had a right to demand in order to a participation in Church privileges, but to have the praise of God—to be acknowledged by him, the circumcision of the heart was necessary:
. V. 14. - The soul that doeth aught presumptu. ously, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land, the same reproacheth the Lord, and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. (Num. xv. 30, 31.) Presumption in the Old Testament, answers to what is called wilful sin in the New. It is acting without the warrant of God's word. God here appointed circumcision as the law of admission to State and Church privileges among the Jews. If any Jew despised and neglected it, he was to be cut off from his people. So, God has set forth Christ, as the way of life in the New Testament; whoever despises and neglects the salvation which is in him, is said by St. Paul, in Heb. x. to be guilty of wilful sin. "If we şin wilfully, after
we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more (no other) sacrifice for sins, but à certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." And he draws out the comparison, and explains that he means by wilful sin, the rejection of Christ, in the 28th and 29th verses. “He that despised Moses law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses : of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the Covenant wherewith He (that is, Christ) was sanctified-set apart to be the Saviour of sinners-an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace;"--who enlightened his mind to perceive the truth, which after all he rejected.
V. 15, 16.--Abraham was now informed that it was Sarai, who was to be the mother of the seed to whom the promises were made; and her name was changed from Sarai, which signifies “my Princess” great to Abraham only—to Sarah, “ a Princess," great in the eyes of others, as a mother of nations, and the ancestor of kings.
V. 17.-One is at first ready to infer, from this verse, that Abraham doubted of the power of God, to accomplish his promise in a manner so contrary to the common order of things, as by giving to him, who was nearly an hundred years old, a child by Sarah who was ninety ; but from the Epistle to the Romans we learn, that his laughter and his language, were not those of unbelief, but of adoring, admiring gratitude. . It is in speaking of the promises here made (Rom. iv. 16-21.) that St. Paul calls Abraham the father-(or pattern, or instructor; Gen. iv. 21.) of all believers-(according as it is written in Gen. xvii. 4.--I have made thee a father of many nations) before or in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not, as though they were.” Calling Abraham a father of many nations, when, as yet, the child, through whom they were to come, was unborn.' And Å braham
against hope believed in hope that he might be. come the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken (Gen. xv. 5.), so in number as the stars shall thy seed be.” 6. And, being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb."--He did not look at the difficulty, or as one might say, the impossibility of the thing-He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was able also to perform." All he considered was the truth and power of the promiser : and this is faith ; the full persuasion, that what God has promised, he is able also to perform. This is why faith is so much extolled in Scripture, because it honours the word and power of God. And it is compared to gold, because, as the more gold a man has, the more of any desired commodity he is able to purchase, so the more faith a man has, the more power to do and to suffer the will of God, the more of God's strength will he bring into his soul. "According to your faith, be it unto you" is 'God's rule in the distribution of his gifts: and, if your faith is weak, the way to strengthen it, is to look, not at your own weakness, and the difficulties in the way, but, like Abraham, at the power of God. All we havé to consider in any question is, whether our faith has the warrant of God's word; and if we find that it has, we may go' confidently forward, with Abraham, "against hope, believing in hope," in the absence of all that seems fitted to nourish hope, when every thing seems contrary to it-still believing in hope of the fulfilment of what we with patience wait for.
Whatever spiritual good you stand in need of, ask it of God, believing that you will obtain your petition ; for his own word declares, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark xi. 24,
O LORD God, who hast said, ask, and ye shall have; seek, and ye shall find; help me now pleading the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to draw near unto thee. Thou, Lord, knowest what I have been, thou knowest what I am, how indifferent and careless about eternal things, how unstable, how destitute of repentance, how uncertain even to my: self, whether I am approaching thee in earnest and sincerity, or not. Yet to whom can I go but to Thee? Who can shew mercy but Thee? What can help me but thy Spirit ? O Lord Jesus, who camest to save even the chief of sinners, have mercy upon me. Pour out thy Spirit upon me. Give ne such a true view and feeling of the misery and danger of my neglecting Thee, as may make it my chief desire to obtain thy salvation. Make me to see myself in some measure, as Thou seest me.
Take away from my heart, the hardness and insensibility to the declarations of thy word, respecting the awful situation of those who forget Thee; and make me to abhor myself for my iniquities, to remember continually that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Lord, thou perfectly knowest my utter weakness, my love of the world, the deceitfulness of my heart. O make me sincere in desiring to be helped by Thee; make me willing to give up the plea