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Sir Henry Rawlinson on the Moabite In-
December 1, 1870.
The Prophecies of Zechariah, 10, 40, 70, 95,
THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
JEHOVAH commanded Abraham to slay his son Isaac, and He promised him to multiply his seed. Abraham obeyed the command, and he believed the promise. He did both by faith. The key to and the spring of his life is faith; all he accomplished he obtained by it, and whenever he stumbled, involved himself in difficulties, and endangered the safety of Sarah; he was weak in faith. It is necessary to remind one another of this great fact, lest we should separate the fruits from the root, and admire him on account of his unselfishness, courage, and tenderheartedness, losing sight of the root on which the precious fruits grew. I fully admit that Abraham excels in all those noble virtues whereby he adorns his profession, and most assuredly all that glory in being his children should be of the same mind which was in him, the father of the faithful; yea, one might be fully justified to doubt, if not to deny the excellency of the faith of Abraham, if he was found to be lacking these virtues in his relation to man; still it holds true that they are only manifestations of a hidden life, the fruits of what God has planted in the heart of Abraham, the result of his faith, which faith is not a meritorious act or work, but a gift of God, that enabled him to accept whatever God in sovereign mercy vouchsafed unto him.
It is impossible to please God without faith. True faith is God's gift, and yields fruits to God's glory. This we maintain against the unrighteousness of the unbeliever and self-satisfied philosopher, and against the self-righteous Pharisee, who is to be found in the synagogue as well as in the Church of Rome, and among nominal Protestants. Abraham left all for the Lord's sake, and VOL. IV.-NO. XXXVII.
obeyed Him in all things. To God he gave the first place in his heart, to His authority he bowed implicitly, and compared with His preciousness he counted all things for nothing. However, even of Abraham it holds true that he was not saved by his works, but by grace, for the Spirit testifies of him when pleading with Israel, "Thy first father hath sinned," (Isa. xliii. 27;) hence we must not admire Abraham, but bless the God of Abraham, who called him from an idolatrous family and gave such wonderful power to a man of like passions with ourselves. Still there is something so grand and glorious about the royal attitude of Abraham and his never self-seeking faith, that one- -I at least
frankly confess guilty-cannot look at him without admiring him, without feeling deeply humbled in his presence.
Let me briefly place before you what Abraham had to overcome in his heart before he could stretch out his hand against Isaac his only son, his beloved. The command of Jehovah seemed to be in direct opposition to an antecedent law of God, which forbade the shedding of blood (ix. 5, 6). Well might Abraham try to excuse himself, and set this command aside, declaring that He who hates robbery could not and would not delight in murder for a burnt-offering. Besides, God gave him no reason whatever for this unnatural deed. When Ishmael was to be cast out, a sufficient reason was assigned, but here Abraham was to kill, and Isaac was to be killed, and neither of them knew wherefore. Abraham could have acquiesced easily in the command of God, if Isaac had to die as a martyr to the faith, or as a ransom for an innocent, righteous man; yea, even if he had to be slain as a rebel against God's au