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And, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation : for, when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
V. 3.-And Abraham rose up early in the morning. The ready obedience of Abraham, on this and on other trying occasions, is very beautiful and worthy of imitation, and shows the integrity and singleness of his mind, and the steadfastness of his purpose to do the will of God. There is a kind of double dealing, which, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, we often practise upon ourselves. When a difficult duty lies before us, like the old prophet in 1 Kings xiii. 14–17. we take counsel with those who will be likely to persuade us that we need not be so anxious to perform the will of God; but in Abraham there was nothing of this kind, he sought no excuse for delay, he consulted no one likely to shake his resolution ; with the Psalmist he might say, I made haste, I delayed not to keep thy commandments. The composure and quietness of Abraham's mind is also very remarkable; no perturbation or distraction seems to have betrayed his purpose to Isaac, before the necessary time. “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth on thee.”
V.-5.-“ Abide ye here," &c. The presence of the servants, their clamour and distress, would have made the appointed task more difficult.—" Let us lay aside every weight, (every thing of whatever kind that would hinder us in our appointed course) and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” · V. 10.-“ Took the knife to slay his son.” The strongest instance of obedience that it is possible to conceive, and achieved by the same powerful principle by which he had left his own country, and sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange land. * By faith, says the Apostle, Abraham, when
Remarks on the 22nd Chapter of Genesis. 3 he was tried, offered up Isaac: (in purpose, he really offered him up, for his hand was actually lifted up to slay, when he received the command to forbear;) and he that had received the promises, offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. Abraham believed that, rather than the promises of God should fail, he would raise up Isaac from the ashes of the altar. So strong was Abraham's belief in the faithfulness of him who had said, “in Isaac shall thy seed be called,” that he took the knife to slay his son. He put an end to the hopes of the blessing promised through the race of Isaac. Upon the bare word of promise he went through with his difficult task, because he believed that God was able to raise him up even from the dead. If a professed belief has not an effect upon our conduct, this shews that it is a profession and not a truth. If I indeed believe that it is the sufferings of Christ, God manifest in the flesh, that rescue my soul from everlasting misery, I must love him ; and gratitude will lead me to love and follow his commandments, and to hate and avoid that sin which he hates, and for which he suffered. It is not possible in the nature of things that it should be otherwise, for we all know that when we love any of our fellow-creatures, it is easy to deny ourselves for them, and that we have a pleasure in giving up our wills to theirs :-and we cannot with our hearts believe, that the greatest possible benefit has been purchased for us by Christ, at the greatest possible cost to him, without love to him springing up in our hearts. So that we may well receive the doctrine of the Scripture, and of our church, which speaks of our being saved by faith. But no man has a right to think himself a believer, unless he leads a holy life. “ He that saith he abideth in hin, ought himself also so to
walk, even as he walked. He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
But there is another and most important view, in which we must consider this offering of Isaac; and that is, as shadowing forth the love of Him, who “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” Did Abraham give “his only Isaac whom he loved ?” “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” As the offering up of Isaac was the strongest proof that Abraham could give of love to God, so God's gift of his Son is always spoken of in Scripture, as the most wonderful instance of his tender mercy and compassion. “In this was mani. fested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." But there is this wide difference between the two cases. Abraham's offering of his son, was at the requirement of his Supreme Benefactor, but God commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. “ Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Well may the Apostle call this a “ love that passeth knowledge.” Look at it, sinner, and let the goodness of God lead thee to repentance; look at it, and ask thyself what must those wages of sin be, to redeem thee from which, it pleased the Father to bruise and to put to grief " his elect, in whom his soul delighted ?” Look at it, child of affliction, and say, • He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for me, how shall he not with him also freely give me all things ?
But there are other instances of correspondence, which we must not, pass over. The willingness with which Isaac yielded up his life, when he, in
Remarks on the 22nd Chapter of Genesis. 5 his full strength, might readily have resisted his aged father, shadows out the voluntary nature of the sacrifice of Christ. “No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."-"He loved us, and gave himself for us."6. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Again, as Isaac received anew as it were, the gift of life, after having been three days under sentence of death; so Christ was three days under the power of the grave.
V. 13.-In this verse, the type changes; Isaac represents the sinner, about to suffer the penalty of a broken law; and the ram, him who delivered us from the curse of the law, being made accursed for us."
V. 14.-" And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh," that is, the Lord will see or provide. And the providence of God on this occa. sion gave rise * to a saying, which was in use up to the time when Moses wrote the history, and appears to have meant, “ that, in our greatest difficulties, God will provide for us.”
V. 17.—And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." Till the gates of a city are forced, the enemy cannot enter, therefore, to possess the gates of any one, signifies, in Scripture, to overcome them; and this promise relates not only to the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, but also to his spiritual seed, to the Church of Christ : for, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. It is so applied in the Gospel of St. Luke, and in the Epistle to the Hebrews. In the Gospel of St. Luke, Zacharias adoring God for the approaching fulfilment
* As it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
of his promise of a Redeemer, declares that it was " in remembrance of his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.” (Luke i. 68–75.) And, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul tells us, that
when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by Himself; saying, surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” “ Wherein-in which thing, namely, the certainty of his purpose to bless ;-God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath : that by two immutable things, (the oath and the promise) in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”—Heb. vi. 13. : ill
T. B. P.
REFLECTIONS ON THE NEW YEAR.'
Gen. xlvii. 8. At the beginning of a new year, it is highly proper, and should be our custom, to think over the events of the past; to consider what account we shall be able to give to our Creator and our Judge, of the manner in wbich we have spent it; and to look forward, in the hope of attaining to greater watchfulness in future. Every one of us should ask himself the question put by Pharaoh, and say, “how old am I?” How many years of life have been already given me; and, entering, as I am, upon a new term, what ought to be my feelings for the present, and