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Remarks on the 24th Chapter of Genesis. 195 daughters of the Canaanites. But thou shalt go unto my country, to my kindred, (in Mesopotamia, where Nahor, the brother of Abraham, and his family after him, had settled) and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”
V.5.-How exemplary is Abraham's servant in his care to understand the extent of the promise he was about to make! We cannot be too careful in making a promise, but, when once made, the thing promised, however inconvenient the performance of it may be to ourselves, is no longer within our own power, unless it be an action clearly contrary to the will of God. In such a case, as we had no right to make such an engagement, so neither have we to keep it; the law of God standing before any voluntary determination of ours, as we are taught in Numbers, xxx. where the daughter is released from a vow made to God himself, if her father disallow it, the command, “ Honour thy father and thy mother” coming before her voluntary engageinent. And this is a point that deserves to be attended to, for I have met with some persons ignorant enough to imagine, that they are bound to abide by a promise or declaration opposed to the laws of God; as, for instance, that they will not go to such a house, or even church, where they would meet with a person with whom they have been at variance, and think themselves right in adhering to it, only, as they say, for their words sake, after they see that it was wrong, and are sorry they have done it: whereas God's commands to " forgive one another," and not to 6 forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” are to be observed, before any vow or promise that we may make. But although it be less criminal to break an unlawful vow, than to keep it, as in the case of Herod and John the Baptist, yet sin is committed either way; therefore be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter
any thing before God.” Before we promise, we should be sure that the thing which we engage to do is according to the will of God. It is a greater sin to make unlawful vows, than to break them.
V.7.-" Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." Psalm xxxvii. 5.
V. 10.-"All the goods of his master were in his hand.” The kind of servant this steward was to Abraham, is common to this day in the east. All the great men have a head-servant, who takes the management and superintendence of their affairs so entirely, that, like Potiphar (Gen. xxxix. 6.) they know not ought they have, besides the bread that they do eat, and the horse whereon
they ride, and the gun wherewith they shoot. · And it is usual for this, as well as other servants, (even among the European residents) to call themselves born in your house, not that they literally are so; this Eliezer was of Damascus, and therefore clearly could not have been born in Abraham's house, but they mean to convey, by the expression, that they are entirely devoted to you, and consider themselves as much in subjection to you, as if they were slaves born under your roof. In performance indeed they come very far short of what they profess, as may be expected of Heathens,
V. 11.-" He made his camels kneel down,” to rest themselves., .
V, 12.-In addressing God, as the Lord God of his master Abraham, he made God's promise, and engagement, to bless Abraham, the ground of his petition, the reason why he expected his prayer on behalf of his master to be heard.
V. 12–14.-We have here an example of acceptable prayer. I do not mean that we are warranted from it, to ask that a sign may be given, that a particular petition shall be granted us, such interference was limited to the period when the Remarks on the 24th Chapter of Genesis. 197 canon of Scripture was as yet incomplete. But it shews what prayer is, that it is in 5 every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, making our request known unto God," asking him from our heart for any thing that we feel to be necessary to us. But how different from this, are the ideas of many people, concerning this important duty. Their notion of prayer is not that it is asking for any thing, but that it is something like a service done to the Almighty, for which he is bound to shew them favour.
V. 14:-The qualities which the steward thought desirable for the wife of Isaac, are clearly shewn by his prayer. A woman must possess much firmness and activity, must shew a willingness to oblige, and be of a merciful disposition ; such a wife is well described in the book of Proverbs “ one who will work willingly with her hands, who will stretch out her hand to the poor, and reach forth her hands to the needy: opening her mouth with wisa dom; and having the law of kindness in her tongue.” Prov. xxxi.
V. 22.-Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel ; but let it be the Hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, wbich is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned them selves, 1 Pet. iii. 3-5. 6 After this manner," &c. Now we see that one of these holy women was adorned with wearing of gold, therefore when the Apostle says, “whose adorning” 6 let it not be that outward adorning," &c. he does not appear to forbid the wearing of ornament, where the station in life requires it, but teaches that it should not be a thing on which Christians set their affections, or value themselves, and that their moderation should appear in this, as in other respects, This is one of the things to which the precepts apply. “ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” It is not “ lovely or of good report” that a young man or woman, should shew, by their extreme attention to dress, that their minds are much set on outward appearances. St. Paul expects those who “ labour, working with their own hands, to give to him that needeth ;" but how will this be done, if all that can be spared from support, is laid out in finery. It is shocking to see how some young women will so deck themselves out, while their parents are without even the necessaries of life. It is a good rule about dress, that it should not consume too much thought, too much time, or too much money.
V. 24.-Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel, Abraham's nephew, his brother Nahor's son. He probably was dead, for Laban her brother evidently acts as head of the family, and no father is spoken of, as consulted in the disposal of her: the Bethuel mentioned V. 50, is probably a younger brother of Laban's. (V. 60.)
V.27.-Dependence on the providence of God, is as much shewn by our thankfulness for, and acknowledging of, his hand in the gift when bestowed, as by our previous supplications.
V. 31.-“ Every man is a friend to him that · giveth gifts :" Laban's reception of Jacob, though a near relation, was not so cordial; but Jacob had only his staff in bis hand, and Laban was not one of those who “ do good hoping for nothing again.”
V.57, 58.-Rebekah's relations considered her marriage with Isaac as an advantageous proposal, yet they did not force it upon her. As children
A Greek Martyr.
199 ought not to marry without their parent's consent, so parents ought not to wish them to marry without their own.
T. B. P.
A GREEK MARTYR. We read with great interest of the early Christians, who were willing to suffer the most cruel deaths rather than give up their religion, and of those, in our own country, who suffered for the Protestant faith. The following account, from a traveller in our own days, shews us the true spirit of a Christian martyr.
A Mahometan * had prevailed, by artifice, upon a Greek Christian, about 25 years old, in his service, to give up the Christian faith, and embrace the tenets of Mahomet; upon which, he wore the dress of the Mahometans, and became like one of them. When the time of his service was over, the Greek departed, and was absent from the place about twelve months, when his conscience having reproached him for the rash apostacy of which he had been guilty, he went to the Turkish Judge, threw down his turbant, declared he had been deceived, and that, as he had been originally born, so would he still live and die under the name of a Christian. On this occasion every effort was made, and great rewards offered to prevail on him still to continue a Mahometan. No act more raises the anger of a Musselman t, than that any one should give up the practice of the rules laid down in the Koran f.
The Greek, however, refused every bribe, and
* Mahomedans are the followers of Mahomet, the false prophet of Arabia.
+ Mahometans wear a turban.