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Before CHRIST

1898.

Before CHRIST

1898.

1898.

Abraham and Ishmael are circumcised. GENESIS. Abraham entertaineth three angels.

21 But my covenant will I esta- money of the stranger, were circum-
blish with Isaac, which Sarah shall cised with him.
bear unto thee at this set time in the

CHAP. XVIII.
next year.
22' And he left off talking with | 1 Abraham entertaineth three angels. 9 Sarah

is reproved for laughing at the strange pro-
him, and God went up from Abra-

mise. 17 The destruction of Sodom is re-
ham.

vealed to Abraham. 23 Abraham maketh
23 And Abraham took Ishmael intercession for the men thereof.
his-son, and all that were born in his A him in the plains of Mamre : and
house, and all that were bought with
his money, every male among the he sat in the tent door in the heat of
men of Abraham's house; and cir- the day ;
cumcised the flesh of their foreskin

2 . And he lift up his eyes and a Hebr. 13. 2.
in the selfsame day, as God had said looked, and, lo, three men stood by
unto him.

him: and when he saw them, he ran 24 And Abraham was ninety years to meet them from the tent door, and old and nine, when he was circum- bowed himself toward the ground, cised in the flesh of his foreskin. 3 And said, My Lord, if now I

25 And Ishmael his son was thir- have found favour in thy sight, pass teen years old, when he was circum- not away, I pray thee, from thy sercised in the flesh of his foreskin. vant :

26 In the selfsame day was Abra 4 Let a little water, I pray you, ham circumcised, and Ishmael his be fetched, and wash your feet, and son.

rest yourselves under the tree: 27 And all the men of his house, 5 And I will fetch a morsel of born in the house, and bought with bread, and + comfort ye your hearts ; + Heb. stay.

1898.

remain to this day. They might indeed emphatically periour to the other two: Abraham therefore addresses be styled a great nation, when the Saracens had made him as the chief, and Moses styles him Jehovah, which their rapid and extensive conquests, and created one of most Jews and Christians look upon as the incommunithe largest empires that ever were in the world. Bp. cable name of God; and therefore the far greatest part Newton.

of the latter believe, that it was the Son of God, who 21. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac,] My appeared in that form. Others however, particularly spiritual covenant; my everlasting covenant, chap. xii. some modern ones, maintain, that it was no more than 3. As for the temporal covenant, or promise, Ishmael an angel, who spoke in the person of God: though it was made as much partaker of it as Isaac; and so was is hardly probable, either that Moses should call an Esau, as well as Jacob. Bp. Wilson.

angel by that name, or that Abraham should intercede St. Paul points out a material difference between these with Him, as he does, when he saith, “That be far from two sons of Abraham. He says that Ishmael, the son thee to slay the righteous with the wicked; shall not of the bondwoman, was born only according to the the Judge of all the earth do right?" or that an angel flesh, in the common course of nature ; but that Isaac should peremptorily say, “ If I find fifty righteous within was born by virtue of the promise, and by the particular the city, for their sakes I will spare all the place." So interposition of the Divine Power: and that these two that the most probable opinion is, that it was Christ sons of Abraham were designed to represent the two Himself, who is emphatically called “the Judge of all covenants of the Law and of the Gospel; the former a the earth.” Stackhouse. state of bondage, the latter of freedom, Gal. iv. 22—31. Happy were the days, when celestial visitants thus Bp. Tomline.

deigned to descend, and converse with men, “as a man

converseth with his friend.” But surely we have no Chap. XVIII. ver. 1. And the Lord appeared unto reason to complain of any partiality shewn in this rehim] When we consider what our Saviour saith, John spect to our fathers; we, to whom this comfortable proi. 17, “No man hath seen God at any tine; the only- mise hath been made by the mouth of Truth itself, begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He “ If a man love Me, My Father will love him, and we hath declared Him;" as also John vi. 46, we must be will come, and make our abode with him," John xiv. convinced that it was not God the Father, who shewed 23. By his word and by his spirit, Christ continually Himself in these appearances ; but that it was He, the visiteth his people, and dwelleth in the hearts of the Logos or Wond, who appeared to the Patriarchs; and faithful. Bp. Horne. neither God the Father, nor his angels. Bp. Wilson. 5.

- a morsel of bread,] Rather, a loaf of bread ; he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day:] comprehending all necessary provision at a meal. Bp. “At ten minutes after ten in the morning, we had in Patrick. view several fine bays, and a plain full of booths, with The Eastern people in general are great eaters of the Turcomans sitting by the doors, under sheds re- bread; it being computed that three persons in four sembling porticoes; or by shady trees, surrounded with live entirely upon it, or else on such compositions as flocks of goats.Dr. Chandler.

are made of barley and wheat flour. Frequent mention 2. three men] Whom he took to be three men. is made of this simple diet in the Holy Scriptures. Dr. Bp. Wilson.

Shaw. It is very observable, that one of these appeared su - comfort ye your hearts ;] Refresh yourselves.

Before CHRIST

1898.

Before CHRIST

1898.

+ Heb. you

The promise of Isaac renewed.

CHAP. XVIII. Sarah is reproved for laughing. after that ye shall pass on : for there-ceased to be with Sarah after the fore + are ye come to your servant. manner of women.

And they said, So do, as thou hast 12 Therefore Sarah laughed withhave passed. said.

in herself, saying, After I am waxed 6 And Abraham hastened into the old shall I have pleasure, my lord c 1 Pet. 3. 6. + Heb. tent unto Sarah, and said, + Make being old also ? Hasten.

ready quickly three measures of fine 13 And the LORD said unto Abra-
meal, knead it, and make cakes upon ham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh,
the hearth.

saying, Shall I of a surety bear a
7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, child, which am old ?
and fetcht a calf tender and good, and 14 Is any thing too hard for the
gave it unto a young man; and he Lord? At the time appointed I will
hasted to dress it.

return unto thee, according to the
8 And he took butter, and milk, time of life, and Sarah shall have a
and the calf which he had dressed, son.
and set it before them; and he stood 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I
by them under the tree, and they did laughed not; for she was afraid. And
eat.

he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
9 And they said unto him, Where 16 | And the men rose up from
is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Be- thence, and looked toward Sodom :
hold, in the tent.

and Abraham went with them to
10 And he said, I will certainly bring them on the way.

return unto thee according to the 17 And the LORD said, Shall I b Chap. 17. time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife hide from Abraham that thing which shall have a son.

And Sarah heard I do;
it in the tent door, which was behind 18 Seeing that Abraham shall
him.

surely become a great and mighty
11 Now Abraham and Sarah were nation, and all the nations of the & 22. 18.
old and well stricken in age; and it earth shall be a blessed in him?

19. & 21. 2.

d Chap. 12. 3.

Acts 3. 25.
Gal. 3. 8.

6. make cakes upon the hearth.] Rauwolff tells us from the conception to the timely birth of a living child. in his Travels, that as he went through a country, which Bp. Kidder. lies between Mesopotamia and Media, a woman pre 12. Sarah laughed within herself,] Not as Abrasently made them cakes, about a finger thick, and of ham for joy, but out of incredulity: having a greater the bigness of a trencher : which she first laid upon regard to the order of nature than to God's promise. hot stones, and turned them often, and then threw Bps. Patrick and Wilson. ashes and embers over them : which he says were very Abraham heard this news from the Angel, and savoury. Bp. Patriek.

* laughed :" Sarah heard it, and “laughed :” they did Among the Bedoweens, as soon as the dough is not more agree in their desire, than differ in their gentikneaded, it is made into thin cakes, which are either ments : Abraham laughed for joy : Sarah, for distrust : immediately baked upon the coals, or else in a shallow Abraham laughed, because he believed it would be so ; earthen vessel like a frying-pan. Such were the “un. Sarah, because she believed it could not be so : the same leavened cakes,” Exod. xxix. 2, and other places of act varies in the manner of doing, and the intention of Scripture; and the “cakes which Sarah made quickly the doer. Bp. Hall. on the hearth.” Dr. Shaw.

- After I am waxed old] She was now eighty7. And Abraham ran unto the herd,] It is no disgrace nine years old. Bp. Kidder. here for persons of the highest character to busy them 15. for she was afraid.] This natural fear of Sarah's, selves in what we should reckon menial employments. The accompanied with confusion at being discovered, begreatest prince of these countries is not ashamed to fetch trayed her into this denial, and so caused her to add a lamb from his herd, and kill it, whilst the princess is one sin to another. For this reason perhaps it is, that impatient till she hath prepared her fire and her kettle to when the Apostle proposes Sarah as a pattern of obedress it. The custom, that still continues, of walking dience to women, he at the same time cautions them either barefoot or only with sandals, requires the ancient very seasonably against the fear by which she fell. compliment of bringing water, upon the arrival of a Whose daughters ye are as long as ye do well, and stranger, to wash his feet: whilst the person, who pre are not afraid with any amazement," 1 Pet. iii. 6. Bp. sents himself the first to do this office, and to give the Kidder. welcome, is the master of the family; who always distin And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.] Sarah guishes himself by being the most officious; and who, only laughed within herself, and is betrayed. How after his entertainment is prepared, thinks it a shame to easily can God discover even our most secret sins ! sit down with his guests, but will stand up all the time Bp. Hall. and serve them. Dr. Shaw.

18. Seeing that Abraham &c.] Two reasons 9. -- in the tent ] In her apartment: for women given, why God acquaints Abraham with his intended had their apartments by themselves. Bp. Patrick. proceedings : 1st, Because He had already revealed to

10. according to the time of life ;] The next or him greater things, and made him most gracious following year : according to the usual time that passes promises : 2dly, Because He knew that Abraham

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Before CHRIST

1898.

Before CHRIST

1898.

Abraham maketh intercession

GENESIS.

for the men of Sodom 19 For I know him, that he will 26 And the Lord said, If I find command his children and his hous- in Sodom fifty righteous within the hold after him, and they shall keep city, then I will spare all the place the way of the Lord, to do justice for their sakes. and judgment; that the Lord may

27 And Abraham answered and
bring upon Abraham that which he said, Behold now, I have taken upon
hath spoken of him.

me to speak unto the Lord, which
20 And the LORD said, Because am but dust and ashes :
the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is 28 Peradventure there shall lack
great, and because their sin is very five of the fifty righteous : wilt thou
grievous;

destroy all the city for lack of five?
21 I will go down now, and see And he said, if I find there forty and
whether they have done altogether five, I will not destroy it.
according to the cry of it, which is 29 And he spake unto him yet
come unto me; and if not, I will again, and said, Peradventure there
know.

shall be forty found there. And he
22 And the men turned their faces said, I will not do it for forty's sake.
from thence, and went toward Sodom: 30 And he said unto him, Oh let
but Abraham stood yet before the not the Lord be angry, and I will
LORD.

speak : Peradventure there shall 23 4 And Abraham drew near, and thirty be found there. And he said, said, Wilt thou also destroy the right. I will not do it, if I find thirty there. eous with the wicked ?

31 And he said, Behold now, I
24 Peradventure there be fifty have taken upon me to speak unto
righteous within the city: wilt thou the Lord : Peradventure there shall
also destroy and not spare the place be twenty found there. And he said,
for the fifty righteous that are there- I will not destroy it for twenty's
in ?

sake.
25 That be far from thee to do 32 And he said, Oh let not the
after this manner, to slay the right-Lord be angry, and I will speak yet
eous with the wicked: and that the but this once : Peradventure ten shall
righteous should be as the wicked, be found there. And he said, I will
that be far from thee: Shall not the not destroy it for ten's sake.
Judge of all the earth do right? 33 And the LORD went his way,

would approve himself so faithful to Him, that He for vengeance to be poured down upon them; to exwould not fail to enjoy all that God had promised. Bp. press the wonderful patience of God toward such griev, Patrick.

ous sinners, though nothing is hid from his sight and 19. that he will command his children &c.] This knowledge, yet He is represented as coming down from was the great glory of Abraham, next to his being “the heaven to earth on purpose to inquire into the truth of friend of God,” that he was “the father of the faithful.” things, and “whether they were altogether according And the careful education of children “in the nurture to the cry that was come up to Him." Abp. Tillotson. and admonition of the Lord” is so honourable to parents, In this

passage God speaks after the manner of men ; that God Himself would not pass it by in Abraham using the language of a good judge, who never passes without special mention of it to his everlasting com sentence, much less executes it, till he hath examined mendation ; " I know Abraham,” saith God," that he the cause. Bps. Kidder and Patrick. will command his children and his houshold after him 32. I will not destroy it for ten's sake.] A wonto keep the way of the Lord, and to do justice and derful representation of the tender mercy of the Most judgment." Abp. Tillotson.

High: who condescended to grant a reprieve to the Parents and masters of families, from the example of whole country for the sake of a few righteous, could this Father of the Faithful, may learn their duty to they have been found in it. And his mercy, was still instruct their children and servants in the way of the greater, even beyond Abraham's desire ; for he spared Lord. Bp. Kidder.

one of the five cities, for the sake of three or four That Abraham might be furnished with a powerful ar- persons : as we read chap. xix. 20, 21. gument against a wicked course of life, which he might Abraham makes no express mention of Lot in any of make use of for the instruction of others, he is made ac- the foregoing petitions : but it is plain from chap. xix, quainted with God's intentions against Sodom: so that 29, that he was in his thoughts, which God knew; and he could assure his posterity, that this dreadful judg- he is comprehended in those words at the 23d verse of ment was not the effect of natural causes, but the ap- this chapter, “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with pointment of a just and angry God. “ The fear of the the wicked ?" Bp. Patrick. Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Bp. Wilson.

The conduct of Abraham on this occasion furnishes 21. I will go down &c.] The patience of God was a powerful instance of the efficacy of well-directed very great towards Sodom and Gomorrah. For when prayer, and an encouragement to the faithful at all the cry of their sins had reached heaven, and called loud times to "continue instant in prayer, watching there.

Before CHRIST

1898.

Before CHRIST

1898.

a Chap. 18. 4.

Lot entertaineth two angels. CHAP. XVIII, XIX. The wickedness of the Sodomites.

as soon as he had left communing servant's house, and tarry all night,
with Abraham : and Abraham re- and a wash your feet, and ye shall
turned unto his place.

rise up early, and go on your ways.

And they said, Nay; but we will
CHA P. XIX.

abide in the street all night.
i Lot entertaineth two angels. 4 The vicious 3 And he pressed upon them greatly;

Sodomites are stricken with blindness. 12 and they turned in unto him, and en-
Lot is sent for safety into the mountains. tered into his house; and he made
18 He obtaineth leave to go into Zoar. 24 them a feast, and did bake unleavened
Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed. 26
Lot's wife is a pillar of salt

. 30 Lot dwell- bread, and they did eat.
eth in a cave. 31 The incestuous original 4 F But before they lay down, the
of Moab and Ammon.

men of the city, even the men of
ND there came two angels to Sodom, compassed the house round,

Sodom at even ; and Lot sat in both old and young, all the people
the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing from every quarter :
them rose up to meet them; and he 5 And they called unto Lot, and
bowed himself with his face toward said unto him, Where are the men
the ground;

which came in to thee this night?
2° And he said, Behold now, my bring them out unto us, that we may
lords, turn in, I pray you, into your know them.

A

unto with all perseverance;" without fainting indeed, many hundred years have past, since that astonishing but “with all humility of mind." Though Abraham catastrophe took place, yet the history should answer did not succeed for the guilty Sodom, his intercession the same purpose now, that the event itself was designed was powerful to save Lot, and the righteous part of his to do then. No time can destroy the efficacy of this family. And one of the five cities, Zoar, as appears salutary medicine for the disorders of the world. Virfrom the next chapter, was saved by the sole interces- tue and vice are not changeable things : they continue sion of Lot; and by a gracious impossibility, Sodom still the same, and there is no alteration in the Divine itself, the largest and the guiltiest, could not be de- decrees concerning them. Sooner or later, in this life stroyed, while one righteous person remained therein. or in the next, a deliverance similar to that of Lot will These are remarkable and comfortable instances of the be granted to the righteous : a destruction, answering mighty efficacy of intercession before the throne of to that of Sodom, will be the portion of the wicked. grace. “ The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous For, as St. Peter argues on the subject, “ If God, turnman availeth much,” not only for himself, but for his ing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, confamily and friends, and for his country, and even for demned them with an overthrow, making them an enstrangers. While the destruction of Sodom, because sample unto those that after should live ungodly; and there were not ten righteous found therein, furnishes a delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of most awful and awakening example, that every obsti- the wicked :—the Lord knoweth how to deliver the nate and incorrigible sinner is not only an enemy to godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto himself, but an enemy to his family and to his country, the day of judgment to be punished.” Bp. Horne. by contributing to swell the tide of national guilt, which

Ver. 1. -Lot sat in the gate of Sodom :] People will not fail to end in national calamity, whenever the might sit in the gate anciently for conversation and measure of the iniquity of the individuals that com- diversion, as they do now among the Arabs, in markets pose the community shall come to the full. Dr. and fairs. Lot seems to have placed himself in the Hales.

gate after this manner, for amusement and society. In this chapter we find the holy Patriarch Abraham Harmer. interceding, with the Lord for sinful Sodom : and we 2. turn in, I pray you, &c.] In the Eastern counfind, such is the amazing extent of Divine mercy, that tries of late some few caravansaries have been set up, had there been only ten righteous persons in the city, but in Lot's time there were no inns for the accommothe rest would have been spared for their sakes. But dation of strangers ; so that travellers, unless invited the corruption was universal ; and Abraham himself to a private house, were forced to lie all night in the could interfere no longer. “ The Lord left communing streets. It was customary therefore for those of the with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” better sort to receive travellers, whether or not they Bp. Horne.

knew them, into their houses, and entertain them with

great civility. For this reason we meet, both in sacred Chap. XIX. Extraordinary interpositions of Provi- and profane authors, with such large commendations of dence demand extraordinary attention. If God speaks, this act of hospitality; and particularly in the Epistle it is but reasonable that man should hear. And when to the Hebrews, chap. xiii. 2, we have a precept to this He executed the vengeance recorded in this chapter, effect, alluding to this very history : “Be not forgetful He certainly spake in an audible voice to the hopes and to entertain strangers; for thereby some have enterfears of all the dwellers upon earth. By the deliver- tained angels unawares." Stackhouse. ance vouchsafed to his righteous servant, He encou 3. — unleavened bread,] Because it would be soonest raged the hopes of such as, like him, preserved their ready. integrity in the midst of a crooked and perverse genera 5. - that we may know them.] This vile sin, so hatetion; while by the unparalleled destruction of the cities ful to God, and repugnant to human nature, continued of the plain, He alarmed the fears of those, who resem- among the Gentiles till the Apostles' time, as may be bled them in impiety and iniquity. And though so gathered from Rom. i. 27, and 1 Cor. vi. 9. It was

Before CHRIST

1898.

Before CHRIST

1898.

you, and do

ment.

Lot and his family

GENESIS.

are sent out of Sodom. 6 And Lot went out at the door 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto them, and shut the door after unto his sons-in-law, which married him,

his daughters, and said, Up, get you
7 And said, I pray you, brethren, out of this place; for the Lord will
do not so wickedly,

destroy this city. But he seemed as
8 Behold now, I have two daugh- one that mocked unto his sons-in-
ters which have not known man ; let law.
me, I pray you, bring them out unto 15 And when the morning arose,

ye to them as is good in then the angels hastened Lot, saying,
your eyes : only unto these men do Arise, take thy wife, and thy two
nothing; for therefore came they daughters, which + are here; lest thou Heb. are
under the shadow of my roof. be consumed in the || iniquity of the 11 0r, punish-

9 And they said, Stand back. And city.
they said again, This one fellow came 16 And while he lingered, the d Wisd. 10.6.
in to sojourn, and he will needs be a men laid hold upon his hand, and
judge: now will we deal worse with upon the hand of his wife, and upon
thee, than with them. And they the hand of his two daughters ; the
pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, Lord being merciful unto him: and
and came near to break the door. they brought him forth, and set him

10 But the men put forth their without the city.
hand, and pulled Lot into the house 17 1 And it came to pass,

when
to them, and shut to the door. they had brought them forth abroad,

11 And they smote the men that that he said, Escape for thy life;
were at the door of the house with look not behind thee, neither stay
blindness, both small and great: so thou in all the plain ; escape to the
that they wearied themselves to find mountain, lest thou be consumed.
the door.

18 And Lot said unto them, Oh,
12 4 And the men said unto Lot, not so, my Lord:
Hast thou here any besides ? son-in 19 Behold now, thy servant hath
law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, found grace in thy sight, and thou
and whatsoever thou hast in the city, hast magnified thy mercy, which thou
bring them out of this place : hast shewed unto me in saving my
13 For we will destroy this place, life ; and I cannot escape

to the c Chap. 18. because the cry of them is waxen mountain, lest some evil take me,

great before the face of the Lord; and and I die:
the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. 20 Behold now, this city is near to

b Wisd. 19. 17.

20.

expressly forbidden by the law of Moses, Levit. xviii. father ; but both in vain : he seems to them as if he 22, and thereby made capital, chap. xx. 13, as it is also mocked, and they do more than seem to mock him by our English laws. Stackhouse.

again. Why should to-morrow differ from other 7. do not so wickedly.] As to break the rights days? Who ever saw it rain fire? Or whence should of hospitality, and violate the laws of nature. Bp. that brimstone come? Or if such showers must fall, Patrick.

how shall nothing burn but this valley ?” So to carnal 8. Behold now, I have two daughters &c.] If we men preaching is foolishness, devotion idleness, the may not do any evil to procure a positive good, cer- Prophets madmen, Paul a babbler: these men's intainly much less may we do one evil, to avoid or pre-credulity is as worthy of the fire, as the others' unvent another. Lot should have resolved, rather to cleanness. " He that believeth not, is condemned suffer any evil, than to do any. He should rather already." Bp. Hall. have adventured his own life, and their's too, in protect

16.

while he lingered.] It is observable that Lot, ing the chastity of his daughters, and the safety of his though he fully believed there should be a performance of guests, than have offered the exposal of his daughters the things which were told him, yet made not that haste to the lusts of the Sodomites, though it were to redeem to get out of the city which the case required. How apt his guests from the abuse of fouler and more abomin- is the sinner to linger and to put off his repentance! How able filthiness. There is no perplexity, no necessity, often is God forced, as it were, to arrest him by sickness no obligation, no expediency, which should either or some grievous calamity, and so to drag him from enforce or persuade us to any sin. The resolution, perdition! And oh! how merciful is the Lord to that “Let us do evil

, that good may come,” is pronounced man, whom by any means, however painful and afflictby an Apostle to be worthy of condemnation. Bp. ing, He bringeth forth into safety, and setteth him withSanderson,

out the city! Let such an one hear the voice of his gra14. which married his daughters,] Or, were to cious Deliverer, saying to him in the person of Lot, marry: that is, were betrothed or espoused to his - Escape for thy life ; look not behind thee; neither stay daughters. Bp. Wilson.

thou in all the plain ; escape to the mountain, lest thou But he seemed as one that mocked] Lot warns be consumed.”—Escape, O sinner, for thine eternal life : his sons-in-law like a prophet, and advises them like a look not behind thee on the pleasures thou hast left,

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