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though they neither .know the dangers of the
way, nor the means of escaping them. In
the next place, He was commanded to sojourn in the land of the Philistines. These were afterwards used by God as the rod of correction for his people Israel; and, like them, their ancestor sinned by reason of his connection with them, and* was chastised by them in like manner.
FOUR.THLY, I shall how consider the OcCasions of this Covenant. It obtained sometime after the death of Abraham; but how long a space interveened between his death and this covenant is not easily ascertained. Some conjecture, that the interval was no less than eighteen years, while others do not grant more than twelve. The events which obtained, however, in these years, rather deserve our attention, than a calculation of the years themselves. The following seem to have a principal claim to our attention.
1. Ab Raham, the father of the covenanting family, was now removed by death. This event took place about fifty years after he had given proof of his faith, and resignation to the will of God, by his readiness to offer up his son Isaac; and the covenant-renovation which followed it. Covenant-renovation was extremely neceflary at this tinle, to (hew that God's covenant-relation to the militant chffrch does not * C c expire expire with the death of the most eminent of her members.—Besides Abraham, there had been also much death among the rest of the covenanters, and eminent patriarchs: For Shem, a notable co\enanter, died twenty years before Abraham; and Heber, a person of.distinguished godliness, died four years after Shem; but God still lives.
2. God had blessed Isaac after the death pf his father; and one blefling from his bountiful hand secures another in the time of need. The blessing bestowed on such a mournful occasion, also laid Isaac under ties of gratitude to renew his covenant with God, when called to that duty.
3. Isaac had been tried, as was Abraham, w ith the want of children; and g'racioufly delivered from this trial, as the answer of his prayer. Now, this prayer-hearing, and covenant-keeping God laid Isaac under additional obligations to the duty of (elf-dedication, by this fresh proof of his veracity and condescension. As the answer of this prayer was a notable step towards the accomplishment of covenant promises on the part of God; so it was an evident call unto covenant-renovation on the part of Isaac.
4. One of the immediate occasions of this transaction was a famine, which God had sent
on on the land of Canaanc "And there was a famine in that land, besides the first famine, in the days or Abraham.—And the Lord appeared unto him." A visit from God must have been extremely acceptable at such a time. His pinching want seems also to have been blessed to him, in prefling him nearer the Lord. The promises of this covenant were also a stats for his faith, when God threatened to break the staff of bread.
Lastly, This covenant-renovation was granted as a gracious reward unto the faith and obedience of Abraham: "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws*." It needs not be always repeated, though it ought never to be forgotten, that this obedience did not merit that covenant; but that the covenant was the effect of free and sovereign grace. Abraham's obedience is described by the rule of it ;->—the voice of God,—his charge, —his statutes,—■commandments, and laws. God's Voice, and his Charge, respect the fame thing; namely, the general rule of obedience; but the diversity of expression may be accounted for thus, his voice may denote the manner of revealing his will; his charge the authority which he interposeth to bind the conscience to obedience. His institutions being a
* Gen. xxvi. 5.
C c 2 sacred (acred trust, for which they are accountable who are entrusted with them. The various kinds of precepts, which constituted this charge, are either Commandments *, by which 1 understand rules which he gave unto the patriarch for the government of his family. Abraham kept these himself, and communicated them, with faidifulness, to his children, as God testisieth of him: "I know him, that he will command his children, and his houfliold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." This standard of domestic rule seems to have been the judicial law hi miniature.— Or his Statutes-)-:: This term, when it stands in connection with laws, as in this text, imports ceremonial institutions; such as have no goodness in them but what ariseth from their institution.—Another species of precepts, which constituted this charge, are styled his Laws J.
* TIISID. Grotius and Gherard imagine it imports such laws as are of natural, universal, and perpetual obligation, in opposition to such as are* merely arbitrary, and temporary. But the Scripture use of both the term and its root determines it to signify such constitutions, as are political, in families and commonwealths. Stock, apud vocem.
•f- Tllpn. "The institutions of cetemonial ■worship are most commonly expressed by the name of ES'pn (a word of the fame derivation with that in the text before us). The whole system whereof is termed the Ceremonial Law." Dr Owen on the Heb. Exercit. Vol. I. p. 275.
X T>")ln signifies a Doctrine «swell as a Constitution J.aw, or system of laws: Such is its extensive import. The connection, however, seems to limit it in this place imto precepts of morality.
The original word is of extensive signification; and, when it is classed with statutes, &c. as in the cafe before us, it is expressive of moral precepts. Now, the connection between Abraham's obedience and Isaac's privileges may be expressed to the following purpose: "seeing thy father received the system 1 gave him with thankfulness, and kept it with fidelity himself, as well as transmitted it to his feed after him, in their generations,—it is fit his feed should declare their personal acceptance of it, and their resolution to keep it with purity, and transmit it with fidelity to the ages to come. It is also agreeable to the covenant I made with Abraham and his seed, to shew mercy unto thousands of them who love me and keep my commandments, as a gracious reward for their obedience."
Inattention to this connection made Dr Gill imagine there was something a-wanting iu the original text; but, from, this sketch, it is plain the text itself is perfect, and the fense every way complete.
I Shall now subjoin a Reflection or two on what hath been observed.
1. "we may learn God's sympathy towards his people in all their trials. He did not suffer Isaac to be tried with famine without the comfort of the renovation of the promise. He did