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paraphrase, the angel of life, found her in the way between Canaan and Egypt, foretold the name, birth, and future circumstance of her child, and commanded her back to her master Abram's house, &c. This is the first time an angel is mentioned in scripture. The word angel signifies a messenger, or one sent. And this was Christ himself, whom Hagar worshipped, and gave a name to the well, where she was favored with this sight and vision of him. So that now, and afterwards, it was called the well where the angel of life appeared. On her return she told her, master what had been seen by and declared to her; and having borne a son, Abram, in obedience to the angel of life, called his name Ishmael. To reprove Abram for his going aside to his bond-servant, it was fourteen years after this before the Lord was pleased to favor him with any appearance", but the time now drawing on for the birth of Isaac, Jehovah Jesus again appears, and with an audible voice says, " I am God Almighty, or all-sufficient; walk before me, and be thou perfect, or upright." He then renews afresh his gracious declarations of what it was his good pleasure to bestow on him, all which blessings were of such a nature as Abram had no right, or title to expect, but merely because the Lord had promised them.
All the promises made to Abram had their sole foundation in the faithfulness of the promiser: what God calls his covenant, and which he promises to establish with him, is something different from, and of a higher nature than a numerous seed, and the inheritance of the land of Canaan. The grant is expressed in the same terms with that made to Noah, and both most evidently had a reference to the original promise or declaration, that the woman should have a seed which should bruise the serpent's head, and shed the blood of him who had shed the blood of man, who brought in and propagated death among mankind, as he had promised to Noah, and renewed to Abram under the expression of a seed in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed. So that what God calls his covenant with Noah, Abraham, and with David too, was no other than a sovereign, free, and absolute promise, of that seed on which the faith and hope of all the patriarchs and their successors terminated for all the blessings they ever had to expect from God.
Abram's name is changed to Abraham; it was expressive of his state of favor with God, and is mentioned as a peculiar favor bestowed on him. Neh. ix. 7. Circumcision is instituted and commanded. Sarai's name is changed to Sarah, the promise of Isaac is again given, and the time fixed for his birth; and Jehovah Jesus saith to Abraham, the first man in the world whose name he changed, " And I will establish my covenant, between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee." In this consists all blessing, yea, the very essence of all blessedness. The essential Three stand in this relation to the whole church of elect men: the whole of this declaration, is founded on pure, free, and sovereign grace. The name Sarah signifies the multitude of her seed. She laughed on this occasion, and rejoiced with holy joy. Isaac's name signifies laughter, or joy; his father and mother, and all believers in that age, having great cause to rejoice at his birth.
As Abram was singled out by the Lord, and the promise of the Messiah limited to him, and Isaac foretold and promised, named before his birth, aud born of a barren woman, as typical of Christ, and of his inmaculate conception and birth of Jesus, who was born of a pure virgin; so the land of Canaan, where all these great events were to be transacted, was a typical land, aud the ordinance of circumcision was a seal to confirm Abraham's faith in what the Lord God had revealed and promised. And it served until the coming of Christ, to keep the children as a distinct people, and separate from all others.
The covenant which the Lord speaks of, when he instituted circumcision, is mentioned in the same chapter thirteen times, which is a good proof that the promise of Christ, and salvation by him, and the gift of all spiritual blessings, is included in it, and that all who believe have their part therein; " Being circumcised in Christ with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." Col. ii. 11. Sarai was now ninety years old, and Abraham ninetynine. As Abraham received the promise, so -he staggered not at it! The apostle Paul says of him, that " he being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither the deadness of Sarah's womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God: and being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was able also to perform." Rom.iv. 19—21. Abram obeys the divine command, and he and all the males in his house were circumcised. The Lord again appears to him, renews the promise of Isaac's birth, and acquaints him with his purpose concerning the destruction of Sodom, and gives a high and great character of Abram for his family practical godliness. When the Lord called him, he said, " Thou shalt be a blessing." He was so to Lot who was rescued when taken captive, and was delivered out of Sodom on the intercession of Abraham. A famine is again in Canaan, which causeth him to go to Gerar, a city of the Philistines, where he falls again into the sin of denying his wife. The Lord delivers her from being seduced; and she, with her husband, returns again into Canaan. Isaac, after the promise had been delivered out twenty years, was born at Hebron, in the month Abib, or Nisan, at which place and month circumcision was instituted. In which very place, and at the same time of the year, John the baptist was born. In this month also was the Exodus from Egypt, and the ever blessed Jesus at the passover celebrated in this month, made his soul an offering for sin. Abraham in the birth of Isaac, foresaw the supernatural birth of Christ and rejoiced. Isaac was not so named laughter, only because of Abraham's joy for him, but also for his joy in Christ. "Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad," says our Lord..
Isaac was born in the year of the world 2108, according to Dr. Lightfoot. On his being weaned, Ishmael, who was at least fourteen years old, began to mock him. Upon which he and his mother are rejected, and turned out of Abraham's house at the instance of Sarah, which the Lord con6rmed, bidding him to hearken to what she had said concerning the expulsion of them.
One of the most remarkable instances of Abraham's faith, and which is mentioned in the epistle to the Hebrews, was his offering up his son. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the