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by the dictates of his own passions and propensities, but leaned entirely and meekly upon the Lord. Already had he quitted his country, and his kindred, and his father's house, and gone out, “not knowing whither he went“," in mere reliance upon a promise of God, the fulfilment of which he was never to be permitted personally to experience". Already had he relied upon the simple assurance of the Lord, and believed, though childless', in the multitude of his seed, and the blessings they should inherit, and the land they should hereafter possess. Already had he not staggered at the deadness of his own body, and of Sarah's womb, and was rewarded by the gift of a son in his old age". Yet" after all these things,” after so many trials, and so many triumphs, after having been proved and praised in so many various and difficult scenes, after having talked with God, and entertained the angels, and interceded successfully with the world's just Judge', it still pleased the Lord to add one other temptation, before he should finally and irrevocably confirm to his person and his posterity the great glory of becoming the blessing of all the nations of the earth. That trial is the subject of our argument, and it consisted in a command of all others the most arduous for a father's tenderness to pass through unblamed a Heb. xi. 8. b Gen. xv: 13-17.

c Ibid. xii. 14-18. d Ibid. xviji.

• Ibid.

--a command to offer up his only son. To those who oppose the propriety of the circumstance the trial

appears at once to have been both cruel and needless; and we readily allow that had it been proposed to any ordinary individual, or as a mode of informing the Deity himself of the disposition and feelings of this eminent believer, it would have been perhaps unnecessarily rigid, and more than' mercifully severe.

But he was no common individual from whom so peculiar a demonstration of submission was required. He was a being to be selected and separated from mankind as the friend of God, and to him, and to his posterity for his sake, were to be confirmed the best temporal and spiritual promises of the Most High. Hence it became necessary that every succeeding generation should feel thoroughly convinced that he, for whom so much was to be done, was worthy of the distinction he received : and satisfactorily to establish his title to this praise, no trial, however arduous, can be imagined too severe. For with all the difficulty which attended the command, and all the reluctance which Abraham, as a father, must have experienced in forming the resolution of obedience, we still hear men murmuring at the choice of his descendants as God's peculiar people, and condemning the mercy of the Almighty as exceeding the limits of legitimate favour. What then would have been the violence of their cen

sures, had the temptation of the Patriarch been simple and mild, and had his obedience been less painfully called forth, it will be easy for any one to conceive. Had there been nothing that was uncommon in the trial to which he was exposed, men would have justly wondered at the greatness of those extraordinary blessings he obtained, and judged the measure of his reward to have been infinitely disproportioned to the merit of his faith. Instead of urging upon us, as they now do, the nature of the command as one it was impossible to obey, they would have declared that, seeing neither any singularity in his obedience nor any superiority in his faith, they could not but deem the preference he received to have been arbitrary and unreasonable, founded upon no pre-eminent merit, and conferred upon a being distinguished by no virtue beyond his brethren around. In a word, had Abraham been commanded only to bring the “calves of his lips,” and not the fruit of his loins; or had he been required to offer up only the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart, and not the sacrifice of his only and his beloved son, we should have been at a loss to explain, or, at least, we should have been able but very inadequately to account for that unabated kindness, and those perpetual mercies, which his children were so long permitted to enjoy, amidst all their desertions of God's service, and all their violation of

his laws. Every particle diminished from the severity of Abraham's temptation, would have rendered it more difficult for believers to vindicate the favour which God shewed to him in his posterity.

Such are the reasons which induce us to think that the command to offer Isaac as a burnt-offering to the Lord, was not unworthy of the wisdom or the holiness of that Lord to give. His wisdom is vindicated, because, as Abraham was to be made the channel of irrevocable blessings, and exceeding great and precious promises to mankind, it was expedient that his obedience should be both most arduous in its nature, and most signal in its display; in order that mankind might have no reasonable cause for arraigning the justice of the glorious reward which his obedience obtained. The holiness of God is also sufficiently vindicated from any accusation of cruelty in the peculiar command which he selected for this purpose, because it is evident from the issue, that it was never his intention that it should be carried into actual execution. God gave the command to try Abraham, because for the satisfaction of future generations it was most necessary that he should be most severely tried : and he withheld from him to the last his determination to prevent the fulfilment of the command, because it was equally necessary for us to know, that the trial was in truth and reality, and not in semblance and imagination alone.

These are conclusions deduced from the narrative of Moses ; and here we might stop the progress of our inquiries, content with the light they afford. But the dispensation of the Gospel, under which we have the happiness to live, contributes so many additional considerations to elucidate the reason why this mode of trial in particular was chosen, that however familiarly they may be known, we cannot be permitted to leave the subject incomplete by their omission.

3. We may remark, then, as a third method of establishing the propriety of this command, that there is such a remarkable resemblance between the circumstances which accompanied the offering up of Isaac, and those which are related of the crucifixion of Christ, that we are naturally and almost unavoidably led to regard them as intended to be the type and antitype of each other. Each individual concerned was an only and a beloved son of his father. Each was doomed by his father to be made a sacrifice. Each bore upon his own shoulders the wood upon which he was to suffer. Each willingly gave up the life he was required to resign, and

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