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History of the Early Days of the
Children of Israel.
“ GOD MOURNETH OVER THE BACKSLIDING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, SAYING,
· WHEN ISRAEL WAS A CHILD THEN I LOVED HIM, AND CALLED MY SON OUT OF EGYPT.'”—Hosea 11.
The writer, in order to show what God means by saying, “when Israel was a child then I loved him," begins at God's choice of Abram, from whose seed the Israelites sprung, chosen and adopted by God, for a glory to His Holy Name. After the raising of the Tower of Babel, God became both weary and angry with the presuming pride and wickedness of the people; that it pleased Him to put them to confusion by confounding their language, and scattering them over the face of the whole earth.
After this, it pleased God to call Abram out of the land of Haran ; to come from amongst his brethren, descendants of Shem, Noah's firstborn, who worshipped God and not idols. God said unto Abram, I will lead thee unto a pleasant land, which I shall give thee for an inheritance, even a second garden of Eden, overflowing with milk and honey. But, alas ! like the first one, the inhabitants dwelling therein had got under Satan's clutches, who beguiled them to pollute the beautiful land with images of strange gods, which caused them to live after the similitude of beasts more than of human beings, instead of the pure and noble image of the supreme living God, who alone had created them, and when fashioning their members together was well pleased and satisfied, hoping to see henceforth a willing and obedient spirit dwelling in the beautiful soul He had formed for His glory and His praise. But once more, being grievously disappointed, He chose Abram as a future example of that faithful obedience which pleases Him as Almighty God; and promised as a reward, if he continued faithful, to give him this rich land of plenteous good things, which he and his seed after him should inherit, and enjoy peace and rest.
Now, dear reader, we have a similar reward offered by our beloved Saviour if we continue faithfully obedient, and persevere with all patience to the end; He will bring us safely, not into an earthly, but a heavenly Canaan,
And God said further to Abran, “I will make of thee a great nation, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing." Out of thy seed shall spring the Emmanuel Saviour of all nations ; therefore, fear not. Him that blesseth thee will I bless; and he who curseth thee will I curse. Thus did God bless our father Abram, and commune with him as a friend and son. So does our Heavenly Father unto this day love the child of faith to confide in His protecting wisdom and guidance. For our encouragement let us follow Abram, and see how abundantly. God fulfilled His promises, and blessed and prospered him in all things. But one thing he lacked, save the son of the bondwoman, Abram had no child to call legally his own. In due time, God hestowed upon him this blessing also, by giving him a son, even in his old age, reward for his unmurmuring submission to the will of his God. The Lord said to him, call the child Isaac, for through him I will establish my covenant promise made unto thee, which shall be an everlasting one.
Again, for our encouragement, we see how God tries the faith and chastens those whom he loves most, for we read, in process of time, as the child waxed in strength towards manhood, it pleased the Lord to tempt and try his father's faith by