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He who does not behold the counsel and providence of God in this harmonious and wonderfully connected design, a design rising, growing, and at length expanding into maturity, neither affected by the lapse of ages, nor deranged by any alteration in the circumstances of the world; a design, too, that carries with it an ever-living evidence in the fulfilment of prophecy; must surely be afflicted with a mental blindness, through which, till the scales be removed, the light of truth cannot penetrate.
God, as it has been seen, called Abraham out of his native country, that he might make him the father of a peculiar people, the righteous progenitor of a nation out of which the Redeemer was to arise, and which on that account was to be favoured with a special revelation, and to be bound under a ritual yoke significant of the divine purposes afterwards to be made manifest to the world. Those purposes were in due time, and after a long and continuous preparation made manifest by the mission, doctrine, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, the seed of the scendant of Abraham. God with regard to the open to the view of all.
woman, and the deThe whole counsel of salvation of mankind is It is, as the sun in the
heavens, visible to every eye; though the film of
prejudice and unbelief prevents many from perceiving those glories, which the humble and teachable disciple can so clearly discern.
We are called by the grace of God to the light of the knowledge of salvation, to repentance, faith, and holiness, to a hope full of immortality, and to the enjoyment of eternal glory. Most unwise, therefore, are they, dead to their own interests, insensible to all that is valuable in life and desirable in eternity, who turn a deaf ear to the glad tidings of mercy, who refuse to obey the heavenly voice, who reject the invitation of divine love-those glad tidings that speak of liberty recovered and redemption purchased for transgressors-that voice which exhorts the wanderers to return from the barren wilderness of sin to the fruitful fields of righteousness-that invitation which bids the hungry to the feast of holiness, the heavily-laden to the rest of penitence, and all that live to the possession of everlasting joys.
WITH THE COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST ITS FULFILMENT IN CHRIST THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DELIVERED OUT
OF EGYPT, A PREPARATORY STEP TOWARDS THE FULFILMENT OF GOD'S PURPOSES IN CHRIST -THE INSTITUTION OF THE PASSOVER ITS CONNEXION WITH THE COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST
ABRAHAM COMMANDED TO OFFER ISAAC.
FROM the promise of God to Abraham so evidently connected with the counsel of God in Christ, we pass to another circumstance of peculiar interest, and belonging to the same economy, namely, God's commanding this good patriarch to offer his son Isaac in sacrifice. "And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, behold, here I am. And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac whom thou lovest; and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering
upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." *
In laying upon Abraham this painful injunction his object was, first, to try his faith, whether having received the promise of a numerous seed to arise from Isaac, he would obey a command in one view most afflicting to the feelings of a parent, and in another irreconcilable by human reason with the promise-and secondly, to signify to him in a figure and to generations after him the great sacrifice to come. That Abraham could not understand this figure in all its meaning and comprehension is evident; but it is no less evident that he considered it as connected with the coming and victory of the seed of the woman according to promise, and with some peculiar character in that future grace to which he looked forward in faith as the means of blessing to himself and all the nations of the earth. God had said unto him, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed, and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."+ And again, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called."
Genesis, xxii. 1, 2.
+ Ibid. xvii. 19.
‡ Ibid. xxi. 12.
But if Isaac was now to be sacrificed, how could God's word in this respect be fulfilled? How could God establish his everlasting covenant with him and with his seed after him? And how from Isaac could the promised seed descend? These difficulties must have arisen in Abraham's mind. Why, then, did he hasten to obey the command that seemed so at variance with the promise? On this point the words of the Apostle afford a satisfactory solution. "By faith," says he, “ Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son, of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called; accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure."
Abraham, then, knew that the promise with regard to Isaac was positive, and that God could not but fulfil his word. In the truth of that word he placed the fullest trust and confidence. He had an unshaken conviction that it could not fail, that it could not return void. He knew also that the command was positive, and that it was his duty implicitly to obey it. The sacrifice was demanded by the Lord; he felt, therefore,
* Hebrews, xi. 17-19.