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Olympas. The Laud of Promise was then the family estate of Abraham in virtue of this divine charter. It was, however, his as yet only in promise: for at that time seven nations called it their own country. When, James, was Abraham called to go and sojourn in this land?
James. When he was 75 years old.
Olympas. He left Haran at that age; but the question is, At what time was Abraham called to forsake his native land, his kindred, and home?
William. We are not informed at what time, only that the Lord at some previous time "had said." This phrase allows even years to have intervened. He was, indeed, 75 years at the time of his departure from Haran; but how long before that time he was called, we cannot tell.
Olympus. But as Paul says, “Abraham, when called, obeyed and went out, not knowing whither he was going,” are we not allowed nay, constrained to think that as soon as he was called he obeyed?
William. If the call was to do it immediately, he could not have obeyed the call but by immediately rising up and commencing his journey. But the words seem to indicate that at some previous time to his departure the Lord had intimated to him his views and will, and that now the time was come to comply with them.
Olympas. True, the style so intimates; and we are allowed to infer that before he came to Haran, and while he was yet in Ur of the Chaldees, this call had been given to the Patriarch. We may have use for this distinction again, and whether or not, I would have you always to note dates accurately, for often much depends upon them. This is one of the most remarkable passages in the life of any man, and I would have you to mark it with all care. Tell me, Thomas, how would you understand and classify the blessinga promised to Abraham, the belief of which induced him to forsake all; and to follow the guidance of the Sheckinah, or divine manifestations?
Thomas. There appears to me but two distinct promises in this transaction-the one special, the other general- the one personal, the other national--the one temporal, the other spiritual.
Olympus. Some might say there are six promises. Does it not read, 1st. “I will make of thee a great nation, 2d. and I will bless thee, 3d. and make thy name great, 4th. and thou shalt be a blessing, 5th. and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, 6th. and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed”
Thomas. These are but the amplification or detailing out of the contents of two distinct promises; for example, your 1st, 2d, 3d, and 5th make one, and your 4th and 6th make another. "I will make of
thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee," are all personal, special, and temporal. These might have been, and were all fulfilled, in Abraham as a prince and renowned ancestor of nations. But “I will make thee a blessing, and in thee shall all nations be blessed,” are general and spiritual, and concern all mankind as much as the natural offspring of Abraham.
Olympas. So far you are correct: but might it not be said that in making Abraham a blessing no more was intended than temporal advantages—as, for instance, in the case of Joseph who was made a blessing to Egypt?
Thomas. Had it never been explained, it might, perhaps, have been doubtful; but its connexion with all families being blessed in the seed or son of Abraham, and especially Paul's speaking of the blessing of Abraham coming on the Gentiles through faith, determine its acceptation to be spiritual and not temporal.
Olympas. Well, Reuben, what do you learn from these remarkable verses not already stated?
Reuben. Nothing, sir, not embraced in what has been said. that Abraham is treated as the friend of God." He is a root of two sorts of blessings; and these two include all things temporal and spiritual. Abraham's flesh and Abraham's faith are the stocks on which are grafted the scions of all good. Temporals are conveyed by fleshly relation, and spirituals by spiritual relation. Flesh and faith in the Father, and flesh and faith in the offspring, constitute the connective principle and reason of inheritance.
Olympas. Abraham, then, is truly a grand father. Nations de. scended from his flesh are accounted honorable for his sake; and they of all nations who believe in God, and obey through faith, are reckoned his spiritual progeny. Two Covenants, two Wills, two Testaments, and two Dispensations are based on these two classes of promises, Gen. xii. 2, 3. Other, indeed numerous arrangements, special providences, and peculiar covenants-such as the priesthood in one of Abraham's natural descendants--the royalty in another, grew out of these grand promises, just as the blessing of Abraham through faith included justification, sanctification, adoption, salvation, resurrection, immortality. Still as these iwo promises are the basis and root of all blessings, they ought to be distinctly marked, understood, and remembered by all students of the Bible. I will, therefore, endeavor to place them before you in various forms and under a vari: ety of circumstances as we proceed.
Fliza. Did yon not say, father, when we last read through Genesis, that the two Testaments, called the Old and the New, grew out of these two verses, or the two blessings contained in these promises?
Olympas. Yes, the subject may be so viewed. The nation of Israel in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ and the New Testament, equally sprang from these two covenants or promises. And hence they ought to be a most memorable epoch; and they are in truth made so. Sarah, how old was the world when these two promises were first made?
Sarah, Abraham was born A. M. 2009, and he is now 75 years old. This, then, was the year of the world, 2084.
Olympas. What do you mean, James, by A. M, and A. D.?
James. A stands for Anno and M for Mundi: Anno Mundi, in English, in the year of the world; and A for Anno and D for Domini, in the year of our Lord.
Olympas. Eliza, does Paul make this promise a date of any importance?
Eliza. He dates the promulgation of the Law with a special reference to this date. The Law, he says, was four hundred and thirty years after this transaction.
Olympas. Where is this found?
Eliza. In Galatians iii. 17. It reads, “And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed of God in Christ, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none-effect."
Olympas. But how do you know that this promise in Genesis xii. is the covenant confirmed of God in Chris ?
Eliza. Paul says the seed, in the promise “in thy seed” was Christ. And therefore this covenant concerned Christ.
Olympas. But it is said the covenant was confirmed in Christ.What does that mean?
Eliza. I cannot tell.
Thomas. The word you said that is translated in is not en, but eis in Greek, which means into, and concerning or in order to, which sufficiently explains the passage. The covenant of God concerning Christ, or in reference to, or in order to Christ. The covenant or promise, (for all God's promises are covenants, to which, when we agree,
does not fail in holding fast the promise, God cannot fail, and the thing is secure. The covenant or promise concerning Christ it is said was four hundred and thirty years before the Law. How do you make that out, William?
William. Abraham was 75 years old when this promise was made; Isaac was born 25 years after; Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born, and Jacob was 130 when he went down into Egypt; and the Jews were in Egypt 215 years before the exodus was complete. Now these several sums make exactly 430 years. Well, the Law was given three months after they left Egypt, which places the law 430 years from the covenant or promise confirmed by God concerning the seed, Christ.
Olympas. In what year of the world then, Eliza, was the Law given?
Eliza. We have only to add 430 years to the year 2084, when Abraham was 75 years old, when he became a pilgrim. That places the giving of the Law of Ten Commands A. M. 2515, or in that year. The Law, then, is 359 years after the flood, and 430 after the covenant concerning Christ, confirmed by God to and with Abraham.
Olympus. I will often call you to this most prominent subject; but in the meantime we shall proceed to some other points. Tell me, James, who accompanied Abraham on his tour?
James. Lot his brother's son, Sarah his wife, and all their substance, and the souls they had gotten in Haran.
Olympas. What substance, and what souls were there, William?
William. In the 13th chapter we learn that Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold; and we also learn that he had many servants; and these were the souls that he had gotten in Maran.
Olympas. True, William. Abraham's servants and Abraham's cattle were different sorts of property; for his servants had souls, and his cattle had not. After they had returned from Egypt, where he had so much trouble in saving his wife, which way did he direct his journey, Sarah?
Sarah. He returned to Bethel, the place of the altar, and there again he called upon the name of the Lord. And Lot was with him still.
Olympas. Was Lot rich, James?
James. Yes; he had flocks, and herds, and tents, and the land was too small for their flocks and herds; for their substance was so great that they could not dwell neighbors. And a strife arose between their servants.
Olympas. James, explain the words substance, flocks, and herds. James. Substance means wealth; flocks mean sheep, and herds cattle.
Olimpas. Very just. And how was the controversy among their servants adjusted?
William. Abraham gave Lot his choice of the country, and they separated from each other.
Olympas. Observe that there is not so much sociability and neighborhood among the rich as among the poor. The rich have large possessions, and that separates them. The more wealth and honor in all countries and in all ages, the less neighborhood, the less social inter
The grandees of the world have neither friendship, nor society. They have wealth and honor; but the poor have society, friendship, and love. I mean not the abject poor, but those comparatively poor. Abraham and Lot, though strangers in a foreign land, though standing in the position of uncle and nephew, were separated by their wealth, and a strife arose among their servants about pasturage. But you must farther observe
hat if Kings Queens have no society, and if the very great and opulent have little or no friendship, still a good and a great man is a generous man.
Hence the noble and generous magnanimity of Abraham in anticipating Lot by making him a tender of the first choice of the whole country, and in taking to himself that which his nephew refused. The sequel will show that Abraham's course was not only the most noble and the most approved by Heaven; but it turned out, as it generally does in such cases, the wiser and the better policy.
THE PAST AND THE PRESENT.
[Continued from page 81.] But other means were used for communicating knowledge; for we learn from the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, from the 16th to the 21st verse, that 587 years before Christ the Jews were in the habit of writing on sticks. Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it for Judah and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick and write upon it for Joseph the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions, and join them together and they shall become one stick."
I find in the Pictorial Bible, printed in London in 1838, a curious and interesting note on the above quotation, which I will give:“There are many curious traces of this kind upon sticks or pieces of wood. This, indeed, is not the first instance of the practice in scripture; for so early as the time of Moses, 1500 years before Christ, we find a parallel example of writing upon rods. The custom existed among the early Greeks, as we are informed that the laws of Solon,