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thy son-thine only son- -from me.” Now had he given proof to the whole world that his was a true and living faith, since it led him to an obedience that scrupled not to give up to Jehovah the most precious thing that he possessed.
Let us daily keep before our eyes this bright example ; and, when tempted to retain some cherished offence, and still to call ourselves true members of that Church, into which by baptism we were admitted, remember that that is no faith which will not lead us to give up all for Christ.
When Abraham had loosed the cords which bound his son, and with pious gratitude received him as it were from the dead, he looked round for some sacrifice to offer in his stead, and behold a lamb caught in a thicket by its horns, hard by; this he offered ; and he called the name of the altar Jehovah-jireh, signifying Jehovah will providebecause God, according to his word, had provided Himself a sacrifice.
A second time the angel called to Abraham, and from God, repeated again the solemn and full blessing before given him. “By myself
have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son—thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee,and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies : and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
Then Abraham arose and returned to Beer. sheba.
THE MARRIAGE OF ISAAC.
AFTER these things twelve years elapsed, and Sarah was a hundred and twenty years old. She lived to see her son attain the first period of manhood, and then she was gathered to her fathers, like a shock of corn that cometh in in his season. And Abraham mourned and wept for her. But though a prince in power and riches, he had no possession in the land, not even so much as would suffice to bury his dead out of sight.
“I am a stranger and sojourner,” he says, "give me a possession of a burying place; and he purchased of Ephron, the son of Zohar, a field and a cave, called Machpelah, where he buried Sarah.
Three years after the death of Sarah, Abraham being old, desired to see his son Isaac married; but he was piously solicitous that the wife he might choose should be a worshipper of Jehovah, and not a daughter of the vicious and idolatrous Canaanites; for what communion could there be between Jehovah and Baal ? So he called the steward of his house, and prepared to send him to seek a wife for Isaac from among his own kindred, in the land of Ur of the Chaldees, but first he made his steward swear that he would not deceive him by bringing a Canaanitish woman.
“But if the woman refuse to come with me so great a distance, shall I take thy son to the land of Ur?” Hear the reply of faithful Abraham to this enquiry. “Beware that thou bring not my son thither again, the Lord God of Heaven which took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, that spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, unto thy seed will I give this land ; He will send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence”—“only bring not my son thither again.” He would by no means shew a doubt of the fulfilment of Jehovah's promise by sending his son away, though himself, even yet, possessed only a buryingplace in the promised land.
After swearing to fulfil his master's wishes, the steward took ten camels laden with riches as a dowry for the bride he went to seek, and departed. For many days he pursued his journey until he came to the city of Nahor, in Mesopotamia. It was sunset when he arrived near the city, and about the hour when the maidens were wont to go forth to draw water. Near one of the wells he caused his camels and attendants to rest; and then he went aside from them and knelt down and prayed to God, committing the direction of his message entirely into his hands, beseeching him to point out, by a certain sign, which of the maidens of the city should be the wife of Isaac.
Whilst he was yet kneeling, there came out a maiden bearing a pitcher upon her shoulder, so exceedingly fair and beautiful that the man arose, and advancing to meet her, prayed her to give him a little water.
With ready kindness she replied, “Drink my lord.” And as soon as he had slaked his thirst, she filled her pitcher again and gave water to