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as a beacon, in the page of sacred history, to warn the backslider, even though he be a backslider but in heart. And if you would not draw back, do not even look back. Think of the many awful declarations of the word of God on this case: "if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him :" "no man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God:" "if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." Oh! be afraid lest these scriptures should apply to you, and you be finally condemned under such aggravated sin.



GENESIS xxi. 9, 10.

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said

unto Abraham, cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

IN the histories of the Old Testament there is much information respecting ancient customs and manners. We learn much of the state of society in those early days, and are often introduced into the interior of the houses of these men of old times. We see them as members of families, as well as citizens of nations, and parts of the church of God; and if we witness some things of

which the superior morality of the Gospel has taught us to disapprove, we behold also much simple faith and implicit obedience : we see a regard to the will of God prevailing in all their actions, and forming the great principle by which they lived.

Also in very many of the facts recorded, there is a certain intention which has reference to the times and circumstances of the New Testament. We are told from the highest authority that Moses wrote of Christ, and it becomes us specially to notice the things which shadow forth the great Redeemer himself, or the dispensation of his Gospel. With this view I now propose to consider the account given us in this chapter of the casting out of Hagar the Egyptian slave, and Ishmael her son, from the family of Abraham.

We shall consider, in the first place, the circumstances of the history, and, in the second place, the allegory contained in it.

I. We find from the sixteenth chapter that Sarah, despairing of the fulfilment of God's promise of a numerous offspring from

herself, had suggested to Abraham that he should take Hagar her handmaid, and raise up a family by her; an unwise expedient, full of unbelief and carnal policy, which under the light of the Gospel would be very sinful, whatever it might be in that less perfect revelation, and which brought no inconsiderable degree of pain and trouble upon every one of the parties: thus Ishmael was born. About thirteen years after his birth the promise was renewed to Abraham and Sarah, and in the following year Sarah herself bare a son, whom they called Isaac. On the weaning of this child, Abraham made a great feast, and on that occasion it was that the circumstance occurred which is recorded in the text, and Sarah saw Ishmael mocking. A former chapter tells us that her mistress was despised by Hagar, and that in consequence of hard usage given her for her insolence and contempt, she had quitted Abraham's house. Returning, as she did by the direction of God, she probably concealed her feelings; but she instilled her spirit, as it seems, into the breast of her son. In what

manner or on what particular ground he mocked we are not informed; but probably he ridiculed Isaac as the child of promise, from whom they expected so much. Impiety was at the bottom of it, and it was a scorning on account of the religion which was connected with this child. It might be called a kind of persecution for righteousness' sake. This was doubtless the principal cause that excited the contempt of Ishmael, and at which his mockery was aimed. The same spirit too often prevails in our own families. A pious child is frequently exposed to the sarcastic sneer or even the bitter hatred of his irreligious brothers and sisters, treated with contempt, and held up as an object of ridicule and such is the depravity of man's nature, and the innate enmity of his heart to God, that very few truly pious persons can escape at least this kind of persecution.

Sarah, perhaps more enraged with the affront, than grieved with the impiety of the youth, demands his expulsion, with that of Kis mother also: "cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman

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