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was astonishment and pain to the patriarch's mind, but its end was peace and joy. And so shall every true believer find, in this world or the next, or both, that his "light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," and that though he "goeth on his way weeping," yet if, like Abraham, he bears the precious seed of fear and love, faith and obedience, he shall doubtless" come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him."

The history which has been before us affords a very striking exemplification of the nature of faith, and of the inseparable connection which exists between faith and works. The Scripture tells us, in Gen. xv. 6, that Abraham" believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." The Apostle Paul quotes that text twice to prove that all who are justified are, like Abraham, justified by faith. Now of what nature was this faith of Abraham by which he was justified? We see that it was such a faith as produced the most entire obedience; it influenced his actions; it caused him to do such works as he would not

have done had he not felt its power. We see the principle by which Abraham was made willing to offer up his son as a sacrifice to God. It was faith, faith in the word and promise of God. The Apostle tells us that this was the principle; "by faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac." And we see the nature of the principle. We see that the faith by which Abraham was justified, was of a peculiar kind, influential and operative to an extraordinary degree. How mistaken then are the views of those who decry the doctrine of justification by faith, and assert that it is dangerous, as tending to lead men to the neglect of good works! Let them rather see that it lays the foundation of good works. Let them look at its effects in Abraham, and in all the household of faith. Let them seek that this most powerful principle of action may be formed in their own hearts; for never will they be able to manifest such obedience, never will they acquit themselves well in their trials, but by the power of faith in God and his Christ. How mistaken again are they who think to be saved by a faith which does

not produce good works, who "say they have

faith and have not works!"

works is dead," as St. James

"Faith without

observes; or as

the homily says, "it is not faith, even as a dead man is not a man, for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." What doth it profit to have such a faith? Let those know that whatever they may think or say, they have not the faith to which the promises are made, not that which justifies and saves. But you, ye true and sincere believers, walk in the steps of your father Abraham, and ye shall be blessed with him. Let your faith produce its corresponding works, and your works testify of your faith that it is of God; for be assured that between such faith as is saving, and such works as are acceptable, there is as close a connection as between the tree and its fruit, the cause and its effect.

But as we have read this history, must not our thoughts have been led to another only and beloved son, who was actually offe ed up? Must we not have thought of a lamb without blemish and without spot that really yielded

up its life? Must not our minds have often reverted to the Son of God, and to that rich atoning sacrifice of his, whereby he made expiation for our transgressions and redeemed us from our sins? If we admire the regard of Abraham to God, in that he withheld not his son, his only son, from him, how much more shall we admire the love of God, who "spared not his only begotten and beloved son, but freely delivered him up for us all." How far does the proof of Abraham's love to God, which we have been considering, fall short of this exhibition of God's love to us! Abraham offered up his son at the command of God, who had every claim upon him; but we had no claim on God, for we were sinners, and ungodly, and enemies, and, without strength, when Christ died for us. And shall we not think also of the love of Christ, who gave himself for us that he might procure for us pardon, and peace, and full redemption? If we compare him with Isaac, we see the wood for the altar laid upon the one, and the cross for his sacrifice borne by the other. Does the one meekly submit to be bound?



GENESIS xxiv. 37, 38.

My master made me swear, saying, thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my


As the sacred history proceeds we see more and more of the simple manners of those ancient times, but we see also, what is far better, the deep regard which Abraham had to the word and promise of God in all his transactions: he carries the great principle of faith into all his domestic arrangements, and has a single eye intent upon one object, in whatever he has to do.

In the preceding chapter you will find him

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