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Acts vii.


His Son Abraham was a very righteous, religious Man; to whom the glory of God Gen. xii. bad appear'd, fome time before, and warn'd him to leave his country, and his kindred, and his father's house, and to go and fettle in the Land of Canaan. As foon therefore as his Father was dead, he took Sarah his Wife, and Lot his Brother's Son, and all their Substance that they had gather'd, and all the Souls that they had begotten in Haran, and remov'd into the Land of Canaan accordingly. He fettled in Sechem in the Land of Moreh; in that Part of the Country which was afterwards call'd Sa- . maria. Here he fojourn'd fome time; here the LORD appear'd to him, and encourag'd him with very favourable Promises; and here he built an Altar to the LORD.

Now the Promises which God made, and repeated to Abraham, were to this Purpofe; That he should go unto a land that He would fhew him; (which was the Land of Canaan.) And, That He would make of him a Great Nation, and bless him, and make his Name Great; and, That, in him, all the families of the earth should be blessed. These Promises were therefore three, in


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Number; First, a Grant of the Land of Canaan, to him, and his Seed after him ; fecondly, That he fhould be the Father of a Great Nation, fuch as the Ifraelites, at one Time, were; and thirdly, That, in him all the families of the earth fhould be blessed; that is, by Faith in JESUS CHRIST; who, according to the Flesh, was to be lineally defcended from him; and was therefore faid to be his Son.


After this, upon Abraham's lamenting the Infelicity of his Condition, in his Want of Children, God comforted him, Gen. xv. as to that Point, by bidding him look toward heaven and tell the ftars, if he was a ble to number them; faying, fo fhall thy feed bę. And after, renewing the same Promise, he tells him that he would multiply. his feed as the fand which is upon the fea fhore. Accordingly, Hagar his Maid bore him one Son, nam'd Ishmael; and his Wife Sarah another, who was call'd Ifaac. From Ishmael defcended a Race of People, who forfook the true Religion; from Isaac, those who continued in it, and handed it down to their Pofterity. For Ifaac having two Sons, Efau or Edom, and Jacob who


was nam'd Ifrael by God himself; from the former of these descended the Edomites or Idumæans, who apoftatiz'd from God, and from the latter the Ifraelites, who, for fo long a Time, continued, in fome measure, to cultivate the true Worship of Him, and were mightily favour'd and protected by Him.


Whence called ISRAELITE S.

TO Ifrael himself God was so highly propitious as to renew to him the fame Promises He had made to his Grandfather Abraham. And accordingly he bless'd him with a numerous Offspring; For he had twelve Sons; fix by his Wife Leah, namely, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Ijachar, and Zebulun: Two by Bilhah, his Wife Rachel's Maid, Dan and Naphtali: Two by Zilpah, his Wife Leah's Maid, Gad and Afber: And Two by his Wife Rachel, Jofeph and Benjamin.

Of these, Jofeph was fo hopeful and promifing a Child, efpecially in regard to the Particulars of Wisdom and Virtue, that

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that he became, at the fame time, the Object of his Father's Fondness, and of the Envy of his ten elder Brethren; who, therefore, contriv'd to fell him to a Caravan of Egyptian Merchants, and perfuaded their Father that he was flain by fome wild Beaft. The Merchants carried him into Egypt, and again fold him to Patiphar, an Officer belonging to Pharaoh, and Captain of his Guard. There, by means of that extraordinary Skill and Address with which God favour'd him, he foon came to be known to Pharaoh himself; who advanc'd him to the highest Dignity, and made him Superintendent of the Granaries of Egypt, during the time of those seven Years of Dearth and Scarcity, which himself had predicted.

This Famine was fo grievous in the Countries bordering upon Egypt, that Ifrael found himself under a Neceffity of fending his Sons thither to buy Corn. Where being presently known by their Brother Joseph, they were order'd by him to return and bring their Father, and all their Families to Egypt; that fo, they might be fupported the more commodiously, out of the

the great Stores he had discreetly provided against that Time of general Want, which was yet to continue fome Years longer. Upon this Inducement therefore Ifrael left the Land of Canaan, and with about feventy Males which came out of his Loins, remov'd into Egypt; where he was receiv'd and entertain'd very honourably by his Son Jofeph: And where dying, seventeen Years after, he adopted Jofeph's two Sons Ephraim and Manasseh, preferring the younger before the elder; and, placing them upon an equal Foot with his own. Sons, blefs'd them with a very solemn Bediction.

In process of Time Joseph himself, with the rest of his Brethren, died likewife; and left their several Families (which we shall henceforward call Tribes) greatly multiplied. These Tribes, though they were, in all, thirteen, (Jofeph's two Son's, by being adopted, standing in his ftead) yet are perpetually call'd the Twelve Tribes of Ifrael. And that of Levi being, by God's Appointment, fet apart for the facred Offices of Religion; and, upon that Account, not number'd among the reft, either to

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