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Acts

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Abraham was brought from an idolatrous country to Canaan. 573 into the land which I has been the seat of thy family, into a pleasant sect. shall shew thee.

and excellent land which I will show thee, and to
which, by nv 'extraordinary interposition, I
will guide thee; though thou at present dost VII. 3.

not knoxv either its situation or its product.
4 Then came he Then Abraham, strange as this command night 4
Chaldeans

, and dreie seem, with all submission readily obeyed it; and in Charran : and from departing from Ur in the land of the Chaldeans, thence, when his Fa: dueli for several years in Charran, having ther was dead, he re- been led by divine conduct thither, and not immoved him into this land wherein ye now

mediately receiving a signal to proceed any fardwell.

ther: But, by another call from God, he
directed to depart from Charran, and accord-
ingly from theirce, after his father died, he,
(that is, God,) by the singular interposition of bis

providence, caused him to remove his habitation
5 And he gave him into this land in which you now dwell. And 5
Bone inheritance in it,
no not so much as tó yet upou bis coming into Canaan, he gave him
set his foot on : yet he no present inheritance in it, not so much as the
promised that he would dimensions of his foot, or a piece of land which
give it to him for a poso be might cover with the sole of it; for the lit-
after hiin, when as yet tle portion of it that he could call his own, he
he had no child. held by purchase, and not as by any claiin of

divine donation : Nevertheless he promised to
give it for a lasiing possession to him, even to his
seed after hime, when [as yet] by the way, he

had

d After his father died.] Many passages as Terah was but 70 years old when Abrain Stephen's speech have been objected to, hain was born, and Abra barn but 75 when as contradictory to the account given of he departed from Haran, these make no the same facts in the Old Testament. I can more than 145 years; but Terai lived to by no means acquiesce in the answer bc 205, and so must have lived 60 years which some have given, that Luke's in- after Abraham left Haran, whereas Stespiration, only secured to us an exact ac. phen affirms, that Abraham went not count of what Stephen said : for it seems from thence till after his father died : In very unreasonable to suppose, that on so answer to this, it is well observed by Mr. extraordinary an occasion the Spirit so cx- Biscoe, (chap. xviii. p. 595–600,) that pressly promised in such circuvstances, this objection is built upon an umproved (even to the seventy as well as to the apos. supposition, that Abraham was Terah's iles,) should leave him to frequent and eldest son, or that he was born in his 70th palpable slips of memory, into which it is year; not to insist on the solution which not probable any intelligent Christian minis. is offered to this difficulty by Le Cierc, ter would now fall in a like circumstance. Knatchbull, Cappellus, and others, that, It scems therefore much more honourable according to the Samaritan copy, Terah to Christianity to suppose, that, if there lived but 145 years --Cladenius's soiu. are any passages here which cannot be re tion, built on the distinction between conciled with the passages of the Old Testa- malolxev, sojourning, and melouxFly, fixing his meni to which they refer, (which most aboule there by the purchase of a sepulehre, that have been objected to certainly may,) seems too mean a subteríuge to be particuit is owing to some error of transcribers, larly discussed. from which, as it is plain from various e Even to his seed. The particle rzeu so readings, even the copies of the sacred books often significs even, that I think it much have not always been secure, as without more natural to render it thus, and to cona continued miracle it it impossible they sider this clause as eapiaining the former, in should.--But as for what is here urged, order to avoid that express contradiction, as if it wcre inconsistent with Gen. xi. 26, which seems to arise from trawalating it 32. xii. 4. from whence it is argued, that, as we do. 4 C2

Four

574

He was accepted of God before his circumcision.

xiii.

Acts

SECT. had no child, and humanly speaking it was not

likely he ever should have one : but the faith

of our pious ancestor triumphed over all these VII. 3. seeming difficulties, and joyfully embraced the

divine revelation and promise. 6 And when God had brought Abraham into 6 And God spake

on this wise, that his this country, he did not keep bim and his pos- seed should sojourn in terity here till the time they were to enter upon a strange land, and that the possession of it, in consequence of this di- they should bring them vine grant, but, on the contrary, God spake [to treat them evil four him] thus in a vision, (Gen. xv. 13, 14.) that hundred years. his seed should sojourn and be strangers in a foreign land, and they among whom they sojourn shall enslave and abuse them; and these events, with the circumstances preparatory to them,

shall extend themselves to the full period of four 7 hundred years. And the nation to which they 7 And the nation to shall be enslaved, said God in the same oracle, whom they shall be in

, I will assuredly judge, and punish with a righte- said God : and after ous and tremendous severity : And afterwards that shall they come they shall come out of that land, and scrve me in forth, and serve me in

this place. this place; inhabiting this land in which thou now dwellest, and erecting a temple for the per8 formance of my worship here.” This was God's 8 And he gave him promise to him while he was yet uncircumcised, the corenant of cirand in confirmation of it he gave him, as you Abraham begat Isaac, well know, the covenant of circumcision, a sacred and circumcised him rite, which far from blaspheming, I revere as

the eighth day: and

Isaac begat Jacob, and the solemn seal of this contract between God Jacob begat the tware and Abraham: And so being circumcised him- patriarchs. self, as soon as God required it, (Gen. xvii. 23, 24.) he quickly after begat Isaac, and circumcised him also on the eighth day, according to the divine appointment ; and Isaac [begat] Jacob, and Jacob [begat] the twelve patriarchs, who were the respective heads of our twelve tribes of Israel.

And

and 50

f Four hundred years.] Many good critics numbers added together make 915 ycars ; suppose, that this is mentioned here, as and from thence to the time of Israel's dewell as in the text from which it is parture from Egypt was 215 years more. quoted, (Gen. xv. 13.) as a round sum, (See Joseph. Antiq. lib. ii. cap. 15, (al. 6.) without taking notice of the broken num- $ 2.) – But Moses, in the text quoted ber, the exact time being four hundred and from Exodus, refers to the tchole perrd thirty years, as Moses determines it, Exod. of the sojourning of Abraham and his fa. xii. 40. with whom the apostle Paul inily in Canaan and Egypt, as strangers agrees, Gal. iii. 17. For Abraham was in those lands; whereas this promise being 75 years old, wben he came into Canaan, made but a little before Isaac's birth, and (Gen. xii. 4.) which being considered as the prediction taking place from that event, the beginning of the period, from thence musi include only 405 years, which might to the birth of Isaac was 25 years; and in a round sum be yet more easily and proIsaac was sixty years old when he begat perly called four hundred. See Bp. Patrick Jacob, who went to Egypt at 130; which on Gen. xv. 13. and Dr. Whitby in loc.

& Bring

Acts

gave him

Joseph is sold by his brethren, but God advances him. 575 9 And the patriarchs And in those days the providence of God sxc. mored with envy, sold

xiii. Joseph into Egypi: but began to work for the accomplishment of that Gud was with him. surprising prediction, which I mentioned but

now: For the rest of the patriarchs, though VII. 9.
their relation to such holy ancestors might have
tangot them a much better lesson, being moved
with entys at the superior regard which Jacob
shewed to his favourite son, most inbumanly
sold Joseph their brother into Egypt, where he
became a slave, and went through a great variety
of calamities : Nevertheless God was with him
there, though no longer in the promised land,
and made tbat country a scene of

very glorious 10 And delivered providence towards him. And he there de-10 him out of all his affic livered him out of all his afflictions, which his intions, and favoar and wisdom in tegrity and piety had brought upon him, and. the sizht of Pharaoh gave him favour and high veneration, on acking of Egypt; and he made hin governor

count of that distinguished wisdom which apover Egypt, and all his peared to be in him, in the sight of Pharaoh king house.

of Egypt; and he constituted him ruler over the
land of Egypt, and in particular over all his
royal house, committing all things in the palace
as well as elsewhere, to his direction and ma-
nagement, even to the management of this de-
spised Joseph, whom his brethren (then the
whole house of Israel) had most outrageously

insulted and abused, and even sold for a slave. 11 Now there came and according to the predictions of Joseph, 11 a dearth over all the

which bad awakened so great an attention, when
land of Egypt and
Canaan, and great af- seven years of plentv were past, a fumine came
fiction; and our fa: upon all the land of Egypt, and extended itself
thers found no suste-

over Canaun too; and this calamity reduced
them to such great affliction and distress, that
they knew not how to subsist, and even in this
fruitful land our fathers did not find sufficient

sustenance to support themselves and their fami12 But when Jacob lies. But Jacob hearing that there was corn in 12 heard that there was

Egypt, ordered his sons to go and fetch them corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. a supply from thence, and sent our fathers, the

ten patriarchs thither first, keeping Benjamin 13 And at the se- with him at home. And the second time that 13

they

nance.

cond

g Being moved with envy.) From what to Jesus; but it would not have been proStephen inentions of the story of Joseph, per directly to insert such a reference in the it was obvious to infer, (as many good paraphrast, as prudence would not allow writers have observed,) that the greatest Stephen in the beginning of this finely favourites of heaven might suter by the adjusted defence, to say erpressly what envy of those who were called the Israel of they could not bave borne so hear, as apGod, and might be eralted by him after pears by the manner in which they rehaving been rejected by them: A thought sented his application of these promises when worthy of their consideration with respect he was drawing towards a conclusion.

Hi Amounting

.

Acts

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14

14 Then sent Jo.

576 Reflections on the remarkable facts mentioned by Stephen. SECT. they went, when sorely against his good father's cond time Joseph ** Will Benjamin accompanied them, Joseph was made known to his

brethren; and Joseph's made known to his brethren; and as the matter kindi ed made VII. 15. ivas immediately made public, the sumily and known unto Pharaohi.

descent of Joseph was discovered to Pharuoh, of
which he had not been particularly informed
before.

And upon this, with the full consent of that
generous prince, Joseph sent and invited his aged seph, and called his
father Jacob, and all his kindred to him into and all his kindred,
Egypt; who accordingly went down thither in threescore and fitcen
a company, amounting in the whole, together souls.
with their wives, to seventy-five souls", without
r«ckouing Jacob himself, and Joseph's family
already there. And thus their sojourning in
that land began, during which they were still
under the care of divine Providence, till the
time of their return to Canaan approached, of
which I shall presently speak.

IMPROVEMENT.

Acts vi. 13 14

Trus loud may the clamour of malice and falsehood rise against innocence and truth. Incessant blasphemy is charged on one of the most pious of men; and we wonder at it the less, since it was

charged upon Jesus himself; and, if they called the master of the Acts house Bedzebub, how much more those of his household ? (Mat. x. vii. 2

25.) His disciple learns of bim not to render evil for evil, but an

swers

h Amounting to seventy-fire souls.] of the Joseph and his children, which reduces the varims solations which learned med huve number thus: The eleven brethren with Di. given of the seeming inconsistency between nah their sister, and nfty-two that had dethis account, and that given by Moses, scended from them, amount to sixty-four; (Gen. xlvi. 27. Exod. i. 5. and Deut. x. to which adding eleven wives, (some of the 22.) which makes them but seventy, (with patriarchs having probably buried theirs, which also Josephus agrees, Antig. lib. ii. and but few of their children being yet cap. 7, (al. 4,] § 4,) the most probable married,) they amount in all to seventyseems to be this. Moses expressly leaves five. See Pool's Synopsis, and Whitby in out all the reites, (Gen. xlvi. 26,) whom lor, and Biscoe, al Boyle's Lec. chap. xviii. he had said before the sons of Israel carried p. 602-606 --Could the reading of with them, (ver. 5.) and only speaks of Terlss or rurlus instead of nylt, (which those that came out of Jacob's loins, insert. Beza mentions as a conjecture,) be suping in the catalogue that he gives of his ported by proper authorities, so that it children, two grand-chiidren of Judah, (to might be rendered all amounting to seventy supply ihe place of Er and Onan, who had souls, it would make the whole matter quite died in Canaan) Hezron and Hamul, though easy. Grotius also supposes, that the it is probable they were not born till after original reading here was sevenly, and that Jacob's arrival in Egypt; and, having first the Septuagint copy was altered to its precomputed them at sirsy sir, he then adds sent torm, to suit with the mistaken reading Joseph and his two sons that were before in of seventy-five; for, in the two first texts reEgypt, and, reckoning Jacob with them, ferred to in the beginning of this nole, the makes the whole number to amount to Septuagint read seventy-five, while in Deut. seventy. But Stephen speaks of all that x. 22 they agree with the Hebrew, and went down with him, and so excludes Jacob read seventy, which is somewhat strange. himself, and the two afterwards born, and

SECT. xili

Reflections on the remarkable facts mentioned by Stephen.

577 sters in the language of calın reason, and of meek though powerful conviction.

While Stephen leads back our contemplation to so many re- Ver. markable fucis of the Old Testament, let us reflect upon them with those devout affections which become the Israel of God. Let us adore the God of glory that appeared to Abraham, and called him forth to be so bright an example of faith and piety, in leaving his country and kindred, to follow the leadings of providence,

2-5 when he knew not in what settlement they should end. Let us, in imitation of him, whose children, if true believers, we also are sit loose to every thing in this world, that we may be ready to kuve it when God shall, by one providence or another, give the signul for our l'emore, If the next step of duty lies plain before us, let us trust our leader to mark out all that follow, in such an order, and to such an end, as he shall think fit; secure of this, that, while we follow infnite IVisdom, we cannot wander out of the way to true happiness, and that all the divine promises shall certainly be accomplished, whatever cross event may seem to interpose and obstruct.

When God appointed that the seed of Abraham should sojourn, 6, 7 and suffer in a strange land, the pious patriarch acquiesced in it: por let us be over anxious about the difficulties into which our posterity may be led. Let us adore the divine goodness, that he has established his covenant with us, and with our seed after us; 8 and while we, in imitation of Avraham, bring our infant offspring to receive the solemn seal of that covenant, let us remember our engagements to instruct them, as they grow up, in the tenor of it, and labour to the utmost to engage their own personal con- 11, 12 sent to it; and then they will be truly rich and free, though in the penury of a famished land, or under the rod of an Egyptian tyrant.

The mysterious conduct of divine Providence with regard to the pious Joseph, who became a slave, that he might be made a 10 prince, and who was trained up for the golden chrain in the discipline of iron fetters, may surely be sufficient to teach us to judge nothing before the time, and to wait the end of the Lord, before we arraign the seeming severity of a part of his conduct towards those, whom we might imagine the most proper objects of bis regard. And surely it will appear none of the least considerable 13, 14 of those rewards, which Providence bestowed on the approved and distinguished dirtue of Joseph, that he had an opportunity of nourishing his pious father in his declining days, of spreading a mild and pleasant ray over the evening of a life, which had been so often beclouded with storms, and of sheltering (as it were) under his princely robe, that hoary head, which had once been turned into a fountain of tears over the bloody fragments of the many coloured coat.

SECT.

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