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ABRAM'S FAITH.

depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." b

Then Lot chose the beautiful valley of Siddim, where Sodom and Gomorrah were situated. But Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan.

7. ABRAM'S FAITH.

AND God blessed Abram, and said to him, "Fear not I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” a But Abram was troubled because he had no son. And the Lord brought him forth abroad, and said to him, "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.b

When Abram was ninety-nine years of age, the Lord appeared to him, and said, "I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee." c And God appointed circumcision as the seal of his covenant. After that, the Lord appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, as he was sitting in the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself

b Gen. xiii. 8, 9. b Gen. xv. 5, 6.

a Gen. xv. 1-6.

C

Gen. xvii. 1, 2, 5.

toward the ground, and said, "My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree." Then he hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth." And he went and fetched a calf tender and good, and had it dressed. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and they did eat. Then said the Lord to him, "I will certainly return about this time next year, and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.' And Sarah heard this behind the tent door, and laughed within herself. And the Lord said, "Wherefore did Sarah laugh? Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" Then Sarah denied, and said, "I laughed not;" for she was afraid. And he said, "Nay; but thou didst laugh."

"3

And the men rose up and turned towards Sodom, and Abraham went with them. And the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." d

The Lord then made known to Abraham that he was about to visit Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins. And Abraham pleaded for them, saying, "Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not

d Gen. xviii. 1-19.

SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein ? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" And the Lord said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous men within the city, then I will spare all the city for their sakes." And Abraham said again, "Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for the lack of five?" And so he went on to intercede: "Peradventure forty may be found there; or thirty; or twenty; or ten." And the Lord said, "I will not destroy it for ten's sake." And the Lord went his way; and Abraham re turned to his place. e

8. SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

It was evening when the two angels came into Sodom. Lot, who regarded them as ordinary travellers, went to meet them, and courteously entreated them to stay the night with him, and they consented. But the men of Sodom were all night long going after abominable wickedness, until at last they were smitten by the angels with blindness, so that they could not find the door of Lot's house. And the men said to Lot, "Hast thou here any belonging to thee? Bring them out of this place: for we will destroy this place." And Lot told this to his sons-in-law; but they laughed at him.

e Gen. xviii. 23-33.

And when the morning arose, the angels hastened Lot. And while he lingered, they laid hold of him, and his wife, and his two daughters, by the hand, and they brought them forth out of the city. Then said the angel of the Lord, "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain." And the sun was risen when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the Lord rained

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brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and destroyed the whole country.a And the place where that beautiful valley was, is now the Dead Sea. To this day that whole region, by the melancholy spectacle which it presents, gives an awful warning how terribly God punishes ungodliness. But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. b

a

Gen. xix 12-24.

b Gen. xix. 26.

ISHMAEL.

9.

ABRAHAM had a son by Hagar, named Ishmael, who was born when Abraham was eighty-six years old.

ISHMAEL.

And now the Lord visited Sarah, and she bare Abraham a son when he was an hundred years old, and he called his name Isaac. And Sarah saw that Ishmael was a mocker; and she said to Abraham, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son." This request was very grievous to Abraham. But God said to him, "Let it not be grievous in thy sight, because of the lad, and because of thy bond woman: in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed." And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. The water was spent in the bottle, and there was no well to be found. Hagar laid her child, perishing with thirst, under a tree, and sat down over against him a good way off; for she said, "Let me not see the death of the child." And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of the Lord called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, "What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is." And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled

a Gen. xxi. 9-13.

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