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SODOM AND GOMORRAH OVERTHROWN. [2347-1635 B.C.

angels struck the men of Sodom with blindness. They hastened Lot and his family from the city, the Lord being 'merciful to him. God permitted Lot to take refuge with his daughters in Zoar. God then rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from heaven. He overthrew the cities of the Plain of Jordan, and all the inhabitants. Lot's wife disobeyed the divine command, not to look back as they fled from the city; she looked behind her, and became a pillar of salt. Abraham arose early the next morning and looked toward Sodom; he saw that the smoke of the country went up like the smoke of a furnace.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS.

Almighty God-the True God, the only Lord who has all power in heaven, and in earth; the worshippers of idols supposed their deities to possess attributes limited to their rank and duties. The true object of worship is, however, ALMIGHTY.

walk before-obey me confidently and cheerfully, as one who walks in the full light of day. The term implies unceasing obedience.

covenant-the solemn promise or engagement of Jehovah to bestow peculiar blessings on Abram and his posterity; which promise enjoined upon them the duty of unswerving obedience to his will. When parties who were equal made covenants either was at perfect liberty to accept or not accept the proposal of the other; but when God covenants with any of his creatures he only proposes and man accepts.

Abraham- father of many nations ;' not only was he the father of the Israelites, but the Ishmaelites, the Midianites, and other nations traced their origin alike to him.

Sarah- princess of a multitude.' Isaac-joy;' because Abraham laughed with delight when God repeated his promise of a son, whose mother should be Sarah.

angels-messengers; the holy and blessed spirits who are in the presence of the Lord, ever ready to execute his will.

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PERIOD II.] ABRAHAM DECEIVES ABIMELECH.

THE DEAD SEA.

"AND HE OVERTHREW THOSE CITIES, AND ALL THE PLAIN, AND ALL THE
INHABITANTS."

THE wind blows chill across those gloomy waves-
Oh! how unlike the green and dancing main!
The surge is foul, as if it roll'd o'er graves;—
Stranger, here lie the cities of the plain.

Yes, on the plain, by wild waves covered now,
Rose palace once, and sparkling pinnacle;
On pomp and spectacle beam'd morning's glow,
On pomp and festival the twilight fell.

Lovely and splendid all, but Sodom's soul

Was stain'd with blood, and pride, and perjury;
Long warn'd, long spare'd, till her whole heart was foul,
And fiery vengeance on its clouds came nigh.

And still she mock'd, and dance'd, and taunting, spoke
Her sportive blasphemies against the Throne;—

It came ! The thunder on her slumber broke :-
God spake the word of wrath! Her dream was done.

Yet, in her final night, amid her stood

Immortal messenger, and pausing Heaven
Pleaded with man, but she was quite imbued,

Her last hour wane'd, she scorn'd to be forgiven !
'Twas done!-down pour'd at once the sulphurous shower,
Down stoop'd in flame, the heaven's red canopy,
Oh! for the arm of God in that fierce hour!-
'Twas vain, nor help of God or man was nigh.

They rush, they bound, they howl, the men of sin;-
Still stoop'd the cloud, still burst the thicker blaze;
The earthquake heave'd!-then sank the hideous din!-
Yon wave of darkness o'er their ashes strays.

CROLY.

9. THE BIRTH OF ISAAC. THE TRIAL OF
ABRAHAM'S FAITH.

Genesis xx.-xxiii.

After the destruction of the cities of the plain Abraham went southwards and sojourned in Gerar. He deceived Abimelech, the king, by saying Sarah was his sister. God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him to restore Sarah

ABRAHAM'S FAITH TRIED.

SARAH DIES. 12347-1635 B.C.

to Abraham. Abimelech reproved Abraham for his deceit, but afterwards made him presents.

The son which God promised to Abraham was born. Abraham called the child's name Isaac. Abraham was then a hundred years old. He and his family lived at Beersheba. Ishmael mocked Isaac; and for this offence he and his mother were cast out of Abraham's house. Hagar went with her son into the Wilderness of Beersheba. Hagar thought Ishmael would die of thirst, but God provided water for them both. God promised Hagar that he would make of Ishmael a great nation. Ishmael grew up in the wilderness, and became an archer. His mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. God commanded Abraham to offer up his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham prepared to obey God. He went to a mountain which God told him of in the land of Moriah. There he built an altar, upon which he laid his son; but as he was about to slay him the angel of the Lord said, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him : for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Abraham then

offered up a ram which God had provided instead of Isaac. Thus was Abraham's faith tried, and the sacrifice of Isaac prevented. God again blessed Abraham for his obedience. Sarah died at the age of one-hundred-and-twenty-seven years. Abraham bought of Ephron, the Hittite, the field and cave of Machpelah for a burying-place. burying-place. There he buried Sarah. Sarah is the only woman whose age is recorded in the Bible.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS.

destruction-complete burning up of the inhabitants and the plain; the site was then overflowed by the waters of the Jordan.

dream-God often made known his will to the ancients in dreams. Lesson 7, vision,' and Job xxxiii. 14-16.

deceit falsehood in word or act; the southwards-towards the meridian, or fear of man was a snare to Abraham,

place of the sun at noon.

sojourned-resided for a time, not settled; we are sojourners upon earth as our fathers were.

Abimelech father of the king; a common name of the kings of Gerar, indicating the hereditary nature of their royalty.

and caused him to lie.

presents-gifts;' either to make amends for his detention of Sarah, or to secure Abraham's friendship now that he knew he was the 'friend of God.'

offence-sin; God has always expressed his displeasure against the sin of mocking. Les. 4, 'mocked' & 'servants.'

PERIOD II.]

THE ANGUISH OF HAGAR.

archer-skilled in the use of the bow and arrow, both as a hunter and a warrior.

offer up-slay him as a being devoted to God in sacrifice.

angel of the Lord- messenger;' one

that is sent to execute the orders of Divine Providence.

lad-a youth; Isaac was at this time about twenty-five years of age.

ram-a male goat or sheep, much used in sacrifice in after times.

tried-proved his faith in God's power to raise Isaac again from the dead. Hebrews xi. 19.

Ephron-a descendant of Heth; the Owner of the plot of ground which Abraham purchased for a burial place; this curious transaction is fully recorded at the close of the twenty-third chapter of Genesis.

cave-a natural or artificial excava

tion; caves were used in ancient times as burial places.

GEOGRAPHICAL NOTES.

GERAR-a royal city and country of the Philistines, near Gaza, the territory of which was extensive.

BEERSHEBA 'the well of the oath ;' was the place in the south of Canaan where Abraham and Abimelech, king of Gerar, made a covenant of peace.

WILDERNESS-an uncultivated and dreary district; the wilderness here spoken of extended southward from Palestine to Mount Sinai. Less. 25. W. of Paran.'

MORIAH-the name of a mountain on the north-east of Jerusalem.

MACHPELAH-the name of the cave, near Hebron, which Abraham purchased of Ephron, the Hittite. Several of the patriarchs and their wives were buried there.

HAGAR IN THE DESERT.

"GOD OPENED HER EYES, AND SHE SAW A WELL OF WATER."

Injur'd, hopeless, faint, and weary,
Sad, indignant, and forlorn,
Through the desert wild and dreary,
Hagar leads the child of scorn.
Who can speak a mother's anguish,
Painted in that tearless eye,
Which beholds her darling languish,
Languish unreliev'd, and die."

Lo! the empty pitcher fails her,
Perishing with thirst he lies,
Death with deep despair assails her,
Piteous as for aid he cries.
From the dreadful image flying,
Wild she rushes from the sight;

In the agonies of dying,

Can she see her soul's delight?

Lo! the angel of the Lord,
Comes thy great distress to cheer,
Listen to the gracious word,
See, divine relief is near.

ELIEZER'S MISSION TO PADAN-ARAM. [2347-1635 B.C.

"Lift thine eyes, hehold yon fountain,
Sparkling 'mid those fruitful trees;
Lo! beneath yon sheltering mountain
Smile for thee green bowers of ease.
"In the hour of sore affliction,
God hath seen and pitied thee;
Cheer thee in the sweet conviction,
Thou henceforth his care shall be."

MRS. TIGHE.

10. THE MARRIAGE OF ISAAC. Genesis xxiv.-xxv. 6, 12-18, & xi. 10,11.

When Abraham was very old, he called his faithful servant ·Eliezer to him; and made him 'promise not to take a wife for Isaac from the daughters of the Canaanites. He told him to journey into Mesopotamia, and bring Isaac a wife from Abraham's own kindred. Eliezer obeyed the directions of Abraham, and went to the city of Nahor. It was evening when Eliezer came to a well near the city, to which the women usually came to draw water; and while his camels rested, he prayed to the Lord for success, saying, “O Lord God of my master Abraham I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water; and let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master." As soon as he had finished his prayer, Rebekah, a daughter of Bethuel, Abraham's nephew, came to draw water. The servant asked her to give him drink, she did so, and also drew water for his camels. When Eliezer knew who she was he blessed God for having brought him to his master's kindred. He afterwards went to her father's house, where he told his errand, and asked Rebekah in marriage for Isaac. Bethuel,

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