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NOTES,

CRITICAL AND PRACTICAL,

ON THE BOOK OF

GENESIS;

DESIGNED AS A GENERAL HELP TO

BIBLICAL READING AND INSTRUCTION.

BY GEORGE BUSH,

PROF. OF HEB. AND ORIENT. LIT., N. Y. CITY UNIVERSITY.

IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. II.

ANDOVER:

PUBLISHED BY GOULD, NEWMAN & SAXTON.

NEW YORK:

CORNER OF FULTON AND NASSAU STS.

St

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

1868, Oct. 5,
Wilson bequest.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1897, by
ELI FRENCH,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

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THE BOOK OF GENESIS.

VOL. II.

CHAPTER XXII.

If those portions of history are most replete with interest and instruction which exhibit to us illustrious characters in trying situations, having their virtues put to the severest test, yet holding fast their integrity, conquering difficulties, and rising superior to temptation by the power of moral principle, then the ensuing narrative of Abraham's last and greatest trial prefers the strongest claims to our attention. It is an event preeminently memorable in the life of the patriarch. Whatever signal instances of faith and obedience have hitherto distinguished his conduct, they are all eclipsed by that which we are now called to consider. At the very time when we are prompted to congratulate the happy sire, and flatter ourselves that his tribulations have an end; that the storms which ruffled the noon of life are blown over, and the evening of his age is becoming calm and serene, the sorest of his struggles yet awaits him. The loss of a beloved child would, under any circumstances, have been a grievous affliction; but in the present case he finds himself required to submit to a bereavement which threatened to extinguish the hopes of the world. Nor was this all. The fatal blow was to be struck with his own hand! And in this he was called to obey a mandate in which the divine counsel seemed so evidently to war with itself, that his bosom could not but be torn with a conflict of emotions, such as the mere grief of a father could never occasion. To a command which should merely put to the proof his paternal affection, he 1

VOL. II.

could, no doubt, have submitted without hesitation; but when, to the eye of reason, he saw the precept arrayed against the promise of God, and an act enjoined directly at variance with all the attributes of a Being holy, just, and true, he could not but be conscious of an inward struggle, ineffably severe. But the faith which had triumphed before, triumphed now; and as he came forth from the terrible ordeal, like gold tried in the furnace, how pertinently may we conceive an approving God addressing him in the language of the poet :

"All thy vexations Were but my trials of thy love and thou Hast strangely stood the test."

The command here given to the patriarch to sacrifice his only son has ever been so fruitful a theme of cavil with the enemies of revelation, that it will be proper, in the outset, to advert with some particularity to the objections usually urged against it. The command, it is said, is inconsistent with the attributes of a Being of perfect justice and goodness. But to this it may be replied, that the assertion rests upon no sufficient grounds. As God is the author and giver of life, he surely can, without the least shadow of injustice, take it away when and in what manner he pleases. It cannot be supposed that he conferred life either upon Abraham or Isaac, upon the terms of taking it away only in one certain manner, or in the way most agreeable to them. It was given in this, as in all other cases, under the ordinary reserve of his own indisputable right of resumption in any mode that

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