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THE CALL OF ABRAHAM.
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee
out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that
I will shew thee : “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I
will bless thee, and make thy name great ;
and thou shalt be a blessing : “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse
him that curseth thee : and in thee shall all
families of the earth be blessed. “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken
unto him.” GEN. XII. v. 1, 2, 3, & PART OF 4.
DEEPLY interesting, deeply instructive, and very striking, is the history of Abraham. From no individual's life are we to gather so much as from this great Patriarch. His life was a life of faith, and we must walk,--and shall find we are called to walk,-—in the steps of faithful Abraham, if we would with him enjoy Gospel blessings.
The reason why faith was so remarkably seen in him, is that faith was so remarkably tried in him. His whole life was a constant
exercise of that “faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Thus, in God's first appearance to him, was called upon to leave what he saw, and to go to a place, and hope for things he had not
His promise of a child, through whom his seed should be multiplied, and nations blessed, was a continual demand upon his faith till he was a hundred years old. And then what faith was not necessary, when called on seemingly to blast all these hopes, and cut the tie of his fondest earthly affection, by the slaughter of his son with his own hand !
Then too, his living as a stranger in the land of which he had the promise, yea, his dying in it without having “ so much as to set his foot on," whereas God “promised He would give it to him for a possession,” (Acts vii. 5.)—did not all this require strong and vigorous faith?
He is the “father of all them that believe,” and “they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Let us see then how we are called upon to act faith as he did, that with him we may receive the end of faith, even the salvation of our souls.
His first step of faith is recorded in the passage of Scripture before us.
We might have passed lightly over it, but our attention is drawn to it, as a special instance of faith's obedience, in Hebrews xi. 8.
First then, from whence was Abraham called? We read fully in Acts vii. 2, 3, 4, " The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopatamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said unto him, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee; then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran ; and from thence when his father was dead, he removed him into this land.”
It is important to remember that Abram was in a land of idolatry, when thus called by God.
There is no doubt of this, as you will see by referring to Joshua xxiv. 2: “ Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor, AND THEY SERVED
It is thus that we see that Abram's calling was "according to the elec
“And I took your father Abraham, and led him.” “ The whole world lieth in the wicked one. Satan wraps the world in dark idolatry. It pleases God to keep the pure worship of His name upon
tion of grace.
earth. For this cause He selects an individual even Abram, and chooses a family, and a nation, even of Israel, with whom He deposits
the oracles,” to whom He gives “the promises and the covenant,” and “ of whom concerning the flesh Christ came. And to what other source can any trace their saving knowledge of the true God and Jesus Christ, than to this election of grace? Naturally we all serve other gods,-the world, -or riches, -or self,—but when it has pleased God to reveal His Son in any soul, who must have the praise of its separation from the world, but He that showeth mercy,-He that made us willing to obey His call,—“that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth.” (Rom. ix. 11.) It is this thought that calls forth the deepest gratitude, and the highest strains of praise, from the heart and lips of every unworthy sinner thus taught to love God, because He first loved him.
But, next, what was Abram called upon to leave behind him ? His
country," bis “kindred,” his “father's house." Things most dear to him, property, persons, places, and associations, known and loved from his boyhood. His kindred were idolatrous, therefore they must be left by him that is to serve the true God. The place was unholy, therefore did God say, “ Come out of it my people, that
ye be not partakers of its sins, and that ye receive not of its plagues.” This was no slight trial of the Patriarch's faith in Him who called him. There would be many earthly friends ready enough to persuade him to refuse obedience to the heavenly voice. There would be strong temptations enough from within his own breast, prompting him to stay, or at least to delay his departure. The flesh lusted against the Spirit, no doubt. But faith gained the victory. Faith saw Him that was invisible, heard His voice, and obeyed His word.
But, mark next, unto what was Abraham called ? His faith had to look behind, and to leave the things of sense, but to what had he to look forward ? This was the greatest test of his faith, he was “ called to go out to a place he should after receive as an inheritance, he went out,“ not knowing whither he went.” He saw nothing before him. And when he turned his back upon all that had hitherto administered to his earthly comfort and pleasure, sight and sense failed him, there was of this earth nothing before him.
But, was there therefore nothing before him ? Did he see nought ?
Did he set forward on his travels with no prospect ?