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are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him from the dead? (Col. ïi. 10–12.)
Or again, do we know our character, as thus described, We are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh ? " (Phil. iii. 3.)
This is circumcision of heart, without which we shall never sit with Abraham in the kingdom of Christ. “ Putting off the body of sins in the flesh,” implies self-denial ; a consciousness of the contest between flesh and spirit ; a crucifying impure, discontented, covetous desires. And all this daily, “through faith in the operation of God who raised up Christ from the dead.” God raised Christ from the dead, He also can raise us from death in sin unto life of righteousness. We cannot raise ourselves. We have not courage or strength to crucify this body of sin, but God will give His Spirit for this end ; and, placing our faith in that mighty operation by which our Lord was made to come up again with life from the cold dark grave, we shall find we are raised to walk in newness of life by the same power.
Encouraging words are these given to us through Abraham, “I am the Almighty, walk before me, and be thou perfect” (or
sincere). He who commands this upright walking is Almighty. The authority of the command is undoubted; but so also, the strength for the performance is secure. He who enjoins this holy walking, and He who promises all needful strength, is One, the Almighty. He asks not for more than He undertakes to give. He says not “walk alone,” but “ before me,” in my presence, so that though I require much I also give much. He
says not "walk before me, for thou art Almighty,” but “I am Almighty." Walk in my strength, lean on my arm, depend on my guidance, seek to my wisdom, listen to my counsel, for I that speak am mighty to save, I am the Almighty.
Are we not encouraged to draw closer to the Lord ? Shall we not certainly hope to " perfect holiness in the fear of God?” doubt of complete victory over all difficulties now in our way of more entire devotion to God? Shall we not rather with triumphant voices say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me?” For Lord, “I am the ALMIGHTY, walk before me and be thou perfect.”
Almighty God, who madest thy servants of old, and even thy blessed Son, to be circumcised and obedient to the law, grant unto me the true circumcision of the Spirit. Give me that faith in my Saviour which worketh by love. Grant me to be in Him a new creature, renewed day by day by the Holy Spirit. Crucify in me all unrighteous desires, and give me the will and the strength to put off the body of the sins of the flesh, and through the Spirit, to mortify the deeds and the desires of the flesh.
Cause me to rejoice in Christ Jesus, and to have no confidence in the flesh. Give me grace to worship thee in spirit and in truth.
Lord, I am weak and powerless to do as thou dost command, but thou art Almighty. Into thy hands do I commit myself; lead me, --uphold me,—direct me,—that I may walk before thee in righteousness here, and behold thy face in righteousness hereafter, for Jesus Christ, His sake. AMEN.
ABRAHAM PLEADING FOR
“And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be
angry, and I will speak : Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I
will not do it, if I find thirty there. “And he said, Behold now, I have taken
upon to speak unto the Lord : Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I
will not destroy it for twenty's sake. “ And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I
will speak yet but this once : Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will
not destroy it for ten's sake. “And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had
left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” Gen. XVIII. 30–33.
“And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre, and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day: and he lift up
eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him : and when he saw them, he ran to meet them at the tent door, and bowed himself 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; and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that
pass on ; for therefore are ye come to your servant. said, So do, as thou hast said.'
Such is the sacred account of the manner of God's appearing to Abraham, for the sixth time, before He fulfilled His promise of a son. Each promise becomes more distinct and more minute in its detail, as the time of fulfilment draws near. The Lord now declares Sarah shall have a son, and that at such and such a time.
Before we notice how Sarah and Abraham received this promise, let us observe some other incidents in this chapter.
The more we read of Abraham, and the more his history is brought before us, the more do the good points in his holy character present themselves. We should observe this, because it shows how the principle of real faith influences the whole character, and that faith is not, as many think, a mere act of the mind which may take place without affecting the heart, and whole bent of the mind.
Abraham was one who breathed a spirit of love towards his fellow creatures, which made him desire to do good, especially to those of the household of faith. It is often in our