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multiply thy seed exceedingly, and it shall not be numbered for multitude :" he had said also respecting Ishmael, “ he shall be a wild man ;

his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." This was rather a prophecy of the character and condition of his descendants, than a promise to the individual, or a description of himself ; and most accurately has it continued to be fulfilled, even unto this day, in the manners and state of the Arabs, who are unquestionably the descendants of Ishmael. They are wild wandering tribes, subsisting in good measure by the plunder of others, dwelling in the presence of the surrounding nations, always more or less in hostility with them all, and never subjected to any. Thus explicit was the declaration of him who sees the end from the beginning, and who orders all the affairs of men and nations according to the counsel of his own will.

Hagar, having been thus sent away from the house of Abraham, though provided with necessaries, was soon in danger of seeing

Ishmael perish in the wilderness for want of water. And then she forgets the promise which the angel had made her. She laid him under one of the shrubs, and went to a distance from him; “ for she said, let me not see the death of the child, and she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.” How common is this with us all! We have an evil heart of unbelief; and when present providences seem to be contrary to gracious promises, how prone are we to walk by sight and not by faith, to lose our trust in God, and give way to grief and despondency! Even then relief was at hand, though she saw it not. God called to her out of heaven and encouraged her, and renewed to her the promise which he had before given both to herself and to Abraham. And then he enabled her to see

a well, before unperceived by her, and from which she took water that revived and restored her son. Thus sorrow and despair often blind our minds ; we see not the mercies with which we are surrounded ; we can neither derive encouragement from the past, nor take comfort in the present, nor exercise hope for the future. But God looks upon our distress, and comforts us when we are cast down ; he hears our prayers, sees our fears, and becomes a very present help in our time of need. Let us learn, from this part of the history, to trust in him even in a dark and cloudy day, when all things seem to be against us, and we are ready to perish. In all circumstances we may say, if our hearts are so heavy that we cannot sing, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me ? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

All that we read further of Ishmael in the sacred history is this, that “he became an archer, and dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt;" that he was present at the burial of his father Abraham, joining with Isaac in the performance of the funeral-rites; that he had twelve sons, who, in accomplishment of the prophecy, were “twelve princes, according to their nations ;” and that at the age of a hundred and thirty-seven years he

gave up the ghost and died, and was gathered unto his people: and that “he died in the presence of all his brethren.” Nothing is said of his personal religion ; we are not told whether he adhered to the faith of Abraham, or renounced it; few are the notices afterwards taken of his descendants: like all the rest of the world, except the posterity of Isaac, they became Idolaters, the sons of the bondwoman not being heirs of the covenant with the sons of the freewoman.

Such is the historical account of the casting out of Ishmael from the family of Abraham. But as I have already observed, an inspired Apostle shews us what was still further the mind of the spirit, by the manner in which he introduces it in writing to the Galatians. This meaning would never have been known by us, except by the information thus communicated; but now wbat would otherwise have appeared as a mere naked matter of fact, assumes a very different character, and becomes a striking representation of the things of grace.

We therefore proceed to consider, in the second place,

woman.

II. The allegory contained in this circumstance of history. In the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Galatians, it is spoken of in these terms; “ Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law ? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free

But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise, which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is Mount Sinai, in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.” He adds soon after, “ Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture ? cast out the bondwoman and her son ; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of

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