Genesis 17:20
As for Ishmael, I have heard you, and I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He will become the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.
A Mother's PrayersGenesis 17:15-22
Abraham's DilemmaA. Fuller.Genesis 17:15-22
Abraham's Prayer Far IshmaelJ. W. Lance.Genesis 17:15-22
Abraham's Prayer for IshmaelThe Congregational PulpitGenesis 17:15-22
Abraham's Prayer for IshmaelH. Stowell, M. A.Genesis 17:15-22
Parental Duties and EncouragementsJ. A. James.Genesis 17:15-22
Passion, Impatience, and ExpediencyW. J. AcombGenesis 17:15-22
Prayers of a MotherW. Arthur.Genesis 17:15-22
SarahThe Homiletic ReviewGenesis 17:15-22
Sarah: Abraham's Wife and Isaac's MotherW. H. Davison.Genesis 17:15-22
The Clearer Revelation of Covenant BlessingsT. H. Leale.Genesis 17:15-22
The Love of the Worldly LifeM. Dix, D. D.Genesis 17:15-22
The Prayer for IshmaelHomilistGenesis 17:15-22
Why Ishmael Could not Inherit the Covenant BlessingJ. O. Dykes, DD.Genesis 17:15-22

Genesis 17:15
Genesis 17:15. Thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be, &c. "Mother of nations;" "kings of peoples shall be of her."

I. EXALTATION OF THE LOWLY. A pilgrim and stranger, made a princess. A mother of nations, though once desolate, mourning, ready to murmur. The lamentation turned into laughter.

II. THE FREEDOM OF DIVINE GRACE. The blessing unexpected, apart from creature strength, notwithstanding blind and foolish attempts to obtain blessing in our own way - the Ishmael, not the Isaac. Though many things "said in our heart," the one thing Divinely purposed the only true fulfillment of that heart's desire.

III. FOREGLEAMS OF THE COMING GLORY. The seed of the woman, specially representing the promise of God, supernaturally given, coming as the royal seed, son of a princess and forerunner of kings of peoples. God-given heir, God-given inheritance. The birth of the child of promise, so manifestly Divine, points to the yet greater glory: "Unto us a Son is born." - R.

As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah.
In God's spiritual dealings with mankind the patience of faith is rewarded by a clearer discovery of His will. Obedience is the way to knowledge. The darkness in which faith commences turns to light in the end. The lines along which God's gracious dealings are to proceed are now distinctly laid down before Abraham. The clearer revelation, in this instance, is marked by the same general characteristics as belong to the advance of Scripture.


1. Thus God preserves His own glory (Proverbs 25:2). God hides His purpose from man until the time comes for Him to reveal it more clearly. This concealment must tend to His glory, for it is rendered necessary by His infinite superiority to us. We who are but of yesterday cannot scan the designs of Him who is from everlasting to everlasting. The great deep of God's judgments is to us unfathomable.

2. Thus God preserves His independence of man. He has no need of our suggestions or advice. How can we contribute any light to Him who is the Fountain of Light?

3. Thus God humbles the pride of man. If we could calculate beforehand what God shall reveal, or what blessings He shall bestow, we might be tempted to pride ourselves upon our clear and sure reason. Our humility is promoted by that arrangement which renders it impossible for us to discover what God is pleased to conceal.

4. Thus piety is of necessity a life of faith. God so deals with mankind that if they are to serve and please Him at all they must trust Him. We are made to know enough of His goodness to commence trusting Him; and He still keeps much hid from us so that we may continue to trust Him.


1. God's gracious purpose is to throw our faith completely upon its own inherent power. It must not be hampered by the operations of the intellect, or by the feelings of the heart.

2. Faith must look to God alone.

III. THERE IS A REVELATION OF HUMAN WEAKNESS IN US. The faith of Abram, though it rose superior to trials, was yet mixed with some human weakness.

1. The weakness of a thoughtless amazement. The laugh of Abraham, when he heard the real direction of the promise, unquestionably had in it the elements of adoration and joy. But there was also in it a kind of unreflecting amazement — that unhealthy astonishment which paralyses. It was a joy which was yet half afraid.

2. The weakness of doubt. In verse 17, Abraham expresses a doubt. It was a momentary feeling, but at that time it rose irresistibly to the surface.

3. The weakness of attempting to thrust our own way upon God.

IV. THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY GIVEN FOR THE GLORY OF GOD'S GOODNESS TO SHINE FORTH. In every fresh revelation God is but showing Himself to His servants. He is showing His goodness mere and more, and that is His glory. The qualities of the Divine goodness would now be manifested more clearly to the soul of Abraham.

1. This is seen by the supernatural character of the blessings promised (vers. 15, 16, 19).

2. This is seen by the intrinsic excellence of the blessings promised.

3. This is seen by God's gracious provision even for those human desires which betray imperfection. God would remember Ishmael, after all, and in some way satisfy the yearnings of Abraham's heart (ver. 20). God does not chide His servant for those humanly natural longings. With all his imperfections, the heart of the patriarch was right at bottom, and his purpose to please God steady and sincere. If we have true faith, whatever desires there are in us which still betray some human imperfections, God will turn them into better courses, and show us His way.

(T. H. Leale.)



1. There was in her a clear and decided spiritual faith.

2. She had a strong, loving, and imperious affection.

3. There were defects in her faith, and may have been defects in her character.

III. THE TYPICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF SARAH'S LIFE AND HER PLACE IN THE UNFOLDING OF THE REDEMPTION OF HUMANITY. The story is written in the Book of Genesis mainly in the masculine gender and in relation to Abraham. But, in reference to the covenanted mercy, there are two great blessings to which special significance is attached, and concerning both Sarah's was a prominent position. The one was the seed, the other the land.

(W. H. Davison.)

The Homiletic Review.


1. She did not, as the Scriptures teach, avoid all appearance of evil.

(1)At the palace of Pharaoh.

(2)At the court of Ahimelech.

2. She did wrong in giving Hagar to be Abraham's concubine.

3. She showed a weakness of faith in laughing at the promises of God.

4. She was cruel in sending Hagar and Ishmael away from her home.


1. She was truly devoted to her husband, and preferred him to all others, even though kings sought to gain her.

2. She is commended for her holy life and fidelity to Abraham, and as such is an example for wifely imitation (1 Peter 3:6).

3. After all, faith was the ruling principle of her life. Doubt was only a momentary exception.

(The Homiletic Review.)

O that Ishmael might live before Thee.

I. ABRAHAM'S UNBELIEF. Not that his prayer was altogether destitute of faith. He believed in the reality of the personal God, and in His power and willingness to bless; but unbelief as to the methods was struggling with his faith.

1. It is the thought of the heart that is here recorded.

2. The natural obstacle to the fulfilment of the promise was greater now than on the previous occasion.

3. He had to discharge from his mind a belief which he had long nourished and cherished.



(J. W. Lance.)

I. A SPIRIT NATURAL TO A TRUE PARENT. Abraham desired the prosperity of Ishmael.


III. A SPIRIT HONOURED BY HEAVEN (ver. 20; see Genesis 25:10-15).


The Congregational Pulpit.
I. WHAT THE CHRISTIAN PARENT SEEKS FOR HIS OFFSPRING. What is meant by living before God? It means to enjoy His forgiving grace, that we be not consumed by His wrath; and to receive His fostering protection and blessing, without which life would be a calamity, and existence a burden. We would not have our children go forth through life neglected of God; still less, contending against Him as an enemy. Many blessings may be included in this general one.

1. There are spiritual blessings; life in and through Jesus Christ. Forgiveness. Regeneration. Eternal life.

2. Temporal good is sought; not without, but in addition to, spiritual blessings; and not absolutely, but in entire submission to the will of God.


1. Prayer.

2. Instruction.

3. Example.

4. Discipline. Conclusion:(1) To parents who neglect their duty altogether. Ye are cruel fowlers, and dreadful for you will it be to meet your spoiled and ruined offspring in hell.(2) To those who labour in this way. Be encouraged and incited to persevere. Your work will not be in vain.(3) To all who bring their children for baptism. You do take these vows upon you. Be faithful. This you cannot he, unless fully bent upon your own salvation.(4) To young people. See your parents' anxiety for you. Be awakened to a sense of your sin and danger.

(The Congregational Pulpit.)

I. It must strike the most casual observer, that THERE IS A SPECIALITY IS THE PRAYER which makes it necessary that the import of the prayer should be unfolded. For it appears not but that Ishmael was in all the glow and vigour of his youthful health; there was no symptom of physical decay, there was no indication of approaching death. Whence, therefore, and why did the patriarch pray, "Oh! that my child might live?" Was it that his days might be lengthened out? Was it that his health might continue unimpaired? was it that he might live to a green and a good old age? No, we find a key to the patriarch's prayer in the one simple expression — "Before Thee." "Oh! that Ishmael might live before Thee." Before his father's eyes, before the eyes of mankind, the child lived; but the father had reference to another and a higher and a different life — a life in the sight of God. It follows, then, that adequately to comprehend the import of the prayer, we must illustrate the death, from which the patriarch desired his child to be set free. And we are led to remark, that every child of man, as he comes into the world, is dead in the sight of God, in a two-fold sense; he is legally dead, he is spiritually dead. He is dead in the sight of God in law, and he is dead in the sight of God in his moral nature. He is "dead in trespasses and sins." But how, then, is life given to man? and what was the life, for which the patriarch prayed on behalf of his child? In order to remove the eternal death under which we lie, the Son of God took our nature upon Himself, stood as our substitute; so that God might be just in justifying every penitent, that lays hold on the righteousness of the Redeemer and comes to God in faith. Everyone, then, that by faith is brought into a participation of the righteousness and redemption that is in Christ, is, in virtue of that righteousness and that redemption, passed from death to life.

II. I pass simply and briefly to press upon you THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT PRAYER.

1. The importance of the patriarch's prayer appears, in that till that prayer is accomplished in a child or in a man, that child or that man is a poor, maimed, imperfect being. What a wretched life is the mere vegetable life for a man to live!

2. But the importance of the patriarch's prayer is still more emphatically and touchingly impressed on our minds, if we remember the fearful peril in which every man stands, that is not "living before God."

(H. Stowell, M. A.)


1. Is it forbidden to desire the continuance of their natural life? Certainly not; provided that desire be entirely under the control of submission to the will of God.

2. Nor is it forbidden to ask those things for our children which would contribute so much to their temporal comfort; provided, that desire be also in entire submission to the will of Jehovah.

3. Still, however, these things are but secondary objects of desire with him who contemplates, in its true light, the character and destiny of that being which with rapture he calls his child. What can or what ought a Christian parent to desire for his child, as the grand ultimatum of all his anxiety and solicitude, short of everlasting bliss? It is in this sense that he uses the prayer of Abraham, "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee."

II. I shall now mention THOSE MEANS WHICH MUST BE USED BY HIM IN ORDER TO OBTAIN IT. In the distribution of His favours to the human race, God generally connects His bounty with our exertions. This remark applies both to temporal and spiritual benefits.

1. If we would have our children grow up as we desire, we must maintain discipline in our families. By discipline, I mean the exercise of parental authority in enforcing obedience to all suitable commands and prohibitions. This part of religious education should begin early. The supple twig bends to your will, while the sturdy oak laughs at your authority.

2. Instruction is the next branch of religious education. I shall consider:(1) The matter of instruction. And this must be the doctrines and the duties of revelation. Assiduously inculcate upon your offspring every relative and every social duty. Teach them that holiness is necessary both to our felicity on earth and in heaven.(2) The manner of religious instruction should also be regarded with attention. This, of course, should be as much adapted to the capacity of the child as is possible. Instruction should not be confined merely to stated seasons, as in other branches of education; but it ought to occupy a considerable share of the common conversation of the parent.

3. If you would give either meaning or force to anything you say, add to instruction a holy and suitable example. I would also insist upon the necessity of not only setting them good examples at home, but of using the utmost caution that they be not exposed to the contagion of bad example abroad. It should therefore be your business to select for them suitable companions. Of course, this establishes also the importance of choosing a proper person to superintend the general education of your children.

4. Let it not be supposed that any system of education can be complete without prayer.


(J. A. James.)



1. God had other purposes in view, from which He would not depart to gratify the wishes of the best man living.

2. The purpose of God was associated with righteousness, whereas Ishmael originated in a pitiful, immoral expedient. Many a failure in the individual life, and church life, and national life, is rooted in the rank, poisonous manure of wrong-doing.

3. The blessing of God was in connection with Isaac, the glad meditative son of peace. It is in vain that we try to force the hand of Providence if our heart is set on Ishmael, the offspring of our human passion and impatience.

III. GOD WILL, IN AN UNEXPECTED SENSE, ANSWER OUR PETITIONS. Look at the answer that came to Abraham's prayer. It had already been predicted that he was to be "a wild man, his hand against every man," etc. Now still further comes this guarantee. "...I will make him a great nation." Abraham's gift of intercession was not an unqualified good. If his supplication had not been successful, much misery might have been spared to himself, his family, his nation, and humanity at large. Can anyone calculate the mischief that has been created by the existence of Ishmael in the world?

(W. J. Acomb,)

Abraham believed God, and was overcome with joyful surpass. But a doubt immediately occurs, which stakes a damp upon his pleasure: "The promise of another son destroys all my expectations with respect to him who is already given!" Perhaps he must die, to make room for the other; or if not, he may be another Cain, who went out from the presence of the Lord. To what drawbacks are our best enjoyments subject in this world; and in many cases, owing to our going before the Lord in our hopes and schemes of happiness! When His plan comes to be put in execution, it interferes with ours; and there can be no doubt in such a ease which must give place. If Abraham had waited God's time for the fulfilment of the promise, it would not have been accompanied with such an alloy: but having failed in this, after all his longing desires after it, it becomes in a manner unwelcome to him! What can he do or say in so delicate a situation? Grace would say, Accept the Divine promise with thankfulness. But nature struggles; the bowels of the father are troubled for Ishmael. In this state of mind he presumes to offer up a petition to heaven: "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" Judging of the import of this petition by the answer, it would seem to mean, either that God would condescend to withdraw His promise of another son, and let Ishmael be the person; or if that cannot be, that his life might be spared, and himself and his posterity be amongst the people of God, sharing the blessing, or being "heir with him" who should be born of Sarah. To live and to live before God, according to the usual acceptation of the phrase, could not, I think, mean less than one or other of these things. It was very lawful for him to desire the temporal and spiritual welfare of his son, and of his posterity after him, in submission to the will of God: but in a case wherein natural affection appeared to clash with God's revealed designs, he must have felt himself in a painful situation: and the recollection that the whole was owing to his own and Sarah's unbelief, would add to his regret.

(A. Fuller.)

A young soldier suddenly embraced religion much to the surprise of his comrades. One day, he was asked what had wrought the sudden change. He took his mother's letter from his pocket, in which she enumerated the comforts and luxuries which she had sent him, and, at the close said, "We are all praying for you, Charlie, that you may be a Christian." "That's the sentence," said he. The thought that his mother was praying for him became omnipresent, and led him to pray for himself, which was soon followed by a happy Christian experience.

Samuel Budgett was about nine years of age, when, one day passing his mother's door, he heard her engaged in earnest prayer for her family, and for himself by name. He thought, "My mother is more earnest that I should be saved than I am for my own salvation." In that hour, he became decided to serve God; and the impression thus made was never effaced.

(W. Arthur.)

Two reasons in particular seem to have made it unsuitable, or even incompatible with the Divine purposes, that Ishmael should be the continuator of the sacred line, and the inheritor of that blessing for mankind which had been secured to Abraham by covenant.

I. For one thing, Ishmael was slave born. The children of a slave mother shared her condition, even when the father was a free man — indeed, though he were the master himself. In the absence of any issue by the free and proper wife, it is true that Ishmael could have inherited his father's wealth, just as, in the absence of any issue, Eliezer of Damascus might have done so. Inherently, however, he possessed no right of inheritance. So soon as a free-born son appeared, Ishmael sank to his mother's level. It is easy to see how unfit such an heir would have been to represent, at the very outset of a family history which was to be saturated throughout with symbolical meaning, the entire body of God's spiritual children, for whom the great blessing was ultimately destined.

II. In the second place, God's covenant with Abraham's seed was one of gracious promise. By it, the Eternal and Omnipotent drew near again to sinful men, laden with spontaneous blessings, such as they themselves could neither win by force nor merit by virtue, but must expect to receive through the superhuman operations of God. The Promiser of such blessings must be also their Donor. The fulfilment of a Divine promise, whose characteristic is sovereign grace, could not lie within the sphere of man's natural ability, or what in Bible language is called "flesh." It lay outside that region altogether; in a redemptive, and therefore miraculous, interposition of God. Now it corresponded ill with an alliance like this, that the first to inherit and transmit its benefits or hopes to posterity should be one into whose origin there had entered so little faith, and so much fleshly policy and fleshly desire.

(J. O. Dykes, DD.)

Ishmael was born after the flesh; and he was first in order, as being "born of blood, and of the will of the flesh, and of the will of man." He was, nevertheless, a gift of God, and, perhaps, a gift of faith; but he was not the one to whom the promise was made. Ishmael, therefore, stands for the promise of this earth, of the world, and of this present life. I do not mean that he represents our sin, nor those evil passions which haunt and afflict us, nor the low, gross life of carnal men: for Abraham, his father, was a man of faith and a servant of righteousness before Ishmael was born; but he stands for the fair good promise of this earth, before a better thing is born in the soul. While the world lasts, it is the gift of God; for He created it, and "the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." Our desire for it, our love of it, our pleasure in it, are natural, and would not be subject to reproof, had we never known of another state and a higher life. And there is a time, in the history of God's servants, when they might fairly be likened to Abraham, content in Ishmael, and devoted to that child which Hagar bare to him. What Ishmael was to his father, such was once, to many a man and woman now consciously and resolutely alive in Christ, the first and native wish and passion of the undisciplined will, the first love of the mere worldly life. The child of the heart was there, beloved, and to all appearance, secure, yea, moreover, sufficient to every desire and wish. The thirteen years had established that dominion; and, in the still possession of that dear object of a natural desire, the conscience had grown torpid, and the earlier hours of life had slipped away. Consider if it be not so. The history of many a life, perhaps the history of every life led apart from God, is this: that some prevailing tendency, some dominant motive, exists there, having the influence and gentle lordship of a child of the heart, the offspring of the desire and will. Of offspring thus engendered, naught can come but anxiety and pain. Ishmael's pedigree was fated and banned from the very first; it is so with everything that springs out of the human heart without the prominent grace of God. Whenever a man permits some one desire to get the better of him, or, at least, to exert a wide and general influence over his actions; and when he finds, as the result, that he is growing nervous and uneasy, that a feverish solicitude pervades his thoughts, that he frets himself continually, that the dignity of a well-balanced character is slipping from him; or else, when it is come to this, that he feels as if with one deep draught of that soul desire, every day, he could be content to live on here, interminably; or when, for the want of such gratification, the day is tedious, and the hours are long, and hunger and thirst grow and burn within; when signs like these appear, he must be blind indeed who cannot read the story of his life; who knows not that he is fast in the world's net; that another Lord besides his own has dominion over him; that the fierce and untamed Ishmael is in his tent; that his life is bound up in a temporal promise, and that he has ceased to care for the promise of the world to come. So is it with you, who are not consciously and lovingly in Christ: and so was it once with you, who, now changed and altered from the pattern of your former selves, can yet look back upon days when you were wandering, and either thought wrongly, or thought not at all, of God. And here the allegory meets us once again, and shows the marvellous dealings of the Holy Ghost with the souls of those whom He brings forth and fixes in the Lord. As Ishmael represents the promise of the earth, so Isaac stands for the promise of heaven. The new promise comes, not in the natural course of things, not in the common order of this monotonous world, but in another way, known to God. Marked religious changes are sometimes the result of strange and bitter disappointment; but it is not always so. They often come, simply, of some word of the Lord, which carries a promise, and yet breaks in upon a repose in which we would fain have continued without even His most holy intrusion. The object proposed is above this world, and beyond it; faith discerns, resignation accepts, the "old man" dies hard. Slowly and with reluctance hath many an one cast forth the bondwoman and her son, to give place to the intruder who "cometh in the name of the Lord." It should not be thus with reasonable men when they lay hold of the promises of God. Those promises are unearthly, distant, and somewhat shadowy; they are calculated, not to add a piquancy and zest to the banquet which we have already spread for ourselves, but to sweep all from the board and lay the table anew. They demand, on man's part, submission and resignation; they tell him that it is time to leave off playing with petty conceits, and that the hour has come to go to the rigorous school of Christ, where men may not seek their own, nor mind earthly things, but bend themselves bravely to duty, and let pleasure go for a time. Who can hear these things without trembling? Who can rebuke the rising wish that it might be otherwise? Who can wonder that men should try to keep as much of the old life as they can, when they attempt the higher life of grace? Such emotions appertain to that weakness of ours in which God's grace must be made perfect; and the victory is to be sought, by accepting what may look like a dubious favour and setting faith in its rightful lordship over sight. Then, if the trial seem too hard to bear, reflect once more upon the allegory; there is comfort in it, if you read it intelligently. Ishmael lived. The natural gifts and blessings of God are not destroyed by His supernatural graces: they are remanded to their own place, allowed to work out their determined ends, to yield increase after their proper law. Nothing can be lost forever, which God's grace can hallow; the Son of Man cometh to save, not to destroy; and that, in us, which God saw and pronounced to be good, when He created us, may be refined in fire, purified, and may be a part of our eternal treasure.

(M. Dix, D. D.)

Abram, Isaac, Ishmael, Sarah, Sarai
Beget, Behold, Bless, Blessed, Blessing, Chiefs, Ear, Exceedingly, Fertile, Fruitful, Greatly, Increase, Ishmael, Ish'mael, Multiplied, Multiply, Nation, Numbers, Prayer, Princes, Rulers, Surely, Truly, Twelve
1. God renews the covenant with Abram,
5. and changes his name to Abraham, in token of a greater blessing.
9. Circumcision is instituted.
15. Sarai's name is changed to Sarah, and she is blessed.
17. Isaac is promised, and the time of his birth fixed.
23. Abraham and Ishmael are circumcised.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 17:20

     5078   Abraham, significance
     8257   fruitfulness, natural

Genesis 17:1-22

     5467   promises, divine
     7915   confirmation

Genesis 17:9-22

     5658   boys

Genesis 17:9-27

     5076   Abraham, life of

Genesis 17:18-20

     5738   sons

Genesis 17:18-22

     5686   fathers, examples

Genesis 17:19-21

     1348   covenant, with Abraham

Consecration to God --Illustrated by Abraham's Circumcision
Let me remind you of the order in which these blessings come. If we should speak of sanctification or consecration, it is not as a first thing, but as an elevation to be reached only by preceding stepping-stones. In vain do men pretend to be consecrated to God before they are called of God's Spirit; such have yet to be taught that no strength of nature can suffice to serve the Lord aright. They must learn what this meaneth, "Ye must be born again," for assuredly until men are brought into spiritual
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 14: 1868

(First Sunday in Lent) GENESIS xvii. 1, 2. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. I have told you that the Bible reveals, that is, unveils the Lord God, Jesus Christ our Lord, and through him God the Father Almighty. I have tried to show you how the Bible does so, step by step. I go on to show you another step which the Bible takes, and which explains much that has gone before. From
Charles Kingsley—The Gospel of the Pentateuch

With, Before, After
'Enoch walked with God,'--GENESIS v. 22. 'Walk before Me.'--GENESIS xvii. 1. 'Ye shall walk after the Lord your God.'--DEUTERONOMY xiii. 4. You will have anticipated, I suppose, my purpose in doing what I very seldom do--cutting little snippets out of different verses and putting them together. You see that these three fragments, in their resemblances and in their differences, are equally significant and instructive. They concur in regarding life as a walk--a metaphor which expresses continuity,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Balaam's Prophecy. (Numb. xxiv. 17-19. )
Carried by the Spirit into the far distant future, Balaam sees here how a star goeth out of Jacob and a sceptre riseth out of Israel, and how this sceptre smiteth Moab, by whose enmity the Seer had been brought from a distant region for the destruction of Israel. And not Moab only shall be smitten, but its southern neighbour, Edom, too shall be subdued, whose hatred against Israel had already been prefigured in its ancestor, and had now begun to display Itself; and In general, all the enemies of
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Birth and Early Life of John the Baptist.
(Hill Country of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke I. 57-80. ^c 57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her [mercy in granting a child; great mercy in granting so illustrious a child] ; and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it came to pass on the eighth day [See Gen. xvii. 12; Lev. xii. 3; Phil. iii. 5. Male children were named at their circumcision, probably
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Circumcision, Temple Service, and Naming of Jesus.
(the Temple at Jerusalem, b.c. 4) ^C Luke II. 21-39. ^c 21 And when eight days [Gen. xvii. 12] were fulfilled for circumcising him [The rite was doubtless performed by Joseph. By this rite Jesus was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 16, 17); that is, he became a member of the covenant nation, and became a debtor to the law--Gal. v. 3] , his name was called JESUS [see Luke i. 59], which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. [Luke i. 31.] 22 And when the days of their
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Covenanting Sanctioned by the Divine Example.
God's procedure when imitable forms a peculiar argument for duty. That is made known for many reasons; among which must stand this,--that it may be observed and followed as an example. That, being perfect, is a safe and necessary pattern to follow. The law of God proclaims what he wills men as well as angels to do. The purposes of God show what he has resolved to have accomplished. The constitutions of his moral subjects intimate that he has provided that his will shall be voluntarily accomplished
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Power of God
The next attribute is God's power. Job 9:19. If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong.' In this chapter is a magnificent description of God's power. Lo, he is strong.' The Hebrew word for strong signifies a conquering, prevailing strength. He is strong.' The superlative degree is intended here; viz., He is most strong. He is called El-shaddai, God almighty. Gen 17:7. His almightiness lies in this, that he can do whatever is feasible. Divines distinguish between authority and power. God has both.
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Covenanting Performed in Former Ages with Approbation from Above.
That the Lord gave special token of his approbation of the exercise of Covenanting, it belongs to this place to show. His approval of the duty was seen when he unfolded the promises of the Everlasting Covenant to his people, while they endeavoured to perform it; and his approval thereof is continually seen in his fulfilment to them of these promises. The special manifestations of his regard, made to them while attending to the service before him, belonged to one or other, or both, of those exhibitions
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Confessing Christ an Indispensable Duty.
"--If we deny him, he also will deny us." This is predicated of Christ; and looks forward to the day when all mankind will stand before him as their judge. Denying Christ is here declared to be a mortal sin. Those found guilty of it will hear that sentence--"Depart ye cursed!" But this is to be understood only of a persevering denial of him. Those who turn by a timely repentance, will find mercy. This is true of every sin. But repentance may be too late. It must antecede death, or it will be of
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

A Short and Easy Method of Prayer
CHAPTER I The Universal Call to Prayer What a dreadful delusion hath prevailed over the greater part of mankind, in supposing that they are not called to a state of prayer! whereas all are capable of prayer, and are called thereto, as all are called to and are capable of salvation. Prayer is the application of the heart to God, and the internal exercise of love. S. Paul hath enjoined us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. v 17), and our Lord saith, "I say unto you all, watch and pray" (Mark xiii.
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

All are Commanded to Pray --Prayer the Great Means of Salvation
CHAPTER I. ALL ARE COMMANDED TO PRAY--PRAYER THE GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION, AND POSSIBLE AT ALL TIMES BY THE MOST SIMPLE. Prayer is nothing else but the application of the heart to God, and the interior exercise of love. St Paul commands us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. v. 17). Our Lord says: "Take ye heed, watch and pray." "And what I say unto you, I say unto all" (Mark xiii. 33, 37). All, then, are capable of prayer, and it is the duty of all to engage in it. But I do not think that all are
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation,
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Covenant of Grace
Q-20: DID GOD LEAVE ALL MANKIND TO PERISH 1N THE ESTATE OF SIN AND MISERY? A: No! He entered into a covenant of grace to deliver the elect out of that state, and to bring them into a state of grace by a Redeemer. 'I will make an everlasting covenant with you.' Isa 55:5. Man being by his fall plunged into a labyrinth of misery, and having no way left to recover himself, God was pleased to enter into a new covenant with him, and to restore him to life by a Redeemer. The great proposition I shall go
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them,' &c. Matt 28: 19. I. The way whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemptions, is, in the use of the sacraments. What are the sacraments in general? They are visible signs of invisible grace. Is not the word of God sufficient to salvation? What need then is there of sacraments? We must not be wise above what is written. It is God's will that his church
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

An Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, and Part of the Eleventh
An unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among the author's papers after his death, in his own handwriting; and published in 1691, by Charles Doe, in a folio volume of the works of John Bunyan. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR Being in company with an enlightened society of Protestant dissenters of the Baptist denomination, I observed to a doctor of divinity, who was advancing towards his seventieth year, that my time had been delightfully engaged with John Bunyan's commentary on Genesis. "What,"
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Supplementary Note to Chapter ii. The Year of Christ's Birth.
The Christian era commences on the 1st of January of the year 754 of the city of Rome. That our Lord was born about the time stated in the text may appear from the following considerations-- The visit of the wise men to Bethlehem must have taken place a very few days after the birth of Jesus, and before His presentation in the temple. Bethlehem was not the stated residence of Joseph and Mary, either before or after the birth of the child (Luke i. 26, ii. 4, 39; Matt. ii. 2). They were obliged to
William Dool Killen—The Ancient Church

Peaceable Principles and True: Or, a Brief Answer to Mr. D'Anver's and Mr. Paul's Books against My Confession of Faith, and Differences in Judgment About Baptism no Bar to Communion.
WHEREIN THEIR SCRIPTURELESS NOTIONS ARE OVERTHROWN, AND MY PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES STILL MAINTAINED. 'Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?'--Psalm 58:1 SIR, I have received and considered your short reply to my differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion; and observe, that you touch not the argument at all: but rather labour what you can, and beyond what you ought, to throw odiums upon your brother for reproving you for your error,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Influences that Gave Rise to the Priestly Laws and Histories
[Sidenote: Influences in the exile that produced written ceremonial laws] The Babylonian exile gave a great opportunity and incentive to the further development of written law. While the temple stood, the ceremonial rites and customs received constant illustration, and were transmitted directly from father to son in the priestly families. Hence, there was little need of writing them down. But when most of the priests were carried captive to Babylonia, as in 597 B.C., and ten years later the temple
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

John Bunyan on the Terms of Communion and Fellowship of Christians at the Table of the Lord;
COMPRISING I. HIS CONFESSION OF FAITH, AND REASON OF HIS PRACTICE; II. DIFFERENCES ABOUT WATER BAPTISM NO BAR TO COMMUNION; AND III. PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES AND TRUE[1] ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Reader, these are extraordinary productions that will well repay an attentive perusal. It is the confession of faith of a Christian who had suffered nearly twelve years' imprisonment, under persecution for conscience sake. Shut up with his Bible, you have here the result of a prayerful study of those holy
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Promise to the Patriarchs.
A great epoch is, in Genesis, ushered in with the history of the time of the Patriarchs. Luther says: "This is the third period in which Holy Scripture begins the history of the Church with a new family." In a befitting manner, the representation is opened in Gen. xii. 1-3 by an account of the first revelation of God, given to Abraham at Haran, in which the way is opened up for all that follows, and in which the dispensations of God are brought before us in a rapid survey. Abraham is to forsake
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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