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to all ages, of the exactnefs of the divine predictions, and of the veracity of feripture-hiftory. We may with more confidence believe the particulars related of Abraham and Ishmael, when we fee them verified in their pofterity at this day. This is having as it were ocular demonftration for our faith. This is proving by plain matter of fact, that the moft High ruleth in the kingdoms of men, and that his truth, as well as his mercy, endureth for ever.

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As S it pleafed God to difclofe unto Abraham the ftate and condition of his pofterity by Ishmael, who was the fon of the bond-woman: it might be with reafon expected, that fomething thould be predicted con cerning his pofterity alfo by Ifaac, who was the fon of the free-woman. He was properly the child of promise, and the prophecies relating to him and his family are much more numerous than thofe relating to Ishmael: but we will felect and enlarge upon fuch only, as have reference to these later ages.

It was promised to Abraham before Ifhmael or any fon was born to him, (Gen. XII. 3.) In thee fhall all families of the earth be blessed. But after the birth of Ithmael and Ifaac, the promife was limited to Ifaac, (Gen. XXI. 32.) for in Ifaac shall thy feed be called. And accordingly to Ifaac was the promise repeated, (Gen. XXIV. 4.) In thy feed fhall all the nations of the earth be bleffed. The Saviour of the world therefore was not to come of the family of Ifhmael, but of the family of Ifaac; which is an argument for the truth of the Chrif tian religion in preference to the Mohammedan, drawn from an old prophecy and promise made two thousand

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years before Christ, and much more before Mohammed was born.

The land of Canaan was promised to Abraham and his feed four hundred years before they took poffeffion of it. (Gen. XV.) It was promifed again to Ifaac, (Gen. XXVI. 3.) Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee and unto thy feed I will give all thefe countries, and I will perform the oath which I fware unto Abraham thy father. Now it is very well known, that it was not till after the death of Mofes, who wrote these things, that the Ifraelites gat poffeffion of the land under the command of Joshua. They remained in poffeffion of it feveral ages in purfuance of thefe prophecies: and afterwards, when for their fins and iniquities they were to be removed from it, their removal alfo was foretold, both the carrying away of the ten tribes, and the captivity of the two remaining tribes for feventy years, and likewife their final captivity and difperfion into all nations, till in the fulness of time they fhall be restored again to the land of their inheritance.

It was foretold to Abraham that his posterity should be multiplied exceedingly above that of others; (Gen. XII. 2.) I will make of thee a great nation; and (XXII. 17.) in bleffing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy feed as the stars of heaven, and as the fand which is upon the fea-fhore. The fame promife was con tinued to Ifaac, (Gen. XXVI. 4.) I will make thy feed to multiply as the ftars of heaven. And not to mention the vast increase of their other pofterity, how foon did their defcendents by Jacob grow up into a mighty nation? and how numerous were they formerly in the land of Canaan? how numerous were they in other parts of the world according to the accounts of Philo and Jofephus? and after the innumerable maffacres and perfecutions which they have undergone, how numerous are they still in their prefent difperfion among all nations? It is computed that there are as many Jews now, or more than ever there were, fince they have been a nation. A learned (1) foreigner, who hath written a hif◄

(1) See Bafnage's Hiftory of the Jews. Book 7. Chap. 33. Sect. 15.


tory of the Jews, as a fupplement and continuation of the hiftory of Jofephus, fays that "it is impoffible to "fix the number of perfons this nation is at prefent "compofed of. But yet we have reafon to believe, "there are still near three millions of people, who profefs "this religion, and as their phirafe is, are witnesses of the unity of God in all the nations of the world.". And who could foretel fuch a wonderful increase and propagation of a branch only of one man's family, but the fame divine power that could effect it?

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But Ifaac had two fons, whofe families did not grow up and incorporate into one people, but were feparated into two different nations: and therefore, as it had been neceffary before to fpecify whether Ifhmael or Ifaac was to be heir of the promises, fo there was a neceffity for the fame diftinction now between Efau and Jacob. Accordingly, when their mother had conceived, the children struggled together within her; (Gen. XXV. 22.) and it was revealed unto her by the Lord, (ver. 23.) Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people Shall be feparated from thy bowels; and the one people fhall be ftronger than the other people, and the elder shall ferve the younger. The fame divine fpirit influenced and directed their father to give his final benediction to the same purpose: for thus he bleffed Jacob, (Gen. XXVII. 28. 29.) God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Let people ferve thee, and nations bow down to thee; be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's fons bow down to thee; curfed be every one that curfeth thee, and blessed be he that blefeth thee: and thus he bleffed Efau, (ver. 39, 40.) Behold, thy dwelling fhall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. And by thy fword fhalt thou live, and fhalt ferve thy brother; and it Jhall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. But for greater clearnefs and certainty. a more exprefs revelation was afterwards made to Jacob; and the land of Canaan, a numerous progeny, and the bleffing of all nations, were promifed to him in particular, (Gen. XXVIII. 13, 14.) I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Ifrael: the land

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whereon thou lieft, to thee will I give it, and to thy feed: And thy feed fhall be as the duft of the earth; and thou fhalt fpread abroad to the weft, and to the eaft, and to the north, and to the fouth; and in thee, and in thy feed, fhall all the families of the earth be blessed.

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We have here a farther and more ample proof of what was afferted before, that these ancient prophecies were meant not fo much of fingle perfons, as of whole people and nations defcended from them. For what is here predicted concerning Efau and Jacob was not verified in themselves, but in their pofterity, Jacob was fo far from bearing rule over Efau, that he was forced to fly his country for fear of Efau, (Gen. XXVII.) He continued abroad feveral years; and when he returned to his native country, he fent a fupplicatory meffage to his brother Efau, (Gen. XXXII. 5.) that he might find grace in his fight. When he heard of Efau's. coming to meet him with four hundred men, he was greatly afraid and diftreffed, (ver. 7.) and cryed unto the Lord, (ver. 11.) Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Efau. He fent a magnificent prefent before him to appeafe his brother, calling Efau his lord, and himself Efau's fervant. (ver. 18.) When he met him, he bowed himself to the ground feven times, until he came near to his brother. (Gen. XXX. 3.) And after he had found a gracious reception, he acknowledged (ver. 10.) I have feen thy face, as though I had feen the face of God, and thou waft pleased with me. Jacob then had no temporal fuperiority over Efau; and therefore we muft look for the completion of the prophecy among their pofterity. The prophecy itfelf refers us thither, and mentions plainly two nations and two manner of people, and comprehends thefe feveral particulars; that the families of Efau and Jacob should grow up into two different people and nations; that the family of the elder fhould be fubject to that of the younger; that in fituation and other temporal advantages they fhould be much alike: that the elder branch fhould delight more in war and violence, but yet fhould be fubdued by the younger; that however there fhould be a time when the elder thould have dominion, and shake off the yoke of


the younger; but in all fpiritual gifts and graces the younger thould be greatly fuperior, and be the happy inftrument of conveying the bleffing to all nations.

I. The families of Efau and Jacob fhould grow up into two different people and nations. Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people fhall be feparated from thy bowels. The Edomites were the offspring of Efau, as the Ifraelites were of Jacob; and who but the author and giver of life could forefee, that two children in the womb would multiply into two nations? Jacob had twelve fons, and their defcendents all united and incorporated into one nation; and what an overruling providence then was it, that two nations thould arife from the two fons only of Ifaac? But they were not only to grow up into two nations, but into two very dif ferent nations, and two manner of people were to be feparated from her bowels. And have not the Edomites and Ifraelites been all along two very different people in their manners and cuftoms and religions, which made them to be perpetually at variance one with another? The children struggled together in the womb, which was an omen and token of their future difagreement: and when they were grown up to manhood, they manifefted very different inclinations. Efau was a cunning hunter, and delighted in the sports of the field: Jacob was more mild and gentle, dwelling in tents, and minding his sheep and his cattle. (Gen. XXV. 27.) Our English tranflation, agreeably to the (2) Septuagint and the Vulgate, hath it that Jacob was a plain man; but he appears from his whole conduct and behaviour to have been rather an artful than a plain man, The (3) word in the original fignifies perfect, which is a general term; but being put in oppofition to the rough and ruftic manners of Efau, it muft particularly import that Jacob was more humane and gentle, as (4) Philo the Jew understands it, and as Le Clerc tranflates it. Efau flighted his birth-right and thofe facred privileges of which Jacob was defirous, and is therefore called (Hebr. XII. 16.) the profane Efau :

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anλas, Sept. fimplex. Vulg. On Integer, perfectus. Integer, Syr. Samar. Perfectus, Onk,

Perfectus virtutibus. Arab.
(4) Vide Clericum in locum, Ja-
cobus vero mitis, &c,


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