« PreviousContinue »
and notice the admirable prayer of Abraham's servants. Truly he had not lived with Abraham in vain ! Observe, (1.) The character under which he addresses the Great Supreme: Oh Jehovah, God af my master Abraham. He well knew that Jehuvah had entered into covenant with Abraham, and had given bim exceeding great and precious promises. By approaching him as a God in covenant, he would find matter for faith to lay hold upon ; every promise to Abraham would thus furnish a plea, and turn to a good account. Surely this may direct us in our approaches to a throne of grace, to make mention of a greater than Abraham, with whom also God is in covenant, and for whose sake the greatest of all blessings may be expected. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is to us what the God of Abraham was to Eliezer; and in the name of our Redeemer we may pray and hope for every thing that is great and good. (2.) The limitation of the prayer to the present time: Send me good speed this day. We may, in a general way ask for grace for our whole lives; but our duty is more especially to seek direction at the time we want it. Our Lord teaches us to pray for daily bread as the day occurs. (3.) The sign which he presumed to ask for ; that the damsel to whom he should say so and so, and who should make such and such answers, should be the person whom the Lord had appointed for his servant Isaac. In this he might be under extraordinary influence, and his conduct therefore afford no example to us. The sign he asked, however, was such as would manifest the qualifications which he desired and expected to find in a companion who should be worthy of his master's son ; namely, industry, courtesy, and kindness to strangers. (4.) The faith in which the prayer was offered. He speaks all along under a full persuasion that the providence of God extended to the minutest events, to the free actions of creatures, and even to their behaviour, of which at the time they are scarcely conscious. His words are also full of humble confidence that God would direct him in a matter of so much consequence to his church in all future ages. I believe, if we were to search the scriptures through, and select all the prayers that God has answered; we should find them to have been the prayers of faith.
Ver. 1528. While he was speaking, a damsel, with a pitcher upon her shoulder, came towards the well. By her appearance he is possessed of the idea that she is the person, and that the Lord hath heard his prayer. He said nothing to her till she bad gone down to the well, and was come up again. Tben he ran towards her, and addressed her in the words which he had resolved to do, entreating permission to drink a little water of her pitcher. To this she cheerfully consented, and offered her assistance to give drink also to his camels; all exactly in the manner which he had prayed for. The gentleness, cheerfulness. assiduity, and courtesy, manifested towards a stranger, of whom she at present could have no knowledge, is truly admirable. The words in which it is described are picturesque and lively to the highest degree. We need only read them, in order to feel ourselves in the midst of the pleasing scene.
And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she hod given him drink, she said, I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. This conduct, in itself so amiable, and so exactly in unison with the previous wishes of the man, struck him with a kind of amazement, accompanied with a momentary hesitation, whether all could be true. Wondering at her, he held his peace, to wit, whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. We pray for blessings, and when our prayers are answe
wered, we can scarcely believe them to be so. There are cases in which the mind, like the eye by a great and sudden influx of light, is overpowered. Thus Zion, though importunate in prayer for great conversions, yet when they come, is described as being in a manner confounded with them: Thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged—thou shalt say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these? Recovering from his astonishment, and being satisfied that the Lord had indeed heard bis prayer, he
opens his treasures, and presents the damsel with certain eastern ornaments, wbich he had provided for the purpose ; inquiring at the same time after her kindred, and whether they had room to lodge him. Being told in answer, that l'on. V.
she was the daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, and Milcah, and that they bad plenty of accommodation for him and his company, his beart is so full that he cannot contain himself, but even in the presence of Rebekah, and perhaps of the men who were with bim, zowed down his head and worshipped, saying, Blessed be Jehovah, God of my master Abraham, who hath not lefi destitute my master of his mercy and his truth : I being in the way, Jehovah led me to the house of my master's brother! We see here not only a grateful mind, equally as disposed to give thanks for mercy, as to pray for it ; but a delicate and impressive manner of communicating to Rebekah a few particulars which he wished her to know. His words were addressed to the Lord'; but being spoken in her hearing, she would perceive by them who he was, whence he came, and that the hand of the God of Abraham was in the visit, whatever was the object of it. Full of joyful surprise, she runs home with the bracelets upon her bands, and tells the family of what had passed. But here I must break off for the present, and leave the conclusion of this interesting story to another discourse.
ABRAHAM SENDING HIS SERVANT TO OBTAIN A WIFE FOR ISAAC.
Gen. xxiv. 20-67.
VER. 29–31. As yet no one suspects the object of the visit ; tout all hearts are full, and there is much running hither and thither. No mention is made at present of Bethuel, or of Milcah; they were aged people, and the affairs of the family seem principally to have devolved on its younger branches. Laban appears to have taken a very active part in this business. Hearing his sister's tale, and seeing the ornaments upon her hands, he is all alive, and runs towards the well to welcome the man into his house. By the account which is afterwards given of Laban, it is perhaps more than probable that these golden ornaments bad great influence on what would otherwise appear a very generous behaviour. His whole history shows him to have been a mercenary man; and we frequently see in such characters the truth of Solomon's remark: A man's gift maketh room for him.-It is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. If a man be in straits, he is coldly treated ; but if once he begin to rise in the world, he becomes another man, and his company and acquaintance are courted. Such is the spirit of this world. But whatever were Laban's mocives, he carried it very kindly to Abrabam's servant.
Finding him at.de well, modestly waiting for a further invitation fron some of the heads of the family, he accosted him in language that would have befitted the lips of a much better man : Come in, thou blessed of the Lord: wherefore standest thou without For I have prepared the
house, and room for the camels. It becomes us to bless and welcome those whom the Lord hath blessed ; nor must we confine it to those whom he hath blessed with outward prosperity: a Christian spirit is in the sight of God of great price, and ought to be so in ours.
Ver. 32, 33. On this becoming invitation, the man goes into the house ; and we see Laban very attentive. First, he ungirds the poor beasts which had borne the burdens, and furnished them with provender; then he provides water for the man, and those who were with him, to wash their feet; and after this, sets meat before him. All this is proper.
But the good man's heart is full, and he cannot eat till he has told his errand. Such are the feelings of a servant of God, whose heart is in his work. Where this is the case, personal indulgence will give place to things of greater importance. I will not give sleep to mine eyes, said David, nor slumber to mine eyelids, till I find out a place for Jehovah, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. While the woman of Samaria was gone to tell her peighbours of the man who had told her all things that ever she did, his disciples, knowing how weary and faint he must have been, prayed him to eat. But seeing the Samaritans flocking down the hill to hear the word of God, he answered, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.-My meat is to, do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say ye not, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold lift up your eyes, and look on yonder companies--the fields are white already to harvest !
Ver. 34, 35. Being requested to tell his tale, the servant begins by informing them who he is. His prayer to the God of his master Abraham, in the hearing of Rebekah, might possibly have superseded the necessity of this part of his statement; but lest it should not, he tells them expressly, I am Abraham's servant. He was an upright man, and upright men do not conceal who they He
and humble men are not ashamed to own their situation in life, though it be that of a servant. A vain man might have talked about himself, and that he was the first servant of the house, the steward that ruled over all that Abraham had, and that all his master's goods were in his