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they thus ministered in their priestly office; and so forgot to take the sacred fire in their censers. And they have formed this opinion, on the precept in the ninih verse : where it is said to Aaron, “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation ; lest ye die.” But it should rather seem, that it was the act of taking strange fire which was their offence, and for which the Lord smote them. Strange fire; not the fire which was appointed, and which was always durning upon the altar: and which typified Christ's fiery sufferings. And if what an awful view it affords, to shew the danger of all offerings, void of an eye by faith in Christ! (Isa. 1. 11.) The name of Abihu means,
he is my father. ABIJAH. We meet with many of this name in Scrip
ture : and it is not to be wondered at; for it is a very blessed one, compounded of Ab, Father, JAH, Lord, and I, my. Sweet appellation, when a child of God can say, Jehovah is my Father! For this is what the Lord himself provided for his people. “But I said, (said the Lord) how shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations ? And I said, Thou shalt call me my Father! and shalt not turn away from me.” (Jer. ïïi. 19.) For the several persons in Scripture, called Abijah, I refer to the several chapters, (1 Kings xiv. 1. i Chron. xxiv. 10. 2 Chron.
xxix. 1. Nehem. x. 7.) ABIMELECH. There are several of this name in
the word of God: and it must be confessed, that it is a goodly name; compounded of Melech, king, and Abi, my father ; meaning, the king is my
father. There were two kings of Gerar of this name, father and son, in the days of Abraham and Isaac. (Gen. xx. 2. ; xxvi. 1.) There was also an Abi
melech the son of Gideon. (Judges ix.1). And also an Abimelech among the priests of the Lord, in the
days of David. (1. Sam. xxi. 1.) ABINADAB. There were several of this name in
the Old Testament, Saul had a son of this name; and David a brother. (1 Chron. ii. 13.) And there was an Abinadab a Levite. The signification of the
name is, my father is a prince. ABNER. Captain of Saul's army. (1 Sam. xvii. 55.)
The name means, father of light; from Ner, a lamp,
and Ab, father. ABOMINATION. In the language of Scripture, the
word abomination for the most part means idolatry. Thus we read, (2 Kings xxiii. 13,) that Ashtoreth was the abomination (that is the idol) of the Zidonians ; Chemosh, the abomination of the Moabites; and Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. Hence our Lord forewarned his disciples, that when they saw the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, in the holy place, namely, the temple, they should accept this, as a token, that Jerusalem would be destroyed, and should accordingly then take their flight. And this was done, when Titus Vespasian's army put up the image of idolatry in the temple. Compare (Dan. ix. 27. with Matt. xxiv. 15. and Mark
xiii. 14.) ABRAM, and ABRAHAM. The great father of the
faithful, whose history is so dear to the church in all ages, and whose faith so illustrious, as to have procured for him this most honourable title. The memoirs of this friend of God, as he is called, (2 Chron. xx. 7. and James ii, 23.) begin at Gen. ix. 26, and run through the whole of Scripture, like a golden thread, from end to end. The distinguishing honour put upon this man, in depositing the covenant in his seed; and the change of name there
upon both in him and his wife, are most striking events, and on every account meriting the most particular attention. Concerning the cause of the former, we can form no certain conclusions upon it. There are indeed no grounds to form any data upon. All must be referred unto the eternal purposes of JEHOVAH, “ who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will and pleasure.” Concerning the latter, we can trace somewhat very sweet and interesting, of the Lord's approbation of his servants, both in the man and his wife, by the change of name. I shall beg to offer a short observation upon it.
The original name of Abram was truly honourable, meaning, in the compound of the word Ab, father, and Ram, exalted; a father of eminency or exaltation. But when the Lord added the Ha to it, and made it Abraham, this became still more honourable ; for his name now, in the literal sense of it, was, a father of many nations. And all this became greatly increased in point of honour, on account of the covenant entailed on Abraham's seed, even Christ, (See Gal. iii. 16.) from whom, and in whom, all the nations of the earth were to be blessed.
But there is yet another purpose which the Lord accomplished in the display of the riches of his grace, by this change of name: and which, if I mistake not, (the Lord pardon me if I err) seems to have been the Lord's great design, in this act of mercy and favour shewn both to the patriarch and his wife ; namely, by this alteration, or rather addition given to each; by one of the letters which form the incommunicable name of JEHOVAH. By this express act of divine grace, Abraham and Sarah, both possessed in their name an everlasting symbol, or token' of Jehovah's glorious favour,
And I am the more inclined to this belief, because, in the instance of Jeconiah, in an after age of the church, the Lord manifested his displeasure to this man, by taking from his name one of those distinguishing letters of Jehovah, and calling him Coniah, a “despised broken idol.” (Compare Jer. xxiii. 24—30, with 1 Chron. ii. 16.) I beg the reader to observe, that I do not presume to speak decidedly on a point of so high a nature; I only propose the thought, and that with the most profound reverence.
May I not venture to suggest, that perhaps it vas on this account, of the honour done to their father Abraham's name, by taking into it a part of Jehovah's, that the children of Abraham, in every age of the church, have been so anxious to call their descendants by names, which either took in some of the letters of Jehovah's name, or had an allusion to the Lord. This is so visible a feature, in almost all the Jewish names of the Old Testament, that we meet with very few among the pious Israelites where this respect is not had, in the choice of their children's names, through the whole Bible.
I cannot dismiss these observations on Abraham's name, until that I have requested the reader to connect with the review, the sweet consideration, that all true believers in Jesus take part in the same. They have a new name given them, as well as Abraham their father, when, like him, they are by regeneration made “new. creatures in Christ Jesus.” They are interested in all the rich promises of God in Christ; and being Christ's children, by adoption and by grace : then are they “ Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” I pray the reader to turn to the following Scriptures by way of confirmation. Rev. ii. 17. 2 Cor. v. 17. Gal. iii. 7-29. Rom. iv. 16.
I know not how to turn away from this subject, concerning our great father Abraham, who in any, and in every view, opens a constant source for improvement, without offering a short observation more, in respect to that circumstance in his life, when compelled by famine to go down into Egypt, he begged Sarah to call herself his sister, and not bis wife. We have the account of it in its own beautiful simplicity related to us, Gen. xii. 9. to the end. I beg the reader to turn to the Scripture and peruse it over.
And when he hath so done, I request him to attend to a short observation which I would offer upon Abraham's conduct, in this particular.
It certainly doth, in the first view of things, appear strange, that the great father of the faithful should have had upon this occasion his faith so slender, that he became alarmed for the safety of his wife's chastity,when he had before this, at the call of God, come out from his father's house, “ not knowing whither he went.” (Heb. xi. 8.) He had strength of faith to trust God for every thing respecting himself; yea afterwards, even to the offering up his only son : and yet he could not, when driven by famine into Egypt, trust to God's watchful care over Sarah. But we shall discover, that in this instance of danger respecting his beloved Sarah, humanly speaking, there was no possibility of her escaping with her chastity, unless the Lord accomplished her deliverance by a miracle. Sarah was exceedingly fair,we are told, and her beauty would soon be known (as we find it was) to the prince of the country, on their arrival at Egypt. Instantly she would be seized upon for Pharaoh's haram. And this was literally the case. In vain would be Abraham’s remonstrances, or the humblest petitions. If he had said, She is my wife, his death would have