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[232] Now Isaac was of such a generous disposition as became the son of such a father, and was pleased with this discourse; and said, "That he was not worthy to be born at first, if he should reject the determination of God and of his father, and should not resign himself up readily to both their pleasures; since it would have been unjust if he had not obeyed, even if his father alone had so resolved." So he went immediately to the altar to be sacrificed. And the deed had been done if God had not opposed it; for he called loudly to Abraham by his name, and forbade him to slay his son; and said, "It was not out of a desire of human blood that he was commanded to slay his son, nor was he willing that he should be taken away from him whom he had made his father, but to try the temper of his mind, whether he would be obedient to such a command. Since therefore he now was satisfied as to that his alacrity, and the surprising readiness he showed in this his piety, he was delighted in having bestowed such blessings upon him; and that he would not be wanting in all sort of concern about him, and in bestowing other children upon him; and that his son should live to a very great age; that he should live a happy life, and bequeath a large principality to his children, who should be good and legitimate." He foretold also, that his family should increase into many nations 1 and that those patriarchs should leave behind them an everlasting name; that they should obtain the possession of the land of Canaan, and be envied by all men. When God had said this, he produced to them a ram, which did not appear before, for the sacrifice. So Abraham and Isaac receiving each other unexpectedly, and having obtained the promises of such great blessings, embraced one another; and when they had sacrificed, they returned to Sarah, and lived happily together, God affording them his assistance in all things they desired.

2

1 It seems both here, and in God's parallel blessing to Jacob, ch. 19. sect. 1, that Josephus had yet no notion of the hidden meaning of that most important and most eminent promise, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. He saith not, and of seeds, as of many, but as of one; and to thy seed, which is Christ," Galatians 3:16. Nor is it any wonder, he being, I think, as yet not a Christian. And had he been a Christian, yet since he was, to be sure, till the latter part of his life, no more than an Ebionite Christian, who, above all the apostles, rejected and despised St. Paul, it would be no great wonder if he did not now follow his interpretation. In the mean time, we have in effect St. Paul's exposition in the Testament of Reuben, sect. 6, in Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 302, who charges his sons "to worship the seed of Judah, who should die for them in visible and invisible wars; and should be among them an eternal king." Nor is that observation of a learned foreigner of my acquaintance to be despised, who takes notice, that as seeds in the plural, must signify posterity, so seed in the singular may signify either posterity, or a single person; and that in this promise of all nations being happy in the seed of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, etc. it is always used in the singular. To which I shall add, that it is sometimes, as it were, paraphrased by the son of Abraham, the son of David, etc., which is capable of no such ambiguity.

2 CONCERNING SARAH ABRAHAM'S WIFE; AND HOW SHE ENDED HER DAYS.

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