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The Seed of Abraham.

The Seed of Abraham.

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Published by glennpease
BY REGINALD J. CAMPBELL

MINISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LONDON



"But thou, Israel, art my servant Jacob whom I have chosen,
the seed of Abraham my friend." Isaiah .rli, 8.

"Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to
our father : for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones
to raise up children unto Abraham." Matthew Hi. <).
BY REGINALD J. CAMPBELL

MINISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LONDON



"But thou, Israel, art my servant Jacob whom I have chosen,
the seed of Abraham my friend." Isaiah .rli, 8.

"Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to
our father : for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones
to raise up children unto Abraham." Matthew Hi. <).

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 18, 2013
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THE SEED OF ABRAHAM.BY REGIALD J. CAMPBELLMIISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LODO"But thou, Israel, art my servant Jacob whom I have chosen,the seed of Abraham my friend." Isaiah .rli, 8."Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham toour father : for I say unto you, that God is able of these stonesto raise up children unto Abraham." Matthew Hi. &lt;).THERE is between these two passages an ascer-JL tainable relation, which, I trust, we shallassist each other to discover. The juxtaposition of the two texts is no arbitrary one; each of these sentences illustrates a great underlying principle, a mode of thought suggested in the OldTestament and completed in the ew. We mighthave chosen from both books other passages whichwould equally well have set forth the truth whichit is mine to declare this morning, but we couldnot have chosen, I think, any fitter sentences inexposition of what the two speakers respectivelymean. Before we attempt to combine them, mayI ask your indulgence while I attempt a separateexegesis ?In the passage which we have read from thebook of Isaiah is exhibited the greatest element inthe Israelitish national consciousness. Apparentlythese people never forgot their vocation as thechildren of Abraham. Sometimes they attributed
 
186 THE SEED OF ABRAHAM.more importance to it, sometimes less. When thenation was at its best they spiritualised the ideal ;when it was at its worst they materialised it, butthey never wholly ignored it. The book of Isaiahis one of the richest parts of the Old Testament,and from the first sentence to the last this idea of the vocation of Israel is suggested or impliedtherein. Here is a prophet speaking in a sterntone with the purpose of heartening the peoplewho were listening to him. See how he does it.In the chapter which precedes the one whence ourtext is taken you remember (because it is probablymore familiar to you than the forty-first is) whatthe opening sentences are: " Comfort ye, comfortye, my people, saith your God ; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned,because she hath received of the Lord s handdouble for all her sins." The last verse of thechapter is more beautiful still: "They that waitupon the Lord shall renew their strength, theyshall mount up with wings as eagles, they shallrun and not be weary, and they shall walk andnot faint."These, then, form the exordium of our text. Wesee the mood in which Isaiah speaks, and thetenderness which is evident in his message. It isas though he would say to Israel: "You havepassed through a severe testing time, but you haveTHE SEED OF ABRAHAM. 187not ceased to be the people of God. Indeed, thetesting time was permitted because you are neverto be anything else than the chosen ones, God s
 
Israel. You have Abraham for your father, andthe covenant which God made with Abraham Hewill keep with you." " Fear thou not, for I amwith thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea,I will uphold thee with the right hand of myrighteousness."In the light of this Old Testament consciousnesslet us now look at the passage which we havechosen from the ew. Isaiah and John are bothheralds; there is at least this similarity betweenthem, that they both come as the bearers of goodtidings concerning a better day. But they aredifferent in this : while Isaiah speaks with thegorgeous magnificence of Oriental symbolism,and his message is one full of comfort and tenderness, the words of St. John are utterly unadorned ;rugged and grim is the speech of this child of thedesert. He comes less with a message of comfort than with one of rebuke; and yet, like Isaiah,he is the herald of a glorious day. He, too, isstanding forth with the object of heartening hispeople and preparing them for the advent of Onegreater than he. But the people are not ready forhis message, nor for the blessing which heannounces. And so his words to them are wordsi88 THE SEED OF ABRAHAM.of warning, especially, shall I say, to thePharisees. The people and their leaders had beentoo much inclined to content themselves withmaking much of the tradition of the covenant of God with Abraham, and they thought comparatively little of what was required from them inthe keeping of it. " O generation of vipers! whohath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

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