(Calvin, Genesis 1. part 21) them to regard him as one who was not, by any means, to be despised. Nay, as he had so great a family, he might also have been numbered among kings, if he had not been a stranger and a sojourner. But God purposed thus to provide for his peace, by a covenant relating to temporal things in order that he never might be mingled with those nations. Moreover, that this whole transaction was divinely ordered we may readily conjecture from the fact, that his associates did not hesitate, at great risk, to assail four kings, who (according to the state of the times) were sufficiently strong, and were flushed with the confidence of victory. Surely they would scarcely ever have been thus favourable to a stranger, except by a secret impulse of God. 14. "When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive." Moses briefly explains the cause of the war which was undertaken; namely, that Abram might rescue his relation from captivity. Meanwhile, what I have before said is to be remembered, that he did not rashly fly to arms; but took them as from the hand of God, who had constituted him lord of that land. With reference to the words themselves, I know not why the ancient interpreter has rendered them, 'Abram numbered his trained servants.' For the word "rik" signifies to unsheathe, or to draw out. Now Moses calls these servants "chaninim", not as having been educated and trained for military service, as many suppose; but rather (in my opinion) as having been brought up under his own authority, and imbued from childhood with his discipline; so that they fought the more courageously, being stimulated by his faith, and going forth under his auspices; and were ready to undergo every kind of danger for his sake. But in this great household troop, we must notice, not only the diligence of the holy patriarch, but the special blessing of God, by which it had been increased beyond the common and usual manner. 15. "And he divided himself against them." Some explain the words to mean that Abram alone, with his domestic troops, rushed upon the enemy. Others, that he and his three confederates divided their bands, in order to strike greater terror into the foe. A third class suppose the phrase to be a Hebraism, for making an irruption into the midst of the enemy. I rather embrace the second exposition; namely, that he invaded the enemy on different sides, and suddenly inspired them with terror. For the circumstance of time favours this view, because he attacked them by night. And although examples of similar bravery occur in profane history; yet it ought to be ascribed to the faith of Abram, that with a small band, he dared to assail a numerous army elated with victory. But that he came off conqueror with little trouble, and with intrepidity pursued those who far exceeded him in number, we must ascribe to the favour of God. 17. "And the king of Sodom went out." Although the king of Sodom knew that Abram had taken arms only on account of his nephew, yet he went to meet him with due honour, in order to show his gratitude. For it is a natural duty to acknowledge benefits conferred upon us, even when not intentionally rendered, but only from unexpected circumstances and occasions, or (as we say) by accident. Moreover, the whole affair yields greater glory to God, because the victory of Abram was celebrated in this manner. He also marks the place where the king of Sodom met Abram, namely, "the king's dale," which I think was so called, rather after some particular king, than because those kings met there for their pleasure. 18. "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth." This is the last of the three principal points of this history, that Melchizedek, the chief father of the Church, having entertained Abram at a feast, blessed him, in virtue of his priesthood, and received tithes from him. There is no doubt that by the coming of this king to meet him, God also designed to render the victory of Abram famous and memorable to posterity. But a more exalted and excellent mystery was, at the same time, adumbrated: for seeing that the holy patriarch, whom God had raised to the highest rank of honour, submitted himself to Melchizedek, it is not to be doubted that God had constituted him the only head of the whole Church; for, without controversy, the solemn act of benediction, which Melchizedek assumed to himself, was a symbol of preeminent dignity. If any one replies, that he did this as a priest; I ask, was not Abram also a priest? Therefore God here commends to us something peculiar in Melchizedek, in preferring him before the father of all the faithful. But it will be more satisfactory to examine the passage word by word, in regular order, that we may thence better gather the import of the whole. That he received Abram and his companions as guests belonged to his royalty; but the benediction pertained especially to his sacerdotal office. Therefore, the words of Moses ought to be thus connected: Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and seeing he was the priest of God, he blessed Abram; thus to each character is distinctly attributed what is its own. He refreshed a wearied and famishing army with royal liberality; but because he was a priest, he blessed, by the rite of solemn prayer, the firstborn son of God, and the father of the Church. Moreover, although I do not deny that it was the most ancient custom, for those who were kings to fulfill also the office of the priesthood; yet this appears to have been, even in that age, extraordinary in Melchizedek. And truly he is honoured with no common eulogy, when the Spirit ratifies his priesthood. We know how, at that time, religion was everywhere corrupted since Abram himself, who was descended from the sacred race of Shem and Eber, had been plunged in the profound vortex of superstitions with his father and grandfather. Therefore many imagine Melchizedek to have been Shem; to whose opinion I am, for many reasons, hindered from subscribing. For the Lord would not have designated a man, worthy of eternal memory, by a name so new and obscure, that he must remain unknown. Secondly, it is not probable that Shem had migrated from the east into Judea; and nothing of the kind is to be gathered from Moses. Thirdly, if Shem had dwelt in the land of Canaan, Abram would not have wandered by such winding courses, as Moses has previously related, before he went to salute his ancestor. But the declaration of the Apostle is of the greatest weight; that this Melchizedek, whoever he was, is presented before us, without any origin, as if he had dropped from the clouds, and that his name is buried without any mention of his death. (Heb. 7: 3.) But the admirable grace of God shines more clearly in a person unknown; because, amid the corruptions of the world, he alone, in that land, was an upright and sincere cultivator and guardian of religion. I omit the absurdities which Jerome, in his Epistle to Evagrius, heaps together; lest, without any advantage, I should become troublesome, and even offensive to the reader. I readily believe that Salem is to be taken for Jerusalem; and this is the generally received interpretation. If, however, any one chooses rather to embrace a contrary opinion, seeing that the town was situated in a plain, I do not oppose it. On this point Jerome thinks differently: nevertheless, what he elsewhere relates, that in his own times some vestiges of the palace of Melchizedek were still extant in the ancient ruins, appears to me improbable. It now remains to be seen how Melchizedek bore the image of Christ, and became, as it were, his representative, (avtitupos.) These are the words of David, "The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek," (Psalm 110: 4.) First, he had placed him on a royal throne, and now he gives him the honour of the priesthood. But under the Law, these two offices were so distinct, that it was unlawful for kings to usurp the office of the priesthood. If, therefore, we concede as true, what Plato declares, and what occasionally occurs in the poets, that it was formerly received, by the common custom of nations, that the same person should be both king and priest; this was by no means the case with David and his posterity, whom the Law peremptorily forbade to intrude on the priestly office. It was therefore right, that what was divinely appointed under the old law, should be abrogated in the person of this priest. And the Apostle does not contend without reason, that a more excellent priesthood than that old and shadowy one, was here pointed out; which priesthood is confirmed by an oath. Moreover, we never find that king and priest, who is to be preeminent over all, till we come to Christ. And as no one has arisen except Christ, who equalled Melchizedek in dignity, still less who excelled him; we hence infer that the image of Christ was presented to the fathers, in his person. David, indeed, does not propose a similitude framed by himself; but declares the reason for which the kingdom of Christ was divinely ordained, and even confirmed with an oath; and it is not to be doubted that the same truth had previously been traditionally handed down by the fathers. The sum of the whole is, that Christ would thus be the king next to God, and also that he should be anointed priest, and that for ever; which it is very useful for us to know, in order that we may learn that the royal power of Christ is combined with the office of priest. The same Person, therefore who was constituted the only and eternal Priest, in order that he might reconcile us to God, and who, having made expiation, might intercede for us, is also a King of infinite power to secure our salvation, and to protect us by his guardian care. Hence it follows, that relying on his advocacy, we may stand boldly in the presence of God, who will, we are assured, be propitious to us; and that trusting in his invincible arm, we may securely triumph over enemies of every kind. But they who separate one office from the other, rend Christ asunder, and subvert their own faith, which is deprived of half its support. It is also to be observed, that Christ is called an eternal King, like Melchizedek. For since the Scripture, by assigning no end to his life, leaves him as if he were to survive through all ages; it certainly represents or shadows forth to us, in his person, a figure, not of a temporal, but of an eternal kingdom. But whereas Christ, by his death, has accomplished the office of Priest, it follows that God was, by that one sacrifice, once appeased in such a manner, that now reconciliation is to be sought in Christ alone. Therefore, they do him grievous wrong, and wrest from him by abominable sacrilege, the honour divinely conferred upon him by an oaths who either institute other sacrifices for the expiation of sins, or who make other priests. And I wish this had been prudently weighed by the ancient writers of the Church. For then would they not so coolly, and even so ignorantly, have transferred to the bread and wine the similitude between Christ and Melchizedek, which consists in things very different. They have supposed that Melchizedek is the image of Christ, because he offered bread and wine. For they add, that Christ offered his body, which is life-giving bread, and his blood, which is spiritual drink. But the Apostle, while in his Epistle to the Hebrews, he most accurately collects, and specifically prosecutes, every point of similarity between Christ and Melchizedek, says not a word concerning the bread and wine. If the subtleties of Tertullian, and of others like him, were true, it would have been a culpable negligence, not to bestow a single syllable upon the principal point, while discussing the separate parts, which were of comparatively trivial importance. And seeing the Apostle disputes at so great length, and with such minuteness, concerning the priesthood; how gross an instance of forgetfulness would it have been, not to touch upon that memorable sacrifice, in which the whole force of the priesthood was comprehended? He proves the honour of Melchizedek from the benediction given, and tithes received: how much better would it have suited this argument to have said, that he offered not lambs or calves, but the life of the world, (that is, the body and blood of Christ,) in a figure? By these arguments the fictions of the ancients are abundantly refuted. Nevertheless, from the very words of Moses a sufficiently lucid refutation may be taken. For we do not there read that anything was offered to God; but in one continued discourse it is stated, 'He offered bread and wine; and seeing he was priest of the Most High God, he blessed him.' ho does not see that the same relative pronoun is common to both verbs; and therefore that Abram was both refreshed with the wine, and honoured with the benediction? Utterly ridiculous truly are the Papists, who distort the offerings of bread and wine to the sacrifice of their mass. For in order to bring Melchizedek into agreement with themselves, it will be necessary for them to concede that bread and wine are offered in the mass. Where, then, is transubstantiation, which leaves nothing except the bare species of the elements? Then, with what audacity do they declare that the body of Christ is immolated in their sacrifices? Under what pretext, since the Son of God is called the only successor of Melchizedek, do they substitute innumerable successors for him? We see, then, how foolishly they not only deprave this passage, but babble without the colour of reason. 19. "And he blessed him." Unless these two members of the sentence, 'He was the priest of God,' and 'He blessed,' cohere together, Moses here relates nothing uncommon. For men mutually bless each other; that is, they wish well to each other. But here the priest of God is described, who, according to the right of his office, sanctifies one inferior and subject to himself. For he would never have dared to bless Abram, unless he had known, that in this respect he excelled him. In this manner the Levitical priests are commanded to bless the people; and God promises that the blessing should be efficacious and ratified, (Num. 6: 23.) So Christ, when about to ascend up to heaven, having lifted up his hands, blessed the Apostles, as a minister of the grace of God, (Luke 24: 51;) and then was exhibited the truth of this figure. For he testifies that the office of blessing the Church, which had been adumbrated in Melchizedek, was assigned him by his Father. "Blessed be Abram of the most high God." The design of Melchizedek is to confirm and ratify the grace of the Divine vocation to holy Abram; for he points out the honour with which God had peculiarly dignified him by separating him from all others, and adopting him as his own son. And he calls God, by whom Abram had been chosen, "the Possessor of heaven and earth," to distinguish him from the fictitious idols of the Gentiles. Afterwards, indeed, God invests himself with other titles; that, by some peculiar mark, he may render himself more clearly known to men, who, because of the vanity of their mind, when they simply hear of God as the Framer of heaven and earth, never cease to wander, till at length they are lost in their own speculations. But because God was already known to Abram, and his faith was founded upon many miracles, Melchizedek deems it sufficient to declare that, by the title of Creator, He whom Abram worshipped, is the true and only God. And although Melchizedek himself maintained the sincere worship of the true God, he yet calls Abram blessed of God, in respect of the eternal covenant: as if he would say, that, by a kind of hereditary right, the grace of God resided in one family and nation, because Abram alone had been chosen out of the whole world. Then is added a special congratulation on the victory obtained; not such as is wont to pass between profane men, who puff each other up with inflated encomiums; but Melchizedek gives thanks unto God, and regards the victory which the holy man had gained as a seal of his gratuitous calling. 20. "And he gave him tithes of all." There are those who understand that the tithes were given to Abram; but the Apostle speaks otherwise, in declaring that Levi had paid tithes in the loins of Abram, (Heb. 7: 9,) when Abram offered tithes to a more excellent Priest. And truly what the expositors above-mentioned mean, would be most absurd; because, if Melchizedek was the priest of God, it behaved him to receive tithes rather than to give them. Nor is it to be doubted but Abram offered the gift to God, in the person of Melchizedek, in order that, by such first-fruits, he might dedicate all his possessions to God. Abram therefore voluntarily gave tithes to Melchizedek, to do honour to his priesthood. Moreover, since it appears that this was not done wrongfully nor rashly, the Apostle properly infers, that, in this figure, the Levitical priesthood is subordinate to the priesthood of Christ. For other reasons, God afterwards commanded tithes to be given to Levi under the Law; but, in the age of Abram, they were only a holy offering, given as a pledge and proof of gratitude. It is however uncertain whether he offered the title of the spoils or of the goods which he possessed at home. But, since it is improbable that he should have been liberal with other persons' goods, and should have given a very a tenth part of the prey, of which he had resolved not to touch even a thread, I rather conjecture, that these tithes were taken out of his own property. I do not, however, admit that they were paid annually, as some imagine, but rather, in my judgment, he dedicated this present to Melchizedek once, for the purpose of acknowledging him as the high priest of God: nor could he, at that time, (as we say,) hand it over; but there was a solemn stipulation, of which the effect shortly after followed. 21. "And the king of Sodom said." Moses having, by the way, interrupted the course of his narrative concerning the king of Sodom, by the mention of the king of Salem, now returns to it again; and says that the king of Sodom came to meet Abram, not only for the sake of congratulating him, but of giving him a due reward. He therefore makes over to him the whole prey, except the men; as if he would says 'It is a great thing that I recover the men; let all the rest be given to thee as a reward for this benefit.' And thus to have shown himself grateful to man, would truly have been worthy of commendation; had he not been ungrateful to God, by whose severity and clemency he remained alike unprofited. It was even possible that this man, when poor and deprived of all his goods, might, with a servile affectation of modesty, try to gain the favour of Abram, by asking to have nothing but the captives and the empty city for himself. Certainly we shall afterwards see that the men of Sodom were unmindful of the benefit received, when they proudly and contemptuously vexed righteous Lot. 22. "And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand, &c." This ancient ceremony was very appropriate to give expression to the force and nature of an oath. For by raising the hand towards heaven, we show that we appeal to God as a witness, and also as an avenger, if we fail to keep our oath. Formerly, indeed, they raised their hands in giving votes; whence the Greeks derive the word "cheirotonein", which signifies to decree: but in the rite of swearing, the reason for doing so was different. For men hereby declared, that they regarded themselves as in the presence of God, and called upon him to be both the Guardian of truth, and the Avenger of perjury. Yet it may seem strange that Abram should so easily have put himself forward to swear; for he knew that a degree of reverence was due to the name of God, which should constrain us to use it but sparingly, and only from necessity. I answer, there were two reasons for his swearing. First, since inconstant men are wont to measure others by their own standard, they seldom place confidence in bare assertions. The king of Sodom, therefore, would have thought that Abram did not seriously remit his right, unless the name of God had been interposed. And, secondly, it was of great consequence, to make it manifest to all, that he had not carried on a mercenary war. The histories of all times sufficiently declare, that even they who have had just causes of war have, nevertheless, been invited to it by the thirst of private gain. And as men are acute in devising pretexts, they are never at a loss to find plausible reasons for war, even though covetousness may be their only real stimulant. Therefore, unless Abram had resolutely refused the spoils of war, the rumour would immediately have spread, that, under the pretence of rescuing his nephew, he had been intent upon grasping the prey. Against which it was necessary for him carefully to guard, not so much for his own sakes as for the glory of God, which would otherwise have received some mark of disparagement. Besides, Abram wished to arm himself with the name of God, as with a shield, against all the allurements of avarice. For the king of Sodom would not have desisted from tempting his mind by various methods, if the occasion for using bland insinuations had not been promptly cut off. 23. "That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet." The Hebrews have an elliptical form of making oath, in which the imprecation of punishment is understood. In some places, the full expression of it occurs in the Scriptures, "The Lord do so to me and more also," (1 Sam. 14: 44.) Since however, it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, in order that the obligation of oaths may be the more binding, this abrupt form of speech admonishes men to reflect on what they are doing; for it is just as if they should put a restraint upon themselves, and should stop suddenly in the midst of their discourse. This indeed is most certain, that men never rashly swear, but they provoke the vengeance of God against them, and make Him their adversary. "Lest thou shouldst say." Although these words seem to denote a mind elated, and too much addicted to fame, yet since Abram is on this point commended by the Spirit, we conclude that this was a truly holy magnanimity. But an exception is added namely that he will not allow his own liberality to be injurious to his allies, nor make them subject to his laws. For this also is not the least part of virtue, to act rightly, yet in such a manner, that we do not bind others to our example, as to a rule. Let every one therefore regard what his own vocation demands, and what pertains to his own duty, in order that men may not prejudge one another according to their own will. For it is a moroseness too imperious, to wish that what we ourselves follow as right, and consonant with our duty, should be prescribed as a law to others. Chapter XV. 1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house [is] this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD [came] unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites [is] not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. 1. "The word of the Lord came." When Abram's affairs were prosperous and were proceeding according to his wish, this vision might seem to be superfluous; especial]y since the Lord commands his servant, as one sorrowful and afflicted with fear, to be of good courage. Therefore certain writers conjecture, that Abram having returned after the deliverance of his nephew, was subjected to some annoyance of which no mention is made by Moses; just as the Lord often humbles his people, lest they should exult in their prosperity; and they further suppose that when Abram had been dejected he was again revived by a new oracle. But since there is no warrant for such conjecture in the words of Moses, I think the cause was different. First, although he was on all sides applauded, it is not to be doubted that various surmises entered into his own mind. For, not withstanding Chedorlaomer and his allies had been overcome in battle, yet Abram had so provoked them, that they might with fresh troops, and with renewed strength, again attack the land of Canaan. Nor were the inhabitants of the land free from the fear of this danger. Secondly, as signal success commonly draws its companion envy along with it, Abram began to be exposed to many disadvantageous remarks, after he had dared to enter into conflict with an army which had conquered four kings. An unfavourable suspicion might also arise, that perhaps, by and by, he would turn the strength which he had tried against foreign kings, upon his neighbours, and upon those who had hospitably received him. Therefore, as the victory was an honour to him, so it cannot be doubted, that it rendered him formidable and an object of suspicion to many, while it inflamed the hatred of others; since every one would imagine some danger to himself, from his bravery and good success. It is therefore not strange, that he should have been troubled, and should anxiously have revolved many things, until God animated him anew, by the confident expectation of his assistance. There might be also another end to be answered by the oracle; namely, that God would meet and correct a contrary fault in his servant. For it was possible that Abram might be so elated with victory as to forget his own calling, and to seek the acquisition of dominion for himself, as one who, wearied with a wandering course of life and with perpetual vexations, desired a better fortune, and a quiet state of existence. And we know how liable men are to be ensnared by the blandishments of prosperous and smiling fortune. Therefore God anticipates the danger; and before this vanity takes possession of the mind of the holy man, recalls to his memory the spiritual grace vouchsafed to him to the end that he, entirely acquiescing therein, may despise all other things. Yet because this expression, "Fear not," sounds as if God would soothe his sorrowing and anxious servant with some consolation; it is probable that he had need of such confirmation, because he perceived that many malignantly stormed against his victory, and that his old age would be exposed to severe annoyances. It might however be, that God did not forbid him to fear, because he was already afraid; but that he might learn courageously to despise, and to account as nothing, all the favour of the world, and all earthly wealth; as if he had said, 'If only I am propitious to thee, there is no reason why thou shouldst fear; contented with me alone in the world, pursue, as thou hast begun, thy pilgrimage; and rather depend on heaven, than attach thyself to earth.' However this might be, God recalls his servant to himself, showing that far greater blessings were treasured up for him in God; in order that Abram might not rest satisfied with his victory. Moses says that God spoke to him "in a vision," by which he intimates that some visible symbol of God's glory was added to the word, in order that greater authority might be given to the oracle. And this was one of two ordinary methods by which the Lord was formerly wont to manifest himself to his prophets, as it is stated in the book of Numbers, (chap. 12: 6.) "Fear not, Abram." Although the promise comes last in the text, it yet has precedence in order; because on it depends the confirmation, by which God frees the heart of Abram from fear. God exhorts Abram to be of a tranquil mind; but what foundation is there for such security, unless by faith we understand that God cares for us, and learn to rest in his providence? The promise, therefore, that God will be Abram's shield and his exceeding great reward, holds the first place; to which is added the exhortation, that, relying upon such a guardian of his safety, and such an author of his felicity, he should not fear. Therefore, to make the sense of the words more clear, the causal particle is to be inserted. 'Fear not, Abram, because I am thy shield.' Moreover, by the use of the word "shield," he signifies that Abram would always be safe under his protection. In calling himself his "reward," He teaches Abram to be satisfied with Himself alone. And as this was, with respect to Abram, a general instruction, given for the purpose of showing him that victory was not the chief and ultimate good which God had designed him to pursue; so let us know that the same blessing is promised to us all, in the person of this one man. For, by this voice, God daily speaks to his faithful ones; inasmuch as having once undertaken to defend us, he will take care to preserve us in safety under his hand, and to protect us by his power. Now since God ascribes to himself the office and property of a shield, for the purpose of rendering himself the protector of our salvation; we ought to regard this promise as a brazen wall, so that we should not be excessively fearful in any dangers. And since men, surrounded with various and innumerable desires of the flesh, are at times unstable, and are then too much addicted to the love of the present life; the other member of the sentence follows, in which God declares, that he alone is sufficient for the perfection of a happy life to the faithful. For the word "reward" has the force of inheritance, or felicity. Were it deeply engraven on our minds, that in God alone we have the highest and complete perfection of all good things; we should easily fix bounds to those wicked desires by which we are miserably tormented. The meaning then of the passage is this, that we shall be truly happy when God is propitious to us; for he not only pours upon us the abundance of his kindness, but offers himself to us, that we may enjoy him. Now what is there more, which men can desire, when they really enjoy God? David knew the force of this promise, when he boasted that he had obtained a goodly lot, because the Lord was his inheritance, (Psalm 16: 6.) But since nothing is more difficult than to curb the depraved appetites of the flesh, and since the ingratitude of man is so vile and impious, that God scarcely ever satisfies them; the Lord calls himself not simply "a reward," but an "exceeding great reward," with which we ought to be more than sufficiently contented. This truly furnishes most abundant material, and most solid support, for confidence. For whosoever shall be fully persuaded that his life is protected by the hand of God, and that he never can be miserable while God is gracious to him; and who consequently resorts to this haven in all his cares and troubles, will find the best remedy for all evils. Not that the faithful can be entirely free from fear and care, as long as they are tossed by the tempests of contentions and of miseries; but because the storm is hushed in their own breast; and whereas the defense of God is greater than all dangers, so faith triumphs over fear. 2. "And Abram said, Lord God." The Hebrew text has "Adonai Jehovah". From which appellation it is inferred that some special mark of divine glory was stamped upon the vision; so that Abram, having no doubt respecting its author, confidently broke out in this expression. For since Satan is a wonderful adept at deceiving, and deludes men with so many wiles in the name of God, it was necessary that some sure and notable distinction should appear in true and heavenly oracles, which would not suffer the faith and the minds of the holy fathers to waver. Therefore in the vision of which mention is made, the majesty of the God of Abram was manifested, which would suffice for the confirmation of his faith. Not that God appeared as he really is, but only so far as he might be comprehended by the human mind. But Abram, in overlooking a promise so glorious, in complaining that he is childless, and in murmuring against God, for having hitherto given him no seed, seems to conduct himself with little modesty. What was more desirable than to be received under God's protection, and to be happy in the enjoyment of Him? The objection, therefore, which Abram raised, when disparaging the incomparable benefit offered to him, and refusing to rest contented until he receives offspring, appears to be wanting in reverence. Yet the liberty which he took admits of excuse; first, because the Lord permits us to pour into his bosom those cares by which we are tormented, and those troubles with which we are oppressed. Secondly, the design of the complaint is to be considered; for he does not simply declare that he is solitary, but, seeing that the effect of all the promises depended upon his seed, he does, not improperly, require that a pledge so necessary should be given him. For if the benediction and salvation of the world was not to be hoped for except through his seed; when that principal point seemed to fail him, it is not to be wondered at, that other things should seem to (continued in part 22...) --------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01/cvgn1-21.txt .