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rah had borne to him a son in her old age? If Abraham himself, a more certain author, had so lately been among them, would not all this have been an idle tale? It were needless to stand long upon a thing so evident. Whether it were lawful for Abraham to have returned back to Haran, would perhaps be a question hardly answerable ; considering how averse he was from permitting his son to be carried thither, even though a wife of his own kindred could not have been obtained without his personal presence. &Jacob indeed was sent thither by his parents to take a wife of his own lineage, not without God's especial approbation, by whose h blessing he prospered in that journey ; yet he lived there as a servant, suffered many injuries, and finally was driven to convey himself away from thence by flight. For although it be not a sentence written, yet out of all written examples it may be observed, that God alloweth not in his servants any desire of returning to the place from whence he hath taken and transplanted them. That brief saying, Remember Lot's wife, contains much matter. Let us but consider Mesopotamia, from whence Abraham was taken, and Egypt, out of which the whole nation of the Israelites was delivered; we shall find, that no blessing issued from either of them to the posterity of the Hebrews. When i Hezekiah was visited with an honourable embassy from Babel, it seems that he conceived great pleasure in his mind, and thought it a piece of his prosperity; but the prophecy which thereupon he heard by Isaiah, made him to know that the counsel of God was not agreeable to such thoughts; which more plainly appeared in a following generation, when by the waters of Babylon they sat down and wept. Concerning Egypt we read, that k Sesac and Neco, kings of Egypt, brought calamity upon Israel ; also that their confidence in the Egyptian succours was the cause of their destruction. Where they were forbidden to return into Egypt, I do not remember, nor can readily find; but it is found in Deuteronomy xvii. 16. that God had said, They should no more return that way; which is given as the reason why their king might not cause the people to return to Egypt, for the multiplying of his horses. Whether the Lord had laid any such injunction upon Abraham of not returning to Mesopotamia, I cannot say; many things do argue it probably; that he never did return, all circumstances do (to my understanding) both strongly and necessarily conclude.
& Gen. xxiv. 6, 8.
k Psal. cxxxvii. 1 Kings xiv. 25. and 2 Kings xxiii. 29.
But because this double passage of Abraham is but an imagination; and that imaginations of men are rather valuable among children, than that they can persuade those of judgment or understanding; I take it sufficient, that St. Stephen hath directly taught us, that Abraham left Haran, his father being dead. And for the rest, when they shew any one scripture to prove it, I will believe as they do. For all the travels of Abraham are precisely set down in the scriptures; as first from Ur, or Camerina in Chaldea, to Haran, or Charran ; and then from Haran (after his father's death) to Sichem; from Sichem he removed to a mountain between Bethel and Hai; thence into Egypt ; from Egypt he returned thither again, where Lot and he parted, because their flocks and herds of cattle were more than could be fed in that part ; from thence, the second time, he removed to Mamre, near Hebron; and thence having pursued Amraphel, and rescued Lot, he after inhabited at Gerar, in the border of Idumæa, under Abimelech ; and after near unto it at Bersabe, at which time he was ready to offer up his son Isaac on the mountain Moriah. But this fiction of his retreat to Haran, or Charran, appeareth not in any one story, either divine or human. Now if it
be supposed that Abraham had made any former journey into Canaan, as Levita in his Cabala hath feigned, it should in reason be therewithal believed, that he would in those his first travels have provided himself of some certain seat or place of abiding; and not have come a second time, with his wife, kinsmen, family, goods, and cattle, not knowing whereon to rest himself. But Abraham, when he came
from Charran, passed through the north part of Canaan, thence to Sichem, and the plain of Moriah ; where finding no place to inhabit, he departed thence to Bethel and Hai; and so from nation to nation, to discover and find out some fit habitation ; from whence again, as it is written in Genesis xii. 9. he went forth, going and journeying towards the south, and always unsettled. By occasion of which wandering to and fro, some say the Egyptians gave him and his the name of m Hebræi. Further, to prove that he had not formerly been in the country, we may note, that ere he came to Bethel and Hai, and at his first entrance into Canaan, God appeared unto him, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land, shewing it him as unto a stranger therein, and as a land to him unknown. For Abraham, without any other provident care for himself, believed in the word of the living God, neither sending before, nor coming first to discover it; but being arrived he received a second promise from God, that he would give those countries unto him and his seed to inhabit and inherit.
Lastly, What should move any man to think, that Moses would have omitted any such double journey of Abraham's, seeing he setteth down all his passages elsewhere, long and short ? As when he moved from Sichem, and seated between Hai and Bethel, the distance being but twenty miles ; and when he moved thence to the valley of Mamre, being but twenty-four miles; and when he left Mamre, and sat down at Gerar, being less than six miles ; no, Moses passed over all the times of the first age with the greater brevity, to hasten him to the story of Abraham ; shutting up all between the creation and the flood in six chapters, which age lasted 1656 years; but he bestoweth on the story of Abraham fourteen chapters, beginning with his birth in the eleventh, and ending with his death in the five and twentieth; and this time endured but 175 years. It hath therefore no face of truth, that Moses forgot or neglected any thing concerning Abraham's travels or other actions; or that he would set down those small removes of five miles, and omit those of three hundred. For such a journey in going and coming would have ministered some variety of matter or accident worthy the inserting and adding to Abraham's story.
m Mont. in Caleb.
I Gen, xii. 6.
SECT. IV. The answer to another of the objections proposed, shewing that it
was not unlikely that Terah should beget Abraham in his 130th year.
NOW touching the objection, where it is said, that it was very unlikely that Terah should beget Abraham in his 130th year, seeing Abraham himself thought it a wonder to have a son at an hundred; this is hardly worth the answering. This wonder is indeed miscast and mistaken, Abraham having respect only to Sarah his wife, when he spake of their many years. For when the angel said unto Abraham in his tent door at Mamre, Lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son, it followeth in the next verse, Now Abraham and Sarah were old and stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women ; therefore Sarah laughed, &c.
So then, in that it is said, it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women, it appeareth that the wonder was wrought on her, and not on Abraham. For Abraham, by his second wife Keturah, had many sons after Sarah's death, as Zimron, Jockshan, Medan, Midian, Ishback, and Shuah; and the eldest of these was born thirty-seven years after Isaac, and the youngest forty years after. What strangeness then, that Terah, being 130 years old, should beget Abraham, will they say, may be gathered from this supposed despair of Abraham at 100 years? for Sarah died in the year of the world 2145, and Isaac was born in the year 2109, and Abraham did not marry Keturah till Sarah was buried. So if we deduct the number of 2109 out of 2145, there remaineth thirty-six; and therefore if Abraham begat five sons thirty-six years after this supposed wonder, and when Abraham was 137 years old, it is not strange that his father Terah should beget Abraham at 130. And if Boaz, Obed, and Jesse, who lived so many years and ages after Abraham, begat sons at 100 years, or near it, it cannot be marvelled at, that Terah begat Abra-. ham at 130, and Abraham others at the same age, and seven
n Origen. Homil. u. in Gen. Aug. de Civit. Dei, l. 16. c. 34. Cajetan, et Perer. in Gen.
SECT. V. The answer to two more of the objections ; shewing that we may have
certainty of Abraham's age from the scripture, though we make not Abraham the eldest son ; and that there was great cause, why in the story of Abraham his two brethren should be respected.
IT followeth now to speak something to the objection, which brings Abraham's age altogether in doubt, except we allow him to be the eldest son of Terah, and born when Terah was seventy years old. For Abraham's age being made uncertain, all succeeding times are thereby without any perfect rule or knowledge.
But this proposition, That we cannot be certain of Abraham's age, unless we make him the eldest son, is false. For it is plain in the scriptures, that when Terah was 205, which was the
year of his death, then was Abraham seventy-five. And if you ask, how I can judge of times, either preceding or succeeding, by knowing that Abraham departed Haran at that age; I answer, that St. Stephen hath told us, that Abraham's departure followed the death of his father Terah: and Terah died at 205; so as the seventyfifth
year of Abraham was the 205th year of Terah ; which known, there can be no error in the account of times succeeding. Now to come to the objection, where it is said, That Moses had no respect unto Nachor and Haran, because they were out of the church, but to Abraham only, with whom God established the covenant, and of whom Christ descended according to the flesh, &c. I answer, that Moses, for many great and necessary causes, had respect of Nachor and Haran. For the succession of God's church is not witnessed by Abraham alone, but by the issues of Nahor and Haran, were they idolaters or other