By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,…
I. THAT GOD ALONE KNOWS HOW TO ASCRIBE WORK AND DUTY PROPORTIONATE UNTO THE STRENGTH OF GRACE RECEIVED. He knew that Abraham's faith would carry him through this trial, and thereon He spared him not. As He will enjoin nothing absolutely above our strength, so He is not obliged to spare us in any duty, be it never so grievous, or of what difficult exercise soever it be, which He will give us strength to undergo; as He did here to Abraham.
II. THAT OFTTIMES GOD RESERVES GREAT TRIALS FOR WELL-EXERCISED FAITH. So this trial betel Abraham, when his faith had been victorious in sundry other instances. So He hath called many to lay down their lives by fire, blood, and torments, in their old age.
III. THAT FAITH MUST BE TRIED; AND THAT OF ALL GRACES IT IS SUITED SUITED UNTO TRIAL.
IV. THAT GOD PROPORTIONS TRIALS FOR THE MOST PART UNTO THE STRENGTH OF FAITH.
V. YEA, GREAT TRIALS IN BELIEVERS ARE AN EVIDENCE OF GREAT FAITH IN THEM, THOUGH NOT UNDERSTOOD EITHER BY THEMSELVES OR OTHERS BEFORE SUCH TRIALS.
VI. TRIALS ARE THE ONLY TOUCHSTONE OF FAITH, WITHOUT WHICH MEN MUST WANT THE BEST EVIDENCE OF ITS SINCERITY AND EFFICACY, AND THE BEST WAY OF TESTIFYING IT UNTO OTHERS.
VII. WE OUGHT NOT TO BE AFRAID OF TRIALS BECAUSE OF THE ADMIRABLE ADVANTAGES OF FAITH IN AND BY THEM (see James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6, 7).
VIII. LET THEM BE JEALOUS OVER THEMSELVES WHO HAVE HAD NO ESPECIAL INSTANCES OF THE TRIAL OF THEIR FAITH.
IX. TRUE FAITH, BEING TRIED, WILL IN THE ISSUE BE VICTORIOUS.
X. DIVINE REVELATIONS DID' GIVE SUCH AN EVIDENCE OF THEIR BEING IMMEDIATELY FROM GOD TO THOSE WHO RECEIVE THEM, THAT THOUGH IN ALL THINGS THEY CONTRADICTED THEIR REASON AND INTEREST, YET THEY RECEIVED THEM WITHOUT ANY HESITATION.
XI. The great glory and commendation of the faith of Abraham consisted in this, THAT WITHOUT ALL DISPUTE, HESITATION, OR RATIONAL CONSIDERATION OF OBJECTIONS TO THE CONTRARY, BY A PURE ACT OF HIS WILL HE COMPLIED WITH THE AUTHORITY OF GOD, which in some sense may be called blind obedience wherein the soul resigns the whole conduct of itself to another.
XII. IT IS A PRIVILEGE AND ADVANTAGE TO HAVE AN OFFERING OF PRICK TO OFFER TO GOD, IF HE CALL FOR IT. And such are our lives, our names, our reputations, our relations, estates, liberties, as Abraham had his Isaac. It is so, I say, if we have hearts to make use of it.
XIII. OBEDIENCE BEGUN IN FAITH, WITHOUT ANY RESERVES, BUT WITH A SINCERE INTENTION TO FULFIL THE WHOLE WORK OF IT, IS ACCEPTED. WITH GOD AS IF IT WERE ABSOLUTELY COMPLETE. SO the confessors of old, delivered - by Divine providence from death, when the sentence of it was denounced against them, were always reckoned in the next degree to martyrs.
XIV. THE POWER OF FAITH IN ITS CONFLICT WITH, AND CONQUEST OVER NATURAL AFFECTIONS, WHEN THEIR UNAVOIDABLE BENT AND INCLINATIONS ARE CONTRARY TO THE WILL OF GOD, WHEREBY THEY ARE EXPOSED TO RECEIVE IMPRESSIONS FROM TEMPTATIONS, IS AN EMINENT PART OF ITS GLORY, AND A BLESSED EVIDENCE OF ITS SINCERITY.
(John Owen, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,