Genesis 23* The death of Sarah, Abraham applies for a burying-place.(1-13) Sarah's burying-place. (14-20)1-13 The longest life must shortly come to a close. Blessed beGod that there is a world where sin, death, vanity, and vexationcannot enter. Blessed be his name, that even death cannot partbelievers from union with Christ. Those whom we most love, yea,even our own bodies, which we so care for, must soon becomeloathsome lumps of clays, and be buried out of sight. How loosethen should we be to all earthly attachments and adornments! Letus seek rather that our souls be adorned with heavenly graces.Abraham rendered honour and respect to the princes of Heth,although of the ungodly Canaanites. The religion of the Bibleenjoins to pay due respect to all in authority, withoutflattering their persons, or countenancing their crimes if theyare unworthy characters. And the noble generosity of theseCanaanites shames and condemns the closeness, selfishness, andill-humour of many that call themselves Israelites. It was notin pride that Abraham refused the gift, because he scorned to bebeholden to Ephron; but in justice and in prudence. Abraham wasable to pay for the field, and therefore would not takeadvantage of Ephron's generosity. Honesty, as well as honour,forbids us to take advantage of our neighbour's liberality, andto impose, upon those who give freely. 14-20 Prudence, as well as justice, directs us to be fair andopen in our dealings; cheating bargains will not bear the light.Abraham, without fraud or delay, pays the money. He pays it atonce in full, without keeping any part back; and by weight,current money with the merchant, without deceit. See howanciently money was used for the help of trade, and how honestlyit should be paid when it is due. Though all the land of Canaanwas Abraham by promise, yet the time of his possessing it notbeing come, what he had occasion for he bought and paid for.Dominion is not founded in grace. The saints' title to aneternal inheritance does not entitle them to the possessions ofthis world, nor justify them in doing wrong. Ephron honestly andfairly makes a good title to the land. As that which is bought,must be honestly paid for, so that which is sold, must behonestly delivered and secured. Let us manage our concerns withpunctuality and exactness, in order to avoid contention. Abrahamburied Sarah in cave. or vault, which was in the purchasedfield. It would tend to endear the land to his posterity. And itis worth noting, that a burying-place was the only piece of theland which Abraham possessed in Canaan. Those who have least ofthis earth, find a grave in it. This sepulchre was at the end ofthe field; whatever our possessions are, there is a burial-placeat the end of them. It was a token of his belief and expectationof the resurrection. Abraham is contented to be still a pilgrimwhile he lives, but secures a place where, when he dies, hisflesh may rest in hope. After all, the chief concern is, withwhom we shall rise.
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