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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 16

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 16.—Of the Order and Nature of the Promises of God Which Were Made to Abraham.

God’s promises made to Abraham are now to be considered; for in these the oracles of our God, 901 that is, of the true God, began to appear more openly concerning the godly p. 321 people, whom prophetic authority foretold.  The first of these reads thus:  “And the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, and go into a land that I will show thee:  and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and magnify thy name; and thou shall be blessed:  and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee:  and in thee shall all tribes of the earth be blessed.” 902   Now it is to be observed that two things are promised to Abraham, the one, that his seed should possess the land of Canaan, which is intimated when it is said, “Go into a land that I will show thee, and I will make of thee a great nation;” but the other far more excellent, not about the carnal but the spiritual seed, through which he is the father, not of the one Israelite nation, but of all nations who follow the footprints of his faith, which was first promised in these words, “And in thee shall all tribes of the earth be blessed.”  Eusebius thought this promise was made in Abraham’s seventy-fifth year, as if soon after it was made Abraham had departed out of Haran because the Scripture cannot be contradicted in which we read, “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.”  But if this promise was made in that year, then of course Abraham was staying in Haran with his father; for he could not depart thence unless he had first dwelt there.  Does this, then, contradict what Stephen says, “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran?” 903   But it is to be understood that the whole took place in the same year,—both the promise of God before Abraham dwelt in Haran, and his dwelling in Haran, and his departure thence,—not only because Eusebius in the Chronicles reckons from the year of this promise, and shows that after 430 years the exodus from Egypt took place, when the law was given, but because the Apostle Paul also mentions it.


Footnotes

320:901

Various reading, “of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

321:902

Gen. 12.1-3.

321:903

Acts 7.2.


Next: Chapter 17

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