Genesis 21:16
And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said…

First observe, how affliction followeth affliction, and one grief in the neck of another, when once God beginneth to exercise us. She lost her place, she wandereth in the wilderness with her child, comfortless and desolate; the water of the bottle is spent, and no more to be had when the child crieth for drink, and is ready to die for it; and, lastly, she giveth her child up to death as she thought, getting her far off as unable to hear the cry of it. Let it school us, if the Lord so deal with us; we are not privileged, we have no immunity. If the Cross come to us as a thing judged fit for us of our God, we may not set Him a stint, and say thus much will I bear, and no more; but leave Him to His own good pleasure, expecting and enduring even one upon another, as thick as ever it shall please Him to send them. Taking hold of this promise by a lively faith, that He will never lay more upon us, than He will make us able to bear, but will give the issue with the temptation, that we may endure it. And praying to His Majesty upon that promise, that for His mercy sake He would so do. Oh, pitiful parting betwixt a mother and her child! Oh, sorrow upon sorrow, and the last the greatest by a thousand degrees! Whose stony heart bewaileth not, as we hear it, this truthful case, of a poor mother and her child?

2. Secondly, observe we again the divers passions of love herein, either of parents to children or friend to friend; some cannot be drawn from them either day or night when they are like to die, and it is a great love and a good. But here it is otherwise, for the mother's heart cannot abide to see the child die, and this also because she loved it; so are many where they love entirely. Thus differ our divers natures even in one thing, and we have our divers reasons upon divers circumstances. Blessed is the party whose affections draweth nearest the Lord's allowance and an holy patience.

3. Lastly, consider how in this bitter agony and most heavy plight, yet she neither openeth her mouth against the Lord, nor against the means of her woe, Abraham and Sarah — no, not against Sarah — that was the first and chief cause indeed to stir up Abraham to put her away. No cursing, no banning, no raving nor railing is heard out of her; a very great commendation of her, and a very great want in our days in some that think themselves no common Christians, for that thing almost happeneth not to cross their minds, but the very air almost is infected with their bannings, be it never so small and of no account. Their soul is acquainted with bitterness altogether, and their tongues cannot but take like course. Surely, surely, neither Abraham nor Sarah, nor God, I fear me, should have escaped curses ninny and great; but for Sarah, she should have been cursed to the deep pit of hell ten thousand times, and further, if further were any further torment to be had for her. But learn, Oh, fiery and furious spirits l even by Hagar here, no other lesson, follow it, and use it with careful hearts if you mean not to brew for yourselves in hell what you wish to others.

(Bp. Babington.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

WEB: She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, "Don't let me see the death of the child." She sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.

Compassion for Souls
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