Page images
PDF
EPUB

for now I know that thou tegrity without our obedience ; but

he chooses that the outward act fearest God, seeing thou hast

should evidence before men that we not withheld thy son, thine

are his servants. Of all the patrionly son from me. And arch's former trials, numerous as Abraham lifted up his eyes, they were, this was the heaviest. and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns : and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh : as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine 17 By“ possessing the gate of our only son : " that in blessing enemies,” is meant, that we have the I will bless thee, and in mul- command over them, tiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies ;

18 See Gal. ii. 16, where this pas" and in thy seed shall all

sage is applied to the Messiah ! the nations of the earth be “ Thy seed, which is Christ.” Thus blessed; because thou hast

was the faith of Abraham counted to obeyed my voice. So Abra

him for righteousness. ham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba ; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba. And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, and Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

O may I strive to imitate the patriarch ; obediently sacrificing whatever the word or providence of my God requires me to resign !

The Second Sunday in Lent.

MORNING. GENESIS xxvü. 'Asd it came to pass, that

1 Isaac was about 137 years old. when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son : and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold

12

now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take

+ So simple were the manners of me some venison ; * and make those times, that the eldest sons of me savoury meat, such as I the richest and greatest families enlove, and bring it to me, that gaged in this office. I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die. And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth : and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death. And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and 12 How faithful a monitor is conI am a smooth man : my science ! never can we set about father peradventure will feel what is wrong, either from the imme, and I shall seem to him pulse of our own mind, or at the as a deceiver; and I shall suggestion of others who may tempt

us to evil, but that a voice whispers, bring a curse upon me, and “ Hold thy hand from evil ;" “ The not a blessing. And his wages of sin is death." mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son : only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: and she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: and she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. And he came unto his father, and said, My father : and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son ? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn ; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son ? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau

23

or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father ; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And

23 Here we find the reason which he discerned him not, because induced Rebekah to take this dehis hands were hairy, as his sperate step in deceit and fraud. She brother Esau's hands: so he feared lest her son should lose the blessed him. 44 And he said, blessing, which she considered to be

lawfully his own, having been purArt thou my very son Esau? chased by the mess of pottage * And he said, I am. And he

24 The sin of Rebekah in contriving said, Bring it near to me, and that fraud upon Isaac, and the sin of I will eat of my son's venison, Jacob in adopting it and in persisting that my soul may bless thee. in his deliberate falsehood, are plainly

recorded for our instruction t. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat : and he brought him wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him : and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed : therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine : let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee : be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee : cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee. And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him ? yea, and he shall be blessed. And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said

She was right in prizing the blessing,-a blessing which had been foretold before the birth of the children “ the elder shall serve the younger.” But she was wrong in taking evil means to attain it. No end, however good, justifies wicked means. How different to the firm confidence in the divine word evidenced by Abraham !

+ The best of God's creatures are fallible—a fallen race : for sin hath in Adam passed upon all men ; and if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Merciful God I do Thou sustain me! hold Thou me up; and so shall I go safely.

40

unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times : he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him; and what shall I do now unto thee, my son ?

38 O blessed Jesus ! through Thee 38 And Esau said unto his I supplicate blessing of my heavenly father, Hast thou but one Father. This I do in faith ; knowing blessing, my father ? bless

that He lacketh neither means to supme, even me also, O

ply, nor mercy to bestow the blessing.

my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and the dew of heaven from above; and by thy sword shalt thou live, complished. 2 Sam. viii. 14.

40 This conquest of Edom was acand shalt serve thy brother ; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him : and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah : and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away ; until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him : then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth : if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?

EVENING. GENESIS xxxiv.

And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the

1 Dinah was curious to attend a festival held by the Canaanites. Had she stayed under the sacred shadow of home, she would have escaped

daughters of the land. And the temptation which led to the when Shechem the son of Ha- evil *. mor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. *And Shechem 4 The history points varied instrucspake unto his father Hamor, tion. We are all well taught to saying, Get me this damsel consider the consent of parents as to wife. And Jacob heard necessary in so solemn an event as that he had defiled Dinah his marriage. We learn also, that " no

man liveth to himself,” so no man daughter : now his sons were sinneth to himself only t. with his cattle in the field : and Jacob held his peace until they were come. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you ; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister ; and they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us : but in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised ; then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take

• Safety, honour, and character, are too often forfeited by young persuns, when they are led away to mingle in the vain, unprofitable, and often sinfal pleasures of the world. Home is a sacred place. Tit. ii. 5.

+ The sinner little dreams how much misery to others may be consequent upon his individual sin. Hamor and Shechem instigated the men of their city to mock a solemn religious ordinance, by adopting it with a worldly view—the mockery was punished by death.

« PreviousContinue »