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alone we obtain, either that our alms-deeds or prayers can be remembered or accepted before His Father.
And, O Merciful God, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people by the sending to them the light of Thy Holy Spirit, grant us, by the same Spirit, to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort, through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth, with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
[Preached August 5, 1825, on the Consecration of the Church of
Secrole, near Benares.]
Gen. xxviii. 16, 17,
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, surely the Lord
is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, how dreadful is this place! this is none other than the House of God, and this the gate of Heaven.
This was the natural and touching exclamation of the patriarch Jacob, when, in his lonely and perilous journey from Canaan to the land of the Chaldees, the God of his fathers appeared to him in a dream
* This Sermon was published at Calcutta, with the following dedication :
TO WILLIAM AUGUSTUS BROOKE, ESQUIRE, SENIOR JUDGE,
&c. &c. &c., SIR FREDERIC HAMILTON, BART. COLLECTOR, WILLIAM JOHN SANDS, ESQUIRE, SECOND JUDGE, AND THE OTHER CIVIL AND MILITARY OFFICERS OF THE CITY AND DISTRICT OF BENARES, THE FOLLOWING SERMON, PRINTED AT THEIR REQUEST, IS MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, AS AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THEIR MUNIFICENT ZEAL FOR THE INTERESTS OF TRUE RELIGION, AND THEIR FRIENDLY AND GRATIFYING ATTENTIONS TO THEIR MUCH
OBLIGED AND FAITHFUL HUMBLE SERVANT, THE AUTHOR.
to confirm him in his faith and service, and to encourage him in his wanderings with the assurance of an unseen and Almighty Protector.
At that time an outcast, in some degree, from the tents of his father Isaac, and a fugitive from the anger of a justly offended brother; a forlorn and needy wanderer, he had laid him to sleep on the sands of the wilderness, his head supported on a pillow of stone, and his staff and scrip his only riches. But in his dream he saw Heaven opened, and “behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to Heaven, and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham thy father and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that of which I have spoken to thee. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not ! and he said, how dreadful is this place ! this is none other but the house of God, and this the gate of Heaven !”
In this memorable history are many circumstances which might afford us useful lessons, and any one of which would be a sufficient and copious subject for our morning's meditation. The first and most striking, perhaps, is the strange and aweful difference which frequently is found between the manners in which the same persons are accounted of by man and by God; and how little the Lord seeth as man seeth, in His estimate and choice of those whom He delights to favour. Who that had seen the forlorn son of Isaac in his journey over that desolate land, unsheltered, unattended, on foot, and struggling with fatigue and hunger,
a Syrian ready to perish” in the waste howling wilderness, would have guessed in this unhappy wanderer the founder of a mighty nation? Who that had known the circumstances of fraud and meanness which had compelled his flight would have expected to find in the supplanter Jacob, an Israel, “ the prince of God,” to whose descendants, above all the earth, the knowledge of the true God should be entrusted; and from whose loins that Saviour was, in His mortal nature, to arise, in whom not the tribes of Israel alone, but all the nations of the world were, in after days, to be pronounced blessed ?
Yet thus it is that the wisdom of the wise is often put to shame; that God, even in the affairs of this world, should seem, on certain occasions, to delight in lowering the mighty and raising the humble on high ; and that the riches of His grace are, sometimes, most abundantly shown in calling
sinners to repentance, and choosing out for great and glorious ends, the most contemptible and unworthy instruments. These things should make the proud man humble, and they should keep the humble man from despair. They should warn the first on how slender a thread his own power or eminence depends; and how little reason he has to think those beneath him, who, notwithstanding their present and outward inferiority, may be, in truth, of higher estimation in the eyes of God than himself, and designed by God to far greater usefulness here, and hereafter to far more exalted glory. The second may learn from them, that however insignificant he may feel himself in the eyes of men, however unable to render God worthy service, or to contribute, in any perceivable degree, to the amendment or happiness of His creatures, yet, if he perform with good will what little is in his power, that little may, by God's blessing, in its effects be infinitely multiplied; while, at all events, so far as he himself is concerned, the very least of his endeavours is not lost in the sight or memory of the Most High, nor will be forgotten in that day when the widow's mite and the believer's cup of water shall in no wise lose their reward, and when he a who has been faithful in a few things,” shall, by the Judge of Heaven and Earth, be “made ruler over many things."
Another observation which we shall be naturally led to make in considering this passage of Scripture, is the constant reference and connexion, which the