Page images
PDF
EPUB

And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he

said, I am. Gen. xxvii. 24.

THERE are certainly some circumstances in this affair which may help a little to excuse Jacob and his mother, but cannot justify them The case may be thus stated, It cannot be denied, on the one hand, but that both Jacob and his mother were justly to be praised for having a due esteem of the father's solemn blessing, and for their endeavouring to attain it; since this could proceed from no other motive than a full persuasion of the truth of God's promises and covenant with Abraham. And thus, from the consideration of the goodness of the end, and from Jacob's title to the blessing as accompanying the birthright, as also from the fore-appointment of God, together with Isaac's approbation of the thing when done, may be drawn some arguments to lessen their crime. But, on the other hand, it must be confessed, that the means used to attain their ends were highly criminal. Rebecca was wrong in her advice to her son, and he was wrong in following it; for though God, before he was born, designed him to inherit the blessing, yet he ought to have waited until the Divine Wisdom opened the way, and not have anticipated God, and procured the blessing by an irregular act of his own. Besides, both of them, by this act, presumed to limit the power of God, by thinking that fraud was needful to accomplish God's purpose.

Let not your hearts with anxious thoughts,

Be troubled or dismayed,
But trust in Providence divine,

And trust my gracious aid.

Lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. iii. 13. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust,

and enticed. James i. 14. Doth sin present itself ? turn away from it with loathing and prayer, Give it not a look, lest it ensnare thee. If thou committest sin, and diest without repentance, thy soul is lost, and thy redemption ceaseth for ever; or if thou committest sin and dost repent, yet expect hidings of God's face, and breaking of bones, as David felt to his cost. Oh! what bitter pangs! what painful throes! what shadows of death! what terrors of hell may seize upon thee, before thou canst make thy peace, or settle thine assurance ! Wilt thou give way to sin because it is delightful, or because it is pardonable? Who loves poison because it is sweet? or who drinks poison because he may have an antidote ? seeing it will work to his trouble, if it work not out his life! I have a precious soul, shall I lose it for a lust? I have a gracious God, shall I venture him for a sin ? No, Lord, give me grace to resist sin, give me victory over it. Let me always reject that, for the indulgence of which I am sure to lose my peace, and endanger the loss of my immortal soul.

A tender conscience give me, Lord,

And put thy fear within,
That I may tremble at thy word,

And ’scape the snares of sin.
All mine iniquities blot out,

Thy face hide from my sin.
Create a clean heart, Lord, renew

A right spirit me within.
Cast me not from thy sight, nor take

Thy Holy Sp'rit away.
Restore me thy salvation's joy;

With thy free Sp’rit me stay.

M

[ocr errors]

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus

Christ; not by water only, but by water and by blood; and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that

hath the Son, hath life. 1 John v. 6, 10—12. JESUS came with water and blood ; not with water alone, to sanctify us, but also with his blood to make atonement for our sins. We should, therefore, first of all, penitently seek and obtain remission of sins in his blood, then may we hope to obtain the water of life, the Holy Ghost, for our inward purification and sanctification. And his Holy Spirit will bear witness within us, that the Gospel is truth, and that God will fulfil his word, by giving us everlasting life, as he hath promised. We have three witnesses of it in hearen, and three on earth. And if we believe in CHRIST, we have this true testimony in ourselves, and may therefore assuredly know," that having the Son of God, we have life, eternal life; for he is (according to verse 20) life eternal;" and, consequently, being in him, we are already entered into everlasting life.

Let all our tongues be one

To praise our God on high ;
Who from his bosom sent his Son,

To fetch us strangers nigh.
My Saviour's pierced side

Poured out a double flood;
By water we are purified,

And pardoned by the blood.
It cost him cries and tears

To bring us near to God;
Great was our debt, and he appears

To make our payment good.

No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that

came down from heaven, &c. John iii. 13. Eph. iv. 9.

Deut. xxx. 11-14. Matt. xi. 27. No mere man whatsoever has entered, or can enter, into the secrets of God's heart in heaven, relating to the great mysteries of salvation, so as immediately and perfectly to understand them, and make them known to others; but this privilege is peculiar to the Messiah, who is spoken of under the character of “ The Son of man,” Ps. Ixxx. 17, and Dan. vii, 13, and always had an existence in heaven as the Son of God, and who came from thence into an incarnate state, that he might reveal God's counsels to men. As many are perplexed about the divinity of Christ, the following note may help them to conceive of that matter more properly :-As the divine and human natures were united in the person of CHRIST, some things are attributed to one nature which properly belong to the other. Thus, when it is said, 1 Cor. ii. 8, “The Lord of glory was crucified ;” and Acts xx. 28, he is called “ God who purchased the Church with his own blood;" the meaning is not, that he, as the Lord of glory divine, was crucified, or, as God, shed his blood; as if that nature could be crucified and bleed; but that the person, who was the Lord of glory in one nature, was crucified in the other, &c. So, when it is said “The Son of man is in heaven;" the meaning is not that he, as the Son of man, was there whilst he was on the earth ; but that ne, who was here in his human nature, was there in his divine.

My Saviour, whilst he dwelt on earth,

As God in heaven had his abode;
So let me, by an heavenly birth,
Live in the world, yet dwell with God.

I will perform my good word tonards you: for 1

know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then ye shall pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you; and ye shall seek me and find me. Jer, xxix. 10, 11,

13, 14. See also Ps. xxiii. 4, 9. THERE is a valley where neither sun, moon nor stars are seen, and in which the Christian has often to travel ; yet in the darkest place of it God is very nigh. This is the valley of extremity. It is into this valley that every soul must go before it can get a hold of CHRIST. It is here the sinner struggles with Jesus, and says, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” It is hard work travelling in this valley. Were it a light matter to rely on the faithfulness of God in times of distress, what need to give us so many and various promises? If our faith he right, we must also endure and wait his time with patience, which certainly is not an easy task; since the promise of our Lord not only tarries very often, but sometimes his providence goes contrary to his word, and makes his word seem to fall to the ground; yet then we must remember that these are the very ways and methods of God, which have ever been in the deep, and acted contrary to our expectation. This the corruption of our nature requires; and the wisdom of God ever chooses first to help us inwardly, by exercising faith and patience, and so prepares us for a right use of his outward favours. Thus we receive a double blessing at once from his hands.

Who shall pretend to teach him skill,
Or guide the counsels of his will ?
His wisdom, like a sea divine,
Flows deep and high hoyond our line.

« PreviousContinue »