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Remarks on the 27th Chapter of Genesis. 483 kab's own sin would be sure to find her out, but she could not suffer for her son's.
V. 20-24.-It is one of the instances of the deceitfulness of the heart, that we imagine we can stop short in a course of iniquity, when we will. Probably Jacob did not expect that the difficulty of deceiving his father would be so great as to involve in it the utterance of two such gross falsehoods. . . V. 34.-Esąu in bis lamentations, as men are apt to do wbęn the consequences of their sins come upon them, entirely forgot that he was but eating the fruit of his own devices, that he had been the willing instrument of his own degradation. Having sold the birthright, he had no claim to the spe. cial blessings connected with it; and, however criminal were the means used by Jacob to obtain it, it was now clearly his. .
V.37-40. With respect to the peculiar blessing which he desired, Esau found no place of repentance-no change of purpose-in his father's mind, 6 though he sought it carefully with tears :" but without reversing or interfering with the blessing already conferred on Jacob, Isaac pronounced that Esau's descendants should also be a wealthy, prosperous, and warlike people; and foretold that although, as a general feature of their history, they should serve those of Jacob, yet that there should be a period, when they should break his yoke from off their neck. But what an affecting illustration is Esau's misery, upon the loss of the blessing, of the agony with which the self-deceiver will hear those appalling words, “I know you not.” It is presented to us with this very view by St. Paul. (Heb. xii. 15. 17.) “ Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God”-Lest the unspeakable grace of God in sending his Son to die for sin, should come to the knowledge of any one in vain, without proving the power of God to his salvation. " Lest there be any profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” By being profane, is clearly meant having a contempt for spiritual blessings : and we do despise spiritual blessings unless we make them our first concern; for our desire after any thing is in proportion to our sense of its value. We should not say that a man cared for the loss of a large sum of money, if he did not seek for it with a greater diligence than if it had been a very small sum; and so we cannot say that a man cares for his soul, who does not make its salvation bis first concern. Unless the care of the soul be the first concern, it is in reality no concern at all. “For yé know how that, afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected : for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." I was, some time since, with a number of young people on their way to join their parents in a distant land. As we drew near, the delights of the meeting, and the affection with which they expected to be received, were often the subject of conversation, and often brought to my mind those affecting parables of Scripture, where the rejection of sinners is represented under the emblem of the refusal of admittance to a guest at a marriage feast. I used to think what these young persons would feel, if, instead of receiving the welcome of rapturous affection, they were disowned and thrust from the door, as deceivers and unworthy. We may imagine what tears and entreaties would be employed to reverse the sentence, and how bitter would be the distress if they were unavailing :distress heightened by the expectations entertained of a fond reception. But, terrible as it would be, · what is it to an eternal condemnation? What is it to the grief and sorrow with which self-deceiving sinners will hear those awful words, “ Depart from
Remarks on the 27th Chapter of Genesis. 485 me.”_" When once the master of the house has risen up, and shut to the door," the time of pardon and hope will have fled for ever, “ Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” Ye know how it was with Esau, how that, afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, “though he sought it carefully with tears."
V.41.-6 Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer." 1 John iii. 15. The seeds of murder lie hidden in the strong animosities and resentments which men bear to one another. - Now, in the sight of God, the design of evil, only hindered in its accomplishment by the fear of punishment, is regarded as the evil itself. “Whogoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart," and whosoever desires the death of another, has murdered him already in his heart. .V. 45.-Set this teach us all to watch over our tempers, and to guard them well against the risings of anger. “ Why should I be deprived of you both?" -Jacob, by the hand of his brother, and Esau by that of the avenger of blood, according to the rule,
Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed.” . ; V. 46.--Rebekah does not tell Isaac her strongest reason for wishing Jacob to go to her brother; she only mentions, what was probably true, the uneasiness she felt lest he should follow the example of Esau in marriage. In this contrivance the natu. ral artifice of Rebekah's mind shews itself, yet we cannot blame her desire to save her aged and infirm husband the distress which an exposure of Esau's wickedness, in wishing to kill Jacob, would have cost him. We are never to pretend that a part is the whole, but we are not bound, uncalled for, to disclose all our reasons for any particular line of conduct.
. T. B. P., A SHORT SERMON. A fruitful land maketh He barren, for the wicked
ness of them that dwell therein. Ps. cvii. 34. If we search the Scriptures, we shall there find; that the righteousness or the iniquity of individuals have been in many instances the chosen means of drawing down actual blessings and judgments from on high, on the families and nations to which those individuals belonged. What were the curses denounced against the families of David and Eli? For the sins of the one, it was decreed, that the sword should never depart from his house; and the wickedness of the sons of the other brought this awful sentence upon a too indulgent father's head, “ that all the increase of his house should die in the flower of their age, and that there should not be an old man in it for ever."
In the history of Pharaoh, we see the whole nation of the Egyptians condemned to endure the heaviest afflictions for the hardened impiety of an idolatrous king; and can we not also trace the miseries of the whole human race, throughout all ages, to the guilt and disobedience of the first pair? From these awful examples we may turn to the beautiful pictures presented to us in the histories of the Patriarchs, Jacob and Joseph.' Of the former, it is distinctly stated, that the possessions of Laban, with whom he dwelt, were expressly permitted to increase and multiply on bis account ; and, of the latter, that the house of his master, the Egyptian, was blessed for his sake, and that whatever he did the Lord made it to prosper. Of Abraham, we learn that his posterity were separated for å peculiar people, and that countless myriads eni, joyed the most distinguished blessings as the reward
::: A short Sermon. i
487 of his faith, which was counted to him for righteousness. And it is also worthy of remark, that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha might have been prevented, had there been but ten righteous persons within their walls. These are striking examples, and they were recorded for our instruction. Shall we refuse then to profit by the impressive lessons they convey? We all profess to love our friends, our connections, and our country, and shall we neglect to contribute our mite towards the advancement of their welfare? True it is, that the operations of Divine interposition are pot now so clearly manifested as in those earlier days, when the Almighty condescended to actual communication with his chosen servants : but let us bear in mind that it is still the same God who governs the earth, who still holds out the encouraging promise of reward to the righteous, and continues to denounce vengeance against every soul of man that doeth evil. And to which of these two classes, the righteous or the wicked, do we belong? Can we venture to hope that our names are enrolled among the number of the former, or have we not lamentable cause for apprehension, that they may be found among the multitude of the latter? Let us lose no time in carefully considering this subject. Are we endeavouring, by divine grace, through the silent influence of a holy and religious life, to bring down a blessing on the land in which we live; or, by spreading the contagion of immorality, are we helping to fill up the measure of iniquity, which may end fatally, in separating between us and our Creator? Perhaps, with the presumptuous Pharisee, we may be exulting in our own fancied superiority, and thanking God that we are not as other men are. We may not possibly ranķ with the murderer, the profligate, the thief, or the drunkard; through the blessing of Providence, on a virtuous education,