Слике страница
PDF
ePub

ruled, and the blessing reserved for Jacob, without any strife between the brothers or their consequent separation. But her faith was not strong enough for that most difficult duty-to "wait for the Lord." Woman-like, feeling was her weakness, impulse her guide,-faith succumbed before these, and so left her, unguarded, when its invulnerable defence was more needed than it had ever been before.

Man is a free wait for the

Rebekah had, perhaps, some excuse for her momentary fancy that her course of acting was, from its success, acceptable to the Lord: but we have NONE. The idea that human means are necessary to forward any intention of the Most High, cannot be entertained a single moment without verging on impiety, when we have the whole Word of God to prove by precept and example that He is as omnipotent to do as to will. agent. Rebekah had equal power "to Lord" as to urge her son to deception. That she chose the latter was human frailty—no pre-ordainment. He indeed permitted the fraud in appearance to succeed, because He had already ordained that Jacob should be the promised seed, and His changeless and allwise decree might not be turned aside even to annul, and so punish the designs of sin. But that in no ways exculpates the fraud. Had no deceit whatever been practised, the blessing would still have been Jacob's. It matters not how it is enough to know that the ways of the Eternal are not our ways, and that His decrees require no aid of man.

That human designs, however sinful, however con

trary to the pleasure of the Lord, are over-ruled to further His divine economy-no one who attentively studies and believes God's Word can for a single moment doubt; but this truth, in not one tittle, renders us less responsible beings. That the Eternal ever bringeth forth and worketh universal good from partial evil, proves His loving-kindness, His beneficence, His allwise, ever-acting mercy alone. Not that man is in any point acquitted, or that evil is a necessary adjunct to the bringing forth of good. The workers and the designers of evil are, individually, objects of displeasure, and will suffer the burden of their guilt. The doers of evil the God of Love abhors, even while His compassion over-rules the deeds, and turns them in His hand to the furtherance of good.

We are earnestly and heartily anxious to impress this important truth on the minds of our younger readers, who, in their early perusal of God's Holy Word, may and will feel startled, that human weakness should not only be recorded, but its actions be permitted to succeed. Success is not always a proof of the Eternal's approbation. The history of both Rebekah and Jacob, prove the displeasure of the Lord toward themselves individually, though their action was over-ruled to the accomplishment of His previous will. Rebekah never saw her son again; and Jacob, though spiritually blessed, was, in his earthly career, more unfortunate than any of his family before or after him.

This narrative alone, then, ought to bid us eschew all wandering from the one straight path of single-hearted

truth; that we never can do so without exciting the displeasure of our Heavenly Father, even though our plans may seem crowned with unmerited success. The attribute of our God is TRUTH: how then dare we believe that He smiles upon those who depart from it, or requires human deception to forward His almighty will? As His children, His own, His first-born, O let our watch-word be TRUTH! Let our upright, single-minded, straightforward adherence to truth, in every thought, word, and deed, proclaim WHOSE WITNESSES we are, and compel the nations to acknowledge that we are " Israelites indeed!"

CHAP. IV.-LEAH AND RACHEL.

It was on the same spot, in the land of the East, where nearly a century previous Abraham's steward had bowed himself to the earth in prayer, that several shepherds and their flocks were assembled, grouped by the side of a well, from whose mouth the great stone covering had not yet been rolled aside. It was high noon, when a stranger approached, and courteously addressing the shepherds, enquired: "My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well, and behold Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she kept them. And it came to pass when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the sheep; and Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept, and Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son. And she ran and told her father."

Such, in the simple yet impressive language of Holy Writ, was the first meeting of Jacob and his beautiful cousin.

Lonely and sad the exiled Jacob had turned from the home of his childhood and the parents of his love. The

I

child of promise and of prayer-the inheritor of God's especial blessing—the ancestor of kings—was compelled to make his bed on the cold earth, with nothing but stones for his pillow. How must his thoughts have clung to his mother and his home! That his heart was once more fitted for the reception and comprehension of holy things, is proved by the dream which Infinite Wisdom vouchsafed, to strengthen and encourage him. The promise would not have been revealed to one unworthy to receive it. Though human weakness may sully and darken even the choicest servants of the Lord, yet not unto the impure, the unholy, the unrepentant, would the Holy One impart the blessing of His spirit and His guidance. Acknowledgment of his fault must have brought Jacob once more to the feet of his Heavenly Father, or the confirmation of the blessed promise would have still been delayed.

On the beautiful, the most consoling vision vouchsafed to Jacob, consoling, not only to him but to us, we may not linger. Yet, though so spiritually consoled, strengthened and refreshed, the mortal nature of the wanderer must often have obtained ascendancy during his journey, and have rendered it at the very least dreary and sad. Jacob had never been tried till his departure from his father's house; and, therefore, though awe-struck and "afraid" at the glorious revelation when its impression was vividly before him; his very vow supposes a slight degree of doubt, natural to one only just called upon to believe: "If the Lord will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in

« ПретходнаНастави »