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they may learn piety and virtue, from your instructions and example ---Above all, recommend them to God in your daily prayers ; prayers draw down the blessings of Heaven “ It cannot be,” said the devout mother of St.Austin concerning her son who then seemed abandoned to profane and diffolute courses, “ It cannot be, that the child of fo many prayers and tears fhould perish.” The Almighty does suffer himself to be overcome by prayer. Wrestling with God, like Jacob, we may extort a blessing from him : We may hold him fast by his promises, and say, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And if the prayer of faith be so powerful a thing, why may it not prevail to obtain a blessing for others, as well as for ourselves ? The patriarch Jacob was perfuaded of
the prevalence of prayer, when he blessed the two sons of Joseph: When his fleshly tabernacle was weakeit, then was his faith strongest, and of consequence, his
prevalent, for according to a man's faith, so shall it be done unto hiin.
K k 2
GENESIS, xlix, 1.
And Jacob called unto his fons, and said, Ga
ther yourselves together, that I may tell you that which fhall befal you in the last days.
was a prevailing opinion with the people of ancient times, that dying persons were often favoured with
very peculiar insights into futurity. They fupposed the soul, on its approaching separation from the body, to become more divine; perhaps to hold converse with superior intelligencies, or to be favoured at least with fonie transient
glimpses of the world to come. Contemplating the weakness and languor of the dying man, and considering his impressive tone of voice, and the elevation of his language, contrafted with the manifest debility of the sinking frame, they might naturally conlude, that he spoke not from himself, but prophesied; that they heard, not the uncertainties of human conjecture, but the dictates of a divine inspiration.
The sense of prophesy is generally obscure; and rarely to be understood, till explained by the event. In the prophesy we are about to consider, there is much obscurity, both from its highly figurative language, and the difficulty of tracing its fulfilment in the history of the posterity of Jacob. However, here, as in other scriptures of doubtful meaning, we may learn