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rian is silent in this particular, it is most likely that he felt contrition for the part he had acted.

The prayer which Isaac offered up, when he dismissed Jacob, shews, that he was satisfied his paternal blessing had been bestowed agreeably to the Divine will;. and we may also understand from it, that this blessing included every particular contained in the ori-" ginal blessing, bestowed by the Lord on Abraham*. This was the portion Jacob had so solicitously sought for, and with this he was contented. He asked for no provision from his father; but taking his staff in his handf, he bade adieu to his native home, and committed himself to the care of that God, whose promises he firmly believed.

Lsau, by degrees, became sensible of his errors. Arecent instance had convinced him of his folly in selling his birth-right. He next repented that he had displeased his father, by marrying idolatrous women; and endeavoured to repair his fault by taking another wife, who he thought would be more agreeable to him: but his repentance availed nothing; nor indeed would a conduct the reverse of that which he had pursued have made any difference in respect to that peculiar blessing, in consequence of which, one branch of Abraham's family was to be separated to the Lord in an extraordinary manner; and from whom should descend the promised seed of the woman, to bless all the families of the earth, by redeeming them from the curse threatened to mankind before the fall, in case they committed sin, Thou shalt surely die.

We are left to make our own reflections on this pan of Sacred History; and, therefore, are at liberty to approve or condemn, as our reason, and the knowledge

* Gen. xii. 2, 3. -{• Gen. xxxii. 10.

we we have acquired from other parts of Divine revelation, shall suggest.

There is something so very unnatural in hating a breather, that no provocation can justify it to the conimos feelings of humanity; and we learn, from the instance of Cain, that. if carried to such a height as to end in murder, it is highly provoking to God. Happily for Esau, he was prevented by Jacob's flight from executing the wicked purpose he had formed: or .what would have been the sufferings of a mind like his, subject to transports of vehement passions, had he actually killed his brother? All persons should endeavour to strengthen themselves against temptations to so horrid a sin, by cherishing tender affection for those who stand in so near a degree of relation to them; and should accustom themselves to have as great a regard for the interest and prosperity of their brothers and sisters, as for their own. Abraham gave an example of this in his behaviour to Lot, who was only his nephew. Let there he no strife said he, letivecn me and thee, are we not Brethren ? It is easy to see, that had Jacob and Esau acted upon this principle, neither of them would have had a desire of circumventing the other; but each would have left the" affair of the birthright to be determined by the will of Heaven.

When family disputes arise to so unfortunate a height, that there is no prospect of effecting a reconciliation, prudence requires, that mothers should, like Rebekah, endeavour to separate the contending parties; and conceal, as far as possible, from each of them, every thing thai may have a tendency to increase their animosities. The quarrels of their children are among the things which a wife may forbear to reveal to her husband, in casci where hU interposition is not likely to be of use,

and .and when the knowledge of them will only add to his *ares, and perhaps shorten his days with sorrow.

Every person, who feels a conviction of mind that a measure, which they wish to pursue, is contrary to the revealed will of God, should immediately, like Isaac, <hange their purpose, and preserve in their known duty on all future occasions. And whoever is conscious that he has acted wrong, by endeavouring to anticipate Providence, should, like Jacob, acquiesce in the natural consequences of his precipitation, and arm his mind with patience to endure the worst that can befal him.

SECTION XXXV.

% Jacob's Vision.

From Genesis, Chaji. xxriii.

Abb Jacob went nut from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.

And he lighted upon a ceitain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set: and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down ia that place to sleep.

And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set upon the <arth, 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 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 placet whither thou goest, and will briDg thee again into this land: for I will not leave thee, until I hart done that which I have spoken to thee of.

And Jacob waked 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 but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

And he called the name of that place Beth-el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on; so that I come again to my father's house in peace: then shall the Lord be my God.

And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shaft give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. Though it is not expressly mentioned, there is great reason to believe, from Jacob's habitual piety, and the favour which was shewed him by the Lord, that he implored Divine forgiveness for yielding to the temptations which a fond mother had inconsiderately thrown in his way; and that he professed a firm faith in the predictions which his father by Divine inspiration had pronounced.

Jacob now experienced a great change in his condition. Instead of enjoying the endearing society „of tender parents, and all the accommodations of domestic life, to which he, who had ever dwelt in tents*, wa4

» Gen. Xxt. $7i .'

accustomed accustomed, he found himself alone, weary and benighted in a place which afforded him no shelter from the cold air, nor any bed but the hard ground; so that he may be said to have had no earthly comfort: yet we do not find that he murmured at his lot, or gave up hi* mind to despondency; on the contrary, he with great composure placed a stone for his pillow, and lay down to sleep; from whence we may reasonably infer, that he relied on the mercy 3nd goodness of God.

The dream, which Jacob dreamed at this time, was of a similar nature with that which Abraham had, when the Lord made a covenant with him*; and we find that he regarded it as an evident manifestation of the Divine Presence. It was indeed a vision, like those afterwards seen by the Jewish Prophetsf, in which representations were made to the mind, by the miraculous power of God, without the usual instruments of sight.

The ladder f which Jacob beheld may be understood in an emblematical sense. Its being set on the earth, seems to denote the steadiness of Providence, which no created being is able to unsettle. Its reaching up to Heaven to signify, its universality or extension to all things. The several steps of the ladder may be regarded as the motions and actions of Providence, the angels going up and down, as the great ministers of" Providence, never idle, but constantly executing the Divine will, either in heaven or on earth. The Lord on the top evidently donotes, that he is the visille image ef the invisible God, overlooking, governing, and preserving all things: and it is to be observed; that the Lord was,in this vision, eminently distinguished from - . ', * Gcp. xy. 12; or b et-im xviii.

+• Isaiah, Cjckiel, Daniel, ami St, Jolm,
J Sec Stackl.onsc on the Bib!i\

Vol. I. I the

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