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action to rob his eldest brother, and impose upon his father; but his mother loved him and he loved her, nor had he any objection to becoming supreme hread of his family. Many were the privileges which in those days were annexed to eldership, and to the blessing, which was considered as appertaining to the eldest son.
Possibly Rebekah might believe, that as her son Esau had parted with this birth-right for so paltry a consideration, she could easily persuade her husband, that the blessing of course appertained thereto, and that Esau himself would be indifferent. However this may be, the matter was soon determined; the kids were brought, and the wily mother engaged in preparing them. Surely she must have felt horridly while preparing this same savory dish, and her confidence in her ascendency over the mind of her husband must have been prodigious. Yet, possibly, she might have had some intimation given her, by him who hath access to the inmost récesses of the mind, of the designs of God. Perhaps she knew, that her youngest son was to be the favourite of the everlasting Father, and that providence had over-ruled the affair of the birth-right, not only leading to, but pointing out her present course. At any rate, her heart was in the hands of her Maker, and it is not in woman any more than man, to direct her steps.
All this time the son, to whom the father was attached, the son whom the father loved, the willing, the obedient son, was perforining the part proper to an obedient son, having no suspicion of the treachery practising against him, and no doubt he greatly rejoiced when he had procured and made ready the food which the father loved.
But Jacob's kids were dressed by the skilful house-wife, who probably was prompt in her directions, relative to the conduct of her favourite. Did not the heart of Jacob palpitate, as he entered the presence of his revered parent?' was it possible he did not dread the consequences? Yet Rebekah had taken every precaution; she had dressed the young man in the goodly raiment of her eldest son ; she had put the skins of the goals upon his hand's, and upon the smooth of his neck. It is observed by Bochart, that in the eastern countries, “ Goats hair is very much like human hair;" and, thus equipped, Jacob approached his fond expecting parent, and said, “My father." His father answered: “Here am I, who art thou my son?
« And Jacob said unto his father: I am Esau thy first born; I have done according as thou badest me. And Isaac said unto his son:
VOL. II. Il
How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son ? Because the Lord thy God brought it to me.” Isaac betrays some suspicion of his son's veracity, and knowing himself blind, was determined to call in the aid of the sense, which he still retained : “Comé near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
“ And Jacob went near unto Isaac, his father; (what at that moment must have been his sensations ?) and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. So he blessed hiin. Yet still he doubted, and still he questioned, Art thou my very son, Esau ? and he said, I am ; and he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy as his brother Esau's hands. And he said, Bring near to me the savory meat, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee.” Now, if believing can produce that which was not previous to our belief, then Jacob was really Esau, for the patriarch really believed he was; but this by the by:
“So, when Isaac had eaten of his son's venison, he brought hiin wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him, and he smelled the smell of his elder son's raiment, and blessed him, and he said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field, which the Lord hath blessed." The father's doubts vanished, when revived by the odoriferous scent of this garment. It was, therefore, to him, as a field which God had blessed by an abundance of sweet-scented flowers.
The affection of the venerable patriarch for his eldest son, appears to be very ardent; it was on him, he designed to bestow the profusion of blessings which he enumerated. Had Jacob appeared before his father in his own name, and supplicated his father to bless him for Esau's sake, he would himself have defeated his own purpose; every thing depended upon his personating his elder brother, upon its being understood that he was indeed Esau, the very Esau, Jacob's first-born son. This is coming immediately to the text. The disciples had hitherto asked nothing, for they had not asked in faith ; bat he now informs them after what manner their petitions were to be preferred: Ask, said Emmanuel, in my name ; this must be in faith, it would not be asking in his name, if they merely mentioned his name, which is the method generally adopted. If, as has been observed, Jacob had said, Bless me, O my father, for
my brother Esau's sake, he could not have been said to have asked in his brother's name, nor would he have obtained the blessing. In Revelations, ii. 17, “We hear of a new name which is the gift of God.”
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches : “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone'a new name written, which no man knoweth saving him that receive eth it."
When the figure of the second Adam was put forth, the man was not without the woman, and the Lord called their names Adam. Thus in the marriage union, the same name is named upon the husband and the wife. The marriage union was considered by the apostle Paul, as a striking figure of that union, which subsists between the divine and human nature, Ephesians v. 31, 32 : “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
“ This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The head and members is another striking exemplification of this union, this mysterious union. It is pointed out in various parts of sacred testimony. “ I in them, and thou in me, that we may be made perfect in one.” Hence we are admonished to look with a single eye. Let thy eye be single, and thy whole body shall be full of light, John xiv. 13:
“ And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
It appears to me that the union between the divine and human nature is manifest, by, I had almost said, countless testimonies. It is the grand point at which, “Mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace embrace each other.”
Nor can we ever see the truth as it is in Jesus, in any other view.
This mysterious, this glorious union, is the union of heaven and earth; here the scriptures all harmonize ; here there is no yea and nay, but every requisition and every promise, is yea and amen in Christ Jesus. Hence we derive peace and joy from believing, and every faculty of our souls acknowledge the word of God to be full of grace and truth.
O, that men were wise, that they understood the sayings of their everlasting Father, with what pleasure would they then contem
plate the latter days of their present mode of existence ! We should
“She is now,” said our first parent, even after the fall, “ she is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." The goodness of God is manifested in the depravity of the nature, thus in union with himself, as a skilful painter lays his brightest colours upon the darkest ground.
The prophets complain very bitterly of the conduct of the bride of the Redeemer. Her fondness for idolatry was considered as whoredom, and that of the vilest sort. “ Thou hast,” said the prophet Jeremiah, iii. 1, “ Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord,” &c. &c. &c.
The spirit of the Lord describes in this chapter, the shameful abominations of the people, and these abominations serve to shew the glory of the divine testimony. They exhibit the Creator as hating sin in the same moment that he compassionates and loves the sinner, taking no pleasure in his death, but willing that all should be saved from sin, and the sad consequences of guilt.
'I have thought that the biography of the Bible, was of itself an evidence of its divinity. Had it been written by any other spirit than the spirit of truth, in other words, the spirit of God, would such glaring imperfections have been recorded, as now stand forth vouchers of the imperfections which adhere to individuals, who have been the most upright of any among the children of men ?
Much has been said by our religious brethren, of Jacob and Esau. Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated. Never was more absurd ravings upon any portion of divine testimony, than upon this. Two children are born unto their parents in their old age, the one is called Esau, and the other Jacob. The first-born, it seems, received his name on account of the appearance his skin made at his birth, which name was afterwards confirmed by his fondness for the red pottage prepared by his twin brother. Jacob most ungenerously took advantage of this strong predilection, at a moment when it was combined with hunger and fatigue, and offered him this favourite mess, if he would relinquish his birth-right. Esau, reasoning upon the subject, pertinently says, “ Behold I am at the point to die : and what profit shall this birth-right be to me?” So he sware unto Jacob, thus divesting himself of his birth-right! Yet one thing still re
mained to him as the first-born, (if he should survive) the patriarchal blessing There were great and numerous advantages attendant on, and included in this birth-right, as, 1st, Its dignity and authority over his brethren, Genesis iv. 7, and xxvii. 29, 37, and xlix. 3, 2dly, A double portion, Deuteronomy xxi. 17. · 3dly, A special blessing from his father, Genesis, xxvii. 4. 4thly, The priesthood, and chief government of the affairs of the church and family.
These privileges with the appendaged blessing, all appertained to the first-born. The first-born was considered an especial type of Christ, who was the first-born from the dead, and of the great privileges of the church, particularly of adoption and of eternal life, Hebrews xii. 23. And therefore for slighting all these sacred and glorious privileges, he is justly called profane, Hebrews xii. 16.
I confess I feel much pleased with commentator's, Dodridge, &c. &c. who in their observations on this transaction, readily admit it was overruled by divine interference. .
Considered merely as a human act, it certainly has some very atrocious features. The part acted by Jacob and his mother, was reprehensible in the extreme, destitute, wholly destitute of due respect to the venerable patriarch, or the eldest son of the family. If we scrutinize the character of the two brothers, it cannot be a question, which is the most meritorious, the most amiable. I have frequently melted into tears, while considering Esau as the willing, obedient son, the son of the father's affection, hastening to perform the part assigned him, guiltless, and wholly unsuspecting of the deep laid schemes of his domestic eneiniesDid he not felicitate himself upon his success in obtaining the wished for food? With what glowing satisfaction must he have returned to the parental dwelling; what must have been the sensations of his mother, of his fraudulent brother, as Esau, with the step of celerity, passed on to the culinary apartment to prepare the food, to prepare it with his own hands, no kind directing mother to assist by her counsels the savory preparation ? I seem to behold the virtuous youth, while I anticipate his mortification. Expectation and filial piety, are visible in every feature of his face. At length his labours are ended, the savory meat is made ready, and with the light step of cheerful duty, he hastens forward to the presence of a venerable, a beloved, a dying father, for Isaac was supposed to be drawing near his end. I hear him affectionately say, Let my father arise, and eat of his