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anxiety and apprehension for his wives and little ones, he prepared to set forward to meet him. The two handmaidens and their children he put foremost ; Leah and her children after them; but Rachel, his tenderly beloved one, with her fair babe, he put in the place furthest from danger; and then, with one prayer to the Almighty Jehovah, who ruleth all the hearts of men, he went first to meet the anger of his brother, and endeavour to avert it from the dear ones that followed.

But the prayer he had offered up had ascended before the Lord, and was graciously and wonderfully answered. Esau had left his home breathing forth threatenings, and with resolutions of unrelenting vengeance ; yet no sooner did he perceive the form of his long absentlong hated brother, than his heart yearned with fondness towards the being born in the same hour with himself, and nurtured upon the same bosom ; the kindly feelings of nature, so long driven back, rushed into his heart, like a mighty flood overpowering, and, in a moment, extinguishing the fire of hatred so carefully cherished; and, impatient of the slow advance of

his attendants, he ran forward to meet the brother who, like a criminal, knelt low at his approach, and raising him from the ground, fell upon his neck and kissed him, whilst heavenly tears fell from the eyes of both, mingling upon the earth, and consecrating the spot of meeting and the renewal of fraternal love.

Esau, fearing lest the new-born love he felt for Jacob should seem as if it were purchased by the present he had sent, refused to take it; and a loving contention of generosity arose; but at last Esau consented to take what his brother offered.

What delightful peace now spread itself over the souls of the two! With what grateful affection was Esau welcomed by the family of Jacob. Leah with eager words and looks told her thanks for the safety of the husband she so truly loved, though small the portion of affection she received ; and Rachel's fair face and large dark eyes swimming in tears turned upon him and spoke the trembling joyfulness of her heart, which her tongue refused to express, whilst the children pressed around their kinsman to greet him and receive his blessing. Oh! truly, Esau, in the happiness he felt and saw, experienced that the quality of mercy"

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“Droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven, Upon the earth beneath. It is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.




It is an attribute to God himself.

In peace and love they separated as they had met-Esau returning to Seir, and Jacob journeying to Succoth ; thence he went to Shalem, a city of Shechem, in the land of Canaan, and pitched his tent before the city. Here also after the example of his pious fathers, he built an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel, that is “God is the God of Israel,”

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AFTER he had rested in Shechem seven years, God bade him arise and go to Bethel, according to the vow he had made when he fled before his brother. Then Jacob commanded all his household to purify themselves, and to put away all strange gods from among them, for during their sojourn they had, notwithstanding all his watchfulness, become infected with the superstitions of the idolatrous Canaanites; and he buried their images and heathenish ornaments under an oak near the city.

The altar which he raised at this place, he called El-bethel-" The God of Bethel.” And now there knelt around the consecrated stone, not a solitary outcast-not a poor fugitive, whose only possession was his staff; but a company of adoring souls, headed by a man to


whom they looked with love and reverence as priest and father; a man, mighty and honourable, and possessing princely wealth, who, as he bowed low before that sacred place, acknowledged with humility and grateful love that he possessed nothing but what he had received and held at the hand of the Lord, who in this place had appeared to him.

A little distance from Bethel, Jacob spread his tent. Here God gave to Rachel a second son; but the day that this babe first opened its young eyes upon the world, its mother closed hers upon all earthly objects. They presented to Jacob the fair child his best-beloved had brought him; but with tears instead of smiles he caressed it; for he sat beside the couch where lay his Rachel, the earliest chosen one of his heart, just crossing the threshold of eternity. The gentle spirit fluttering, as if impatient to take wing, yet paused a moment, and gazing with celestial brilliance through the large dark eyes turned tearfully upon her husband and babe, expressed in that one mute farewell, all the deep truth and fervency of conjugal and maternal love. Then, faintly stretching forth

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