« PreviousContinue »
And are not we equally blessed ? Have not our pious Fathers provided for us a similar resting-place-a like refuge into which the poor and needy, the sick and dying, not in body but in soul, may fly; where, with the hope of a readier acceptance, they may pour out the sorrows of their hearts and find peace ? Oh! despise not, neglect not this great privilege of assembling in the sanctuary. Think not lighty of the place which God has chosen to put his name there ; but with deep reverence “ Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of the Lord.” With thankfulness and joy, let us exclaim, as we enter His CHURCH,
“We'll crowd Thy gates with thankful songs,
High as the heavens our voices raise ; And earth, with her ten thousand tongues,
Shall fill Thy courts with sounding praise.”
At Beersheba, God so prospered his servant, that Abimelech came up to him to entreat pardon for the offences the herdsmen of Gerar had committed against him, fearing that now he would retaliate. Isaac fully forgave, and they entered into a covenant with each other to preserve peace.
About eight years after this time, Esau, utterly regardless of the will of Jehovah, or the sorrow of his parents, married two idolatrous women ; Judith the daughter of Beeri, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon, both Hittites, “which were a grief of heart unto Isaac and Rebekah.”
THE BLESSING OF JACOB AND ESAU.
AFTER the marriage of Esau thirty-six years passed away, when old age began to creep upon Isaac, his father. The youthful lustre that had lighted up his eye when praising Jehovah was gone; and the softer brilliance that it shed when communing with his heart as he wandered alone in the fields at eventide, was extinguished ; his limbs refused to bear him to those wonted scenes of meditation ; and his accents, once so full of melody when raised in hymns of praise to the Most High, now fell faint and tremblingly. But though his mortal members were decaying and refused to obey his will, as in former times, not so his heart; that was now, as ever, obedient to the power that dwelt within him. That still followed with unabated vigour each motion of the Holy Spirit. Or rather with strength daily increasing as its earthly tabernacle decayed, it was continually drawn from earth, to which its feeble chain still held it, towards those heavens where it longed to take up its everlasting abode.
Thus it was with Isaac when he called his firstborn, Esau, and bade him go forth into the fields and hunt for venison, that they might eat together, and that he might receive the last solemn blessing of his father ; and Esau went forth to do his father's bidding. Yet he had no right to the blessing he was preparing to receive, for long, long since he had despised and sold for a paltry mess of pottage, the birthright which conveyed it. Nor yet was it the purpose of Jehovah to give it to him, for before the two children were born He had said to their mother, The elder shall serve the younger.” These words Rebekah had not forgotten, and when she heard the directions which Isaac gave to Esau, she prepared to frustrate his design.
Instantly she sought her younger and best beloved son and told him of the command and intention of his father, and then bade him
fetch a kid from the flock which she would dress like venison, adding, “and thou shalt bring it to thy father that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.”
Jacob feared this deception in so solemn a matter, and trembled lest, being discovered, it should bring a curse from his father instead of a blessing. But his mother repeated her command saying, “Upon me be thy curse, my son : only obey my voice.
So Rebekah made savoury meat, such as Isaac loved
; and then, taking the skin of the kid, she put it upon the hands and neck of Jacob (for Esau was a hairy man) and she put upon him his brother's raiment, and sent him in to his father.
When Isaac heard the footstep of his son upon the floor, he asked, “Who art thou, my son ?" and Jacob falsely replied, “I am Esau, thy first-born ; I have done according as thou badest me : arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.” Isaac, in doubt, inquires, “How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son ?” he replied “because the Lord, thy God, brought it before me.”