« PreviousContinue »
Tection and the life; and then the frequent ob.
(5) In the last place, I would recall to your
which crucified thee? fhall I be afraid of their • fcorn who insuited thee? shall I refuse any
• part of his will, who, by the cross, has glori« fied thée ?'
Let us conclude by attempting to fay, in faith, what God grant every one of us may be able to fay in the awful hour of the last conflict: “O “ death, where is thy fting! O grave, where is “ thy victory! The sting of death is fin, and “ the strength of fin is the law; but thanks be “ to God, which giveth us the victory through " our Lord Jesus Christ."
S E R M N
Fervency and importunity in prayer.
GENESIS xxxii. 26.
And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou
Y brethren, real communion with God
is a blessing of such inestimable value, that it cannot be fought with too great earneftness, or maintained with too much care. If it is no fable, that God vouchsafes to his people, on fome occasions, a sense of his gracious presence, and, as it were, visits them in love; with what fervour should they desire, with what diligence 1hould they improve, so great a mercy ! particular manner, when a good man hath in view, either an important and difficult duty, or a dangerous trial, it is his interest to implore, with the greatest importunity, the presence and countenance of God, which only can effe ctually direct him in the one, and support him in the other. This, my breihren, ought to be our concern at present, as we have in view a very folemn approach to God, viz. laying hold of one of the seals of his covenant : what trials may be before us, or near us, it is imposible to know.
The words I have read relate to a remarkable passage of the patriarch Jacob's life. He was now returning from Padan-aram with a numerous family, and great substance, and had received information that his brother Elau was coming to meet him with four hundred men. told, x 7. of the chapter, that he was a greatly " afraid and distressed,” being, in all probability, quite uncertain whether his brother was coming with a friendly or a hostile intention; or rather, having great reason to fufpect the latter to be the case. He rose up, we are told, long before day, and sent his wives, his children, and cattle, over the brook Jabbock : and as it follows, in the 24th verse, “ Jacob was left alone : and " there wrestled a man with him, until the break“ing of the day. And when he saw that he pre" vailed not against him, he touched the hollow “ of his thigh : and the hollow of Jacob's thigh
was out of joint as he wrestled with him. « And he said, Let me go, for the day break“eth : and he said, I will not let thee go, except
thou bless me.” Some of the fathers, and also fome of the Jewish writers, fupposes that all this was done in prophetic vision, to represent to him the diffi culties that were yet before him, which, by faith and patience, he was to overcome.
But it is more reasonable to think, that this was in truth the appearance of an angel to him; and indeed most probably of the angel of the covenant; because, from the passage itself, it appears that he had “ prevailed with God." The same thing
we are assured of by the prophet Hofea, chap.