Images de page

not send him into exile, on that account, without the promise of his presence in it. Nor will he suffer any of his people to be tried beyond the measure of strength which he confers

He can easily fit the most timorous faint for the greatest hardship; and, by his grace, carry them through the greatelt difficulty.

upon them.

2. THE feafon of divine manifestations on the one hand, and folemn engagements on the other, should be carefully observed, and suitably improved. The beauty of both privileges and duties takes rise from the season of them: And there is no one thing at which the enemy of mankind so much aims, as to make persons make light of the season of both: As the pirate gives the kcenest chace unto the vessel which is most richly laden. Let every one then acknowledge, that both divine favours and dutics are most beautiful in God's fcafon.




GEN. xxviii. 12-15. 18-22.


N surveying this Transaction, I shall-I,

Consider the Character of the Parties Co

venanting.-II. The Parts of the Covenant.III. The Rites of Confirmation.-IV. The Occasions. Then conclude with an Inference or two from what is proposed.

FIRST, I shall consider the Character of the PARTIES Covenanting.

1. THE chief party in this transaction is the Great God our Saviour. He revealed himself to Jacob, at this time, in the following manner: “ I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Ifaac *.” This decla

* Gen. xxviii. 13.

ration from the mouth of God himself could not but have a very cheering effect on Jacob's heart; as it taught him that he was already in the possession of covenant-privileges, and under covenant-engagements unto the Lord : It also taught him to deal with God as a reconciled God, in covenant throngh Christ. Were such an intimation made to many at this day, they would readily reply, they had nothing to do with the God of their fathers ; nor did they acknowledge their receipt of any privileges, or the obligation of any duties by virtue of the covenant of their fathers:- They would aver, that they would not be bound unto the God of their fathers, nor by the covenant of their fathers ! But that which is matter of great abhorrence at this day, was, by the grace and wisdom of God, of great comfort to Jacob at that time. This description allo taught him, as it doth every member of the Church still, to consider the Angel of the Covenant as the Eternal Jehovah. And the Argel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob, and I said, Here am I.

And he said, I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst the vow." This message was too important to be trusted to any inferior angel, and the honour too sublime to be conferred on any Great God.

The majesty of Deity struck the patriarch with profound awe and reverence : The meekness of the Mediator disposed unto

below the


holy confidence and cheerfulness in dealing with him.


3. The other party in this covenant is Jacob, the younger son of Ifaac. . As there was a separation of Isaac from Ishmael, so there was a separation of Jacob froin Esau, in this transaction; though the former was the younger, and the latter the first-born.

There was not only an inward and eternal separation in the purpose of God; but also an outward separation, by the dispensation of God's cove

There was a struggle between these two persons even before they were born; being twins; which continued through the various fucceeding periods of their life : The younger took the first-born by the heel in their mother's womb, and afterwards tripped up his heels, by the purchase of his birth-right; while they were yet young; and likeways obtained the patriarchal blessing before his father's death. Jacob obtained, from the impartial judge; the character of a PLAIN MAN; yet he was guilty of most egregious deceit, in some parts of his conduct. Sovereign grace must be glorified in delivering him, as well as others, from inbred guile. This patriarch was also more severely tried than any of his ancestors, in respect of the number of his trials at least; but they were all necessary to chastife his deceit on the one hand, and to display the strength of divine grace, in supporting him under them,



on the other. His trials, and his triumphs in in like manner, prefigured the humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah *; as well as the affliction and deliverances of his mystical body. Though it is plain, from many places of Scripture, that Jacob fustained a typical character; yet it is equally certain he was a genuine believer, and a real faint. Some lines of his character, which are for our imitation, will be afterwards considered. This patriarch, in one word, was favoured with a more numerous progeny than both his predecessors: And none of his children, like fome of theirs, were cast out of God's covenant. The whole of his fons became heads of distinguished families in the Church of God. The promise made,. then, unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, received an aiple accomplishment in the latter, as to the literal import of it; as it respected the multiplication of their feed : And the members of both the Old and New Testament Church are called by his name, and reckoned to his fpiritual offspring; as well as unto the family of Abraham. The former is the father of the praying and wrestling, as the latter is of the believing family; and, strictly speaking, both are one : For the prayer of God's children is the prayer of faith.

* The Gospel meaning of this type is explained, Wits. Oecon. Fæd. Lib. IV. cap. ii. $ 24-26. Mather,

p. 103.


« PrécédentContinuer »