Page images

them ? Indeed, O man, you deceive yourself, and stand in need of learning the doctrines of grace in a very different manner. Go to the foot of the cross, and there confess your pride, your selfishness, and your unreasonable vanity; and beseech him, who voluntarily humbled himself there on account of lost sinners, to affect you deeply, towards your Saviour, with gratitude and astonishment, and to make


your guilt and wretchedness. For, you are not out of the reach of mercy. Let but pride have its fall. Better it should be now than hereafter. You must forego this self-conceit, which makes you obstinate in setting up your own judgment above that of others : You must learn to suspect your own attainments, especially in those things in which the pride of self-love is so much concerned, which evidently leads you both into uncharitableness of temper, and also into forgetfulness of every one's excellence but your own. May God himself do this for you! He can pull down the proudest spirit: and if he once do this, you will then feel the utmost obligation to him, though the mortification of your pride be bitter to your natural disposition.

3. And now, loving, humble-minded Christian, a word with you at the close of this discourse. You view yourself as most unworthy, as not deserving the name of a child of God. You feel yourself not even worthy that the children of God should look upon you as a brother. I seem to hear you moan in deep sensation of your soul, on account of the wickedness of your heart. Very evil indeed you feel it. Yet, this broken spirit is pleasing in the sight of God, who

[ocr errors]


will not despise it. No persons are so acceptable in his sight as they who loathe and abhor themselves. You are a man of peace, and sit down in the lowest place among the disciples of Christ. You are vile in your own esteem. You delight to honour the gifts and graces of all but yourself. Christ's mind is in you. But look more and more at him, who

being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant Wherefore God hath highly exalted him.” This is the way to true honour. If Christ lowered himself so exceedingly, what is it for you, a poor worm of the earth, to debase yourself? The proud Nebuchadnezzar, after his humiliation, can tell you, that those, who walk in pride, God is able to abase. But let your self-abasement be judged of, not merely by words or strong passions, but by a lowly, meek, and humble temper and conduct. Go on, poor in your own eyes, and you shall be

, great in the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever becomes as a little child shall be great in the school of Christ. Let the Church, let the World, see you grow in this grace; and, by Christian humility, put to shame, for ever, all false professors of religion. Live and walk close with Jesus. To abide in him, you know, is the foundation of all Christianity: Let his mind, therefore, be in you more and more: view his example continually; and copy it, that you may be fitted for his society to all eternity.



Gen. xlviii. 15, 16.

And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my

fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which

redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads. Jacob, after a stormy life of various trials and hardships, in which he had, however, experienced singular mercies; and, what is best of all, had been enabled to walk before God in faith and hope, and in a growing fitness for the eternal rest of heavenly glory, is now about to close his eyes on this shortlived scene of vanity, and to go to the enjoyment of that God who had long been the object of his trust. His last days in Egypt had been quiet and serene, and he was conducted with a fair wind to the haven where he would be. His death-bed scene was refreshed with the sight of his beloved son Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. In the fulness of his devout and humane affections, both which he eminently possessed, he blesses the sons of Joseph, and delivers a prophetic benediction on them both; though directed by inspiration to ascribe the pre-eminence to the younger. He foretels also the gracious visitation of his God, in bringing them back again into the land of Canaan; and takes

thankful notice how far his God had exceeded his most sanguine desires.

“ I had not thought,” says he to Joseph, " to see thy face,” I had given thee up as lost, “ and lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.” He delivers also, in language worthy of divine inspiration, the blessings of God to his twelve sons; interspersing that very remarkable ejaculation in the next chapter : “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.” He had long waited and breathed after God in his pilgrimage: he was now going to him, and he yielded up the ghost in the faith of God's promises. And so much did there appear, in this whole scene, of the power of

, divine faith, that this act of blessing the sons of Joseph is mentioned, in the 11th Heb. as an instance of the spirit of faith. Other, and seemingly more striking instances of it, might be gathered from the life of this eminent saint; but then this was the last; and may fitly be considered as connected with and as closing the whole scene of his walk with God.

The solemn expressions in the Text deserve to be noticed very particularly. “God,”

“ whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk.” He was a tried God, a family-God-with reverence be it spoken, -whom Jacob had served. The God of all the earth was his in special covenant; and the blessings he had promised to Abraham and Isaac were to run in Jacob's line. He had seen the beauty of holiness in the communion, which his father and grandfather had kept up with God, and had been enabled to tread in their steps. He eyed steadily his Providence during all his life;

God," says

says he, “before

[ocr errors]

and, amidst an amazing variety of trials and deliverances, had been helped to see his gracious and allpowerful hand most distinctly. He could cheerfully say, this God has "fed me all my life long.” Nor was this all: He could add; “ The Angel which redeemed me from all evil.” The Lord is pleased frequently to call himself, in the Old Testament, by the name of the Angel. Jacob had power over the Angel and prevailed. " He found him in Bethel,” even the Lord God of hosts, as Hosea tells us. This was the Angel of the Covenant; who, as the last of the Prophets tells us, was “ suddenly to come to his temple,” when he should take our nature upon him to redeem it from the curse of the fall.

It appears that wherever, in the Old Testament, the Lord calls himself the ANGEL, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is particularly pointed out to us : And this is constantly done in language suited to his character. In the present instance what so proper to be said of him as this, “the Angel which redeemed me from all evil ?" Is not this the very work and office of Christ? And what were all the temporal redemptions of his people under the Old Testament, but so many types and earnests of the spiritual and eternal redemption wrought for us. It was not one evil only, but ALL evil from which Jacob was redeemed by him. And he “redeemed ME.” The Patriarch is not content with confined general notions, as many are, whose hearts are all for the world, and never came near to God, nor loved him, nor trusted in him for themselves. This holy man had wrestled with him in prayer, and had

« PreviousContinue »