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upon the grass- —so a heavenly peace descended soothingly into the distressed soul of the weary Patriarch. The wild animals retired into their caves, and instead of their horrifying roar, the birds of heaven chanted their morning hymn, and Jacob's terrific idea of ruin and destruction dissolved into confident hope. The thought of threatening Esau and his four hundred men, no longer terrified him; he was overcome; and Jacob, more defenceless than yesterday, was today, although lame, as bold as a young lion. He no longer needed to look at the armed host. He knew in whom he believed, though Esau were to march against him with four thousand instead of four hundred men. His heart was enlarged in peaceful confidence in his God,

Thus the Lord blessed him, not in word, but by an essential impartation of his inward grace, which far exceeds all reason.

O glorious communication, more precious than if his mind had been refreshed by words, and literal promises, the effect of which is seldom wont to be of long duration ! O what mercy, when it is not single alleviations that are vouchsafed to us, and which are soon fol


lowed by new distresses; but when it is given us to come up out of the wilderness like pillars of perfume," and to lean upon our beloved; and when it is said, 'How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter!' What mercy, when it is granted us in future to act in a becoming manner towards the Friend of our souls, and to come boldly to the mercy seat; quietly to walk forwards in the profoundest poverty of Spirit, in genuine sincerity and complete faith; and when our state is like that of the Apostle, described in the words, “I am crucified with Christ. Now I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

In this blessing, everything is comprehended which is requisite for our commencement and progress, and our awakening and deeper establishment ;-in a word, the essential appropriation, by the Holy Spirit, of the blessings of salvation purchased by Christ, and the Holy Spirit himself. When Jesus, at the close of his residence on earth, and as a pre-intimation of

his employment in heaven, lifted up his hands, and blessed his disciples, they no longer hid themselves behind closed doors from fear of the Jews; they began to praise and give thanks; they assembled together openly of one accord in the temple, for prayer and supplication. Thus the Lord first awakened in the mind of the Patriarch an urgent craving after the blessing, so that he could affirm and say, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." The Lord then let him wait awhile, that he might be the more profoundly conscious, that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy; and in order that he might be the more completely emptied of all his own activity: and then he blessed him there, on the very spot where he had been obliged to wrestle. Hence the place became very memorable to him, and he called it Peniel -the face of God.

It was indeed worth the while; for such a blessing is everything. In earthly things, it causes the seed to grow, the fruit of the vine not to deceive the hope, business to succeed, and prevents loss and injury; for the race is

not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; ability is not sufficient for the procuring of a maintenance, nor prudence for the acquisition of wealth. If the Lord do not build the house, they labour in vain that build it; unless the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain. It is in vain to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for he giveth it his beloved sleeping. In vain thou weariest thyself in the multitude of thy ways, and takest thought in vain to add one cubit to thy stature. But the Lord's blessing maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it: everything then comes as of itself. "Bless me also," cried Esau, and yet did not obtain the blessing; as a proof that even the earnest and real longing after the blessing is the Lord's work in the soul. Ah, Esau the elder still seeks to have the blessing, and to be something great and powerful; seeks to compel God to regulate the way of salvation according as he thinks best, and to be righteous and perfect in himself. But in this he will never succeed; he will not obtain the blessing, however much he may murmur and complain. The less, the younger, the

new man receives it, but only when the hip of self is dislocated, when it is at length said to him, "I have chosen thee, thou art mine."

To Him be the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever! Amen.

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