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the Angelic Host i and that He declared himself to be the God of Abraham and Isaac, that is, the Almighty God*.
In respect to Jacob, this dream was particularly calculated to furnish his mind with hope and comfort against the various turns of fortune which it would be his fate to experience. The promises conveyed to him in the paternal benediction were, as we have already remarked, national, and related to his posterity. At this time the Lord graciously vouchsafed to promise him personal blessings. Though these promises were made while the powers of his body were suspended, Jacob doubted not the reality of them; but considered the spot on which he slept as sanctified by the Divine Presence, like those on which God had appeared to Abraham and Isaac, where we may suppose these faithful servants frequently assembled their households and dependants, before any buildings were erected for public worship.
No wonder that Jacob was so sensibly affected with awe and reverence, by the glorious scenes that were presented to his mind's eye, and that he fancied himself at thegate of heaven ! He seems to have conceived, that the Lord was graciously entering into a personal covenant with him, in addition to that which concerned his posterity ; and he was so well acquainted with the principles of religion, that he knew the Divine promises were conditional, and required something to be done on his part; therefore, without waiting for the Divine command, he voluntarily promised, in the most solemn manner, that if it should please God to grant him but such a moderate supply of the necessaries of life, as would sustain nature; give him an opportunity of returning to his father's house; and bless him with the * Gen. xvif 1 ; or Section xx.
mean* means of shewing his gratitude, he would honour the Lord as his God, in the way his fathers had done; that he would commemorate the Divine goodness at that place; and make a -wfflitig offering of the increase of his substance for religious uses. . • ',
There is something in Jacob's vow peculiarly modest, and suitable to the condition of a man, "who possessed Bothing of his own at that time, but depended entirely On the bounty of heaven for a future supply.
It will appear, that Jacob considered the Lord as hie God, for this instant; and that he never gave himself up to idolatrous practices, in the midst of his se» verest trials.
The ceremony which Jacob observed, of pouring oil on the stone . Which had been his pillow, signified the consecration of it to God. As the Lord permitted this act, we may conclude, that he prevented the sione from being taken away; and that it remained there, to put Jacob in mind of his vow; and likewise to keep up the remembrance of it among his descendants.
This section affords a striking proof, that God's particular providence watches over His servants; that He is about their bed, and about their path, and spieth out all their ways *; that He has compassion on their infirmities, and supports their minds under difficult circumstances.
The Lord, in his vision to Jacob, declared, that He is really God; let us, then, acknowledge and worship Him as such, and implore His protection at . all times, particularly when we are under the necessity of taking perilous journeys. If it be our fate to leave our native country, and travel to a land where the Lord is either not known, or worshipped in a superstitious manner, let us not suppose, that He is not there f for as poD was * Ps. exxxix. 3.
12 '. with with Jacob in all places, so will He be with every one that honours His holy name, and wishes for communion with Hun. The Lord, it is true, has not actually made a personal covenant with us, like that he made with Ja;ob; but we have, as a nation, a share with the rest of the families of the earth in the Everlasting Covenant; and from God's promises to the Patriarchs, we may understand, what kind of blessings He will bestow on individuals, who adhere to Him; for God is no respecter of persons.
Christians, like Jacob, have a.painful pilgrimage to perform on earth; but if they continue stedfast in the service of the Lord, He will sustain them with food and raiment, and comfort them with the hopes of finally enjoying peace in their father's house, even in the mansions of eternity: and the painful conflicts and vicissitudes of life shall, like Jacob's ladder, prove steps to conduct them to that blessed abode, in which the Lokd displays the glory of the ineffable Godhead.
JACOI HIRES HIMSELF XO LABAN, AND MARRIES LEAH AND RACHEL.
'From Genesis, Chap. xxix.
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold, a well in the field, and lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it: for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled tho stone from the well's mouth, and watered the
sheep, sheep, and put the 9tone again upon the well's mouth in his place.
; And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? and they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? and they said, We know him.
Arid he said unto them, Is he well? and they/said, He is well: And behold Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep,- ;i ••«' ''t:-*: • • ,
And he saldi Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. "> .;. ^.ra
And they said, We cannot until all the flacks be gathered together^ and till they roll the stone from the wcll's'lhotfth ; then We 4rater the sheep;: u tvsb a
And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her'- father's ehetSp: for she kept them.- . . r ui
And it came to pass when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his>'''mother's brother, and the sheep , of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's i mouth y and wa* tered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. . >'. '."''
And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father. - .\'o
And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his Jiouse, and he told Laban all these things. 1.7 ..'.!
And Laban said to him, Surely, thou art my bone and my J$sh. And he abode with him the space of a month. (':
And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my
brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought: tell me what shall thy wages be?
And Laban had two daughters: the name of the . elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender-eyed: but Rachel was beautiful and well-favoured.
And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with roe. And Jacob served .seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me ray wife, for my days are fulfilled. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast, And it came to pass in the evening, that he took :Lesh his daughter, and brought her unto him. • ••>
And Jacob said unto him, What is .this thou hast done unto me? did I not serve thee for Rstihel i wherefore then hast thou beguiled me i y ,te s - i.,,
And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the first-bam,
Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. . . . .
And Jacob did so, and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.;
And Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Animated by the Divine promises, Jacob was encouraged to pursue his journey; for he now knew, as a certainty, that he was under the particular protection of Divine Provipence. 1