Sidor som bilder

birthright. Esau despised it when it was his, but bitterly regretted it when it was lost. He could not prevail upon his father to give him the blessing, which indeed was not in Isaac's power, after he had given it to Jacob. Our Lord was persecuted by his brethren, the Jews. They did actually shed His blood; they, too, could not bear that their birthright should be taken from them and given to the Gentiles; and though they would not believe on Jesus themselves, they were very angry at Jesus telling them that the Gentiles should be admitted to the privileges they despised. Matt. xxi. 43,-" Therefore I say unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Thus very early in his life Jacob felt the persecutions of his brother Esau. Esau, we know, was a profane man. It was for one mess of pottage that he sold his valuable birthright to Jacob. It is probable that Jacob knew that before he was born, the Lord had said that he was to inherit the blessing, and that the elder should serve the younger. Jacob was quite right in valuing so great a privilege. To be the father of the promised Saviour was the greatest honour that could be conferred; and we are not surprised that all the Jews were most anxious to be chosen for it. Esau giving

up his right to the inheritance of so great a privilege to gratify his appetite, proved him to be quite unworthy of it, but we cannot justify Jacob for offering him the temptation. However good and desirable a thing may be, we should always take care that we do not use unlawful or even doubtful means to obtain it. The Lord can bring about His own purposes without our interference; and what He has promised He will perform, we may rest assured of that. You all know the way in which Jacob, with the assistance of his mother, obtained the promised blessing. It was a sad want of faith, a wretched piece of deceit in both mother and son. The Lord punished them both severely for it. From this time a series of afflictions befell Jacob. Rebecca was obliged to banish this favourite son from his home, and she never beheld him again. If she had only quietly waited for the Lord to bring about His own purpose, all this misery would no doubt have been saved, and she would have kept her son with her as long as she lived. One piece of deceit generally leads to another, and now Rebecca, fearing that Esau would kill Jacob, makes a false excuse to Isaac, and sends Jacob away. Jacob was obliged to spend all his best years in exile and hardship, and reaped the fruit of his sin all the rest of his life. Let

Jacob's history be a lesson to us. May we be led to hate deceit, to hate lying, remembering who is the father of lies, and what the end shall be of all those who commit that detestable sin. There are many texts that you might look out on this subject, and if you do indeed remember that they are the words of a God of truth, a God who cannot lie, I am sure you will pray and strive against this very common but very dreadful sin.

Jacob's trials were now severe, and in his sufferings he certainly seems a type of our blessed Lord. But, as I said before, our Lord suffered for the sins of others, Jacob in consequence of his own. Jacob was obliged to leave his father and mother, his friends and country. With his staff only he passed over Jordan, an exile from his father's house. After many years' service he gained a wife, and returned to Canaan a rich man, and once more crossed Jordan with two bands.

All this is certainly typical of our Lord Jesus Christ. He, too, left His Father and His beautiful home, to come and live in this wretchedly sinful world, that He might serve for a wife, which is the Church, or His people. For the sake of His people, that our Lord loves so dearly, He lived thirty-three years on earth, died a shameful, agonizing death, and then returned to His Canaan, which is


heaven, leaving behind two bands, Jews and Gentiles.

Jacob crossed the river Jordan with his staff only, but returned a rich man with his two bands. Our Lord crossed the Jordan of death with His cross, but shall return with immense riches and glory. The river Jordan is compared to death, because it lay between the wilderness and Canaan. All who passed through the wilderness were obliged to cross this river to get into Canaan; we who live in this wilderness world are obliged to pass through death before we can enter heaven.

I cannot pass on without begging you always to remember that our Lord showed as much love in living as in dying for us.

Why did He live all those painful years upon earth? He might have taken our nature, and have suffered and died the very same day, and made a perfect atonement for our sins. But He did not.

He passed through every stage of infancy, and childhood, and manhood, subject to all the same temptations, and sufferings, and infirmities that we are; and why do you think He did so? I think for two reasons. The first, that He might keep every commandment of God, and so have a perfect righteousness to give to His people.

The second, that He might leave us a perfect

example, and be able thoroughly to enter into and sympathize with us in all our trials and temptations. Both these are very important things for us to remember. Our Lord, having kept all God's commandments that He might be able to give us a perfect righteousness, is most precious to every child of God. It is not, you see, that all true believers are pardoned only; but they have the righteousness of our Lord put down to them, as if they had kept the laws He kept, and their sins laid upon Him. You remember we spoke about this doctrine in the history of Melchizedek; and it is such a very important one, and not generally well understood, that I should like you to find some more passages on the subject. There is a very clear passage on this doctrine in the prophet Zechariah, which you must try and find. There is, too, a parable in St. Matthew's Gospel that teaches it, that I hope you will be able to find out. Many people find this doctrine of imputed righteousness very hard to understand. Shall I tell you the reason of this? Because they do not pray for the Spirit of God to show it to them. The most learned, clever people, will never understand, unless they have the teaching of God's Holy Spirit. But a little child, with the Holy Spirit for its teacher, will know and feel that this is a most precious truth. Think, too, of the other

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