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praise had it been of her faith, if she had | the godly have no peace with men: for it stayed God's leisure, and would rather have they prosper not, they are despised ; if endured her barrenness than her husband's they prosper, they are envied. This uncle, polygamy! Now she shows herself the whom his service had made his father, must daughter of Laban : the father for covet-now, upon his wealth, be fled from as an ousness, the daughters for emulation, have enemy, and like an enemy pursues him : drawn sin into Jacob's bed: he offended | if Laban had meant to have taken a peacein yielding, but they more in soliciting him, able leave, he had never spent seven days' and therefore the fact is not imputed to journey in following his innocent son. Jacob, but to them. In those sins which Jacob knew his churlishness, and therefore Satan draws us into, the blame is ours: in resolved rather to be unmannerly than inthose which we move each other into, the jured. Well might he think that he, whose most fault and punishment lies upon the oppression changed his wages so often in tempter. None of the patriarchs divided his stay, would also abridge his wages in his seed into so many wombs as Jacob; the parting ; now therefore he wisely prenone was so much crossed in his seed. fers his own estate to Laban's love. It is
Thus, rich in nothing but wives and not good to regard too much the unjust children, was he now returning to his discontentment of worldly men, and to purfather's house, accounting his charge his chase unprofitable favour with too great wealth. But God meant him yet more loss. good. Laban sees that both his family Behold, Laban follows Jacob with one and his flocks were well increased by troop, Esau meets him with another, both Jacob's service. Not his love, therefore, with hostile intentions : both go on to the but his gain, makes him loath to part. Even utmost point of their execution; both are Laban's covetousness is made by God the prevented ere the execution. God makes means to enrich Jacob.
fools of the enemies of his church; he lets Behold, his strait master entreats him to them proceed, that they may be frustrate; that recompense, which made his nephew and, when they are gone to the utmost mighty and himself envious. God, consi- reach of their tether, he pulls them back dering his hard service, paid him wages out to their task with shame. Lo now, Laban of Laban's folds. Those flocks and herds leaves Jacob with a kiss; Esau meets him had but a few spotted sheep and goats, with a kiss ; of the one he hath an oath, until Jacob's covenant; then (as if the tears of the other, peace with both. Who fashion had been altered) they all ran into shall need to fear man that is in league with parted colours; the most and best (as if God ? they had been weary of their former owner)! But what a wonder is this! Jacob rechanged the colours of their young, that ceived not so much hurt from all his they might change their master.
enemies, as from his best friend. Not one In the very shapes and colours of brute of his hairs perished by Laban or Esau, creatures there is a divine hand, which dis- yet he lost a joint by the angel, and was poseth them to his own ends. Small and sent halting to his grave. He that knows unlikely means shall prevail, where God our strength, yet wili wrestle with us for intends an effect. Little peeled sticks our exercise, and loves our violence and of hazel or poplar, laid in the troughs, importunity. shall enrich Jacob with an increase of his happy loss of Jacob! he lost a joint spotted flocks: Laban's sons might have and won a blessing. It is a favour to halt tried the same means, and failed. God from God, yet this favour is seconded with would have Laban know, that he put a a greater. He is blessed, because he would difference betwixt Jacob and him; that as rather halt than leave ere he was blessed. for fourteen years he had multiplied Jacob's If he had left sooner, he had not halted, charge of cattle to Laban, so now, for the but he had not prospered. That man shall last six years, he would multiply Laban's go away sound, but miserable, that loves flock to Jacob: and if Laban had the more, a limb more than a blessing. Surely if yet the better were Jacob's. Even in Jacob had not wrestled with God, he had these outward things, God's children have been foiled with evils. How many are the many times sensible tastes of his favours troubles of the righteous ! above the wicked.
Not long after, Rachel, the comfort of I know not whether Laban were a worse his life, dieth. And when? but in her trauncle, or father, or master : he can like vail, and in his travel to his father. When well Jacob's service, not his wealth. As he had now before digested in his thoughts the wicked have no peace with God, so the joy and gratulation of his aged father for so welcome a burden, his children (the not let Dinah fare the worse for his sin. staff of his age) wound his soul to the And now he goes about to entertain her death. Reuben proves incestuous, Judah with honest love, whom the rage of his lust adulterous, Dinah ravished, Simeon and had dishonestly abused. Her deflowering Levi murderous, Er and Onan stricken shall be no prejudice to her, since her shame dead, Joseph lost, Simeon imprisoned, Ben- shall redound to none but him ; and he will jamin, the death of his mother, the father's hide her dishonour with the name of a husright hand, endangered ; himself driven by band. What could he now do but sue to famine, in his old age, to die amongst the his father, to her's, to herself, to her breEgyptians, a people that held it abomination thren ; entreating that, with humble subto eat with him. If that angel with whom mission, which he might have obtained by he strove, and who therefore strove for violence? Those actions which are ill be. him, had not delivered his soul out of all gun, can hardly be salved up with late adversity, he had been supplanted with satisfactions ; whereas good entrances give evils, and had been so far from gaining the strength unto the proceedings, and success Dame of Israel, that he had lost the name to the end. of Jacob. Now, what son of Israel can The young man's father doth not only hope for good days, when he hears his consent, but solicit; and is ready to purfather's were so evil? It is enough for us, chase a daughter either with substance or is, when we are dead, we can rest with him pain. The two old men would have ended in the land of promise. If the angel of the the matter peaceably; but youth commonly corenant once bless us, no pain, no sorrows, undertakes rashly, and performs with pascan make us miserable.
sion. The sons of Jacob think of nothing but revenge, and (which is worst of all)
begin their cruelty with craft, and hide their CONTEMPLATION 111.-OF DINAH. craft with religion. A smiling malice is
most deadly; and hatred doth most rankle I FIND but one only daughter of Jacob, the heart when it is kept in and dissemwho must needs therefore be a great darling bled. “ We cannot give our sister to an to her father; and she so miscarries, that uncircumcised man.” Here was God in she causes her father's grief to be more the mouth, and Satan in the heart. The than his love. As her mother Leah, so bloodiest of all projects have ever wont to she hath a fault in her eyes, which was be coloured with religion; because the curiosity. She will needs see and be seen; worse any thing is, the better show it desires and while she doth vainly see, she is seen to make; and contrarily, the better colour lustfully. It is not enough for us to look | is put upon any vice, the more odious it to our own thoughts, except we beware of is; for as every simulation adds to an evil, the provocations of others. If we once so the best adds most evil. Themselves wander out of the lists that God hath set had taken the daughters and sisters of unus in our callings, there is nothing but dan circumcised men; yea, Jacob himself did ger. Her virginity had been safe, if she had so: why might not an uncirumcised man kept home; or if Shechem had forced her obtain their sister ? Or, if there be a diffein her mother's tent, this loss of her virgi rence of giving and taking, it had been well nity had been without her sin ; now she is | if it had not been only pretended. It had Dot innocent that gave the occasion. been a happy ravishment of Dinah, that
Her eyes were guilty of the temptation; should have drawn a whole country into only to see, is an insufficient warrant to the bosom of the church. But here was a draw us into places of spiritual hazard. If sacrament intended, not to the good of the Shechem had seen her busy at home, his soul, but to the murder of the body. It love had been free from outrage; now the was a hard task for Hamor and Shechem, lightness of her presence gave encourage not only to put the knife to their own forement to his inordinate desires. Immodesty skins, but to persuade a multitude to so of behaviour makes way to lust, and gives painful a condition. life unto wicked hopes : yet Shechem be The sons of Jacob dissemble with them, ways a good nature, even in filthiness. they with the people. “ Shall not their He loves Dinah after his sin, and will needs flocks and substance be ours?" Common marry her whom he had defiled. Commonly | profit is pretended; whereas only Shechem's lust ends in loathing. Amnon abhors Tha- | pleasure is meant. No motive is so powermar as much after his act, as before he loved | ful to the vulgar sort, as the name of comber; and beats her out of doors, whom he modity: the hope of this makes them prowas sick to bring in. But Shechem would | digal of their skin and blood ; not the love to the sacrament, not the love to Shechem: / their children's sins. What great evils arise sinister respects draw more to the profession from small beginnings! The idle curiosity of religion than conscience. If it were not of Dinah hath bred all this mischief ; ravishfor the loaves and fishes, the train of Christ ment follows upon her wandering; upon her would be less. But the sacraments of God, ravishment, murder ; upon the murder, misreceived, never prosper in the end. spoil. It is holy and safe to be jealous of
These men are content to smart, so they the first occasions of evil, either done or may gain.
suffered. And now, that every man lies sore of his own wound, Simeon and Levi rush in armed, and wound all the males to death. “Cursed CONTEMPLATION IV._OF JUDAH AND be their wrath, for it was fierce; and their
THAMAR. rage, for it was cruel." Indeed, filthiness should not have been wrought in Israel ; I FIND not many of Jacob's sons more faulyet murder should not have been wrought ty than Judah ; who yet is singled out from by Israel : if they had been fit judges, all the rest, to be the royal progenitor of (which were but bloody executioners) how Christ, and to be honoured with the dignity far doth the punishment exceed the fault of the birth-right, that God's election might To punish above the offence, is no less in- not be of merit, but of grace : else, howjustice than to offend. One offendeth, and soever he might have sped alone, Thamar all feel the revenge: yea all (though inno- had never been joined with him in this line. cent) suffer that revenge, which he that Even Judah marries a Canaanite; it is no offended deserved not. Shechem sinneth, | marvel though his seed prosper not. And but Dinah tempted him. She that was so yet, that good children may not be too much light, as to wander abroad alone, only to discouraged with their unlawful propagation, gaze, I fear was not over difficult to yield; the fathers of the promised seed are raised and if, having wrought her shame, he had from an incestuous bed. Judah was very driven her home with disgrace to her father's young, scarce from under the rod of his tent, such tyrannous lust had justly called father, yet he takes no other counsel for his for blood: but now he craves, and would marriage, but from his own eyes, which pay dear for but leave to give satisfaction. were, like his sister Dinah's, roving and wan
To execute rigour upon a submissive of ton. What better issue could be expected fender, is more merciless than just. Or if from such beginnings ? Those proud Jews, the punishment had been both just and pro- that glory so much of their pedigree and portionable from another, yet from them name from this patriarch, may now choose which had vowed peace and affinity, it was whether they will have their mother a Cashamefully unjust. To disappoint the trust naanite or a harlot; even in these things of another, and to neglect our own promise ofttimes the birth follows the belly. His and fidelity for private purposes, adds faith- eldest son Er is too wicked to live ; God lessness unto our cruelty. That they were | | strikes him dead ere he can leave any issue, impotent, it was through their circumcision: not abiding any scions to grow out of so what impiety was this, instead of honouring bad a stock. Notorious sinners God rea holy sign, to take an advantage by it! serves to his own vengeance. He doth not What shrieking was there now in the streets | inflict sensible judgments upon all his eneof the city of the Hivites ! And how did mies, lest the wicked should think there the beguiled Shechemites, when they saw were no punishment abiding for them elsethe swords of the two brethren, die cursing where. He doth inflict such judgments the sacrament in their hearts, which had upon some, lest he should seem careless of betrayed them! Even their curses were evil. It were as easy for him to strike all the sins of Simeon and Levi, whose fact, dead, as one : but he had rather all should though it were abhorred by their father, yet be warned by one; and would have his eneit was seconded by their brethren. Their | mies find him merciful, as well as his children spoil makes good the others' slaughter. just: his brother Onan sees the judgment, Who would have looked to have found this and yet follows his sins. Every little thing outrage in the family of Jacob! How did discourages us from good: nothing can alter that good patriarch, when he saw Dinah the heart that is set upon evil. Er was not come home blubbered and wringing her worthy of any love ; but, though he were hands, Simeon and Levi sprinkled with a miscreant, yet he was a brother. Seed blaod, wish that Leah had been barren as should have been raised to him: Onan long as Rachel ! Good parents have grief justly loses his life with his seed, which he enough (though they sustain no blame) for would rather spill, than !end to a wicked brother. Some duties we owe to humanity, he lusted after; it was motive enouglı to him more to our nearness of blood. Ill deser- that she was a woman : neither could the vings of others can be no excuse for our presence of his neighbour, the Adullamite, injustice, for our uncharitableness. That compose those wicked thoughts, or hinder which Thamar required, Moses afterward, his unchaste acts. as from God, commanded, the succession That sin must needs be impudent which of brothers into the barren bed. Some laws can abide a witness : yea, so hath his lust God spake to his church, long ere he wrote besotted him, that he cannot discern the them: while the author is certainly known, voice of Thamar, that he cannot foresee the the voice and the finger of God are worthy danger of his shame in parting with such of equal respect. Judah had lost two sons, pledges. There is no passion, which doth and now doth but promise the third, whom not for the time bereave a man of himself. he sins in not giving. It is the weakness of Thamar had learned not to trust him withnature, rather to hazard a sin than a danger, out a pawn : he had promised his son to and to neglect our own duty, for wrongful her as a daughter, and failed; now he prosuspicion of others : though he had lost his mised a kid to her, as an harlot, and person in giving him, yet he should have given formeth it. Whether his pledge constrained him. A faithful man's promise is his debt, him, or the power of his word, I inquire which no fear of damage can dispense with. not. Many are faithful in all things, save
But whereupon was his slackness? Judah those which are the greatest and dearest. feared that some unhappiness in the bed If his credit had been as much endangered of Thamar was the cause of his son's mis- in the former promise, he had kept it. Now carriage; whereas it was their fault, that hath Thamar requited him. She expected Thamar was both a widow and childless. long the enjoying of his promised son, and Those that are but the patients of evil, are he performed not. But here he performs many times burdened with suspicions; and the promise of the kid, and she stays not to therefore are ill thought of, because they expect it. Judah is sorry that he cannot fare ill. Afflictions would not be so heavy, pay the hire of his lust, and now feareth if they did not lay us open unto uncharita- lest he shall be beaten with his own staff, ble conceits,
lest his signet should be used to confirm What difference God puts betwixt sins | and seal his reproach ; resolving not to of wilfulness and infirmity! The son's pol know them, and wishing they were unknown lution is punished with present death; the of others. Shame is the easiest wages of father's incest is pardoned, and in a sort sin, and the surest which ever begins first prospereth.
in ourselves. Nature is not more forward Now Thamar seeks by subtilty, that which to commit sin, than willing to hide it. she could not have by award of justice. The L I hear as yet of no remorse in Judah, neglect of due retributions drives men to in- but fear of shame. Three months hath his direct courses; neither know I whether they sin slept; and now, when he is securest, sin more in righting themselves wrongfully, it awakes and baits him. News is brought or the other in not righting them. She there- him that Thamar begins to swell with her fore takes upon her the habit of a harlot, conception; and now he swells with rage, that she might perform the act: if she had and calls her forth to the flame like a ri. not wished to seem a whore, she had not gorous judge, without so much as staying worn that attire, nor chosen that place. for the time of her deliverance, that his Immodesty of outward fashion or gesture cruelty in this justice should be no less ill, bewrays evil desires. The heart that means | than the injustice of occasioning it. If well, will never wish to seem ill : for com- Judah had not forgotten his sin, his pity monly we affect to show better than we are. had been more than his hatred to this of Many harlots will put on the semblances of his daughter's. How easy is it to detest chastity, of modesty; never the contrary. those sins in others, which we flatter in There is no trusting those, which do not ourselves! Thamar doth not deny the sin, wish to appear good. Judah esteems her nor refuse punishment; but calls for that by her habit; and now the sight of a har partner in her punishment, which was partlot hath stirred up in him a thought of lust. ner in the sin. The staff, the signet, the Satan finds well, that a fit object is half a | handkerchief, accuse and convince Judah ; victory.
and now he blushes at his own sentence, Who would not be ashamed to see a son much more at his act, and cries out, “ She of Jacob thus transported with filthy affec- is more righteous than I!" God will find tions! At the first sighit he is inflamed; a time to bring his children upon their neither yet did he see the face of her whom knees, and to wring from them peni:ent confessions. And, rather than he will not effect that which the dreams imported. We have them soundly ashamed, he will make men work by likely means: God by con. them the trumpets of their own reproach. traries. The main quarrel was, “ Behold,
Yet doth he not offer himself to the flame this dreamer cometh!" Had it not been with her, but rather excuses her by himself. for his dreams, he had not been sold: if he This relenting in his own case, shamed his had not been sold, he had not been exalted. former zeal. Even in the best men, nature So Joseph's state had not deserved envy, is partial to itself. It is good so to sentence if his dreams had not caused him to be enothers' frailties, that yet we remember our vied. Full little did Joseph think, when he own, whether those that have been, or went to seek his brethren, that this was the may be. With what shame, yea with last time he should see his father's house. what horror, must Judah needs look upon Full little did his brethren think, when they the great belly f Thamar, and on her two sold him naked to the Ishmaelites, to have sons, the monuments of his filthiness! once seen him in the throne of Egypt. God's
How must it needs wound his soul, to decree runs on; and while we either think near them call him both father and grand- not of it, or oppose it, is performed. father; to call her mother and sister! If In an honest and obedient simplicity, this had not cost him many a sigh, he had Joseph comes to inquire of his brethren's no more escaped his father's curse, than health, and now may not return to carry Reuben did : I see the difference, not of news of his own misery: whilst he thinks sins, but of men. Remission goes not by of their welfare, they are plotting his dethe measure of the sin, but the quality of struction: “ Come, let us slay him.” Who the sinner; yea, rather, the mercy of the would have expected this cruelty in them, forgiver. « Blessed is the man (not that which should be the fathers of God's sins not, but) to whom the Lord imputes church! It was thought a favour, that not his sin.”
Reuben's entreaty obtained for him, that he might be cast into the pit alive, to die
there. He looked for brethren, and behold, CONTEMPLATION V.- OF JOSEPH. murderers: every man's tongue, every man's
fist, was bent against him. Each one strives I MARVEL not that Joseph had the double who shall lay the first hand upon that portion of Jacob's land, who had more than changeable coat which was dyed with their two parts of his sorrows. None of his sons father's love and their envy: and now they did so truly inherit his afflictions ; none of have stript him naked, and hauling him by them was either so miserable or so great: / both arms, as it were, cast him alive into suffering is the way to glory. I see in him his grave. So, in pretence of forbearance, not a clearer type of Christ, than of every they resolve to torment him with a lingering Christian. Because we are dear to our death. The savagest robbers could not Father, and complain of sins, therefore are have been more merciless : for now, besides we hated of our carnal brethren. If Joseph (what in them lies), they kill their father had not meddled with his brother's faults, in their brother. Nature, if it once degeyet he had been envied for his father's af- nerate, grows more monstrous and extreme, fection ; but now malice is met with envy. | than a disposition born to cruelty.
There is nothing more thankless or dange All this while, Joseph wanted neither rous than to stand in the way of a resolute words nor tears; but, like a passionate sinner. That which doth correct and oblige suppliant (bowing his bare knees to them the penitent, makes the wilful mind furious whom he dreamed should bow to him), and revengeful.
entreats and persuades, by the dear name All the spite of his brethren cannot make of their brotherhood, by their profession of Joseph cast off the livery of his father's one common God, for their father's sake, love. What need we care for the censures for their own souls' sake, not to sin against of men, if our hearts can tell us that we his blood. But envy hath shut out mercy, are in favour with God?
and makes them not only forget themselves But what meant young Joseph to add to be brethren, but men. What stranger unto his own envy by reporting his dreams? | can think of poor innocent Joseph, crying The concealment of our hopes or abilities naked in that desolate and dry pit (only hath not more modesty than safety. He that saving that he moistened it with tears), and was envied for his dearness, and hated for not be moved! Yet his hard-hearted brehis intelligence, was both envied and hated thren sit them down carelessly, with the for his dreams. Surely God meant to make noise of his lamentation in their ears, to the relation of these dreams a means to eat bread, not once thinking, by their own