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he might not marry among the idolatrous Canaanites, but take a wife from his own kindred, he gave him the blessing in the fullest terms, even more explicit than those which he had used before. He said, “ God almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people ; and give the blessing of Abraham, to thee and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.” Here he gave him the inheritance of the land of Canaan, the promised land, and here also he gave him the blessing of Abraham, which we know from Apostolic authority contained spiritual blessings of the highest nature. All this Isaac then willingly and heartily bestowed upon Jacob; so that we find him at last perfectly approving of God's appointment, and endeavouring to promote it with all his power.

2. But here is, secondly, something much more blameable on the part of Rebekah and Jacob. We may allow that both the mother and the son were perfectly aware of the spiritual nature of the privileges contained in the birthright and the blessing, and that these were the sole objects of their desire. We may allow also that both understood the prophecy as being declaratory of God's purpose that Jacob should be the heir of these privileges; that they believed that Jacob had a right to the blessing in consequence of the bargain which had passed between him and Esau respecting the birthright; and that they were fully persuaded that Isaac was about to act wrongly in his intention of giving to Esau that which of right belonged to Jacob. Granting these things we allow that their desire was praiseworthy. But the manner in which they accomplished it was exceedingly culpable. They sought not their object in a direct and open manner according to truth and righteousness, but they had recourse to imposture and falsehood. Instead of endeavouring to convince Isaac that he was wrong, by reminding him of God's purpose and Esau's conduct, and by using argument, expostulation, and entreaty, they aimed to carry their point by practising a

fraud upon him, for the success of which they availed themselves of his age and blindness.

My brethren let no object however proper and desirable in itself be at any time sought by means similar to those used by Rebekah and Jacob. Never let dissimulation and deceit be resorted to. Let nothing but truth and plain-dealing always be used. The word of God is decisive. “Let no man go beyond or defraud his brother in any matter, for the Lord is the avenger of all such.” * Speak ye every man truth with his neighbour.” “ Lie not one to other, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds." Alas what deception is used in men's intercourse with each other! What eagerness to possess themselves of some supposed advantage even though it properly belongs to another, and what sinful expedients are contrived to obtain it. But, oh! brethren, remember you the golden rule, “whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do unto them.” “Look not every one on his own things, but every one also on the things of others." “Exercise yourselves to have a conscience void of offence both towards God and towards man.” In sincerity and simplicity ever both speak and act the truth, and never let the voice be the voice of Jacob, but the hands the hands of Esau.

Again, let it not be thought that in any case the end justifies the means.

There are those who in this respect appear strongly to bear the character and to incur the blame of Jacob and his mother. For the promotion of an object confessedly good they are disposed to avail themselves of means acknowledged to be evil. What is this but to act upon the principle so strongly rebrobated by the Apostle, and to “ do evil that good may come.” It may be policy, but it is a carnal and a sinful policy. It savours not of the things which be from God. It is none of that wisdom which is from above. It bears more resemblance to the craft of him who was a liar from the beginning and the father of lies. Fear to entertain or act upon a principle so unscriptural, so contrary to truth and holiness; but set before you the example of

Christ, and think of him who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.

Neither let it be thought that the success of any measure puts the mark of God's approbation upon it. Here again some err, who think it a sufficient justification of every wild, irregular, and extravagant measure to say, * But good has been done by it.' God may permit the good to be effected without approving of the means, nay even while he wholly abhors them. By the crucifixion of the blessed Jesus great good was done to thousands and millions of the human race, but those were wicked hands by which he was crucified and slain. In the case before us, God permitted the deceit of Rebekah and Jacob to succeed, for his counsel must stand, and their misconduct must not hinder its fulfilment; but the words of the history shew no approbation of their contrivance. Rebekah in consequence of it became terrified for her favourite's life; she was obliged to send him from her ; and she never saw him more. Jacob fled into a far country; instead of living at home like a son he laboured abroad

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