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dwell with us, and be in us, yea, that if we love Christ and keep his words, the Father will love us, and both the Father and the Son will come unto us, and make their abode with us? This is the intercourse between God and his faithful servants, through the divine medium of all spiritual communications, on which we may well medítate as we think on the ladder which Jacob saw in his dream. And oh! that we may thus often ascend with our heart's best affection and devotion to heaven, and receive present foretastes of the joy of dwelling in his presence for ever.
II. In the next place we will consider the promises that were now made to Jacob. They run thus as proceeding from the mouth of the Lord who stood above the ladder, “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the east and to the west, and to the north, and to the south : and in thee and in thy seed shall
all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." These promises are of two kinds, the former being a repetition and ratification of those which had been made to Abraham and Isaac, and the latter being special and particular ones suitable to his own present distress. The former related more to his posterity than to himself; they assured him that the whole land of Canaan, in which he was then lying, should be in the possession of his descendants, that they should be exceedingly numerous, and stretch themselves from his original habitation on every side, and that of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ should come, who is over all, God blessed for ever. This was the peculiar blessing of the Abrahamic covenant, and although the patriarchs might not have so clear a view of the import of the promise, as is contained in the words of the Apostle which I have just quoted, yet they understood its
general meaning, and doubtless when Isaac and Jacob heard it repeated and confirmed to them, they also felt the delight which our Lord testifies that Abraham experienced, saying, your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and he saw it and was glad.” Thus was Jacob assured that the special advantages which he considered as attached to the birthright and the paternal blessing, were made irrevocably his.— The latter promises relate to himself individually, and must have been peculiarly seasonable and comforting to his mind. He was now wandering forth alone; he was quitting the society of his pious parents, and the worship and ordinances of God; he knew not to what dangers and temptations he might be exposed in the country to which he was going, whether he should ever return again in person, and whether God would not utterly forsake him, as he could not but feel he might justly do. But the Lord assures him that though sent from his father's house, he should not be cast away from his presence, that he would be his guardian and protector wherever he went, that he would make him a safe return to the promised land, and that he would never leave him, but assuredly accomplish to him all which he had promised. My christian brethren, if God will be with us, if he will keep us in all places and circumstances, if he will never leave us nor forsake us, and if he will bring us at last to our promised and hoped-for land of rest, then we may go on our way with confidence and joy, however the clouds of darkness and doubt may hang over it: whoever we may leave, or whatever we may lose, still we part not from our best friend, nor are deprived of our most valuable possessions : we cannot be lonely, if God be with us; we cannot want, if he provide for us; we cannot err, if he guide us; we cannot perish, if he preserve us; and if, when at the close of life we lie down in our cold bed of clay, we do but die in the Lord, then, oh! then, we shall rapturously exclaim, surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, and now I shall dwell with my God for ever. III. In the third place we will notice the emotions and conduct of Jacob on this gracious manifestation being made to him. 1. He was filled with holy reverence and
He“ awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” He meant that the Lord had been especially present to him there where he little thought of meeting with him. He had laid him down to sleep as on common ground, but he found that it was à consecrated place indeed, hallowed by the presence of God himself in this blessed vision of the night. It seemed a lone and obscure spot, but it had proved to him a magnificent temple. He had seen in it a glorious appearance of God with his attendant retinue, and the gates of heaven itself had, as it were, been opened to his view. Have not other servants of God been sometimes in circumstances not unlike these? God has been manifested to them after a spiritual manner, in places and at times when they little expected to meet