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him. Light has broken out of obscurity, and fountains of waters have sprung forth in the wilderness. In such happy seasons their hearts have been filled with all holy emotions, with a solemn awe and reverential fear, with the sacred spirit of fervent devotion, with abounding gratitude and love. When God has thus, as it were, come down to them, they have been enabled to rise to God, and have enjoyed some of their happiest and holiest foretastes of heaven.

2. The conduct of Jacob was in accordance with his feelings. As soon as he arose, he consecrated the place: he “ took the stone which he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel ; but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.” This indeed was a night to be much remembered by him, and a place to be much honoured. Therefore he makes a solemn memorial of the Lord's appearance to him : he renders the place from henceforth holy, and gives it a significant name: he calls it Bethel, that is, the house of God, whereas the city, near which it was, had previously been called Luz, that is, an almond tree, probably because many of those trees grew in its neighbourhood. Happy would the exchange be for any place that should even give up its earthly advanges for heavenly blessings. But the almond trees were not destroyed by the proximity of the house of God, and earthly happiness is no loser by religion, nay all its real and best enjoyments are increased by it. Earthly wants are supplied by its presence ; earthly woes are removed; and the whole face of the moral condition so happily changed as to justify the beautiful figurative descriptions of prophecy, “ The wilderness and solitary places shall be glad for it, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” Having thus consecrated the place, he vowed a vow, and he said, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house : and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Jacob does not utter these words as though he would make conditions with God, but he lays hold of the gracious promises which had been made him, repeats the terms of them, and prays, as it were, oh ! let it be according to thy word unto thy servant, and thou shalt be mine, and I will be thine, for ever. First, He engaged that the Lord should be his God; that is, that forsaking all the idolatries and superstitions of the heathen, he would worship and acknowledge Jehovah alone, would have no other gods but him, and would serve him truly all the days of his life. Secondly, He engaged that on bis return to the country which he was now leaving, if a return should be permitted to him, he would make this place, where he had been so highly favoured, a place of stated worship. This part of the vow was not forgotten. For afterwards, when Jacob had actually returned, and was dwelling at Shalem, God sent him to perform “ Arise," said the Lord, “

go up to Bethel, and dwell there : and make there

his vow;

an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.” Then Jacob commanded his household to put away the strange Gods that were among them, that is, the images and the worship of them, which his family had brought with them out of Haran, and he

came to Luz, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-Bethel": the God of Bethel, “because there God appeared to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.” Thirdly, He engaged to devote a tenth part of whatever substance he might be permitted to gather together, to the worship and service of God. He had asked only for bread to eat and raiment to put on, but however prosperous his circumstances might become, he bound himself by his vow to this portion of it. Be it more or less, a tenth should be the Lord's. It is the same part which Abraham had before given to Melchisedek, and which was afterwards appointed for the Levites under the law, but here it was a voluntary offering by the patriarch, arising out of his grateful feelings. The history does not inform when and how this part of his vow was fulfilled, but no doubt he faithfully paid that which he had vowed.

Let me now endeavour to apply the circumstances of this history for our own instruction.

1. Let us seek divine communications in the manner in which they are now usually bestowed. Divine communications have not ceased. No. Blessed be God he still vouchsafes to hold an intercourse with his faithful people. Though the spirit of phecy has ceased, though dreams and visions be rarely, if ever, employed to make known the will of God, or to support the christian in his way, yet we have a volume of divine revelation from our God to be our constant book of reference for instruction, guidance, and encouragement, and the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, still dwells with the church of Christ, and is manifested to its members. Like as the wind which “ bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof,

of pro

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