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for his people to read and copy after, in following one another in the christian walk, as pilgrims on their journey; namely, Jacob's communion with the Lord, as recorded Gen. xxxii. This is a different view from the former; the one, being an example of intercession for others; and this for himself: but both resting on the same covenant faithfulness of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons; and equally holding forth a pattern for all the regenerated children of God to follow, (and it is of such only I speak) in their drawing nigh to the mercy-seat. The patriarch Jacob, at the time he offered up his prayer to God, was brought into a great strait, by reason of his brother Esau coming forth towards him, armed with four hundred men. And Jacob did what all the faithful in Christ Jesus ought to do, and will do, when faith is in lively exercise, cast himself and all his concerns into the Lord's hand, pleading the Lord's promises; and in terms of the strongest assurance of trust in the Almighty promiser, thus made known his requests unto God.
“ And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee; I am not worthy of the least of thy mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shewed unto thy servant, for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands. Deliver me I pray thee from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him lest he will come and smite me and the mother with the children. And thou saidst I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude!” Such was Jacob's prayer, Gen. xxxii. 9-12. Now comes the Lord's answer.
“ And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he
saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with him. And he said, let me go for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou will bless me. And he said unto him, what is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel, for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, tell me, I pray thee, thy name? And he said, wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed' him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved!" Gen. xxiv. 30.
Now let the regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) remark with me, some of the leading points in this prayer of the patriarch, and of the Lord's gracious dealings with him in answer; and then as before, let him judge for himself, whether there can be any thing like it for example, and whether God the Holy Ghost, the Almighty teacher and quickener to prayer,
did not intend it for similar occasions of use to the Lord's people, in all their exercises and approaches to the Lord during their spiritual as well as temporal warfare.
For as a proof, ought not every child of God to begin prayer as Jacob did in reminding God in his Trinity of Persons of his covenant name, and the everlasting memorial Jehovah hath 'given of himself, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? Nor reminding God of what he is in himself, and what he is as he hath been pleased to reveal of himself to his people; this is in the fullest sense of the words, following up the Lord's own command when he said, “ Let him take hold of my strength to make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.”
Exod. iii. 15. Isa. xxvii. 5. Then again, Jacob reminds God that he is where God appointed him. “ The Lord which said unto me, return unto thy country and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee.” Surely if we are in the very place in which the Lord in his providence appointed, and difficulties meet us in the way there, of all other places we may reasonably expect the Lord will appear for us, especially as the Lord hath promised to deal well with us.” Thirdly. What a very striking argument the patriarch next adopted, when he said, “ I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies;” thus throwing himself wholly upon sovereign grace for all he had received, and all he hoped to receive; and in the moment he had such rich blessings, to acknowledge himself undeserving of all of them. And such is and will be the case with all the Lord's people. For never doth the soul lay lower before the Lord in humility, than when the Lord is lifting up the soul in blessings. Aboundings of grace will always induce aboundings of a sense of unworthiness. am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?” 2 Sam. vii. 18. Fourthly. Jacob now comes to the point that then pressed him most sorely. “ Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him.” Here we see the suitableness of calling in to our deliverance, when the Esaus of the present day threaten the people of God. All the saints of God have made God their rufuge in time of trouble. “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee," said one of old, who had declared to the Lord, “ Thou art my hiding-place, thou shalt preserve me from trouble, thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance," Ps. lvi. 3. xxxii. 7. Fifthly. The faithful patriarch clencheth the whole with the strongest of all arguments, namely, God's own promise, “ Thou saidst I will surely do thee good.” By thus taking hold of God's promise, the regenerated child of God (and it is of such only I speak) takes hold of God himself. As if he had said, Lord! it is thine own promise, thine own word. And hath God forgotten his own word ? Did God promise and will he not perform ? " Hath he said, and shall he not do it?" If I am cut off by Esau, and he smites the mother and the children, how will the Lord make my seed as " the sand of the sea which cannot be numbered for multitude ?” Was this record made in the word of God, and all the circumstances so faithfully handed down to the church of God with the success of Jacob's prayer, and the prayer itself, not intended by God the Holy Ghost for the perpetual use of the Lord's people under similar exercises, to go to the Lord in similar words ? Surely, upon all and every occasion, the strongest words we can use in prayer are, what the Lord first saith to us in a way of promise. And when to the promise the Lord adds examples, where those promises have been fulfilled to the Lord's people, nothing can more decidedly shew than that the church of God in all ages, are to make use of them under similar trials in all their approaches to the throne. And such of the Lord's people as are led to the Lord as Jacob was, by grace, among the praying seed of Jacob, will as assuredly come off, as he did, the prevailing Israel. The Lord may wrestle with his people, and for a while put faith into sharp exercises. But when the day breaketh, though the Lord may seem to say, let me go, yet this is only, that by faith, and which the Lord himself gives, we may fasten ourselves upon him the
The Lord that first pựt the cry in the soul, knows that a blessing we came for; and the very blessing, even Christ himself, we must have; and as the Lord said to Abraham, so he saith to all his seed, “ fear not, Abram, I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward,” Gen. xv. 2.
From Jacob let us go on to Moses, and in that most sweet and precious communion which the man of God
had with God in the mount, see whether any
interview the Lord hath had with his people can furnish out matter for prayer and praise, more than what is there recorded in the history of Moses. Surely God the Holy Ghost graciously intended it as a pattern and encouragement to every regenerated child of God to form his prayers by (and it is of such only I speak) whenever drawing nigh to the throne, in all the generations of the church, until grace is opened into glory. I might indeed in the life of Moses gather many beautiful passages from the word of God, as so many illustrations in point. For from the first moment of the Lord's revealing himself to Moses at the bush, Exod. iii. 3. when the visions of God began, through a whole life of grace until the man of God breathed out his soul upon the mount of God at Pisgah's heights. Deut. xxxiv. 5. numberless are the views of the Lord's mercy and favour manifested by this man's history to his people in seasons of communion. Neither can there be the shadow of a doubt but that the Lord's having so minutely recorded them, and in all their variety it was and is intended by the Lord as our ensample; and the people of God would do well to have them always in view when drawing nigh the Lord in prayer. But I must limit myself to one instance only, which may serve as a key to the rest. The Lord bless our view of it.
“ And the Lord spake unto Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And Moses said unto the Lord, “ see, thou sayest unto me, bring up this people; and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me thy way now that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight, and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said