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RECONCILIATION of JACOB and Esav.
AND ES AV RAN TO MEET HIM, AND EMBRACED NIM, AND FELL ON XIS NECK AND K1SSED HIM; AND THEY WEPT.
SCENES of reconciliation go as near
to the heart as any in human nature ; and the chapter, whence this text is taken, is, perhaps, as full of tender circumstances as any extant : It recites the kind interview between Jacob and Efau.
These two brothers were thrown into some disagreement by the artifice of Rebekah, their mother, who, being partial to her son Jacob, advised him, and put him in the way of deceiving his father, and robbing his brother of his birth-right: an error which, though certainly, on her part, E 3
proceeding from injudicious fondness, must ever remain as a spot upon her character. And, at the time, it occasioned very serious consequences : for Esau, as was very natural, hated Jacob, after the blessing of which he (Esau) was defrauded, and he faid in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand, and then I will Nay my brother. To prevent the execution and ill effects of this menace, Rebekah, dreading the harm which might happen to her' favourite child, advised him to retire till the fury of Efau might turn away. He did so, and a long time being now past since the quarrel, he was returned into his own country, with his wives and his wealth, and his little ones, whom he loved, The remembrance, however, of the wrong which he had done his brother, touched him with additional fincerity as he drew near to the land where the offence was committed. There is an honest sensibility about us, which makes the very trees seem filently to upbraid us as we pass by the place where we have done an injury to a
neighbour. When he saw Esau advancing, his heart fainted within him : for there is actually in guilt, that, which in the brayeft tempers operates for a time, like down. right cowardice. But how much was he mistaken, or rather, how little did his fear give him pause to consider the natural and potent affections of the human heart !
• The absence of a friend soon buries our . resentment, and revives the images of tenderness; and when the frantic moments are paft-when the dear offender is gone far from us, how busy is imagination to confider ourselves as the aggressors : how anxious to recall the conversations of kindness, and the sentiments of endearment! Hence one may reasonable believe, that Jacob was scarce departed, before Efau relented, and fighed for his return: Oh Jacob, my bro. ther, my brotlier, (perhaps he might fay) why wert thou so eager to leave me ? the reflecting hour would soon have visited me -nay, it is already come, and I again weep for thy society : the love which was · E4
formed formed in the cradle, Thould not be inter. ruted by our tumultuous passions, and I have a heart, Jacob, that throbs to em. brace thee: wherefore then, my dear brother, ah wherefore wentest thou away ? Indeed, the sentiments of Esau, at their first meeting, justifies this supposition : for, when Elau saw bin, he ran to meet him, fell with inexpresible fondness upon his neck, and gave him the fraternal kiss. He then enquired after his attendants, and paid a proper respect to his wives and his children ; after which, both the brothers - wept. Here is the subject of a noble scripture-piece : the whole moving treafures of Jacob drawn up in order; the mo. thers with their children and attendants, with Jacob at their head, on the one hand; and Esau, with four hundred in his train, on the other. They meet - a filent sufpence prevails this moment--the next locks - the brothers in the embrace of each other.