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cannot think of holy parents when no more, but as ashamed of his folly, or frowning on his crimes. On such a man's cheek remembrance must kindle the blush of shame, and stir up in his conscience tribulation and anguish ; but the pious child feels that their mantle has fallen on his shoulders, and that his heart is the abode of their virtues. Whatever may be forgotten with respect to them, their piety is remembered. If the warrior's sword is shown from age to age as a memorial of his heroism, if the work of learning is kept with care, and the laurel is not suffered to wither that grows on the grave of departed genius, much more regard should the pious show to the altars which their ancestors reared to the Most High,--the memorials which they set up of his goodness, the covenants in which they gave themselves to the Lord, the objects they directed by their counsel and blessed by their alms--and the books in which are to be seen the traces of their purposes and feelings. ?There were two reasons why Jacob mentioned this piety of Abraham and Isaac in this blessing.
1. He did it to recommend the imitation of it to his grandsons, and to let them see that this alone would ensure the blessing, and that thus alone would they live in the hearts of their posterity. He did it also to encourage his own confidence in the happiness of his descendants, for it was in testimony of his complacency in their piety that God had promised to be their God and the God of their seed ; and we may believe that Jacob felt the persuasion, that the piety in which they were so eminent here, was now shining
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in a higher sphere, and that they dwelt with God in that city which hath foundations, for which they looked, in all their wanderings, with such hope and desire.
2. Jacob acknowledges Jehovah as the God who had fed him all his life long to this day. In the kindness of his parents he beheld the agency of his God ; and when a wanderer from his father's house, the Lord was his guide. From small beginnings the Lord had raised him to prosperity and honour. staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands.” He was often in outward straits, but never forsaken ; and in the commencement of the sore famine the prospects of his family were very gloomy, but he obtained by his sons supplies from Egypt again and again, and at length a comfortable settlement there by the side of his generous and dutiful son.
How beautiful was the kindness of Joseph, who sent to his father ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-asses laden with corn, and bread, and meat, for his father by the way; and there, during the seventeen years that remained of his life, he was sustained by Joseph ! Some, under the impulse of excited feeling, will heap kindnesses on aged relatives, who become weary of them under protracted infirmity; but Joseph, amidst all the temptations of the world, and the pressure of public duty, cherished his father with unabated care during all that period. It is seldom that the aged are left so long dependent and helpless; but when they are, the affectionate attention of children is but a repayment of their care of their infancy and youth, and is
demanded as strongly by justice as it is by compassion.
You will observe, that Jacob ascribes nothing to his own skill, industry, and perseverance.
He had not eaten the bread of idleness, but had been distinguished by his steady activity in the management of his worldly affairs; yet he acknowledges the agency of God in his success: and tenderly as he felt the generous care of his son, he ascribes his support to that Divine mercy of which the kindness of Joseph was the result and the instrument. The Divine mercy supplied him in the bounties, soothed him in the voice, and upheld him in the arms of his darling
Let us make a similar acknowledgment. Let none think it enough to say, I have had kind friends who patronised me; for it was God who
power to aid you, warmed their heart with kindness, and kept their love from waxing cold. Had it not been for him, you would have found, not protection in their care, but misery in their neglect or hatred. Say not, My prosperity hath been owing to my own efforts; I have risen early and sat up late, and eaten the bread of carefulness; by ingenious contrivances I havé rendered the most difficult tasks easy, and by sober habits I have maintained my capacity and my relish for labour. Remember that prudence is God's gift, that it is he who controls the appetites and passions, and makes the sleep of toil sweet, and that he is the préserver of man and of beast. v» Let none think it enough to say, I was left in com
fortable circumstances by my parents, and in these I have remained ; but why was it that your eyes saw not the light in the hovel of poverty and to whom was it owing that you had any portion bequeathed to you but penury and rags ? Who has kept the canker from your gold and the moth from your garments ? Who has protected your wealth from the snare of treachery or the fangs of violence? It is He who is good to all, and whose tender mercies are over all his works.
This acknowledgment is especially required from the families and the individuals who, in seasons of scarcity, have been borne through by the care of Providence. Your difficulties and fears were many, but God made darkness light before you, and crooked things straight; your earnings were small, but he made your
little better to you in real use and enjoyment than the riches of many wicked ; your fare was coarse and scanty, but it was made wholesome to you and
yours, like the pulse of Daniel. You had to part with many things which you once deemed essential to your comfort ; but you have never felt the want of them, or he has brought them back to you; and what though your prospects should again be darkened by the stagnation of commerce, the failure of harvests, the calamities of war, or the tumults of the people, recollecting the past care of God, and trusting in the mercy which endureth for ever, you may sing, “ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat ;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my
salvation."* - Beautiful is this testimony to God's care from the lips of age! It strikes the discontented dumb, and fills the fearful with confidence. Sweet is it to hear the old man saying, “ My pilgrimage has been long, but the sunshine of mercy gladdened the whole of it; its warmth was not always the same, neither was its light, but never did it leave me without a witness; and now, in going down to the gate of the grave, it shows me the path of life !"
3. He devoutly acknowledges Christ as his redeeming angel. It is obvious that by this angel is meant the Mediátor between God and man. Though he took not on him the nature of angels, he sometimes assumed their name, because, like them, he is employed in ministering to the protection and the comfort of his people. This title is given to him by his Father," Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions : for my name is in him.”+ To point out that he is the Superior of angels, he is called the Angel of the covenant, the Angel of his presence, and the Head of all principalities and powers.
It is quite plain, from the text, that Christ was known to the patriarchs as a distinct person from the