« EdellinenJatka »
of God, and conformable to faith and experience ? Why should we not? It is at least certain, that if any thing was spoken during the struggle, it was nothing consolatory and encouraging on the part of the angel of God; but in character with the act of wrestling, which was no token of friendship. But what is it that the Spirit discovers to the individual, and with which he upbraids him? Is it not his sin ? And had Jacob no sin? Might it not have been said to him, “ Away with thee from this holy place where angels linger! Might not the whole catalogue of his guilt have been unfolded to him in all its particulars; and might it not have been most clearly proved to him, that in himself there did not seem the slightest ground for that love which God had toward him; but that it must be sought and found in quite a different place? In this way, in a spiritual manner also, his hip might have been disjointed, and the last idea of his own worthiness, &c. destroyed. If Satan upbraids a soul with sins; if he appears at the right hand of a Joshua in unclean garments, to accuse him; we are well aware what his intentions are-to distress, to plunge into immoderate grief, to cast into despair, and entirely to destroy. But the Son of God does not act thus. He does it only to humble us, and to allure us to himself, in order afterwards to comfort us the more. How did he act towards Saul? Did he not call out to him, Thou persecutest me?' How towards Peter? Did he not thrice inquire if he loved him? How did he conduct himself towards the Syrophenician woman? Did he not almost call her a dog ? And did not the angels of the seven churches receive
almost all of them a particular and emphatic reproof? We know for what purpose. As soon as Paul perceived that Satan had his hand in the matter, he advised the Corinthians to comfort and forgive the sinners amongst them so much the more, that they might not sink into excessive sorrow, and be over-reached by Satan.
If the angel of God wrestled with Jacob, the latter struggled also with all his might with God, or acted as a prince towards him. He would by no means let himself be moved away from his place, but resisted with all his strength, both bodily and spiritual. Tears and prayers were the most powerful and victorious weapons with which he wrestled and overcame the Son of God. “Upbraid me,”—will have been his prayerful language, amidst a flood of tears,—“ upbraid me with all my sins ; unfold and develope them in all their odiousness ; reveal to me each aggravating circumstance ; shew me my whole desert. I grant it all, I do not excuse, cloke, or palliate any thing. But this I tell thee also, I do not stand here on my own righteousness, for I have none; but rely upon thy mercy. Art thou, yea, art thou not thyself, however hostile may be thy position towards me-art not thou thyself JEHOVAH ZIEKENU, the Lord my righteousness? Is there the slightest spot, wrinkle, or blemish in it? Was my forefather Abraham justified by his works—was he not by thy grace thou wilt never reject the poor sinner who takes refuge with thee. Hast thou not given thy word upon it, that thou art not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance? Wilt thou begin with met o invalidate thine own word ? Thy truth and faith
fulness will not suffer this. Thy great mercy itself presents me with weapons against thy justice.”
In this, or a similar manner, the fight of faith is carried on. Secretly and imperceptibly all kinds of suitable weapons are handed to the warrior, even as to the Canaanitish woman the suitable reply, Yea, Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters' table,' by which she set Jesus fast—so to speak--and obliged him to yield the victory to her.
The conflict was violent and lasted long, even' until the breaking of the day. The longer it lasted the more profound were the views which the struggling patriarch received of his corruption, and the grounds of his faith. The longer it lasted, the humbler and weaker he became, the more compelled to build every thing on mere mercy, and entirely despair of himself : to which a circuinstance-the dislocating of his hip, which we shall afterwards consider-greatly contributed. For the present, we will break off, with the intention of taking an early opportunity of considering the result.
My hearers will doubtless have already been able to make their observations and useful application of the subject. The chiefest of these is, See to it, that you build the house of your hope upon the rock, that it may stand firm when assaulted. So much is certain, that Jacob hazarded too much, when at his mother's words, the curse be upon me,' he exposed himself to the danger. He ought to have had very different reasons for so doing. Rebecca, indeed, was certain of her cause ; but this was not sufficient for her son : Do
not mimic others, nor rejoice in the light of another. It is in ourselves that we must be regenerated, experience Divine influence, and be sealed with the Spirit of promise, for godliness does not consist in words, but in power.
May those that are inwardly assaulted, also learn from Jacob's conflict, an appropriate demeanor in the attacks upon their confidence and their hope. Expect them, but do not flee from them; at least no where but to Jesus ! Ask boldly, even when it seems as if he would drive you from the place. Lay hold of the promises ; strive with them against the threatenings; weep and supplicate, even though he seem to be himself opposed to you. May he strengthen us for this purpose ! Amen.
GENESIS XXXII. 25.
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.
• I KNOW, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.' fession is made by the writer of the cxixth Psalm, in the seventy-fifth verse. In the sixty-seventh, he had said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word.'
The word afflicted implies being distressed, agonized, rendered poor and wretched, in consequence of which the individual is deprived of all presumption and boldness, and feels humble and abased. That which produced this effect upon the Psalmist, he calls the judgments of the Lord that is, siftings and trials, which, though painful to the feelings, are salutary in their results, and he ascribes these afflictive events to the Lord; since, without his will, not a hair can fall from our heads. He calls them right or just, and is therefore far from believing any wrong has been done him; on the contrary he thinks there is sufficient reason existing for his being thus afflicted. He acknowledges, that it is in faithfulness that the Lord has afflicted him, in order that he might fulfil his promises