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he had done that, which the Apostle tells us, is against the will of God, he had gone beyond, and defrauded his brother : aided by Rebecca his mother he had gone into his aged and blind father's room, dressed in the rough skin of the goat, and had by a most base lie represented himself as his eldest son, and so obtained from Isaac, the blessing of the firstborn. That act of dishonesty was quickly visited on his head; Esau, of hot, revengeful, uncontrolled temper, “hated Jacob ; because of the blessing wherewith his father had blessed him, and Esau sai in his heart, the days of mourning for my father are at hand, then will I slay my brother Jacob.” It was thus to save his life endangered by Esau's hatred that Jacob left his father's house. His mother hastened his departure, for she feared for her son's safety; why she said, should I be deprived of you both in one
He went out from Beersheba, and went towards Haran," and he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set."
It was some solitary spot on his forlorn way, far from all dwellings of men, where there was no shelter from the weather, no roof over his head but the canopy of the skies, the stainless blue of the Syrian heavens, “and he took of the stones of that place and put them for his pillow, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed ; and behold a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to
heaven, and behold the Angels of God ascending and descending upon it. And behold the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed ; and
; thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed ; and, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”
Every word of this vision should be considered : every line of it has been written for our learning. The whole of it is a revelation-an unveiling of the covenant of Grace-of God's great mercy shewn to mankind in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jacob's ladder, set upon earth and reaching to heaven; what does it typify or represent, but that new wayof approach to God, which is opened to us in Jesus Christ? He is the channel, the means of communi. cation of all spiritual blessings to the soul of man. It is through Him, and by Him, and from Him, that angels ascend and descend, with messages of peace and pardon. He is our one Mediator by whom alone we have access to the Father; He is the way, the new and living way, by which "we may come boldly
to the throne of " God's "grace," and obtain mercy, and find grace according to our need.
Our Lord Himself in the ist chapter of St. John's Gospel alluded to this vision and gives this as the true interpretation of it: when He says, “ Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the Angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
Jesus Christ is Jacob's ladder-the way of approach to God, the link between earth and heaven, the stair by which the soul of the penitent mounts to the seat and home of his Heavenly Father, the one Mediator between God and man-the Man Christ Jesus—that is Jacob's ladder : and the fact that it is Jacob's ladder, that so early as his time God gave notice of a Mediator, increases our reverence, and admiration for His goodness. It shews how far back in God's counsels, the great plan of man's redemption, was prepared ; according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And how thankful should we be for such a discovery! how glad to avail ourselves of it! Like Jacob we sometimes in our judgment may light upon a solitary place, we may feel sad, and disconsolate, and alone: we may be overtaken, as he was, by our faults, find ourselves fleeing before the threat of the Avenger-"The soul that sinneth it shall die " -and in this sore plight we may be a prey to terror, almost to despair; we may feel cast out from our
Father's home, altogether miserable, with no place to flee unto, no refuge against the terrible thought that we are lost, outcast from God, enemies to Him by reason of our wicked works. I say such a state may very possibly be ours some day, when conscience awakes and plagues us for evil doings. Perhaps to some of us, in pondering those sentences of God's wrath upon sinners, gathered out of Deuteronomy and other places of Holy Scripture, that distinct and particular enumeration of His curse upon sin, read on Ash Wednesday, already may that awakening have come.
We may feel that in saying " Amen,” to those general sentences of God's curse upon sinners, we have been condemning ourselves; that we are verily guilty of some of these offences of which with our mouth we have affirmed the curse of God to be due, and that feeling is a very sore and sad one; when it first springs up, in an awakened sinner's heart, he is brought into great misery.
He goes up and down seeking rest, and finding none : his sins take such a hold on him, that he dares not look up. All that he can do is "to smite upon his
. breast, and say, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Now should this be the case with any one of you who hear me in this Church to-day, should there be amongst you one soul who has felt the bitterness of sin, who is sore troubled, and almost at his wits end with fear, fear of God's judgments, let me beg of him to consider what he has heard to-day—the story of Jacob's ladder. O! come sorely vexed, come justly tormented, by the recollection of your sin! Do not, do not, for all this let Satan drive you to despair. Do not forget that God is merciful -merciful even when He chastises men for sin. Call to mind what He has shewn you, what you have heard of Jacob's ladder and whom that ladder typifies—the one great Mediator between you and God, Jesus Christ the righteous. Where in your misery, where in your heart's sorrow and sense of desolation shall you turn for refuge except to Him? O! Christ hear me! O! Lord have mercy upon me! Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive my prayer! Through Thee only dare I draw
Thou hast redeemed me; Thou wilt be my Advocate with the Father; Thou, Jesus Christ the righteous—Thou art the propitiation for my sin!
That I think will be the only course for the soul to take that is scourged by a recollection of its sin. We must draw near to God, trusting to nothing but to the merits and intercession of His dear Son. “ He is the way”—the living way—“No man cometh unto the Father but by Him," and so, for all other boons, for light, for knowledge, for grace to live well, for patience, for power to forgive and forget, all these Christian graces we must seek