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Jacob had not stolen these images ; he knew nothing of them. It was Rachel who had done it. He had got away from Laban, he said, because he was afraid lest Laban should take Leah and Rachel from him. He reproached Laban with twenty years' ill-requited service, “In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from mine eyes.' And he added, “Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty." Laban's anger against Jacob was restrained, and they made a covenant together. Jacob set up a stone for a pillar and they gathered a heap of stones, which they called, each in their own language, “the heap of witness” as a memorial of the act. Neither of them was to pass over that heap to the hurt of the other. Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. And early in the morning Laban rose up and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them; and Laban departed, and returned unto his place.
And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said,
“ 'This is God's host; and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.” When he reached the borders of Canaan, his cautious heart bethought itself of trying to appease his brother Esau, whom he was now approaching, for Esau dwelt in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, on the south of Canaan.
He sent messengers to announce to “his Lord” how prosperous and affectionate a brother was coming towards him, and hoping to find grace in his sight." But the messengers returned all of a
sudden; for lo! Esau himself with four hundred men was at hand i
Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided all his flocks and herds and people into two bands, that if Esau should smite one, the other might escape. He called upon God to remember his promises and to help him; with nothing but a staff had he crossed that Jordan before, and now he was “ become two bands." Let the God of his fathers, who had done so much, help him now in this great strait! And then he singled out a great gist to send before and propitiate Esau ; two hundred she goats and twenty he goats; two hundred ewes and twenty rams; thirty milch camels with their colts; forty kine and ten bulls; twenty she asses and ten foals." So went the present over before him; and himself lodged that night in the company.
But he rose up very early, before it was day, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his children, and crossed over the ford Jabbok, and caused all the flocks and herds to pass over also, to be in readiness for starting. And then he was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. Who this mysterious being was, is signified by the prophet Hosea, who, speaking of Jacob, says, “ By his strength had he power with God, yea, he had power over the angel and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him . even the Loril God of hosts." And Jacob knew it; he had seen the angel of God in vision before, and had heard his promises; but now he got hold of him as man to man, and he wrestled with him, and would not let him go till he had blessed him. This was the crisis of Jacob's life; he was to win or lose all now. And he prevailed; the angel was vanquished, and yielded the blessing, “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." He was no longer Jacob “ the supplanter”—the needy adventurer, but Israel.
So long back, not far from the waters of the Jordan, a little before the dawn, was first given to one of the forefathers of the chosen people that name which has clung to them ever since, amid all their dispersions and tribulations, and under which they shall be gathered together at last in their ancient kingdom. Prophecies cease, and tongues fail ; but the name of Israel abides unto the end.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “ for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." "And as he passed over Peniel, the sun rose upon him, and he balted upon his thigh.” For the angel had left that mark of their encounter upon him. And lo! Esau approached with his four hundred ; Jacob bowed himself seven times to the ground; and Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept !
Esau can scarce be persuaded to accept Jacob's great gifts, “I have enough,” he says, “my brother-keep that thou hast unto thyself.” But Jacob forced them upon him with assiduous humility. Esau at last accepts them, and would have Jacob travel with him ; but Jacob declines from that: so Esau returned that day on his way to Seir, and Jacob journeyed to Succoth, where he built him an house, and made booths for his cattle. He afterwards dwelt at Shalem,*
* Shalem. Possibly the place now marked in the map
a city not far from the river Jordan; here he spread his tent in a field which he bought of the children of Hamor, and there he erected an altar, and called it “El-elohe-Israel," or God the God of Israel.
In the course of the next few years Jacob visited Bethel, or Luz, where God had appeared unto him in the day that he fled from Esau. There he made an altar unto Him who had answered him in the day of his distress, and who had been with him in the way that he went. Before doing this he called upon his household to purify themselves from the idolatrous practices that had by this time crept even into the family of Israel. He made them put away their idols and change their garments, and he took their strange gods and their ear-rings and buried them under the oak tree which was by Shechem. A terror of the God of Israel was upon the hearts of the surrounding people, and Jacob was allowed to pass on this pilgrimage unmolested, though Simeon and Levi had made mortal enemies of the Shechemites.
At Beth-el the Lord renewed the covenant with him, saying, “A nation, and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins. And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.”
Having set up a pillar to mark the place where the angel of the covenant had thus again appeared to him, he journeyed from Beth-el to Ephrath. Here Rachel died, and was buried, leaving an infant son, Benjamin, the youngest of that large family. “ And Israel journeyed and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.” We next read that he came unto Isaac, at Mamre, and that “ Isaac died at the advanced age of one hundred and eighty years, and was buried by his two sons Esau and Jacob.”
After this the brothers lived more apart, “ for their riches were more than that they might dwell together," the land not being able to supply food for all their cattle. So Esau dwelt. in mount Seir, which is Edom, or Idumea.
Thus we see that Abraham was called to dwell apart: even his kinsman Lot was removed from him. Ishmael was separated from Isaac, who was made the heir of the promises.
And now these promises are renewed to Jacob, who, by the name of Israel, is afresh taken into covenant with the God of Abraham, and, with his twelve sons, brought to dwell in the land where his fathers were strangers, even in the land of Canaan.
DEATH OF JAMES SUMPTER.
The following narrative, sent to us by the late beloved Bishop of Jerusalem, is so deeply interesting-so likely, we believe, under the Divine blessing, to be instructive and useful, that we forego, for the present month, our notice of Missions to the Jews in order to insert it. Most wonderfully does it prove how true religion enlarges and elevates the mind and fits it for real enjoyment, as well as imparts the unspeakable blessings of "peace which passeth understanding," and "hope that maketh not ashamed, but is full of immortality and everlasting life.” If our youthful readers will, as this departed Christian did, remember, when they read their Bible, that when God speaks of Israel, he