Page images

kindred to accomplish towards him, and through him, his purposes of love. It did not end with Abraham. As the whole covenant related to his posterity so did this. So also did that declaration which is joined with it, “ I will curse him that curseth thee." The history of God's ancient people affords many illustrations of the truth of both these declarations. Our present object is to bring instances of the former, to show how God has blessed them that have blessed Israel.

In a little work entitled “ Israel's Cause the Interest of the Church,” by the Rev. Horatio James, many illustrations are brought from the Bible, and we gladly avail ourselves of that valuable little book to show our readers that their interest is connected with that of God's ancient people:

"Let us begin with individuals, and go down to the fathers of the Jewish nation.

Though Laban was subsequently a great oppressor of Jacob, yet, in the first instance, he greatly befriended him. The patriarch's condition was very forlorn when he first reached Padan

His only brother Esau had formed the base design of murdering him. His mother, though she cherished towards him the strongest affection, was unable to protect him from Esau's violence, and had sent him away for safety. His father he left behind him, compassed by those infirmities which are usually the harbingers of dissolution, and there scarcely seemed a hope of his surviving his son's return. peared among his mother's relatives a perfect stranger. He had, therefore, reason to doubt, hether he should meet with a kind reception. ey might reasonably have suspected him of


Jacob ap


being an impostor, and refused him admission. But instead of all this, his hearty welcome is thus described, · When Laban heard the tidings of Jacob, his sister's son, he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed hiin, and brought him to his house. And Laban said to him, Surely thou art bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, and he abode with him a month,' before any contract was made between them for labour. Jacob then not only found a home in Laban's family, but, during the first seven years of his servitude, he seems to have been kindly treated. And at the end of fourteen years Laban ball learned the value of Jacob as a servant. His confession proves, that his kindness to the patriarch had been loss

to himn. It proves the truth of the prediction, Blessed is he that blesseth thee.' For when Jacob de. sired to leave Laban's service to return to his native country and his parental roof, Laban entreated him to stay still longer, saying, “ If now I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry, for I have learned by experience, that the Lord hath blessed me for thy suke.'

“ Now this is a remarkable confession to be inade by Laban, who was an idolater. traordinary success and prosperity he does not ascribe to the gods whom he worshipped, but to the blessing of Jehovah the God of Jacob, and confesses, moreover, that the blessing came not for his, but for Jacob's sake.

« Again, look at Joseph in Potiphar's house in Egypt. There he was carried by the Ishmaelites, and sold as a slave. But he found grace in the sight of his master. Potiphar confided in him, favoured him, and arlvanced him.

His ex

[ocr errors]

• He made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put into his hands. And then mark what follows in the narrative, it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake, and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house and in the field.'—Gen. xxxix.

“ In the second verse of the chapter quoted above, it is said that the Lord was with Joseph, and prospered him (it means), from the moment he came into Potiphar's house. But the Lord did not bless the Egyptian's house, till favour had first been shown to Joseph by the Egyptian; that is, Potiphar was blessed by the Lord, when he showed kindness to Jacob. Here, then, we have another illustration of the promise, · Blessed is he that blesseth thee.' We have another instance (and a beautiful one it is), of a Gentile being blessed for the sake of a Jew, in the widow woman of Sarepta, who lodged and sustained Elijah. She received the prophet, in the name of a prophet, and she obtained a prophet's reward. A grievous famine prevailed in the land because there had been no rain. The brook Cherith, which before supplied the man of God with refreshment, was dried up, and in his extremity he was directed to a widowed Gentile for support. He found her at the gate of the city gathering a few sticks, with which she was going to prepare her last slender meal for herself and her son, and as they had no further means of support, nor any prospect of succour, they bowed meekly to the Divine chastisement, and made up their minds • to eat it and die. The prophet

put her faith to a severe trial.

She had only a handful of meal left in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse, yet out of this scanty store he required her to make for him a little cake first. Her faith, however, was genuine, and the trial only served to exhibit its sterling quality. She believed the promise he made to her in the name of the Lord. She went and did according to the saying of Elijah, and she, and he, and her house did eat many days. For, “the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the Word of the Lord, till the time when plenty was restored.' Here, then, we see a poor reduced familý, saved from a wretched and lingering death, for their kindness to a prophet of Israel, affording us another proof respecting that people, Blessed is he that blesseth thee.'

(To be continued.)

THE SIGN ON THE DOOR-POST. “ These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart ... and thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deut. vi. 6, 9, and xi. 20.) Three thousand three hundred years ago was this command given, through the inspired Lawgiver to Israel, and to this day do they observe it with careful fidelity. They do, it is too true, add to the command or connect superstitious notions and observances with it; yet still the door-post bears the sign, and reminds the Israelite of the law of God, and of the marvellous works which the Lord wrought when he brought up his fathers from the land of Egypt.

It is not necessary to dwell at any length on the fabulous accounts given of the virtues of the sign on the door-post, as they are similar in their character to those which we have given on the phylacteries, the veil, and the fringes.

The name by which the sign on the door-post is called is Mezuzah, which signifies a door-post. The meaning is transferred to that which is affixed to the post.

A Jewish commentator on Deut. vi. 9, “ And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house and on thy gates," says, " This may be expounded of Rabbi Jochanan Ben Zachai's blessing to his disciples, when he said, “May it please God that the fear of heaven be as great upon you as the fear of flesh and blood ;' and as he himself explained, and said, ' A man is apt to commit a fault secretly, and says, Peradventure some one will see me ; but he does not say, Lest God should see me. Therefore, our Rabbies (of blessed memory) eulogized any who would not do in his private chamber that which he would not do in a public place. For this reason, the Blessed One has commanded, that wherever there is a habitation for men, even if there were a thousand houses, one within the other, there should be a Mezuzah, even on the innermost, that whensoever thou comest into thy house, and into thy bedchamber, thou mayest recollect His blessed love, and that thou shouldest not turn from the good way, though no one may see thee.” On Deut. xi. 20, the same writer says,

"6And thou shalt write them upon thy posts,' that thou mayest remember that thou art His, (Blessed be He,) as a servant whose ear is bored ; that thou mayest perform all that is re

« PreviousContinue »