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H^k*** ^ down asrv from riches to pjvejli, or from y^^&* 'Trace, remember xhat be viiks bis people in WEZc*& iir Cottccziotu and his enemies in vengeance mKFlii*'- iifhrarn:; lb that, whether yon are the caw or rtPrl-i* on have no charter of fccurirv from the Jams

t much of mortality, and the innumerable fciich are evcrv where to be feen among our jres. Tne wife man tells us, Ecclef. vii. 2, pxer to go to The bonir of mourn mg, than to oufe of feafimg: for that is die end of all men, fine will lay it 10 his heart. Sorrow is better '. Jter: for by the fadnefs of the countenance lite''3**' ^ made bc/ncr.r' There are fome who, from ■foefs of heart, and a ftrong attachment to fenfare not able to look upon fcenes of mifery and pcaHroVhey fly from them, therefore, and deceive m^|ei:S^M no a dream of fecurity by intoxicating pieaitJH my brethren, it is infinitely better to tbrtify

{jfpj-zarOB ;ainft the fear of death, by faith in him who is .on and the life; and then the frequent obnbers in affliction, will have the noblelt and influence in mortifying worldlv affections. fometimes fee the triumph of faith in the jov. of believers, which is one of the moft edifyortable fights that any Chriflian can behold, laf t place, I would recall to your minds, and ommend to your meditation, what made a ich of the doctrinal part of this fubject," the .rift." By this the believer will indeed cruciReafon and experience may wound the leak; but the crofs of Chrift pierces it to the ve murmur at the crofs, when our Redeemer not the thoughts of what he fuffered, and what lufficient to eradicate from our minds every nation to what is provoking to him? Are not of what he purchaied, fufneient to deftroy in p leaft difpofition to place our happinefs here? s of the crofs of Chrift are ftrengdicning as ictive. We are drawn as it were bv the pow3K

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er of fympathy, emboldened by his example, and animated by his conqueft. Is not the Chriftian, when he is in full contemplation of this great object, faying, ' O moft mer'ciful Saviour, fhall I any more idolize that world which 'crucified thee? fhall I be afraid of their fcorn who in* fulted thee? fhall I refufe any part of his will, who, by 'the crofs, has glorified thee?'

Let us conclude by attempting to fay, in faith, what God grant every one of us may be able to fay in the awful hour of the laft conflict: " O death, where is thy fting! "O grave, where is thy victory! The fting of death is "fin, and the ftrength of fin is the law; but thanks be to "God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jefus "Chrift."




GENESIS xxxii. 26.

And he said, Ixuill not let thee go, except thou bless me.

MY brethren, real communion with God is a bleffing of fuch ineftimable value, that it cannot be fought with too great earneftnefs, or maintained with too much care. If it is no fable, that God vouchfafes to his people, on fome occafions, a fenfe of his gracious prefence, and, as it were, vilits them in love; with what fervor fhould they defire, with what diligence fhould they improve, fo great a mercy! In a particular manner, when a good man hath in view, either an important and difficult duty, or a dangerous trial, it is his intereft to implore, with the greatefl: importunity, the prefence and countenance of God, which only can effectually direct him in the one, and fupport him in the other. This, my brethren, ought to be our concern at prefent, as we have in view a very folemn approach to God, viz. laying hold of one of the i'eals of his covenant: what trials may be before us, or near us, it is impoffible to know.

The words I have read relate to a remarkable paflage of the patriarch Jacob's life. He was now returning from Padan-aram with a numerous family, and great fubftance, and had received information that his brother Efau was coming to meet him with four hundred men. We are told, v. 7. of the chapter, that he was " greatly afraid and "diftreffed," being, in all probability, quite uncertain whether his brother was coming with a friendly or a hoflile intention; or rather, having great reafon to fufpect the latter to be the cafe. He rofe up, we are told, long before day, and fent his wives, his children, and cattle, over the brook Jabbock = and as it follows, in the 24th verfe, " Ja"cob was left alone: and there wreilled a man with him, "until the breaking of the day. And when he faw that "he prevailed not againft him, he touched the hollow of "his thigh: and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of "joint, as he wreilled with him. And he faid, Let me "go, for the day breaketh: and he faid, I will not let thee "go, except thou blefs me."

Some of the fathers, and alfo fome of the Jewifli writers, fuppofe, that all this was done in prophetic vifion, to represent to him the difficulties that were yet before him, which, by faith and patience he was to overcome. But it is more reafonable to think, that this was in truth the appearance of an angel to him; and indeed moft probably of the angel of the covenant; becaufe, from the paflage itfelf, it appears that he had " prevailed with God." The fame thing we are aflured of by the prophet Hofea, chap, xii. 3,4. " He took his brother by the heel in the womb, u and by his ftrength he had power with God = yea, he had "power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept and made "fapplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and "there he fpake with us." From this paflage alfo we learn, that it was the fame who met with him at Beth-el. Some think, with a good deal of probability, that this attack was made upon him by way of punifhment for the weaknefs of his faith; that though he had received the promife, he fhoukl yet be under fo great a terror at the approach of his brother. In this indeed he was an example of what happens to believers in every age. Paft mercies are forgotten at the approach of future trials; therefore the fame God who vifrted at Beth-el, and promifed to be with him, now meets him in difpleafure, and threatens to deftroy him; but by " weeping and fupplication" he not only obtained his prefervation, but a further bleffing. It is alio the opinion of many, that the wreflling or conflict was literal and real for fome time, and that Jacob perhaps took it to be one of Efau's attendants who had come to furprife him in the night; but that at laft he perceived his miftake, when the angel, by a ffight touch of his thigh, fhewed him, that, if he had pleafed, he might eaftly have deftroyed him. Then, as he had contended with his fuppofed adversary, he now continues the itruggle, by infilling upon a bleffing; which he obtains, in inch terms as carry in them a commendation both of his conftancy and importunity: v. 28. "And he faid, Thy name fhall be "called no more Jacob, but Ifrael; for as a prince haft thou "power with God, and with men, and haft prevailed." The laft part of this verfe is fuppofed indeed to be wrong tranflated; and that it fhould be, " as a prince thou haft "had power with God, and therefore much more fhalt "thou prevail over men:" which was a promife not only of prefent fecurity, but of future profperity and conqueft. But though this remarkable event had a particular and immediate relation to Jacob, there is no doubt, that the Spirit of God, in putting it on record, had a purpofe of further and more extenfive ufefulnefs. It is plainly an example of importunity, and, as it were, holy violence in prayer. So uniform and general has this fenfe of the pafiage been, that fervency and importunity in prayer lias been generally called wrestling with God. This is a fubject which well deferves our moft ferious attention; the rather that I am forry to fay, the practice has fallen into much difrepute; and I am afraid the expreffion itfelf is in fome danger of being treated with derifion. In difcourfing further on this fubject, I fhall,

I. Explain and illuftrate a little the nature and fubject of this holy wreftlingand importunity in prayer.

II. The duty and reafonablenefs of it.

III. The great benefit arifing from it. And,

IV. In the laft place, I fhall make fome improvement of the fubjeet, for your inftruction and direction.

I. First, then, I am to explain and illuftrate a little the nature and fubjeet of this holy wreftlingand importunity in prayer, Wreftling necefiarily fuppofes fome refinance or oppofition to be overcome. Prayer indeed, of

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