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Isaac, that "in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed." In the estimation of the Creator of the world, the birth of that individual amongst the descendants of Jacob was the only and all-sufficient source of its prosperity. This was the third person to whom it was announced, and the sixth time, although the history of the human race had little more than begun, and at each time there was a special manifestation of the Divine presence. What was intended to teach by the ladder was explained, when Jesus said to Nathanael, "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man " (John i. 51).
An emblem, so simple and so universally known, must delight the hearts of all whose minds stretch upward to the glorious heavens, and long to enter there. Distance shall be no obstruction, nor conscious unworthiness, for Jesus is "the way," and by him the dwellers on earth may ascend to heaven.
As Jacob travelled on, he had none of God's word to which he could turn for instruction and comfort; the remembrance of his wonderful vision would give him hope of salvation, raise his mind above earthly concerns, in which he had been so much engrossed, and stimulate him to forsake every sin, and endeavour henceforth to please God in all his ways, that he might be prepared to dwell with him for ever, and amongst the glorious beings he had beheld in his dream.
During this Patriarch's eventful life, at a period of deep anxiety, he to whom all things are possible, was ood seen in hu- pleased to show himself in human nature, Sen! xxSirk- or the appearance of it, so long before his incarnation. We meet with similar instances as we proceed with the Old Testament history, of one, transiently appearing, and sometimes three, in human form, who in the context is called God, the Lord—i.e., Jehovah. These appearances were always on extraordinary occasions, and to persons who lived much in communion with God. It was the mightiest of all the manifestations previous to the Saviour's birth, and strikingly corresponded with the condition he then assumed. In one place we read, "that fingers came forth of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick, upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote" (Dan. v. 5).
Dying words of As Jacob's demise approached, he called
in? the tribe of his sons to his dying couch, to unveil, by
Judah.—Gen. J °' 'J
xiix. 10. the spirit of prophecy with which he was favoured, the destinies of each tribe; of Judah, he described the political condition when the Prince of Peace should come to assert his authority and save his people. Although that blessed period did not arrive till nearly seventeen hundred years after the Patriarch's death, the circumstances of the government of Judea, at the time of his advent, were in exact accordance with his prediction; for Herod the Great, who might be called the last king, died while the Saviour was yet an infant.
joMph.-Gen. In the spotless and lovely character of Joseph, we trace faintly, as it were, the lineaments of his, who in his moral features especially, would be seen to be "fairer than the children of men," and who would not be ashamed to call his people his brethren. With consummate wisdom he would conceal the tenderness of his heart towards them; appear severe, and often perplex them in their circumstances, until they would be truly humbled for their sins, and confess them with heartfelt sorrow; then would he fully pardon, give them peace of mind, and bestow on them every needful good abundantly.
Job's confiii- That Job was a real person there can be da«ner.—Job" no doubt (see Ezek. xiv. 14; James v. 11). xx. 23-27. jje is supposecl to nave been a descendant
of Esau; and from his great age, and from the absence of any reference to occurrences in or after the time of Moses, to have lived at a very early period. Job, under the influence of the Spirit of God, expresses an. ardent desire that what he was about to utter might be recorded in the safest and most indelible manner, according to the several methods then in use, of registering remarkable transactions. It was his confidence that he has a Redeemer ;* he foretells his appearance upon earth
* We shall quote Dr. Good's translation of verses 23, 24, as it presents the meaning and force of the original better than any other we have consulted, though the Vulgate approaches it.—Kitto.
"o that roy words were even now written down'
at the judgment day; he also, in the strongest manner, declares his certain expectation of his own resurrection. In Job's time, a redeemer was one who paid a ransom for prisoners taken in war; these unhappy persons, bound in chains, had often to traverse, in haste, burning deserts, —without sandals, without water, and then to be sold into perpetual slavery. In after times, it was a law in Israel, that if a man became so poor as to be obliged to sell his inheritance, his nearest kinsman should buy it, and restore it to him in the year of Jubilee. The word translated redeemer itS this place, signifies a kinsman or near relative, to whom the redemption of captives or alienated estates belonged by custom. Thus, Jesus paid the price of his own blood to ransom sinners from the power of Satan, and the bonds and misery of sin. He is the nearest kinsman of his people, and will restore to them their lost inheritance in the family of God! It is he who has "led captivity captive," and was sent to proclaim their liberty—the opening of the prison "to them that are bound." There have been many captives, who, being without a redeemer, have pined away a hopeless existence; but all who come to Jesus by faith, and diligently keep his words, may feel assured theirs "lives." Redeemer is a name by which the Saviour of the world is very frequently spoken of, without attaching this or any distinct meaning to it.
THE ENTIRE OF THE MOSAIC RITUAL, A TYPICAL SERVICE
Moses relinquished earthly glory, and, like ment of Moses. his great Antitype, was preserved in infancy
—Ex. iii. 1-10. . .
when many other children were slain. Whilst tending his flock at one of the hills of Horeh, and in communion with "him who is invisible," whom he saw by faith, and who had strengthened him to give up "the pleasures of sin," which are but "for a season;" his attention was arrested by seeing one of the humble bushes on the side of the mountain on fire; he continued to gaze upon it, and the Angel-Jehovah, who is the Surety of the covenant of grace, manifested himself to Moses in the midst of the flame in which the bush was enveloped; no doubt, in the bodily form in which he was wont to appear on extraordinary occasions, and the only way that Moses would be able to look upon him; and as this mighty Being addressed him by name, we read, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, commanding him to give the greatest outward expres