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demption drawing nigh. The prayers of all her children are now ascending on every wind of heaven to supplicate the hastening of this divine consummation. Wise men, not only from the east, but also from the west, from the north, and from the south are now presenting their treasures, as well as their adorations at the feet of the Son of God. They are sending his word in every language to all the nations and kindreds of men. Faithful ministers run to and fro through the benighted corners of the world, and proclaim to the startled inhabitants, “ Behold we bring you glad tidings of great joy, for unto you “ is born a Saviour in the city of David, who is Christ the “ Lord.” The synagogue, the mosque, and the pagoda already begin to echo the angelic song, “ Glory to God in the “ highest, peace on earth, and good will towards men.”

This divine spirit, this breath from heaven has breathed upon your own land. The dead here awake. Skeletons here are clothed with flesh, stand upon their feet as a great army, and inhale immortal life. Catch this divine influence yourselves, and let its glorious efficacy be conspicuous in every part of your conduct. Unite your hearts and hands with those of all good men in spreading religion at home and abroad; in enlarging the borders of the divine kingdom ; in multiplying salvation, and in increasing the number of the first-born.

You have long and often assembled in this house for the worship of God. You are now assembled in it for the last time. When this week is ended, you will meet together no more on this side of the grave. But you will again be gathered before the last tribunal. How glorious, how transporting will it then be to hear you all with one united voice say,

Lord, thou deliveredst unto us five talents; behold, we have “ gained beside them five talents more ;” and to hear him reply, “ Well done, good and faithful servants ; ye have been 6 faithful over a few things; I will make you

things: enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”

rulers over many

SERMON XXV.

JACOB'S VOW.

To the Candidates for the Baccalaureate, in 1810.

GENESIS XXVIII. 20, 21, 22.

And Jacob vowed a vow, saying If God will be with me,

and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to

my Father's house in peace, then shall Jehovah be my God ; And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's

house ; and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.?"

The story, of which these words are a part, is in substance the following:

Isaac, improperly attached to his eldest son Esau, because he ate of the venison which he provided for him by hunting, directed him to go out into the field and take venison, and make for him savoury meat, such as he loved, that he might eat and bless him before he himself should die. The blessing which Isaac proposed to confer upon Esau, was the peculiar blessing originally given by God to Abraham, and afterwards to Isaac himself. This blessing Rebekah knew was designed by the author of it for Jacob, and she also knew that, in intending to confer it upon Esau, Isaac was influenced solely by his doating fondness for that son. Her own affection for Jacob was miles distant, through an immense wilderness, inhabited by beasts of prey, and haunted by savages of a still fiercer and more dangerous nature. Here his lodging was the ground, a stone his pillow, and the sky his covering. The issue of his enterprise was in the meantime incapable of being foreseen. Whether he should ever reach the end of it was absolutely uncertain. If he should, it was equally uncertain what reception he should find from his uncle, or what success he should meet with in his future life. It will not be questioned that in these circumstances Jacob needed the protection and blessing of God, or that the vision which he saw was in the highest degree fitted to yield him consolation, and inspire him with hope.

Thus comforted, thus inspired, Jacob began his journey anew with fresh vigour of mind, and with those supporting expectations which were excited and established by the cheering promises announced in his vision. But before he commenced his

progress, he uttered the yow recited in the text and founded on these promises. This vow consists of three distinct parts.

“ Jehovah shall be my God.”

“ This stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God's 66 house."

6 Of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give a tenth 66 to thee.”

The two last of these resolutions may be paraphrased in the following manner :

“ I will regularly worship God in his house and elsewhere, “according to his commandment ; "and

“ I will consecrate the tenth of all my property to pious and “ charitable purposes.

These resolutions of Jacob are undoubtedly the best which were ever formed on a similar occasion, and a perfect pattern for all succeeding young men when beginning to act for themselves, and commencing their own proper business for life. No subject of thought, no scheme of practice can be more perfectly suited to such an occasion, as the present. . I persuade myself, therefore, that the audience, particularly the youths, for whose instruction this discourse is especially intended, will

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readily accompany me with their solemn attention, while I attempt summarily

I. To illustrate the import of these resolutions; and,

II. To exhibit reasons why they should be adopted by all young men at this period of life, and particularly by themselves.

All the observations made in this discourse on both these subjects will be immediately addressed to those for whose benefit, in a peculiar sense, they were written. Yet it is hoped that others will find such an interest in them, as to make a profitable application of them to their own circumstances.

I. I shall attempt summarily to illustrate the import of these resolutions.

I have chosen to call the several parts of this vow resolutions, rather than to consider them in the nature of distinct vows, particularly, because in the New Testament we are not, in the appropriate sense, required to make vows. They are nowhere forbidden, nor any where exhibited as unlawful. Whenever they are made, it is undoubtedly an indispensable duty exactly to perform them. Should any person consider the Christian profession, or the assumption of the Christian covenant, as a vow, I have no contention with him on that subject. That it is our duty to make this profession cannot be questioned by a believer in divine revelation, nor that the engagements into which we then enter are equally obligatory with those made in vows, appropriately so styled. If these be considered as vows, they are to be excepted from the general remark which I have made, as not being in the number of those to which I referred. From making this profession, my young friends, nothing can excuse you. Generally, I should

you to make resolutions rather than vows. They will produce the same beneficial effects on your conduct; they will be safer ; they will be less perplexing, and in all probability will furnish less reason for future anxiety and distress.

advise

VOL. I.

21

The first of Jacob's resolutions was, that Jehovah should be his God.

To choose Jehovah, as our God, is to choose him as our sovereign and ruler, whose pleasure we determine voluntarily and universally to obey; to choose him as the only object of our worship, as the supreme object of our love, reverence, and confidence; and to choose him as our final portion and supreme good. It is also to make this choice without any balancing, and without admitting any rival to him in our affections, our worship, or our obedience.

You will see, from this explanation, that this resolution of Jacob completely involved those which followed it. You will see that this was the stem, of which they were only the branches; the foundation on which alone they were established.

The second of these resolutions was, that the place which had been the scene of all these solemn transactions, should be to him the house of God; the place, where, after his return, he would, so far as his circumstances should permit, employ himself regularly in the worship of his divine benefactor.

The third of these resolutions was a solemn determination to consecrate the tenth of all his substance to pious and benevolent purposes, such as God had generally commanded, and such as from time to time he might point out as being agreeable to his pleasure. Jacob perfectly well knew, and has here expressed his full conviction, that the silver and the gold belonged to God, and that he gave them with a design that they should be employed in his service. Equally well did he know, that faith without works is dead; that his goodness or kindness could not extend to his Maker; that it could extend to his fellow-saints, and his fellow-men extensively; and that he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord. We give our property to God, when we give it to those to whom he requires us to give it. Inasmuch as ye have shown kindness, saith the final Judge, to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have shown it unto me. From these observations it is evident, that in this vow Jacob consecrated himself, and all that he pos

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