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element ? God's presence and blessing you desire ? -and to promulgate his truth, and seek his glory, your great business? then be encouraged; follow on to know the Lord; seek daily the presence and power of the Holy Spirit ; and if, like the young man whose eyes Jesus opened, you have to suffer for his name, he will give you strength to be his witness, and will own you as his, in the presence of his father and of his holy angels.
Early set forth on thine eternal race;
The ascent is steep and craggy, thou must climb,
If they repent ;—but he ne'er promised TIME.
For death, when life is almost turned to fume.
And but one thief, that no one might presume.”
A BIRTHDAY PRAYER FOR YOUTH. “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto
wisdom.”—Ps. xc. 12.
And made my life his care ;
And lead to earnest prayer.
The years of childhood now are pass'd,
And the world's wildering maze
Unto a throne of grace.
Lord teach me o'er my sins to weep,
Then view the Lamb of God;
In wisdom's pleasant road.
O clothe me with humility,
Increase my faith and love;
And reign with thee above.
The future I to thee commit,
O guide me with thine eye;
Then 'twill be gain to die.
THE FOOLISH BARGAIN.
“Esau for one morsel of meat sold his birthright."-Heb. xii. 16.
Esau parted with a large future blessing for a small gratification, to be immediately enjoyed. His language was, “What good shall this birthright do me? I shall soon die; why should I care about posterity ? let me look out for myself, and enjoy myself now.” For thus acting, the Holy Spirit calls him “ a profane person.” Alas, how many similar bargains are being constantly made! The world's markets are ever open, and Satan's constant aim is to induce immortal beings to prefer the
interests of time to those of eternity,—the gratification of the senses, to the possession of God's promises.
To obtain a complete view of Esau's case, Gen. xxv. 27—34, should be read carefully. Methinks some persons, after reading it, will be ready to say, Was it not very unkind in Jacob, - did he act right in this affair? I answer, this point does not so much concern
We are ever prone to go from the main point which God sets before us, and to lose ourselves in some intricacies connected with the question; asking, how can this or the other point be reconciled, instead of diligently inquiring, what does it teach me,
what good can I get therefrom? Many, for instance, puzzle themselves concerning the elder brother in the parable, instead of admiring the father's tenderness, and imitating the prodigal's repentance. We do not apologise for Jacob, but we are anxious you should not lose the lessons God intends to teach you by Esau.
The birthright was a Divine gift. It included authority, Gen. iv. 7, xlix. 3; a double portion, Deut. xxi. 17; a special blessing, Gen. xxvii. 4; and the priesthood, Numb. viii. 16, 17; thus becoming a type of Christ. Esau parted with all this, more especially its prospective advantages for his family, for a very trifle, a mess of pottage. In so doing he was said to despise it. For thus acting he lost the blessing. “For ye know that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears,” Heb. xii. 17. That is, he found no place of repentance in Isaac's mind. He did repent himself, but he could not alter what he had done.
One thought I would wish particularly to impress upon the young, that sins which have entailed much 'misery, involved much loss, and brought down fearful judgments, have appeared to some to be very little. It seemed but a small act for Eve to pluck fruit from a tree, for Uzza to touch the ark, for Achan to secrete a small portion of the spoil of a city, for Saul to spare the Amalekites, but God did not think so. Sins committed against a plain command, commands which are intended to be tests of character, are very aggravated.
But who are in danger of imitating Esau now? There is a danger, and to keep from it is the design of the apostle in introducing this sad case. Look into the world, how many are selling the pleasures of a happy home, all dear domestic joys and family comforts, for sensual gratification, and the intoxicating draught. Look round the church. How many who seemed “not far from the kingdom of God," sacrifice all their religious connections for some earthly alliance. How many young professors have quenched convictions, seared their consciences, and turned their backs upon religion for some worldly advantage.
Look in the church. It is here the apostle directs our attention. He evidently introduces Esau to illustrate what he had said concerning “failing of the grace of God." The allusion is to a person starting in a race, and giving it up without attempting to reach the goal, turning aside to some other pursuit, and thereby proving that they were never right-hearted, Heb. iv. l. Such becaine roots of bitterness in the church, Deut. xxix. 18, Acts viii. 23; and many are defiled. How much injury does one carnal, covetous, earth-loving professor inflict upon a com
mmunity. How different the conduct of noble-minded Moses, “when he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.' Choosing rather. to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward,” Heb. xi. 24–26. He would not sell his birthright, nor part with his heavenly hopes for all earth's treasures. David was like-minded, and would not have his portion in this life like the men of the world, Ps. xvii. 15. Paul counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. He welcomed reproach and sorrow, rather than part with heavenly blessings. Thus the noble martyrs acted, who, rather than part with their birthright, were