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features of his character, and that timid artfulness of disposition which made him gain his ends by tact and management rather than by open measures, and led him into cunning and deceit in the more early portion of his history, there was a true, resolute, enduring love of good which would certainly come out into full prominence, when the clouds which had gathered over it had been dispelled by God's Spirit, and chastisement had done the work of grace. Now, does not this show us that nature alone is not enough? A man may be ever so amiable, ever so captivating, ever so generous, when his character is expanding beneath the sunny influences which shine upon his budding and ripening years; but, unless grace be added to nature, the bud will wither before the flower blows, the promise will never ripen into good fruit, the fairest hopes will all be disappointed, and he who might have held a high place in God's kingdom will degenerate, like Esau, into a profane and godless person, who cares for nothing but his selfish pleasure, and sells his birthright for every passing folly and deluding dream. And does it not also prove that grace can do anything? Who would have thought when he looked on Jacob, clothed in the skins which remind us of a wolf in sheep's clothing, feigning the voice of Esau, deceiving his old father, acting the hypocrite before God,—who, I say, would ever have thought that God would yet say of such an one as this, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” Can this be he who, as a prince, has power with God and prevails over Him, wrestling and conquering God by prayer? Yes, so it is. But how is it? Because the grace of God can change the greatest faults of character into the highest and noblest virtues; because there is no height to which the lowest may not reach, if the discipline of God corrects him, and the fire of God refines his heart. Let us learn, then, to estimate ourselves and others, not by that which is easy to us, because of the bias of nature and inclination, but by the work of grace, correcting and improving nature, fixing what is good that it may not vanish, and changing habits of evil into their contraries of good.

II. Let me remark next, as following from much which has been said already, that Jacob is an admirable model for a man of business; and not the less a model by reason of his faults. Had he been more perfect he might have seemed above the common level; but, as it is, there is no one who may not look upon him as an ordinary person, “compassed with infirmity,” yet acting upon high principles, and regulating his conduct in common matters by the mind and will of God. Of his capacity for business, I do not need to speak. It is enough to say that, in this as in so much besides, he was an “ Israelite indeed.” He began with nothing when well advanced in years. Driven from home, as a consequence of his sin, he crossed Jordan with one stick. His staff was his sole property at the outset of his pilgrimage. And when his pilgrimage ended in Egypt, he was not only rich, but he was the founder of a wealthy family, with many grandsons growing up around him, and adding to that stock of national and family, wealth which he had himself begun to accumulate. Now, in what way did Jacob conduct his business ? I have nothing more to say about his faults in early life, or perhaps in later also, though he protests to Laban that he had served him

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honestly and well. In these he is no model; but of these we have heard enough. I speak now of his of his virtues and of his religious character. How, then, did Jacob conduct his business? At the first outset of his work, when first starting from home, as a poor man possessed of nothing, but intending to work hard and push his way, he set up a pillar at Bethel, and vowed a vow that he would build an altar at that spot when he grew richer,-a vow, by the way, which he kept afterwards,—and he added this, " Of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” That was the beginning of Jacob's career as a man of business. A tenth of all his gains was to be God's. He would not tou it. Every tenth sheep, ox, camel, goat, ass, was to be, not his, but God's. To touch it was to be guilty of an act of sacrilege. You observe, his religion was to be part of his business, and his business part of his religion. He was not to be only a man of business upon his farm or at his desk, and a religious man when he came to church or said his prayers. But he was to be religious always; religious in his business, as well as when he went to church. And his religion was to be of a most practical kind, involving large sacrifices of property, treating God to whom he prayed as the providential manager of his business, no less than of every thing besides, and making God's blessing the grand object of his life. Thus his career began. And the middle and the end were of a piece with the beginning. He acted always in the spirit of this vow. I will not say that he never erred, for he was a man, and it may be that some of his transactions were rather questionable, or it may not,--the case is somewhat doubtful; but I will say that in the main, and on the whole, he acted always as a godly man. And God blessed and prospered him. He made his business part of his religion, and God blessed him as a religious man.

There is nothing in a life of business which is not perfectly consistent with saintliness of heart. It is not gold, but the love of gold, which corrupts and corrodes the life. It is “the love of money ” which “ is the root of all evil,” not the money itself. In fact, it is not so much the work which a man does as the spirit in which he does it which affects the man's character. There have been saints in all callings, and no honest calling need keep a man from rising into holiness of life.

Jacob was a shepherd and a man of business. Joseph and Daniel were statesmen. Moses was reared in a palace. David was a soldier. Josiah was a king. It matters little what the work of a man may be, if only he desires to serve God in it.

And Jacob shows us that a man may be busy all his life long, and may devote his energies to the pursuits and acquisition of riches, and yet, if he fears God and dedicates to God a tithe at least of all his gainings, and never so loves his wealth as not above everything to love his God, he may win a place among the men of whom the world is not worthy, and may so use the earthly and corruptible mammon as to establish for himself a claim to the true and imperishable riches.

III. And, finally, we may learn from Jacob for our great comfort, that, however great our faults may be, they will be corrected by the loving discipline of God our Father, if we come to Him in penitence, and trust ourselves to His love. Short of entire apostacy from God, a man could hardly have been guilty of a more complex and deliberate sin than this of Jacob. Yet Jacob lived to be a great saint. And how was he refined and perfected ? By correction, by severe discipline, by heavy yet loving blows of God's rod. Esau, it would seem, was left to him. self, and followed his own fancies, degenerating step by step, till from profanity he fell to idolatry, and founded that people of Edom which was especially hostile to the true Israel of God. Esau was left to himself because there was no better self within him, which correction could draw out till it formed him into a new man. But Jacob was recoverable and worth recovery, and God raised him by His strong and sanctifying hand. And how did God correct him ? In many ways. Chiefly by visiting his own sin upon his head. How could he be better shown its great enormity? How could he more clearly see that falsehood and deceit are grievous things than by suffering their evils in his own person? There is no better way to teach a man to do to others as he would be done by, than by doing to him as he has done to others. Experience of this kind, if a man has any capacity for learning wisdom, will make the most foolish sinner wise. And thus it is that God does. It is His custom, and a law of His dealings with mankind, that sin shall recoil on the head of the transgressor.

" Wherewithal a man hath sinned in the same shall he be punished.” The adultery of David was punished by adulteries. The sword which fell on Uriah returned on David's own house ; just as the sword of Agag which made women childless, made Agag's mother childless among women. And so it was with Jacob. The overreacher was overreached. The supplanter was supplanted. The deceiver was

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