The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
January 22, 1880 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter Sixteen–Continued.
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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Although was exalted as a ruler over all the land, he did not forget . The thought that he was a stranger in a strange land, separated from his father and his brethren, often caused him sadness, but he fully believed that God’s hand had overruled his course, to place him in an important position. And depending on God continually, he performed all the duties of his office, as ruler over the land of Egypt, with . “And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities, the food of the field which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.”

Joseph traveled throughout all the land of Egypt, giving command to build immense storehouses, and using his clear head and excellent judgment to aid in the preparations to secure food necessary for the long years of famine. At length the seven years of plenty were ended. “And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said; and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. And Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the store-houses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.”

The famine was severe in the land of Canaan also. Jacob and his sons were troubled. Their supply of food was nearly exhausted, and they looked forward to the future with perplexity. Starvation stared them in the face. At length Jacob heard of the wonderful provisions which the King of Egypt had made, and that the people of all the surrounding countries journeyed to Egypt to buy corn. And he said to his sons, “Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt. Get you down thither, and buy for us from thence, that we may live, and not die. And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.”

Jacob’s sons came with the crowd of buyers to purchase corn of Joseph; and they “bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.” He knew them at once, but they failed to recognize him. There was, indeed, little semblance between the mighty governor of Egypt, and the stripling whom, twenty-two years previous, they had sold to the Ishmaelites. As he saw his brethren stooping and making their obeisance, his dreams came back to his memory, and the scenes of the past rose up vividly before him. His keen eye again surveyed the group before him, and he saw that Benjamin was missing. Had he also fallen a victim to the treacherous cruelty of those savage men? He determined to know the truth. “Ye are spies,” he said, “to see the nakedness of the land, ye are come.”

They answered, “Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men; thy servants are no spies.” He wished to learn if they possessed the same haughty spirit as when he was with them, and also to lead them to make some disclosures in regard to their home, yet he well knew how deceitful their answers might be. He repeated the charge, and they replied, “Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is still with our father, and one is not.” They felt humbled in their adversity, and manifested grief rather than anger at the suspicions of Joseph. He professed to doubt the truthfulness of their story, and told them that he would prove them, and that they should not go forth from Egypt until their youngest brother come hither. He proposed to keep them in confinement until one should go and bring their brother, to prove their words, whether there was any truth in them. If they would not consent to this, he would regard them as spies.

The sons of Jacob felt unwilling to consent to this arrangement. It would require some time for one to go to their father for Benjamin, and meanwhile their families would suffer for food. And who among them would undertake the journey alone, leaving his brethren in prison? How could that one meet his father? They had seen his distress at the supposed death of Joseph, and now he would feel that he was deprived of all his sons. They said, further, It may be that we shall lose our lives, or be made slaves. And if one go back to our father for Benjamin, and bring him here, he may be made a slave also, and our father will surely die. They decided that they would all remain, and suffer together, rather than to bring greater sorrow upon their father by the loss of his much-loved Benjamin.

The three days of confinement were days of bitter sorrow with Jacob’s sons. They reflected upon their past wrong course, especially their cruelty to Joseph. They knew that if they were convicted of being spies, and could bring no evidence to clear themselves, they must all die, or become slaves. They doubted whether any effort which any one of them might make would induce their father to consent that Benjamin should go from him, after the cruel death, which he supposed, that Joseph had suffered. They had sold Joseph as a slave, and they were fearful that God designed to punish them by suffering them also to become slaves.

Joseph considers that his father and the families of his brethren may be suffering for food, and he is convinced that his brethren have repented of their cruel treatment of him, and that they would in no case treat Benjamin as they have treated him. On the third day he said to them, “This do, and live; for I fear God. If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison; go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses. But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die.” They agreed to accept this proposition, but expressed to one another little hope that their father will let Benjamin return with them. They accuse themselves, and one another, in regard to their treatment of Joseph: “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” Reuben, who had formed the plan for delivering him at Dothan, now added, “Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.” Joseph had been conversing with them through an interpreter, and they had no suspicion that he understood them. Their words opened the long-closed fountains of his heart, and he could scarcely restrain his feelings before the company. He went out and wept. On returning, he took Simeon and had him bound before them. In the cruel treatment of their brother, Simeon had been the instigator and principal actor, and it was for this reason that the choice fell upon him.

Before dismissing his brethren for their homes, Joseph directed his steward to fill every man’s sack with grain, and to place at the mouth of each the silver that had been brought in payment. Provender for the beasts on the homeward journey was also supplied. On the way one of the brothers, opening his sack for such supply, was surprised to find his money there. On his hastening to make known the fact to the others, they were alarmed and perplexed, and said one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us? Shall we consider this as a token of good from the Lord, or has he suffered it to occur to punish us for our sins, and plunge us still deeper in affliction? They acknowledged that God had seen their sins, and that he was now visiting them for their transgressions.

Jacob was anxiously awaiting the return of his sons, and on their arrival the whole encampment gathered eagerly around them as they related to their father all that had transpired. Alarm and apprehension filled every heart. One of their number was imprisoned in a strange land as a pledge for the appearance there of the youngest and now the favorite son of the grief-stricken patriarch. There was something mysterious in the conduct of the governor of Egypt, and this mystery was increased in their minds when, as they emptied their sacks, each was found to contain the owner’s bag of money at its mouth. In his distress the aged father exclaimed, “Me have ye bereaved of my children; Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.” Reuben answered, “Slay my two sons if I bring him not to thee; deliver him into my hand and I will bring him to thee again.” This rash speech did not relieve the mind of Jacob. His answer was, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. If mischief befall him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.”

Jenny @ 7:26 pm
January 15, 1880 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter Sixteen–Continued.
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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While Joseph was still confined in , an event occurred which formed a turning-point in his life. became offended with two of his officers, the and the , and they were cast into , and, as it appears, were placed under Joseph’s especial care. One morning he observed that they were looking very sad. He kindly inquired, “Wherefore look ye so sadly today? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a , and there is no of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not belong to ? Tell me them, I pray you.” Then the related to Joseph his , which he , that after the butler would be restored to the king’s favor, and deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand as he had formerly done.

The chief butler was filled with to Joseph because of the interest he had manifested for him, and the kind treatment he had received at his hands; and, above all, for relieving his distress of mind, by interpreting the dream. Then Joseph, in a very touching manner, alluded to his own captivity, and entreated him, “But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house; for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into a dungeon.”

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he was encouraged to make known his dream. As soon as he had related it, Joseph looked sad. He understood its terrible meaning. Joseph possessed a kind, sympathizing heart, yet his high sense of duty led him to give the truthful interpretation. He told the chief baker that the three baskets upon his head meant three days; and that, as in his dream, the birds ate the baked meats out of the upper basket, so they would eat his flesh as he hung upon a tree.

“And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.” The butler was guilty of the sin of ingratitude. After he had obtained relief from his anxiety by Joseph’s cheering interpretation, he thought that he should, if restored to his position, certainly remember the captive Joseph, and speak in his favor to the king. He had seen the interpretation of the dream exactly fulfilled, yet in his prosperity he forgot Joseph in his affliction and confinement. Ingratitude is regarded by the Lord as among the most aggravating sins. But although abhorred by God and man, it is of daily occurrence. 

Two years longer Joseph remained in his gloomy prison. The Lord then gave Pharaoh remarkable dreams. The king was troubled because he could not understand them. He called for the magicians and wise men of Egypt, and related his dreams to them, but was greatly disappointed to find that with all their magic and boasted wisdom, they could not explain them. The perplexity and distress of the king increased. As the chief butler saw his anxiety, the thought of Joseph came to his mind, and at the same time a conviction of his forgetfulness and ingratitude. “Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day.” He then related to the king the dreams which he and the chief baker had, which troubled them as the dreams now troubled the king, and said, “And there was there with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.”

It was humiliating to Pharaoh to turn away from the magicians and wise men of his kingdom to a Hebrew servant. But his learned and wise men have failed him, and he will now condescend to accept the humble services of a slave, if his troubled mind can obtain relief.

“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me; God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Joseph’s answer to the king shows his strong faith and humble trust in God. He modestly disclaims all honor of possessing in himself superior wisdom to interpret. He tells the king that his knowledge is not greater than that of those whom he has consulted. “It is not in me.” God alone can explain these mysteries. “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river; and behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well-favored; and they fed in a meadow; and behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness. And the lean and the ill-favored kine did eat up the first seven fat kine; and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill-favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke.

“And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good; and behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them; and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears; and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.

“And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one. God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill-favored kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.”

Joseph told the king that there would be seven years of great plenty. Everything would grow in abundance. Fields and gardens would yield more plentifully than ever before. And these seven years of abundance were to be followed by seven years of famine. The years of plenty would be given that he might prepare for the coming dearth. “And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.”

The king believed all that Joseph had said. He felt assured that God was with him, and was impressed with the fact that he was the most suitable man to be placed at the head of affairs. He did not despise him because he was a Hebrew slave, for he saw that he possessed an excellent spirit. “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath sheweth thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.”

Jenny @ 7:17 pm
December 4, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and his Angels.
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XIV.
Jacob’s Second Visit to .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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made his home in , and having purchased a piece of land he erected his , and close beside it his , and dedicated them to . The sons of Jacob were not all governed by . Their treatment of the Shechemites was to . Their father was kept in ignorance of their purpose until the work of was accomplished; and when he learned what had been done he severely rebuked them for their treacherous, revengeful course. and attempted to defend themselves by urging that they had thus avenged the wrong done to their sister. But Jacob assured them that nothing could justify their conduct; for the of one man they had caused the innocent inhabitants of a whole city to . These people had placed confidence in them, and thus had been . The had been dishonored. Jacob felt deeply ; he knew that and had been practiced, and he felt that he would now be hated and despised by the inhabitants of the country around them.

He saw, too, that treachery and cruelty was growing upon his sons, and that they were forgetting God, and allowing infidelity to come into their hearts. He knew that there was cause for self-condemnation in this matter, and he began to reflect upon his own conduct in allowing his beloved Rachel to conceal her father’s gods which she had stolen, when he should have destroyed at once everything which would lead to infidelity.

There were false  gods in the camp of Israel, and he had not used prompt means to destroy them; and idolatrous  worship was more or less practiced by his household. He knew that should God deal with them, in the present instance, according to their crime, he would permit the surrounding nations to take vengeance upon them.

While Jacob was thus bowed down with trouble, the Lord had compassion upon him, and directed him to leave his place and move southward to Bethel. At the mention of this name the patriarch is reminded not only of his vision of the angels, ascending and descending, and of God above them speaking to him words of comfort, but also of the vow which he had made there, that if God would keep and bless him, the Lord should be his God. And he reflects thus: Have I been as faithful to my promise as God has been to me? He saw and felt the necessity of being more thorough and decided in his family, to put away everything that savored of idolatry. He determined to cleanse the camp, that his company might go to this sacred spot free from defilement. He therefore stands up and addresses them: “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.”

He then, with trembling voice and quivering lip, related to them his perplexity; when but a youth he left his father’s tent, a lonely traveler, afraid of his life, with no earthly friend to comfort or encourage. Passing Hebron and Moriah, he came, in the evening of the second day, to Bethel, the spot made sacred by the sacrifices and prayers of Abraham. He felt heart-sick and friendless in his solitude, and lay down to sleep. It was here that God gave him that encouraging dream of the heavenly ladder which reached from earth to Heaven. Angels of God were ascending and descending upon this ladder of shining brightness, and the Lord himself stood above it, and spoke to him these encouraging words: “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and in thee and thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land.”

On awaking from this dream, Jacob felt that the spot was peopled with angels, and that God was looking with tender love and compassion upon him, and he there set up a memorial signifying that he would ever remember the loving-kindness of God.

As Jacob thus reviewed the goodness and mercy of God to him, his own heart was subdued and humbled; and he had taken the most effectual way to reach the hearts of his children, and lead them to reverence the God of Heaven when they arrived at Bethel. Not in the least did any of his family hesitate to obey his commands. All that were with him delivered up their idols, and also their earrings, and he buried them under an oak near Shechem. The patriarch felt that humiliation before God was more in keeping with their position than was the wearing of gold and silver ornaments.

Jacob had now done his duty in cleansing his household from idolatry, and he set out with them on his journey to Bethel. For the sake of his servant Jacob, who had no part in the cruelty practiced on the Shechemites, the Lord caused fear to fall upon the inhabitants of the land, that they did not arise to avenge the deed done to Shechem. The travelers moved on their way unmolested, and came to Bethel. Here Jacob, in obedience to the divine command, immediately erected an altar, upon which he performed the vow made when on his journey from Canaan to Mesopotamia. Of all the substance that had been placed with him in trust, he rendered an offering to God, although it took from him quite a large share of his possessions. The self-denial and beneficence here manifested, rebukes the self-indulgence of many professed Christians, and the meager offerings which they bring to God. Many put into the Lord’s treasury a sum less than the price of their cigars, and far less than the cost of the ornaments that adorn their persons and their houses, and the hurtful luxuries upon their tables. Eternity will reveal the narrowness and selfishness of these minds. What will be their feelings when Christ shall reveal to them the value of souls, and the infinite importance of their salvation?

The Lord accepted the offering of Jacob, and met with and blessed him, and renewed his covenant with him. As a lasting memorial of this additional token of divine favor, Jacob again erected a pillar of stone, which he consecrated in the usual manner.

Jacob’s heart yearned to visit his early home once more, and look again upon his aged father’s face. With his family, he journeyed toward Hebron. Before they had proceeded far on the way, Rachel gave birth to Benjamin. She had only a moment’s space of life in which to name him, when she died, calling him Benoni, the son of my sorrow. But Jacob named him Benjamin, the son of my right hand, and my strength. Rachel was buried where she died, and above her grave was placed a stone monument to perpetuate her memory.

Rebekah, his mother, was dead; and while they were at Bethel, Deborah, his mother’s nurse, also died, and was there buried with expressions of great sorrow, for she had been an honored member of his father’s family. The meeting of Jacob with his father was a joyful one to both father and son. Isaac was very old, blind, and dependent; but he lived some years after the return of his son.

At the death-bed of their father, the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, met and united their grief. Once Esau had looked forward to this event as a time when he would be revenged upon Jacob for stealing from him his father’s blessing; but his feelings had greatly changed. Jacob was now wealthy, and he returned to Esau the blessing of possession so recklessly sold for a mess of pottage. Therefore the two brothers, no longer separated by enmity, jealousy, and hatred, parted from each other because of their possessions. Jacob also knew that their religious faith was so unlike it would be better for them to live apart. Jacob’s character was greatly modified and refined by the blessing received from the angel in that night of terrible conflict, and ever after he was reverenced by all who knew him. His trials had not been in vain.

Jenny @ 6:45 pm
November 20, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels.
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter XIII.
and the .
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By Mrs. E. G. White.
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The course which Jacob had pursued in deceiving his father was ever before him. He knew that his long exile was the result of his own deviation from strict , the . He pondered over these things day and night, his him, and making his journey very sad. How he longed to again go over the ground where he had stumbled and brought the upon his . Before his he had a sense of which made him brave under difficulties, and cheerful amid trouble and gloom. To this deep, abiding , he had long been a stranger. Yet he remembered with the which had shown him, the of the shining ladder, and the promises of and . In solemn review of the mistakes and errors of his life, and the dealings of God with him, he humbly acknowledged his own , the great of , and the prosperity which had crowned his labors.

As the hills of his native land appeared before him in the distance, the heart of the patriarch was deeply stirred. He had proved his God, and found his promises unfailing; he believed that God would be with him; yet as he drew near to Edom he had many fears of Esau, who was now able to do his younger brother great injury if so disposed. Again the Lord encouraged the heart of his servant with a token of divine care and protection. Directly before him, as if leading the way, he beheld two armies of heavenly angels marching as a guide and guard; and when he saw them he broke forth in language of praise, and exclaimed, “This is God’s host.” And he called the name of the place Mahanaim, which signifies two hosts, or camps.

Although Jacob had so great evidence that God would protect him, he felt that he himself had something to do for his own safety. He therefore sent his servants with a conciliatory message to Esau, who dwelt at Mount Seir, in the country of Edom. He did not claim the precedence for himself, but courteously addressed his brother as a superior, hoping thus to appease the anger which his former course had excited. Esau was informed of his younger brother’s safe return with abundant possessions of cattle and servants, and that he would be most happy to meet him with fraternal feelings. The messengers returned to their master with the tidings that Esau was advancing to meet him attended by four hundred men; and no response was sent to the friendly message.

It appeared certain that Esau was coming in anger to seek revenge. A feeling of terror pervaded to entire camp. Jacob was in distress. He could not go back, and he feared to advance. His company was few in numbers, and wholly unprepared for an encounter. He accordingly divided them into two bands, that if one should be attacked, the other might have an opportunity to escape. He would not fail to do all in his power to preserve his own life and the life of those dependent upon him, and then he pleaded with God for his presence and protecting care. He did not rely upon his feelings, nor upon any goodness which he possessed, but on the sure promise of God: “Thou saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now am I become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.”

Jacob halted in his journey to mature plans for appeasing the wrath of his brother. He would not rush recklessly into danger, but sent large presents to Esau by the hands of his servants, with a message well calculated to make a favorable impression. He sent his wives and children, with all his substance forward on the journey, while he himself remained behind. He thought the sight of that helpless little company would touch the feelings of Esau, who, though bold and revengeful, was yet pitiful and tender toward the weak and unprotected. If his eye rested first upon Jacob, his rage might be excited, and they would all perish.

Jacob wished to be alone with his God. It was midnight. All that made life dear to him was at a distance, exposed to danger and death. The bitterest drop in his cup of anguish was the thought that his own sin had brought this great peril upon his wives and children, who were innocent of the sin of which he was guilty. He had decided to spend the night in humiliation and prayer. God could soften the heart of his brother. God was his only refuge and strength. In a desolate place, infested by robbers and murderers, he bowed in deep distress upon the earth; his soul was rent with anguish, and with earnest cries mingled with tears he made his prayer before God. Strong hands are suddenly laid upon his shoulders. He immediately grapples his assailant, for he feels that this attack is a design upon his life; that he is in the hands of a robber or murderer. The contest is severe; neither utters a word; but Jacob puts forth all his strength, and does not relax his efforts for a moment. Thus the struggle continued, until near the break of day, when the stranger placed his finger upon Jacob’s thigh, and he was crippled instantly. The patriarch now discerns the character of his antagonist. He knows that he has been in bodily conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this is why his almost superhuman efforts did not gain for him the victory. He is now disabled and suffering keenest pain, but he will not loosen his hold. He falls, a conquered foe, all penitent and broken, upon the neck of the angel.

In the inspired history of this event, the one who wrestled with Jacob is called a man; Hosea calls him the angel; while Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face.” He is also said to have had power with God. It was the Majesty of Heaven, the Angel of the covenant, that came, in the form and appearance of a man, to Jacob. The divine messenger uses some force to release himself from the grasp of Jacob; he pleads with him, “Let me go, for the day breaketh.” But Jacob had been pleading the promises of God; he had been trusting his pledged word, which is as sure and unfailing as his throne; and now, through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal, can make terms with Jesus Christ: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” What boldness is here manifested! What lofty faith, what perseverance and holy trust! Was this presumption and undue familiarity on the part of Jacob? Had it been of this character he would not have lived through the scene. His was not a self-exalted, boastful, presumptuous claim, but the assurance of one who realizes his weakness and unworthiness and the ability of God to fulfill his promise. The mistake which had led to Jacob’s sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud was now opened before him. He had not trusted God and his promises as he should have done. He had sought by his own works and power to bring about that which God was abundantly able to perform in his own time and way.

“And when he saw that he prevailed not against him”–the Majesty of Heaven prevailed not against a man of dust, a sinful mortal! The reason is, that man has fastened the trembling hand of faith upon the promise of God, and the divine, messenger cannot leave him who is hanging repentant, weeping, helpless upon his neck. His great heart of love cannot turn away from the suppliant without granting his request. Christ did not wish to leave him unblest when his soul was shrouded with despair; for he is more willing to give good things to them that ask him than are parents to give to their children.

The angel inquired of Jacob, “What is thy name?” and on being informed he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, [the supplanter] but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob had received the blessing for which his soul had longed; his sin as a supplanter and deceiver was pardoned. The crisis in his life had passed. God shows, in his dealing with Jacob, that he will not sanction the least wrong in any of his children; neither will he cast off and leave to despair and destruction those who are deceived and tempted and betrayed into sin. Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had embittered Jacob’s life; but now all was changed, and how sweet was the rest and peace in God, in the assurance of his restored favor.

“Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us, even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial.” What a morning of light and joy dawned upon Jacob. The dark, despairing shadows brooding over him the previous night had disappeared. The brightness of the sun, shining in its glory, fitly represented the heavenly light that filled his soul. He was crippled in body, but his spirit was strong in God. He bore some marks of the battle, but the victory was his.

In this instance we see of what value is man in the sight of the infinite God. When a teacher of men upon the earth, the One who appeared to Jacob said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” The promises of God are so sure to those who trust in him that he will suffer the heavens and the earth to pass away, rather than fail to fulfill the desire of them that fear him. The great lessons of peace, humility, and trust, are to be learned by all the followers of Christ.

While Jacob was wrestling with the angel on that eventful night, another angel, one of the host which the patriarch had seen guarding him in the way, was sent to move upon the heart of Esau in his sleeping hours. In his dream he saw his brother an exile from his father’s house for twenty years through fear of his anger; he witnessed his sorrow to find his mother dead; and he beheld him encompassed with the hosts of God. Esau related this dream to his four hundred armed men, and charged them not to injure Jacob, for the God of his father was with him.

The two companies at last approach each other; the sturdy chieftain with his soldiers on one side, and on the other, Jacob, pale from his recent conflict, and halting at every step, yet with a benignity and peaceful light reflected upon his countenance; in the rear an unarmed company of men, women, and children, followed by the flocks and herds. Supported by his staff the patriarch went forward to meet that band of warriors, bowing himself repeatedly to the ground as a token of respect, while his little retinue awaited the issue with the deepest anxiety. They saw the arms of Esau thrown about the neck of Jacob, pressing to his bosom him whom he had so long threatened with direst vengeance. Revenge is now changed to tender affection, and he who once thirsted for his brother’s blood shed tears of joy, his heart melted with the softest endearments of love and tenderness. The soldiers in Esau’s army saw the result of that night of weeping and of prayer; but they knew nothing of the conflict and the victory. They understood the feelings of the patriarch, the husband and father, for his family and his possessions; but they could not see the connection that he had with God, which had gained the heart of Esau from Him who has all hearts in his hand. Thus it has ever been with worldlings; the secret of the Christian’s strength is not discerned by them. His inner life they cannot understand.

Esau looked with pleasure upon his brother’s possessions. He acknowledged the presents tendered to him by Jacob, but declined to accept them, as he already possessed abundance. But Jacob urged the matter. He was a prince with God, yet as subdued and humble as a little child. “And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.”

Esau invited Jacob to his home in Seir, and offered to accompany him on the journey. But Jacob had no disposition to accept the offer. He knew that Esau was now under the direct influence of the Spirit of God; when another spirit should come upon him he might greatly change in feelings. Jacob did not refuse the offer, but presented the true condition of his party, his flocks and herds; that they could not travel with the expedition which would be agreeable to Esau and his band. He urged him to return to his own place, while the party would follow on slowly. Esau desired to leave with his brother soldiers to guard him and his company; but Jacob had evidence that they were guarded by a mighty host of heavenly angels, and he courteously declined the favor. The brothers parted with tender feelings.
                           (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 6:30 pm