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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."
This was Jacob's vow, let us try to explain. it. We have here an example of the prayer of faith. God had promised to be with Jacob, to keep him and bring him back in safety: Jacob therefore lays hold of this promise. He makes use of the words which God had spoken to him, and says, If God will be thus with me and keep me, and provide for all my necessary wants and bring me home to my father's house again in peace, then in return ↑ will be his forever. Jesus Christ hath told us to seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all other necessary good shall be given us.* This was Jacob's way. First he asked for the presence and blessingof God, to keep near to him and protected by his power, and then he asked for food and raiment, and last of all that he might return in safety. Esau longed for the days of mourning that he might kill Jacob, but Jacob longed
Matt. 6. 33.
to be reconciled to his brother, and hoped to find his father alive at his return. Jacob here bound himself unto the Lord. He entered into a solemn engagement to serve the Lord. We have in this Vow the faith, piety, and moderation of Jacob.
His faith was such that he trusted in the Promise which God had made to him. He knew from what God had said to him that he would provide for him wherever he went and wherever he was. The promises of God should be the guide and measure of our expectations. Let us always remember that we have much more than we deserve. Behold his picty and regard to God. All his desire was that God would be with him and keep him. This will make us happy and contented. If God is with us, and we know that we are under his protection, when we are on a journey, how comfortable it is to have good company by the way. God and the holy An gels were with Jacob, what better companions could he desire. How happy those must feel, who when they journey in an unknown, and dangerous country, have a good guide and a
good guard. Jacob had God for his guide and Angels for his guard. To be well provided on a journey, is another good thing to have provisions for the way. This God had promised, and this was all that Jacob desired to have, food to eat, and raiment to put on. How great was the moderation of Jacob. Nature wants but little. "Man wants little here below nor wants that little long." If Jacob asked no more, then let us try to be contented with what we have. How many there are who when they go on a journey to seek their fortune, as it is called, desire to have many other things besides food and raiment. Those who have more than food and raiment, have it given to them that they may give to others. It is given them in order that they may give to those who need it. Those who keep it, and lay it up for themselves, do not enjoy it. With all their abundance they are often very unhappy. A little with the fear of the Lord is better than great riches and sorrow therewith. If God gives us more than food and raiment, let us be thankful, and use it for his glory. If he gives us only food and raiment,
ment, let us be satisfied and contented. Let us enjoy, to enjoy his presence and blessing, which are more to be desired than food and raiment, yea better than life itself. "Then shall the Lord be my God. I will renounce Idolatry. I will own no other God. I will worship no other, I will pray to him who seeth in secret." It also includes a solemn promise to maintain the worship of God, in his family. I will build an altar on this very spot and offer the tenth of all my property to the service of God. All that Jacob engaged to do, was lawful and practicable, the circumstances, the place of this solemn worship, and the tenth part of his substance which he resolved to give to God, were all right and proper, it was all cheerfully given without any command, without any restraint or limitation. Let us imitate the example of Jacob. "Honour the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
* Prov. 3, 9, 10.
III. CATECHETICAL QUESTIONS.
1. What are the words of the Text? And Jacob vowed a vow.
2. What is a vow? A solemn promise made to God, to do some good thing at a future time.
3. What was Jacob's vow? "If God will be with me and 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 the Lord be my God. And this stone which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: aud of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee."
4. What do we learn concerning Jacob, in this Vow? That he was a man of FAITH, PIETY and MODERATION.
5. Did Jacob ever perform this Vow? Yes, on his return from Padanaram, we find, "That he built there an Altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him when he fled from the face of his brother. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: