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whose head it was to rest by the divine determination, he acquies'd in the will of God, tho’it contradicted his own apprehension and affection ; and was so far from reversing what he had done that he repeats it and passionately affirms it, t I bave blesred him, yea, and he shall be blessid. And tho' Facob acted a dishonest and finful part, (of which he was afterwards no doubt made sensible, and bro'r to repentance for it, and lo mercifully pardon'd of the free grace of God thro’ the promiled Messiab ) yet Ifaac in his blessing him, and not reversing it, was under the conduc and influence of the divine Spirit; for we are cold, Heb. 11. 20. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob, and Elan, concerning things to come. Here Jacob is put first by the apostle, tho' the younger, as having the precedency, and a better blessing. It is indeed a strange story! And it the design and meaning of it be enquir'd after, the apostle explains it Thus, in Romans the 9th ch. 1. v. That the purpose of God according to ele&tion might stand, not of works, but of him that calletb. i. e. fays Mr. Henry on the place, “ That this great truth may be establish'd, that God chulech fome, and refusech others, as a free agent,
† Gen. 27. 33:
by his own abfolute and sovereign will, dispensing his favours, or withholding them, as he pleafeth.”
And if we look to the posterity of Jacob, the Israelites, this people the Lord chose in Abrabam, tour hundred years before he publickly own'd them. They are exprefly term’d an ele&t nation, as being distinguish d from the rest of the world; an boly, ipecial, and peculiar people unto God. When he divided to the nations tbeir inberitance, and reparaled the Sons of Adam, He took these for his own portion, the lot of his inheritance; † cho the earth was his to chuse a people out of to his naine. And their history, from the time of their being first form'd into a people, abundantly shews the special and peculiar love of God to them, above all, other people in the world. Because they were precious in his fight and bonourable, there. fore he gave men for them, and people for their life, when their preservation and interests callid for it ; yea, he gave Egypt for their ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for them. * And why did the Lord take these? What was there to intitle them to this diftinguishing honour? Did he chuse them because they were a better people, or a greater nation ?
No such matter. Moses tells them, Deut. 7. 7, 8. The Lord did not fet his love upon you, nor chuse you, because ye were more in number than any people, for je were the fewest of all people. And as their number was small, so cheir disposition was bad and their man. ners ill. They were a peevish and humoursome people,froward and perverse, obstinate and incorrigible ; ftrangely addicted to the idolatries of Egypt, and other nations. The Lord fore-law this before he chose them; for he tells them by the prophet, Ilai. 48. 4. 8. I knew that thou wouldest deal treacherousy, and wast called a tranfgresor from the womb. I knew that thou wast obstinate, tby neck an iron finew, and thy brow brass. I have even from the beginning declared it unto thee; before it came to pass I Newed it thee. Therefore the only reason affign'd why God sec his love upon them as he did, is this, because be loved them. All was from free favour, to manifest his lovereignty, and because he had his clect a. mong them, in a ftill higher and more apa propriate sense. So God said to Moses, Exod. 33. 19. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy to whom I will show mercy.
If we go on to name David, He, the moft unlikely among the sons of Fele, was chosen to be the king of Ifrael. He was the
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youngeft of the family, employ'd in the meanest service, to keep the heep, ; scarce reckon'd as one of the family, for he was not bro's in amongst the rest, when Samuel was sent to anoint bim whom the Lord bad cboren. But when all the other had been refus'd as they pals'd before Samuel, tho' several of them stood fair in the eye of the prophet, and David was at last fetch'd; as soon as he appear'd the Lord said, Arise, anoint bim, for this is be. † The peculiarity of the divine choice appearing in this instance, che psalmist sings of, Pla. 78 70, 71. He chose David also his servant, and took him from among the sheep-folds; from following tbe ewes great with young, be bro's bim to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inberitance.
Another remarkable instance was Cyrus. This man was design'd in the purpose of God for great and noble work; to destroy a mighty monarchy, release God's people out of captivity, and rebuild his temple. It was foretold what great chings should be done by him, more than an hundred years before he was born; and he was called by bis name too : And chis nor from any worthyness in himself, for 'cis said he did not so much as know the Lord. This famous
man and his wondrous actions, were prophelied of so long before hand, by the prophet Ifaiab, in the latter part of the 44th, and the beginning of the 45th chapters of his book. Thus faith the Lord, ibat confirmeth the word of his servant, and performseth the counjel of his messengers ; that faith to Jerusalem, thou shalt be inhabited, and to the cities of Judah, ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof : That faith of Cyrus, He is my Shepherd, and all perform all my pleasure ; even saying to Jerusalem, thou malo be built, and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid. Thus faitlə the Lord to his anoinied, 10 Cyrus, whose right hand I have bolden, to subdue nations before bim : and I will loose the loins of kings to open before him the two-leav'd gates, and the gates shall not be shut. I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will brake in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in funder the bars of iron : And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places; that thou mayst know, that I the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Ifrael. For Jacob my fervants fake, and Ifrael mine eleĉt, I have even called thee by thy name ; 1 bave even fir-named thee, though thou hast not known me.
The prophet Jeremy was likewise ordain'd to great things before he was born. To him God said, Jer, 1; s. Before I formed