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into the habit, and, by the ease with which they are both done, they save the spectator a world of pity-But those like Jacob's, brought upon him -by the hands from which he looked for all his comforts, the avarice of a parent-the unkindness of a relation-the ingratitude of a child,they are evils which leave a scar;-besides,as they hang over the heads of all, and therefore may fall upon any, every looker on has an interest in the tragedy...but then we are apt to interest ourselves no otherwise, than merely as the incidents themselves strike our passions, without carrying the lesson farther-In a word-we realize nothing,we sigh--we wipe away the tear, and there ends the story of misery, and the moral with it.

Let us try to do better with this. To begin with the bad bias which gave the whole turn to the patriarch's life, parental partiality-or parental injustice, it matters not by what title it stands distinguished-it is that, by which Rebekah planted a dagger in Esau's breast, and an eternal terror with it in her own, lest she should live to be deprived of them both in one day ;-and trust me, dear Christians, wherever that equal balance of kindness and love, which children look up to you for, as their natural right, is no longer maintained

there will daggers ever be planted; "the son "shall literally be set at variance against his father, "and the daughter against her mother, and the "daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and 66 a man's foes shall be they of his own houshold.”

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It was an excellent ordinance, as well of domestic policy, as of equity, which Moses gave upon this head, in the 21st of Deuteronomy.

"If a man have two wives, one beloved and one " hated, and they have born him children, both "the beloved and the hated, and if the first born


son be hers that was hated, then it shall be, "when he maketh his sons to inherit that which VOL. III.


" he hath, that he may not make the son of the "beloved first-born, before the son of the hated, "which is indeed the first born, but he shall ac"knowledge the son of the hated for first born, "by giving him a double portion of all that he "hath." The evil was well fenced against-for it is one of those which steals in upon the heart with the affections, and courts the parent under so sweet a form, that thousands have been betrayed by the very virtues which should have preserved them. Nature tells the parent, there can be no error on the side of affection;-but we forget, when Nature pleads for one, she pleads for every child alike-and, Why is not her voice to be heard? Solomon says, Oppression will make a wise man mad. What will it do then, to a tender and ingenuous heart, which feels itself neglected,—too full of reverence for the author of its wrongs, to complain?

See, it sits down in silence; robbed, by discouragements, of all its natural powers to please,born to see others loaded with caresses-in some uncheary corner it nourishes its discontent,—and, with a weight upon its spirits which its little stock of fortitude is not able to withstand-it droops and pines away.-Sad victim of caprice!

We are unavoidably led here into a reflection upón Jacob's conduct in regard to his son Joseph, which no way corresponded with the lesson of wisdom, which the miseries of his own family might have taught him: Surely his eyes had seen sorrows sufficient on that score, to have taken warning: And yet we find, that he fell into the same snare of partiality to that child, in his old age, which his mother Rebekah had shown to him, in hers, -" for Israel loved Joseph more than all his chil"dren, because he was the son of his old age, "and he made him a coat of many colors." O Israel! where was that prophetic spirit which darted into future times, and told each tribe what

was to be its fate-Where was it fled that it could not aid thee to look so little a way forwards, as to behold this coat of many colors stained with blood? Why were the tender emotions of a parent's anguish hid from thy eyes and, why is every thing?—but that it pleases heaven to give us no more light in our way, than will leave virtue in possession of its recompense

-Grant me, gracious Gop! to go cheerfully on the road which thou hast marked out, I wish it neither more wide or more smooth: Continue the light of this dim taper thou hast put into my hands: -I will kneel upon the ground seven times a day, to seek the best track I can with it-and, having done that, I will trust myself, and the issue of my journey, to Thee, who art the fountain of joy,and will sing songs of comfort as I go along.

Let us proceed to the second great concurrence in the patriarch's life-the imposition of a wife upon him, which he neither bargained for, or loved. "And it came to pass in the morning, behold it was “Leah! and he said unto Laban, What is this that "thou hast done unto me? Did I not serve thee for "Rachel ? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?"

This, indeed, is out of the system of all conjugal impositions now, but the moral of it is still good, and the abuse, with the same complaint of Jacob's upon it, will ever be repeated, so long as art and artifice are so busy as they are in these affairs.

Listen, I pray you, to the stories of the disappointed in marriage :-Collect all their complaints -hear their mutual reproaches; upon what fatal hinge do the greatest part of them turn?" They were mistaken in the person."--Some disguise, cither of body or mind, is seen through in the first domestic scuffle :-Some fair ornament-perhaps the very one which won the heart,—the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, falls off:-It is not the Rachel for whom I have served-Why hast thou beguiled me.

Be open-be honest: Give yourself for what you are; conceal nothing-varnish nothing ;-and if these fair weapons will not do, better not conquer at all, than conquer for a day -When the night is passed, it will ever be the same story,— And it came to pass, behold it was Leah!

If the heart beguiles itself in its choice, and imagination will give excellencies which are not the portion of flesh and blood :-When the dream is over, and we awake in the morning, it matters little whether it is Rachel or Leah!be the object what it will, as it must be on the earthly side, at least, of perfection, it will fall short of the work of fancy, whose existence is in the clouds.

In such cases of deception, let no man exclaim as Jacob does in his,- What is it thou hast done anto me?- -for it is his own doings, and he has nothing to lay his fault on, but the heat and poetic indiscretion of his passions.

I know not whether it is of any use, to take notice of this singularity in the patriarch's life, in regard to the wrong he received from Laban, which was the very wrong he had done before to his father Isaac, when the infirmities of old age had disabled him from distinguishing one child from another-Art thou my very son Esau? and he said, I am. It is doubtful whether Leah's veracity was put to the same test,-but both suffered from a similitude of stratagem ; and it is hard to say, whether the anguish, from crossed love, in the breast of one brother might not be as sore a punishment as the disquietudes of crossed ambition and revenge in the breast of the other.

I do not see which way the honor of Providence is concerned in repaying us exactly in our own coin,- -or, why a man should fall into that very pit (and no other) which he has graven and digged for another man. Time and chance may bring such incidents about; and there wants nothing, but that

Jacob should have been a bad man, to have made this a common-place text for such a doctrine.

It is enough for us, that the best way to escape evil, is in general, not to commit it ourselvesand that, whenever the passions of mankind will order it otherwise, to rob those, at least, who love judgment, of the triumph of finding it out,―That our travail has returned upon our heads, and our violent dealings upon our own pates.

I cannot conclude this discourse, without returning first to the part with which it set out, the patriarch's account to the king of Egypt, of the shortness and misery of his days-Give me leave to bring this home to us, by a single reflection upon each.

There is something strange in it, that life should appear so short in the gross-and yet so long in the detail. Misery may make it so, you will say: -But we will exclude it ;- -and still you will find, tho' we all complain of the shortness of life, what numbers there are who seem quite overstocked with the days and hours of it, and are continually sending out into the highways and streets of the city, to compel guests to come in, and take it off their hands. To do this with ingenuity and forecast, is not one of the least arts and businesses of life itself: And they who cannot succeed in it, carry as many marks of distress about with them, as bankruptcy herself could wear. Be as careless as we may, we shall not always have the power, nor shall we always be in a temper to let the account run thus. When the blood is cooled, and the spirits, which have hurried us on thro' half our days, before we have numbered one of them, are beginning to retire ;-then Wisdom will press a moment to be heard,- -afflictions, or a bed of sickness, will find their hours of persuasion-there is some·and, should they fail -old age will overtake us at


thing yet behind,

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