Genesis Chapter Thirty
A further account of Jacob's family. (1-13) Rachel beareth Joseph. (14-24) Jacob's new agreement with Laban to serve him for cattle. (25-43)
Commentary on Genesis 30:1-13
Rachel envied her sister: envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more hateful to God, or more hurtful to our neighbours and ourselves. She considered not that God made the difference, and that in other things she had the advantage. Let us carefully watch against all the risings and workings of this passion in our minds. Let not our eye be evil towards any of our fellow-servants, because our Master's is good. Jacob loved Rachel, and therefore reproved her for what she said amiss. Faithful reproofs show true affection. God may be to us instead of any creature; but it is sin and folly to place any creature in God's stead, and to place that confidence in any creature, which should be placed in God only. At the persuasion of Rachel, Jacob took Bilhah her handmaid to wife, that, according to the usage of those times, her children might be owned as her mistress's children. Had not Rachel's heart been influenced by evil passions, she would have thought her sister's children nearer to her, and more entitled to her care than Bilhah's. But children whom she had a right to rule, were more desirable to her than children she had more reason to love. As an early instance of her power over these children, she takes pleasure in giving them names that carry in them marks of rivalry with her sister. See what roots of bitterness envy and strife are, and what mischief they make among relations. At the persuasion of Leah, Jacob took Zilpah her handmaid to wife also. See the power of jealousy and rivalship, and admire the wisdom of the Divine appointment, which joins together one man and one woman only; for God hath called us to peace and purity.
Commentary on Genesis 30:14-24
The desire, good in itself, but often too great and irregular, of being the mother of the promised Seed, with the honour of having many children, and the reproach of being barren, were causes of this unbecoming contest between the sisters. The truth appears to be, that they were influenced by the promises of God to Abraham; whose posterity were promised the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend.
Commentary on Genesis 30:25-43
The fourteen years being gone, Jacob was willing to depart without any provision, except God's promise. But he had in many ways a just claim on Laban's substance, and it was the will of God that he should be provided for from it. He referred his cause to God, rather than agree for stated wages with Laban, whose selfishness was very great. And it would appear that he acted honestly, when none but those of the colours fixed upon should be found among his cattle. Laban selfishly thought that his cattle would produce few different in colour from their own. Jacob's course after this agreement has been considered an instance of his policy and management. But it was done by intimation from God, and as a token of his power. The Lord will one way or another plead the cause of the oppressed, and honour those who simply trust his providence. Neither could Laban complain of Jacob, for he had nothing more than was freely agreed that he should have; nor was he injured, but greatly benefitted by Jacob's services. May all our mercies be received with thanksgiving and prayer, that coming from his bounty, they may lead to his praise.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Genesis》
 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
Rachel envied her sister — Envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more injurious both to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. But this was not all, she said to Jacob, give me children or else I die - A child would not content her; but because Leah has more than one, she must have more too; Give me children: her heart is set upon it. Give them me, else I die, That is, I shall fret myself to death. The want of this satisfaction will shorten my days. Observe a difference between Rachel's asking for this mercy, and Hannah's, 1 Samuel 1:10, etc. Rachel envied, Hannah wept: Rachel must have children, and she died of the second; Hannah prayed for this child, and she had four more: Rachel is importunate and peremptory, Hannah is submissive and devout, If thou wilt give me a child, I will give him to the Lord. Let Hannah be imitated, and not Rachel; and let our desires be always under the conduct and check of reason and religion.
 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
And Jacob's anger was kindled — He was angry, not at the person, but at the sin: he expressed himself so as to shew his displeasure. It was a grave and pious reply which Jacob gave to Rachel, Am I in God's stead? - Can I give thee that which God denies thee? He acknowledges the hand of God in the affliction: He hath withheld the fruit of the womb. Whatever we want, it is God that with-holds it, as sovereign Lord, most wise, holy, and just, that may do what he will with his own, and is debtor to no man: that never did, nor ever can do, any wrong to any of his creatures. The key of the clouds, of the heart, of the grave, and of the womb, are four keys which God has in his hand, and which (the Rabbins say) he intrusts neither with angel nor seraphin. He also acknowledges his own inability to alter what God appointed, Am I in God's stead? What, dost thou make a God of me? There is no creature that is, or can be, to us in God's stead. God may be to us, instead of any creature, as the sun instead of the moon and stars; but the moon and all the stars will not be to us instead of the sun. No creature's wisdom, power, and love will be to us instead of God's. It is therefore our sin and folly to place that confidence in any creature, which is to be placed in God only.
 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
Behold my maid, Bilhah — At the persuasion of Rachel he took Bilhah her handmaid to wife, that, according to the usage of those times, his children by her might be adopted and owned as her mistresses children. She would rather have children by reputation than none at all; children that she might call her own, though they were not so. And as an early instance of her dominion over the children born in her apartment, she takes a pleasure in giving them names, that carry in them nothing but marks of emulation with her sister. As if she had overcome her, 1. At law, she calls the flrst son of her handmaid, Dan, Judgment, saying, God hath Judged me - That is, given sentence in my favour. 2. In battle, she calls the next Naphtali, Wrestlings, saying, I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed - See what roots of bitterness envy and strife are, and what mischief they make among relations!
 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
Rachel had done that absurd and preposterous thing of putting her maid into her husband's bed, and now Leah (because she missed one year in bearing children) doth the same, to be even with her. See the power of rivalship, and admire the wisdom of the divine appointment, which joins together one man and one woman only. Two sons Zilpah bare to Jacob, whom Leah looked upon herself as intitled to, in token of which she called one Gad, promising herself a little troop of children. The other she called Asher, Happy, thinking herself happy in him, and promising herself that her neighbours would think so too.
 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.
Reuben, a little lad of five or six years old, playing in the field, found mandrakes. It is uncertain what they were; the critics are not agreed about them: we are sure they were some rarities, either fruits or flowers that were very pleasant to the smell, Song of Solomon 7:13. Some think these mandrakes were Jessamin flowers. Whatever they were, Rachel, could not see them in Leah's hands, but she must covet them.
 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
And God hearkened unto Leah — Perhaps the reason of this contest between Jacob's wives for his company, and their giving him their maids to be his wives, was the earnest desire they had to fulfil the promise made to Abraham (and now lately renewed to Jacob) that his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude, and that, in one seed of his, the Messiah, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Two sons Leah was now blessed with; the flrst she called Issachar, a hire, reckoning herself well repaid for her mandrakes; nay, (which is a strange construction of the providence) rewarded for giving her maid to her husband. The other she called Zebulun, dwelling, owning God's bounty to her, God has endowed me with a good dowry. Jacob had not endowed her when he married her; but she reckons a family of children, a good dowry.
 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
Mention is made, of Dinah, because of the following story concerning her, Genesis 34:1-16, etc. Perhaps Jacob had other daughters, though not registered.
 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
God remembered Rachel, whom he seemed to have forgotten, and hearkened to her, whose prayers had been long denied, and then she bare a son. Rachael called her son Joseph, which, in Hebrew, is a-kin to two words of a contrary signification: Asaph, abstulit, he has taken away my reproach, as if the greatest mercy she had in this son were, that she had saved her credit: and Joseph, addidit, the Lord shall add to me another son: which may be looked upon as the language of her faith; she takes this mercy as an earnest of further mercy: hath God given me this grace? I may call it Joseph, and say, he shall add more grace.
 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
Laban was willing to consent to this bargain, because he thought if those few he had that were now speckled and spotted were separated from the rest, which was to be done immediately, the body of the flock which Jacob was to tend, being of one colour, either all black or all white, would produce few or none of mixt colours, and so he should have Jacob's service for nothing, or next to nothing. According to this bargain, those few that were party-coloured were separated, and put into the hands of Laban's sons, and sent three days journey off: so great was Laban's jealouly lest any of those should mix with the rest of the flock to the advantage of Jacob.
 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
Here is Jacob's policy to make his bargain more advantageous to himself than it was likely to be: and if he had not taken some course to help himself, it would have been an ill bargain indeed; which he knew Laban would never have considered, who did not consult any one's interest but his own. 1. Now Jacob's contrivances were, He set pilled sticks before the cattle where they were watered, that looking much at those unusual party-coloured sticks, by the power of imagination, they might bring forth young ones in like manner party-coloured. Probably this custom was commonly used by the shepherds of Canaan, who coveted to have their cattle of this motly colour. 2. When he began to have a flock of ring-straked and brown, he contrived to set them first, and to put the faces of the rest towards them, with the same design as he did the former. Whether this was honest policy, or no, may admit of a question. Read Genesis 31:7-16, and the question is resolved.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Genesis》
30 Chapter 30
Rachel envied her sister.
I. IT WAS UNGODLY.
1. She was the victim of unholy passions. Envy and jealousy.
2. She took a despairing view of life.
3. She failed rightly to recognize the true Author of all good things.
II. IT LED TO THE ADOPTION OF WRONG EXPEDIENTS. Showing impatient haste of unbelief, and a want of confidence in God.
III. IT HAD AN INFLUENCE FOR EVIL.
2. Upon her sister (Genesis 30:9). (T. H. Leale.)
I. JACOB TOOK UPON HIMSELF DOMESTIC TROUBLES,
II. IT REQUIRES SOMETHING ELSE THAN THE ATTAINMENT OF OUR WISHES TO BRING HAPPINESS.
III. BLESSINGS DO NOT ALWAYS COME AS WE EXPECT.
IV. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.
V. THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE GRADUALLY FULFILLED.
VI. THE UNDESERVING ARE BLESSED BY GOD.
VII. HAVE PATIENCE WITH IRRITATING ASSOCIATES. (D. G. Watt, M. A.)
The infatuated Caligula slew his brother because he was a beautiful young man. Mutius, a citizen of Rome, was noted to be of such an envious and malevolent disposition, that Publius, one day, observing him to be very sad, said: “Either some great evil has happened to Mutius, or some great good to another.” “Dionysius the tyrant,” says Plutarch, “out of envy, punished Philoxenius the musician, because he could sing, and Plato, the philosopher, because he could dispute, better than himself.” Cambyses killed his brother Smerdis, because he could draw a stronger bow than himself or any of his party.
With great wrestlings have I wrestled
Thus speaks Rachel; and this woman’s experience, multiplied as it
is a thousand-fold in hearts that never told their struggles, shows us that
life is not so calm as it seems.
Beneath many a placid stream there are deep and dangerous under-currents. Often a quiet face hides the deep things, which even the dearest intimacies cannot draw out, and which constitute the tragedies of the heart’s history. It is well that we learn the need of wrestling; for life, especially Christian life, has flesh and blood to battle with. Paul says, “we wrestle”; and goodness, even at its best, is dearly bought and hardly won.
I. THIS IS TRUE OF THOSE WHO ARE OUTWARDLY THE WEAKEST. Nothing betokens the warrior; there is no mailed breast, no gauntleted hand. The character seems like the face perhaps, to be common-place and dull. But what a world there is within the humblest forms that move to and fro amongst us! That plain face that we mark no loveliness in, is beautiful perhaps in the eyes of angels--that unillustrious life is associated with paths where some Goliath has been laid low, and where the Philistine host has been dispersed.
II. THIS IS TO BE THE LOT OF OUR CHILDREN. Listen, and you may hear a sigh as of a distant storm, in the spring breeze of childhood’s morning, which may break into a weird tempest over their heads before the evening comes. These children of ours cannot do without religion, without Christ--the Brother and the Saviour of men. Do these little ones look made forthe endurance of hard wrestlings? Perhaps not. But these little hands will be stretched out in the dark night; these little feet will have to climb in loneliness the toilsome way, when you and I are gone. Who can wonder that we wish to see them before we die in the covert of the great rock?
III. THIS IS THE ONLY PATH TO VICTORY. God sees that it is best. The oak that struggles with the tempest strikes deeper root in the soil; and the faith that has struggled with doubt is the firmest of beliefs. The love which has learnt human insincerity, learns to prize beyond all price the less demonstrative love of true natures. We gain conquest through hardship, defeat, and peril. We wrestle with great wrestlings over inborn tastes and desires, over habits that have steadily risen to dominance, over affections that are carnal and corrupt, and over enemies visible and invisible. For ease is death. When we cease to wrestle, the enemy binds us with fetters of iron. Conquer we may and can--through the faith that looks upward all through the wrestling years. To him that overcometh the glorious promise of victory is vouchsafed. But the struggle will be severe; we shall have not only ordinary sorrows, superficial anxieties, but great wrestlings; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. These wrestlings are not mere matters of mental energy; they are connected with moral pain. Dispositions natural to us have to be overcome; human nature, like a child, likes to be spoiled and petted--it can ill-endure rebuke and resistance I Consequently the battle is hard, and there is no plaudit of honour, no noise of conquest, no palm-wreath on the brow.
IV. THIS IS THE ANCIENT WAY. It leads us back to Moses, to Abraham, and to Jacob who was left alone--“and there wrestled a man with him till the break of day” (Genesis 32:24). And that we have a Divine nature is proven by man’s spiritual wrestlings from the earliest dawn of history. And the rendering of this text, as you will see in the margin of your Bibles, leads us to think of God. “With great God-wrestlings have I wrestled.” And this ancient way will be our way too. (W. M. Statham, M. A.)
And God remembered Rachel
God’s favour towards Rachel
IT WAS LONG DELAYER. Discipline.
II. IT WAS GRANTED TO HER AFTER SOME SOLEMN LESSONS HAD BEEN LEARNED.
3. Faith and hope.
III. IT AWAKENED GRATITUDE.
1. Grateful recognition of God’s dealings (verse23).
2. Heartfelt acknowledgment of God (Genesis 30:24). (T. H. Leale.)
Send me away that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country
The lights of home
There is in Switzerland a hill known as the Heimweh Fluh, or
It is so called because it is usually the last spot visited by the traveller when leaving that part of the country at a time when his thoughts are turned homeward. It commands a glorious view of the whole valley of Interlaken, with its fields and pastures, its villages and lakes, with a back-ground of snow-capped mountains. It is a fair scene, but the heart of the traveller is not there. His thoughts are with his friends and loved ones at home. He looks upon the homesick mount, and seems to murmur with the patriarch Jacob, “Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.” There are many such homesick mounts, such landmarks, to remind us of home. The sailor on the slippery deck points to some dark towering cliff, and says, “We shall soon see the Lizard Light”; or, “Yonder is Beechy Head!” The traveller along the wintry road strains his eyes through the darkness to catch a glimpse of the lights of home. And we, if we have learnt to think of our life here as a pilgrimage, shall often stand, as it were, upon some Heimweh Fluh, some mount of home-sickness, and whilst we gaze on the beauties of this world; we shall feel, “This is not my home, I am a stranger and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.” We shall press onward “through the night of doubt and sorrow,” straining our eyes to catch sight of the lights of home. Let us, by God’s grace, try to live and work for Him daily, and when death comes we can say, without fear, “Send me away, that I may go to mine own place, and to my country.” The dying Baxter, who wrote “The Saints’ Rest,” said, “I am almost well, and nearly at home!” and another dying man exclaimed, “I am going home as fast as I can, and I bless God that I have a good home to go to.” Yes, that thought of home is a blessed one, both for time and for eternity. During the American Civil War the two rival armies were encamped opposite each other on the banks of the Potomac River. When the federal bands played some national air of the union, the confederate musicians struck up a rival tune, each band trying to out-play and silence the other. Suddenly one of the bands played “ Home, Sweet Home,” and the contest ceased. The musicians of both armies played the same tune, voices from opposite sides of the river joined the chorus, “There’s no place like home!” So we, the pilgrim band, are bound together by that one strong link--we are going to our own place and our own country, “Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.” When that brave soldier of Jesus Christ, Charles Kingsley, lay dying, he was heard to murmur, “No more fighting; no more fighting.” No one knows the full meaning of those words except one who has fought the good fight, whose life has been one long battle with sin. Those words have no meaning for the coward who yielded himself a prisoner to the enemy, the drunkard who never fought against his besetting sin, the angry man who never wrestled with the demon of his temper. What know they of fighting? (H. J.Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)
I have learned by experience
Moral and religious lessons gained by experience
The words are Laban’s, and, taken in their connection, they
intimate that even an utterly wordly man, such as he was, may be forced to
acknowledge the moral providence of God, whereby He takes especial and peculiar
care of His servants.
Look at the moral and religious lessons which a thoughtful man may learn by experience.
I. We learn by experience MUCH THAT IS WHOLESOME ABOUT OURSELVES. By the blunders we have made, the falls we have suffered, the injuries we have sustained, the sins we have committed, and the wrongs we have inflicted on others, God has enlightened us in the knowledge of ourselves, and made us feel that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
II. Experience has taught us MUCH REGARDING THE WORLD AND ITS PLEASURES, POSSESSIONS, AND ENJOYMENTS. Even in the case of the Christian, there is much to wean him from the world as the years roll on. As he grows older the world becomes less and less to him, and Christ becomes more and more. He learns to delight in God, and his growth in holiness becomes the ambition of his life.
III. The experience of the lapse of years teaches US MORE AND MORE OF GOD AS THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. We have increasing proofs of God’s wisdom and God’s faithfulness. Whoever has been false to us, He has remained true. This testimony of experience thus grows with our growth and strengthens with our strength. It is a fortress which is utterly impregnable. (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Find men where you may, they all agree in owning that they owe much to the same Instructor: they all agree in owning that they have grown wiser for the teaching of that unflattering Preceptor, who knows no royal road to truth, and in whose stern school you must stumble once, that you may learn to avoid falling again. And truly here is the best way to learn--the way that sinks the deepest, and is remembered the best.
And if it be true, as the proverbial saying would have it, that experience teaches the foolish, surely it is true no less that experience makes the wise. And as experience is the teacher that instructs all men and instructs them unthanked and unasked, so there are many things which no other can teach us: many lessons we never learn, and many matters we never rightly understand, till we have “learned by experience.” We shall never know, for example, what our hearts can feel and bear, by the descriptions of other people; no account can make us understand what great sorrow is, or great anxiety, or buoyant gladness, or hearty gratitude, or fixed determination; we must feel in ourselves the quickened pulse of hopefulness, the laden heart of care, the blankness of disappointment and failure; or we shall never know what they mean. Even Jesus Christ, our Maker, gained that consummate sympathy with us which it became our Saviour to have, through actual experience. But there is one class of subjects one great subject which above all others we must know by experience, or we shall not know at all. My brethren, this is a thing that is hard upon mere human reason; this matter of the real power and efficacy of prayer. If there be any truth in what we believe of the power of prayer, it is the mightiest agent--save God Himself--in all the universe: it is stronger than the hurricane that wrecks a navy: stronger than the great ocean to which man’s mightiest works are as a plaything. Christian brethren, let us frankly confess what a weak state, what an insecure position we should be in, if we were taking all this on hearsay. Why, it looks such a truly monstrous deal to believe, that positively for your credit as a reasonable man, you would be half ashamed to say you fancied all this. Never concern yourself to unravel the threads the sceptic has twisted; never set yourself to answer by argument the objections he has raised. It can be done, but there is a far better way. Tell him that your Bible bids you pray, and assures you that prayer shall prevail; but tell him more--and God be thanked if you can say so much--tell him that you have put the matter to the proof!--that you were not content to take the thing on the word of others; that you fairly tried, and that you “learned by experience” that prayer is heard and answered! Another thing that we may learn by rote, but that we never shall really believe till we learn it by experience, is the insufficiency of this world to satisfy the soul; the great truth, that “This is not our rest.” For experience alone is enough to bring men to the strong belief, that all worldly things, even when possessed in their intensest degree, leave an aching void within the soul--many a stated man of pleasure, many a successful man of ambition, has told us as much as that--but it needs God’s Holy Spirit to touch the soul, before it can take the next step--before it can draw the final conclusion--that the right things for the soul to love and seek are beyond the grave, and that the heart’s true home and abiding treasure are there. But we shall give the remainder of our time to looking at one great fact which is best learned by experience--I mean the preciousness, the all-sufficiency, the love and grace, of our blessed Saviour. You remember it is written, “Unto you which believe He is precious.” Now that seems to mean, that to those who believe, He is more precious than He is to other people; that, in a peculiarly strong sense, His preciousness is a thing that must be learned by experience. So it is. And it is easy to see how it must be. For the value of a thing is understood fully only by those who know how much they want it. And if a man feels that he does not want a thing--that he can do perfectly well without it--why, he will esteem it as of very little value indeed. Now a perfectly worldly and unconverted man feels he needs food, he cannot do without that; and so of course he sets a value on it. He feels he needs a home to dwell in--he cannot do without that; and so of course he sets a value on it. He feels he needs friends--that life would be a poor, heartless thing without them; and so he sets a value on them. But the quite worldly and unconverted man, who brings everything to a quite worldly estimate, does not feel he needs Christ; he never feels any want of Him; he thinks he can do quite well without Him; and of course he sets no value on Him; of course the Saviour is not precious to that man--how can He be? But, brethren, look to the man who has been convinced of his sin and misery by the Spirit of God; and that only our Redeemer can save us from that dismal estate, and see what he thinks of Christ! Yes, that convicted sinner has found his need of the Saviour. He has learnt that food and raiment, and all things men work hardest for and value most, are not the one thing needful--are worth nothing when compared with a saving interest in the blessed Lamb of God. He has “learned by experience I “ He has felt a want, felt that the Saviour alone could supply that want; and he knows what Christ is worth, by what Christ has done! (A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)
1. The true teacher.
2. The universal monitor.
3. The indisputable evidence.
4. Experience of sin, pardon, peace.
5. Character thus becomes argument.
6. Let sin be subjected to this test.
7. The Christian triumphant here.
8. Many can answer by experience who cannot answer by controversy. (J. Parker, D. D.)
Learning by experience
The world is a school, and the period of our remaining here is the school-time of our existence. The school is a severe one, the discipline is hard, and the process is often tedious. God is the teacher, and He has many assistants, which in various ways and manners are used to bring the soul to saving knowledge of the truth. Now, there is no method so potent for impressing facts on the mind as actual practice. Theory is an ideality which amid the whirl of time and business is soon dissipated. It is only when we ourselves apprehend, through actual touching and handling, that we get a positive and practical knowledge of anything. The most learned engineer who ever lived would feel at a terrible loss if put to drive an express locomotive or to superintend the engines of a vast steamship, if he had never seen one before, although he might have read and written on the subjects all his life. The most skilful theoretical architect would shrink from the ordeal of practical building.
I. We learn by experience THE FLIGHT OF TIME. The child is scarcely conscious that time moves at all. It is to him a calm, placid, unruffled lake. But the illusion is gradually dispelled. Youth deepens into maturity, maturity glides into incipient decay, and the soul is startled to find how rapidly life is passing. Then it begins to fly by like a rushing river torrent.
II. We learn by experience THE FRAILTY OF HUMAN NATURE. The curse of decay comes as a revelation. Death of a playmate or relation startles the little soul and awakens an unknown terror. Then with the flight of time comes the realization of weakness within ourselves.
III. We have learned by experience the DISAPPOINTMENTS OF EARTH. How has the sanguine heart grown broken and seared! The rosy vision has minished into darkness. Disappointments!
IV. We have learnt by experience THE VANITY OF TRUSTING TO SELF. Self-sufficiency is man’s heritage and Satan’s mightiest weapon. The best contrived scheme brought to nought, the wisest forethought nullified, the labours of a lifetime lost, have shown us how vain is man.
V. We have learned by experience THE UNENDING LOVE, COMPASSION, AND GOODNESS OF GOD. (Homilist.)
I. SOME OF THE LESSONS LEARNED BY EXPERIENCE.
1. The unsatisfying nature of all earthly objects.
2. The preciousness of Christ.
3. The efficacy of prayer.
4. The benefit of affliction.
5. The sustaining power of God’s grace.
II. THE REASONS WHY GOD TEACHES US BY EXPERIENCE.
1. Because we will not learn our duty without it.
2. Because the lessons thus acquired are the most valuable and permanent.
3. Because we are then more useful to our fellow-men. (Seeds and Saplings.)
Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it
Jacob’s new contract of service
IT WAS ENTERED UPON IN OPPOSITION TO HIS BETTER FEELINGS AND CONVICTIONS.
II. IT WAS MARKED BY WORLDLY PRUDENCE.
1. The prudence which calculates.
2. The prudence which takes advantage of superior knowledge. (T. H.Leale.)
Lawful diligence blessed
A Divine benediction is always invisibly breathed on painful and lawful diligence. Thus the servant employed in making and blowing of the fire, though sent away thence as soon as it burneth clear, ofttimes getteth by his pains a more kindly and continuing heat than the master himself who sitteth down by the same; and thus persons industriously occupying themselves thrive better on a little of their own honest getting than lazy heirs on the large revenues left unto them. (Fuller.)
What though you have found no treasure, nor has any friend left you a rich legacy! Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell or to keep. Work while it is called to-day, for you know not how much you may be hindered to-morrow. One to-day is worth two to-morrows, as poor Richard says; and further, never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day. (Franklin.)
God has given us precepts of such a holiness and such a purity, such a meekness and such humility, as hath no pattern but Christ, no precedent but the purities of God; and, therefore, it is intended we should live with a life whose actions are not chequered with white and black, half sin and half virtue. God’s sheep are not like Jacob’s flock, “streaked and spotted,” it is an entire holiness that God requires, and will not endure to have a holy course interrupted by the dishonour of a base and ignoble action. I do not mean that a man’s life can be as pure as the sun, or the rays of celestial Jerusalem; but like the moon, in which there are spots, but they are no deformity; a lessening only and an abatement of light, no cloud to hinder and draw a veil before its face, but sometimes it is not so severe and bright as at other times. Every man hath his indiscretions and infirmities, but no good man ever commits one act of adultery; no godly man will at any time be drunk; or if he be he ceases to be a godly man, and is run into the confines of death, and is sick at heart, and may die of the sickness--die eternally. (Jeremy Taylor.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》