Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to cast a dark gloom over the whole of life. The young may outlive, and overcome; but an error made in life's decline is a dark pall, in which the spirit passes away from earth. God help us so to live that our last days shall be our best days.

CHAPTER IV.

THE MARRIED STATE.

RACHEL.

But 0, when I gaze on my peaceful cot,

Where the clematis bowers entwine,
The land of the stranger tempts me not-

No, ne'er can thy home be mine!

O woman, in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering aspen made,
When pain and anguish wring the brow,
A ministering angel thou !

AND JACOB SERVED SEVEN YEARS FOR RACHEL; AND THEY

SEEMED UNTO HIM BUT A FEW DAYS, FOR THE LOVE HE HAD TO HER. - Gen. 29 : 20.

VERY much of this world's history clusters around a very few individuals. Look back over the ages of the past, and you will be surprised, perhaps, to see how much space is occupied by a few persons, while the mass are dead and forgotten. God has wisely ordered that there should be but few men to lead; and these stand out singly in their places, towering above the rest. In the city of Rome is a mighty cathedral, the wonder of the world. More than three centuries were taken to complete it; forty-three popes lavished their treasures upon it; seventy millions of dollars have been put into it; it covers nearly six acres of ground, and its annual repairs amount to thirty thousand dollars. But how few of all the hundreds of thousands who have toiled upon that building are remembered! There are a few names inseparably connected with the great structure. Bramante, Raphael, and Michael Angelo have left their impress upon it, and while it stands their names will live. But where are the painters, the sculptors, the mechanics, the laborers employed by them? All dead, and their graves forgotten. These men gave the direction to the others, and their will, combined or individual, moved the wills of the millions of hands performing the work. So in the great world. There are a few minds that move it, and leave their impress upon it when they die. Thus we find all we know of the history of the world for a long period clustering around one single family, which contains on its record the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This family is almost the only one of that age of which we have any authentic record, and

it combines in its circle some of the most illustrious characters, and exhibits in its records some of the noblest deeds ever known.

In following this record, we come to the vicissitudes of Jacob, the younger son of Isaac and Rebekah. After he had so cruelly deceived his father, the impossibility of living in the same family with Esau became apparent. Even Isaac, who had somewhat recovered from his sickness, was willing that his children should leave him. It is likely that home was rendered wretched by the constant feuds of the two brothers; Jacob exulting over Esau, and Esau blaming and reproaching Jacob. The strife was so bitter, that Esau determined to kill his brother; and Rebekah, fearing such violence, sent the younger son away, saying, “ Esau will kill you if you stay here; he is so angry, that in some moment of hate and rage, he will take your life; therefore go to my brother Laban, and stay until the anger of thy brother is appeased.” Isaac also urged his son to depart. He had a different motive from that which actuated his wife. He knew that through Jacob, who had fraudulently received his blessing, deliverance was to come to the world, and he wished him to wed a religious wife, and supposed he would find such a one at. Padan Aram. So Jacob started, and pursued his way, having, as he slept one night, the miraculous dream in which he saw the ladder placed on the earth, and reaching to heaven, while up and down were angel forms seen by the dreamer's eye. The traveller arrived safely in Padan Aram, where he was destined to meet with a variety of adventures. His first interview with Rachel is thus described by the pen of Moses, who, after referring to certain people of the country, who were tending their flocks, speaks of Jacob as addressing them thus :

“My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor ? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well ? And they said, He is well ; and behold Rachel, his daughter, cometh with the sheep. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban, his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep; and Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept; and Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son. And she ran and told her father.”

To this interview followed a long and curious

« ZurückWeiter »