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saken; "for experience worketh hope, and hope maketh not ashamed." Christ said to Peter: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" Thus Jacob saw that God could at least send two hosts of angels to his aid. But when he was in straits, all sensible supports gradually gave way, and Jacob remained alone with God.
The affair with Esau was a much more serious one than that with Laban. But defenceless Jacob did not overcome even him by armour and weapons, not by humble messages, not by presents, nor any other means which his prudence might have dictated; but by his humble, believing prayer, or rather by God himself. God softened the heart of the infuriated Esau, who had sworn his brother's death, to such a degree, that when he came in sight of his brother, he ran to meet him, cordially embraced him, fell upon his neck, and wept. But Jacob saw in his brother the face of God. He perceived in his whole deportment the wonderful overruling power of God, who had blessed him. He saw with his eyes, in the most striking manner, that a man's actions do not stand in his own power; that he can purpose saying something, and yet that it depends upon the Lord whether he is suffered to utter it. Jacob ascribed nothing of it to himself, as the consequence of his prudence; nor could he indeed do so. He gave God alone the glory, and saw in Esau's whole deportment only the power and faithfulness of God; he therefore bowed himself seven times to the earth, more before God than before his brother. Hence he called him his lord, as he was in reality. For naturally, Esau, with his four hundred men, could have done with Jacob what he pleased; although in reality only as God pleased. Thus, with his dislocated limb, through God's help, he overpowered Esau with his four hundred men.
But we will here break off. This is wrestling so as to gain the victory; for faith is the victory that overcometh the world. This does not take place in our own strength, nor to our own praise. God receives all the glory. "No one is crowned, except he strive lawfully." See to it, how you will stand against four hundred, or whether you are able to go forth with ten thousand, against him who comes towards you with twenty thousand. But " if the Son shall make you free, then are ye free indeed."
"Is there no balm in Gilead—is there no physician there ?" inquires the sorrowing prophet Jeremiah, ch. viii. 32. He previously complains of the lamentable state in which his people were placed—a state which would draw after it one still more lamentable. "Where is the man," he asks, " who does not gladly rise again after his fall? and who, after going astray, would not gladly return to the right path? But this people hold fast deceit, and refuse to return?" However much understanding men may have in natural things, they manifest the very reverse in spiritual things.' Even the birds of the air, as he observes in verse 7, put men to shame in this respect. At the same time they were haughty, and said, " We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us; " which, however, they did not understand. Self-conceited individuals refuse advice, and therefore cannot be assisted. But must this wretched state of things continue? Is there no physician there? Or if there is, is there any want of medicine? Oh no! A physician is there. He possesses all the requisite knowledge. He perfectly understands the method of cure. He is a faithful, patient, gentle, and a kind physician. He knows the nature and real seat of every disease; knows whether he ought to use the knife or the plaster ; to cut, burn, or heal. A physician therefore is there; but is there a want of medicine—is there no balm in Gilead? Oh yes: this physician is at the same time the medicine ; or if you will, his blood and spirit is the balm. Was he able formerlyto heal every disease—he can do so still. Was he able, when on earth, to raise the dead— he does so still, as he has proved in the cases of many of you, and doubtless will continue to do so. Many amongst you are already healed; but why not all? Some suppose they need no physician; others do not think their diseases sufficiently dangerous, and endeavour to heal themselves, by which the evil is made worse; others prescribe to the physician the method in