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I. Let us view Esau in his original state-and compare your privileges with his privileges. To stand supreme in the house of the patriarch Isaac, was no trifling prerogative. His house was the house of God, and the gate of heaven. In this family, Jehovah revealed himself; and there he was adored and served, while idolatry prevailed over all the other nations of the globe. And such was once the condition of this unhappy character; accordingly, he possessed the birth-right, and stood in a fair way to obtain all the advantages flowing from it. And these were great and
To the birth-right belonged pre-eminence over the other branches of the family. To the birthright appertained a double portion of the paternal inheritance. To the birth-right was attached the land of Canaan, with all its sacred distinctions. To the birth-right was given the promise of being the ancestor of the Messiah, the "firstborn among many brethren," the Saviour, "in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed." And to the birth-right was added the honour of receiving first from the mouth of the father a peculiar benediction, which proceeding from the spirit of prophecy, was never pronounced in vain-Such were the prospects of Esau.
And what are yours? It is true you were not born in the house of Isaac, but you have been brought forth in a Christian country, in a "land the Lord careth for," where "the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." You have the bible; you have sabbaths: you have sanctuaries ; you have ordinances; you have ministers; you have the throne of grace; you have the pro
mise of the Holy Ghost; and all things appertaining to your everlasting happiness are now ready. You possess much, but all your present advantages, are not to be compared with those glorious hopes, to which you are called by the gospel. You have the prospect of becoming a of "first fruits of his creature," of joining "the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven,”—a primogeniture whose privileges far surpass those of the son of Isaac: a birth-right which comprehends a better country than Canaan, even heaven, where we shall reign kings and priests unto God," where" the Lord commandeth the blessing, even life for evermore." But this pearl is not for the swine; who, ignorant of its value, tramples it under foot; but for those who, conscious of its incomparable worth, prefer it to everything else, and like the wise merchant are willing to sell all to buy it. These high advantages may be sacrificed.
II. Let us, therefore, view Esau in the surrender of his privileges, and compare your sin with his sin. "For one morsel of meat he sold his birth-right." It is obvious that the loss was voluntary and base. First, it was voluntary. No one forced it from him-he sold it. He was indeed tempted to part with it by the sensation of hunger, and the sight of pottage when he was faint an object was before him which promised the immediate gratification of his sensual appetite. But he could very soon have obtained food upon far easier terms. And, surely, the birthright could not have a rival in a mess of pottage! Where was reason? Does the man yield to the brute ?-No: he was not compelled to sacrifice
his claims. And who compels you to abandon your hopes of heaven? who forces you into perdition? You say that you live in a world full of enticing objects; that the dominion of sense is strong; that it is not very easy to resist the impulse of the moment. But is it impossible to resist? Have not many overcome, though placed in the same circumstances, and possessed of the same nature with you? What is goodness untried? Have you not reason as well as appetites? and is not grace attainable by you, and sufficient for you? And remember that you can never have so strong a motive to commit sin as to avoid it. The greatest difficulties, therefore, which you have to overcome, are those which are placed to keep you from hell. What is the applause of a fellow-creature to the frown of the Almighty? What is a momentary pleasure to endless pain? and you know you act freely: you know that all the men in the world cannot force you to will: you know that the tempter can do nothing more than propose the determination rests with you. You cannot justify yourselves even now to your own consciences, and hereafter, unable to allege one excuse, you will be speechless. Yes: here is the true cause of your ruin-"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life. You have loved idols, and after them you will go."
Secondly, it was equally base. For what is the price of a birth-right? an empire? a crown? -a crown sparkles in the eye of ambition;-a throne is the highest pinnacle of human pride. Nothing like it--but a despicable trifle-one morsel of meat a mess of pottage-the dearest dish, says Bishop Hall, that was ever purchased, except the forbidden fruit. But I feel ready to dis
pute this. Are not you more than like him? Do you not surpass him in folly? For what do you sell the treasures of the soul and eternity-but a thing of naught? a fleeting indulgence, a false point of honour, an imaginary interest? Here is your eternal infamy and disgrace! "You have sold yourselves," says the prophet, "for naught." For what proportion is there between the things which you thus exchange? Duly consider the "unsearchable riches of Christ;" think what it is to be blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places; what it is to live in pleasure, to die in hope, to obtain "glory, honour, and immortality." These are the blessings you give up-And what do you gain by the surrender?Solomon tells you "vanity and vexation of spirit." Worldly things are less than the soul, and cannot fill it; worse than the soul, and cannot satisfy it. They have no relation to our grand wants, or our best interests. They please only to poison, they elevate only to depress. They perish in the using. You can carry nothing of them with you. You are not certain of holding them for life, and if you were, "what is your life? it is even as a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.' View them in the light of Scripture; view them under the anguish of conscience; view them from the borders of the grave; view them from the vastness of eternity, and they are nothing. Nevertheless for these and often without obtaining them— you sin away your everlasting portion. "What is a man profited if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" If the whole cannot indemnify him-can a part? a particle? "O ye sons of men, how long will ye love vanity, and
seek after lies?-Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?"
III. Let us consider Esau in his misery, and compare your doom with his doom. "For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Read the relation in the book of Genesis. Nothing could be more affecting than his expostulations, and his bitter cries but to no purpose does he urge his petition or press his father to retract: the benediction is pronounced, and Isaac acquiesces in the decision of Heaven. For repentance here refers to Isaac, not to Esau: the meaning is not that Esau humbled himself in vain for his sin, and could not obtain forgiveness-but that he could not prevail upon Isaac to change his mind, and reverse what he had spoken: that with regard, therefore, to the birth-right which he had sold, his loss was irretrievable.
And did God thus by his righteous judgment exclude from all his claims the profane Esau, because he had despised them : "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace?" Are you disposed to pity him? Yea, rather weep for yourselves. Your loss is inestimably greater than his loss. After all his disappointments he had something left, and could entertain himself with the diversions of the field; but your condition will be destitute of all re