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"It came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die." — Genesis 27:1-4.

In Isaac's blindness we see one of the frequent accompaniments of age. Age is generally an aggregate of privations, diseases, and infirmities. If, by reason of strength, we reach fourscore years, the strength then becomes labour and sorrow — labour in the preserving, and sorrow in the possession.

"Our vitals, with laborious strife,
Bear up the crazy load;
And drag the dull remains of life
Along the tiresome road."

A powerful reason why we should remember our Creator in the days of our youth, that we may have a resource, when the evil days come, in which we shall say, I have no pleasure. What a privilege, when exercised with loss of sight, and of hearing, with trembling of limbs, and sleepless nights, and fearful apprehensions, and failure of desire, to have God for the strength of our heart, and our portion for ever, and to hear him saying, "Even to your old age I am he: and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you."

The reflection of Isaac upon his mortality may be adopted by every individual, whatever his condition, or health, or age. All are ignorant of the time of their dissolution. For the human race dies at all periods, as well as in all circumstances, and we know not what a day may bring forth. But when Isaac says, "I know not the day of my death," he means that it was near, and that every day might be reckoned as his last. Death is not far from every one of us. But while, as the proverb says, the young may die, the old must die. And it becomes the aged to think frequently and seriously of their departure as at hand. They should prepare for it, and regard zealously the call of every present duty. It was the prayer of Moses, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." It was the profession of our Lord and Saviour, "I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh wherein no man can work." It was the admonition of Solomon, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest."

Thus Isaac was roused into a concern to finish his work before he finished his course: "Now, therefore, take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die." Observe, he speaks of doing it while yet alive, not afterwards. In like manner, Elijah, when waiting for his ascension into heaven, said to Elisha, "Ask now what I shall do for thee, before I be taken up from thee," believing his intercourse with him, and his acting for him, would then be terminated. This is a solemn and should be a useful thought. Look at your children, your relations, your friends, your neighbours, and see in what way you can serve your generation. Now you can bless them by your prayers, your counsels, your example, your liberality; but all these opportunities are confined to life, and this life is a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Isaac did well in seizing the present moment to set his house in order before his death. But there are two things in which he was blameable.

First., he shows too great a regard for the indulgence of his appetite. It is mournful to see a good man, and especially an old man, instead of mortifying the deeds of the body, studying his sensual gratification, and making provision for the flesh, not to fulfil the wants, but the lusts thereof. Carriages should be dragged as they are going down hill.

Secondly, he was more influenced by natural affection, than a regard to the will of God. He wished to make Esau heir, but God had expressly declared, "the elder shall serve the younger." Isaac could not have been ignorant of this. Had he forgotten it, or did he disregard it? Here we see his frailty. Yet this does not render the purpose of God of none effect. His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. Rebekah, on the other hand, was fond of Jacob, and a father has no chance against a mother, who has a favourite whom she is determined to advance, especially such a selfish, crafty, cunning creature as was here at work. Rebekah's aim, indeed, fell in with God's design, but this concurrence arose, not from her piety, but her partiality. Her conduct was unjustifiable and sinful, for we must not do evil that good may come. She had the Divine promise on the side of her preference and she should have rested in the Lord, and waited patiently for him, and not have fretted herself in any wise to do evil. "He that believeth maketh not haste." Had she quietly committed her way unto the Lord, he would have brought it to pass, without those wretched consequences that afflicted the family. For God uses instruments without approving of them; and though he makes the folly and passions of men to praise him, he fails not to prove that it is an evil and bitter thing to forsake him, and to act without his fear in our hearts.

How painful would it be to go on, and see a mother teaching her child to tell lies, and to see a son imposing on the blindness of an aged father! We have no notion that Rebekah was ever religious. And what proof have we that Jacob was pious at this time? Was he not converted in his journey from Beersheba to Haran? At Bethel God met with him, and there he spake with us.

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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