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from the possession of such models, are incalculable. There is no possibility of saying to what the extravagancies of fashion and fancy, and the eccentricity of peculiar humors might lead, if these examples were not always at hand to warn us against a departure from nature, of which the ancients were accurate observers, and in conformity to which, or, in other words, in simplicity, that last perfection of style they chiefly excelled. The tendency to deviate in the minor and obvious essentials of our language, with respect to which all admit the necessity of permanent rules, is constantly perceived in new-fangled terms and phrases, new orthography and new systems of orthoep. Such efforts demonstrate the cacoethes mutandi, (the disease of our times;) but the higher qualities of style are not under the protection of the same constant and ready perception of utility. These are left to the guardianship of cultivated taste and learned criticism, whose canons are founded on the productions of classic genius in the two ancient languages under consideration. "I am persuaded," (said the able and judicious Dr. Blair,) "that in proportion as the ancients are generally studied and admired, or are unkuown and disregarded, in any country, good taste and good composition will flourish and decline."
DREAMS OF THE BIBLE.
BY R. P. T.
THE first dream recorded in the Bible, deserving of our attention, is that of the Patriarch who has left his name impressed upon his kindred, both of the flesh and of the Church, as the chosen of God. So that, in view of its sacred associations, as well as its own intrinsic glories, it may justly be regarded as one of the most interesting and instructive on Divine record. It is thus related by the inspired penman:
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And be lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the Angels of God ascending and descending on it. And b hold the Lord stood above it. and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed And, behold, I am with thee and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."-GEN. 28: 10-15.
This carries conclusive evidence in itself that it was not "all a dream.” It is true that in the most ordinary course of things, it might have happened that Jacob should dream under the peculiar circumstances of the case. Both his mind and body, we may reasonably infer, were in just that tired and restless state which would naturally predispose him to such an experience. He was an exile from his father's house, journeying towards Syria, a strange land, over a strange and unfrequented road-fleeing for his life before the murderous hatred of his brother Esau-dwelling most intently, no doubt, upon the recent occurrences that drove him to his lonely wanderings-exhausted by the more than two-score miles of travel through the day-and with the hard stones whereon to pillow his aching head; it is not wonderful that his midnight slumbers should be disturbed by dreams. Yet, after all this, there is no way of satisfactorily. accounting for what really transpired, save as we give place to the miraculous overshadowing of the Most High, and the full claims of a supernatural revelation.
Behold the young patriarch, then, as he lies wrapt in his night's repose. Behold that thoughtful, intelligent face itself a dream of beauty-the vast silent desert, stretching like eternity around-the stone pillar shining like a lump of gold in the radiance and the undefined blaze of splendor (like a ladder, mountain or stair; the original word is uncertain,) rising up in brightening gradations, till lost in one abyss of crudded glory, and with angelic shapes swimming up and down like
motes of light in the liquid lustre." Though dismal and dreary that spot must have appeared to Jacob when he first surveyed it, as promising but little comfort to his aching limbs in
Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep,"
Yet he had cause to look back to this as the happiest night's repose on earth. He then realized by sweet experience what every devoted servant of God is made to feel at some stage of his earthly pilgrimage-that the more destitute and needy we are, the more richly does the compassiona e Father of Israel dispense his comforts and blessings. He will make the rocky, and even the dying bed,
Feel soft as downy pillows are,"
to those who cast their cares and burdens upon Him. He transformed this unsightly spot in the wilderness into a very ante-chamber of heaven -where the slumbering exile not only fellowshipped with angels, but held converse with the Almighty as a friend would talk with friend.
At first view it does seem strange that, so soon after his treachery to his brother, Jacob should be admitted, as a special favor of Heaven, to such a beatific vision. But the Lord pities those that fear Him—and perhaps at no time more so than when, by the subilty and instigation of the devil, they are led into sin. So that beneath all the outward show of deception and fraud that he had practiced, agreeably to the suggestions and schemes of his doting mother, there must have welled up from his bosom, amid all the palliating circumstances, a living fountain of repentance, love and trust to the God of his fathers.
The interest of this particular feature in the life of Jacob is enhanced on account of the prophesies involved, which form one of the connecting links in the organic development of the church, between Abraham as the father of the faithful, and his children of the New Dispensation. Indeed, everything connected with this long and eventful life, is full of the most intense and thrilling interest; but to follow this in detail would lead us far beyond our present purpose.
The distinguishing characteristic of this dream is the ladder upon which angels were seen ascending and descending This is intended to illustrate the intimate and telegraph-like intercourse continually kept up between heaven and earth. We see this in the Providence of God, as well as in the freer, richer dispensations of His grace. The angels are God's messengers, who descend to execute His divine commissious, and ascend to report the result of their embassay. Some are wont to see in this transaction the tutelar angels of Canaan ascending after having accomplished their mission of escorting Jacob safely out of their land, and the angels of Syria descending to convey him onward into their realms. We are disposed to regard this interpretation, however, as more consonant with poetic imagery, than with any just exposition of the text. But whatever be the true representation, we are assured by the Apostle, in the clearer light of the Gospel, that "angels are ministering spirits sent forth from God to minister unto those who shall finally be heirs of salvation." This truth is further exemplified in the case of Jacob, when on his return from Padan-aram, we are told, that they met him in such numbers at Mahanaim, that he called them "God's host." Gen. 32:
1, 2. Then again, we have him wrestling with an angel all night at Peniel, which secured to him the blessing commemorated by the change of his name from Jacob to Israel.
Again, the ladder is taken to represent Christ's mediation as the Godman, the ends respectively signifying His human and divine natures, united in the incarnation-or as representing His humiliation and exaltation. To this idea the words of the Saviour are applicable: "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open and the angels ascending and descending upon the son of man." Agreeably to this, all the intercourse that has existed between heaven and earth since the fall, has been by this ladder. And the Lord, speaking from the top of this ladder, would signify that all the glad tidings received from heaven have been through Christ.
The promises made were, partly, to repeat and ratify those previously made to Abraham and Isaac, and partly to assure Jacob of particular individual favors and blessings. He then received an undisputable title to the land upon which he was lying, as an inheritance for his children, which should become in numbers like the stars of heaven, the dust of the earth and the sand upon the sea-shore. He was also assured of personal protection and prosperity withersoever he went, and that through his posterity a perennial fountain of blessing was to be opened up for all the families of the earth.
The effect this remarkable dream had upon the dreamer is worthy of note. On waking out of sleep, he was overpowered with indescribable awe. So that, instead of being elated with feelings of vain-glory by such an honorable and enviable recognition from the King of Kings, he was afraid; and forgetting himself in the grand conceptions inspired by a sense of the Divine presence, he could only say, "How dreadful is the place!" Under such impressions, he could not well do otherwise than show some signs of most devout worship-standing as he was, though in the midst of a howling wilderness, in "the house of God," and the very gate of heaven." For this he needed no tabernacle. He erected a rude altar, by setting up his stony pillow and pouring thereon the consecrating oil. Connected with this priestly act, he changed the name of the place from Luz, signifying an almond tree, to the now more appropriate one of Bethel-house of God. Abraham was accustomed to build altars wherever the lord appeared unto him So Jacob, in the absence of the means to erect one at the time, laid as it were the corner stone, consecrating it with the vow that here, too, such an altar should stand. This vow he made good on his return.
The effect this dream should have upon us, and the lessons to be learned from it are manifold. One of the principal objects for Jacob leaving his parents was, to seek a wife from among others than the wicked Canaanites, from whom Esau had disobediently made such an injudicious selection. Would that all those who leave the parental roof, with a similar object in view, would imitate this illustrious example, so that, if possible, all our sons and daughters might be married ouly “in the Lord."
The interesting communion between the Lord and Jacob in the wilderness, teaches us that God is not restricted in His dealings with men ; that at all times and in all places-in the lozely desert, as well as in the
crowded city or consecrated church, He is waiting to be gracious to those who trust to Him for protection and mercies. The intercourse with angels, too, should make us feel that, in all probability, they are also our constant attendants, and that we are continually surrounded by a similar "cloud of witnesses," who ascend to heaven either to cause joy over the conversion of sinners, or to report the sad failure of their ministrations of love; for
The encouraging promises to Jacob, should remind us of similar promises to all the sons of Jacob, which are drawn out in fairer, brighter lines by that same Almighty hand, amid the superior glories of the gospel dispensation.
The setting up of the pillar of stone should teach us the desirableness, if not the absolute importance, of erecting similar mementoes all along the pathway of life, to remind us at every turn, in the midst of our forgetfulness, of our solemn vows and obligations to God. Especially significant do such remembrances seem, when associated with our solemn consecration to God by the laying on of hands-and wherever God appears to us in the more signal displays of His mercies. Though we have no such way-marks suggested now by the visible ministry of angels, yet we have them still more plainly set before us in the instituted ordinances of God's house, and by the operations of the Holy Spirit.
Jacob's pilgrimage was, for the part, through the dim light and passing shadows of dream-land; yet, clothed with honor and glory, he was gathered in peace to his fathers. Our pilgrimage is beneath the unclouded skies and noon-day sun of a perfect revelation; may our end be like his.
THE TWO ANGELS.
THERE are two angels that attend unseen
And leaves a line of white across the p gr.
Now it my act be good, as I believe it,
It cannot be recalled. It is already
Sealed up in heaven, as a good deed accomplished.