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Showers on the Grass: Chapter 4 - Genesis 49, and Deut. 33

By J.G. Bellet

      It is natural to contrast these passages; but I understand a decided difference in the words of Jacob and of Moses over the twelve--the one regarded them as children, and the other as tribes of the Lord; the one was anticipating their own conduct and history, the other was putting them severally in that place of honour and blessing which God had settled and secured for them. Thus, in the words of Moses, you get nothing but blessing. No mention of any fault or evil of their own, but God disposing of them all according to His own purpose of grace. It is the tribes under the covenant of promise in the latter day. There may be, and are, divers glories among them, but all are blessed. No mention of any evil they had committed. All that is forgotten. Jehovah findeth none. No iniquity in Jacob--no perverseness in Israel. Their tents are all goodly, under the favour and light of the Lord! It is the blessing, as from mount Gerizim, being under God's covenant, as just before it was the curse from Ebal under their own. (Deut. 28) And on the mount, as it were, the God of Jeshurun is riding in his magnificence for their help. Happy are such a people. But Jacob anticipates their ways, ways which they have already, generally, ran, and ended; sin, shame, loss, apostacy, marking nearly all, more or less.

      "From thence," in the prophetic word on Joseph I understand to mean this, that from the one whom the archers had shot at comes the stone and shepherd of Israel; i.e., the glories of Jesus result from His sufferings, as typified in the history of Joseph. Not that Christ came from Joseph as a tribe, but follows him as a type. I do not see that the stone here has connection with the pillar in Genesis 28. But the stone is a great title of Christ in Scripture--the foundation or chief corner-stone--the disallowed stone--the head of the corner that is to break the image in pieces--the living and the precious stone. And I judge as the stone in these its different aspects, it might be thus presented. First. He came to Israel as the Foundation-stone, but was rejected by them. The builders would not use Him. Secondly. Being rejected or disallowed by Israel and the earth, He has been lifted up as the Head of the corner, communicating the life and the preciousness that He has to all who will by faith own and use Him in His disallowed condition, and thus they become living stones and precious stones like Himself. (1 Peter 2) He communicates His life and value to them. Thirdly and finally, as Head of the corner.--He will, after He has thus communicated His life and preciousness to all the stones of His heavenly elect house, fall on the great image, the full concentration of all those worldly powers that once rejected Him, and grind them to powder. The pillars were witnesses of God, memorials of His ways, standing, abiding memorials. Thus, "the God of Bethel" is Jacob's God, the God in whom mercy rejoiced over judgment. Jacob learnt Him as such at Bethel and held Him in that character ever after--worshipped Him as such. Joshua erected the stones on the other side of Jordan the very first thing he did, that God's glory might be first provided for, that the inheritance of Israel might thus be taken first to God's praise, and then to the people's joy and blessing. As Noah when he stept out from the ark first erected his altar and offered his offerings. And the pillar in the midst of the waters, as on the shores of the promised land, may intimate that Christ will leave the memorial of His power and victory in the place of death on the enemy, as in the regions of life and glory--as the graves were opened, as well as the veil rent, when the blood was shed.

      LETTER 5.

      May 8, 1841.


      I have been just asking myself, how far I really see "form and comeliness" in the rejected and despised Jesus; and I am assured that while the soul is under the power of things seen, this cannot be; because the marred visage, the thorny crown, the carpenter's son, the penniless, homeless stranger, the One spit upon, the patient sufferer of wrongs and reproaches daily heaped upon Him, is no object of "form or comeliness" before the eye of mere man. If the soul, therefore, be under the power or pressure of things seen, what is Jesus to it? It is faith alone that can admire Him. It is the eye trained and practised by the Holy Ghost that alone can see the beauty of the smitten form of the low-estated Galilean. O, dear sister, this tells loudly against the constant currents of our hearts. May we be more and more lifted above the admiration of, or delight in, the things seen, the fair shows of the flesh. Such glances of our hearts, of which they are so guilty, weaken our power to perceive this only real "form and comeliness."

      So, where is the ear for the Shepherd's voice? Surely only in that which the Spirit has, in like manner, opened. And if the flesh and the world be practising it with its music and soft words, beloved sister, its readiness and skill to catch that unearthly voice will, in like manner, decline and be impaired. Another solemn thought for our souls, another humbling reflection on the too easy and constant ways of our senses, arises here.

      This was in my mind just now, and so I have put it down. But I had it in my mind to write to you, to get some one in . . . . to give me a line and tell me how the dear Miss . . . . are. Give my love to them, and to all besides, accepting it yourself, dear sister, with that of all united with me here. I hope my dear brother . . . . got my last, which I wrote in answer to one he sent me, accompanying the pleasing letters from . . . . I have just returned from a happy meeting of about 100 at Parsonstown. For two days we were considering some holy and precious truth, and all were edified and comforted, I think. I find the dear brethren in the country walking in much peace and union. But we have just lost a much-loved man, who kept a large country shop at Nenagh. His end was all peace. He told the apothecary, "he would not give one thought of Jesus for all that was in his shop." Thus joy and sorrow mingle together in our hearts, dear sister. His dear widow has been greatly supported. Pray for her. Tell the dear . . . . that we have also lost dear . . . . I do not know whether I mentioned her death to them.

      We know nothing yet as to seeing England this summer. It was expected that there might be some meeting at . . . ., but I am not so sure of that now. But may we, dear sister, have no desire to promote anything of our own, and watch against all tendencies that way. They are very subtle. The teaching of Nicodemus, and the Lord leading him back to the brazen serpent, evidently shows us that the new life is the life of a sinner saved by the grace of God and blood of Jesus. The word of the gospel is consequently the seed of that life. (1 Peter 1) This shows the character of the new birth or life, as clearly as the Lord's words show the need of it. And this makes it exceedingly simple; and that which is thus produced is spirit. Because Jesus, the Second man, is a quickening spirit, and this new life is life derived out of Him, or a poor dead sinner getting life from Jesus the Saviour, who gave His flesh and His blood as atonement for sin for the life of the world.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Law and the Gospel
   Chapter 2 - Romans 8:19-22
   Chapter 3 - 1 Samuel 1 - 7
   Chapter 4 - Genesis 49, and Deut. 33
   Chapter 5 - John 3
   Chapter 6 - Jacob at Peniel
   Chapter 7 - The Case Of Job
   Chapter 8 - Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Deuteronomy 11:10-12
   Chapter 9 - 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
   Chapter 10 - The Woman in the Crowd, Mark 5
   Chapter 11 - Patronage
   Chapter 12 - Divine Intimacy
   Chapter 13 - Election
   Chapter 14 - Redemption
   Chapter 15 - Genesis 1 - 47


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