Genesis 24

Genesis 24  •  21 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The connection of this chapter, with the two which precede it, is worthy of notice. In chapter 22 The son is offered up; in chapter 23 Sarah is laid aside; and in chapter 24 the servant is sent forth to procure a bride for him who had been, as it were, received from the dead in a figure. This connection, in a very striking manner, coincides with the order of events connected with the calling out of the Church. Whether this coincidence is to be regarded as of divine origin, will, it may be, raise a question in the minds of some; but it must at least be regarded as not a little remarkable.
When we turn to the New Testament, the grand events which meet our view are, first, the rejection and death of Christ; secondly, the setting aside of Israel after the flesh; and, lastly, the calling out of the Church to occupy the high position of the bride of the Lamb.
Now, all this exactly corresponds with the contents of this and the two preceding chapters. The death of Christ needed to be an accomplished fact, before the Church, properly so called, could be called out. “The middle wall of partition” needed to be broken down, before the “one new man could be developed. It is well to understand this in order that we may know the place which the Church occupies in the ways of God. So long as the Jewish economy subsisted there was the most strict separation maintained between Jew and Gentile, and hence the idea of both being united in one new man was far removed from the mind of a Jew. He was led to view himself in a position of entire superiority, to that of a Gentile, and to view the latter as utterly unclean, to whom it was unlawful to come in (Acts 10:2828And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (Acts 10:28)).
If Israel had walked with God according to the truth of the relationship into which He had graciously brought them, they would have continued in their peculiar place of separation and superiority; but this they did not do; and, therefore, when they had filled up the measure of their iniquity, by crucifying the Lord of life and glory, and rejecting the testimony of the Holy Spirit, we find Paul is raised up to be the minister of a new thing, which was held back in the counsels of God, while the testimony to Israel was going on. “For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery ... .which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets (that is, New Testament prophets, τοις ἁγιοις αποςτολοις αυτού και προφηταις) by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph. 3:1-61For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Ephesians 3:1‑6)). This is conclusive. The mystery of the Church, composed of Jew and Gentile, baptized by one Spirit into one body, united to the glorious Head in the heavens, had never been revealed until Paul’s day. Of this mystery the apostle goes on to say, “I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me, by the effectual working of His power” (vs. 7). The apostles and prophets of the New Testament formed, as it were, the first layer of this glorious building. (See Eph. 2:2020And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20).) This being so, it follows, as a consequence, that the building could not have been begun before. If the building had been going on from the days of Abel, downwards, the apostle would then have said, “the foundation of the Old Testament saints.” But he has not said so, and therefore we conclude that, whatever be the position assigned to the Old Testament saints, they cannot possibly belong to a body which had no existence, save in the purpose of God, until the death and resurrection of Christ, and the consequent descent of the Holy Spirit. Saved they were, blessed be God; saved by the blood of Christ, and destined to enjoy heavenly glory with the Church; but they could not have formed a part of that which did not exist for hundreds of years after their time.
It were easy to enter upon a more elaborate demonstration of this most important truth, were this the place for so doing; but I shall now go on with our chapter, having merely touched upon a question of commanding interest, because of its being suggested by the position of Genesis 24.
There may be a question, in some minds, as to whether we are to view this deeply-interesting portion of scripture as a type of the calling out of the Church by the Holy Spirit. For myself, I feel happier in merely handling it as an illustration of that glorious work. We cannot suppose that the Spirit of God would occupy an unusually long chapter with the mere detail of a family compact, were that compact not typical or illustrative of some great truth. “Whatsoever. things were written aforetime, were written for our learning.” This is emphatic. What, therefore, are we to learn from the chapter before us? I believe it furnishes us with a beautiful illustration or foreshadowing of the great mystery of the Church. It is important to see that, while there is no direct revelation of this mystery in the Old Testament, there are, nevertheless, scenes and circumstances which, in a very remarkable manner, shadow it forth; as, for example, the chapter before us. As has been remarked, the son being, in a figure, offered up, and received again from the dead; the original parent stem, as it were, being laid aside, the messenger is sent forth by the father to procure a bride for the son.
Now, in order to the clear and full understanding of the contents of the entire chapter, we may consider the following points, That is, 1, the oath; 2, the testimony; 3, the result. It is beautiful to observe that the call and exaltation of Rebekah were founded upon the oath between Abraham and his servant. She knew nothing of this, though she was, in the purpose of God, so entirely the subject of it all. So is it exactly with the Church of God as a whole and each constituent part. “In thy book were all My members written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them” (Psa. 139:1616Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:3-43Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:3‑4)). “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-3029For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:29‑30)). These scriptures are all in beautiful harmony with the point immediately before us. The call, the justification, and the glory of the Church, are all founded on the eternal purpose of God—His word and oath, ratified by the death, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son. Far back, beyond the bounds of time, in the deep recesses of God’s eternal mind, lay this wondrous purpose respecting the Church, which cannot, by any means, be separated from the divine thought respecting the glory of the Son. The oath between Abraham and the servant had for its object the provision of a partner for the son. It was the father’s desire with respect to the son that led to all Rebekah’s after-dignity. It is happy to see this. Happy to see how the Church’s security and blessing stand inseparably connected with Christ and His glory. “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11:8-98For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (1 Corinthians 11:8‑9)). So it is in the beautiful parable of the marriage supper; “the kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king which made a marriage for his son” (Matt. 22:22The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, (Matthew 22:2)). THE SON is the grand object of all the thoughts and counsels of God: and if any are brought into blessing, or glory, or dignity, it can only be in connection with Him. All title to these things, and even to life itself, was forfeited by sin; but Christ met all the penalty due to sin; He made Himself responsible for everything on behalf of His body the Church; He was nailed to the cross as her representative—He bore her sins in His own body on the tree, and went down into the grave under the full weight of them. Hence, nothing can be more complete than the Church’s deliverance from all that was against. her. She is quickened out of the grave of Christ, where all her trespasses were laid. The life which she has is a life taken up at the other side of death, after every possible demand had been met. Hence, this life is connected with, and founded upon, divine righteousness, inasmuch as Christ’s title to life is founded upon His having entirely exhausted the power of death; and He is the Church’s life. Thus the Church enjoys divine life; she stands in divine righteousness; and the hope that animates her is the hope of righteousness. (See, amongst many other scriptures, John 3:16,36; 5:39-40; 6:27,40,47,68; 11:25; 17:216For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39‑40)
27Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. (John 6:27)
40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)
47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47)
68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)
25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25)
2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)
; Rom. 5:21; 6:2321That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
; 1 Tim. 1:1616Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Timothy 1:16); 1 John 2:25; 5:2025And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (1 John 2:25)
20And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
; Jude 2121Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 21); Eph. 2:1-6,14-151And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:1‑6)
14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:14‑15)
; Col. 1:12-22; 2:10-1512Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Colossians 1:12‑22)
10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:10‑15)
; Rom. 1:17; 3:21-26; 4:5,23-2517For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)
21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:21‑26)
5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)
23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23‑25)
; 2 Cor. 5:2121For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21); Gal. 5:55For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (Galatians 5:5).)
These scriptures most fully establish the three points, that is, the life, the righteousness and the hope of the Church, all of which flow from her being one with Him who was raised from the dead. Now, nothing can be so calculated to assure the heart as the conviction that the Church’s existence is essential to the glory of Christ. “The woman is the glory of the man” (1 Cor. 11:77For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. (1 Corinthians 11:7)). And again, the Church is called “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:2323Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:23)). This last is a remarkable expression. The word translated “fullness” means the complement, that which, being added to something else, makes up a whole. Thus it is that Christ the Head, and the Church the body, make up the “one new man” (Eph. 2:1515Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)). Looking at the matter in this point of view, it is no marvel that the Church should have been the object of God’s eternal counsels. When we view her as the body, the bride, the companion, the counterpart, of His only-begotten Son, we feel that there was, through grace, wondrous reason for her being so thought of before the foundation of the world. Rebekah was necessary to Isaac, and, therefore, she was the subject of secret counsel while yet in profound ignorance about her high destiny. All Abraham’s thought was about Isaac. “I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.” Here we see that the all-important point was, “a wife unto my son.” “It is not good that the man should be alone.” This opens up a very deep and blessed view of the Church. In the counsels of God she is necessary to Christ; and in the accomplished work of Christ, divine provision has been made for her being called into existence.
While occupied with such a character of truth as this, it is no longer a question as to whether God can save poor sinners; He actually wants to “make a marriage for his Son,” and the Church is the destined bride—she is the object of the Father’s purpose, the object of the Son’s love, and of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. She is to be the sharer of all the Son’s dignity and glory, as she is the sharer of all that love of which He has been the everlasting object. Hear His own words, “And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in Them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me” (John 17:22-2322And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:22‑23)). This settles the whole question. The words just quoted give us the thoughts of Christ’s heart in reference to the Church. She is to be as He is, and not only so, but she is so even now, as John tells us, “Herein is love perfected with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:1717Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)). This gives full confidence to the soul. “We are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:2020And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)). There is here no ground for uncertainty. Everything is secured for the bride in the bridegroom. All that belonged to Isaac became Rebekah’s because Isaac was hers; and so all that belongs to Christ is made available to the Church. “All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21-2321Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (1 Corinthians 3:21‑23)). Christ is “head over all things to the Church” (Eph. 1:2222And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, (Ephesians 1:22)). It will be His joy, throughout eternity, to exhibit the Church in all the glory and beauty with which He has endowed her, for her glory and beauty will be but the reflection of His. Angels and principalities shall behold in the Church the marvelous display of the wisdom, power, and grace of God in Christ.
But we shall now look at the second point for consideration, that is, the testimony. Abraham’s servant carried with him a very distinct testimony. “And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he is become great; and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and men servants, and maid servants, and camels, and asses. And Sarah, my master’s wife, bare a son to my master when she was old; and unto him hath he given all that he hath” (vss. 34-36). He reveals the father and the son. Such was his testimony. He speaks of the vast resources of the father, and of the son’s being endowed with all these in virtue of his being “the only-begotten,” and the object of the father’s love. With this testimony he seeks to obtain a bride for the son.
All this, I need hardly remark, is strikingly illustrative of the testimony with which the Holy Spirit was sent from heaven upon the day of Pentecost. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me” (John 15:2626But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26)). Again, “Howbeit when He the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine and show it unto you.” “All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:13-1513Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:13‑15)). The coincidence of these words with the testimony of Abraham’s servant is instructive and interesting. It was by telling of Isaac that he sought to attract the heart of Rebekah; and it is, as we know, by telling of Jesus, that the Holy Spirit seeks to draw poor sinners away from a world of sin and folly into the blessed and holy unity of the body of Christ. “He shall take of Mine and show it unto you.” The Spirit of God will never lead any one to look at Himself or His work; but only and always at Christ. Hence, the more really spiritual any one is, the more entirely will he be occupied with Christ.
Some there are who regard it as a great mark of spirituality to be ever looking in at their own hearts, and dwelling upon what they find there, even though that be the work of the Spirit. This is a great mistake. So far from its being a proof of spirituality, it is a proof of the very reverse, for it is expressly declared of the Holy Spirit that “He shall take of Mine and show it unto you.” Therefore, whenever one is looking inward, and building on the evidences of the Spirit’s work there, he may be assured he is not led by the Spirit of God, in so doing. It is by holding up Christ that the Spirit draws souls to God. This is very important. The knowledge of Christ is life eternal; and it is the Father’s revelation of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, that constitutes the basis of the Church. When Peter confessed Christ to be the Son of the living God, Christ’s answer was, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonah; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:17-1817And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:17‑18)). What rock?
Peter? God forbid. “This rock” (ταυτη τη πετρα) simply means the Father’s revelation of Christ, as the Son of the living God, which is the only means by which any one is introduced into the assembly of Christ. Now this opens to us, very much, the true character of the gospel. It is, preeminently and emphatically, a revelation—a revelation not merely of a doctrine, but of a Person—the Person of the Son. This revelation being received by faith, draws the heart to Christ, and becomes the spring of life and power—the ground of membership—the power of fellowship. “When it pleased God to reveal His Son in Me.” Here we have the true principle of “the rock,” that is, God revealing His Son. It is thus the superstructure is reared up; and on this solid foundation it reposes, according to God’s eternal purpose.
It is therefore peculiarly instructive to find Genesis 24 such a marked and beautiful illustration of the mission and special testimony of the Holy Spirit. Abraham’s servant, in seeking to procure a bride for Isaac, sets forth all the dignity and wealth with which he had been endowed by the father; the love of which he was the object; and, in short, all that was calculated to affect the heart, and draw it off from present things. He showed Rebekah an object in the distance, and set before her the blessedness and reality of being made one with that beloved and highly-favored object. All that belonged to Isaac would belong to Rebekah too, when she became part of him. Such was his testimony. Such, also, is the testimony of the Holy Spirit. He speaks of Christ, the glory of Christ, the beauty of Christ, the fullness of Christ, the grace of Christ, “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” the dignity of His Person, and the perfectness of His work.
Moreover, he sets forth the amazing blessedness of being one with such a Christ, “members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.” Such is the Spirit’s testimony always; and herein we have an excellent touchstone by which to try all sorts of teaching and preaching. The most spiritual teaching will ever be characterized by a full and constant presentation of Christ. He will ever form the burden of such teaching. The Spirit cannot dwell on anything but Jesus. Of Him, He delights to speak. He delights in setting forth His attractions and excellencies. Hence, when a man is ministering by the power of the Spirit of God, there will always be more of Christ than anything else in his ministry. There will be little room in such ministry for human logic and reasoning. Such things may do very well where a man desires to set forth himself; but the Spirit’s sole object—be it well remembered by all who minister—will ever be to set forth Christ.
Let us now look, in the last place, at the result of all this. Truth, and the practical application of truth, are two very different things. It is one thing to speak of the peculiar glories of the Church, and quite another thing to be practically influenced by those glories. In Rebekah’s case the effect was most marked and decisive. The testimony of Abraham’s servant sank down into her ears, and into her heart, and entirely detached her heart’s affections from the scene of things around her. She was ready to leave all and follow after, in order that she might apprehend that for which she had been apprehended. It was morally impossible that she could believe herself to be the subject of such high destinies, and yet continue amid the circumstances of nature. If the report concerning the future were true, attachment to the present was the worst of folly. If the hope of being Isaac’s bride, joint-heir with him of all his dignity and glory, if this were a reality, then to continue to tend Laban’s sheep would be practically to despise all that God had, in grace, set before her.
But, no, the prospect was far too bright to be thus lightly given up. True, she had not yet seen Isaac, nor yet the inheritance, but she had believed the report, the testimony of him, and had received, as it were, the earnest of it, and these were enough for her heart; and hence she unhesitatingly arises and expresses her readiness to depart in the memorable words, “I will go. She was fully prepared to enter upon an unknown path in companionship with one who had told her of an object far away, and of a glory connected with him, to which she was about to be raised. “I will go,” said she, and “forgetting the things which were behind, and reaching forth toward the things which were before, she pressed toward the mark for the prize of her high calling.” Most touching and beautiful illustration this of the Church, under the conduct of the Holy Spirit, going onward to meet her heavenly Bridegroom. This is what the Church should be; but, alas! there is sad failure here. There is little of that holy alacrity in laying aside every weight and every entanglement, in the power of communion with the Holy Guide and Companion of our way, whose office and delight it is to take of the things of Jesus, and show them unto us; just as Abraham’s servant took of the things of Isaac, and showed them to Rebekah: and no doubt, too, he found his joy in pouring fresh testimonies concerning the son into her ear, as they moved onward toward the consummation of all her joy and glory. Thus it is, at least with our heavenly guide and companion. He delights to tell of Jesus, “He shall take of Mine and show it unto you”; and again, “He shall show you things to come.” Now, this is what we really want, this ministry of the Spirit of God, unfolding Christ to our souls, producing earnest longing to see Him, as He is, and be made like Him forever. Naught but this will ever detach our hearts from earth and nature. What, save the hope of being associated with Isaac, would ever have led Rebekah to say, “I will go,” when her “brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at least ten.” And so with us: nothing but the hope of seeing Jesus as He is, and being like Him, will ever enable or lead us to purify ourselves, even as He is pure.