And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.…
I. THE DUALITY OF EXISTENCE. Let us pause for a moment and contemplate our own existence; for each one of us is a little universe, a miniature representation of the great universe of which we form a part, Now, we carry within ourselves a kind of double consciousness. We have a higher nature and a lower nature, a spiritual side and a material side, an immortal element and a mortal element. It is this double consciousness that has suggested to heathen nations the existence of another world. Men of thought and reflection among them have discovered in themselves powers that can never be developed in the present life, desires that can never be satisfied by any material objects, and hence they have speculated and discoursed concerning a higher, a nobler, a more permanent state of existence. But Jacob was not left to grope after this knowledge by the light of his own reason. In this magnificent vision of the night, the truth is made known to him in all its imposing details, is revealed to him with marvellous clearness and emphatic precision. This truth is taught unto you, not by the uncertain voice of your constitution, as it was to ancient sages; not by supernatural visions, as it was to Jacob; but by the explicit and authoritative teaching of God's word. It was a part of Christ's mission, when He assumed our nature, to teach us this truth; for He brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. He came to elevate us, by setting us free from the tyranny of sense, and directing our thoughts to things invisible. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you."
II. THE UNITY OF EXISTENCE. We know that we possess both a material and a spiritual nature, but the point at which they come in contact it is impossible to ascertain. You have a definite reply in the text. Heaven above and earth below are connected by one great ladder. They are, therefore, not two, but one. "And, behold, the Lord stood above it." The Lord of heaven is also the Lord of earth; heaven End earth are therefore united into one realm. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland contains different countries; all separate, yet all united; owing allegiance to the same sovereign. The universe is a vast united kingdom, embracing different provinces, different principalities, different powers; but all alike subject to the central government. "And, behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it." The spirit-world is very near to us, we are but one step removed from it, were our eyes opened we should perceive that it stands round about us. Indeed, we are sometimes inclined to believe that material forms are but symbolical representations of spiritual realities, that the things which are seen are but outward manifestations of the things which are not seen. Through its agony and atoning death, the way which sin had shut up has been reopened. God can have mercy upon us, can hold communion with us, can send His angels down to comfort us in our troubles, to strengthen us in our conflicts, and at last to bear our ransomed souls to glory. The unity of existence! It is a wonderful, and yet a solemn fact. All being is but one vast territory, broken up into innumerable separate parts, but all united under one sceptre. Dream not, then, that when you quit this world, you will become the subject of a different government, or become amenable to different laws.
(D. Rowlands, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.