Hebrews 12:16
See to it that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.
Anxiety for SoulsHebrews 12:15-17
Are You a FailureW. Birch.Hebrews 12:15-17
Falling Short of the Grace of GodG. Lawson.Hebrews 12:15-17
Grace Should Permeate the Entire ManHebrews 12:15-17
How Bitterness GrowsT. D. Huntingdon.Hebrews 12:15-17
Piloting StallsH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 12:15-17
Roots of BitternessW. Arnot.Hebrews 12:15-17
A Bad BargainPreacher's CabinetHebrews 12:16-17
A Bitter WailHebrews 12:16-17
A Life Lost for EighteenpenceHebrews 12:16-17
Dislike to SensualitO. H. Lewes.Hebrews 12:16-17
EsauBp. Woodford.Hebrews 12:16-17
Esau - a WarningD. Young Hebrews 12:16, 17
Esau; Or, the Sacrifice of the Spiritual for the SensuousW. Jones Hebrews 12:16, 17
Esau's ProfanityS. S. Mitchell, D. D.Hebrews 12:16-17
Esau's Sensuality and ProfanityT. Guthrie, D. D.Hebrews 12:16-17
Esau's TearsA. B. Davidson, LL. D.Hebrews 12:16-17
Irretrievable LossC. S. Robinson, D. D.Hebrews 12:16-17
Lost BlessingsW. M. Hamma, D. D.Hebrews 12:16-17
Lost OpportunitiesJ. Wells, M. A.Hebrews 12:16-17
No Going BackHebrews 12:16-17
No RemedyH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 12:16-17
No ReversalH. De Lynne.Hebrews 12:16-17
Ruined MenHebrews 12:16-17
Sensual and ProfaneIbid.Hebrews 12:16-17
Sin Causing DegradationH. O. Mackey.Hebrews 12:16-17
The Character of EsauC. Moinet, M. A.Hebrews 12:16-17
The Price of BirthrightsJ. Parker, D. D.Hebrews 12:16-17
The Profane ExchangeW. Jay.Hebrews 12:16-17
The Relation of Animal Appetites to Spiritual PrerogativeHomilistHebrews 12:16-17
The Soul BarteredPreacher's CabinetHebrews 12:16-17
The Unhallowed BargainHomilistHebrews 12:16-17
Things We Never Get OverDe Witt Talmage.Hebrews 12:16-17
Wisdom of TemptationT. Watson.Hebrews 12:16-17

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, etc. There is much about this man, Esau, which is noble and attractive. "Esau, the shaggy, red-haired huntsman, the man of the field, with his arrows, his quiver, and his bow, coming in weary from the chase, caught as with the levity and eagerness of a child by the sight of the lentil soup - 'Feed me, I pray thee, with the red, red pottage' - yet so full of generous impulse, so affectionate towards his aged father, so forgiving towards his brother, so open-hearted, so chivalrous, who has not at times felt his heart warm toward the poor rejected Esau, and been tempted to join with him as he cries 'with a great and exceeding bitter cry,' 'Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father!'" (Dr. A. P. Stanley). Yet he is solemnly held up in our text as a beacon against certain sins which might lead to apostasy from the Christian faith and life. In his conduct as mentioned in the text we notice two things.

I. A SACRIFICE OF SACRED RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES FOR SENSUOUS SATISFACTION, "Esau for one mess of meat sold his own birthright" (cf. Genesis 25:29-34). Peculiar rights and privileges were inherited by the firstborn son.

(1) He received a double portion of the paternal property, which probably signifies twice as much as any other son received (Deuteronomy 21:17).

(2) The priestly office pertained to him, previous to the selection of the tribe of Levi to fulfill that office for the nation (Numbers 8:17-19).

(3) He enjoyed a rank and authority in the family over those who were younger similar to that exercised by the father (Genesis 27:29; Genesis 49:3).

(4) And in the case before us, the honor of being in the patriarchal line, and of transmitting the promises made to Abraham. These rights of primogeniture Esau sold for one meal of red pottage; and in the sale we have:

1. A sacrifice of a great and lifelong good for the satisfaction of present need and desire. Esau was tired, faint for want of food; there was the appetizing pottage; and there was the mean and subtle brother who craved the birthright, and saw his opportunity for gaining his end by disgraceful means, and who proposed that the birthright should be given to him for the mess of pottage, and who, deeming others as unprincipled as himself, would have the bargain ratified by an oath; and Esau yielded, and sacrificed the long future for the brief present. He allowed his strong impulse to overpower his reason and judgment.

2. A sacrifice of spiritual privileges for sensuous satisfactions. The cravings of his senses, his hunger and desire for the pottage, mastered the convictions of his soul. Carnal appetite conquered the claims of Esau's higher interests.

3. A sacrifice made upon the solicitation of his mean and crafty brother. Most discreditable was the action of Jacob in this transaction. If a darker guilt attaches to the tempter to evil than to him who, being tempted, yields, then Jacob's sin was greater than Esau's. Well does Dean Stanley inquire, "Who does not feel at times his indignation swell against the younger brother? 'Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he hath supplanted me these two times?' He entraps his brother, he deceives his father, he makes a bargain even in his prayer; in his dealings with Laban, in his meeting with Esau, he still calculates and contrives; he distrusts his neighbors, he regards with prudential indifference the insult to his daughter and the cruelty of his sons; he hesitates to receive the assurance of Joseph's good will; he repels, even in his lesser traits, the free confidence that we cannot withhold from the patriarchs of the elder generation." Thus tempted by hunger, by appetite, by opportunity, and by his astute and scheming brother, "Esau for one mess of meat sold his own birthright." "Thus Esau despised his birthright." To what a large extent do men still sin after the fashion of Esau's transgression! In our country there are multitudes who are bartering their spiritual interests for secular prosperity - renouncing godliness for worldly gain. What countless numbers are risking the salvation of their souls for the gratification of their senses! sacrificing their well-being in the endless future for their pleasure in the brief present!

II. A SACRIFICE WHICH INVOLVED IRREPARABLE LOSS. "For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected," etc. We have here:

1. Earnest desire for the forfeited blessing. "He would have inherited the blessing." Esau was neither so wicked nor so worldly as to contemn the blessing either of his lather's God or of his father. And when he was defrauded of that blessing by his brother, he sought for it with a most pathetic earnestness (Genesis 27:30-40).

2. Deep distress because of the loss of the forfeited blessing. Our text mentions the "tears" of his great sorrow. "He cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.... Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept."

3. Earnest desire and deep distress which were of no avail for the recovery of the forfeited blessing. "He was rejected: for he found no place of repentance." We do not understand by this either that Esau was unable to change his father's mind, or that he could not himself repent of his sins; but, as Alford expresses it, "that he found no way open to reverse what had been done: the sin had been committed and the consequence entailed, irrevocably. He might change, but the penalty could not, from the very nature of the circumstances, be taken off. So that repentance, in its full sense, had no place. And such is the meaning of the 'place of repentance,' wherever occurring. We do not mean by it an opportunity to repent in a man's own bosom, to be sorry for what he has done, for this may be under any circumstances, and this might have been with Esau; but we mean a chance, by repenting, to repair. There is an awful permanence in deeds. They cannot be undone. Words once spoken are beyond recall. Opportunities once lost are lost forever. Others may, perhaps, be granted; but those are irrevocably gone. Let us learn:

1. To curb strong impulses by reason and by conscience.

2. To maintain the forgiver relation between the present and temporary, and the future and abiding.

3. To keep the sensuous subordinate to the spiritual. This brings us to the practical point of the writer of the Epistle. Let us not forsake what is right and true to escape from any present difficulty or loss or pain, or, to secure any present pleasure. Let us not turn away from Christ to escape the cross. - W.J.

Essau, who for one morsel.
There are certain features of character which, if they do not exactly enlist our admiration, never fail to secure our goodwill, and an instinctive sympathy with those who possess them. The man who along with his virtues, which by reason of their very nature lift him above many of his fellows, combines a few of those failings which bring him down again to their level, is by far the greatest favourite. Good men are glad to acknowledge his goodness, and for the sake of it are disposed to deal gently with his inconsistencies. The multitude find that they, too, have a share in him, and are pleased to recognise their own features in such respectable and perhaps unusual company. Now it is just such a character as this of which it is most difficult to form an impartial estimate.' And it is all the more difficult if the good qualities in question are of that striking sort which almost disarm criticism. For there are qualities that act in such a way. It seems, for instance, almost impossible to resist the impression which energy makes upon our minds, especially the energy that throws itself out upon the broad arena of practical life, and produces visible and manifest results. The same thing holds true, though in a less degree, of all that class of actions which we distinguish by the word " impulsive." We pardon a man a great deal for the sake of this particular temperament. If he does what is wrong, it mitigates the wrong that it was done on the spur of the moment, and not by a cool, deliberating wickedness. If he does what is good, it makes the good still better, because goodness that acts spontaneously is more genuine than a habitual calculating virtue. Besides, we give more latitude to impulsive actions, because they break through the routine of things. Hence the popularity of what is vulgarly called dash, a quality we all naturally admire. It serves as a sort of flourish that relieves the monotony of life. And we watch any singular display of it as a man watches a game of chance, knowing there may be some brilliant successes, but just as likely some ruinous catastrophe. The character of Esau, as it is brought before us in Scripture, partakes largely of this element. He was if anything an impulsive man. He had none of those faults which attach themselves to timid and more thoughtful characters, the tendency to equivocate, and compass an end by somewhat doubtful means .to bargain, and finesse, and sail close to the wind. A character like this shows, of course, all the more favourably when compared with such as one as that of Jacob. His faults spring, no doubt, from his peculiar temperament, but they are those which we regard with the greatest dislike. His virtues, on the other hand, had none of that spontaneity and freshness which makes an excellence doubly excellent, but were always unpleasantly prudential. They seem to have been developed only by infinite patience and a vast variety of discipline, and not to have come to very much after all. Yet Jacob was the man on whom God's blessing rested, whose nature was the most susceptible of Divine treatment, and most capable of receiving and transmitting the promise of the covenant. Esau, according to the Scripture, was a profane man, with little or no capacity for the spiritual and unseen, unable to understand it, whose strong earthly instincts and exuberance of life repelled everything of the sort, or hardly admitted of its approach. On what, then, is our sympathy with Esau grounded? He stands out as the representative of the warmhearted, high-spirited man of the world, whose sins, because they scorn the grosset attributes of meanness, seem little more to us than acts of extravagance. The growths of a rich though wayward nature, they carry along with them a certain savour of its richness, that renders them somewhat less unpalatable. And the fact that now and then he can do most liberal things, be touched with poignancy of sorrow, or rise into an ardour of affection, seems to prove that he cannot be a bad man. It shows he has it in him to throw his sin aside, and rise above it, that there must be an inward fountain of goodness, that but for untoward and embarrassing conditions, would be certain to obtain the ascendency. So we are inclined to argue. But the argument may he a mistake. For what determines the nature of a man's life, and stamps his character as good or bad, is the course of it in the main. A few glimpses of sunshine, however bright, will not make a fine day, especially if it pours heavily throughout the intervals. The stream that lingers in its deep pools, and doubles on itself in doubtful windings through the plain, is none the less surely seeking for the sea. So we are not to imagine a man good or bad because the level of his life is broken up by occasional deeds of goodness or the reverse. We are to look at the tenor of the whole and discover, if we can, the sovereign motive that governs its drift. Now it is unfortunately true that much generosity and warmth of emotion may co-exist with serious moral weakness, that a man's nature may break out at times into admirable actions, while its habitual temper is rigidly selfish, nay, that these actions themselves may only be selfishness working in a somewhat unusual way. For what is impulsiveness but the tendency to act at the bidding of one's own feelings? And to indulge our feelings, irrespective of those of other people, what is that but selfishness? A man who habitually lives for himself will, almost unconsciously, act upon the same principle of selfishness even in those very instances in which he seems to have most thoroughly broken away from it. His good deeds are, in all likelihood, so many acts of expiation by which he tries to make up for cases of neglect. Besides, even apart from such considerations, there is a subtle pleasure in being occasionally better than ourselves, in surprising people, and rising above their expectations, which is only another form of selfishness. It is as much as saying, "See how much more generous I am than you supposed. What an injustice you have done me in concluding I am hard-hearted and inconsiderate!" We must not be deceived, then, by the superficial attractiveness of the warm-hearted, impulsive type of character, nor forget that exceptional actions only prove their opposite to be the rule. Selfishness may disguise itself in a coat of many colours, and take its own way among a multitude of devices that seem to surround it with a contrary atmosphere, but which are all intended only to make room for it, and allow it to go on without interference. It is only when a man's life involves him in self-denial; when it recognises the claims of others and the claims of God, and submits to adjust itself faithfully to these; when it gives up its own waywardness, and curtails its freedom, to add to the happiness and well-being of those around him; only, in short, when he bows himself to the yoke of Christ, and begins to burden himself, as He did, with the sins and sorrows, the toils and struggles, of the world — that he learns the first lesson in the school of Christianity, and truly practises the fear of God. But it is not as a selfish but as a profane man Esau is held up as a beacon of warning; and by a profane man is meant one who has no perception of the sanctity of Divine things. But this profaneness simply describes the selfish man's character on that side of it which is turned towards God. He has no such respect for God as moves him to obedience. He removes religion out of his way as a serious hindrance, or shuts it up within so narrow a compass it never comes into collision with himself. What else can he do, if it only thwarts and annoys him? If it gives him no pleasure, and adds nothing to his resources, is it to be expected that it should be found anywhere except amid the lumber of his life? But there is another reason besides those I have mentioned which has much to do with our sympathy with Esau, and that is his misfortunes. We are apt to look at him as the victim of a fraud, and it seems to us almost a contravention of justice that the impostor should flourish in the favour of God and his victim be disowned and cast aside. But this is a one-sided view of the occurrence and falls short of the truth. No man can be cheated out of a Divine gift against his own will. God does not hold His benefits with so lax a hand, or dispense them with such indifference, as to allow them to be diverted from their destined possessor by the craft or subtilty of man or devil. Esau lost the birthright by his sin, sold it for a mess of pottage, and had himself and not his brother to blame for his calamity. But it was highly characteristic of Esau that he should not have seen this. It is the way of selfish, worldly men to resent exceedingly that their sin should find them out. And having his father on his side, who had the blessing to bestow, it seemed to him a settled thing that he should receive it. The old affair of the pottage was not so serious after all, and it would be absurd to suppose that so trifling a transaction would interfere with the stated rights of the eldest born. But though hand join in hand iniquity shall not go unpunished, and the conspiracy of sin was broken, and its purpose baffled, by an utterly unprecedented trick. It is a terrible illustration of the truth that as a man sows so shall he also reap; that every sin we commit, instead of passing into the past with the time that witnessed it, remains embedded among the forces of our life, that there it works and spreads, and dissipates its influence, till it brings us face to face with the measure of retribution. But even though it be granted that Esau suffered for his own fault, was not the suffering disproportioned to the sin? Was it not too trifling to be followed by so grievous a penalty? It might have been so if his sin had only consisted in the act that was the immediate occasion of his loss. But no sin stands by itself. And it is not the evil action that makes a man bad, it merely reveals the fact that he is bad. It is the outlet by which the inward wickedness issues' into broad daylight, and publishes the fact of its existence. Esau was a profane man, not because he sold his birthright; but he sold his birthright because he was profane. And there was nothing for it but to transfer it to some one who should watch over it with becoming pains, and yield himself to be fashioned by the hope of its fulfilment. It happened according to that saying of our Lord, "Unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have." And so, let us beware of cherishing a spirit of self-indulgence and of indolent yielding to our desires. Your nature may grow so enfeebled by selfishness you will not be able to rouse yourself to the call of God. Some critical moment may arrive, some day of grace, when there shall be set before you with a freer and more abundant entrance than ever the open door of the kingdom of God, and you will be too easy-going to be disturbed, too enervated by indulgence to seize your opportunity. Or, to keep more closely to the tragic example of my text, some long gratified desire may insist on being satisfied at the expense of fidelity to Christ. You may find that in some hour when you have least expected it you are faced with the alternative of denying yourself, or parting for ever with an interest in Him; and if you have not been bearing the Cross and enduring hardness as a good soldier, if you have not been accustoming yourself to sacrifice your own will to the will of God, how terrible the risk that in that hour of everlasting issues you may fail to stand the test, and barter your birthright for a worldly lust!

(C. Moinet, M. A.)

s: — There are three classes of sentient life: first, those which have animal appetites, and no spiritual prerogatives — such are the beasts of the field, dec.; secondly, those which have spiritual prerogatives, and no animal appetites-such, probably, are angels; and thirdly, those that are compounded of both — such are men. In men, these two kinds of power occupy two very different relations; in some — the mass — the animal is the sovereign; in others — the few — the spiritual guides and governs all.


1. Spiritual independency.

2. Moral approbation.

3. Divine fellowship.


1. This is foolish.

2. This is criminal.



I. HIS PROFANENESS IN ITS COMMENCEMENT. Oh, it is a strange parable, that sale of the birthright; a parable fulfilled again and again in the irreligious man selling eternity for time; the man of faith giving all that he now has for a better hope in years to come. It is a parable having its own peculiar lesson for our own days. Now, when natural accomplishments are so highly valued, when intellect, science, energy, skill, win the admiration even of foes; and implicit belief is construed as superstition, a self-denying, meditative life viewed almost as treason to the interests of human fellowship. Now, when even religion is denuded, as much as possible, of everything supernatural; and whilst honour, and benevolence, and generosity are lauded, and a general providence recognised, prayer, meditation, sacramental grace, like the promise of old, are put aside; we call you back to Isaac's tent, and show you the types of our modern life in his twin sons, and bid you note how the man of religious faith, in spite of many faults, won the eternal love, whilst the man of this world, the free, frank hunter of the desert, brave yet Without reverence, affectionate yet without faith, became an alien from the commonwealth of Israel; stamped, for a perpetual warning, as the profane person who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

II. HIS PROFANENESS IN ITS FINAL ISSUE. HOW do men live on year after year foregoing religious privileges, forgetting God, and scarcely remember it! The man who has been baptized, and whose conscience tells him that he dare not die as he is — what is he but one who has verily parted with his spiritual birthright? Once he was sure of heaven, now he is sure no longer; nay, if he reflects has little hope of heaven in his present state; where is his birthright? He means to alter before he dies. He intends to win back his inheritance. What is this but Esau, dimly conscious of a loss, yet continuing in the same career which ruined him at the outset, a cunning hunter, and nothing but a cunning hunter still? We must wait till the next world for the "exceeding bitter cry " from such men, for it is seldom here that the conviction of being lost for ever is experienced. The same carelessness lasts on to the end. There is, indeed, nothing more alarming than the fearlessness with which the majority meet death. Whenever there is manifested anxiety and dread, the minister of Christ knows what to do. But the difficult case to deal with is that which is the most common case; when the man who has never accustomed himself to make much of God and Christ in his health, appears in his sickness utterly without fear, unable to realise the bitter things that are written against him; unable to imagine that he has gone so far astray, and has so far to return. It is as if the habit of treating religion lightly, once contracted, dislocated the whole moral being, that we can never afterwards see, or hear, or taste aright, the powers of the world to come. And so the thoughtful man, who feels what sin is, what God is, what heaven is, must often fear for those who fear not for themselves; and tremble lest the instant of the death pang should be the signal of a terrible awakening — lest, at the moment when this world hears the faint whisper of the dying no longer, the eternal world may be ringing with the loud, bitter cry of a soul just conscious of a birthright lost for ever.

(Bp. Woodford.)

It was the contemptuous treatment of that which should have been held sacred and invaluable. It was the selling of station, honour, influence, power, pre-eminence, for a dish of soup and a little brewed. It was the parting with chieftainship at the bidding of an empty stomach. It was the allowing of the animal to swallow up the man. It was sinking the interest of a great future in the little pressing need of the present.


1. The first element of danger which I mention is present stress — urgency of present need. The man who has just risen from a hearty meal and gone out into the street, is under no temptation to steal from the baker's wagon which stands by the sidewalk. But the case is vastly different when the street-boy, who slept last night in an ash-barrel, and whose lips for twenty-four hours have not tasted food, comes along by the bread-cart. Involuntarily his tired feet halt. His eyes, how wide they open upon those loaves! His mouth, how it waters! Now he looks to the right and the left; up the street, down the street; no one in sight, and his hands spring like a steel-trap upon the nearest loaf. Why? Because he is hungry. So oftentimes do children of a larger growth come unto their critical hour. By misfortune, by loss, by squandering, or by the increasing power of an evil appetite (growing by that it feeds upon), the man's desire for money has been made fierce, clamorous, raving. And now he is brought into the presence of his coveted boon. Money is before him, within his reach. It is not his own, but it is within sight. Oh, how he wants it! And so the man stands in the presence of his temptation, weak through the power of the craving within him. The next step is soon taken. The exposed man risks the penalty of the law; ventures honour, character, reputation; sells all these at the bidding of his hungry nature. And there is yet another and more vivid view of the working of this same mighty power. Man is born to a nobler birthright than honour or reputation even. In every sinful human being there vests the possible title to a blessed immortality. But the hour of present and pressing indigence bursts upon the man. He comes back from his long chase after satisfying good. He feels that he must have the desire of his heart — must have it now. And then the world offers it — offers it for a price. "Give me your birthright," she says, "swear it me, and you shall have what you want. Throw away principle, and wealth is yours. Renounce integrity, and here is honour. Sell me conscience, and I give you success." And the man reasons, Esau like, "Behold, I am at the point of death, and of what use is the birthright to a dead man? Heaven is far in the future, a dim, uncertain good. My title to it is not wealth or honour or success. Better have what I can get now." "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lintiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up and went his way," — without his birthright. So the world gives its victim. He eats, he drinks, he rises up and goes his way; goes his way to meditate upon the words, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

2. The second element in the danger here is the almost omnipotent power of the present. Esau would not have felt his hunger so keenly if the broth had not been before him. Besides, he would have reasoned, "If I must wait until food is prepared by some one, I'll prepare it myself and keep my birthright." But the case was, that to Esau's pressing need Jacob could bring immediate relief, could offer food already prepared. And so he got the birthright; bought it at a low figure, because he was able to pay the price at once. And men always sell at a lower price for cash in hand; and this, whether their merchandise is houses, or lands, or conscience, or character. Take the holders of real estate in our city who wish to sell. They have all of them one price for the buyer who pays all cash, and another and higher price for the buyer who wishes to pay in the future. This is so because the possession of money has value; because there is always more or less uncertainty about promises for the future, whether to pay or to do anything else. And I think I can see this same principle reaching out from this narrow sphere and ramifying all through the conduct of men. A child would rather have one toy to-day than the promise of a dozen to-morrow. And men are but older children. Look at the man who is wrecking his business, his health, and his family with strong drink, He would never pay this fearful price for a distant gratification. The men who are living in the enjoyment of dishonest wealth to-day — of wealth for which they have given their honour, their peace, and their souls — would not have paid this fearful price for riches which should come in a distant day. The uncertainty of the future, the dimness of the distant prize, their own valuation of moral character, would have prevented the foolish and profane transaction. So it is with all sin. It overcomes through the hope, the assurance, of immediate gratification. Heaven is in the future; so is death; so is judgment; and so is God. These all at uncertain distances, while right before them, ready to their hand, is the price of iniquity, the wages of sin. They sell so cheap because they sell for cash.


1. Today is not all. If the man who, in the midst of his ill-gotten wealth, is now lying upon the bed of death, had thought of this bed in the far off day of his temptation, the thought would have saved him. Out of it would have been born such wisdom as this: "The opportunity is most tempting. But I see a long future reaching out beyond it, and I cannot afford to blacken all this." Oh, take into your hearts this preservative thought — to-day is not all. There is a future coming — a future with its days and its years and its ages. A future with its glory, honour, and immortality. A future with its endless heaven, and its blessed and blessing Father God. Mortgage not this future. Sell it not for a temporary gratification. Throw it not into the mouth of a single hungry hour.

2. There are things more important than the gratification of present desire. Principle is better than prosperity. Some sacrifices you cannot afford to make for any results. There are things which you ought not to sell at any price. They are these — usefulness in the world, peace of conscience, purity of heart, the favour of God; a good life, which shall not blanch or quiver in a single nerve, when Death shall lay his hand upon it.

3. The sale of the birthright is irrevocable. There are thousands of the world's successful ones longing for peace and for happiness, who would give all they have in the world for the approval of conscience and the blessing of God. But it is too late. These things which they desire are the fruits of character; and, having bartered this, these sorrowful ones cannot have its fruits. Neither can tears buy these fruits. No one ever has sold, no one ever can sell, duty for a price, and keep happiness.

(S. S. Mitchell, D. D.)

The history of the wicked, as well as of the righteous, is useful. By their crimes we are cautioned; and we are warned by their miseries. Anxious for our welfare, the Scripture addresses our fear as well as our hope, and holds forth instances of Divine vengeance, as well as proofs of Divine mercy.

I. Let us view Esau in his original state — and COMPARE YOUR PRIVILEGES WITH HIS PRIVILEGES. To stand supreme in the house of the patriarch Isaac was no trifling prerogative: his house was "the house of God, and the gate of heaven." To the birthright belonged pre-eminence over the other branches of the family. Such were the prospects of Esau. And what are yours? It is true, you were not born in the house of Isaac; but you have been brought forth in a Christian country in a "land the Lord careth for," where "the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." You have the Bible; you have Sabbaths; you have sanctuaries; you have ordinances; you have ministers; you have the throne of grace; you have the promise of the Holy Ghost: and all things appertaining to your everlasting happiness are now ready. You possess much; but all your present advantages are not to be compared with those glorious hopes to which you are called by the gospel. You have the prospect of becoming a "kind of firstfruits of His creatures": a birthright which comprehends a "better country" than Canaan, even heaven. But this pearl is not for the swine, who, ignorant of its value, tramples it under foot; but for those who, conscious of its incomparable worth, prefer it to everything else, and, like the wise merchant, are willing to sell all to buy it. These high advantages may be sacrificed.

II. Let us therefore view Esau in the surrender of his privileges, and COMPARE YOUR SIN WITH HIS SIN. "For one morsel of meat he sold his birthright." It is obvious that the loss was voluntary and base.

1. It was voluntary. No one forced it from him — he sold it. And who compels you to abandon your hopes of heaven? Who forces you into perdition? You say that you live in a world of enticing objects; that the dominion of sense is strong; that it is not very easy to resist the impulse of the moment. But is it impossible to resist? Have not many overcome, though placed in the same circumstances, and possessed of the same nature with you? What is goodness untried? Have you not reason as well as appetite? Is not grace attainable by you? Is it not sufficient for you?

2. It was equally base. For what is the price of the birthright? An empire? A crown? A crown sparkles in the eye of ambition: a throne is the highest pinnacle of human pride: nothing like it — but a despicable trifle, "one morsel of meat" — "a mess of pottage" — the dearest dish, says Bishop Hall, that was ever purchased, except the forbidden fruit. But I feel ready to dispute this. Are not you more than like him? Do not you surpass him in folly? For what do you sell the treasures of the soul and eternity, but a thing of nought, a fleeting indulgence, a false point of honour, an imaginary interest? Here is your eternal infamy and disgrace! "Ye have sold yourselves," says the prophet, "for nought."

III. LET US CONSIDER ESAU IN HIS MISERY, AND COMPARE YOUR DOOM WITH HIS DOOM. Nothing could be more affecting than his expostulations, and his bitter cries, but to no purpose does he urge his petition or press his father to retract: the benediction is pronounced, and Isaac acquiesces in the decision of heaven. Are you disposed to pity him? Yea, rather, weep for yourselves. Your loss is inestimably greater than his loss. After all his disappointments he had something left, and could entertain himself with the diversions of the field; but your condition will be destitute of all resources. Sin unavoidably brings a man sooner or later to lamentation and regret. Let us also remark, that there is a repentance which is unavailing. Paul tells us of a "sorrow of the world which worketh death." The eyes which sin closes, eternity will open. But then grief comes too late. The blessing once lost, cannot be recovered.

(W. Jay.)

Esau was, undoubtedly, sensual, or addicted to gross carnal pleasures. His wild, roving character prepares us to find in him imperious passions and an unscrupulous will. The steady tradition of the Jews is that he was an abandoned profligate; and this is sufficiently borne out by what we read (Genesis 26:34, 35). Again, Esau was profane; as, in truth, all sensual persons are. Show me a rake, and though an oath may never be heard to escape his lips, I will pronounce that man profane; for his sins belong to that class which, more than any other, eat out all fear of God from the human heart, and harden and petrify it into the most reckless godlessness. Esau's profanity sufficiently appears in the brief account of it we have in Genesis 25:32-34, and in the flippant levity with which he sold his birthright, clinching the transaction with an oath which he never meant to keep — thus consistently blending blasphemy and fraud. And the chartered treasure he sold was no commonplace one. It was a birthright not only to Canaan, but to all the privileges and distinguished honours of the Messianic people. It was a birthright, therefore, in which the spiritual interests of Esau's children, and children's children, were most vitally implicated. Of this matchless and marvellous honour, Esau flippantly said, under a passing sensation of hunger, "Behold I am at the point to die (which, as we have already said, was not true), and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" Well might the inspired historian add, "Thus Esau despised his birthright." A passing sense of hunger, which any common soldier would scorn or forget in the pursuit of honour; which the pettiest trader can forget in the eager pursuit of gain; which Esau himself would often despise in the keen urgency of the chase, was now, in his spiritual balance, to make the proudest birthright the world ever saw to kick the beam! What mattered it to profane Esau whether the blood of the chosen holy seed, or of a heathen predatory tribe, was at the time flowing in his veins? Thus the inspired writer has only too good reasons for affirming that Esau was both sensual and profane; and that it was these bad qualities that led him to barter away his birthright, yea, and to pour the utmost contempt upon it by weighing against it a paltry mess of lentile pottage.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Every gospel rejecter, as such, is both sensual and profane. He is sensual, for he is "a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God." He is profane, for he trifles year after year, though death's darts are flying around him, with the tremendous realities of duty and destiny. So sensual is he that "the pleasures of sin for a season" bulk larger in his eyes than "the pleasures" that are "for evermore." So profane is he that "he worships and serves the creature more than the Creator," whom he dethrones from his conscience and banishes from his heart. Do not cavil at the terms; for if you are still a gospel rejecter, the terms fit you; they mean you. One unbeliever may indignantly say, I am not sensual; another may say, I am not profane; no matter, your place lies somewhere between them; and to flee from one is just to fall into the other, cross and recross each other as you will. You do not need to be an abandoned profligate in order to be sensual: you do not need to be a blasphemer in order to be profane. If there is anything you prefer to God, to Christ, to a present salvation, you are both. And oh remember, that as any object, though only an inch square, if kept over the eye, is large enough to keep the whole world of vision, and all its enjoyments, out of the mind, so a very trifling indulgence, clung to in spite of conscience, is large enough to keep the boundless tide of salvation out of your soul. Lovers of pleasures, beware! Oh, remember that "the pleasures of sin " will, ere long, be a phrase of greatly altered meaning. It has some meaning now; but ere long the tie, such as it is, that binds pleasure and sin will be in a large degree finally ruptured. There will be pleasure and there will be sin, but the great gulf will roll between. In the preponderating point of view, all the pleasure will be in heaven, but there will be no sin there; all the sin will be in woe, but there will be no pleasure there.



1. An instance of the foolish behaviour of men.

(1)They will exchange the greatest blessings for the most paltry considerations.

(2)They will yield up home, friends, happiness, for a moment's passion. Eternity is lost, that time may delight.

2. An instance of thoughtless words bringing serious realities. The wise man never speaks at random. The prudent is not overtaken to betray himself by the feelings of the moment.

3. An instance of the little value often set upon the most precious blessings.

4. An instance of the sensual prevailing over the ideal.

5. An instance of the irretrievable character of wrong choice.


1. What he lost.

(1)The confidence of his father.

(2)Peace of mind.

(3)The comforts of home.

(4)The same confidence he had taken from his father.

2. What he gained. The birthright — but with certain penalties attached. It was got by fraud, and the curse of the fraud clung to it.Learn:

1. The folly of rash and hasty impulses.

2. The folly of trifling with religious matters.

3. The folly of dishonesty.


There is only one price that can be had for a birthright, and that is "one morsel of bread." There are no higher figures; there are no better bargains. If he had received ten thousand worlds they would have constituted but one morsel of meat, when in the other hand there was a birthright. The devil has no more in his counter; the enemy has no more at the bank; he pays you all he can pay you when you sell your birthright — one gulp, one morsel, one flash of pleasure, and then hell! Nothing more is possible. Then why haggle with the old serpent the devil? Why ask for threehalfpence more for your soul? The whole transaction totals up to one morsel of meat. That is all he gave to the mother of the world. She and he struck the first bargain about birthrights. So it comes and goes, age after age, the same temptation, the same bargain, the same price, the same perdition! See if these things be not true in experience, in every degree of the circle of life's tragedy. You will have pleasure, you will gratify a passion: do it; having done it, what have you got in your hand, in your mouth? In the very indulgence of the passion you consume the compensation; when all is over there is nothing left but fire, shame, reproach, the sting of hell. This is inevitable; this is the law of Providence, the law of experience, the law of justice. The highest rights can be parted with. A man can get rid of his birthright. A man can deplete his soul of itself. One would think it would be impossible to part with anything but that which is material, commercial, arithmetical; but history — and may we not add personal consciousness? — testifies to the fact that we sell our souls. Why do we not say so to ourselves plainly and frankly? Why not confess the crime of suicide? This is the intolerable agony of remorse. If we had sold a hand we could make it up again in some form, but when we have sold the brain, the heart, the soul, how can we recover such birthrights? "In the day then eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." That word " die" has never been explained. It must be terrible beyond the power of language to express, for God hath no pleasure in it; and if He of the infinite heart cannot make room for death, who shall describe it in words or figure it in sufficient symbols? There are possessions without which we could not be men, without which we Could not begin to live, and without which we could not receive the ministries of nature. Is a man deaf? then he cannot receive the ministry of music. Is a man blind? then he is excluded from the ministry of light and colour and form and all that peculiarity of distributed magnitude which constitute the very apocalypse and wizardry of form. And you cannot represent to blindness what a beam of light is like. So you may have got rid of your religious sensitiveness, and now you may say about the hymn-book out of which you used to sing that you can find nothing in it. The book is not dead, but your spiritual sensitiveness is extinct. So with the Divine revelation. You were once accustomed to delight in it, you meditated therein day and night, and now any last critic who is dealing in the expectorations of critics who are already ashamed of their folly can tempt you to leave the Church. Has the Church changed? Not at all. Is the Bible so revised as to have ejected its own wisdom and made room for sonic man's folly? No. Then what is the explanation of it? The birthright is gone, the soul's power of vision, the soul's responsiveness to appealing heavens and all the nurturing ministries of nature. You can exhaust yourselves. You have sold your birthright. What things are there that may be called birthrights? There are some birthrights that are moral, others that are intellectual, and others that are social. Surely we come into something; surely there is some law of inheritance and some law and discipline of succession. We cannot get rid of instinct, much older than logic; we cannot get rid of aspirations that have no words, God's own songs in the soul. Let us one and all take care lest we part with our birthright on any terms; and let us especially remember that whatever the terms may be in figures they total up into one morsel of meat in reality. It is a morsel, and it is one morsel, and it never can be more under any circumstances. What is the relation of Christ to these Esaus? Has Christianity anything to say to such poor merchantmen? Christianity first begins with a revelation of their folly; Christianity shows them that if a man should gain the whole world and lose his birthright, he has gained nothing, he has profited nothing, he is a loser by all the transaction. What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his birthright?

(J. Parker, D. D.)

The devil doth not know the hearts of men; but he may feel their pulse, know their temper, and so, accordingly, can apply himself. As the husbandman knows what seed is proper to sow in such soil; so Satan, finding out the temper, knows what temptation is proper to sow in such a heart. That way the tide of a man's constitution runs, that way the wind of temptation blows. Satan tempts the ambitious man with a crown, the sanguine man with beauty, the covetous man with a wedge of gold. He provides savoury meat, such as the sinner loves.

(T. Watson.)

y: — His (Antisthenes') contempt of all sensual enjoyment was expressed in his saying, "I would rather be mad than sensual."

(O. H. Lewes.)

Ruined castles are picturesque, they add charm to a landscape — alas I we cannot say the same of ruined men.

When the followers of Ulysses degraded themselves by the misuse of pleasures, until they fell to the level of the brutes, it is said that Circe, touching them with her wand, turned them into swine. She brought to the surface the inner ugliness; revealed the animal that ruled within.

(H. O. Mackey.)

Preacher's Cabinet.
Esau sold his inheritance for pottage. Lysimachus, besieged by the Goths, suffered so severely from thirst that he finally offered his kingdom to his foes for a supply of water. Having slaked his thirst, lie cried: "Oh, wretched man, who for a little joy has lost so great a kingdom!"

(Preacher's Cabinet.)

Preacher's Cabinet.
Said a thoughtless young man to his sister under deep concern for her soul: "I'll give you five dollars if you will quit this nonsense and be yourself again." She took the paltry gift, lived without religion and died without hope.

(Preacher's Cabinet.)

No place of repentance

II. THE VALUE OF SPIRITUAL BLESSING DISCOVERED WHEN UNATTAINABLE. The habit forms the character, Rejection becomes permanent, e.g., an icicle a foot long is formed drop by drop. So repeated indifference forms the permanent state in which it becomes impossible to seek a blessing.

1. Warning here to the indifferent, rash, profane; e.g., Saul offering sacrifice and losing a kingdom.

2. Warning to the hardened. An old man said, concerning religion, "There was a time, sir, when I might have turned, it is no use now. I am past even thinking about it."

3. A warning to procrastinators. There are those who believe, but who will not act. Fable of the angel and hermit who constantly saw an old man adding from the wood to his bundle of sticks, and who could not lift and carry it.

4. See your birthright and take the Bible as your possession. Make it, as Hedley Vicars did, by placing a Bible on his table in his quarters, the sign of allegiance to Christ. If this were the first time some heard, there might be hope of some influence being brought to bear. Many times heard, and hardening following, the last opportunity will come when the chance of repentance will be gone. That time is not come if a penitent spirit is now possessed. Christ will grant forgiveness to every penitent soul.

(H. De Lynne.)

There is an impression in almost every man's mind that somewhere in the future there will be a chance where he can correct all his mistakes. Live as we may, if we only repent in time, God will forgive us, and then all will be as well as though we had never committed sin. My discourse shall come in collision with that theory. I shall show you that there is such a thing as unsuccessful repentance; that there are things done wrong that always stay wrong, and for them you may seek some place of repentance, but never find it.

1. Belonging to this class of irrevocable mistakes is the folly of a misspent youth. We may look back to our college days and think how we neglected chemistry, or geology, or botany, or mathematics. We may be sorry about it all our days. Can we ever get the discipline or the advantage that we would have had had we attended to those duties in early life? A man wakes up at forty years of age and finds that his youth has been wasted, and he strives to get back his early advantages. Does he get them back? "Oh!" he says, "if I could only get those times back again, how I would improve them!" You will never get them back. When you had a boy's arms, and a boy's eyes, and a boy's heart, you ought to have attended to those things. A man says at fifty years of age: "I do wish I could get over these habits of indolence." When did you get them? At twenty or twenty-five years of age. You cannot shake them off. They will hang to you to the very day of your death. I said to a minister of the gospel last Sabbath night at the close of the service: "Where are you preaching now?" "Oh!" he says, "I am not preaching. I am suffering from the physical effects of early sin. I can't preach now; I am sick." A consecrated man he now is, and he mourns bitterly over early sins; but that does not arrest their bodily effects. The simple fact is, that men and women often take twenty years of their life to build up influences that require all the rest of their life to break down. When you tell me that a man is just beginning life, I tell you that he is just closing it. The next fifty years will not be of as much importance to him as the first twenty.

2. In this same category of irrevocable mistakes I put all parental neglect. We begin the education of our children too late. By the time they get to be ten or fifteen we wake up to our mistakes and try to eradicate this bad habit of the child; but it is too late. That parent who omits in the first ten years of the child's life to make an eternal impression for Christ, never makes it. The child will probably go on with all the disadvantages which might have been avoided by parental faithfulness. When I was in Chamouni, Switzerland, I saw in the window of one of the shops a picture that impressed my mind very much. It was a picture of an accident that occurred on the side of one of the Swiss mountains. A company of travellers, with guides, went up some very steep places — places which but few travellers attempted to go up. They were, as all travellers are there, fastened together with cords at the waist, so that if one slipped the rope would hold him — the rope fastened to the others. Passing along the most dangerous point, one of the guides slipped, and they all slipped down the precipice; but after awhile one more muscular than the rest struck his heels into the ice and stopped; but the rope broke, and down, hundreds and thousands of feet, the rest went. And so I see whole families bound together by ties of affection, and in many cases walking on slippery places of worldliness and sin. The father knows it and the mother knows it, and they are bound all together. After awhile they begin to slide down, steeper and steeper, and the father becomes alarmed and he stops, planting his feet on the "Rock of Ages." He stops, but the rope breaks, and those who were tied fast to him by moral and spiritual influences once, go over the precipice. Oh l there is such a thing as coming to Christ soon enough to save ourselves, but not soon enough to save others.

3. In this category of irrevocable mistakes I place also the unkindness done to the departed. When I was a boy, my mother used to say to me sometimes: "De Witt, you will be sorry for that when I am gone." Oh, if we could only get back those unkind words; those unkind deeds. If we could only recall them; but you cannot get them back. You might bow down over the grave of that loved one, and cry, and cry. The white lips would make no answer.

4. There is another sin that I place in the class of irrevocable mistakes, and that is lost opportunities of getting good. Esau has sold his birthright, and there is not wealth enough in the treasure-houses of heaven to buy it back again. What does that mean? It means that if you are going to get any advantage out of this Sabbath-day, you will have to get it before the hand wheels around on the clock to twelve to-night. It means that though other chariots may break down or drag heavily, this one never drops the brake, and never ceases to run. It means that while at other feasts the cup may be passed to us, and we may reject it, and yet after awhile take it, the cup-bearers to this feast never give us but one chance at the chalice, and rejecting that, we shall " find no place for repentance, though we seek it carefully with tears."

5. There is one more class of sins that I put in this category of irrevocable offences, and that is lost opportunity of usefulness. There comes a time when you can do a good thing for Christ. It comes only once. Your business partner is a proud man. In ordinary circumstances say to him; "Believe in Christ," and he will say; "You mind your business and I'll mind mine." But there has been affliction in the household. His heart is tender. He is looking around for sympathy and solace. Now is your time. Speak, or for ever hold your peace. There is a time in farm life when you plant the corn and when you sow the seed. Let that go by, and the farmer will wring his hands while other husbandmen are gathering in their sheaves. When an opportunity for personal repentance or of doing good passes away, you may hunt for it, you cannot find it. You may fish for it, it will not take the hook. You may dig for it, you cannot bring it up. I stand before those who have a glorious birthright. Esau's was not so rich as yours. Sell it once and you sell it for ever. The world wants to buy it. Satan wants to buy it. Listen for a moment to these brilliant offers, and it is gone.

(De Witt Talmage.)

In the action of every natural law there is a point up to which transgression is punished with a lenient hand that has in it provision for reparation upon repentance and reformation; but beyond that point you come to a line of facts where it makes no difference how sorry you feel, nor what you do, there is no remedy. There is a point beyond which violations of natural law involve suffering that is absolutely permanent. Our children understand this in respect to some things. A child, before it has attained any considerable age, knows that though he may fall down three or four stairs without serious injury, it cannot fall down a precipice three or four hundred feet and survive. If we go up a step higher we come to those silent, unwritten, unthought-of laws, that connect us one with another, in families, in societies, and in states, that are observed with benefit, and violated with regrets and penalties. A man may do many mean, wicked, and cruel things, and get over it. But there are some things which, if a man does once, and is found out, where social laws prevail, he will never recover from as long as he lives. Men may break down under trust and confidence in social connections, and never be able to build up again a state of things that will lead men to trust them. The same is true in economic laws, upon which business and property depend. Not a man lives that does not make mistakes in business. But some mistakes a man may make to-day, and correct to-morrow, and not seem to be a loser in consequence of them. If a man drives a heavily laden wain along the road, and a side-board cracks, he goes on, and the accident does not make much difference; but if an axletree breaks, it makes a great deal of difference. As when a ship is at sea without a forge with which to make a new crank — if the crank breaks, it is broken for the voyage; so in business there are some things that a man cannot do twice, for the reason that the first time kills him. The same is true of moral laws, or those that regulate influence, position, trust, among men. There are some violations of moral law that only limit and hinder men's comfort and usefulness. There are some violations of moral law that put a man out of joint with society, but not so but that the disaster in time may be remedied. And there are some violations of moral law that destroy a man hopelessly, so that there can be no place found for repentance, though it be sought carefully with tears. In each of these departments we come to a line on one side of which repentance will work change and benefit, and on the other side of which it will have no influence whatsoever. Consider, then, some of the things which repentance can but very little change, or change not at all.

1. First, there are bitter injuries that we inflict upon others, which no man can follow after, nor in any wise change. And yet, we are responsible for them. With your tongue you may hew down a man's reputation, and the things you have said will torment him to the very end of his days. You may afterwards see your error, you may go to the man and confess the wrong, and you may go to those to whom you have spoken ill of him, and say, "I have learned contrary things; I was false: and now I speak the truth to his credit"; but you cannot hunt slanderers. You might as well try to hunt all the flies that are abroad, or all the mosquitoes that covet your blood, in summer. The man that once lets loose these flying, stinging insects, may be as sorry as he pleases, but his repentance will not remedy the evil.

2. Parallel with these, although differing from them, are those things by which men wound the hearts of those whom they should shield. Your anger may sting venomously. Your cruel pride may do a whole age's work in a day. You cannot take back the injuries that you have done to those whose hearts lie throbbing next to yours. Ah! when winter has frozen my heliotropes, it makes no difference that the next morning thaws them out. There lie the heliotropes — a black, noisome heap; and it is possible for you to chill a tender nature so that no thawing can restore it. You may relent, but frost has been there, and you cannot bring back freshness and fragrance to the blossom. It Is a terrible thing for a man to have the power of poisoning the hearts of others, and yet carry that power carelessly. He cannot find place for repentance, though he seeks it carefully with tears.

4. You may have injured, defrauded, and even betrayed men in their worldly estate, and in some cases it will be in your power to make reparation; but in many cases it will not be in your power to make reparation. And here is one of those things that you do not know anything about. It is as if a man should amuse himself by sitting in a window of his house, and shooting arrows into the street, without troubling himself to see whom they smote. He could not tell whom he hit, or what mischief he wrought. Now thousands of men are dealing in life in such ways that they shoot arrows of misfortune at their fellow-men. Men practise what is called fraud; but they do not watch the results of their fraudulent deeds, and they do not know anything about them. I do not doubt that many of every man's troubles and misfortunes may be traced to his own conduct; but I am convinced that a large proportion of the misfortunes and troubles that afflict society may be traced to the heedless, dishonest, and wicked ways of worldly men. Now, when a man is brought to a condition in which he sees that he has done wrong, and says, "I have organised and carred on a business whose effects are pernicious, I am sorry I went into it, and I will quit it at once," he may quit it, but he cannot wipe out its effects. They are irreparable. It is a fearful thing for a man to stand on debatable ground, where the question of right and wrong is held in perpetual suspense. Under such circumstances a man may be spending his whole life in the production of mischiefs to be revealed to him hereafter, when he will have no power to recall them.

5. And this leads me still more particularly and solemnly to say that men stand connected with each other in methods that lead to the most awful destruction. As an apple, touched with rot, will, simply by lying its cheek alongside of the glowing, blushing cheek of a sound apple, cause that sound apple to decay; so it is in the power of a man, if his morals are tainted, to damage the morals of another man merely by being with him. He is your disciple till he is drawn into evil; but the moment he is fascinated by it he ceases to be your disciple. Suppose I should preach the gospel in some gambling saloon of New York, and suppose a man should come out convicted of his wickedness, and confess it before God, and pray that he might be forgiven. Forgiveness might be granted to him, so far as he was individually concerned. But suppose he should say, "O God, not only restore to me the joys of salvation, but give me back the mischief that I have done, that I may rule it out." Why, there was one man that shot himself: what are you going to do for him? A young man came to Indianapolis, when I was pastor there, on his way to settle in the West. He was young, and very self-confident. While there, he was robbed, in a gambling saloon, of fifteen hundred dollars — all that he had. He begged to be allowed to keep enough to take him home to his father's house, and he was kicked out into the street. It led to his suicide. I know the man that committed the foul deed. He used to walk up and down the street. Oh, how my soul felt thunder when I met him! If anything lifts me up to the top of Mount Sinai, it is to see one man wrong another. Now suppose this man should repent? Can he ever call back that suicide? Can he ever carry balm to the hearts of the father and mother and brothers and sisters of his unfortunate victim? Can he ever wipe off the taint and disgrace that he has brought on the escutcheon of that family? No repentance can spread over that. And yet how many men there are that are heaping up such transgressions!

(H. W. Beecher.)

Some blessings which, when lost, are lost for ever.

1. Opportunities for an education.

2. Purity. Sin may be forgiven, but the memory remains. We can have absolute purity only once.

3. Means of grace. We may improve the present, but the means unimproved in the past are for ever lost.

4. Opportunities for doing good. Present work will not make good past neglect.

5. The blessings of a Christian home in childhood.

6. A soul finally lost. There is a time beyond which there is no redemption. The time will come when you will seek these blessings with tears, but it will be too late — for ever too late.

(W. M. Hamma, D. D.)

There is an old fairy tale about a knight who was riding along a dangerous road. It was dark and lonely, and there were many wild beasts and robbers along the way. So he thought he would turn back, and see if he could not find another road, which would be less dark and dangerous. But when he turned and looked behind, what did he see? All the road that he had ridden on had disappeared, and at his horse's heels there was a gulf, so deep that he could not see to the bottom. And so it is in our life. There is no possibility of going back in it. We can never undo what we have done. We use each moment as it comes, either well or ill, and then it is gone, and we can never recall it.

I once had for a brief companionship a sweet friend, a relative, on a visit where I was residing. We used to go out rowing together. She had a way of dallying with her hand in the water over the side of the boat. One time she lost all the rings off from her fingers in an instant. Out of sight of course hopelessly they fell to the bottom. But whenever we rowed across that place again she would gaze restlessly over the edge, trying to search the very lowest depths of the lake. I have even seen her suddenly bare her arm, as if she had caught a gleam of the jewels down in among the weeds, and was going to grasp after them yet l It is a great mockery, this clutching after youth and hope and joy and vanished ambition, when one had come to be an elderly and weather-beaten man.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

How bitter is the wail of the mighty Mirabeau, "If I had but character, if I had but been a good man, if I had not degraded my life by sensuality, and my youth by evil passion, I could have saved France!" Many a man has felt the same; he has clipped his own wings, he has suffered to be shorn away the sunny locks of the Nazarite who once lay weeping upon his shoulders, and wherein would have lain his strength.

A famed German preacher tells that he began life as assistant to a careless old minister. Often he saw the grey-headed man pacing sadly up and down the garden, and overheard him saying, "Oh, that God would give me back my past years!"

(J. Wells, M. A.)

Those tears of Esau, the sensuous, wild, impulsive man, almost like the cry of some "trapped creature," are amongst the most pathetic in the Bible.

(A. B. Davidson, LL. D.)

Some time ago a ship went down, having struck a hidden reef. Fortunately, unlike the sad case of the Teution the other day, there was time enough to get the passengers and crew into the boats, which safely held off from the foundering vessel. Just before the last boat started, the captain and mate, having seen that all were safe, stood upon the gangway ready to leave the ship. She was fast sinking — no time to be lost. The mate said to the captain, "I have left my purse below; let me go and get it." "Man," replied the other, "you have no time for that; jump at once." "Just a moment, captain — I can easily get it"; and away the mate rushed below. But in that moment the ship went creeping down. I hear the gurgling flood! The captain has barely time to save himself, when, swirling in the awful vortex, the vessel disappears i By and by the body of the mate was found, and in his stiffened hand was tightly grasped the fatal purse. When the purse was opened, what do you think it contained? Eighteenpence! And for that paltry sum he risked and lost his life.

Hebrews 12:16 NIV
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Hebrews 12:16 NASB
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Hebrews 12:15
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