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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The world was overspread with ignorance and superstition; and Pharaoh was the autocrat of the age.

He was totally ignorant of who the Lord was, and therefore refused to obey Him.

He was "a vessel unto dishonour" -- an idolater under the dominion of the propensities.

Had he been left to himself, he would have continued like all other chiefs of the sinpower, "a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction".

His tyranny had come to this crisis, namely, either the Israelites must be exterminated, or the oppressor and his power must be destroyed.

The judgment in the case belonged to the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; the result could not, therefore, be for a moment doubtful.

He that has power over the clay, had appointed Israel to be "a vessel unto honour".

upon whom it was His sovereign pleasure to have mercy.

They were, therefore, "vessels fitted for mercy," whom He had before prepared, that on them He might make known the riches of His glory, both then and in a time to come.

To effect their deliverance then; to punish Pharaoh and his abettors for their tyranny; and to make Himself known to the surrounding nations -- He stirred up the Egyptian king to show all that was in his obdurate and relentless nature.

Upon this view of the case, He elected Pharaoh and his host to a terrible overthrow; while He elected Israel to become His people in the land of Canaan.

Thus "He had mercy on whom he would have mercy, and whom he would he hardened".

Such is the doctrine of election as taught in the scriptures of truth.

Let us return now to the further consideration of the case of Esau and Jacob.

The boys grew to be men.

"Esau was an expert hunter, and a man of the field".

The result of these pursuits was to surround himself with warriors, whose power grew into the future kingdom of Edom.

When he was ninety-one years old, he was able to march with four hundred men against Jacob, then on his return from Mesopotamia.

But Jacob was of a more peaceful disposition.

"He was a plain man, dwelling in tents".

While they sojourned with their father, Esau was Isaac's favourite; and Jacob his mother's.

One day, while Jacob was preparing a pottage of red lentiles, Esau come in from hunting very much overcome with fatigue, He requested Jacob to let him partake of the red lentiles.

But Jacob was not disposed to part with it without a consideration.