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Written by R.Anna Phillips   

ZION'S LANDMARK -- December 1, 1901

What a sad, disconsolate, not-knowing-whither, wanderer was Jacob, when fleeing from the wrath of his brother-whose birthright blessing had been transferred and sealed to him-when after a long hard day's journey he, foot-sore and exhausted, finds the shades of night fast falling around him, and as if ordering him to stop and stay in this particular place in this waste-howling wilderness -this wilderness so far away from home and human voice and habitation, with silence broken only by the hungry cry of wild beasts of prey. How fearful, yea dreadful, seems the place! How awful and mysterious, to him, so young, and on this first night found from home, were the fast falling shadows that, apparently changing and turning to specters about him, and mocking his fleeing steps as from selfish fear, and not devotion to the law of his mother, and therefore as never leading to answer of peace! How desolate his aching heart! How empty his hands! How defenseless his head! How spent his strength! How far withdrawn from human cognizance! How destitute! When withal so weary, yet with not where to lay his head save on these stones, of which, as a last resort, he makes a heap for his pillow, and laid him down to sleep, and- to dream; to dream as never king with head on silken pillow of down did, or could, or might.

And these peculiar surrounding circumstances and conditions that thus laid Jacob's head on this pillow of stones, he doubtless, at the time, was tempted to believe but an accidental accumulation of evils working against him; and that his head thus lay from causes sprung from nature, that entered through the gate of his flesh. But after that beauteous dream and divine revelation, he acknowledged his great mistake in boldly calling this the house of God" and "gate of heaven." Gen. 28:l7.

From which we learn that that pillow of stones was well worth the time and labor spent in reaching it. And his head thus laid in that place is called "the house of God," and from the fact that he had spent all his strength in journeying hither; and which -answering to the condition of one under conviction-had brought him in far from all outside human help; and at the end of which he is found without strength, with neither place or pillow or means; in short, as utterly destitute, with nothing but his need, and that so urgent, and he so poor and dependent that from necessity he thus lowly laid his head. And thus is as helpless, dependent and passive as a little child. And of such is the kingdom of heaven; and hence this is the house or kingdom of God.

Then comes the dream revealing the ladder reaching from earth to the open heaven above, and he sees the kingdom of God: and lo! he receives that promised given rest to the heavy ladened, thus converted and become as a little child. And that revealed as Christ the way or door or entrance into this kingdom. This condition and position of Jacob thus laid in sleep that leads-as the way-to the dream; and the dream to heaven, as thus literally and practically corresponding to the spiritual way, is therefore called "the gate of heaven."

Therefore, as in the way of leading up to this pillow of stones that holds and reveals such wonderful and gracious results, let us continue to flee the wrathful hand of Esau, as shunning nor imbibing the carnal principles of the flesh. For to such, as in daily walk, are fleeing from the wrath of Esau, or that cease walking after the flesh; which bearing the burden of his false accusations, and leading through rugged places of self-denial and long-sufferings, yet still pressing on-though faint yet still pursuing-till strength expended and weariness is overcoming us, and cry out in urgent appeal for rest. Just then the shades of night-when "no man can work"-begin to fall as indicating God's ''set tune,'' as commensurate with such need, and God "giveth his beloved sleep.'' And wherein is fulfilled his promise that such shall find rest. And with the sleep comes the dream revealing the nigh presence and ministering hand of our Father as by angels ascending and descending by way of this ladder and gate of heaven.

Ah! This pillow of stones! So hard and low and debased to the natural! So high and heavenly to the spiritual!

Therefore when unusual trials, tribulations and oppressions, from evil hand or tongue, or from whatever cause, come on us, though they bring manifold temptations if need be, let us not dare not count them against us, lest they be of the spirit to make a gate of heaven. That in patience we would possess our soul, and in silence-lest, we assume the province of God to avenge-and meekness bear them; though they tarry long with us, let us still refer them to the Lord for adjustment, and pursue our own personal work with diligence and meekness, while at the same time we wait- wait on the Lord for our bringing and placing whereby we in connection become, as it were, the house of God. And always remembering that after the order of God in creation, that "the evening (first) and the morning was the first day." (There never was a night not followed by a day). We also recall the adage that the "darkest hour of the night is that just before the day." Sometimes we may feel, (I have) that our night has been so long and grown so dark, that we are lost to human and divine cognizance, and therefore despair of a coming day. But we must remember that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" and "they that sow tears shall reap in joy." Even as our great Ensampler that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing. The head that is pillowed on stones tonight shall pillow on Jesus' breast tomorrow. And Jesus said, they that weep now shall rejoice then. For thus it is given us in behalf of Christ not only to believe, but also to suffer.

Then poor, oppressed and burdened wanderers-and thou my fellow-companions in tribulation- and thereby become particularly near and dear to my heart-be patient, long-forbearing, hopeful and believing under your manifold trials, for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come. For though your head is laid on this pillow of stones-that in the estimation of the natural mind or world-as answering to religious principles-is as to position the lowest and most debased, as also the hardest and most hurtful to bear; still you should bless whatever as stepping stones that brought you there; for there you first saw and entered the kingdom of God, and there only still you find the ladder and the gate of heaven. P.

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.