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offended you, but who venerates your person | cheering and cherishing his declining years; and esteems your virtues. Suffer us not to a heart melting into sympathy, forgiveness, plead in vain for a shelter under your right and brotherly love, exulting in the joy of hand, to which we flee, as to an holy altar, rendering good for evil; a heart lost in wonconsecrated as a refuge to the miserable.- der and overflowing with gratitude, while it Pity an old man, who, during the whole contemplated the wisdom and goodness of course of a long life, has cultivated arts be- all-ruling Providence, in producing such coming a man of wisdom and probity, and events by means so incomprehensible. who, on account of his amiable qualities, is The feelings of the brothers too, are rather almost adored by the inhabitants of Syria and to be conceived than described. ThunderCanaan, though he profess a religion, and struck with astonishment, oppressed with follow a mode of living totally different from shame, stung with remorse, petrified with theirs."
terror :-no, not terror; the words, the looks, This address, it must be acknowledged, the tears of their relenting brother, assure possesses uncommon grace and tenderness. them in a moment that they have nothing to But it is evident from whence the modern, fear. But, unable to make any reply, they pretended Jew, has copied his tenderest and aflord the noble minded, and the condescend
most delicate couches. And when the copy ing Joseph, an opportunity of so far recover, and the original are brought close together, ing himself, as to be able to administer this
it will be apparent to a discerning eye which strongest of all consolation, that their unis the most finished piece. If Philo has made kindness to himself had been intended, orJudah speak well, it will hardly be disputed dered, and overruled of God, to answer the that Moses has made him speak better. most valuable and important purposes to him,
The words of Judah penetrated the heart to themselves, to their father's house, and to of Joseph. The affectionate manner in which many nations. “ Now therefore be not grievhis father was mentioned, the unfeigned ear- ed, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold nestness expressed to save him from the im- me hither: for God did send me before you, pending blow; the generosity of his offer to to preserve life."* In this address of Joseph, put himself in Benjamin's place, to purchase I know not which to admire most; bis maga parent's comfort and a brother's release, at nanimity in pardoning offences so atrocious, the price of his own liberty; all this satisfies losing sight of the criminals in the brothers; him, that time, and affliction, and a sense of his wonderful skill in adapting the style of duty, and the powerful constraint of return- his consolatory arguments so exactly to the ing nature, had introduced another and a hap- circumstances of the case; his invincible pier spirit into the family. He finds himself humility in carrying the spirit and temper incapable of any longer deferring the plea- of the lowliest condition and relations of sure which he should both receive and com- humanity, into the loftiest, most envied, and municate by making a discovery of himself. most corruptive station of courtly grandeur; The curiosity of his domestics must have been or his pure, fervent, and sublime piety, in greatly raised by the unaccountable pecu- considering and acknowledging all that had iarity of his behaviour to these strangers, come to pass, as the design and operation of but he does not choose to have any specta- Heaven. tors of that scene of nature which he was With infinite judgment and propriety, the meditating, except those who were to be act- sacred historian has put no reply whatever, ors in it. The heart likes not to have its into the mouths of the brothers. There are stronger emotions seen of many witnesses. certain situations which defy description; “The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and certain emotions which silence best, which a stranger intermeddleth not with its joy." silence only can explain. And such was He therefore commands every Egyptian out theirs. Joseph however is not so lost in joy, of the apartment, and being left alone with as to forget that it was far from being perhis eleven brothers, whose consternation must fect till one more became a partaker of it, have been greatly increased by the orders nor so much swallowed up in the present, as which they had now heard given, he bursts to neglect the future. With gladness of into an agony of tenderness, and in words in- heart would he have flown to Hebron, and articulate and indistinct through tears, de- been himself the messenger of his own life clares in one breath who he was; and in the and prosperity, to the good old man. But next, with accents that pierce the soul, pours the duties of his station forbid. This is one out his heart in a tender inquiry after his old of the taxes which greatness is doomed to kind father. Two short words unfold the pay. It must learn to repress the inclinawhole mystery of this strange conduct. tions and forego the pleasures of the private
But what language can convey an ade- citizen. Princes live not to themselves but quate idea of Joseph's feeling at that mo- to the public; and the happiness of millions ment; the feelings of a heart glowing at the is a felicity infinitely superior to every sor thought of once more beholding his vener- did, every selfish gratification. Ile could uble sire, of being pressed to his bosom, of
+ Gen. xlv. 5.
not, must not go to his father: but it was not awaken to transport? And shall his eyes at impossible to remove his father into Egypt. last close in peace? Alas, alas! are we not The excellence of his disposition appears in all dying to the world, before we begin to every thing. In characters like his, we do live to comfort ? Is not the drama of life not find duty justling duty out of doors, but over, before we are well sensible that our every one in its proper place. Passion tem- part in the scene has commenced? Is it not pered by prudence; and wisdom animated rather too late in life to purchase a blessing by passion. To render the projected re- so transitory, by a change so great? What moval of his venerable parent as easy and will a man not do to save his family from comfortable as possible to his advanced age, perishing, and to be joined to such a son as and increasing infirmities, he proposes for Joseph ? It is indeed late in life, before we his residence the land of Goshen, which was die to hope ; and wisely and well it is ordera province of the lower Egypt, on the east ed, that we should hope to the end. The side of the Nile, bordering upon Arabia, and man who has suffered so much, who has died a frontier to Palestine. This province was so often, has not much more either to feel or fit for feeding cattle, the profession which to fear. his father and brethren followed ; and it was This dawning of happiness upon the head not far from the city where the Egyptian of the aged patriarch, is to himself so new, monarchs usually resided, and where Joseph's so unlike the common complexion of his lot, stated habitation of course was. It is called opens so many interesting views of ProviZoan in the seventy-eighth Psalm, and dence—that I trust you will deem with me Tanais by profane authors. This nearness the prosperous period of Jacob's history deof situation, Joseph alleged as one motive to serving of a Lecture by itself. Here then induce his father to undertake the journey; we break off
, after having suggested to your and there he engaged to maintain him and minds a few texts of scripture, tending to all his family, in affluence and comfort. illustrate and to apply our subject.
In Pharaoh we have an amiable instance And “there arose a mighty famine in that of qualities rarely to be found in the charac- land, and he began to be in want. And he ter of princes-attachment and gratitude. went and joined himself to a citizen of that He cheerfully confirms all the engagements country, and he sent him into his fields to of his minister, though they extended to the feed swine. And he would fain have filled disposing of a whole province of his empire. his belly with the husks that the swine did He outruns the wishes and desire of even eat: and no man gave unto him. And when filial duty and affection, and strives to repay he came to himself, he said, How many hired the kindness of Joseph, whom God had made servants of my father's have bread enough, a father to him, by becoming a shield and and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I protector to his father's house.
will arise, and go to my father, and will say But what shall we say, what shall we think unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaof Joseph himself? Men suddenly and re-ven, and before thee; and am no more worthy markably elevated, are apt to forget them to be called thy son: make me as one of thy selves, to forget those from whom they sprung, hired servants. And he arose, and came to and the means by which they rose.
But be- his father : but when he was yet a great way hold the prime minister of a mighty empire, off, his father saw him, and had compassion, the favourite of a great and powerful prince, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed the lord of Egypt, attending to the conveni- him.'* "Come unto me, all ye that labour, ency and comfort of an old shepherd, whose and are heavy laden, and I will give you person was unknown in the country which rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of he governed, his religion abhorred, and his me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and occupation despised. O nature, nature ! ye shall find rest unto your souls.”+ “ Leave How honourable is thy empire, how glorious thy fatherless children, I will preserve them are thy triumphs !-Joseph is now as eager alive: and let thy widows trust in me.”I to hasten the departure of his brethren, as
“ Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's he was before artful to detain them. And good pleasure to give you the kingdom."$ at Pharaoh's command, dismisses them with “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest a retinue suitable to the rank and dignity of the prophets, and stonest them that are sent the man who was next the throne. But it unto thee, how often would I have gathered is with pleasure we observe, that the splen. thy children together, even as a hen gatherdour of this retinue was not the silly osten- eth her chickens under her wings, and ye tation of wealth and power, but the display would not."|| “For of a truth against thy of much better passions, the kindness, the holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, liberality, the gratitude of a good and honest both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Genheart.
tiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered And, is the sun indeed at length going to together: for to do whatsoever thy hand and arise upon Jacob's hoary head? And shall
Matt. xi. 29, 29. 1 Jer. xlix. Il the heart so long dead to joy, yet once more | Luke xii. 32 Matt. xxiii. 37.
* Luke xv. 14--20.
thy counsel determined before to be done."* mit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, " Because the foolishness of God is wiser and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall than men: and the weakness of God is strong- bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and er than men.”+ “ This cometh forth from thy judgment as the noon day. The steps of the Lord of Hosts, which is wonderful in a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he counsel, and excellent in working.” I “Trust delighteth in his way." Acquaint now in the Lord, and do good, so shalt thou dwell thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. De- good shall come unto thee." +
In all thy light thyself also in the Lord, and he shall ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct give thee the desires of thine heart. Com- thy paths." I * Acts iv. 27, 2e.
t 1 Cor. i. 25. 1 Isa. xxviii. 29. * Psalm xxxvii. 3-6. 23. † Job xxii. 21. 1 Prov. iii. 6.
HISTORY OF JACOB AND JOSEPH.
So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the
way. And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father; and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die. GENESIS xlv. 2428.
If there be such a thing as pure and per-| brethren, hastens their return homeward, and fect joy upon earth, it is that which fills the dismisses them provided with every accomheart of a parent, when he hears of the wis-modation for the safe and 'comfortable redom, the virtue, and the prosperity of a dar- moval of their aged father, and their tender ling child. If there be sorrow that admits children. What a triumph was Joseph's! not consolation, it is the sorrow of a father, What a glorious superiority! the triumph of for the vice or folly of an ungracious, thank- Heaven, the superiority of God himself, who less son, and for the misery in which he has overcomes evil with good.” But he is unplunged himself. The patriarch Jacob felt able to conceal the partiality of his affection both of these in the extreme. He had now to Benjamin. As he distinguished him at lived to the age of one hundred and thirty table by a five-fold portion, he distinguishes years; and had proved all the bitter variety him at parting with a more splendid and of human wretchedness. Every change of costly present than the rest, consisting of condition he has hitherto undergone, is only three hundred pieces of silver, and five the sad transition from affliction to affliction. changes of raiment. In a wardrobe of great The burthen at length becomes too heavy to value and variety, a considerable part of anbear, and we see a miserable old man sink- cient magnificence consisted. This we learn ing into the grave under the accumulated both from scripture, and from profane authors. weight of woes insupportable. In parting Samson proposed as a reward to him who with Benjamin, he had yielded up his last should expound his riddle, “ thirty changes stake, and renounced all hopes of happiness of garments.”
Naaman the Syrian, among in this world; calmly looking forward to that other valuable commodities, carried “ ten peaceful regions where the wicked cease changes of garments," as a gratification to from troubling, and where the weary are at the prophet from whom he expected the cure rest."
of his leprosy. Under the first Roman emBut the full estimate of human life cannot perors, this vanity and extravagance were be made till the scene be closed. The shades carried to such an excessive pitch, that the of night at last begin to disperse, and the day Prætor Lucullus, according to Plutarch, his dawns. While he is tormenting himself in biographer, had two hundred changes of apCanaan, with the apprehension of never see- parel; and Horace insinuates, in one of his ing more his last, his only remaining hope, epistles, that by some the luxury was carried Providence is maturing in Egypt a gracious to the enormous extravagance of five thoudesign in his behalf, which is in a moment to sand suits. And it is, without doubt, to this turn his sorrow into joy.
ostentatious profusion, the apostle James alJoseph having discovered inimself to his ludes, when he thus censures the abuse of
wealth, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and not always such as we wished and expected : howl for your miseries; your riches are cor- but they are ever seasonable, ever suitable, rupted, and your garments are motheaten." and they compensate in a moment the pain
But was it wisely done, sage governor of and misery of a whole life. Egypt? was it wisely done, thus to scatter But is it not late in life to undertake such the seeds of jealousy and envy in hearts so a journey? No; it is to see Joseph, to be susceptible of these dreadful passions? Have joined unto him; to be an eye-witness of his you forgot the coat of many colours, the dan- grandeur, and a partaker of his liberality. gerous badge of your father's fondness to How often has Egypt sheltered and nourishyourself? Have you not rendered your own ed the church of God! Abraham, Joseph, advice necessary,
“See that you fall not out Jacob, Moses, Jesus Christ himself, there by the way?" Happily, the recollection of suc
uccessively found protection. The same past disasters, and the kind behaviour and place, according as Providence ordains it, is gentle admonition of their affectionate bro- either a trying furnace or a refuge and sancther, have subdued their boisterous spirits, tuary. A king that knows Joscph is a nursand attuned their hearts to love. The anxie- ing father to Israel; another arises who knows ty of the old man for their return is better to him not, and he wastes and destroys. But be conceived than described. How often in our patriarch was not merely following the a day would his fond eyes turn to the way impulse of natural affection, though that had by which Benjamin was expected back? been warrant sufficient for even a still greatHow would the tardy hours linger, as the er removal; he is also obeying the dictates heart languished with hope deferred? At of wisdom, in making a prudent provision for last the blessed moment arrives, the train ap- his numerous and increasing family, and he pears; the number complete, Benjamin safe, is listening to a special call and encourageSimeon restored. But what can this mean? ment from Heaven. Before he leaves Ca. Instead of eleven men driving their asses la- naan, probably for ever, he visits Beer-sheba, den with corn, a splendid retinue, the glory the chosen and favourite residence of his faof Egypt, the wagons of Pharaoh ! "The ther; and there he renews his covenant with heart that has been long inured to affliction, God by sacrifice. Those enterprises are most interprets every appearance against itself. likely to succeed, those comforts to afford Some things are too good, others too evil to most genuine satisfaction in which God is be hastily credited. The utmost height of seen, acknowledged, and enjoyed. The saJacob's expectation was to behold his young- crifices of the devout by day, are answered est son again, with a supply of corn for his by the visions of the Almighty in the night starving family. But to hear that his long season. A man can proceed with cheerfullost, his much lamented Joseph_was still ness and confidence, when he has got his living, that he was the ruler of all Egypt, the Maker's permission. saviour of a great nation, the father of a The vision assures him that he should armighty prince, O! it is, it is too much. Na- rive in safety, should prosper in Egypt, should ture tottering under a load of wo, now sinks embrace his son, and that “ Joseph should put and faints under an excess of joy. Such ti- his hand upon his eyes,” that is, perform the dings are too flattering to be believed. last offices of filial duty and humanity. We
Did the brothers now disclose the whole meet with the same expression and idea in of the mighty secret, and take shame to many passages of the heathen poets. Penethemselves for their vile conduct to so excel-lope, in Homer, prays that Telemachus her lent a father, to so amiable a brother? Or, son may close her eyes, and those of his fatrusting to Joseph's generosity, did they con- ther Ulysses. The mother of Euryalus in ceal the part which they had acted in this the Æneid, among many other bitter expresstrange, mysterious drama ? Probably the sions of sorrow over her dead son, laments latter is the truth. The soul shrinks back that she was denied the wretched consolation, from the discovery of its own wickedness. since he must die before her, of pressing To confess, and condemn themselves, could down his dying eyes. Human nature thus do now no good, and must greatly have strives to outlive itself, and the heart, while marred and diminished their aged parent's it is yet capable of feeling, consoles itself satisfaction, if indeed he had no suspicion with the hope of receiving marks of tenderhow the case stood. The good man has been ness and attachment after it can feel no more. so long a stranger to felicity, that the possi- The old man's heart is now at rest, he is actbility of it is called in question; that slowly ing obedience to the command of Heaven, he and cautiously he yields to the sweet demon- is complying with one of the worthiest pro stration. Convinced, satisfied at length, what pensities of nature. He is indebted for the joy is equal to the joy of Jacob? Is it not commodiousness with which he travels, to worth wading through a sea of trouble, to the person whom on earth he most dearly come to such a shore at length? The bless- loved, and to whom, of all others, he would ings of Providence are well worth waiting most willingly be obliged. for. They may seem to linger : they are How different the patriarch's situation
every different journey he undertakes? His this prince, and with pleasure we repeat it. first was to Padan-aram, when he fled from We see him nobly striving to discharge some the face of an angry brother. Then he was part of the mighty obligation which had been solitary and friendless, but free from care, laid upon him and his whole kingdom, by the free from sorrow. The second, flying from son of the patriarch, by showing all possible unkind relations back again to Canaan, rich kindness to his father's house. “And Pharaoh in children, rich in cattle, but troubled in spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and spirit, oppressed with anxiety. And now we thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of see him the third time in motion towards Egypt is before thee, in the best of the land Egypt, richer than ever both in possessions make thy father and brethren to dwell, in the and in prospects, but bending under the pres- land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou sure of age, and its concomitant infirmities, knowest any men of activity among them, worn out with calamity, and almost dead to then make them rulers over my cattle."* joy.
The interview between the venerable man The family of Jacob, including the addition himself, and this good prince, is highly inteof what Joseph had gotten in Egypt, now resting and instructive. Old age and virtue amounted to seventy souls. And the priest are honoured with the kind regard and atof On's daughter, whose alliance was doubt- tention of a king. Royalty is instructed, adless intended as an honour to Joseph, is ho- monished, and blessed by the wisdom of the noured and ennobled by being ranked in the sage, by the miseries of the man, by the piety family of Jacob, and by having become a mo- and prayers of the prophet. Who gains by this ther in Israel.
visit? Pharaoh, to be sure. His kingdom is Scripture describes in its own inimitable strengthened by the accession of seventy manner, the meeting between the father and good subjects, with their skill, industry, and
“ And he sent Judah, before him unto wealth: and “the effectual, fervent prayers" Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and of holy Israel were surely, Pharaoh himself they came int? the land of Goshen. 'And being judge, compensation sufficient for the Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up poor subsistence which a decayed, dying old to meet Israel his father, to Goshen; and man received from his bounty. presented himself unto him: and he fell on It is with a mixture of shame and sorrow, his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. that we bring forward the next passage in And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me the history of Joseph. It exhibits him indeed die, since I have seen thy face, because thou as a most exquisite politician, who thoroughly art yet alive."* This is honest nature, this understood the interests and the passions of is the genuine language of the heart. mankind; who knew perfectly well how to
In Joseph we see filial piety and fraternal take advantage of the occasion ; but, over-deaffection happily blended with wisdom, humi- voted to the prince who had advanced him, lity, and discretion. His will was law in employing his exorbitant power, his superior Egypt. To what honours, preferments, and skill and address, in planning and perfecting emoluments, might not the brothers and ne-a system of despotism, by which the whole phews of the governor-general have aspired ? property of Egypt, together with the persons But he consults their true happiness, by guard- and liberties of all that mighty empire, were ing them at once from the languor of idle-transferred to the sovereign. We behold ness, and the madness of ambition. Shepherds him most ungenerously scizing the opportuthey were bred, and shepherds let them con- nity, which the growing distress of a lengthtinue. Violent transitions ill suit the staid ened famine afforded him, to aggrandize one and serious periods of human life.
at the expence of millions. He first conveys His behaviour as a subject of Pharaoh is all the money in the land into the royal treaequally amiable and praiseworthy. He never sury. The cattle speedily follow. "The inloses sight of the duties of his station, never creasing miseries of another unfavourable becomes arrogant and assuming, in the con- season, determine the wretched proprietors fidence of royal favour. “ Without him no to part with their lands for food, and even man lifted up his hand or foot in all the land ;" reduce then to the dreadful necessity of ofbut without Pharaoh's consent he will not fering to sell themselves for slaves, that they dispose of a single field to his nearest rela- might live by their master's bounty. It is tions. He is too wise, and too good, to make true, the prime minister of Pharaoh did not the mad attempt of some upstart favourites, push his advantage to the extremest length. to overcome national prejudices by dint of But it must be acknowledged, he carried it power and authority. The Egyptians held much farther than became the friend of mithe profession of a shepherd in contempt
, and sery, and of mankind. With so good a man he is not silly enough to dream of forcing it as this Pharaoh, perhaps absolute power into respect.
might be lodged with some degree of safety; We have already taken occasion to praise but who shall answer for other Pharaohs who tho gratitude, generosity, and attachment of may arise, with the awful ability of doing * Gen. xlvi. 25-30.
• Gen. xlvii. 5, &