Imágenes de páginas

with all manner of bake meats for Pharaoh; but the birds did eat them. The interpretation was, that after three days, he should be hung on a tree. At the end of two full years, Pharaoh had two dreams, or his two-fold dream. The first was the seven well favoured kine, and fat fleshed; and the seven ill-favoured and lean fleshed kine, which eat up the former. The second, was the seven ears of corn on one stalk, rank and good, which were devoured by the seven thin ears, blasted with the east wind. When none of the magicians and wise men of Egypt could interpret this dream for the king, Joseph answered, What God is about to do, he showeth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty, throughout all the land of Egypt; and there shall arise after them, seven years of famine, which shall consume the land. Now let us notice Joseph's exaltation. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring froin his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck : and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had. But mark! The famine was sore in all lands, after the expiration of the seven years of plenty. Joseph's

. brethren must go from the land of Canaan, down to Egypt, to buy corn of him, that they may live and not die. Joseph knew them, but they knew him not. He was only seventeen years of age, when sold into Egypt; and now he is about thirty-eight; an absence of twenty-one years. The scene now changes, and Joseph's dreams begin to be fulfiled. He uses various methods to prove them, to bring them to a proper sense of their own guilt, and to discover how they were affected toward his brother Benjamin. He accosts them as spies; and so orders that they appear to have treated him most ungratefully. They are brought into that situation, that they cannot make it appear but that they have stolen ; for the silver

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

eup is found with them. But Joseph evidently, per-
ceived, that confusion and terrour were likely to
predominate, and to fill them with apprehension, that
he would now avenge the injustice and cruelty of Law
which they appear to have been guilty. When Ju-
dah made his pathetick address and affecting plea
for the release of Benjamin, Joseph could not refrain
himself before all them that stood by him; and he
cried, Cause every man to go out from me: and there
stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself
known unto his brethrren. And he wept aloud; and
the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph: doth
my father yet live? And his brethren could not an-
swer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me,

pray you: and they came near; and he said, I am
Joseph your brother, whom ye sold. The mention
of Joseph's name would probably have led his breth-
ren to a recollection of his features and voice; but
to remind them of their selling him, would more
effectually remove all doubts of his being their
brother; and this was necessary to introduce the
kind attempt he intended to make, to obviate their
fears, and to inspire confidence and comfort. How
seasonable, how encouraging and excellent, this
simple expression-I am Joseph, your brother! It
flowed from a principle of natural affection, from a
feeling and generous breast, and from a noble soul,
influenced by the principle of true religion. By
other persons, or by other means without such an
expression of the tongue, this same truth could easily
have been made known. If these words were fitly
spoken, let them be applied to the practical purposes
of life and religion, whilst we notice other relations,
times, and circumstances, when similar ones would
be seasonable.
1st. As it respects the various relations of human

beings, on encouraging conversation and other expressions of the tonguc, are very desirable and highly important.

It is a common proverb, that actions speak louder than words. The true import of this expression is, that unless our conduct correspond with our expressions, there is inconsistency and deceit. But let our daily deportment be such as becometh human beings, and then suitable expressions of the tongue are the spring of life. As the term, Joseph, imports increase, or addition, so they will increase human happiness, and do bonour to human beings. Let the conjugal relation be first noticed. A man who provides well for his own household and is kind to his wife, may be called a good husband. But, if in addition to these, there daily flow from his tongue an affectionate, izstructive, and animating conversation, still more highly favoured must be the companion of his bosom. How much may the trials, cares, and pains of a woman be lessened, her sorrows soothed, and heart cheered, by timely and affectionate expressions. Whilst some are pleased with the simple and frank acknowledgement of a busband's attachment, others are gratified with occasional insinuations, from which the same may be inferred. How many and how varied are the opportunities in the journey of the conjugal life, when a pleasing deportment, kind speech, or consoling word, would greatly increase or promote a woman's happiness. Then let them not be withheld; but in due season administered to divide the sorrows, and double the joys of her life. Let the deportment and conversation of a husband, be such towards his wife in this respect, that he emulate her to repay abundantly the same kindness, by seeking to imitate his excellent example. And surely a Inithful and affectionate woman will not be slack to recompense her corresponding obligations. Says Solomon, concerning such an one, She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of


kindness. With the same view he adds, Whoso findeth is wife, findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord. And truly a virtuous woman of modest deportment, of chaste and animating conversation, is of much value, and cannot but be prized very highly by every sensible and worthy man. And how most desirable, suitable, and important, is a mutua!, reciprocal, and interesting conversation in the conjugal state! The parental relation is an important one in this respect; for much do the comfort, disposition and manners of children depend on the words or addresses of their parents. They are entitled to much encouragement for well doing, and to the most endearing expressions of parental affection. And the tendency is cheerfulness of mind, mental improvement, and religious impressions. In a family circle of brothers and sisters, how suitable and applicable the expression-I am Joseph, your brother. That is, We have the same parent for our father, and I am the same kind and friendly person towards you as when formerly in our father's family. Change and reverse in our circumstances, have not affected me as your enemy. It is proper and suitable, that they who are friends, should manifest themselves as such not owy by deeds, but also by words. Some persons have the happy talent by delicate insinuations of such a nature, of gaining the good will of others, and of continuing friendship. Do we esteem such ? and

. shall we not seek to imitate their pleasing and worthy example ? How affectionate! what honour bas Joseph done himself; wbat kindness and generosity towards his brethren, in the few words of the text! Then may we in the varied relations and circumstances of life, bear these words and this example in mind; and may our speech be well ordered, and a talent so important be wisely improved.

2d. We should be careful to observe suitable times and opportunities in order to remind those of their evil, who have injured us, or have had evil intentions to do us an injury.

How seasonable, friendly, and faithful the conduci of Joseph, when he says, I am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. This expression is well calculated to bring their sin to remembrance, and it was proper they should be thus reproved and humbled. A brother! yet base, treacherous brethren, you sold me, and that into a foreign land. Your conduct was most unnatural and abominable in the sight both of God and man. Manifold are the offences and injuries of this present state.

In certain seasons and circumstances to remind others of their faults, would only increase the difficulty. But still, reproof is necessary when wisdom and faithfulness evince the duty.

There is a time suitable to rebuke and reprove, as well as to encourage and command. Joseph is now ruler and governour over Egypt, and in the height of prosperity. But no thanks to his brethren, that he is not there a slave, daily groaning under oppressive bondage. He is now a lord, and most highly esteemed of a nation; but they were base enough for ever to have deprived him of liberty and honour. Similar conduct has been manifested amongst mankind in ten thousand instances and ways. How many have used all their subtlety and power in order to injure the person, character, and property of others, against whom they have been opposed, on the account of some unreasonable prejudice? And, if they have not effected their overthrow, or been the instrument of some wide spread and lasting injury, it is not for the want of shameful intentions, nor base exertions. Perhaps they afterwards see a person whose ruin they have sought, very prosperous and much esteemed. If their passions or prejudices shall have subsided, and they have some just sense of their criminality, they doubtless will have views and feelings somewhat similar to those of Joseph's


« AnteriorContinuar »