Imatges de pÓgina

lars, and could I not obtain a Bible without them, I would give them all for one. To some the Lord has given ability and opportunity in many ways, to do much for the advancement of his cause; and to others, but little. O may both be enabled at last joyfully to render an account of their stewardship. Have our hearts been chilled with cold infidelity, and the substance which the Lord has lent us to promote his glory, been withheld in time past? May we then now redeem our time, arise and trim our lamps. And may we bear in mind, that the gift of a poor widow's two mites is a sacrifice at which we shall be glad to look, in the great judgement day, when the divine Redeemer shall demand the credentials of our almsgiving, as evidence of our sincerity as his friends. Amen and Amen.




Genesis, xlv. 4.

I am Joseph, your brother,

THE history with which these words are connected, is very curious and interesting; and the instruction which it affords, is manifold and important. Human depravity with some of its basest designs and most unnatural transactions, is delineated; and the nobleness of human uprightness is also recorded. Whilst we behold the varied intentions and schemes of men, we are presented with a wonderful exhibition of the marvelous providence of God, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Let some of the facts with which this subject is connected be noticed; and serve as an introduction to this discourse, for the practical purposes of our social and religious life. The term Joseph, is expressive of increase or addition. And when God remembered Rachel, that she bare a son, she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son. That son was Benjamin, or son of the right hand. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Joseph and Benjamin were both loved with peculiar affection by their father; for they were the sons of his beloved wife, Rachel. It appears that Joseph was a person of remarkable natural talents, of singular beauty, and piety; and probably these endeared him yet more to his father, who made him a coat of many colours. For this and his dreams, his brethren

hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. This is the relation of the first dream of Joseph to his brethren: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field and lo, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood round about and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said unto him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? and they hated him yet the more for his dreams and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren: behold the sun and the moon, and the eleven stars, made obeisance to me. And his father rebuked him, and said, Shall I and thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed come to bow down ourselves, to thee, to the earth? And his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying. From the event, it appears that their interrogations were the right interpretation of the dreams, of which they had some apprehension, especially the father. Shortly his. brethren devise to slay him. Reuben, in order to save his life, advises to cast him into a pit; but Judah persuaded them to sell him to the Ishmaelites ; and they sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. The coat of many colours is dipt in the blood of a kid, and presented to the aged father a sad spectacle. But the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and the Lord made all that he did, to prosper in his hand. He escaped the snare of a treacherous mistress, that he sinned not against his master nor his God, though his innocence was the occasion of his being cast into prison. Now they call upon Joseph to interpret the dream of the chief butler. In his dream there appeared three branches on a vine, which budded, shot forth blossoms, and brought forth clusters of ripe grapes. Says Joseph, The three branches are three days, and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand after the former manner. The chief baker's dream, was three white baskets on his head,


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 forThe 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 shali 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 from 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

eup is found with them. But Joseph evidently perceived, that confusion and terrour were likely to' predominate, and to fill them with apprehension, that he would now avenge the injustice and cruelty of which they appear to have been guilty. When Judah 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 brethren. 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 answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I 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 brethren 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

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