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beings, on encouraging conversation and other expressions of the tongue, 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 honour 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, instructive, 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 husband'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. Lét 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
faithful 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 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 only 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 has Joseph done himself; what 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 conduct of Joseph, when he says, I am Joseph, your brother, whom sold into Egypt. ye 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
brethren. But time, place, and circumstances should be observed, would any remind them of their evil conduct, and make them ashamed and penitent for what they have done. If any would reprove others, or tell them of their faults in faithfulness, and for their good, they should seek to do it with a spirit and with wisdom, as Joseph did. Says Solomon, Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. It is very important, that words of reproof be fitly spoken to answer some wise and salutary purpose. With decision, faithfulness, and meekness may we learn to inform our fellow mortals of the errour of their ways.
3d. The history of Joseph will show, that it is proper for mankind to speak of their prosperity, when they would bring to view the goodness of God, or console their fellow mortals. When, through the smiles of Providence, any have attained the varied blessings of life, it is proper, at certain times, for them to mention to their friends, how the Lord has prospered them. It is neither for the benefit, nor is it the duty of man to be always speaking of his misfortunes. Prosperity has a claim to a portion of his words, as well as adversity. To be frequently mourning or repining at the allotments of Providence as is the manner of some, is certainly sinful. And a person may speak of his enjoyments and success, in the language of boasting instead of gratitude and thankfulness. To show the vanity and impiety of such conversation, let us notice the expressions, and from these, view the spirit of the king of Babylon, who is called Nebuchadnezzar. As he was walking in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon, The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honour of my majesty? From such an air, views, and language every sensible and pious man cannot but wish to be delivered. The spirit and manner of Joseph will appear a most beautiful con
trast. Whilst he mentions his prosperity and honour, meekness and gratitude are apparent. The goodness of God and the consolation of his afflicted father, are most conspicuous in the words of his speech. To his troubled brethren he says, God sent me before you, to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and Lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt; come down unto me, and tarry not. How do humility, humanity, and a sense of entire dependance on God for all the blessings of life, shine forth in this address! Joseph was indeed highly exalted, but his heart was not lifted up with pride in the height of his prosperity. Let his example then be proposed for imitation. When abounding in the good things of life, let the manner and history of Joseph have their proper influence.
4th. The history of Joseph and his brethren, is calculated to give us some proper views of the important duty of forgiveness. Joseph was of a forgiving spirit, and when he had sufficiently tried and proved them. he was ready for a reconciliation. He had recourse to various expedients in order to bring them to a sense of their wickedness, to humble them, and excite repentance for their sin, before that he expressed forgiveness. He possessed a forgiving temper, during the whole course of trial, but, before he would exclaim, I am Joseph your brother, he must have evidence of When he saw their compunction and abasement.
that they were sufficiently humbled, and about to be overwhelmed with grief on the account of their aggravated sin, he addresses them with words of consolation. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither, for God did send me before you to preserve life. The conduct of