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entreated to be kind to all those in inferior condition to themselves. In the version of the Ten Commandments in the Book of Deuteronomy this is the reason given for observing the rest of the Sabbath.
• That thy manservant, and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt.''
No doubt even in the Jewish Law this duty of mercy was very imperfectly recognised. But there were the germs of it, of which I have just spoken and these were fully developed in the Gospel.
Kindness, consideration to all who come in our way, however different from us in rank, in station, in character, in race, in religion, this is the doctrine that God through Moses, and still more entirely, God in Christ, has taught the world; this is the doctrine which even to the great men who left these stupendous monuments was almost unknown. If in vast works like these we are far below them, yet in the little acts of daily love and courtesy and humanity, which are within the reach of all of us, we may, we must be far above them. .
God grant that when, in days far distant and in places leagues away from hence, we meet in other churches than this, and hear again the same Psalms and the same Commandments read, some of these thoughts may recur to us with fresh force from having been reminded of them here, in the grandest building which the old world ever raised to the glory and worship of God.
1 Deut. v. 14, 15.
JOSEPH IN EGYPT.
PREACHED ON THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, MARCH 23, ON THE
NILE, NEAR MEMPHIS.
GEN. xlii. 3.
Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
ITH the story of Joseph, which is now read in
the Lessons, we may take farewell of Egypt. It is the fullest account of ancient Egypt that we have in the Bible, and we can now all of us appreciate it better than ever before. We see there Pharaoh, the greatest of earthly kings, surrounded by the officers of his court, just as we see them sculptured on the monuments. We see the green meadow by the river side, where it is described that the King stood in his dream, and saw the cattle swim up through its waters, and feed on the bank. We see how the Hebrew slave suddenly rises, as in like cases before our own eyes, to be the governor and viceroy of the whole country. We see him invested with the golden chain or necklace, and the royal ring, such as it is still found in the Egyptian tombs. He rides in the royal chariot, such as appears in the processions on
the walls of the temples. He is called by an Egyptian name Zaphnath Paanach. He marries the daughter of the High Priest of the Hawk-headed God at Heliopolis. He is embalmed with Egyptian skill, and laid out in the usual Egyptian case or coffin. His embalmed body, and that of his father, may still, for all that we know, exist as certainly as those that we have seen preserved unchanged to our own age. There can be no doubt that, as we read the history of Joseph, we are reading the history of one who really lived and died in this country, as surely as any of those whose dead bodies we have handled, or whose actions in their lifetime we have seen, during the last ten days, represented in tombs or temples.
But if the story of Joseph has thus acquired for us a new interest in its outward details, may we not learn again its old familiar lessons with fresh interest also? It is one main characteristic of the Bible, that whilst its letter takes us so very far back from any of the thoughts of our own time and country, its spirit has a value at all times, and in all nations. Let us take two of these lessons.
I. The story of Joseph is a good example of what is meant by Providence working for the best in the lives of men. We find it very difficult, perhaps, to know when we may fairly call any event providen
tial' or not. But no one can have lived to the middle period of human existence, and not seem to see in his own life how curiously one part has fitted into the other, which at the time seemed quite unintelligible ; how opportunities have been offered, on the acceptance or rejection of which the happiness or the