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they drank to excess. It is natural for men concerning our family. We acquainted you, to rush from one extreme to another, and it that we had a father heavily laden with years, is not improbable that Joseph threw this but still more heavily with misfortunes; a fatemptation in their way, in order to obtain a ther, whose whole life had been one continued more thorough insight into their temper and struggle with adversity. We added, that we character, by observing them attentively, in had a brother peculiarly dear to him, as the a situation when the heart overflows, and children born towards the end of their life, che tongue conceals and disguises nothing. generally are to old men, and who is the only Whatever be in this, he is preparing a trial one remaining of his mother: his brother for them more severe than any which they having come, in early youth, to a most tragihad as yet experienced, and which in some cal end. You commanded us, as the proof of measure compensated the anguish they had our veracity and innocence, to bring that occasioned to their father, when they im- brother unto you, and your command was depressed him with the belief of his son's death. livered with such threatenings, that the ter
Loaded with civilities, provided with a sup- ror of them accompanied us all the way back ply of corn for their starving families, Simeon to our country, and embittered the remainder restored, Benjamin not detained; they set out of our journey. We reported every thing mion their journey to Canaan, with a merry nutely to our father, as you directed us. Reheart, talking one to another of the strange solutely and long, he refused to entrust us things which had come to pass. But scarcely with the care of that child. Love suggested are they got clear of the city, when they are a thousand causes of apprehension upon his pursued and overtaken by Joseph's steward, account. He loaded us with the bitterest recharging them with theft, and commanding proaches for having declared that we had them instantly to return to his master to an- another brother. Subdued by the famine, he swer for it.
at length reluctantly consented; and putting With terror and astonishment, though in his beloved son, this unhappy youth, into our the confidence of innocence, they deny the hands, conjured us by every dear, every awcharge, and reason upon the improbability of ful name, to guard with tenderness his preit. Search is made among their stuff for the cious life, and as we would not see him exgoods alleged to be stolen; ten are acquitted pire before our eyes in anguish and despair, with honour, and they are just beginning to to bring him back in safety. He parted with exult in the detected falsehood of such a scan- him as with a limb torn from his own body; dalous imputation, when, to their utter con- and in an agony of grief inexpressible, defusion, Joseph's cup was found in Benjamin's plored the dreadful necessity which separated sack. Overwhelmed with shame and terror, him from a son, on whom all the happiness they are again conducted to his presence.- of his life depended. How then can we apThe crime is proved. To deny it were vain, pear before a father of such delicate sensito excuse it nugatory and absurd; and to ac-bility? With what eyes shall we dare to look count for it, it is impossible.
upon him, unless we carry back with us this Judah, who had been the most urgent with son of his right hand, this staff of his old age, his father to send Benjamin, and had solemn- whom, alas, you have condemned to slavery? ly pledged himself for his safe return, feels The good old man will expire in horrors himself now called forth: and, in a strain of dreadful to nature, as soon as he shall find the most pathetic eloquence that ever flowed that his son is not with us. Our enemies will from an aching heart, attempts not to extenu- insult over us under these misfortunes, and ate or exculpate, but to raise compassion, and treat us as the most infamous of parricides. I to obtain mercy. The piece is of exquisite must appear to the world, and to myself, as beauty and elegance, and, being in every the perpetrator of that most horrid of crimes, one's hands, may be re-perused at your lei- the murder of a father; for it was I who most sure. The Jewish writers take delight in urgently pressed my father to yield. I endwelling upon, and expanding it. Philo, in gaged, by the most solemn promises, and the particular, in his treatise entitled, “ Joseph,' most sacred pledges, to bring the child back. has given a paraphrase of this speech of Ju- Me he entrusted with the sacred deposit, and dah, which possesses wonderful elegance and of my hand he will require it. Have pity, I propriety of expression, and force of thought. beseech you, on the deplorable condition of Some of you, perhaps, may not be displeased an old man, stript of his last comfort, and with having an opportunity of comparing the whose misery will be aggravated by reflectdiffusive laboured eloquence of the para- ing that he foresaw its approach, and yet phrast, with the energetic simplicity of the wanted resolution to prevent it. If your just sacred text. The former puts into Judah's indignation must needs have a sacrifice, here mouth the following address.
I am ready, at the price of my liberty, or of “When we appeared, sir, before you the my life, to expiate this young man's guilt, first time, we answered without reserve, and and to purchase his release? Grant this reaccording to the strictest truth, all the ques- quest, not so much for the sake of the youth tions which you were pleased to put to us himself
, as of his absent father, who never
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 fee, 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 afford the noble minded, and the condescendmost delicate touches. And when the copy ing Joseph, an opportunity of so far recoverand 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; his 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 liarity 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 whaiever, 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. He could able 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 easted, 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 atiluence 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 prínce, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed the lord of Egypt, attending to the conveni- him."*
“ Come unto me, all
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."8 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. Bút 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.”ll “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
* Luke xv. 14–20. Matt. xi. 28, 29. | Jer. xlix. 11. the heart so long dead to joy, yet once more & Luke xii. 32. | Matt. xxiii. 37.
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, 28. f1 Cor. i. 25. | Isa. xxvii. 29. * Psalm xxxvii. 3–6. 23. † Job xxii. 21. 1 Prov. iii. &
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. 24-28.
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 region 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 al. Joseph having discovered himself 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.
Did the brothers now disclose the whole meet with the same expression and idea in