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son from the dead to accomplish his promises. We may have darkness, and no light; but God is all light, and his mysterious ways work the end designed, to the astonishment of short-sighted mortals.
8. Gord will be faithful to his word, though we cannot comprehend the manner how his faithfulness will appear. His promises have never failed, and never will fail. If any promise has not been fulfiled, it was conditional, and the condition upon which it was made was neglected; so that it was man that failed, and not a faithful God.
9. We should study scripture characters. Good characters are recorded for our imitation, and those which have been bad are recorded for our warning. Let us improve both to the best of purposes.
10. Man, whose life is forfeited to justice, is spared through a sacrifice. Many have considered Isaac as a type of Christ, and in some respects he certainly was; but in this important transaction, he represented men in general, whose life the justice of God might demand, on account of their crimes. The ram caught in the thicket, and which was actually sacrificed, was a type of Christ. The ram suffered in the place of Isaac; and Christ suffered in the place of man. The ram was provided by the Lord; and Christ was provided by the
Lord to make atonement. How could Isaac, whose life was spared, be a type of Jesus, who died on the cross? Had God delivered Jesus from the cross, there would have been a resemblance. Isaac was not to die for men, but only as a man. Jesus died for men, as the typical animal did, and probably upon the same mountain. () may our souls be saved through a suffering Redeemer!
Joseph Sold into Egypt.
Acts vii. I, 10. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt, and all his house.
THE history of Joseph is both entertaining and instructive, and that man who can read it through without a tear, can scarcely be said to possess the common feelings of humanity. Joseph has been considered as a type of Jesus; and it is impossible to read his history without perceiving a striking resemblance in many important particulars; but the history, of Joseph should be read, principally, as an astonishing display of that divine providence which presides over the affairs of men.
Our text will lead us to consider several important events in this history; and it
may be divided into two parts: first, the conduct of the Patriarchs towards Joseph : and, secondly, the conduct of God towards him.
I. The CONDUCT OF THE PATRIARCHS TOWARDS JOSEPH.
1. The word Patriarch signifies a father, and the sons of Jacob were so called, because they were the fathers of the tribes of Israel. Nine of them only were concerned in the horrid transaction which we are about to examine; for Benjamin was absent, and Reuben did not consent, having formed a plan for his brother's deliverance. " And Reuben said unto them, shed no blood; but cast him into this pit in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.”
2. The Patriarchs envied Joseph. Envy is that uneasiness which a man feels at the prosperity and happiness of another; and it is one of the most tormenting passions to which human nature can be subject. It perpetually corrodes and tears the heart, by turning the happiness of others into a source of misery. It wastes the life, and destroys the comfort of that man who suffers it to take root in his heart.
One cause of envy in the Patriarchs was the fond partiality of Joseph's father, 6 Now Israel loved Joseph more than allhis children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.” That coat caused Joseph many a bitter sigh. Parents should carefully guard against blind partiality; and if they feel partial to one child, on account of some promising appearances, they should not distinguish him by “a coat of many colours," lest, by exposing him to envy, they cause him to suffer as Joseph did.
Another cause of their envy was the dreams of Joseph. Those dreams were evidently of the Lord, who foresaw his future greatness, and made it known in this remarkable way. Joseph dreamed that he was to receive homage both from his father and his brethren ; and when he related his dreams, “his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Out of scorn and contempt, the Patriarchs called. him the dreamer. “Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams."
3. They sold him into Egypt. They had intended to have murdered him, and no doubt would have done so but for the interference of Reuben and Judah. Judah at first was disposed to kill him, but a fair