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if ye take this also from me, and mischief befal him, ye shall 30 bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Now

therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad [be] not with us ; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's

life, that his life and his all depends upon the welfare of the lad: 31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad [is] not

(with us,) that he will die : and thy servants shall bring down

the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the 32 grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto niy

father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear 33 the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee,

let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; 34 and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go

up to my father, and the lad [be] not with me? Iest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father. Thus Judah urges the grief it would be to the old man, offers to be Joseph's slave, instead of Benjamin, as he could do him more service, and pleads the insupportable distress that his aged father would suffer, if Benjamin did not return with his bretko ren.*

REFLECTIONS.

1. OD sometimes brings his people into the greatest dis.

U tress, when deliverance is nearest. So here : they had given up all, thought there was no hope ; but the time of favour was come. In the mount of difficulty God is seen. See how good it is to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of God.

2. It is good to acknowledge our iniquity, when the afflicting hand of God is upon us ; as Joseph's brethren did, v. 16. Af flictions are designed to bring our sin to remembrance, and engage us to consider it, and be humble for it ; the fruit of affliction is to take away sin. Let us acknowledge our guilt in such circumstances ; and pray, like Job, Show me wherefore thou contendest with me ; wherein I have done iniquity, I will do 80 no more. . 3. See here an example of filial tenderness. Judah chose rather to be a slave all his days, than go home, and see the evil that would come upon his aged father. Children should learn to love their parents, to be tender of their comforts, and do nothing to grieve them. Those are very wicked children who are a grief to their father and heaviness to their mother : they can never sufficiently repay their tenderness and care toward them, and

• This address must undoubtedly have affected a stranger, more especially Joseph, and produced that effcet of which the next chapter gives an account. It is injxossible to read it without perceiving it full of the most natural eloquence, and extremely well adapted to excite Joseph's compassion. It is remarkable lie does not acknowledge the crime, for that would have reflected on Benjamin; nor does he deny it, which would have reflected on Jou seph's justice; but he Labours to move his pity, and that in language that no art or impostor could have imitated, but seenus plainly suggested by that Spirit which giveth speech and wisdom to men,

therefore should labour to make their cares easy, and their bure dens light ; and especially should give them the high satisfaction of seeing them walking in truth.

4. We should not despair of reformation even in those whose characters are the worst. Judah had been a scandal to Jacob's family ; but here he seems greatly reformed, full of humility, tenderness, and compassion, and a regard to his promise. Young men oftentimes grow wiser as they grow older ; and God makes use of afflictions to humble and reform them. Let us not give up all hopes even of the worst, but labour to make them better , and God may, in his good time, add his blessing to our constant elldeavours.

5. We see hew happy it is to maintain a circumspect regard to truth. This gave them so much confidence in what they said to the steward, and in their plea before Joseph. If our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence both toward God and man. Integrity and uprightness, if maintained, will preserve us ; let us therefore labour to secure these for our rejoicing ; and in simplicity and godly sincerity to have our conversation in the world.

CHAP. XLV.

Solomon observes, Prov. xxv. 25. As cold waters to a thirsty

soul, so is good news from a fur country. This observation is illustrated by the tidings that Jacob and his sons received of Joseph. The last chapter closed with Judali's speech : in this we have the effect of it ; it touched Joseph's heart, and put an

end to all the sufferings of his brethren. I T HEN Joseph could not refrain himself before all them

1 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 : that 80 he might conceal his brethren's fault, and not render himself con.

temptible to the Egyptians by his excessive tears, and familiar and 2 affectionate converse with his brethren. And he wept aloud :

and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard ; some

who were near overheard him and carried the intelligence to 3 Pharaoh's court. And Joseph, unable to contain himself any

longer, said unto his brethren, I [am] Joseph. This must · strike them with astonishment. Wonder, doubt, reverence, joy, fear, hone, and guilt, (says Bp. Hall) all must strike them at once.' Joseph adds, Doth my father yet live ? can I believe the account you have given me ? and his brethren could not answer him ; they stood before him with paleness and silence, looking on him and each other; for they were troubled, or tere

rified, at his presence, through a sense of guilt, fear of punish4 ment, and the strangeness of the event. And Joseph, to raise

their courage, said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I

pray you, with cheerfulness and confidence. And they came · near. And he said, I [am] Joseph your brother, whom ye ! sold into Egype. I mention this not to upbraid you, but to as.sure you that I am he, and that I still own the relation, notwith.

standing my dignity and your wickedness. He then takes the kindest method to remove their fears, by leading them to

observe the wisdom and goodness of Providence in this event. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves,

that ye sold me hither : for God did send me before you to · preserve life ; both your lives and the lives of all the people in 6 this and the neighbouring countries. For these two years

{hath] the famine [been] in the land : and yet (there are]

five years, in the which there shall] neither [be] earing nor 7 harvest, ploughing, nor tillage. And God sent me before you

to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your : lives by a great deliverance, brought about by a wonderful and & extraordinary work of providence. So now it was) not so

much you [that] sent me hither, but God, who turned it to good : and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and ruler throughout all the land of Egypt ; his principal counsellor of state, to guide his affairs with a fa

therly care, and to have the authority, respect and power of a 9 father with him. Haste ye and go up to my father, and say

unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me jo lord of all Egypt : come down unto me, tarry not : And thou

shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near un'to me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and Hl thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast :* And there

will I nourish thee ; for yet (there are] five years of famine ;

lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to 12 poverty. And, behold, your eyes. see, and the eyes of my

brother Benjamin, that [it is] my mouth that speaketh unto 13 you, in your own language, and not by an interpreter. And

ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all * that ye have seen ; and ye shall haste and bring down my

father hither. 14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept ; 15 and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his

brethren, and wept upon them : and after that his brethren talked with him freely and familiarly ; being encouraged by his kindness, they acknowledged their guilt, and told him what had happened since he was absent from the family.

Goshen lay near to Canaan, on the northeast part of Egypt. It was a rich land, good for feeding cattle, a proper distance from the court. where they would not be so likely to be corrupted, and might more easily return when the famine was ended.

16 And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, says

ing, Joseph's brethren are come : and it pleased Pharash well, and his servants. He was a generous prince, and glad of

an opportunity to express his affection for 80 wise and pious a 17 minister, by showing respect to his family. And Pharaoh said

unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye ; lade your 18 beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan ; And take

your father and your households, and come unto me : and I

will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat 19 the fat of the land, the choicest produce of it. Now thou art

commanded, this do ye ; take you waggons out of the land of

Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your 20 father, and come. Also regard not your stuff at home ; for

the good of all the land of Egypt [is] yours. 21. And the children of Israel did so : and Joseph gave them

waggons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and 22 gave them provision for the way. To all of them he gave

each man changes of raiment, two or three upper garments, new and handsome, that they might make a good appearance ; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred [pieces] of silver, about

thirty seven pounds of our money, and five changes of raiment. 23 And to his father he sent after this (manner ;] inoney, and

change of raiment, and provisions for his journey, namely, ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses

laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way, 24 So he sent his brethren away, and they departed : and he

said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way, about

your dealing with me ; as I forgive you, 80 do ye to one another. 25 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of 26 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 ; he was

quite overcome between hope, and doubt, and fear, and excessive 27 joy. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he

had said unto them : and when he saw the waggons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. To see Simeon and Benjamin return, with a stock of provisions, made it a day of great joy to the good old man ; 18

pecially when he heard that Josepih, whom he thought had been 28 dead twenty years, was alive and governor of Egypt. And Is

rael said, [It is) enough ; Joseph my son [is] yet alive : I · will go and see him before I die. I have lived long enough,

and shall be happy enough if I live to see him but once again; I shall then be willing to die whenever God pleuses..

REFLECTIONS.

i TJOW amiable do generosity and forgiveness appear !

11 Had we heard of Joseph putting any of his brethren to death, or severely upbraiding them with their conduct, it Would have spoiled the pleasure which the story of his exaltation gives us : but he kindly forgave them ; and in this he was a type of Christ, who forgave those that betrayed and murdered him. The best way of revenging an injury, is to use the offender as well as we can, and put him out of countenance by our kindness ; this is true greatness of spirit. The shame which this generosity brought upon them, was a sufficient punishment. Let us act thus, for so the gospel directs ; If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; overcome evil with good. Forgive men their trespasses, and you may hope that God will forgive you your trespasses.

2. How unsearchable are the dispensations of Providence, in turning evil into good, and overruling even the sins of his creatures, for the good of his people, and the benefit of the world. Thus he did in the case of Herod and Pilate, as well as in the instance before us. There is in Providence a wheel within a wheel ; and, however mysterious, all is directed by infinite wis. dom and goodness ; all is wisely conducted to a merciful end. Who would have thought, if they had seen Joseph in the pit, that it was he who should deliver Egypt and Israel ! Who, that had seen Jacob's grief when he saw the bloody coat, would have thought that it should be exchanged for transports of joy! God is indeed wonderful in council, and excellent in contrivances. Let us own and adore his wisdom and grace, when we see them thus manifested ; and learn not to be rash in our judgment of things, but wait the issue. We shall often discover the wisdom and goodness of God in various instances now; and hereafter, all the mystery shall be cleared up, and we shall find, that all his ways are mercy and truth to them that fear him. · 3. How careful should we be to maintain mutual peace ! Jo. seph's advice was proper for his brethren, and for all of us : See that ye fall not out by the way. The arguments that should have influenced them, are applicable to us : we are brethren by nature, friendship, and religion ; belong to the same family of God's Israel ; we are going to our father's house; in our way we are exposed to many enemies and dangers ; if we go in peace, we shall find the way secure and pleasant ; if not, we shall bring

a reproach on our profession, and become the scorn of our ene. mies. Beside, we are all guilty, therefore all to blame, and have

no reason to accuse one another. O how pleasant a thing is it, for brethren 10 dwell together in unity ! Let us cultivate peace, and recommend it to others. Let us avoid the beginning of contention, and labour to make up differences as soon as possible ; as

VOL. I.

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