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Sovereign of Egypt received a benediction from this "And Joseph (the account proceeds) nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread according to their families."
It remains to be seen how Joseph conducted himself towards his father, on the two occasions in which alone it was left for him to discharge the office, and testify the affection, of a son; in his sickness, and upon his death. "And it came to pass," we read, " after these things, one told Joseph, behold, thy father is sick and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim." Joseph delayed not, you find, to leave the court of Pharaoh, the cares and greatness of his station in it, in order to pay the last visit to his dying parent; and to place before him the hopes of his house and family, in the persons of his two sons. "And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. (Now the eyes of Israel were dim, so that he could not see.) And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them: and Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face; and, lo! God hath showed me also thy seed. And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth." Nothing can well be more solemn or interesting than this interview; more honourable or consoling to old age; or more expressive of the dignified piety of the best of sons, and the greatest of men.
We now approach the last scene of this eventful history, and the best testimony which it was possible
for Joseph to give of the love and reverence with which he had never ceased to treat his father, and that was upon the occasion of his death, and the honours which he paid to his memory; honours, vain, no doubt, to the dead, but, so far as they are significations of gratitude or affection, justly deserving of commendation and esteem. “ And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. And the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house : and there went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan ; and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation : and he made a mourning for his father seven days.”
Thus died, and thus was honoured in his death, the founder of the Jewish nation; who, amidst
many mercies, and many visitations, sudden and surprising vicissitudes of affliction and joy, found it the greatest blessing of his varied and eventful life that he had been the father of a dutiful and affectionate son.
It has been said, and, as I believe, truly, that there is no virtuous quality belonging to the human character, of which there is not some distinct and eminent example to be found in the Bible ; no relation in which we
can be placed, no duty which we have to discharge, but that we may observe a pattern for it in the sacred history. Of the duty of children to parents, of a son to his father, maintained under great singularities and variations of fortune, undiminished, nay, rather increased, by absence, by distance, by unexampled success, by remote and foreign connexions, you have seen, in this most ancient of all histories, as conspicuous and as - amiable an instance as can be met with in the records
of the world, in the purest, best ages of its existence.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CANAANITES.
Joshua X. 40.
So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the
south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.
I have known serious and well-disposed Christians much affected with the accounts which are delivered in the Old Testament of the Jewish wars and dealings with the inhabitants of Canaan. From the Israelites first setting foot in that country, to their complete establishment in it, which takes up the whole book of Joshua and part of the book of Judges, we read, it must be confessed, of massacres and desolations unlike what are practised now-a-days between nations at war ; of cities and districts laid waste, of the inhabitants being totally destroyed, — and this, as it is alleged in the history, by the authority and command of Almighty God. Some have been induced to think such accounts incredible ; inasmuch as such conduct could never, they say, be authorized by the good and merciful Governor of the universe.
I intend in the following discourse to consider this matter, so far as to show that these transactions were calculated for a beneficial purpose, and for the general advantage of mankind ; and, being so calculated, were
not inconsistent either with the justice of God, or with the usual proceedings of divine Providence.
Now the first and chief thing to be observed is, that the nations of Canaan were destroyed for their wicked. ness. In proof of this point, I produce the 18th chapter of Leviticus, the 21th and the following verses. Moses, in this chapter, after laying down prohibitions against brutal and abominable vices, proceeds in the 24th verse thus :-“Defile not yourselves in any of these things, for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you, and the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgements, and shall not commit any of these abominations, neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: for all these abominations have the men of the land done which were before you, and the land is defiled; that the land vomit not you out also, when ye defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from amongst their people. Therefore shall ye keep my ordinances that ye commit not any of these abominable customs, which were committed before you ; and that you defile not yourselves therein.” Now the facts, disclosed in this passage, are for our present purpose extremely material and extremely satisfactory. First, the passage testifies the principal point, namely, that the Canaanites were the wicked people we represent them to be ; and that this point does not rest upon supposition, but upon proof: in particular, the following words contain an express assertion of the guilt of
“ In all these the nations are defiled