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wives went down with him to Egypt ; but it is certain that Jacob hinself paid homage to Joseph, before he knew that he was alive; and that after he knew that Joseph was alive, he depended upon him for support. If the words of God are rightly understood, they will be found faithful and true ; but we are not to think that God is under any obligation to verify the comments which we may put upon them. Groundless comments upon the word of God are attended with this dangerous consequence, that they often tend to bring the oracles of truth under suspicion. They have not that stamp of divine majesty upon them which distinguishes the word of God from human compositions ; nor is there that correspondency between our comments and the providence of God, that there is between his word and his works. If we entertain a just reverence for the word of God, let us never mingle the truths of it with our own false conceptions, nor imagine that it can fail to be accomplished, because it would be unreasonable to think that it will be accomplished according to our views of its meaning.'
Christian expositors seem frequently to have made it a law to themselves, to apologize for every thing done by the saints of Scripture, which the spirit of God has not directly condemned. Perhaps they have intended by this to protect the Scriptures from the ridicule of the profane; not perceiving that, in many cases, their conduct would have a directly opposite effect. We cannot help thinking that Dr. L. has some. times shewn an inclination to vindicate both Jacob and Joseph, where it had been better to have admitted some degree of blame; he is not, however, indiscriminate in his vindication, for he occasionally censures freely. He points out the impropriety of Joseph's conduct, in several cases, and at the same time, draws such apologies from the patriarch's peculiar circumstances as do honour to his own liberality and candour. We shall quote one of these apologies ; it is that which occurs on considering the conduct of Joseph in binding his brother Simeon.
You must not be rash in passing judgement on men's conduct. A tree, says our Lord, is known by its fruit. And yet there are cases in which the fruit is to be judged of from the tree. If a good man does actions that are certainly bad, that charity which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, will not hinder you from assigning them that character which they deserve. But if actions are dubious, charity, which believeth all things, hopeth all things, forbids you to pronounce them bad, till better evidence appears. If Joseph had, in other instances of his conduct, given us reason to believe that he was a man of an unforgiving temper, we might have censured him as an imperious governor, or have at least thought that he did not excel other men in a meek and forgiving temper. But if he was eminent above most men, for wisdom and meekness, we are bound to ascribe the apparent harshness of his conduct to the best of motives. He bound Simeon in prison, but he did it to set him free from far worse chains, in which he had been held by his own fierce passiono, Words of reproof were not sufficient. When his own father, the most venerable man at that time in the whole world, reproved him for an enormous crime, he answered him with words of rudeness and impiety.
If we must not judge hastily of the actions of men like ourselves, let us never presume to judge rashly of the ways of God, whose judge. ments are past finding out. Was Jesus unkind to Lazarus, because ne did not come to heal him at the moment when he heard of his sick. ness? Did he not shew his love to his friend by suffering him to be bound with the cords of death, and to be laid in the place of corruption, before he interposed to deliver him? If men are often cruel ben cause they are kind, is it fit to be said to him who is love itself, thou: art become cruel to us, because he saw it necessary to bind us with the cords of affliction for our good ? Simeon, it is to be hoped, is now praising God in a better world, for putting it into the heart of Joseph to bind him in a prison, that he might learn that sobermindedness, to which, in the days of his prosperity, he was a stranger.'
Judah's beautiful speech for his brother Benjamin, than, which we cannot conceive a piece of finer eloquence, gives occasion for many excellent remarks. We shall present an extract from this part of the work.
"We think,' he observes, that a great deal more of charity is required from us than human nature can supply, when we are commanded to love our neighbours as ourselves. We are disposed by our selfish passions to put a forced interpretation upon that precept which enjoins us to lay down our lives for the brethren. “ John must surely mean something far short of the natural import of the words, when he says . that there are cases in which we must prefer our brethren's safety to our own.” Such is the comment of a heart which is sensual, not having the spirit. But here we find Judah laying down his liberty for his brother; and a man of Judah's noble spirit would not reckon liberty much less precious than life. Liberty was dear to Judah, but his fa. ther's comfort was dearer. Much rather would he have chosen to continue in Egypt, a slave, excluded from the society o his father, his brethren, his children, his friend Hirah the Adullamite, than return to his father without Benjamin, and see the grief that would soon put an end to his father's life. Attend to this example of filial affection. Let children who have the pleasure of seeing as yet their fathers in the land of the living, learn to put a just value on this blessing, and what attention they ought to pay to the happiness of those who brought thera into the world. Will you not do what you can to make the lives of those men pleasani, without whom yourselves would not have tasted the pleasure of living? Are there any amongst us,' who, by undutiful carriage or bad behaviour, are bringing down the grey hairs of their parents to the grave ? Repent before your unnatural wickedness is sealed up by the consummation of it. The first commandment with promise was not published from Sinai, when Judah discovered such tender and self-denying regard to his father. “ Your father, you will say, has not treated you with that kindness which he shews to some of your brothers or sisters. He has his favourites in the family. It is their business to requite the partiality of their parents with returns of
tender affection. But a very moderate degree of filial love is all that can be expected from me.” If you speak thus, you are far from wishing to copy that beautiful example which is set before you in this passage. - Judah saw plainly that Benjamin was loved far above himself, or any of his brethren by the same mother ; Jacob made no secret of his partial tenderness for Benjamin. Yet Judah is so far from repining at the su. periority of his father's regard to Benjamin, that he was willing to become a slave for him, because his father would be less hurt by his mis. fortunes than by Benjamin's. How different was the spirit which he now discovered, from that which appeared in the sons of Jacob when they sold Joseph into Egypt, because their father loved him better than themselves. Now Judah is willing himself to be a slave in Egypt for Benjamin, because his father loved Benjamin better than himself. Perhaps Judah proposed the selling of Joseph, not because he hated him, but because he loved him, and thought that the surest way to obtain his life, would be to gratify the envy of his other brethren, by reducing him to the condition of a slave and exile. But the brethren of Judah were certainly much changed in their dispositions, for they all concurred with him in his efforts to obtain the liberty of their younger brother. Blessed be God, that though the thing that has been done cannot be undone, yet the persons who have done bad things, may be made as though they had not sinned. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
The second volume, besides lectures on the concluding part of the history, contains six Sermons on Jacob's blessing of Joseph. These Discourses, we think, being of a different form, and interrupting the course of the history, should have been placed by themselves at the end of the volume. An author has an unquestionable right to choose his own subject; and to us it properly belongs only to judge of the execution ; but we wish that Dr. L. had given us the blessing of all the patriarchs, instead of confining himself to that of Joseph and his sons. We could extract many excellent passages from this volume; but we have not left room for them. The lecture on that part of the forty-sixth chapter of Genesis which men. tions the persons who came down with Jacob to Egypt, furnishes a strong proof of what the author can make of a very sterile topic; nothing, certainly, can appear more so, than a list of names; and yet these names suggest many judicious and pertinent remarks. We wish, however, that something more had been said on the subject of Judah's grandchildren; it certainly presents a difficulty of considerable magnitude. Judah was only Leah's fourth son; Joseph was but thirty years of age when he stood before Pharaoh ; unless, then, a considerable time intervened between his accession to power and his father's coming into Egypt, it is difficult to see how Judah could then have two grandchildren, and that by a son born after he had three others arrived at maturity. We may observe by the way, that, for this reason, as well as on account of what is said in the thirtieth of Genesis, we cannot concur with the author in thinking, that “ Joseph cannot well be supposed to have been younger than Zebulun and Dinah.” The earlier we suppose the birth of Joseph to have been, the greater difficulty we must find on the subject of Judah's grandchildren.
Dr. Lawson's remarks on the conduct of Joseph toward the Egyptians, during the famine, are very judicious, and fully vindicate the patriarch from the charge of oppression. The history of Joseph furnishes little scope for criticism; we meet with a few instances, however, in these volumes, which satisfy us that the author would not appear deficient in critical judgement, were he to choose a proper subject for exerting it. His remarks of that nature are always short and pertinent; and they are never needlessly introduced. .
We have met with a few instances in these volumes which seem to betray haste in preparing them for the public; the same sentiments are occasionally repeated nearly in the same form, and we find an anecdote of Cæsar at p. 144, and again at p. 428, of the second volume. It is easy to account for such little oversights. A similar subject naturally calls up a similar train of ideas, and the same mode of illustration very naturally foilows. It is only by revising the manuscript carefully afterwards, that such appearances of carelessness can be avoided. They have a bad effect, however, upon the reader, who thinks that he has not been treated with sufficient respect. We have another fault to notice, but it does not belong to the author; he seems to be doomed to appear before the public in a shabby dress. The booksellers and printers seem to think, that the excellence of the matter may compensate for indifferent paper, and worse typography. It must always be injurious to the interest of an author, to give his book such a form as seems to intimate that a reader of taste cannot be expected to buy it.
We cannot dismiss these volumes, without warmly recommending them as a valuable addition to the family library. They are certainly well calculated to answer the end which the author modestly proposes. The history of Joseph is peculiarly interesting to youth; and these discourses are an ex-, cellent help to understand and apply it. So many judicious remarks occur, on the most important branches of relative duty, that neither old nor young, if properly disposed, can read them without deriving much instruction, as well as pleasure. That taste must be greatly vitiated, which does not relish so much good sepse, genuine benevolence, and unaffected simplicity,
the heart must be bad indeed, which, on finishing the perusal of these discourses, forms no résolutions for discharging, far more diligently and cordially than ever, its parental, filial, and fraternal-duties. Art. III. A Tregtise on the Coins of the Realm ; in a Letter to the King.
By Charles Earl of Liverpool. 4to. pp. 268. Price 11. ls. bds, Cadell and Davies. IT is extremely difficult to exhibit an analysis of the present
work. Arrangement is one of the virtues of composition which the noble author seems not to have studied with much success. If we should endeavour to exhibit a systematic view of the topics introduced into the book, this would present but a faint resemblance of the original, and serve but little to convey to our readers a clear idea of the work under review; if, on the contrary, we present the topics in the order in which they are introduced by his lordship, we can afford but poor assistance toward a discovery of the relations and connections of the different parts of this difficult subject.
The work, in reality, consists of two parts; 1. The history of coinage in this country ; 2. An account of the principles, on which the business of coinage ought to be conducted. But instead of keeping these two subjects distinct, our author seems to have supposed that both formed one inquiry; and they are mixed together in the strangest manner imaginable, Indeed the historical part itself is presented in a remarkable order. Instead of exhibiting first the history of the earliest times, and afterwards proceeding in chronological order to the times which are more recent, he begins his work with the . history of coinage during the present reign, reserving the earlier history for the subsequent parts of the book. After completing this portion of the historical inquiry, he imme-, diately chaiges the subject. What we receive next, is a definition of money or coin, and an account of the metals of which it is made. To this are subjoined reflections on the imperfections, to which, as a standard measure, or equivalent, coins are subject. He then introduces a problem, of no little importance, respecting the inetal of which coins should be formed, inculcating the doctrine, that such coins as are the principal measure of property should be made of one metai, but that, for the convenience of traffic, subordinate coins should be made of different metals. A very interesting topic cones, in the next place, under consideration ; the authority by which coins are made current. This, however, the author treats, father in the historical than the speculative mode. His principal object is to show, that the royal authority is that