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instructive view of God's dealing with other nations, in circumstances parallel, or similar to our own.
That there is a particular as well as a general providence over the affairs of individual men, as well as whole nations; and that the Almighty holds their fate subject to his own controuling power, and weighs it in the tremendous balance of his unerring wisdom and justice-is a truth which will not be denied by any man, who professes to believe in the existence of God! They who affect not to believe in God, and yet mix in the society of their baptised and confessing brethren, are not only guilty of insult to them, but scandalize their own reason and feelings, nay the very reason and feelings of the savages in the wilderness! For, among the latter, even throughout their most untutored tribes, it is acknowledged and confessed, intimately and deep" that there are beings, both good and evil, before whose superior power, the irresistible command of Nature constrains them to prostrate themselves in the dust, to deprecate the impending evil, and to obsecrate the wished-for good.
Their history and religious rites, barbarous or more civilized; their lamentations and rejoicings; their feasts and sacrifices; their oblations, confessions and thanksgivings—all bear testimony to their conviction of what the Omnipotent hath made known unto the ends of the earth; namely, that the invisible things of Him, “ from the creation of the " world are clearly seen, being understood by the « things that are made, even his eternal power and “ God-head; so that they are without excuse, be“ cause that when they knew God, they glorified
“ Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became “ vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart “ was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, “ they became fools, and changed the glory of the “ uncorruptible God, into an image made like to “ corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted “ beasts, and creeping things,” &c.*
Thus the very savages, although not favoured with any clear or direct knowledge of the supreme God; yet they are taught by the speech which “ day uttereth unto day," } that their strength is not in their own arm, and that they, and all who are born of woman, are but weak and frail beings, dependent on some almighty and invisible power, beyond and above and without them.
Blessed be that Almighty Power! We are not left to grope in the dark, nor to spell out by the vain guesses of an earth-born philosophy, what are his attributes, or what is the name whereby we shall call upon him, in the hour of our distress or joy!
In vain are we assembled, on this solemn day, if it might be considered by any, that the civil ordinance which convokes us, is only a political engine or device, to awe and controul the vulgar mind; and not a certain unequivocal proof—" that, as a people, we acknowledge a God over all, supreme, almighty, and enjoying all perfections. It may be hoped, then, that the threshold of this holy place has not been profaned this day by the unhallowed step of a man or a woman, who doth not believe in the heart, as well as
• Rom. chap. i. 20, 21, 22, 23.
Psalm xix. 2.
approach to confess with the lips, “ that there is a God, who governs the affairs of his creatures in this world, and that the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament, were graciously given by his divine inspiration and authority, to guide us in the right way, through the intricate path of life, and the mazes of a mysterious Providence.”
The dealings of the Almighty, therefore, with a people who acknowledged (as we do) the sovereign and uncontroulable power of God's special as well as ge. neral Providence, in ordering the affairs of men, will be a fit subject of our present meditations; and the more to be chosen, as we shall have for our guide, a History authenticated on the Records of holy Scripture.
With such a guide before us, we need not recur to profane History, any farther than sometimes for the better proof of facts; because the light otherwise to be derived from that source, in the handling of our subject, would be but as the twinkling of a star, compared to the sun in his noon-tide brightness!
The history of the Jews, therefore, upon which our text yields a prominent and irrefragable commentary, as well as a striking similitude to our own history in many great and leading circumstances, will furnish ample materials for our improvement of what remains of this day's duty.
To this audience, it will be sufficient briefly to state, that the Jews had for many years been without a government of their own, and sojourn'd in a foreign land, reduced to a condition no better than that of the worst and most degraded slaves; until at last, the
Almighty had compassion on their miseries; and, by the hand of Moses delivered them from the rod of Pharaoh, and conducted them through the waves of the Red Sea, and a perilous wilderness, to the land promised to their forefather Abraham and his seed forever. *
• See Gen. ch. xiii. 14. and ch. xxvi. 4, 5.
The above was all that was judged necessary, on the delivery of this Sermon, concerning the early part of the History of the Jews; but it may be agreeable to the reader to continue this note, with so much of their history, as will account for their coming into the land of Egypt, and fall. ing into this degraded condition, under the reign of the Pharaolis.
After Noah's flood, when his descendents began to multiply on the earth, and to chuse out to themselves, different spots for the exercise of the Pastoral Life; it fell to the lot of Abraham to be carried by his father Terah into the land of Canaan, where he sojourned for a time with. out children or heir-But God blessed him with a son Isaac at last, in his old age; and Isaac had a son Jacob, and Jacob had a son Joseph whom he loved more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; wherefore his brethren hated him, and took an opportunity, when he was sent by his father on a message to them, where they were feeding his flocks in Dothan, to sell him for twenty pieces of silver, to a caravan or company of Ishmaelitish, or Midianitish, merchants (for they are called by both names in the same text), who were then passing by—and took him with them, and sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of his guard--Here Joseph came to great honour, and found such grace in his master's sight, that he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hands, so that he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat.
About this time a sore famine afflicted the children of Israel, in the land of Canaan; and when Jacob understood that there was corn in Egypt, he said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another ? Get ye down thither and buy for us, that we may live and not die. And Jacob's ten sons, the brethren of Joseph, went down to buy corn in Egypt, but Jacob retained his youngest son Benjamin, Joseph's only brother by the same mother!-"And when Joseph's ten brethren came to him and bowed them. selves before him with their faces to the earth, he knew them, but they knew not him; and he affected to speak roughly unto them and to treat them as spies, compelling them to confess, that of twelve brethren, the sons of one man, in the land of Canaan, they were only ten; that the youngest remained
Like the Jews, our Fathers were conducted by the hand of God, through a perilous ocean, and penetrated into a wilderness, to hew out for themselves settlements, and improve them into an American
with their father, and that one was not. Joseph still affected not to believe them, and to treat them as spies; swearing by the life of Pharaoh, that in order to prove them, they should not go forth hence, except their youngest brother should be brought to him, and that one of them should go immediately and fetch him, while the rest should be kept in prison, till his return with their youngest brother, to prove whether there be any truth in them; and he put them all together into ward for three days.” But, on the third day, Joseph appearing to soften of his rigor, made a new proposal, telling them, that he was a just man, fearing God, and had no mind to destroy them ; but instead of sending one of them to their father to bring their youngest brother, they should all go but one, who should remain bound in prison, till they should bring him, and prove their honesty; and he took from them Simeon and bound him before their eyes, to be kept as a pledge of their honesty in standing to their engagements. All this while, uature worked so strong in Joseph, that he could not stand the encounter, but turned himself about from them and wept; returning soon, however, to commune with them, and to comfort them with the assurance, that if they brought their younger brother back with them, Simeon should be safe, and they should receive every favour in the land. Having returned to their father Jacob, and the famine still continuing sore in the land of Canaan, he is a: length with difficulty persuaded to let Benjamin go, after their telling him all that happened in their former journey, and that it would be in vain to return, or hope for any relief in buying more food, unless their younger brother should go down with them. Being then suffered by their father to depart, with his present of the best fruits of the land in their vessels, to be tendered to Joseph, and double money in their band, besides the money that had been brought back in the mouth of their sacks in the former journey, they rose up and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph; and when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he ordered the ruler of his house to bring them in and prepare a feast for them; at which Joseph made himself known to his brethren, desiring them not to grieve, for having sold him; for that God did only send him before them into Egipt to preserve life, or to preserve them a posterity upon earth, and for that purpose had raised him to great power, making him a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and ruler throughout the land of Egypt: therefore, haste ye, says he, go up to my father, tell him of all my glory in Egypt, and request him to come down to me, that he may be near unto