Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LEC. III.]

THE BLESSINGS TO JOSEPH'S POSTERITY.

39

promise of the multiplicity, which had been so carefully preserved to himself, through Isaac, from Abraham, (verses 15, 16): " And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, did walk, the God which fed me all my life long, unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude, in the midst of the earth."

Joseph is a fruitful bough,
Even a fruitful bough by a well;
Whose branches run over the wall:
The archers have sorely grieved him,

And shot at him,

And hated him: But his bow abode in strength, And the arms of hie hands were made

strong By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob;

From thence is the Shepherd,
The Stone of Israel:
By the God of thy father,
Who shall help thee;
By the Almighty,

Who shall bless thee:
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lieth under,
Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
The blessings of thy father have prevailed
Above the blessings of my progenitors,
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting

hills :
They shall be upon the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him
That was separate from his brethren."

Here the blessing, in all its implitude, as to the double portion—as to the multiplicity of the seed--and all correspondent blessings, to be enjoyed, either in the high places of the earth, or as being masters of the deep that croucheth beneath, even as a camel of the desert, ready to convey with speed whithersoever the governor listeth: the full blessing, and blessings beyond those of his progenitors, is pronounced upon the head of Joseph.

But, it is remarkable, that not only was the blessing as to the double portion more emphatically conveyed to Joseph, but, even of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, a distinction again was made. Ephraim was the younger, the meaning of whose name is fruitful,and the fruitfulness was more particularly promised to him.

In Gen. xlviii. 3—7, Jacob,—having referred to the first great birthright blessing—the double portion, as being his in the promise of God ; and naturally belonging to Reuben, his first-born; or, to his next eldest son, Simeon ;—expressly adopts into the enjoyment of that blessing, the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh ; and confers upon them, and especially upon Ephraim, the great

The expression used in the last part of the blessing, it is noted, implies that they would grow, as fishes do increase -sending off shoals, as has been the case with regard to both the figure, and the people spoken of, in the north country. Thus worthy would they be of the name of their father, Joseph,adding or increase. The line in which was to come the great multiplicity, is still more distinctly pointed out: for, when Joseph perceived that his father had crossed his hands, so as to put the right upon the head of the younger, in place of upon Manasseh, he would have corrected the supposed mistake: but his father, who had evidently been guided inspiration, in the act, as well as in the words, refused, and said (verse 19):" I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall be a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he; and his seed shall become a multitude of nations."

Are these words all to go for nothing? Or is it not so, that a multitude or fulness of nations hath come of this so-called lost portion of the house of Israel ? These are not mere idle words. And, let it be considered, that a multitude of nations cannot, indeed, well be hid in a corner ; nor are they. The word, translated multitude, is also translated fulness. Put Gentiles for nations, (and the words are used indifferently,) and then we have the very expression used by Paul, when, speaking of Israel, in Rom. xi. 25, he says, that “ blindness, in part, hath happened unto Israel, until the FULNESS OF THE GENTILES (or na

40

THE REJOICING MULTITUDE, REV. VII.

[LEC. III.

tions ) be come in ;" that is, until that fulness, or multitude of nations, promised to come of Ephraim, be brought forth, and are introduced into the Christian church. “ And so all Israel shall be saved." Paul recognizes, fully, the truth of God, with regard to Israel;—and, looking far into futurity; and, at the same time, tracing back the procedure of God from the days of old, when he had called them; and, since which, he had been ever bestowing upon them gifts, according as they were able to bear the kindness of their God towards them;—he at length bursts out into that exclamation of wonder and praise, with which he concludes his reasonings, in these three chapters, respecting the darkness then hanging over this people. Looking beyond all the troublous darkness,—to Israel, as coming up out of the great tribulation, and as fully accomplishing their destiny, he exclaims,

" O the depth of the riches,
And of the wisdom
And knowledge

Of GOD,
How unsearchable are his judgments,
And his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord,
Or who hath been his counsellor ?
Or who hath first given to him,
And it shall be recompensed to him again?

For of HIM,
And through Him,
And to Him are all things;
To whom be glory for ever-Anien.”

descendants, as existent in the north country, out of which they are as really to be brought, as were their fathers out of Egypt.

It is remarkable that, in Rev. vii. after the sealing of the limited number from Juda, and his companions, we have the description of another company, who may most clearly be recognized as possessing the three birthright blessings, which we have seen were promised to Abraham, in the line of Isaac and then in that of Jacob—and then, more particularly as to the double portion, to the house of Joseph, in the line of Ephraim, the chief of the tribes that have been called lost, and which were, by the Assyrians, carried into the same quarter from which the modern possessors of Europe have come. First, as to the multiplicity promised to Abraham, and written in his name: “ After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." And, secondly, as to their having supplanted their enemies, and come into the place of honour and power, expressed in the names, Jacob and Israel, it is said that they “ stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." They are brought near unto the Supreme; the Source of all Blessing; and are given the tokens of victory. And then, thirdly, as is promised in the name of Isaac, they are full of rejoicing, and call upon all to rejoice with them. Their song is one of the most blessed which the heart of man can conceive: “ And cried with a loud voice, Salvation to our God that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb." Here are the people, possessing the blessings of the first-born. This seems to be, that which is called (Heb. xii. 23)“the general assembly and Church of the First-born, which are written in heaven." And it is worthy of remark, that the description given of them by the Elder, consists of exactly twelve lines, arranged in threes, after the manner of Hebrew poetry, as if they had a reference to

It is not necessary that Joseph's posterity should hitherto have been known as Israel: Joseph was not known in Egypt as a son of Jacob, when the Lord made him fruitful in a strange land. Nay, he had previously called the name of his first-born, Manasseh; as having himself forgotten all his toil, and all his father's house.

There was evidence, however, to convince his father and his brethren that the very Joseph found in Egypt, was the very Joseph who had been by his brethren thought lost, and by his father believed to be dead. And there is, as we shall see, abundant evidence to prove, equally, the identity of his

LEC. 111.]

WHAT ARE THESE? AND WHENCE CAME THEY?

41

" the twelve tribes scattered abroad;" but are, at the time referred to, gathered out of all nations, and kindreds,

and people, and tongues, into the enjoyment of the blessings of the Firstborn.

"These have come out of the great tribulation,
And have washed their robes,
And made them white in the blood of the Lamb:
Therefore are they before the throne of God,
And serve him day and night in his temple;
And He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more,
Neither thirst any more;
Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them,
And shall lead them unto living fountains of waters;
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Israel's close Connection with the Three Grand Families of Mankind.—The Mingling of Races.-- The Parent's Influence upon his Offspring, exemplified in the case of Abraham's Posterity.---Care taken, as to the Physical Properties of the Chosen Race.-The Moral Training given to Abraham—to Isaac—Jacob Joseph—and his Brethren.—To Israel, in Egypt--in the Wilderness. The Three Grand Principles of Government,—Monarchy—Aristocracy, Democracy—successively developed.—Israel in the Land, under the Judges, and the Kings.—David and Solomon.—All have failed, in the very respects in which they excelled. - Israel trained to Maritime Affairs, preparatory to going forth among the Nations. -God's Purposes with regard to Israel, and for which he had been training them, not accomplished during their former residence in the Land.--Shall be fully accomplished in the promised Kingdom.

God, having chosen a particular family, whereby to exercise a great and most extensive influence among mankind ; and having appointed them a position the most advantageous, from which to dispense, to all the ends of the earth, the blessings of which they, in the first place, were to be made the partakers; and having indubitably secured unto them the blessings of the first-born, by reiterated promise, and even by oath;—having chosen Israel to be the lot of his inheritance to be the instructors of mankind—the declarers of his glory unto the nations: He dealt with them accordingly. He brought them near unto himself, and led them about, and instructed them. As a tender parent with a child, he took them by the arms, and taught them to go; and gradually strengthened them for the service in which, for their Heavenly Father, and their brethren of mankind, they were after

wards to he engaged. He brought them into every variety of situation, enlarging, continually, their experience, and giving them a sympathy with universal nature. He qualified them for all climes ; and for meeting with every condition of life; and for laying hold upon all instrumentality; and for the seizing upon every medium through which blessing might be conveyed unto the whole family of Adam.

One of the principal means of im proving a race, as well as of enlargin its sympathy, is its being, to a certai extent, intermingled with other race. And the connection of the chosen ree with the three grand families of mankind is rather remarkable. The fst three generations, by both the faier and the mother's side, were entire of the race of Shem; but after this, heir connection with the descendan of Ham, seems to have been veryintimate,—and that as to both the buses

LEC. IV.]

BIRTH OF THE CHOSEN RACE.

43

of Israel: Joseph having married in Egypt; and Judah took to him a Canaanitess :and such also seems to have been Tamar, the mother of Phares and Zara. A wholesome restriction was put upon this intercourse; but still it seems to have gone forward, and must have had a considerable influence upon the race; adding that strength of domestic affection, for which the descendants of Ham are remarkable, to the superior intellectual and moral constitution possessed by the original stock. After this sojourn among the descendants of Ham, they were, as we shall see, led out among the more vigorous Japhetic race, in the north country, to have the needful energy given to that intellectual power, and those sentiments and affections, which they previously possessed.

It is a fact now abundantly ascertained, -not only as to the inferior animals, with regard to which the principle has been long acted upon,—but, also, it is true with regard to the human race;that the dispositions and attainments of the parents, have, in many cases, a most important influence upon the capacity and habits of the offspring.

The laws which regulate this influence, are not yet clearly defined; but there can be no doubt as to the general principle—a principle implied, indeed, in the very frst truths of our religion,—in which, the moral and intellectual constitution of man is recognised as having been grievously injured by the fall of our first father, Adam. We must distinguish between natural capacity, and specnl divine grace, when we speak of the influence of parents upon their children, previous to birth. It is of the natural capacity and disposition of which we speak; and subordinate although this be to the other,—yet still it is of vast importance, both as to the happiness of the individual, and his usefulness to society. Even where the children are of the same parent, there is often a striking coincidence, between the varying disposition of the parent, and the permanent disposition given to his different offspring. Thus,

Ishmael, born to Abraham, after his conflict with the kings at the valley of Shaveh, has given birth to a race delighting in war; whilst Isaac, born to Abraham in his old age, after receiving the benefit of his long training and discipline, manifested, except in one grand instance, much of that subdued and pious character of mind, which might have been expected. And if, as some have supposed, the Brahmins be the descendants of Abraham, by Keturah, they do remarkably manifest the selfpossession and willingness to sacrifice the affections, through religious motives, which were so conspicuous in Abraham, at the time of his offering up his son Isaac upon the altar. In them the principle has been ill-applied; but as to the natural feeling, it may be regarded as the same.

Even physical beauty and strength were not unattended to, in the choice of the progenitors of the chosen race. The health, both of Abraham and of Sarah, appears to have been sound. The various journies of Abraham, and the multifarious duties to which he had to attend, must have required a strong physical constitution,—and may also have tended to increase it. His agility is remarked, as in the case of entertaining the angels,--and the successful pursuit of the captors of his kinsman, Lot. The beauty of Sarah, the wife of Abraham; and of Rebekah, the beloved wife of Isaac; and of Rachel, the best beloved wife of Jacob; is very particularly and repeatedly noticed. And we find, as in the case of Joseph, of whom the multitudinous seed was to come, that this beauty was not lost to the children of these mothers of Israel. From many parts of the Scripture we learn, that the daughters of Israel were fair and comely: and even with regard to the children of Judah, whose beauty is not so much spoken of as is that of Joseph, much is recorded.

The means taken to preserve health of body, and to season, strengthen, and attune the physical powers, were indeed remarkably adapted for the purposes intended; and did certainly

« AnteriorContinuar »