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. haft dreamed? Shall I, and thy Mother, and thy Brethren, indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth.” .
Poor honest, simple old man, he little knew how his own interpretation of the dream was by-and-by to be exactly fulfilled, for so God had ordained.
66 And his Brethren envied him, but his Fa· ther observed the saying.”
After this we read, that “ Joseph's Brethren went to feed their Father's flock in Shechem, and Jacob lent Joseph to them, saying, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy Brethren, and well with the flocks, and bring me word again. So he sent him; and Joseph came to Shechem; but it happened, that they and the flocks were gone forward beyond Shechem, even to Dothan, So Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they faw him afar off, they said one to another, Be. hold, this Dreamer cometh! come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dream."
What a dreadful proposal! what! kill their own brother! if they could agree to do this, I do not wonder at their agreeing also to tell a lie, in order to hide their crime; thus not one sing but two fins were to be committed. But is it poffible that all these eleven Brethren should join in putting Joseph to death ? Even among bad
men, some are apt to be less wicked than others : surely therefore, we may hope, that one or other of Joseph's Brethren will be for stopping short of the crime of Murder.
It proved, as I think might very naturally be expected, that one of Joseph's Brethren, named Reuben, though he seems before to have joined in envying Joseph, was afraid of joining in this most horrid crime.
When, therefore, 6 Reuben heard it, he der livered him out of their hands; and said, shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand on him: this he said, that he might rid him out of their hands, and deliver him to his Father's house. And it came to pass, that when Joseph,” who was at a distance while this conversation passed, was come unto his Brethren, they stripped Joseph of his coat, it being his coat of many colours.
What fatisfaction would they feel while they were thus stripping him! This was the coat which Joseph's father had given him, because he was a favorite, and which reminded Joseph's Brethren of his advantage over them. They now thought themselves revenged upon him ; and revenge, as they would say, is sweet. Many a joke, many a bitter and severe expression was uttered, no doubt, while they were stripping him; they had got him into their power, and they were resolved to shew that they were greater than he, instead of his being greater than they, as he pretended..
Your brould fecellow
Now this sort of spirit in them was a most wicked' thing: it was coupled with envy, and malice, and hatred; and was not far from car. rying them on to an act of murder. And here let me warn all my young readers against indulging this fame evil temper. Thus, for in. stance, if you should hear your Teacher praise your school-fellow who stands near you, while he says not a word of praise to you; do not hate and envy your school-fellow on this account; or if you should see your parent give a reward to your brother or fifter, for supposed good behaviour, do not be eager to think that you equally deserve a reward, and then hate or envy your brother or fister for being more favored than yourself, for this is to act in the fame spirit with the Brethren of Jofeph. So also if some other child should be drest as fine again as you are, and even as fine as Joseph himself, in his coat of many colours, yet do not do as Joseph's brethren.did. Do not feel any ill.will towards your brother, your sister, or play. fellow for this reason. Do not long to strip the fine coat off of him, as Joseph's brethren stripped the fine coat off of Joseph, but endeavor to look upon his fine dress contentedly, and withoutenvy, and without any desire to take it from him, and to put it on your own backs. This is one of the lesfons that you ought to learn from the present story, which was not written in the Bible in order to entertain you only, and in order to teach you how to read, but in order to instruct you in your
duty also. This passion of hatred and envy, if indulged when you are young, may lead to dreadful confequences when you are old. We fhall presently shew you very plainly how in the case of Joseph's Brethren it led on to lying, and to cruelty, and almost even to murder.
For, “ after they had stripped Joseph of his coat they took him and cast him into a pit, and the pit was empty, and there was no water in it, And they lat down to eat bread.”
How very hardened must these brethren of Joseph have been! They went to their dinner after they had thrown Joseph into the pit, just as if nothing had happened. Men who thus give way to their evil passions, are apt to be very cruel and hard-hearted also.
“ And behold a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels, bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt."
Now a new thought comes across one of joseph's brethren, who was named Judah, and who, though more blameable than Reuben, yet seems rather less so than some of the others.
66 And Judah said unto his brethren, what pro. hat is it if we slay our brother and conceal bis blood. Come and let us fell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our fief.
O Judah! Judah! if he is your brother and your fleth, why do you not deliver him altoge. ther ?" you should send him back to his father's house, as Reuben wished to do; indeed, you should never have thrown him into the pit, nor have joined in taking his coat of many colours from him. Nay, I will say further, you should never even have hated him and envied him, for by having once indulged that wicked hatred and envy against him in your hearts, you have all of you been led on, from one thing to another, until you hardly know how to stop. You dare not now send Joseph back to his father, left he should tell his father of your having torn from him his coat of many colours, and of your having also ill treated him by throwing him into a pit. Hay. ing ill treated him thus far, you are tempted to ill treat him ftill further, left you should be found out. Joseph, therefore, now must, at any rate, be got rid of, and not suffered to get home. To kill him indeed is too bad, and yet if the only choice left you was either to kill him or to fend him home, methinks there are some among you who would not fcruple to kill him outright; for you had already agreed to leave him in the pit, where he would soon have perihed with hunger: so that what you had resolved to do was little short of murder, though you may not have chosen to consider it as fuch.