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himself known to his brethren: and Joseph wept aloud, so that the Egyptians in the house overheard him. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph. Doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence."
No wonder that Joseph's brethren were trou. bled at this speech. O! how bitter a thing is fin. It causes trouble at those moments which ought to be given up to joy. It spreads a gloom over our happiest hours; and while those who are not loaded with the same guilt, are giving way to the most delightful feelings, it makes the man who is burthened in his conscience to feel a double pang, to feel a pang, I mean, both on account of the sin itself, and also on account of his regret at being unable to join in the general joy that is going forward.
Joseph, nevertheless, comforts his brethren, “Now therefore,” says he, 6 be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, for God did send me before to preserve all our lives, so now it was not you that sent me hither, but God.” How freely does Joseph appear, by this speech, to forgive his brethren! Here is no malice, no hatred, no spirit of revenge, no word even of reproof for all the evil they had endeavoured to do him; but the injured person is himself the comforter of those who had tried to injure him. Here, perhaps, some one may be ready to say, 66 True, Joseph did right to forgive his brethren, for we are all bound to forgive them that
trespass against us; methinks, however, he might as well have said something to them of their sin, for the sake of their own good.” I answer, that there is a time for all things, and that this was not the time for Joseph to administer reproof. His brethren were likely, just now, to be cast down through over much sorrow, and the thing
they needed, at this moment, was therefore · comfort rather than reproof. Your people,
who take all occalions to reprove, without regard to tim., or place, or circumstances, though they may say they mean only to do good by it, are apt to be harsh people. They are only indulging their own spirit; and though they may persuade themselves that they are of a forgiving iemper at bottom, in fact are not so much so as they think.
But I would observe further, that this extreme kindness of Joseph would, in my opinion, tend to affect the hearts of his brethren more than the severest reproof. “What (they would now say to themselves) have we fold for a slave a brother so kind, fo generous, fo excellent as this! How little did we know of him when we took upon us to sell him! How rafhly did we judge concerning his true character, and concerning his intention in those words which gave us so much offence! He was a better man than we, though we all talked to much against him, and even thought him hardly fit to live." I would here beg all my readers to take care how they speak eyil of persons without due
knowledge of their character. Especially I would advise you to beware of judging any one, on account of his having said or done something which happens to wound your own pride, or to give pain merely to yourself. He may be a good man on the whole, even though he should have erred in this particular; and you may err more by the revenge you take for what he has · said that is offensive to you, than he has done by saying it. Take heed, then, lest fome day or other should come, when the very person whom you are set against, shall have his character cleareď before all the world, in spite of every thing you have said against him. Take heed, left you should be proved to have been the greatest finner of the two on that day when you shall each of you appear before God, and all his holy angels. O that we could all learn something of this kind, and affectionate, and forbearing temper of Jo. feph. He was as remarkable for it as he was for conquering those secret temptations which I before spoke of.
Joseph having discovered himself to his brethren, is now impatient that they should go to his father ; 66 Halte ye,” says he, 6 and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus faith thy fon Jofeph, God hath made me Lord of all Egypt.--Coine down, tarry not, and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen; and thou shalt be near unto me, thou and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks and thy herds, and all that, thou hast, and there will I nouri!
his neckand wept with himinoh's hos
thee, for there are yet five years of famine to come.” “And Joseph fell on his brother Ben. jamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept on his neck.” “ Moreover, he kissed all his bre. thren, and wept upon them, and after that his brethren talked with him.” “ And the fame hereof was heard in Pharaoh's house; and it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. And Pharaoh faid, Bring your father and your houshold take waggons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. And they did so. And Joseph gave to each of them changes of raiment; and he fent to his father ten asses, laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten more affes laden witli corn and bread and meat for his father, by the way.”
Accordingly Jacob having been invited by his fons, and having also been encouraged by God in a dream, arrived in Egypt; and all the fouls that went with him, besides his fons' wives, were, fixty and fix.
6. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went to meet his father, and fell on his neck, and wept a long time. And Jacob said, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, that thou art yet alive. And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh. . And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, “ How old art thou?"; And Jacob faid unto Pharaoh, 6 The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the
years of my life been." And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and he died.”
"Now when Joseph's brethren law that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will requite us for all the evil that we did unto him. And they sent a message to Jofeph, saying, that their father, be. fore he died, commanded them to request of Joseph, that he would forgive their trespass against him. And Joseph wept to think that they should speak thus unto him. And Joseph said, Fear not. As for you, indeed, ye thought... evil against me; but God meant it for good. Now, therefore, I will nourish you and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. And Joseph lived an hun. dred and ten years. And he said to his bre: * thren, God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land into the land which he promised 10 Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. And Jo. seph died.”
Thus ends the history of Joseph. I have already observed, that one of the chief things to be learned from it is the doctrine of a parti. cular Providence. “ It was not you" (as Joseph said very justly to his brethren) that fent me into Egypt; but it was God;" that is, it was not you only. Men, indeed, were the inftruments, and men are accountable to God for every part of their own conduct, just as much :. as if there was no Providence in the case. Still,