صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

did not know him. When they came before him, “ they bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.” Joseph knew his brethren; they were men who had attained to years before he was separated from them, and had not altered so much but he knew them. He now saw his first dream fulfilled. All bis brethren who were envious towards him, he now sees on their faces before him. He treated them roughly, not because revenge was in his heart, but to try them. He retained Simeon until the rest should return to the relief of their families, and bring Benjamin down to Egypt. They then conversed among them selves, in the Hebrew tongue, which they supposed Joseph did not understand, of their sin against their brother, and were satisfied that they were visited with evil for their iniquity. Joseph understood all they said, and was greatly moved with compassion. After many trials and sore difficulties, at the second time, when all the sons of Israel were together, and Joseph had the pleasure of seeing his brother Benjamin, perhaps for the first time, he made himself known to them. He could no longer contain himself; he wept aloud and 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. And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me I pray you : and they came near. And he said I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither'; for God did send me before you to preserve life. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept ; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover be kissed all his brethren and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.”

As the hearer is fainiliar with the account of this most interesting subject, we may not be further particular. ' It is recollected that the whole family came down to Egypt and were nursed by Joseph and supported by his bounty. Now was his second dream accomplished. · Let us notice in this place, the words of Joseph before recited; “God did send me before you to preserve life.” Is it not evident, my brethren, that the infinitely wise, powerful, and good God made use of the partial fondness of Jacob as a mean to move Joseph's brethren against him? Is it not evident that the same divine Being inspired

brethren's submission to him, and also that of their father and mother, for the purpose of bringing about the event of Joseph's being sold into Egypt? Is it not clear beyond all doubt, that all the wickedness, envy,hard heartedness, and deceit of which the ten brethren were guilty was controled by the wisdom and goodness of God in a manner to promote the highest honor of the divine name, and the best interest of those most perverse and wicked men ? And must it not be gratefully acknowledged, that all the afflictions which came on Jacob and his family, and the afflictions of Joseph were designed by our hearenly Father, for the good of all these sufferers ? It seems necessary to call the attention of the hearer to the considerrtion of the following questions : Does the argument which we here maintain give to the divine Being a good character ? Is it safe to have so much confidence in God as to believe, that he manages all the concerns of men in a way to promote their best interest ? Is God so transcendantly kind as to turn our own faults to our advantage? Or will you say, that this doctrine is not only too good to be true, but of dangerous tendency, as it lays no restraint on men, but promises them good for their evil? Reply : Is this doctrine any better than was the oonduct of God towards those envious brethren

who sold Joseph ? And did not these brethren experience a most just and ample retribution for their sins, before they entered into the enjoyment of the divine favor which was brought about by means of their folly? Is not this doctrine exactly what the gospel holds up and requires ? Are we not forbidden to render evil for evil? And are we not commanded to render good for evil ? “ Be not bvercome of evil; but overcome evil with good." The blessing that came on Joseph seems to have been, in all respects, what his sufferings seemed to deserve, as ample as his love, and as extensive as his reasonable desires. To have it in his power to reward his brethren with all the favour which their necessities required for all the evil he had received at their hands, to make every necessary provision for his aged father and the whole of his numerous family, from which he had been so long separated, and of supplying many countries with bread during a famine which must have swept off thousands of innocent children with vast multitudes of others, had it not been for the treasures which were laid up by his wisdom and liberally dispensed by his goodness, seems to have been as large and as rich a blessing as could be desired.

To show, by the language of our text, that Moses had a meaning in view, beyond what respected the literality of the subject, and to apply our text to Jesus, who was separated from his brethren, forms the second general section of this discourse.

“ His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns : with them shall he push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

The firstling of cattle is similar to the first born among men. The first born of a family possessed, by birth right, a previlege over the younger, as in the case of Esau and Jacob. The first born seeried to have a power of ruling, and of having the younger branches of the family in subjection. The first born was also considered holy unto God, as were the first fruits of the field ; and the holiness of the first born and of the first fruits was the holiness of all which were represented by them. This part of the text, which relates to the firstling of the bullock, may very fitly be applied to Joseph as well as Jesus, who is styled the “first born among many brethren, the first born from the dead, and the first born of every creature.”

Joseph seems to have obtained the birth right of the first born by a divine arrangement, whereby he became the governor and ruler of his numerous family, though it is true Joseph was literally the first born of the beloved Rachel. His glory answered to his birth right, for we see him the ruler and kind father of his brethren.

the horns of unicorns : with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh " By horns, no doubt power was intended. But how shall the power of Joseph push the people together to the ends of the earth ? And how is it that all people thus united are the ten thousands, and thousands, of the two sons of Joseph ?

This language and these sentiments are supposed to apply to Jesus in the following manner. As the horns of unicorns are the most powerful among beasts, they are used to represent the power of the Saviour. And as it is said, “ with them shall he push the people together to the ends of the earth,” it ineans the same as was expressed by Jacob concerning the Shiloh unto whom the gathering of the people should be ; and the same as expressed by Jesus himself, when be said ; “ And I, if I be lifted

up from the earth will draw all men unto me." The same is expressed by St. Paul to the Ephesians as follows; “ Having made known unto us the inajesty of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself : that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might ga-, ther together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth ; even in him.”

Jews and Gentiles thus gathered into Jesus are said to be the ten thousands of Ephraimn and the thousands of Manasseh. The two sons of Joseph are here used to represent the two families, Jews and Gentiles, which in their fullness, are the children of the everlasting Father and Prince of peace.”

When Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, being blind, Joseph was careful to present Manasseh, the first born, to Jacob's right hand and Ephraim, the younger, to his left, that the first born might receive the appropriate blessing which belonged to his birth right; but Jacob wittingly crossed his hands and laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left on the head of Manasseh. At this, Joseph endeavored to remove his father's hands, and informed him that his left hand was on the head of the first born; to which he replied;“ I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and be also shall be great ; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” Thus Moses in our text, when expressing, the multitudes of Gentiles and Jews, in Christ Jesus, says : “ They are the ten thousands of Ephraim and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” The Jews were first reckoned the children of God, and Israel is called God's first born; but the first are Jast and the last first. The Gentiles take the lead in the gospel dispensation, for not until the fullness

« السابقةمتابعة »