« AnteriorContinuar »
and removed from him all the prejudices, which so frequently hinder persons in high station from submitting to the evidence of truth, and acknowledging an understanding superior to their own. He made him comprehend, that a mere human wisdom would be improper to execute what had been suggested to him by wisdom from above, and that it would be in vain to seek out for any other minister, than the person whom God had chosen. Can we find, [y] says Pharaoh, such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?
In talking thus, he entirely reformed the errors of a false policy, which considers virtue and religion as unserviceable in the government of a state, and finds an exact probity too great a check upon its views and projects. This stupid impiety is exposed to eternal shame by an infidel king. He is convinced, that the more of the Spirit of God a minister has, the more capable he is of governing a kingdom. And the least attention suffices to discover, that the opposite principle flows from the utter want of human understanding
Qu. What must we think of Joseph's glory, when raised almost to a throne ?
Ans. The Holy Ghost informs us in another book, that the calumnies which had been cast upon Joseph, were then fully dispersed, and the authors of them convicted of forgery. [-] As for them that had accused him, she shewed them to be liars, and gave him perpetual glory. Thus the pomp which surrounded him, was the triumph of virtue. It was virtue, that was exposed a spectacle to all nations; that was seated in a magnificent chariot, from whence she instructed the righteous in all ages, never to give way to despair, but to retain an invincible patience. It was before virtue, that all the world bent the knee, and Joseph was the herald, exhorting all men to the practice of virtue, at the same time that the herald, who went
[<] Wisd. x. 14.
(y) Gen. xli. 33. 1. VOL. II.
before  Ibid. xlii. 21.,
before him, required that external mark of respect to be paid to the first minister of Pharaoh.
Qu. Were Joseph's dreams fulfilled, with respect to his brethren?
· Ans. They were evidently so, upon their falling prostrate at his feet. [a] And Josepli's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. Thus was brought to pass what they had been so apprehensive of, when they knew not the interest they had in owning him for their master. The more they strove to prevent it, and make themselves independent of him, the inore they contributed to advance his authority. They resolved not to fall down before him, whilst they had him amongst them; but to seek him in Egypt, to throw themselves at his feet. They forsook him, and would have taken. away his life, when sent to them by their father; but were compelled to appear before him, after a kind of resurrection, with fear and trembling. They fall down before him like Egypt and the other nations, whose example they follow, and are not afraid of being rejected by him, because they look upon him as the saviour of the world; whereas they had before been apprehensive of being subject to him, whilst they considered only their own depression in his advancement.
· Qu. What do we learn from the remorse of Joseph's brethren, for the cruel treatinent they had shewn him?
• Ans. We see in their self-accusations both the force of conscience, and the advantage of the holy education Jacob gave his children, which, though not always void of offence, was still never totally extingnished; they revered the law, which condemned their actions. We are verily guilty, [b] said they one to another, concerning our brother, and therefore is this distress justly come upon us. Men can never entirely efface the sense, which God has impressed upon their hearts of his presence and justice. They will never [a] Gen. xlii. 6.
as a the
succeed in persuading themselves, that sin is in its nature indifferent, or was not seen, or will remain unpunished. Their fears may be removed sometimes by the patience and silence of their judge, or the number of their accomplices; but when vengeance comes to shew itself, they shall be the first to own that they have deserved it, and their accomplices will then seem to them but as so many witnesses, who are ready to accuse and confound them.
III. The second descent of Jacob's children into Egypt. Joseph made known to his brethren. Gen. xliii, xliv, xlv.
When Jacob's children, upon their return, had told him all that had befallen them, the imprisonment of Simeon, and the express order they had received to carry Benjamin down into Egypt, the sorrowful news filled him with grief, and renewed his former concern for the loss of Joseph. He long refused to let his dear Benjamin go, in whom he placed his sole consolation. But at last, seeing there was a necessity for it, and that otherwise both must perish by famine, he consented to his departure upon the repeated assurances his other children gave him, that they would bring him back again. They all then set out together with presents for Joseph, and double the money they had found in their sacks.
Being come into Egypt, they presented themselves before Joseph. As soon as he saw them, and Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready, for these men shall eat with me at noon. The stew. ard executed Joseph's order, and brought them into his house. Surprised at this treatment, they imagined he had sought for an occasion against them, because of the money they had found in their sacks. They then began to justify themselves to the steward, by saying, they knew not how it came to pass, but as a proof of their honesty, they had brought back the money. The steward encouraged them, bidding
them not be afraid ; that their God, and the God of their fathers, had given them treasure in their sacks ; but that for his part, he had their money. And straitway he brought out Simeon unto them. They had water then given them, and when they had washed their feet, they waited for the coming in of Joseph.
When Joseph came home, they bowed themselves to him to the earth, and offered him their presents. Joseph having graciously asked them of their welfare, said to them, Your father, the old man of whoni pou spake, is he yet alive ? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And at the same time they bowed themselves down to the earth again. Joseph casting his eyes upon Benjamin, And is this, says he, your younger brother, of whom ye spake to me? God be gracious, adds he to him, unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste to go out; for the sight of his brother had affected him so much, that he could no longer refrain from tears. Presently after he returned to his brethren, and having ordered victuals to be brought in, he sat down to eat with them,
When Joseph had eaten with his brethren, he gave a secret order to his steward, to fill their sacks with corn), and to put every man's money in his sack's mouth; and put my silver cup, says he, in the sack of the youngest
. His steward obeyed, and the next morning they departed with their asses loaden with
But they were scarce got out of the town, before Joseph sent his steward after them, to charge them with stealing his cup. They were much surprised to find themselves accused of so base an action, which they had never so much as thought of.. We brought back, said they, the money we found in our sacks' mouths, how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it is found, let them die; and also we will be my lord's bondmen. The steward took them at their words; and searching their sacks, beginning with the eldest, the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.
They returned to the city in great affliction, and went to throw themselves at Joseph's feet. After some reproaches, he told them, that he, in whose sack the cup was found, should continue his slave. Then Judah, having asked leave to speak, represented to Joseph, that if they returned to their father without bringing back with them the son he so tenderly loved, they should kill him with sorrow. I, adds he, became a surety for him with my father; let me therefore, I pray thee, abide in his stead a bondman to my lord: for I cannot return without him, lest I see the evil that shall come upon my father.
At these words Joseph could refrain himself no longer. He commanded all that were present to go out from him. Then the tears falling from his eyes, he cried aloud, and said to his brethren, I am Joseph.
live? And they could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence. He then spoke gently to them, and said, Come near to me. And as they came near, I am Joseph, says he, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved and angry with yourselves, that you sold me hither; for God sent me before you to preserve life. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God. Go, tell my father, that God hath made me lord of all Egypt. Let him make haste to come down, and he shall dwell near me: and I will nourish him and all his family, for there are yet five years more of famine. You see with your eyes, that it is I who am talking to you. Tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen, and make haste to bring him down hither. And when he had said thus, he fell upon Benjamin's neck, and embraced him with tears. And he kissed all his brethren, and after that they were encouraged to talk with him,
The news was soon spread through thewhole court. Pharaoh expressed his satisfaction in it to Joseph, and bade him presently bring down all his family into Egypt. Joseph disinissed his brethren with provisions for their journey, and waggons to bring down their