Imágenes de páginas

Now in order to detain them, Joseph had commanded his steward secretly to convey his cup into the sack of the youngest; and when they had left the city, he issued orders that they should be pursued, charged with the theft, and brought back to his presence. They were overtaken; and the charge was preferred against them. Secure in their innocence, they said, “Wherefore saith my lord these words? God for. bid that thy servants should do according to this . thing! Behold, the money which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan; how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen.” After this declaration, what was their horror and distraction when “the cup was found in Benjamin's sack!” In unutterable agony they are brought back into the presence of Joseph—and offer to become his ser-. vants! this offer is rejected, on principles of justice, and he only is required, in whose sack the cup was found. . But this was all that they dreaded—and to return without him was worse than death! It was then that the engagement of Judah presented itself to him in all its force; and he pleaded for his brother with all the eloquence of distress, and in a language which it would be injury to imitate. “Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man. and a child of his old age, a little one: and his brother is dead, and he alone

is left of his mother, and his father loveth him. And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die! And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. And it came to pass, when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, Go again and buy us a little food. And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down; for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bear me two sons. And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since. And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave! Now therefore whenI come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us: seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die! and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave! For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying. If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever! Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad, a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me?

lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father!”

0 powerful nature! how irresistible is thy language! No rules of composition could produce an effect equal to this pathetic appeal to the heart! Eloquence flows along in a soft, unruffled stream, which leaves no trace on the memory over which it has passed: it charms the ear with its selection of language, but dies away with the vibrations which the tongue of the orator excites in the air: but the voice of nature leads the bosom captive; and the heart of Joseph must have been adamant had he not felt it! But he did feel it— and unable any longer to “refrain himself,” he ordered all his servants to leave him, while he made himself known to his brethren, and wept aloud! The scene which follows is too affecting to delineate! Language cannot describe it! The inquiries after his father, the gentle forgiveness tendered to his brethren, and his commission to Jacob—all—all, transcend human power to paint; it was the inspired penman alone who could portray them! Here, then, we shall follow the modest example of a celebrated painter, who unable to delineate the agony of a father hanging over the corpse of an only child, hid his face in the robes which veiled her lifeless remains.

Here we might pause, for a few moments, to reflect upon the wonders of Providence! Every thing predicted in the dreams of Joseph was sulfilled, and the very steps which his brethren took to prevent it, accomplished the whole. But we must bring you to the close of this history, and we could make no remarks, which are not already comprised in one text of scripture: * Many are the devices of a man's heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand!”

Behold them once again upon their journey: but with what different feelings to the day when they left Simeon bound behind them, and were required to bring Benjamin? Now the way seems annihilated, so swiftly do they pass, and so speedily do they reach the tent of their father. With the abruptness of joy, they tell a tale, which ought to have been delivered with caution, and by degrees:—“Joseph is yet alive! and he is governor over all the land of Egypt!”—and it is almost too much for that shattered frame—“And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not!” But “when he saw the waggons which Joseph had sent to carry him—his spirit revived: And Israel said, It is enough! Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die!” We will not accompany him along a journey, the fatigues of which are lightened, by the anticipated pleasure of feasting his eyes once more on the countemance of his beloved child: but we cannot refrain from gratifying you, by permitting you to witness the meeting of such a father, and of such a son, after an absence of more than twenty years. “And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father to Goshen; and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck, a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, that thou art yet alive!” When the first emotions of this meeting were over, and they had separately time to collect their thoughts, and to talk calmly, how much each of them would blance of the features of a man of forty, to those of a lad of seventeen; which was the age of Joseph when he was snatched from him! And with what mutual interest, would they listen to the alternate recital of their mutual sufferings! But it was necessary that Jacob should be introduced to Pharaoh, whose curiosity was probably greatly excited to see the father of Joseph; and who must have been much struck with the appearance of the venerable patriarch. “And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, 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 have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage!”—This was not only an answer to the king's question, but an epitome of his own life! About seventeen years of tranquillity succeeded the storms, and rendered serene the evening, of the patriarch's life—and “the time drew near that Israel must


die!” His family were convened around him; and his

blessings poured upon the head of Joseph; and of the sons of Joseph—and of the brethren of Joseph—with

parental tenderness, and with prophetic fidelity. “And

when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yield-f ed up the ghost, and was gathered to his people.” If This was a separation more awful and affecting thath any which had yet taken place; and who does no syrre: pathize with the pious and affectionate son, as less,

“mourned with a great and very sore lamentatio and as he consigned the remains of his father to but pose by the dust of his family? “There they bu left *

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »