Imatges de pÓgina
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66 And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, the dream is one," that is to say, the two dreams signify one and the same thing, “and God hath shewed Pharaoh, by means of them, what he is about to do." “ The seven good kine are seven years, and so also the seven good ears of corn are seven years, the dream is one. And the seven thin and illfavored kine that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears of corn are also seven years, and these last fignify seven years of famine. This, therefore, is the thing which God is about to do; behold there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, and there shall arise after them seven years of famine. Now, therefore, continued Joseph, let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt, and let him appoint officers, and let them gather together the food of the good years and lay it up in the cities, and it shall be for store against the seven years of famine, in order that the land may not perish. And the thing which Joseph faid seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh and of his servants, and Pharaoh said unto his servants, can we find any one equal to this Joseph, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, thou fhalt therefore be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou; and Pharaoh took off the ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in veftments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck, and made him to ride in the second chariot that he had, and they cried before him, bow the knee! And he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Jofeph, I am Pharaoh, and without me shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."

How wonderful was this exultation of Jofeph! he is now greater than ever he was. He had before been the first man in the house of Pharaoh's chief captain, but he is now the first man in the house of Pharaoh himself; he is greater than Potiphar, his own former master; he is the first perfon next to Pharaoh in all the kingdom of Egypt.

But let us not forget to admire the good providence of God in all this. It was God that raised him from being a slave to be the chief servant of Potiphar, and it was God that lifted hiin up from being a prisoner, to be ruler of all Egypt. “For it is the Lord (as the Psalmist says) that maketh rich, and maketh poor, that lifteth up, and casteth down. He taketh the simple out of the dust, and lifteth the poor out of the mire, that he may set him with the princes, even with the princes of the people.” It is true, he sometimes afflicts even his most favored people; “ He brings down, as it is faid, their heart through heaviness, they fall down and there is none to help them:" "He also fuffers them to be evil entreated through tyrants." But at length he “brings them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death, and breaks their

bonds in sunder.” He leads them by a way which they know not, he makes darknels light before them, and crooked things straight;" and Ihus, “though heaviness may endure for a night, , yet joy cometh in the morning.”

“ O praise the Lord then ye servants of his ! O praise the name of the Lord ! blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time forth for evermore !" for he preserveth the way of his saints, and hath been ever mindful of his covenant. He saved Noah from the waters of the flood, he brought forth righteous Lot out of Sodom, he preserved Shadrach and his companions in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the lion's den. “He delivered David his fervant from the peril of the fword.” He shewed also his ways unto Moses, and his works unto the children of Israel." It was "He also that caused a dearth in the land of Egypt, and destroyed the provision of bread. But he fent a man before, even Joseph, who was fold for a fervant, whose feet they hurt in the stocks; the iron entered into his soul-until the time came that his cause was heard. Then the king sent and delivered him; the prince of the people let him go free, he made him Lord also of his house, and ruler of all his substance.”

But let not any of my readers suppose, that Joseph is now to be admired merely for his greatness, and that the ring on his finger, and the fine vestment on his back, and the grand chariot in which he rode, were the chief things he was pleased with. Joseph was a great man undoubeedly, but he was as good as he was great, and indeed, what is all earthly greatness unless good. ness is joined with it? It is a great fin, in my opinion, to wish to be a prime minister or a king, for the mere honor of it, and I would rather be a poor laborer that is of some use in the world, than be the greatest monarch in Europe, unless I could do some special service by my greatness. Joseph proceeds directly to make himself very useful in his new station; “ for he immediately went out from the presence of Pharaoh and travelled throughout the land, and, in the seven plenteous years, the earth brought forth by handfulls, and he gathered up all the food of the seven years, and the food of the field which was round about every city laid he up in the same, and he gathered corn as the sand of the fea, very much, until he left numbering. And after the seven years of plenteousness were ended, then the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said. And the people of Egypt cried unto Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said unto them, Go unto Joseph, and Jofeph opened the store-houses and fold unto the Egyptians.

I am afraid that my readers have by this time almost forgot old Jacob, the father of Joseph, and his eleven sons, who were living with him in the land of Canaan, at some distance from Egypt. The fainine of the last seven years was such as to be severely felt even in their country.

66 Then Jacob said unto his sons, whose countenances were all cast down on the occasion, "Why do ye

look one upon another; behold I have heard that there is corn in Egypt. Get you down thither, and buy for us from thence, that we may live and not die. And Joseph's ten Brethren went down accordingly to Egypt.” But Benjamin, being now the father's favorite, was not suffered to go with them, for old Jacob said, “ Peradventure some mischief will befall him.”

“ And when the sons of Jacob arrived, Joseph was the governor of the land, and he it was that sold to all the people. And Joseph's Brethren came and bowed themselves down before him with their faces towards the earth."

Oh! what a change of scene! These are the men, who, the last time they saw Joseph, had said of him, “ Behold this dreamer cometh.” They had then put him into the pit, and had sold him for a slave, because he had foretold that these his brethren, and his parents (who were signi. fied by the sun, moon and stars,) should one day bow down before him. How wonderfully does God accomplish his own purposes ! The very means which we take to defeat them are sometimes made use of by God, in order to I bring them about. Joseph's brethren thought, that by selling hin for a slave, they should preVent their ever having to bow down before him; and yet by this act of theirs, that very prophecy was brought to pass.

Let no one then presume to think that he can direct events in his own way; or that he can, either by art or power, prevail against God, for

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