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be had, even from him, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of God, in whom are all the storehouses of grace and mercy, and who is able to supply all your need out of his own riches. You have heard of the manner in which Jacob exhorted his desponding sons ; this is the manner in which I speak to you.
Upon this they set out on their journey, and in due time they appeared before the governor of the land. Knowing the rank which he held in Egypt, but little supposing that this was their own ill-treated brother, they approached him with the reverence which was due to his high station: “ Joseph's brethren came, and bowed themselves before him, with their faces to the earth.” Now the dreams of Joseph, which he had had above twenty years before in his father's house are accomplished. Now they, who took such pains, and incurred such guilt to prevent it, are voluntarily, though unconsciously, fulfilling it. Thus it is that providence governs the world. Verily there is a God that ordereth all things according to the counsels which he has formed.
stay his hand or counteract his will ? All things and all persons do and must fulfil his pleasure. Now Joseph would remember his dreams, and would see how a wonder-working God can accomplish his own will by means that at the time may appear the most opposed to it. Now the whole plan of Providence would break in upon his view, and he would at once see, how the pit into which he was cast, the journey of the Ishmaelites to whom he was sold, the vicious inclinations of Potiphar's wife, the offences and confinement of Pharaoh's servants in the same prison with himself, the dreams of the king, the plenty and the famine, were all so many links in the one unbroken chain of Providence, so many steps of the ladder which reached up to heaven and ended in the eternal counsels of God. His heart would be full of admiration and faith.
For “ Joseph knew his brethren,” though they knew not him. Various circumstances might cause this : he might be apprized of their coming, while they had not any knowledge of his exaltation, or even of his existence ; he was but a youth, and they in their manhood when they had last parted, so that the alteration would be great in him, and but little in them; they would appear before him in the usual dress in which he had been accustomed to see them, while he would be arrayed in all the splendour of an Egyptian nobleman; he would examine them at his ease, but they would be filled with awe in his presence. Yet though he knew them, he made himself strange to them, and spake roughly to them, and pretended to consider themr as spies come to see the state of the country, with intent of some future hostile invasion. We may suppose that he treated them thus to examine what was their present disposition. Nay, it is not too much to suppose, that he might have some intimations from God how to conduct himself towards them. They respectfully disowned the character of spies; they assured him that they came with no political views, but only to buy food; they told him that they were all the sons of one man, thereby intimating that they were not ministers or appointed servants of any king, true men and not spies. Still he affected to disbelieve them. Then they endeavoured to convince him of their real character and object by thus detailing more minute particulars of their family.
Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” This would be information exceedingly interesting to Joseph. He thus learned that his venerable father was still alive, and that his own brother Benjamin was not only in life, but the object of his father's special care. He saw a way by which he might have that beloved brother brought to him; and to put it into effect, without discovering himself to them, he affected still to discredit their words, and would thus put them to the proof. One of them, he said, should be sent to bring their youngest brother, the rest should be kept in prison till his return;
if the appointed messenger returned with his brother, well ; or else the case would be clear, they were spies. Into prison therefore they were all cast, and there they laid three
reproaches, “ Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child, and ye would not hear? Therefore behold also, his blood is required.” Here is a consideration which may well help to deter us all from the commission of sin, namely, the fear that afterwards our consciences will fix it upon
This thing is very common. Often has an offender been filled with painful recollections of the most severe kind, when he has been thrown into trouble and pain on any other account. God seems to him then to be reckoning with him, and in a time when he can least stand against him. In the days of his prosperity and health he passed lightly on his way notwithstanding his sins; he forgat them himself, and therefore seemed to think that God had forgotten them too. But he finds to his consternation that they rise up against him in the loneliness of the sick chamber, in the hour of piercing pain, or the season of worldly loss and trouble.
Then they appear to be ever before him, and to come with increased severity because of their previous delay. Ah! my brethren be