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Story of Joseph.

Passage.

nt MAB< JoS**H A COAT Of MAMY C0l9V»iS

T_T E R E is also another of those sacred r~ "*■ narratives which is not only exquisite in itself, but which has engagad the attention of many admirable pens: yet, surely, while the art of writing, and the powers of the understanding remain, such a story will always furnish new illustrations; and every man may be able to discover in it, and display fresh beauties to charm, and fresh elegancies to recommend. To add, however, any thing to this narrative would be unnecessary, and to recite the whole of it from the Bible, inconsistent with the limits of my design: a few general observa

tions, therefore, will be sufficients The happiest strokes of simplicity distingui-h the very beginning of the history before us. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all "his children." But mark the reason for such partiality, "because he was the son "of his old age*." Though the first-born is heir to our fortunes, the last-born, is, generally, the darling of our contemplation and caresses : to the aged parent they are particularly endearing. But what was

: the first effect of this endearment?' Why, such as was suitable to the child's age, and perfectly pleasing to the notions of his youth*—his father made him a coat of many

- colours. Ah, fatal finery! This little decoration ereated the envy of his brethren

.»—." And when his brethren saw that their "father loved him more than the rest, "they hated him, and could not speak "peaceably unto him." How gradually the quarrel opens! When they first began to envy the poor lad, they did not, all at once, outrageously assault him ; but the passion • was left to grow, naturally ; the '■'' fire fire was permitted to kindle from the first 'spark into a general flame. This is true nature. They could not speak peaceably unto him; i. e. they began to cast reflections, mixed sarcasms with their con. versation, and silently sneered at him. But how naturally do the dreams increase the fraternal discontent! nothing in the world could have exceeded this circumstance in point of aggravation. It was, indeed, such a str6ke, as, at first, offended the parent, fond as he was: what effect then must it have had upon the brothers? That which before was little more than dis~ like, was now absolute aversion. They said unto him, " Shalt thou, indeed, reign "over us, or shalt thou have dominion over "■us? And they hated him yet more for "his dreams" Thus prepared for vengeance, they were ready to seize the first opportunity which might happen. His being sent by his father as a messenger to his brethren to know how it fared with them and with their flocks, was, alas, but too favourable an occasion for their latent pur> poses, poses, and tne manner in which they express themselves, as they behold him afar off, is> in every respect, consistent with the workings of nature—Behold, said they one to another, "Behold this dreamer "cometh." What a taunt was this, and how quickly did it prepare the society for the sentiments which immediately followed. —" Come now, therefore, and let us slay "him, and then we shall see what will be"come of his dreams." The finesse of Reuben was an human artifice: "Shed no "blood, my brothers, but cast him into ■ "this pit which is in the wilderness." This advice discovered an equal share of good sense and affection. Had Reuben intemperately and flatly opposed the intentions of the party, it is probable he mighs not only have encreascd the vengeance they meant to take of Joseph, but have likewise^ drawn their anger upon himself. Seeming, therefore, to think the lad deserving punishment, and only presuming to propose an alteration of it, as to the mode, was propitious to his amiable design of deliver

ing him to his father. Judah's motion to fell him to the travelling Ilhmaelites is, likewise, a fine incident: but the stratagem of killing the kid, and dipping the manycoloured coat in it's blood, and then shewing it to the poor old father, is a circumstance levelled immediately at the heart, and cannot fail of wounding every reader of the least sensibility. It were no undelightful talk to go on with a commentary on the remaining parts of this story, from the residence of the hero in the house of Potipher, to his death and burial in Egypt: but it is a part of scripture so particularly handled by men of the most celebrated abilities, that every passage has many times been the subject of learned remark. Upon the whole, however, it appears to be one . of the most beautiful and interesting narratives in the whole lettered world; nor will it, perhaps, be easy to match it, even as it now stands translated, by any composition, in any language. As a chain of sacred facts, recorded in the divine volume of the christian religion, it affects us with awe F 5 and

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