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Generosity of Joseph;
*Nt> WHEN JoSEM's BRETHREN «AW THAT THEIR »A«i THER WAS DEAD, THIT SAID .• JoSEfH WILL PfcRADTENTURI HATE US, AND WILL CERTAINLY REqjUIT* -«» ALL THE EVIL WHICH WE DID VNTO HIM.
TT O W natural was this apprehension! ■*•■*■ Guilt seldom considers the benevo* lence of others, but dwells upon its own conscious unworthiness; and those who are degraded in their own estimation, have flight notions of superior characters. Had these young men reflected upon the gentle and complacent nature of Joseph, they could never have cherished & fear of this fort. When the matter was told to this tender-hearted brother, he wept. Sweet benign spirit! Thou couldest not bear the imputation of cruelty—the bare idea of
ought ought unamiable touched thee to the quick, and■ from the lips of brethren—-»it was-a wound that smarted through the soul: What pathetic sentiments are furnished by his' answer! L" Rise,' rise, my brethren, "fear not." Am I in the place of God? Shall I, man of frailty, presumptuously assume the privilege'df Judgment! Shall I dare to poise the omnipotent scale, and criticise on the gtea't plan of universal'regu-' lation !—J?ie upon it y 1- turn blufhingly away from she7 impious thought!7 Pkifb me n.ot t,hen, my dear friends, ip so im_-, proper' a situation; cloathe me no. more' in the majesty'' bf'H'eaven ;"but think of, me; "as■ ^ r'fe(aiiy'■ am—a man—an imperfett man.like yourselves', liable to equal infirmities, and only kept from falling by th^, immediate presence and providence of thp God of.me, and of my fathers. Nor 1$'it' meet,yeinvitefosgiveness, siiice ye have been' evidently the instrument of much felicity. God meant it to good: i. e. insi.iite happ'i-' hess'is adduced from that which appeared,! at first, to be evil. Forbear then to suspect .
your brother. So far from touching the minutest hair of your heads with a finger of harm, I will nourish both you and your > little ones. Ye may expect; nay, ye may command every instance of affection within./ my power. Behold our father, full of days ■ and of honour, lies sleeping in the grave: think not—ah think not—Joseph will disturb the sacred ashes, by reviving our childish disagreements. Soft Jie his veng-: rable bones, and .peaceable be his ashes in the protection of the God.qf Israel. See -—my.brother—see the tear is in;-my eye as I reflect upon thy fears.: but; I conjure ye to be comforted—to know-me better— Let this embrace—in which my heart gives vigour to my arms—let .this cordial embrace be the seal of eternal confidence, and the cement of a brother's fondest tenderness to his brethren.
1 do not think we haye.an. imaige.con-: ceived in nature, or expressed in language, more agreeable to the mind, than that, which is conveyed to us in the subsequent
verse: "And Joseph saw Ephraim's chil"dren of the third generation; and the "children of Machir, she son of Manajseb, "were brought up upon Joseph's knees." We naturally wish happiness, health, and long life, to great and excellent characters. How pleasing and picturesque, therefore, is the scene here exhibited? He who had been so admirable a son—a parent—a friend and a brother—at length, retiring from the bustles of active life, enjoys the private pleasures of retreat. He amuses himself with domestic concerns, enters into all the relaxing and delicious cares of the cradle, and finds much to sooth, and much to solace the decline of his days, amidst the prettiness, and the prattle of a nursery. Such was his fate, that he saw his childrens children prosper beneath his eye. Often, no doubt, were the little ones, fed by his hand, and fostered in his bosom: and, as for the children of Machir, they were— gracious Heaven, what a melting idea !—they were brought up upon his knees.