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might be afraid for his own life. Whatever was the cause, bow. ever, of Jacob's being thus imposed upon, it was wisely ordered ed that he should be so. The present concealment of many things contributes not a little to the accomplishment of the divine coonsels, and to the augmentation of future joy.
Jacob's mourning is deep and durable : when after a time, his SODS and his sons' wives rose up to comfort him, he refused to be comforted; resolving to die a mourner, and to welcome the grave, which, though a land of darkness, should be dear to him, because bis beloved Joseph was there! Thus his father wept for him.
From the whole, one sees already, with admiration, the astonishing machinery of Providence. The malignant brothers seem to bave obtained their ends: the mercenary merchants, who care not what they deal in so that they get gain, have also obtained theirs ; and Potipbar, baving got a fine young slave, has obtained his. But what is of greater importance, God's designs are by these means all in train for execution. This event shall issue in Israel's going down to Egypt; that in the deliverance by Moses; that in the setting up of the true religion in the world; and that in the spread of it among all nations by the gospel. The wrath of man shall praise the Lord, and the remainder thereof will he restrain.
THE CONDUCT OF JUDAHJOSEPH'S PROMOTION AND TEMPTATION.
Gen. XXXviii. xxxix.
If we turn aside with the sacred writer, for a few minutes, and notice the conduct of Judah about this time, we shall perceive new sources of sorrow for the poor old patriarch. This young man, whatever was the cause, must needs leave bis father's family ; and wandering towards the south, entered into the house of one Hirah, an inhabitant of Adullam, with whom be formed an intimate acquaintance. If all the brethren had dispersed, and mingled among the heathen, if we consider only their state of mind, there had been nothing surprising in it. While tarrying here, he saw a young female, whose father's name was Shuah ; and though he had joined in objecting to his sister's marriage with Shechem, yet be makes no scruple of taking this Canaanitish woman to be his wife ; and that without at all consulting his father. The children which he bad by tbis marriage were such as might be expected; and the loose life which he bimself led, aided in it as he was by his friend the Adullamite, was that of a man, who, weary of the restraints of religion, bad given himself up to his evil propensities.
Yet it is observable how he keeps up the customs of his father's family, by directing his younger son to take the widow of the eldest, that he might raise up seed unto his brother; and though he himself indulged in licentiousness, yet he can feel indignation, and even talk of burning his daughter-in-law for the same thing. Thus we have often seen men tenacious of ceremonies, while living in the grossest immorality, and quick to censure the faults of others while blinded to their own.
The odious wickedness committed in this family might not have been recorded but for the purpose of chronology, and to show what human nature is till it is renewed by the grace of God. How this connexion between Judah and his friend the Adullamite came to be broken, we know not; but finding him afterwards in
ti his father's house, we hope it was so.
Even while he continued on that side of the country, he had some remorse of conscience, particularly when he discovered the supposed harlot to be his daughter Tamar. She hath been, said he, more righteous than 1.
But we return to the history of Joseph
Chap. xxxix. We left him in Egypt, sold to Potiphar, a captain of the guard ; and here we find bim. He was sent beforehand as a saviour; and, like the Saviour of the world, was not sent in state, but in the form of a servant.
Nothing is said of the grief of mind which he felt on the occasion, but this must needs have been great. A youth of seventeen, torn from his father, enslaved to all appearance for life, and that
among idolaters, where the true God was utterly unknown ? If the day of Jacob's departure from his father's house was the day of his distress, (Chap. xxxv. 3.) what must Joseph's have been ? The archers may well be said to have sorely grieved him!
Ver. 2, 3. But here is a remedy equal to this, or any other disease: the Lord was with Joseph! God can make up any loss, sustain under any load, and render us blessed in any place. To this Moses alludes, in his dying blessing upon the tribe of Joseph : Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven--for the precious things of the earth--and for the good will of him that dwelt in the busk : let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren! If we be but in the path of duty, we have nothing to fear. Whatever wrongs we suffer, if we be but kept from doing wrong, we shall enjoy the peace of God in our hearts and all will come to a good issue. What a difference is there between the cases of Joseph and Jonah ! They were both in trouble, both absent from God's people, both among the
heathen : but the sufferings of the one were for righteousness? sake, while those of the other were of his own procuring.
God makes Joseph prosperous. He must then have submitted with cheerfulness to his lot, studied to make himself agreeable and useful to his master, and applied attentively to business. Herein he was an example of resignation to the will of God, in afflictive circumstances. Fretfulness greatly aggravates the ills of life, while a cheerful submission to the will of God alleviates them. The prosperity attending Joseph was manifest : his master sees it, and sees that Jehovah is with him, and that it is his hand which blesses all he does. This is a circumstance not a little to Joseph's honour; for it implies that he made no secret of bis religion. He must have refused to join in Egyptian idolatry, and have nvowed himself a worshipper of Jehovah, the only true God. In many cases, for a poor unprotected slave to have done this, would have cost him his life ; but the Lord was with Joseph, and had all hearts in his band. Potiphar observing that the religion of the young man turned to his account, like many irreligious masters in the present day, makes no objection to it. This holds up a most encouraging example to religious servants, to recommend the gospel by their fidelity and diligence ; and to all Christians to be faithful to God, even when there are no religious friends about them to watch over them. This is walking with God.
Ver. 4. The effect of this is, Joseph comes into favour, and is promoted over all the other servants. From a slave he is made steward; a steward not only of the household, but over all his master's affairs, and this though but a youth.
Ver. 5. And now, as Potiphar favours the Lord's servant, the Lord will not be behindband with him, but will favour him. From this time forward every thing is blessed and prospered for Joseph's sake. We see here that it is good to be connected with them that fear God, but much better to cast in our lot with them. In that case, we shall not only gain by them for this life ; but, as Moses told Hobab, whatever good thing the Lord doth to them, shall be done to us.
Here also we see the promise to Abraham fulfilled in his posterity: he not only blesses them, but makes them a bless. Vol. V.
iny. Such was Jacob to Laban; such is Joseph to Potiphar, and afterwards to all Egypt; and such bas Israel been to the world, who from them derive a Saviour, and all that they possess of true religion. Even the casting away of them has proved the reconciling of the world, and how much more shall the receiving of them at a future day be as life from the dead! It might also be the design of God, by this as well as other of his proceedings, to set forth under a figure the method in wbich he would bless the world; namely, for the sake of another that was dear unto him. Potiphar was not blessed for his own sake, or on account of any of his good deeds; but for the sake of Joseph. Even his receiving Joseph into favour was not that on account of which he was blessed, though that was necessary to it: it was Joseph to whom the eye of the Lord was directed : he looked on him, and blessed Potiphar. So that for the sake of which we are accepted and saved, is not any work of righteousness which we have done, nor even our believing in Christ, though this is necessary to it; but the name and righteousness of Jesus. Thus in both cases, grace is displayed, and boasting excluded. Finally : It was a proverb in Israel, that when it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth. This was singularly exemplified in the prosperity of Joseph, and still more in the exaltation of Christ. From the day that he was made head over all principalities and powers, from that time forward the Lord hath blessed the world for his sake. Ver. 6. So great was the confidence which Joseph's fidelity
. 6 inspired in his master, that all his concerns were left in his hands ; and for his own part he did nothing but enjoy the prosperity which was thus bestowed upon him. This circumstance might be wisely ordered to prepare this lovely youth for his future station. He was now brought into business, and inured to management : had he been raised to his last post first, he might have been less qualified to fill it. Sudden advancements are seldom safe.
Under all this prosperity, what may we suppose to be the state of Joseph's mind? No doubt his thoughts would sometimes glance to the vale of Hebron, and he would ask himself, Hovin does my father bear the rending stroke; and what is become of