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they could. They must remember having found the money in their sack's mouth, when, nevertheless, they knew themselves to be innocent. Nay, and in searching for the cup, though nothing is now said of the money, yet they must bave found it there a second time. All this would acquit Benjamin in their account. Yet what can they allege in his favour, without reflecting upon his accusers? The article is found upon him ; which is a species of proof that seems to admit of no answer. A deep and dismal silence therefore pervades the company. In very agony they rend their clothes, reload their beasts, and return into the city. As they walk along, their thoughts turn upon another event; an event which bad more than once occurred to their remembrance already. It is the Lord! We are murderers; and though we bave escaped human detection, yet divine vengeance will not suffer us to live. There, though guilty, we were acquitted: here, though innocent, we shall be condemned !'

Ver. 13-17. Arriving at Joseph's house, where he still was, po doubt expecting their return, Judah and his brethren fall prostrate before him. Judah is particularly mentioned, as having a special interest at stake on account of his suretyship: but neither he nor his brethren can utter a word, but wait in this bumble posture to bear what is said to them.

Joseph having carried matters to this height, once more assumes the tone of a great man, highly offended; suggesting withal, that they ought to have known that such a man as he could certainly divine, and that therefore, it would be in vain to think of escaping with his property undetected.

As Judah appeared foremost on their entrance, Joseph's words would probably be directed to him, for an answer. But what ánswer can be given? The surety and the advocate is here dumb; for he had been a party in guilt ; not indeed in the present instance, but in another. He can therefore only exclaim, What shall we say unto


lord? What shall we speak; or how shall we clear ourselves! GOD HATH FOUND OUT THE INIQUITY OF HIS SERVANTS! Behold, we are my lord's servants; both we, and he also with whom the cup is found! He did not inean by this to plead guilty to the charge ; but neither dare he plead inoocent, for that would have been accusing the offended party of having ensnared them, and so have made the case still worse ; neither was be able to confront the evidence which appeared against his younger brother. What can he say, or do? He can only suggest that it is a mysterious providence, in which it appears to be the design of God to punish them for their FORMER CRIMES.

This answer, which was manifestly dictated by what lay uppermost in all their minds, was at the same time the most delicate and modest manner in which he could possibly have insinuated a denial of the charge. While it implied their innocence in the present instance, it contained no reflection upon

others; but an acknowledgment of the divine justice, and a willingness to bear the punishment that might be inflicted upon them, as coming from above. If Joseph had really been the character which he appeared to be, such an answer must have gone far towards disarming him of resentment. How forcible are right words ! The simple and genuine utterance of the heart is the most irresitible of all elo. quence.

Joseph, in answer, disclaims every thing that might wear the appearance of cruelty. No, he will not make bondmen of them, but merely of him on whom the cup was found. Such is the sentence. They may go about their business; but Benjamin must be detained in slavery. Alas! and is this sentence irrevocable ? Better all be detained than him ; for it will be the death of his father! What can be said, or done? The surety now becomes the advocate, and that to purpose. Such an intercession as that which follows we shall no where find, unless it be in His whom the Father heareth always. But I shall here close the present discourse, with only a reflection or two on the subject.

1. We see a striking analogy between the conduct of Josepla towards his brother Benjamin, and that of Jesus towards his people. Whom I love, I rebuke and chasten. Benjamin must bave thought himself peculiarly unhappy to be one day marked out as a favourite, and the next convicted as a criminal ; and yet

i in neither instance able to account for it. It might teach him however, when the mystery came to be unravelled, not to draw hasty conclusions from uncertain premises ; but to wait and see



the issue of things, before be decided upon them. Such a lesson it will be well for us to learn from it. The Lord often brings us into difficulties that he may detain us, as I may say, from leaving him. Were it not for these, he would have fewer importunate applications at a throne of grace than he has. He does not afflict willingly, or from his heart: but from necessity, and that he may bring us nearer to him.

2. We see also a striking analogy between Joseph's conduct towards his brethren, and that of the Lord towards us. In all he did, I suppose, it was his design to try them. His putting the

I cup into Benjamin's sack, and convicting him of the supposed guilt, would try their love to him, and to their aged father. Had they been of the same disposition as when they sold Joseph, they would not have cared for him. Their language would have been somewhat to this effect~ Let this young favourite go, and be a slave in Egypt. If he have stolen the cup, let him suffer for it. We have a good riddance of bim; and without being under the necessity of dealing with him as we did with his brother. And as to the old man, if he will indulge in such partial fondness, let him take the consequence.' But, happily, they are now of another mind. God appears to have made use of this mysterious providence, and of Joseph's behaviour, among other things, to bring them to repentance. And the cup being found in Benjamin's sack, would give them occasion to manifest it. It must have afforded the most beart-felt satisfaction to Joseph, amidst all the pain which it cost him, to witness their tender concern for Benjamin, and for the life of their aged father. This of itself was sufficient to excite, on his part, the fullest forgiveness. Thus God is represented as looking upon a contrite spirit, and even overlook; ing heaven and earth for it.* Next to the gift of his Son, he accounts it the greatest blessing he can bestow upon a sinful creature. Now, that on which he sets so high a value, he may be expected to produce, even though it may be at the expense of our present peace. Nor have we any cause of complaint, but the contrary. What were the suspense, the anxiety, and the distress of Joseph's brethren, in comparison of that which followed? And what is the suspense, thé anxiety, and the distress of an awakened sioner, or a tried believer, in comparison of the joy of faith, or the grace that shall be revealed at the appearing of Jesus Christ? It will then be found that our light affliction, which was but for a moment, bas been working for us a far more exceeding and éternal weight of glory.

* Iga. lxvi. 1, 2.



Gen. xliv. 18-34.

Josepp, in the character of a judge, has sternly decided the cause, that Benjamin, the supposed offender, should be detained a bondman, and the rest may go in peace. But Judah, the surety, wounded to the heart with this decision, presumes as an advocate to plead, not that the sentence may be annulled, but changed with respect to its object. It was a difficult and delicate undertaking : for when a judge has once decided a cause, his honour is pledged to abide by it. He must, therefore, have felt the danger of incurring bis displeasure, by attempting to induce him in that stage of the business to alter his purpose. But love to his father, and to his brother, with a recollection of his owo engagement, impose upon him the most imperious necessity.

Ver. 18. Prompted by these sentiments, he approaches the judge. His first attempt is to conciliate him : O my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine

anger burn against thy servant ; for thou art even as Pharuoh. This brief introduction was admirably calculated to soften resentment, and obtain a patient hearing. The respectful title given him, My lord ; tbe entreaty for permission to speak; the intimation that it should be but as it were a word; the deprecation of his anger, as being in a manner equal to that of Pharaoh ; and all this prefaced with an interjection of sorrow, as though nothing but the deepest distress should have induced him to pre

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