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be expected, tender and affecting. The account is short, but appropriate. He presents himself to his venerable father; but unable to speak, fell upon his neck, and wept a good while! And who that reflects on the occasion can forbear to'weep with him !

Ver. 30. As to the good old man, he feels so happy that he thinks of nothing but dying. Perbaps he thought he should die soon : having enjoyed as much as he could desire in this world, it was natural now to wish to go to another. Having seen all things brought to so blessed an issue, both in his circumstances, and in the character of his children, it is not surprising that he should now desire to quit the stage. Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace ; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation ! Yet Jacob did not die for seventeen years ; a proof this, that our feelings are no certain rule of what shall befall us.

Ver. 31–34. As soon as the tenderness of the interview would permit, Joseph kindly intimates to his father and his brethren what was proper to be done, as to their being introduced to the king : and that they might be prepared for that piece of necessary formality, he gives them some general instructions what to

And here it is observable, how careful he is to keep them clear of the snares of Egypt. A high-minded young man would have been for introducing his relations into posts of honour and profit, lest they should disgrace him. But Joseph is more

. concerned for their purity, than their outward dignity. I will go before you,' says he and tell the king that you are shepherds, and have been so all your lives, and your fathers before you. This will prevent his making any proposals for raising you to posts of honour in the state ; and he will at once feel the propriety of assigning you a part of the country which is suited to the sustenance of your flocks and herds, and where you may live by yourselves uncontaminated by Egyptian customs. And, when you come before the king, and he shall ask you of your occupation, then do you confirm what I have said of you : and as the employment of a shepherd is meanly accounted of in Egypt, and those that follow it are despised, and reckoned unfit for the higher offices of the state, this will determine the king to say nothing to you on that subject, but to grant you a place in Goshen.'


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Thus, while men in general are pressing after the highest stations in life, and sacrificing every thing to obtain them, we see a man who had for nine years occupied one of these posts, and felt both its advantages and disadvantages, carefully directing his dearest friends and relations into another track; acting up to Agur's prayer, Give me neither poverty nor riches ; but give me food convenient. The cool and sequestered path of life is the safest, happiest, and most friendly to true religion. If we wish to destroy our souls, or the souls of our children, let us seek, for ourselves and them, great things : but if not, it becomes us, having food and raiment, therewith to be content. A rage

for amassing wealth, or rising to eminence, is a whirlpool in which millions have perished.

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Gen. xlvii.

VER. 1, 2. JOSEPH, having adjusted matters with his father and his brethren, with respect to their appearance before the king, takes with him five of the latter, and introduces them. His object is not merely a compliance with the rules of respect which were proper on such an occasion, but to obtain for them a residence in Goshen, where they might pursue their usual avocations, and be near unto him. To this end he mentions that they were then in that part of the country with their flocks and their herds; hoping that this might induce the king to consent to their continuance thére.

Ver. 3, 4. The young men appearing before Pharaoh, he asks them, as Joseph supposed he would, what was their occupation. A very proper question to be put by a magistrate to young men at any time ; but the object in this case seems to have been to ascertain what posts in the state they were qualified to fill. He took it for granted that they were of some lawful calling; and every government has a right to require that those who enjoy its protection, should not be mere vagrants, but by their industry conVol. V.


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tribute in some way to the public good. Their answer accords with their previous instructions: they were shepherds, both they and their fathers. To this they added wbat was their wish, if it might please the king, which was, not to be naturalized, but merely to sojourn for a season in the country, with their flocks and their herds, which were starved out by the severity of the famine in their own land. This language implies their faith in the divine promises ; for they that say such things declare plainly that they seek another country. It would also tend to second the endeavours of Joseph, in removing from the king's mind all thoughts of promoting them to places of honour, and obtaining for them a residence in Goshen. Their answer concludes with an express petition for this object. Ver. 5, 6. Pharaoh, turning himself to Joseph, with much

6 politeness and frankness, thus addressed bim : 6 Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is before thee. In the best of the land, in the land of Goshen, seeing they prefer it, let them dwell. And as to promoting them, it does not seem to suit their calling or their inclinations, to be raised in the manner which I might have proposed on their behalf: I will there. fore leave it to you to make them happy in their own way. If there be one or more of them better qualified for business than the rest, let them be appointed chief of my herdsmen.'

Ver. 7-10. The grand object being accomplished, all hearts are at rest, and now Joseph introduces to the king his aged father ; noi upon business, but merely in a way of respect. When the young men were presented, they stood before him ; but Jacob, in honour of his years, and in compassion to his infirmities, is placed upon a seat. The first object that meets his eyes is Pharaoh, sitting in his royal robes before bim. The sight of a prince who bad shown such kindness to him and his, in a time or distress, calls forth the most lively sensations of gratitude, which he is prompted to express by a solemn blessing! How befitting, and how affecting is this ! It was reckoned by the Apostle as a truth beyond all contradiction, that the less is blessed of the better, or greater. In one respect Pharaoh was greater than Jacob; but in another, Jacob was greater than he ; and Jacob knew it, and thought it no presumption to act upon such a principle. He was a son of Abra

a bam, whose peculiar honour it was, that he and his posterity should be blessings to mankind : I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing. He was also himself a man who, as a prince, had power with God and men, and prevailed. The blessing of such a man was of no small account ; for God suffered not the words of his servants to fall to the ground.

It would seem at first sight, as if Pharaoh was not struck with the blessing, but merely with the venerable aspect of the man, and therefore proceeded to inquire his age : but I incline to think he was chiefly struck with the former. He must have perceived a wide difference between this, and any thing he had ever met with from the Egyptian sages, something heavenly and divine: and as the steward appeared to be well acquainted with the religion of the family, telling the brethren that their God and the God of their father, had given them the treasure in their sacks ; (Chap. xliii. 23.) so we may suppose was Pharaoh himself. He would see also in this solemn blessing, in which Jacob no doubt made use of the name of the Lord, something perfectly correspondent with what might have been expected from the father of a man in whom was the spirit of God. If he felt the force of these things, it would overcome him, and render himn scarcely able to speak; and hence it would be natural, in order to recover himself, to turn the conversation upon a less affecting topic, inquiring, Horo old art thou? The answer to this question is very pathetic and impressive : The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hun. dred and thirty years ; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the

years the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. We have a comment upon this answer, in Heb. xi. 13, 14, where it is called a confession, and its implication is insisted on : They that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. We may see in it a charming example of spirituality, and how such a state of mind will find a way of introducing religion, even in answer to the most simple and common questions. We go into the company of a great man, and come away without once thinking of introducing



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