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the healths of the attendants on the funeral solemnity; besides, it is necessary, in many instances, for foreigners to comply with the customs of a country they have long resided in.
It certainly must have been a painful office for Joseph and his brethren to follow their dear father's remains' so many miles ;- sometimes we may suppose them shedding tears of tender sorrow, for the loss of so affectionate a friend, recollecting a thousand instances of parental love ; sometimes contemplating his character in those instances which procured him the favour of God, and drawing comfort from the hopes, that he enjoyed this ineffable blessing in a superlative degree ; elevating their own souls with ardent wishes to obtain the same glorious reward, and forming resolutions to follow the example of their pious parent.
When they had performed the funeral rites, and deposited the body of Israel by the venerable remains of his honoured ancestors, Joseph returned, attended by his brethren, to the land of Egypt; for he would nei. ther break his promise to Pharaoh, nor desert the office to which he had been appointed, as the whole land of Egypt would have been thrown into confusion by his resignation, because there was not another person qualified to fill his place.
Notwithstanding the numberless instances which Joseph had given his brethren of his sincere affection and perfect forgiveness, they could not divest themselves of the fear that his resentment, which might have been restrained by respect for his father, would break out again : so hard is it for the guilty conscience to be at rest! Their hearts told them what offences they had committed against their brother in his helpless youth ; and they well knew, that they had no title to his affection, but what was founded upon the goodness of his own dis
position. With what amiable tenderness did he receive their message, and afterwards assure them of his protection!
As Joseph acted towards his brethren, so should all people act towards their relations. If a brother or sister have offended, we should never suffer resentment to break out either in violent reproaches, or retaliation of injuries ; but seek out occasions of recalling their love, by acts of kind. ness and friendship. Let us think how often we offend God, who bestows more benefits on us than we can possibly do on any creature. He forgives us.; we should then forgive one another, more especially those who are nearly allied to us, and who have a natural claim to our affection.
THE DEATH OF JOSEPH.
From Genesis, Chap. 1.
And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house : and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years,
And Joseph saw Ephraim's children, of the third generation: the children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were brought up upon Joseph's knees.
And Joseph said unto his father's house, I dic; and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware tò Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
1 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt; and all that generation died.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS,
Joseph was about 56 years old when his father died; and we find, that he lived a long time after this. It is presumed, that he continued to the last in the high post to which Pharaoh had appointed him. Whether any
of his own brethren survived him we are not told. Before his death, his father's house had multiplied greatly; and all the people of it, according to the usage of the times, were called his brethren. ad. When the hour of his death approached, Joseph had, by Divine inspiration, à certain assurance of the accomplishment of the predictions made known to him by Jacob, that the Israelites would be settled at a fu. ture time in Canaan; and the command he gave concerning his remains, is reckoned by the Apostle to the Hebrews as a proof of his faith*. Many reasons might restrain Joseph from desiring to be interred immediately after his decease in Machpelah : it certainly was best, : 00 all accounts, that Joseph's bones should continue with
the Israelites, as a mean of strengthening and confirming - their faith, in the Lord's promises respecting the land of Canaan, which it is plain Joseph himself firmly be.
lieved. 1. From the eventful history of this Patriarch, we may ipfer, that every situation in human life affords suffi. cient opportunities for the cultivation of virtuous habits, and the performance of good actions. We also learn the value of virtuous and religious principles early sown, and deeply rooted in the heart. From his father's house Joseph brought treasures, which, even in a state of slavery, he could call his own; and which procured for
* Heb. xi. 22.
him what gold and silver could not have purchased, the favour of the Lord, and the esteem of mankind. We are likewise instructed, that the fear of God, and a serious regard to his authority, is the best preservative against criminal indulgencies ; that adversity often proves the njeans of exaltation ; that the proper 'use of power and riches is to employ them in promoting the general happiness of mankind, and of our relations in particular, and that a stedfast reliance on Divine Providence will support the mind uoder the most afflicting evils that can possibly befal us.
SECTION LVI." " 1761
.73 THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE ISRAELITES. THE BIRTH
From Exodus, Chap. i. and ii.
And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier
Come on, let us deal wisely with then : lest they multiply, and it come to pass that when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
Therefore they did set over them task masters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure-cities, Pithom and Raamses. N 4
But the more they afflicted then, the niore they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour. And they made their lives bitter, with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service ia the field : all their service wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.
And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born to the Hebrews, ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
And there went a man of the house of Levi, whose name was Amram*, and took to wife a daughter of Levi, whose name was Jochebedt.
And the woman þare a son : and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
And when she could no longer hide him, she took for bim an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the filags by the river's brink.
And his sister stood afar off, to wit what should be done to him.
And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash her. self at the river : and her maidens walked along by the river's side: and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and behold the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.
Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee.
And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. * Exod, vi, 20.