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“ We have a friend, more tender, true,
Than brother e'er can be; Who, when all others bid adieu,
Remains the last to flee;
Its anguish, still can bear;
Shall never know despair :
A FLOWER LOVING THE SHADE,
The speech of Judah was enough to awaken the sympathy of a man much less tender-hearted than Joseph. Although the Governor of Egypt had borne no such intimate relation to the speaker as he actually did, he could not, if possessed of ordinary humanity, have failed to be mightily affected by it; so natural, so truthful, so beseeching was it. How, then, could JOSEPH, whose bowels already “ yearned over his brethren"-who, to hide his rising emotion had, on a late occasion, retired into his own chamber that he might weep there—and to whom, as deeming him long since dead and gone, Judah had made more than one touching allusion—how could he resist its pathos ? No longer could he conceal his feelings, no longer could he refrain himself before them. Enough had now been said and done to satisfy him that their penitence was sincere; and it now only remained that he should impart to them the discovery which Nature was impatient to make. Before doing so, however, he caused all, save themselves, to withdraw.
“ There stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brethren.”—Genesis xlv. 1.
Those must be blind to moral beauty indeed who can fail to admire the delicacy and propriety of Joseph's behaviour on this occasion. There are some flowers so sweetly modest that they cannot bear either to be roughly handled or rashly breathed upon. Touch them, and their beauty fades; breathe upon them, and their fragrance dies. And even so it is with the finest emotions of the human heart. They neither can endure the coarse gaze of the world's eye, nor can maintain their freshness under the strange breath of foreign sympathy. Once let us apprehend that they who cannot fully enter into our emotions overhear us giving utterance to them, or observe their working, and forthwith a chill comes over them that cannot easily be done away. The heart's freedom is · gone, and the play of genuine sensibility is succeeded by stiffness and formality. It is not that there is in reality aught unmanly in these affections of our nature; it is not that there is anything in the tears which Love sheds of which Reason needs to be ashamed; for, to those who can look down into the fountain whence they rise, there will always appear to be something graceful in their flow. But it is that onlookers, as we fear, may not estimate aright the position which we occupy, and are therefore imperfectly qualified to sympathise with our emotions. It is because from wanting that which we have, or from being ignorant of that which we know, they may be tempted to regard as extravagant what, if they better understood it, they would consider sober and becoming. Therefore it is that Nature is jealous of having her affections too rigidly scanned, and that she loves to rear in the shade her fairest and most precious flowers.
And here may we not confidently appeal to every heart that has known either the liveliness of affection
or the bitterness of grief? Say, ye who may have watched by the bed of the dying, or leaned over the grave of the dead, whether it be not true that it was when no man stood near you that your hearts were most completely unfettered, and that then you could give expression to thoughts and feelings which, in other circumstances, you would have deemed it unlawful for a man to utter? Was it not " when no man stood near you” that you lifted up in greatest freedom the voice of weeping and of prayer ? Was it not when no man stood near you that you felt, in all its intensity, the mighty power of that love which none but yourselves could adequately comprehend ; and did you not almost deprecate the approaching footstep that threatened to break in upon the sacredness of your emotion. Oh! is it not true that there are those who have gazed, as if they could never be satisfied with gazing, upon the “cold and changeless brow," and kissed, as if they could have expired in kissing, the lips beautiful in death of those most dear to them, and sat, as if they could have sat for ever, by the grave that held within it the form of departed friendship! But, if the eye of a stranger had looked on, would they not have turned instinctively aside as if these were doings and feelings with which no w these were wongs and teenus stranger might intermeddle ? Yes, the most graceful of all tears are those which fall in secret ;-the sounds of mourning are most musically sweet when lifted up in the lonely chamber “where no man is."
Thus it was on the present occasion with Joseph and his brethren. The Egyptians who stood by would have been but imperfect judges of the emotions to which he gave vent. They, knew not the strange history in which he and those men had been concerned ; and even if they had, they could have understood but partially the depth of the Governor's feelings. Indeed, had they known that by his own brethren he had been so mercilessly used, their indignation, it is possible, might not without difficulty have been restrained; and the sons of Jacob, in addition to their own compunctious feelings, would have been made to suffer from Egyptian scorn. But, more than all, Joseph himself would have been fettered and restrained in the exercise of his affections. The free interchange of mind between himself and his brethren would have been powerfully arrested. Too many eyes being upon him, he would have said less and wept less than Nature prompted; while they, scarce able to bear even his own presence, would have sunk in confusion to the earth before the searching gaze of the strangers. As it was, he could not merely let the flood of his own sensibilities go forth without obstruction, but could assure them of his love, and commune with them of all that was in his heart. .
But, surely, if it be thus with merely human love, it may especially be expected to be thus with that love which is terminated upon Him of whom Joseph was the type. If even the affections which reciprocate between brother and brother may not be too barely exposed to the coarse inspection of a stranger, it may well be supposed that the affection of saints to their Elder Brother in heaven is yet more distrustful of profane eyes. We mean not that the heart in which this love exists should be ashamed of that which is indeed its glory, but that there should, on no account, be an ostentatious or unseasonable display of it. The