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inheritance of splendid titles, handed down through a long line of progenitors, will not constitute greatness, and that the possessor of them would do well to consider that, should he degenerate from the virtue of his forefathers, their name is less an honour than a reproach to him. For surely, if marks of distinction were justly conferred on them for what they did, he who continues to wear them plainly declares himself unworthy of them, if he has forfeited the character in consideration of which they were given. Or if, on the contrary, they were bestowed unjustly at the first by the favour of a profligate court, or in return for efforts too successfully made in the cause of despotism, it were more noble to renounce than to enjoy them. Having been discreditably obtained, they cannot be honourably worn. At all events, it were well at least to wipe away the disgrace by such deeds of private and public virtue, as should not in the estimation of right thinking men, render the dignity contemptible. Nothing is more gravely ludicrous than to hear persons who, if they moved in an humble sphere of life, would be disrespected by all their fellows, boast of a noble lineage which their vices have disgraced, and of a name the glory of which they have not only not maintained, but positively tarnished. Verily, if the mighty dead could be supposed to frown upon their mean survivors, such vanity might well provoke their scorn; for it is, indeed, of all insults upon their memory the most gross and unjustifiable. A certain wise king is reported to have said of a profligate nobleman, boasting of his ancestry, “ It is then the more unfortunate that the coronet worn by so many good men should have descended at last to thee.”
It is worthy of observation, too, that Joseph had a care to keep his brethren separated from the Egyptians. They were to dwell by themselves in the land of Goshen ; they were to be a peculiar people to Jehovah ; they were to keep alive faith in a coming Redeemer, and to maintain the purity of divine worship when other nations were immersed in idolatry and superstition. By their separation from the Egyptians, other and more immediate ends besides these, however, were promoted. They were kept at a greater distance from the idolatrous usages of that people, and were thus the less likely to be seduced by their immoralities. That land of Goshen was to be the particular spot in the world where, for four hundred years, the principles of religion were to be held in their purity; and where, when all other nations had fallen into gross errors, the worship of the one living and true God was to be celebrated without the admixture of superstition. It is thus, too, that the people of God are, in every age, a people by themselves. They do not, it is true, inhabit any special region, between which and the ungodly world a visible boundary-line is drawn; for they are now “everywhere scattered abroad.” But in a far more important sense “they dwell alone." They have different interests, different affections, and different views from those in whose hearts the fear of God is not established. Even when they find it necessary, in transacting the business of life, to mingle with such, it is easily seen that they are men of another spirit. While the worldly-minded have their portion in this life, their conversation is in heaven. Like the Israelites who came not to settle, but only to sojourn in Egypt, they regard themselves as strangers and pilgrims. To hold
unnecessary intercourse with those who regard this as their rest would be to esteem less highly than they ought the heavenly land. Here they may pitch their tabernacles, but not erect permanent habitations. As neither their practices accord with those of the profane world, nor their views are terminated on the same object, it is their satisfaction to know that there remaineth a rest for the people of God.
A FATHER'S DEATH-BED.
0, true and fervent are the prayers that breathe
THERE is much instruction to be gained at a death-bed. Although we should be connected with the dying by no tie save that of common humanity and neighbourhood, it would be good for us to go into the chamber of affliction, to understand how frail we are. That is the place either for our giving consolation to others, or for our receiving counsel from them. It is not wise to neglect such an opportunity either (if we have religious experience ourselves) for comforting the feeble-minded, or (if we are but babes in grace) for having our principles strengthened by the instructions which they are qualified to render. The thoughtless have sometimes been thus aroused to seriousness, and the vicious moved to consideration. But while every dying bed has its own eloquent . lesson to tell, it is especially moving to stand by that of those to whom, by the bonds of nature and friendship, we have been long attached. Their last moments are full of interest to us, and, with God's blessing, we may derive great benefit from looking on. To hear of a venerable parent's illness, and feel no anxiety to visit him, would be at once an anomaly in nature and an outrage upon all religious feeling. To be near those, at the time of their dissolution, who watched and toiled for us in other days—to minister, as best we can, to their necessities to ease, so far as may be, their pains_to address to them the consolations of religion, and to receive their blessing-are exercises which affection as well as duty prompts us to engage in. It is at once a lovely and affecting spectacle: that of youth or beauty sitting by the couch of age, and applying to a parent's heart that precious balm, which, having virtue in itself to heal every spiritual wound, is yet felt to be doubly mollifying when administered by the gentle hand of love.
Thus, true to the dictates alike of nature and of piety, Joseph, when told that his father had fallen sick, forthwith goes to visit him, and takes with him besides his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Although great alike in wealth and in power, he would not that his children should be so dazzled by the splendours of a court as to forget that they were mortal creatures. He knew that there was much to call away their thoughts from the contemplation of death and eternity, and he exercised, therefore, his accustomed discretion in bringing them with him to the old man's death-bed. It were well if the great ones of the earth did more habituate their offspring to the contemplation of such scenes. Then might their natural selfishness be changed into mercy, and their natural levity into becoming thoughtfulness. It is because the visitations of the wealthy are more rare than they should be to the dwellings of affliction, that pride and its kindred passions so much characterise them. How would it tend to rebuke and subdue every such feeling, did they frequently view their own