Sivut kuvina

prepared him for faithfully discharging the duties of that honourable office to which he was afterwards appointed. By having himself passed through many adverse changes of life, he was the better qualified to understand the nature of man, and to sympathise with such as are bowed down with care and sorrow. On whom could the duties of government more fitly devolve than on one who had himself experienced the evils of oppression, and yet had patiently borne tbem? Who more fit to take charge of human interests than he who had himself known what it was to be in want with none to minister to him, and in prison with none to visit him? Who so qualified to protect the rights of the indigent as he who had tasted with his own lips the bitter cup which oppression had mingled, and felt in all its soreness the agony of a wounded spirit ? By whom could vice and immorality be so consistently rebuked as by him who, amid the most favourable occasions of dishonesty, had held fast his integrity, and, under the most urgent temptations to gratify sensual appetite, maintained his chastity by a regard to the omnipresence and authority of God ?

Thus, too, it still is that the Father of Spirit leads his children through many varieties of experience to the particular sphere in which he has designed that their virtues shall attract notice and command admiration. One afflictive dispensation thus becomes, under his gracious management, propitious to the growth of excellencies that are to be illustrated under another. Adversity is made the handmaid of prosperous worth; and the lessons of patience, resignation, and industry, that were acquired in the school of suffering, are found useful after many days in the discharge of duties proper to a more elevated scene. Who, for example, so well prepared to administer consolation to the aflicted as one who has known similar adversity? Who so fit to compassionate the needy, or to sympathize with the bereaved, as one who has himself had to struggle with misfortune, and from whom the loved and the dear have been unsparingly torn ? Thus was even our blessed Redeemer approved to be in all things a merciful and faithful high priest. Not having where to lay his head, he is qualified to compassionate those who have none to help them. Having himself been sorely tempted, he knows how to succour them that are tempted—having himself tasted the bitterness of dying, he can tenderly feel for those on whom the pangs of death take hold. In one word, having been all his life-long acquainted with grief, he is still touched with a feeling of our infirmities :

“In every pang that rends the heart
The man of sorrows had a part;
He sympathizes with our grief,

And to the sufferer sends relief." 3. The elevation of Joseph in the kingdom of Pharaoh is to be regarded as a type of the exaltation of Jesus to his Father's right hand. When the time fixed in the divine counsels came, the word of the Lord went forth,” and the afflicted youth was lifted from his obscurity. So, too, when the period preordained of God arrived, Jesus was recalled from the obscurity of the grave, to discharge in his own person the office of a mighty governor. Joseph, having borne patiently the hardships of his lot is at length honoured by the sovereign of the land ; and Jesus, having become obedient unto death is glorified in the sight of the universe by the King of Kings. Instead of the mean raiment which he had worn in the dungeon, there are given unto Joseph robes of splendour; and Jesus, from having a visage more marred than any inan's, rises with a countenance brighter than the light, and a body all gloriously fashioned. In token of his royal approbation, Pharaoh takes his own ring from off his finger, and puts it on Joseph's hand; and, in order to give testimony to all men that Jesus is endowed with supreme power, the Father judgeth no man, but commits all judgment unto the Son. A chain of gold is put on Joseph; and on the head of Jesus there is set a crown of many stars. Joseph is made ruler over all the land of Egypt; and Jesus is constituted Head over all the creation of God. Joseph rides in the second chariot of Pharaoh; and Jesus rides forth more gloriously in the chariot of the everlasting gospel, conquering and to conquer. They cry before Joseph, Bow the knee ; and all the angels of heaven are commanded to worship Jesus. This is the will of God, that unto him every knee should bow, both of things in heaven and things on earth. : “ Kiss ye the son, therefore, lest ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a Little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." CHAPTER EIGHTH.


" Who best
Can suffer, best can do best reign, who first
Well hath obey'd.”

A TRULY good man is always consistent with himself. He has one grand principle of action, which he carries about with him into every conceivable sphere of duty. It is his sole and undivided aim to approve himself unto Him that is invisible. This suffices to make him either contented in a mean, or humble in a high estate. The same principle that enabled Joseph to maintain his virtue in the house of Potiphar, rendered him faithful in the management of Pharaoh's kingdom. In either case, he considered that he had certain duties to perform, and that for the manner in which he discharged them he was accountable to God. The trials to which he was now exposed were indeed very different from those to which he had for a long time been accustomed. But they would have been too strong for any man whose mind was not submitted to the teaching of God's Holy Spirit. The elevation to which he was now raised was what few save himself could have stood. What with the honours that were so suddenly heaped upon him—the favour of the Prince, the applause of the people, and the gaieties of the court-he was surrounded with a variety of temptations to pride and impiety. Yet it does not appear that any of these things moved him in the slightest. The honours conferred on him he appears to have carried meekly, and the high power with which he was vested, he seems only to have rendered subservient to the great ends of justice and humanity. That he earnestly and fervently sought direction from above, no one can doubt who considers the piety by which he was all along distinguished. Knowing well that God alone could give any man a wise and understanding heart, he would, like Solomon in a subsequent age, solicit that heavenly teaching which alone could fit him to do justice and judgment. A sacred trust was committed to him, and he would desire above all things to be faithful to it. He had many sacred, yet delicate and difficult duties to perform both to the king and the people ; and this consideration would render him the more importunate with Heaven, that neitherto the one nor the other might he be found wanting. As a spirit of piety had pervaded his conduct both at home with his father and in the house of Potiphar; so, now that he stood in the presence of great men, he would consider that there was one higher than the highest, to whose jurisdiction he was amenable, and on whom alone sure dependence could be placed. All the acts of his government would be regulated by a sense of his obligation to the King of Kings. He would be a diligent reformner of all existing abuses, and, at the same time, a steady upholder of praiseworthy institutions. Possessing the confidence both of his sovereign and of the nation, he would seek to bind them together by the ties of affection. It would have been an easy matter for a man of less prin

« EdellinenJatka »