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numerous in the land, provided only the great principles of Christian doctrine and Christian morality be universally diffused ? In a State like ours especially, the minor points should bend to the weightier. The Dissenter should neither wage war against the Churchman, nor the Churchman frown unlovingly on the Dissenter. Both should unite against the common foe; if they did, God would prosper them. Surely the field of Christian labour is large enough for both. They are helps meet for each other. They are “ brethren;" why should there be “ strife” between them.
Let us hope and pray that the great Being, who holds in his hand the destinies of nations, may put it into the hearts of our rulers to do those things which are at once pleasing to himself and conducive to the interests of a great people ; that he would incline us and every soul in these realms to give unto all their dues ; that amid the shaking of all other kingdoms our country may sit unmoved ; and that to children and children's children it may be told, that, relying on him and his guidance, our senators were taught wisdom even in troublous times.
JOSEPH STILL SEEMS AS ONE DEAD TO JACOB.
« There is a secret in the ways of God
It has been deemed strange that Joseph, who was manifestly a person of amiable disposition and an affectionate nature, did not contrive means to acquaint his venerable father with his fortunes in the land of Egypt. How easy would it have been for him, especially after his advancement to honour under Pharaoh, to have found means of communicating to the good old man the history of his promotion, and thus to have soothed the anguish of a parent's grief ! The thing, however, we doubt not, was of God; and it was not for Joseph to oppose even the tender affections of nature to the positive will of heaven. Had he been left to the exercise of his own judgment in the matter, he would, in all likelihood, have taken an early opportunity of relieving the solicitude which Jacob, he could not but feel, endured in his behalf. We do not suppose him to have resembled those who, when they come unexpectedly to honour, forget or are ashamed of the friends of their youth and the attachments which they once thought sacred ; the sequel shows that such was not the disposition of Joseph. But the time for making such a discovery
was not yet come. The purposes of Providence demanded that, for the present, his fortunes should be unknown to his kindred. His brethren were yet to be brought unto repentance, and their unconscious introduction into his presence was to be the means of awakening it. Other important consequences, too, were dependent upon their ignorance of his success in life. Their respective characters were thus more naturally developed, and a way was likewise opened up for the subsequent preservation of their race. Had they known that the brother whom they so unmercifully misused was made ruler over all the land of Egypt, they would have trembled to face him ; and 80 they and their father's house might have perished for lack of bread. It was, therefore, truly a benevolent arrangement on the part of Providence, that Joseph was not at liberty to communicate to his sorrowful parent an account of his existence and prosperity. To have done so, would indeed have spared the old man much anguish of heart, and would have almost compensated for the previous misery he had endured; but it would, at the same time, have occasioned extreme unhappiness in the family circlehave gone far to alienate entirely the affections of Jacob from his other sons, and have almost completely marred domestic enjoyment. For how could he have looked upon them any more but as characters of the worst possible description, as the dishonour of his house, and the enemies of his peace ? To have been thus for years imposed upon by the authors of this wrong; to have sustained, too, the yet more insulting mockery of their hypocritical consolation ; to have been made the victim of their cruel dissimulation,
and yet more cruel sympathy, were circumstances enough to have awakened in his bosom the most righteous indignation. Nay, it is hard to say whether such a discovery would not have been even worse to bear than the painful conclusion to which he had already come of Joseph's accidental death. The shock, it is probable, would have been too great for him ; for what evil can equal that of treachery on the part of one's “own familiar friend,” and what treachery so base as that which is practised through many continuous years? And how, again, could the brethren of Joseph, have dared to look upon his awful countenance, even if only thus they might be saved from death by famine ?
It was mercy, then, to conceal from his father's house the prosperity of Joseph; and it is mercy, likewise, we may reasonably conclude, that still conceals from the children of men much that curiosity is fain to know. What is truly good for us, God we may well believe, has been pleased to reveal. More would be injurious to our true happiness. Let us content ourselves, therefore, with that amount of information which he has thought fit to impart-believing, at the same time, that what we know not now we shall know hereafter.
Were it possible for us to look through the veil of flesh into the unseen world, we should doubtless see there many things to surprise us. Some, perhaps, of whom we had entertained good thoughts, we might observe in extreme misery ; while others, whose condemnation we had thought all but certain, might be seen advanced to great honour. Many of our favourite ideas and potions would, in all probability, be completely re
versed. Our conceptions, such as they are, of the modes of spiritual being-mour imaginations of heaven and hell-our indistinct apprehensions as to what constitutes the felicity of the one and the torment of the other-might undergo an amazing change. But to be completely informed on these points would not, we may rest assured, be good for us. It would leave little or no scope for the exercise of faith-it would unfit us for the business of active life, and plunge us into miseries which, as it is, we are not capable of conceiving. Over these things the veil is drawn, not only in wisdom, but in tender mercy. Enough for us that we are under the government of a great and gracious Being, who “doeth all things well," and who, both in what he hides and what he discloses, remembers our frame. Into how many miseries would a deep insight into the futurities of our own condition on this side the grave plunge us! The certain knowledge of coming evil would overshadow with gloom every step of our pilgrimage, and we should be rendered perpetually miserable by the anticipation of a single calamity. To be absolutely assured that, on such an hour of such a day, my dearest friend should be taken from me, would mightily tend to damp the happiness which I feel in his society; his very presence would be painful to me; every utterance of his voice would be but a doleful intimation of the hour when I should hear it no more for ever. The stream of enjoyment would thus be poisoned at its fountain, and happiness itself be converted into an instrument of torture. Who could enjoy that which was but the memento of its own departure the premonition of mourning and woe ? Who that had received a definite