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Self Discipline.

Self Discipline.

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Gen. xxxix, 9, " How can I do this great wickedness and sin against
God "

Gen. xxxix, 9, " How can I do this great wickedness and sin against
God "

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 26, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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SELF-DISCIPLIE.BY I . L. MOCATTA.Gen. xxxix, 9, " How can I do this great wickedness and sin againstGod "WHAT an exquisite epitome of the moral character of JOSEPHis presented to us in this plain and simple sentence, thisstraightforward, conscientious appeal to his tempter ! andwhen taken in conjunction with his practical fidelity to hisemployer, his horror of violating a principle of duty to Godor man, and consequent utter rejection of an overture in-volving both, such words acquire, if possible, yet greatersignificance. To this temptation succeeded others, differentin kind and degree, yet in each we may trace the same per-sistent course of integrity and honour, the same love of theright, and resolute resistance to everything wrong and un-holy, either in thought or act. We have, indeed, only totake a brief review of the events of his early life to con-firm the truth of this remark ; and it will also fully showthat to his righteous and unblemished conduct he owed thegradual amelioration of his condition, and his rise from thelowly grade of a slave to a rank and position which finallyenabled him to become the benefactor of his generation.It was Joseph's lot to be the spoilt child of a dotingfather until the attainment of his seventeenth year, andthrough that parent's injudicious partiality a marked dis-tinction was made between him and his brothers. Thismight well have sown the seeds of many an evil passionwithin his breast ; but as the entire history of his tried lifediscloses none, and only the lightest failings in his characterwere discernible when under his parents' roof, it is not tobe doubted that to a good disposition was conjoined a firmQ
226 SELF-DISCIPLIE.will and steadfast mind, which enabled him, under the mostadverse circumstances, to adhere resolutely to its naturaldictates. That such disposition and power of self-controlwere severely tested even in the home of his youth will beeasily credited, when it is considered that he had becomethe especial object of jealousy and hatred to his irascibleand vindictive brethren. Frequently must he have beencalled upon to exercise all the meekness, patience, and en-durance of which he was capable, and, being gifted with asensitive, loving heart, he will have keenly felt the rootedanimosity of some of his brothers, and the want of friendli-ness displayed by others. Their treatment of him at homewas, however, but the first bitter drop with which theypoisoned his cup of happiness. Their rancour and ill-willincreasing daily, the death or banishment of the object of their dislike could alone content these unnatural relatives,and to the latter alternative did they finally resort. oentreaty, no supplication could save him ; he was sold bythem, and became a slave in Egypt. His young heart must,indeed, have been ready to break in bitterness of anguishwhen this unlocked for and overwhelming change of fortunebefel him. Surely only a well-disciplined mind could pos-sibly have withstood so severe and sudden a shock ; theheart remaining ever kind, warm, loving, not even becom-ing hardened against those brothers by whom he had beenso cruelly, so pitilessly treated.But this was only the beginning of his trials ; duringthirteen long years, first of servitude, and then as a pri-soner, had he to abide the despotic will of others, andhumbly submit to the dire exigencies which his degradedposition involved. Yet, even as a slave, he obtained, throughhis sterling qualities, his pious and virtuous conduct, theesteem and goodwill of his masters, and hence also themitigation of many of the evils and miseries naturallyattendant on a state of bondage. For we read : " AndJoseph found grace in the sight of his master, and he made
SKLF-DLSCII'LIXK. 227him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put intohis hands, and the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house forJoseph's sake."* Then, when cast into prison through thefalse and cruel accusation of that master's wife, we findagain that " he obtained favour in the sight of the keeperof the prison" who " committed into Joseph's hands allthe prisoners and looked not to anything, because the Lordwas with him". ow, notwithstanding the amelioration of his condition in consequence of the confidence reposed inhim by his superiors, his lot must have been very deplor-able, for, little as he was given to complain or grieve ataught which befel him, he yet uttered the following wordsof entreaty to Pharaoh's butler, whose deliverance he hadforetold : " Think on me when it shall be well with thee,and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make men-tion of me unto Pharaoh to bring me out of this house, forindeed I have done nothing that they should put me intothe dungeon." What a tale of sorrow is unfolded in thistouching sentence, and yet, as " the chief butler remem-bered not Joseph, but forgat him", full two years morepassed away before his position was bettered. But when achange did occur, great indeed was that change, for at oneword from the King's lips, the poor prisoner became Vice-roy of Egypt.ow it is to be observed that Joseph expressly declaredto Pharaoh, when about to interpret the dream, that, " It isnot in me ; God will give thee an answer in peace"thereby disclaiming all credit or title to the King's grati-tude ; thus pleasurable indeed must have been his feelingson hearing the following expressions from Pharaoh whenbestowing that exalted rank upon him, " Forasmuch as Godhath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wiseas thou art; thou shalt be over my house, and accordingunto thy word shall all my people be ruled : only on the

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