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The Story of Joseph.

The Story of Joseph.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY CHARLES KINGSLEY


"I fear God." -Genesis xlii. 18.

Did it ever seem remarkable to you^ as it has seemed
to me, how many chapters of the Bible are taken
up with the history of Joseph — a young man who, on
the most memorable occasion in his life, said ''I fear
God," and had no other argument to use ?
BY CHARLES KINGSLEY


"I fear God." -Genesis xlii. 18.

Did it ever seem remarkable to you^ as it has seemed
to me, how many chapters of the Bible are taken
up with the history of Joseph — a young man who, on
the most memorable occasion in his life, said ''I fear
God," and had no other argument to use ?

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 30, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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THE STORY OF JOSEPH. BY CHARLES KIGSLEY"I fear God." -Genesis xlii. 18. Did it ever seem remarkable to you^ as it has seemed to me, how many chapters of the Bible are taken up with the history of Joseph — a young man who, on the most memorable occasion in his life, said ''I fear God," and had no other argument to use ? Thirteen chapters of the book of Genesis are mainly devoted to the tale of this one young man. Doubtless his father Jacob's going down into Egypt, was one of the most important events in the history of the Jews : we might expect, therefore, to hear much about it. But what need was there to spend four chapters at least in detailing Joseph's meeting with his brethren, even to minute accounts of the speeches on both sides ? Those who will may suppose that this is the effect of mere chance. Let us have no such fancy. If we believe that a Divine Providence watched over the composition of those old Scriptures ; if we believe that they were meant to teach, not only the Jews but all mankind ; if we believe that they reveal, not merely some special God in whom the Jews believed, but the true and only God, Maker of heaven and earth ; if we believe, with St Paul, that every book of the Old Testament \^ ^sis^xsfc^ by God, and profitable for doctrme, iox T^"^xwil» iox ^^xt*^^ 6o The Story of Joseph. tion, for instniction in righteousness^ that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works — if we believe this, I say, it must be worth our
 
while to look carefully and reverently at a story which takes up so large a part of the Bible, and expect to find in it something which may help to make ub perfect, and thoroughly furnish its unto all good worka ow, surely when we look at this histoiy of Joseph, we ought to see at the first glance that it is not merely a stoiy about a young man, but about the common human relations — the ties which bind any and every man to other human beings round him. For is it not a story about a brother and brothers ? about a son and a father, about a master and a servant ? about a husband and a wife ? about a subject and a sovereign ? and how they all behaved to each other — some well and some ill — in these relations ? Surely it is so, and surely this is why the story of Joseph has been always so popular among innocent children and plain honest folk of all kinds ; because it is so simply human and humane ; and therefore it taught them far more than they could learn from many a lofty, or seemingly lofty, book of devotion, when it spoke to them of the very duties they had to fulfil, and the very temptations they had to fight against, as members of a family or as members of society. " One touch of ature (says the poet) makes the whole world kin ; " and the touches of nature in this stoiy of Joseph make us feel that he and his brethren, and all with whom he had to do, are indeed kin to us ; that their duty is our duty too— their temptations ours — that where they fell, we may fall — where they conquered we may conquer. For what i3 the story ^ A. yoxxng lad is thrown into The Story of Joseph. 6 1 every temptation possible for him. Joseph is very hand- some. The Bible says so expressly ; so we may believe it. He has every gift of body and mind. He is, as his
 
story proves plainly, a very clever person, with a strange power of making every one whom he deals with love him and obey him — a terrible temptation, as all God's gifts are, if abused by a man's vanity, or covetousness or ambition. He is an injured man too. He has been basely betrayed by his brothers ; he is under a terrible temptation, to which ninety-nine men out of one hundred would have yielded — do yield, alas ! to this day, to revenge himself if he ever has an opportunity. He is an injured man in Egypt, for he is a slave to a foreigner who has no legal or moral right over him. If ever there was a man who might be excused for cherishing a burn- ing indignation against his oppressors, for brooding over his own wrongs, for despairing of God's providence, it is Joseph in Egypt. What could we do but pity him if he had said to himself, as thousands in his place have said since, " There is no God, or if there is. He does not care for me — He does not care what men do. He looks on unmoved at wrong and cruelty, and lets man do even as he wilL Then why should not / do as / will ? What are these laws of God of which men talk ? What are these sacred bonds of family and society ? Every one for himself is the rule of the world, and it shall be my rule. Every man's hand has been against me ; why should not my hand be against every man ? / have been betrayed ; why should not / betray? 1 have been opprest ; why should not / oppress ? I have a lucky chance, too, of enjoying and revenging myself at the same time ; why should I ncA* \aka ^ks?^ good luck, and listen to the words oi ^i^:i^ V^Tccsf^^V^ 62 The Story of Joseph. My dear friends^ this is the way in which thousands have talked^ in which thousands talk to this day. This is the spirit which ends in breaking up society, as happened in France eighty years ago, in the inward corruption of a nation, and at last, in outward revolution

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