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GE ESIS xxxvii. 3. 4. OW Israel loved Joseph more than all his children^ because he was the son of his old offe : and he made him a coat of many colours. And wlien his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethreny they hated him, and cotdd not speak peaceably to him. I PROPOSE now to enter on the history of Joseph, one of the most interesting in aU the Old Testament. It is at once peculiarly affecting and instractiye; the language of the narrative is of the most simple and unadorned kind : yet there are instances of the p«h«dc, „d i sucg u»p»d»«l feeling in it, such as are perhaps no where else to be met with. I shall not attempt to add any
JOSEPH HATED BT HIS BRETHRE . 365 colouring to the simplicity of the style, or the pathetic touches of inartificial beauty by which the original is distinguished. You wii feel it the most as you read it in its own artless and impressive words. I shall do no more, throughout this sermon/ than advert to the facts, and endeavour to deduce from them such instruction as may be profitable. Joseph was the son of Jacob by his beloyed wife Rachel, and was the last bom of all his sons, except his own brother Benjamin, in giving birth to whom Rachel had died, and who probably was but little more than an infant at the time of the circumstances which are now to be narrated. In consequence of this Joseph was more tenderly beloved by Jacob than all his other children, who had
been bom to him before by Leah and the two handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah. He seems also to have been more pious and moral than his brothers, for he observed certain evil doings of theirs, and reported them to his father, esteeming it his duty that his father should know of their ways, that he might reprove and correct them ; and in fact, he
whemmri^ ^V^emms of nlt^m f^ fMurtinlijky^ t^ivwi^ him im Him hsm$t #f fai$ fi^er^ whkh if dcM; knj^rof^f i^ wa3 «it l?Mt Aiiiwiaelj dieim by Ids loaki]^ bim ^ n fmt of ««P7 fiolium/' fiK>lmhlf MD»e fiitMj #]»9fi^ 1>7 wikh Im w^s ^HlOTgoi<Ju»4 idtove Id^ brpdparp. P«is?Qt9 aboold )>e emfM wi \o m9if» mi^w 4jlstjfQP|io«9i ^ «P7 ]cw4 fW^eng Ij^ir i4i^€«i : lli^ ie94epiej of mi^ ^ $0 f rod^ea BupeipiU9i90iiQ8s in tb» iifwofmA ^d, 9»A ^mvY md bathed i^ fke oOm^, Hack W9i» t]h9 ^fect ippo^ Josh's Vr^t|lliBA ^l the aoBe b^f<^e U9 ; '' ik^j hate4 him and eovld pot speak peaoeabjj t^ hiQif' th«ir siwcb revived 90 ste^fl^ ^, prc^uiUe^^ md thwr feejlqigs towmrds htfo were so h^h^osfijr eiiniged; that iiiirohintffrijjr 9^ it wew iJwy )»p^e shaq)ly jaiid bitterfy jto bim on aII oc^asioqs. ApM)jth^r cipreAJmsti^A^e ^oc^ 00 cmred which isflwied their mikiu^ity tb^ HjuH-e. Joseph drewn^d Hhi^t w titey w«t all biodiip^ Bheares in th^ ^Id, his A^
BT HIS BRETSBE . 80V stood upii^t^ and all thein rtood round, flAd BMde ebeisanoe : tins ke rektod to flifitti: <h^ imdemtood k « intiaud^ ke should kave dominion a¥ar than, tnd they Ifitod him jret more fer this. Again ke cheuned, that the son and Ae moon and
the eleven ataift made obeisance to kim, a»d this he also xdated to his lather and h» kieHapem His fadrar saw the import of tilie dream; and though he endearouied to chedt my yvoAy and pride which Jofireph might ioel i^ coMe<|tt€iQce, yet he observed Aese cjiwnmstatices^ as foir^diag something tx*' tiawdinaiy^ while the envy of his brethren kiGreaaed the higher. Ike long an oppw* tnaity was affinrded them fer gntUying thar hatred, and effeotnaily preventing^ as they &oaght, the accomplishment of his dteands. When they were at Bome distance from hoii^ feeding the flocks, Joseph was sent by his firiher to see if they were well, and to bring him word again^ As soon as they saw hhn, even while he was yet at a distance^ they conceived a horrible intention against faha^ ^' Behold/' said they,/' this dreams cometh ;
368 JOSEPH HATED come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say some eril beast hath devoured him ; and we shall see what will become of his dreams." Let us take some notice here of the wonderful working of God, who often effects his purposes and brings his counsels to pass by means of the attemjpts of wicked men to prevent them. The brothers of Joseph lay their measures to destroy any meaning which there might be in his dreams. But they knew not with whom they had to do : they forgat that the counsel of the Lord wiU stand, and he will do all his pleasure : thereforei unwittingly they adopt the plan which Was to accomplish his purpose : the very means which they concert to overthrow any supposed exaltation of Joseph over them, are those which in process of time bring about that event. It was the very same in the base of our adorable Lord and master. Herod and Pontius Pilate, the High Priests and rulers, the Scribes and Pharisees, the great
body of the Jews, all leagued together with Satan and his hosts to destroy the blessed
BY HIS BRETHRE . 360 Jesus^ that they might prevent his reign, and root out his gospel from the earth. Bat when he was taken by their ^wicked hands and cmcified and slain, they secured his exaltation; they set up the throne of his kingdom ; they propagated his gospel ; they mined their own political existence ; they destroyed the works of the devil ; and did that which the counsel of the Lord had determined before to be done. Let it not however be supposed that, in thus fulfilling the preordained and determinate purpose of God, there was any praise to be given, or even any extenuation of the sin of either Joseph's brethren, or the Jews in the days of Christ. They acted freely, purposed and did that which was in their own minds ; and if consequences followed which they anticipated not, they meant it not so, but it was in their heart, as God said of Sennacherib, to kill and to destroy. The Apostle supposes (Rom. iii. 5) that some one may use this false method of reasoning, and strenuously confutes and condemns it. He supposes some one to insinuate that if his unrighteousness R5
370 JOSEPH HATED slioiild GGaamead the i%liteQiisne99 of Qod, Gq4 would bo uigiiat \£ he sJionld tebe yeugewce OH tkit 1lnright^oas9e8s. Aod agoiii the samo person is 9appo39d sbpjlialy to argue that if the truth of Grod Imd iQore abopnded Unough hi^ lie oato Grod's ghnry, why shoiil4 ha bo suxx^unted as a sinH^r? Why was i( not rather right to do evil that
good might come? This porrersf^ Hiode of reasoning on such awful subjects, fiom premises which are true to conclusions which are iaise, is indigi^antly repelled by the Apostle, and closed in an instant by tb^t inspired declacation, ^' Whose danmadcm is just" I return to the history. The brethren of Joseph w^e dissuaded from their originpl purpose of killing him by Reuben, the eldest, who advised them tp shed no blood, but to cast him into a pit; and this advice he gave, intending aftea*wards to tsi^e him out, and send him back to his father* But in this he was disappoints; fof ^ter they hf^d oast Joseph into the pit, th^e came pai^ a company of Ishmaelites, going with th^
BT HIS BRETHRE . 371 merchandise iato Egypt^ and it oceiured to tbem that they might even make some gain of this affair; so thej sold Joseph to them as a dave for twenty pieces of sttrer, and by them he was carried dtwn into Egypt* Renben upon some account had been absent daring this part of the transaetm^ and bitterly he giieved when he found how his mtenlieir was thus disappomted. << He rent his clothes'' and cried ^^ the child is not,, and I, wUther shall I go?'' There is much of lihe affection of an dder brodier in this ; and perhaps he had devised his plan because he !»rL if 1» k.d ,id»Jd d» ,unK»e altogether, instead of endeavouring to divert it, he should not have be^i able to prevail. And. now they prepare to deceive their father. They killed a kid of the goats and dipped Joseph's coat of many colours in it, and took it to their father with this detestable falsehood, '^This have we found: know now whether it be thv son's coat or no." There is an appearance of malice against' their father
in this. They seem as if they would revenge themselves upon him by the terms in which
372 JOSEPH HATED they mention the coat wliich had marked his partiality for his favonrite son« The deception succeeded ; for Jacob too well knew die bloody garment, and said, " It is my son's coat, an evil beast hath devoured him> Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces/' Reuben remained silent He dared not to report the real fact. Perhaps he feared the resentment of his brothers, or the anger of his £3ither lliat he had not prevented their cruelty : he probably thought that Joseph now could never be recovered again, and therefore he held his peace. Their aged father mourned long and deeply : with consummate hypocrisy his sons, as well as his daughters, rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, and thought and said that he would go down to the grave mourning for his son. Thus Joseph was carried down into Egypt, and there sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of his guard. What an extraordinary commencement was this of the fulfilment of his dreams ! We who are now acquainted with the whole of
BY HIS BRETHRE . 373 the history, can see that this was preparing for his advancement; hut who could then have thought that the Lord meant to promote bim to honour? And so in our own cases; when the time shall have arrived, at which we can look back upon the various steps by which we have been led^ and the different dispensations through which we have passed, then we shall see how wisdom and mercy
have ordered all our circumstances, and have effected the best possible end by the best possible means. But the machinery of Providence is complicated, and much of it is concealed from our view. There are wheels within wheels, as represented in Ezekiel's vision, of which we often cannot discern the working, nor even understand why they are there. Persons and circumstances of various kinds, often apparently unconnected, or even contradictory, are united together to do that one work which God has appointed to be done. Here are the malignant passions of Joseph's brethren conspiring against his life ; here are Ishmaelite merchants journeying to Egypt
374 JOSEPH HATED ready to traffic in anj thing, even in hninan life, that shall bring them gain ; here is a chief man oi the king of Egjpt purchasing' a slave ; all axe fulfilling a secret counsel of the Lord, most of them without ever having had the smallest intimation of it, and not knowing at all, or thinhing of, what they were doing, and others even endeavouring to oppose and prevent it. These persons and circumstances are so many instruments and means in his hands, by which he is doing his pleasure. It is done in a wondrous way indeed; but God's thoughts are not our thoughts nor his ways our ways. Veiy com^ monly also he traiiis up those whom he intends for great purposes by means of great trials. He places them in circumstances which shall not only develope their characters, but which shall previously form them, and produce those mental or corporeal powers, and those peculiar dispositions and qualities^ which are necessary for the exigencies in which they will afterwdirds have to act. Early afflictions are a usual mode by which he chastens and disciplines those wh<Mn
BT HIS BRETHRE . 375 ha loves. In that school thej learn humility, patieupe, trost, and obedience, and gain a 4eep ^l|pelien<^e of divine things, that they may be fitted for the important objects which God has in view to be afterwards effected by them. Let those young people who are desiroaft of living ia a religious manner, attend to the opening of this histoiy. Joseph was a pious character in his early days, and you will find nothing to come but what will prove him to be such. Yet hitherto all is pain and trouble. He has indeed the affections of his faUlier, but he is an object of dislike to his brothers. They bate him and cannot speak peaicaably to him. His time passes among them in continns^ opposition and reproach, and at last they sell him into a distant country for a slave. It may be that you have similar foes in your own house, and even that your religion is that which sets them against you, and provokes their hatred and scorn. Behold, no strange thing has happened to you, and you must not wonder or complain. It is a trial, and doubtless
376 JOSEPH HATED God has some purpose of miercj in it. Pro-bablj it may not be his purpose to exalt you in this life, as he did Joseph, but to improve and raise jonr religions character, to give you more decision and firmness, to exercise you at the same time in meekness and patience, to wean you firom the world, to teach you to pray the more and to Uve more nearly to him, and to seek your happiness and portion in his love. Whatever be your trials you should endeavour to improve them to your progress in holiness, and to an advance-
meut in eveiy christian grace. Studj this history qf Joseph, and see how God dealt with him. Such studies will tend to establish your hearts, and enable you to bear Aose provocations, under which young persons are sometimes apt to be impatient and iretfol. And be assured that there are no discouragements so great, no opposition so strong, but that God can bring you through them all ; and that there is no day so dark, but his sun can dissipate the clouds, nor any sorrow so great, but he can change it into joy. Whatever lessons of this kind may be
BT HIS BRETHRE . 377 learned from the histoiy of Joseph, may be learned also from the histoiy of Jesas. It pleased God to make eren him perfect through sofferings, and to prepare the way for his exaltation, as Mediator, through a long series of humiliation and pain. There are several circumstances so similar in the cases of Joseph and of Jesus, as almost to make us consider the former as typical of the latter, and to look upon him as one of the " figures of him that was* to come/* Joseph was the favoured son of his father, and a voice from heaven testified of Jesus, ^^ This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Joseph was hated by his brethren, and Jesus was despised and rejected by men ; the world hated him because he testified of it, that the works thereof were evil. Joseph's report of the dreams which intimated his advancement excited the yet greater enmity of his brethren, and when Jesus said of himself, '^ Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven," " the High Priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy." Joseph's
378 JOSEPH HATED
IneUireii tspeke taimtiBgly o( Idm^ ^^ hdisM this dreamer comeft :" so tbe Jews modeed Christy smd said, ^' Pnq^esj ooto us, tikau Christ, who is he that smote theeP' Jos^j^ was sold to the Egyptians lor twe^jr pieoeci oi sflrer, aad Jesus was betiajted far tUitjr pieces^ aod giveii ap into the hands of the RoBians. These and other more mmiate points of resemblance hare idready appeared so fiir as we have pnrsoed the bishny of Joseph, and without presuming to aaj that snch was actually the mind oi tibe Spirit, we are at least justified m thus dbecting our thoughts from the son of Jacob to the son o( God. Mark from this history the dreadful effeote of envy. It was thb unhallowed passion which operated so slaxmgly in the bosom of &e sons of Jacob. They envied Jose^ the &vour of his father which he enjoyed ; they envied him his coat' of many colouis ; they envied him the prospect of advancement . above them* You have seen to what the indulgence of this hateful passion led them* It filled their hearts with hatred of their
BT HI6 BRBT0EE . 370 Imllier. h nged widun imtfl th^ faroke Apm^ an the reatnintB bodi of natond feeliiig and <tf the law of Crod, and they hecame, fiitaally at leaal, murderarB of their kniiher. We aie dl ef us prone to this erfl diapoailion. ''Hie isprit that is within os taatrth to enTy.** We have all need thcfehm to he watcyiit agvnst it, and carefiilly to lestram the first omigB of it in oar hearts. We fihoold pray tint Crod may giant as his grace to eztiipate it out of onr Inreasts, and that im its place may be planted that loveliest, and most endnring, of all the diristian vir* toes. Charily, of which it is said «nong its many other excellencies, that it " envi^
mii.^ This will dispose ns to think bombly of oorsdres, and to rgoice in another's prospeii^or gain ; it will fill our hearts with love and goodwfll to all oor fellow-^areatores, and bring W Mo nearw union with God. *^ Be* lored, let us love one another, for love is oi God ; and every cme that loveth, is bom of C^od, a^d knoweth God : he that loveth not, toipweih not God, for God is love/' F^^ally, let us learn to reconcile ourselves
380 JOSEPH HATED to all the events of Providence. When Jacob received the bloody coat of his son, he at once concluded that he was dead^ and despairingly determined to go down into the grave unto his son mourning. Joseph too experienced great anguish of soul, while he feared for his life and when he was carried awaj from his family and home by strangers into a strange land. And yet could thej have seen into the events of a few years before them, they had uttered no lamentations : they would have seen that these events so painful to them then, were ordered by the all- wise providence of God, for their preservation and happiness. We also cannot look into futurity; and we know little of the eventual tendency of many providential dispensations. Let us learn to trust God with all our concerns, for he is the goveinor in all the earth. He is ever superintending and disposing the affairs of men, and while all are freely following their own volitions, and are accountable to him for all their actions, he directs and orders all things according to his own will. There may be many
BT HIS BRETHRE . 381 incomprehensible dispensations, there may be apparent contradictions of his attributes
or promises, but all this is only because we cannot see the whole. But let us assure ourselyes of these few simple truths, that the proridence of God does surely dispose and govern all human affidrs, that he caretli for the r^hteous, and will make all things work together for good to them that love him. — Then we may be content with every circumstance; we may resign ourselyes wholly to his care, and trust him with all our temporal and spiritual concerns. We shall then become only anxious to secure a part in his favour, by embracing that merciful method of salvation which he has proposed to us through the sacrifice of his son, and so we shall leave ourselves, in faith and prayer and thankfulness, to his constant protection and guidance. We shall no longer murmur or repine at any event that befalls us, but wait, in firm reliance on his wisdom and mercy, assured that the end will be happiness and peace.
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