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On the Forty-eighth Chapter of Genesis. 195 be expected in a world where both governors, and governed, are men, and therefore liable to sin.
V. 29–31. “Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh-bury me not in Egypt, &c.”--the same form of taking an oath which Abram used, when he sent his servant to take a wife for Isaac, chap. xxiv. 2.There is a natural desire that our bodies should be laid where the dust of our fore-fathers sleeps : but, beside this, Israel thus claimed Canaan as his home. It was to testify his faith in the promise of God, on his going down into Egypt, ("I will also surely bring thee up again,”) that he required his son to bury him in the burying place of his family.
On the Forty-eighth Chapter.
The visit of Joseph to his aged father, very shortly before his death, is the subject of this chapter. He took his two sons with him, and presented them for Israel's blessing, before he was summoned, with all his brethren, to hear what should befall them in the last days.
V.1. “One told Joseph, Behold thy father is sick :" and, leaving the cares of government, and all the business which pressed upon him at court, he immediately set off to commune once more with his beloved parent, to obtain his blessing on himself and his children, and to cherish and comfort him by the last proofs he would ever have it in his power to give, of duty and affection. Reader, have you a parent sinking under years and feebleness? imitate Joseph in filial attention--let every word, every action, bespeak love and reverence-support those tottering limbs which must soon be laid in the grave-attend to every wish--soothe every sorrow-and teach your children to delight in waiting on, and to rejoice in obtaining the blessing of, one who is hastening into eternity. How bitter will be your remorse, if, when all is over, you look back on having grieved, by neglect or unkindness, that bosom which has so often melted in sympathy with your sorrows, and cared for you when you were unable to take care of yourself.
V.3–7. Mark the subjects of Jacob's discourse: no trifling matters occupied the time; no enquiries after what was going on at court, or among the different branches of his family :--his conversation was of God, and His promises. And, on Joseph's part, there was no attempt to bring forward worldly matters. Those who are about the sick, would do well to consider this. Nurses and friends often try to amuse the poor sufferer, by repeating all the news and village gossip they can collect; and when a neighbour calls in, she brings some anecdote of the same kind with her, under the idea of keeping off melancholy. This is well meant, but it is ill judged. A time of sickness is a golden opportunity for spiritual improvement: if you stand in the way of your friend's getting loose from the world, and fixing his thoughts on eternity, you do not consult his happiness. The promise which Jacob at this time repeated to his son, was twice given him: it is mentioned, chap. xxviii. 13-15. and xxxv. 9—12. and he took this opportunity of bringing it forward, that the expectation of becoming a nation, and being settled in a country of their own, might be the more deeply impressed upon his descendants. He hoped they would- look to God, and wait on Him, to fulfil a promise which had been handed down to them by the dying breath of their venerable fore-father. He then told Joseph, his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to be reckoned among the sons of Israel as heads of tribes. This, no doubt, was by the appointment of God, that there might still be twelve tribes to divide the land, when Levi should be set apart for the priesthood and service of God. Lastly, Israel
On the Forty-eighth Chapter of Genesis. 1979 recurs to the death of his beloved Rachel, Joseph's mother, which happened shortly after that appeare. ance of God to him in Luz, which he had just men- ; tioned. The desire of his eyes was then taken from him with a stroke, but her memory was still fresh and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
V. 15, 16. “ He blessed Joseph :" yet his sons, not Joseph, are mentioned in the words which fols low. It was a prophecy which could only be accomplished when Joseph was beyond the reach of temporal blessings :--but in Scripture we continually see a father spoken of as the head of his family, and much addressed to him, in which those who sprang from him are principally or solely concerned. -Now let us consider the blessing pronounced by. Jacob. Whose blessing was it? Not his own--he could wish good and happiness, but he could not bestow it,-he therefore goes higher, “The God which fed me"- the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." For an hundred, forty, and seven years, God had supplied all his need; and in that long time, he had experienced enough of the continued goodness of God, to commit these young ones to His care, with unwavering confidence. He speaks of the Lord as a tried Benefactor, a Benefactor who had never failed him, in any of the straits and difficulties of his lengthened pilgrimage :-" The Angel which redeemed me from all evil.” The same of whom it is said, (Isa. Ixiii. 9.) " the Angel of His presence saved them, in His love and in His pity He redeemed them.” This is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel (or Mes. senger) of the covenant, who is, in every sense, the Redeemer, and who redeems from all evil. This is the first time the word redeem is used in the Bible -it signifies, properly, to deliver a person or thing out of the hand of its present possessor, by paying a price for it; thus it is used, Lev. xxv. 25—29.
47-50. and thus, Jesus Christ is said to have redeemed His church with His own blood ;- but very often, as in this place, it means nothing more than delivering from evil or danger.-And how much, indeed, do we owe to the Angel who redeemeth from all evil! Whether we have lived, like Jacob, to very old age, or only ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years, how many dangers we may look back upon, how many temptations, how many snares, how many sorrows, have we been brought through; and what opportunities of spiritual good we have had ! How should we be continually calling upon our soul, and all that is within us, to bless His holy name.
V. 17-19. "God's ways are not our ways.' He passes by the first-born, whom we delight to honour; and he always knows why, though we often do not. We may observe, so early as the numbering of the tribes in the wilderness, (Num. i. 32–35,) that Ephraim was beginning to increase above his elder brother; and in later times he became so eminent, that the Lord declares, (Jer. xxxi.
“I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born:” and his name is continually used in the prophets for all the ten tribes who separated from the house of Judah, whilst Manasseh is scarcely ever mentioned. Thus the patriarch "wittingly (knowingly, intentionally) placed his right hand on the head of his younger grandson, to signify, by the Spirit of God, that he should be the greatest.
V. 22. Jacob had bought a piece of ground of Hamor, the father of Shechem; (chap. xxxii: 9.) but from what he here says, we must conclude that the Amorites seized upon it, and that he regained possession by force of arms. Here Joseph's bones were afterwards laid, (Josh. xxiv. 32.) and the parcel of ground was added to the inheritance of his children.
T. B. P.
On the Lord's Supper.
False Motives assigned, and the true Motives stated, for refusing to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
(Abridged from a Tract published at Bangor.)
You say you do not go to the Sacrament.
False Motive.—Because you are not fit.
True Motive.-Because you have no spiritual hunger or thirst after righteousness, nor do you wish to have, because, in order to receive the Holy Sacrament worthily, you would be obliged so to live, as to become fit to receive it.
False Motive. — Because you have not good clothes to appear in; and it would not be right to come to the Lord's table in worse clothes than your neighbours.
True Motive.--Because you love the praise of men more than the praise of God, and would rather indulge your vanity, than pay a debt of duty and gratitude to your Saviour.
Falsé Motive.-Because you have had a quarrel with a neighbour.
True Motive. — Because you bear malice and hatred in your heart, neither will you forgive your neighbour, whom you ought to love as yourself.
False Motive.-Because your neighbour has spo. ken against you.
True Motive. Because you, in having a good opinion of yourself, expect all men to have the same; you are angry, because they do not flatter your selfsufficiency.
False Motive.-Because you have got into worldly trouble.
True Motive,--Because you love this world more than heaven. Let your trouble bring you upon your knees before God, and draw you to him; instead of inducing you to add one sin more to the number