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unruly member, the tongue, leads us, none so often occurs as deceit. Some persons can scarcely open their mouths without telling an untruth,-it seems as natural to them to deceive, as to breathe; and they do it continually without appearing to be sensible they are doing it, and without seeming to have any end to answer by it. There are many, who, if they invent a falsehood just to please, without meaning to do any mischief by it, think it is no harm. Things are continually said, without the smallest foundation for them, and without those who speak them considering that every such sentence is an offence to God. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” “ All liars shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." And though you may have forgotten the false words of last week, and even of yesterday, yet He says, (after rebuking his people for this, among other sins,) " and they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness *
V.7—9. Joseph's brethren were innocent of the crime with which they were charged, and their language was very natural. And their having brought again
money, was a strong fact in their favour. Yet, had they reflected that the price of their corn had been before returned into their sacks without their knowledge, they would not have thought it impossible that the cup might have found its way there in the same manner, and would hardly have proposed such a punishment--so heart-breaking to their father. They spoke hastily.
V. 12. “ He searched and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest,"—keeping to the same order in which they had sat before Joseph : and by searching him last, who he well knew was in possession of the cup, he avoided the suspicion of being previously informed in the business.
* Hosea vii. 2.
On the Forty-fourth Chapter of Genesis. 51 V. 13. " Then they rent their clothes.” This was a customary expression of grief in those days; as we see from other parts of Scripture. When Reuben did not find Joseph in the pit," he rent his clothes;" — when Jacob was led to believe an evil beast had devoured him, he “ rent his clothes ;" -and when Jehoiakim heard the book of Jeremiah's prophecy against Judah, and contemptuously cut it in pieces and burnt it, it is observed, as a proof of his indifference, and that of his princes, “yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments."
V. 14. “They fell before him on the ground.”What a sight for Joseph! Could he fail to recall the day when he besought them and they would not hear; or when they scornfully demanded," Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us ?”-But this is God's usual method of dealing with the enemies of His servants. • Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie, behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet.” To one and all of his favoured people it may be said, “Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” In different ages of the Church, when the people of God have been harassed, and persecuted, and tormented by their enemies, these promises must have been very full of comfort. In these peaceful days of our religion, indeed, we seeni less to need such consoling assurances; for we are, through God's mercy, delivered from the stripes, and the imprisonment, and the sword, and the fire, which in former times have persecuted the faithful followers of Christ. “Let us not,” however, “ be high-minded,” but “let us fear" that, if peaceful times make us forget God, He may see fit to try us in the furnace of affliction
• The sons
Let the Christian hold fast the promises, for his defence in his time of need. Moreover, if Christians do not now suffer outward persecution for the sake of Christ, yet we may be always sure that the ungodly will never really love that religion which is such a reproach to themselves; and those who follow that religion in earnest will ever be exposed to their opposition, their ridicule, or their scorn. In these trials the promises of God will afford great comfort, and shew the true Christian that “the Lord is, on his
V. 16. “ Judah said, what shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves?" We may be so circumstanced, that, though guiltless of the crime laid to our charge, it is impossible for us to prove our innocence. When placed in a situation, so painful to an upright mind, the only path of wisdom and safety, is that pursued by the most innocent, and the most aggrieved, of all sufferers, even our Saviour himself, “ who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not;" but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. “ God shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon-day.” Besides, " wherefore should a living man complain? a man for the punishment of his sins ?” Mark how Judah receives correction from God, conscious that, though clear in this matter, he' stood chargeable with far heavier offences : he said, “ God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants.” Let us imitate Him, and let us be conscious of our manifold offences, which have so justly deserved the anger of the Lord.
V. 18–34. Judah now speaks in their defence.And who could have found words better suited to touch and soften the heart of the most offended judge, or the most cruel tyrant ? See how (in the 18th verse) he humbly and courteously entreats a hearing, and strives to soothe the anger which he
On the Forty-fourth Chapter of Genesis. 53 supposes to be burning in the breast of the incensed governor. Read over the simple and faithful account of all that had passed between them and Joseph, and afterwards between their father and themselves, in their own home,—then the short, but affecting description of what must be the consequence to the parent, if this “ child of his old age,” this "little one," is wrung from him,--and lastly, the generous offer to “ abide instead of the lad, a bondman to my lord,” accompanied with the half-expressed intimation, that this hard lot would be better to him than to see the evil that should come on his father! Truly, “the heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning unto his lips.” No study could have produced such persuasive eloquence as the tender and generous feelings which were stirring in the mind of Judah. And we cannot help admiring the wisdom and self-devotion with which he performed the office of “ surety for the lad,” to which he had pledged himself with his father, (chap. xliii. 9.)
Now, when we think of Judah, as the surety for his brother-when we see that he consented to offer himself to give his own life for the sake of his brotherthis shews us what a surety is: and the minds of Christians may be profitably led from this consideration to think of their Lord and Saviour, who was their great Surety, and who gave his life, that they, through Him, might escape the miseries of eternal death. What manner of persons ought we to be, who are redeemed by such a surety-who are bought with such a price!
T. B. P.
Solemn Thoughts of God and Death.
Lord of the heav'ns, and earth, and seas ;
To teach us all what we must do:
Whence sinners all their comforts draw:
For I have often broke tby law.
There is an hour when I must die,
Nor do I know how soon 'twill come;
Ace call'd by death to hear their doom.
Before the day of grace is fled :
To north or southward, there it lies;
Fix'd in the state wherein he dies.
Question. What is the subject of this Hymn ? Answer. Solemn thoughts of God and death.