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persecuted him with unnatural cruelty, maintains its consistency, when surveyed in its relation to the Egyptians, among whom it was exhibited under a great variety of circumstances. To Potiphar he acted the part of a conscientious and faithful servant; and both in the management of his household in general, and in particular on one memorable occasion, wherein his virtue was assailed, proved himself a man of uncorruptible integrity. By “the keeper of the prison” he was invested with an office of trust, which he discharged with care and success. Elevated by Pharaoh to the highest dignity in the state, he gave the most satisfactory evidence of that “wisdom” and “ discretion," on the presumption of which he had been advanced; and acquitted himself with distinguished honour in an employment, and during a season, of peculiar difficulty. By his astonishing prudence, he not only preserved a whole nation from the horrors of impending famine, but he availed himself of their temporary distress to confer upon them a.
permanent benefit, and provided for their future security and improvement in civilization, by removing them from the country over which they were dispersed “ into cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt unto the other.” In the mean time he justified the good opinion of his employer by the diligence, wherewith he executed his commission; and by converting the profits of his success, not to his own personal aggrandizement, but to the promotion of the interests of Pharaoh. Indeed the influence which he possessed with the sovereign, and the authority which he maintained over the people of Egypt, furnish an undeniable argument for the uncommon merit of Joseph: for it is not reasonable to suppose that any thing under Providence, but merit of a very extraordinary kind, could have conciliated the good-will of a whole people to a man, who inherited no domestic or national claim upon their regard ; who had been brought into their country a stranger, an outcast, and a slave; and whose character had been blackened by the imputation of a
crime of the basest and the foulest na
Upon the whole of this examination, we trace in the patriarch Joseph the character of one, who diligently “ exercised himself to have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards mank.” Endowed with a solid understanding, and with a heart alive to virtuous thoughts and to kind affections, he made “ the fear of God” the ruling principle of his conduct. He accordingly affords us an example of devout and rational piety; of blameless and manly virtue. To the Almighty he was bumble, grateful, and resigned ; zeal. ous in promoting bis glory, and resolute in keeping his commandments. To his fellow creatures he was, as a son, dutiful and affectionate; as a brother, kind and forgiv, ing ; faithful, as a servant and a subject ; discreet and benevolent, as a ruler; of integrity unshaken, and of manners uncorrupt. The concluding chapters of the book of Genesis, which are unexampled for the
k Acts xxiv. 16.
interesting and affecting simplicity of the narrative, present us in this character of Joseph with one of the most faultless patterns for our imitation. We may therefore reasonably demand in the language of the Egyptian Monarch, and with that evangelical signification which the Christian will affix to the words, “ Can we find such an one as this is ; a man, in whom is the Spirit of God?” And we may then safely conclude, that we are guided by the same Spirit, when we testify our “ love of God” by that piety, faith, resignation, gratitude, and obedience; and our “ love of man” by that affectionate behaviour in our domestic relations, by that faithful discharge of our social duties, and that general tenor of kindness and benevolence, which so eminently distinguished this wellbeloved son of Israel, this highly-favoured servant of God.
THE SPIRIT OF GOD MANIFESTED BY HIS FRUITS.
Gen. xli. 38. And Pharaoh said, Can we find such an one as
this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is ?
IN a late discourse I took occasion from these words to examine the character of Joseph, the son of Jacob, as set forth in the concluding chapters of the book of Genesis : and I endeavoured to illustrate the position that Joseph was under the influence of the Spirit of God, by bringing forward to your view the several qualities, which he exhibited in his conduct; qualities, which the Gospel represents as the