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did not prohibit his making every demonstration of kindness, not inconsistent with the necessary secrecy. The corn, therefore, which he had before only proposed to sell to them, he now, in his own mind, determined to give. Then," and not till then, says Moses, “ Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way. And thus did he unto them,” as at once a relief to his own feelings, and a result of his conviction of their returning penitence. They, indeed, misapprehended his meaning, and when they saw their money

“ their heart failed them, and they were afraid.” So also were they afterwards “afraid,” when “they were brought into Joseph's house" to « dine with him at noon." But though fear was the impression produced upon their minds, the motive of Joseph, in both instances, was kind.

Impressed, however, with the singularity of this return of the money, most readers are apt to consider it as of particular importance, and to imagine it had some very peculiar and recondite intention. But no use was ever afterwards made of it, nor does much weight appear justly due to it. When it was mentioned to Joseph's steward upon the second arrival of the sons of Jacob in Egypt, he said, “ Fear not: your God, and the

God of your fathers, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money.” Thus, without further consequences or remark, the matter ended. Perhaps, therefore, it may be sufficient to explain it in the manner already done, namely, as an act of generosity and kindness at parting. And thus "they laded their asses with corn, and departed thence.”

Throughout the whole, then, of this first visit of his brethren, there is not any thing in the conduct of Joseph, either objectionable or theatrical, or without a satisfactory cause. In every thing that he did, he had definite, and dignified, and intelligible views. It was not for the purpose of

terrifying his brethren a little before he discovered himself to them,” that he accused them as spies; but because it afforded an unsuspicious mode of obtaining from them that information with regard to their family which he most anxiously desired, but which, had they been aware of his solicitude, they might not have been so ready to communicate with sincerity. Upon the information thus given was founded his next stratagem, in which he “put them all in hold, and one of them in bonds ;' not, however, for the frivolous purpose of pleasantly imitating all those actions reciprocally unto them, which they in despite and earnest had done formerly unto him ;" but in

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order to verify their statements, by bringing Benjamin into Egypt, if alive. Neither was it “as a fresh matter of surprise,” that he restored each man's money into his sack; but as an act of generosity, and a mark of kindness. Thus do reason and reflection appear to have guided his plans; nor can we detect any real proof of his having conducted himself upon some supposed notions of retribution, and dramatic effect. No sooner, indeed, is such an idea introduced, than several things become inexplicable, or incapable of defence. If it was his purpose to bring his whole family into Egypt, and he only deferred its execution until he had a heightened their distress” up to the point necessary for making “ their future felicity more agreeable,” why did he ever send bis brethren away at all; since it was possible, at least, that they might never return to receive that future felicity. If it was his intention, from the first, to discover himself to his brethren, and his accusations and harshness had no other object than that of punishing them for their former cruelty, and want of mercy towards himself, why did he involve his father also in that suffering, since his father, at least, had never been deficient in affection and tenderness towards him? For under this view of the case, he is con ceived to have believed his father to be alive, and we cannot, therefore, resort to his doubts

upon that point for a solution. But if he more than feared that Jacob, and half suspected that even Benjamin was not alive, his silence about his father is no longer a difficulty, and his sending away his brethren with an order to return with Benjamin, would answer his purpose, whatever might be the issue. For if they returned, all he desired to learn would become known to him ; and if they returned not, he would of course consider his suspicions confirmed, and feel little or no regret at never again beholding the face of beings so cruel and unjust. But they did return. They “came with double money; and Benjamin” and a new scene of action began, which I shall endeavour to vindicate in the next Discourse. In the mean time it will be sufficient to observe, that thus far Joseph's conduct is in all respects reasonable ; and that his proceedings were successively suggested and regulated by circumstances, and may be justified by a reference to the ordinary principles of human action, and the ordinary feelings of human nature. He beholds unexpectedly before him the beings who had most injured him, and, being a man of like passions with ourselves, he remembers the injury, and speaks harshly unto them. They betray symptoms of regret and godly sorrow for their sin, and then he relents into tenderness, and would perhaps have revealed himself at once, had he not been prevented by a regard to other necessary considerations. Happy they who have never felt more of resentment towards their

persecutors than Joseph did ; and blessed indeed are they who can lift up their voices in prayer to Heaven with the same confidence as Joseph, and say, Forgive me, Lord, as thou knowest that I have forgiven others, and shew to me the mercy with which I have visited them.

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