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invitation, "Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" and he adds the assurance, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out." His people, who prefer their earnest supplications to him, may assure themselves that he will supply all their need, and never forget their requests. "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee." What danger of forgetfulness there is lies wholly on our part. Yet if the Psalmist could say, "If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning: if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy ;" how much more should we feel ourselves bound to remember our blessed Saviour with the deepest gratitude for his great kindness to us. Let us do this every day, and especially at each returning celebration of that holy sacrament, of which he has said, "Do this in remembrance of me."
JOSEPH'S BRETHREN CONVICTED BY
GENESIS XLII. 21.
And they said we are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us; and we would not hear therefore is this distress come upon us.
THIS verse affords a striking proof of the power of conscience, and shews that however
may be overpowered by the present force of some evil desire or temper, or however it may seem to lie dormant for a time, it will hereafter awake, and speak so as to be heard; it will rouse up the recollection of his offences in the transgressor's mind, and make him fear for the consequences. We here see also something of the rewards of sin. Men can
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commit it without fear or remorse; they have a temporary pleasure in it; it gratifies some unholy propensity of our fallen nature; it seems therefore to be pleasing to the flesh; but ere long it will exhibit its poisonous and painful nature; it will bite like like a serpent, and sting as an adder; for the present it may be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel, but it will soon prove bitter as wormwood and grapes of gall. We will therefore now trace the circumstances which produced this conviction of conscience in the brethren of Joseph, for they were the speakers of the text which I have read to you.
Joseph, as we saw in the last sermon, had interpreted Pharaoh's dreams to predict that seven years of abundant plenty would be succeeded by seven years of extraordinary scarcity. He had therefore been appointed by the king to lay up a store of provision while the years of prosperity lasted, and had been invested with almost supreme power over the whole land of Egypt. In due time the years of dearth came on, and it was so general and so severe, that not only Egypt, but the
neighbouring countries were reduced to a state of famine. It extended to the land of Canaan, and as the same precaution had not been used there, the family of Jacob, even in the second year of its continuance, was in great distress. The report had reached them that there was corn in Egypt, for Joseph had opened his storehouses, and was beginning to sell it to all who applied. Jacob therefore said unto his sons, "Why do ye look one upon another? Behold I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us that we may live and not die."
man's natural fondness of life,
We see here
and the care
which he will take for its preservation. The former is an instinct common to all creatures as well as man, and the latter is his duty. But man is a being far superior to the brutes. He has reason as well as instinct; he can look forward to the future, as well as feel his present wants; and he has another and an eternal state of existence for which it is his still higher duty to provide. The holy scriptures point out to him his spiritual necessities,
and the perishing condition of his soul; they also shew him where relief is to be found and set before him the bread of life, of which if he eat he shall live for ever; and they warn him not to labour,—that is not to labour exclusively, or even principally,-for the bread which perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life. And it is his wisdom and duty to avail himself of this information, and to apply himself earnestly and diligently to obtain a supply of grace and spiritual blessings for his soul. Let him feel that he is in a perishing state; but let him be told where there is provision. Then let him not sit still in inactivity; let him not waste the precious opportunity in idleness or unprofitable complaint; but let him earnestly set himself to the work which is before him, and lay hold on eternal life. The sons of Jacob were admonished by their father, Why do ye look one upon another, Behold,
I have heard there is corn in Egypt, get you
down thither, and buy for us from thence, that we may live and not die."
soned the lepers also in the great famine of