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Joseph to send for his father and his whole family, promising that a settlement should be assigned them in the best part of the country, and abundant provision be given them. Therefore Joseph gave his brethren sufficient provision for their journey home, and sent waggons for the conveyance of his father, and many rich presents for him, and addressed this parting admonition to them, "See that ye fall not out by the way." Probably he thought that they might be disposed to cast reflections upon each other for the part which they had severally taken in the former ill usage of himself, or it might only be a general admonition to them to cultivate brotherly love and kindness on the road, an admonition very appropriate for the different members of all families, for what is more useful or honourable or happier for them than to cherish union and concord with each other. And may not all Christians, who are brethren in Christ, be hereby reminded to go on their way to their common father's home in peace and good-will one towards another, without murmurings and
disputings, strife and contention. The whole tenor of the gospel teaches us to endeavour keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace," and "if it be possible, as much as lieth in us, to live peaceably with all
When the sons of Jacob arrived at home they instantly communicated to their father the joyful tidings; "Joseph," said they, "is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt." The sudden intelligence, so unhoped for, seemed incredible, and almost overpowered him; his "heart fainted, for he believed them not." But when they told him all that Joseph had said, and when he saw the waggons which he had sent for his removal to him, the spirit of the aged patriarch revived, and he joyfully exclaimed, "It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die." They had told him of Joseph's power and glory in the land of Egypt, they had also brought him several valuable presents from that affectionate and much favored son, yet all these things were as nothing to him, it was enough that Joseph
was alive; this swallowed up every other consideration; with this he was satisfied, and thought of nothing else he would go and see him, and then he thought he could die in happiness and peace, and as he actually said in the following chapter, when they had met, "Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive." It is often so, when the summit of happiness seems to be obtained, that the soul desires then to close its earthly course, lest in the various changes and chances to which this mortal life is subject, some cup of sorrow should again be prepared. Never however was this desire so well or so happily expressed as it was by the good old Simeon, when holding the infant Saviour in his arms, he said, "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."
With all convenient expedition the patriarch and his family got every thing ready for their departure; and doubtless when he began to leave the country, and the first strong feeling of desire to see his beloved Joseph had subsided, he could not but have some
misgivings and fears respecting his abandonment of the promised land. We have often had occasion to consider that promise; we have often seen how intent the mind of Jacob was upon it; and he well knew how much both his father Isaac, and his grandfather Abraham, had lived and died in expectation of it. He would seem now as if he was about to frustrate the gracious intentions of God, and to put himself out of the way of their fulfilment; and hence he would doubtless question whether he was in the way of duty, and whether his removal would not displease the Lord. But just as he was about to cross the border he received a gracious and encouraging communication from heaven. When he arrived at Beersheba, a place rendered sacred both to Abraham and Isaac and himself, he instantly prepared to worship, and he "offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father fear not to go down into Egypt; for
I will there make of thee a great nation: and I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thy eyes." Thus the patriarch was assured that his way was not contrary to the Lord's will; that he should have his presence with him even in Egypt as he had had in Syria and Canaan; and that the promise made to his father should not be revoked; that his family, having become a great nation in Egypt, should surely in due time be brought out of it again, and put into possession of the land where he then was, in all the length and breadth of it; while for himself, his beloved son should be with him at his death and close his eyes. Oh! what blessings are continually received in and after acts of prayer and worship. There may not now, as of old, be visions to be seen, and voices to be heard, but there are internal encouragements and consolations given by the secret influence of the blessed Spirit, who witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God, and gives us an earnest of our hoped-for inheritance in our hearts, and