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dreams of the officers of Pharaoh are the counterpart of the dreams of Pharaoh : and they are designed by the same counsel. The letter and the type do not correspond more exactly than the dreams of the servants correspond to the future dreams of the master. Joseph's interpretation of the dreams of the chief butler and chief baker was necessary to bring him to interpret the dreams of the king. No. thing, then, but a dream suits the purpose, and dreams we have.
THE CHIEF BUTLER REMEMBERED NOT JOSEPH.
Gen. xl. 23.
“ Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.” Ungrateful man! Would not a word to your master procure the liberation of a man whom you knew to be innocent, and a man your greatest benefactor ? Well, we may scold, but whatever was the cause of the forgetfulness of this officer, it was of God. He forgot for a time; but at the moment when it served the purpose of Divine Providence, all was brought to his mind, with a conviction of his ingratitude. “I do remember my faults this day.” How providential was this forgetfulness! Had the chief butler remembered Joseph's application, it would have cost him only a word to his lord to open the prison to Joseph, and free him from his bondage to his master. But had this been done at the time, where would we find Joseph now, when we have need of
him as an interpreter of dreams ? Joseph, when liberated, would, without doubt, have bastened to his own country, and by this time he would have been safe in the house of Jacob. Where, then, would have been his exaltation as a saviour of Israel, and a type of Christ ? Joseph, then, must be overlooked at the present, and remain quietly in prison till the moment of Pharaoh's dream. Then, like the lightning of heaven, the recollection of Joseph must strike the mind of the chief butler. He must no longer be forgetful. Divine Provi. dence calls all to his recollection. He tells his unvarnished story to his Lord. This is the very man that suits Pharaoh ; and now the great character of Joseph must be manifested. Joseph was the son of a wealthy father ; but he came to be sold as a slave into Egypt. He comes even into prison and to fetters. But now he comes to save Israel by procuring bread for them in Egypt. Now he comes to his glory. In like manner, Jesus, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, was made a servant, and was imprisoned in the grave for the sins of men. But he is now exalted, and he reigns over all worlds in that nature in which he suffered. And we should look unto “ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
THE SAME ACTION ASCRIBED TO GOD IN ONE SENSE,
WHILE IN ANOTHER IT IS THE ACT OF MAN. Gen. xlv. 7.
The sending of Joseph to Egypt was the guilty deed of his cruel and unnatural brothers. They are accountable for the whole transaction. Yet there is a sense in which God did this thing. The Scriptures assert both: both must be true. God sent me before you,” says Joseph to his brethren, “to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Lo, now it was not you sent me hither, but God." Not only, then, is it true that God did this, but it is denied that his brethren did it. They did it in one sense : God did it in another. And the sense in which God did it, is so much more important than that in which they did it, that in that sense Joseph denies that they did it at all. Can human intellect descry the line that bounds the human and the divine agency in this matter? How did God do the thing that was wickedly done by men ? Human arrogance may attempt to explain and distinguish, but it can never satisfy any sound mind. It may speak of divine permission as all that is meant by agency. But will simple permission warrant us to ascribe agency in such a sense as to deny agency to those who were, in the obvious sense, the agents ? It is wisdom to subniit to God, and prostrate ourselves before him in the dust.
Who is man, that he should pretend to comprehend the ways of the unsearchable Jehovah ?
THE POLICY OF THE KING OF EGYPT TO RETAIN
THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL THE MEANS OF HIS LOSING THEM. -Exodus i.
The Providence of God frequently makes the means which men wickedly employ to effect their purposes, the very means of thwarting them. So was it with the king of Egypt on this occasion. Alarmed with the increase of the children of Israel, yet not willing to lose them out of his dominions, he resolved to retain them in safety by oppression. Rulers may justly take precautions against any in their dominions from whom danger is apprehended. But it never can be just to oppress wantonly and without necessity. " And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.” This gave rise to a most cruel persecution, and ended in the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. Had Pharaoh treated them with kind.
ness, generosity, and justice, they never, humanly speaking, would have consented to leave Egypt for the promised land. After all that they had suffer. ed, they were sometimes willing to go back to the land of bondage. All their oppressions and sufferings were necessary to make them willing to return to Canaan.
Let the people of God learn from this that they ought patiently to submit to the tyranny and oppression of civil rulers, if it is the will of Providence to cast their lot under such. They ought to take their afflictions as coming from the hand of God, in one point of view, as well as from the hand of man, in another. Cruel and oppressive treatment from their rulers may be necessary to urge them on to make progress in their journey to the heavenly Canaan. An oppressive law, by which they are excluded from office, honours, or emoluments, is very sinful in the authors, but may be very useful to the oppressed. If the world would know us, we would be inclined to know the world. It is better for the Christian when men cast out his name as evil, than when they celebrate it with the loudest praises.
MOSES RAISED UP BY PROVIDENCE AS A DELIVERER
TO ISRAEL -Exodus ii.
By the faith of his parents, Moses was not destroyed at his birth, and by a providential scheme he was brought up in the court of Pharaoh. What