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proceeding, shall seem expedient to the setting forth of God's honor, and our instruction. It is a task, indeed, well worthy of an abler advocate and a better mán; and it is not without acknowledgment of my own weakness, and reliance on that promised aid, which in weakness is made strong, and which is sufficient for every good word and work, that I enter upon it; and I implore your united prayers, my brethren, for an unction of God's Holy Spirit, to assist us in the undertaking, and to sanctify it in the use.
Above all the writings that have come from the spirit and understanding of man, the story of Joseph and his brethren has ever been justly esteemed the most pathetic and the most instructive; no matter whether they be fact or fictionwhether they be decked with the poet's fancy, or invested with the charms of the sentimentalist-there are none that can in any-wise compare with it; no
matter in what relation, or with what disposition we approach it-there is a chord for every bosom, and a tone for every mind. The first tear of innocent childhood shed over a brother's wrongs, and the last that rolls down the griefworn cheek of the bereaved parent, are alike dedicated at the shrine of this history; and while its fine touches of tenderness and sensibility are calculated to awaken every kindly affection of the human heart, it throws over every condition of life, its proper light and shade --and, verily, I do not envy that man his feelings, whose bosom is too cold to admit of its impressions.
There were born to Jacob, to whom God also gave the name of Israel, ten sons; but Rachel, who was the object of his first attachment, and for whom he had dedicated fourteen years of willing service, had continued childless; until God, at last answered her prayers, opened her womb, and she conceived and bare a
son, and they called his name JOSEPH. In a few years after she gave to him another son, at whose birth she died, and they called his name Benjamin: and Jacob, with these twelve sons, had settled with great riches, and many flocks and herds, in the land of Canaan.
The first mention that is made of Joseph's condition is when he was seventeen years old, and then, the sacred historian informs us, he was loved by Israel more than all his children. Many things, at this time, must have conspired to raise Joseph in the affections of his father ;--- he was the son of his old age, the offspring of his best beloved Rachel, and he was born after a long season of disappointment-add to these, he was at that time of life, when all the tender attachments are confirmed-when all the gentle sympathies of nature are quick and glowing—and all the parental interests are on the tiptoe of observation, to mark the opening virtues of a beloved
child;—while, to crown the whole, Jacob was, possibly, not without hope, that in this son, the blessing of the Almighty was to be shadowed out, and that he was destined to bear an eminent part in the transmission of the promises to his posterity.
Josephus, the Jewish historian, says, 6 Jacob loved him, both because of the beauty of his body, and the virtues of his mind, for he excelled his brethren in prudence." Be this as it may, certain it is, that Israel loved him more than all his children, and, as a mark of this preference, made him a coat of many colors—a coat wrought with various colored threads, as the silks of the Eastern world are woven and worn to this day. Superior gifts and superior virtues are always the bane of weak and unworthy minds, but when they become objects of praise and preference, from being the source of envy, they become the basis of hatred and of malice; and so it was with the
brethren of Joseph, when they saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. Had it been the object of the historian to have drawn an exact picture of envy, he could not have chosen more suitable words :—They could not speak peaceably unto him. There is a maliciousness in envy unknown almost to any other vice -anger originates in provocationrevenge proceeds from injury-all other crimes have some retaliation to pursue, some passion to be appeased, or some gainful end in view—but envy is selfish and solitary; and as it always preys upon worth and virtue, without any incitement, save the consciousness of inferiority, so it is wisely ordered by the Almighty, that, like the scorpion, it should carry a venom for itself—and no bosom is so disturbed and pained as his who hath admitted envy to its abode ;