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been living in splendour, such a solemn scene, and to place them under the dying benediction of this man of God. Jacob was overjoyed at their arrival, and said, “Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them." The feelings of men towards their grandchildren are commonly very powerful: but every thing here tended to increase affection. Manasseh and Ephraim were the offspring of Joseph; and Joseph was his favourite son, endeared by his loss and sufferings; he was also the son of his beloved Rachel. O could he have seen the image and representatives of Rachel-her son and her grandsons ! But “the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And Joseph brought them near unto him; and he kissed them and embraced them. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh. And he set Ephraim before Manasseh." Let us endeavour to be useful as long as we continue here, and do good, not only living but dying. It will be well if we are able to say something that shall bless survivors. Parting words are peculiarly impressive and memorable. Children who have disregarded the living counsel of a father have followed his dying admonitions: and the commendations of religion which Christians have expressed, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost which they have experienced in the final hour, have frequently rendered their departure a blessing to many. It has encouraged the fearful. It has convinced the unbelieving. It has induced even a Balaam to say, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.”
Finally; " By faith he blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.” We allow there was something, extraordinary in this transaction. Jacob was under a degree of divine inspiration; and this appears in the manner of his blessing these children: for he not only poured forth the tenderness of his heart toward them, but he admitted them, though born in Egypt, into his family and the congregation of Israel; and constituted them, though their mother was a Gentile, heads of tribes, like his own offspring; overruled the claims of seniority, and pronounced their future number and prosperity. Yet all his faith on this occasion was not of this extraordinary nature. The Apostle does not speak of him as a seer, so much as a saint. He would tell us that he brought forth fruit in old age: that while the outward man perished, the inward man was renewed: that while the eyes of his Hesh were dim, the eyes of his understanding were enlightened: that he saw and acknowledged not only the God of providence, but the God of all grace: that he extended his views beyond the bounds of time and sense: that he recognized in Canaan a better, even a heavenly country: that he hailed in his seed the Shiloh that was to come, and in whom all the families of the earth would be blessed. What would his dying faith have been, had he only proved
the organ of Divine omniscience concerning things to come? Ba. laam had his eyes open, and heard of the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the Most High:” and he said, " I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh.” But Jacob was an heir of promise: Jacob could say, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.” And this is the grand thing—This is what we shall all want when, like him, we are a dying.” When heart and flesh fail, when we are leaving all that is dear below, and entering an eternal state, we shall require all the views, all the influences, all the appropriations of faith. We have heard more than one saying, while engaged in it,“ dying is hard work." We shall all find it so, if left to the resources of nature and reason only. But faith can make dying work easy work. “I can smile on death,” said Dr. , Grosvenor," because my Saviour smiles on me.” Simeon, with the babe in the arms of his flesh, and the consolation of Israel in the arms of his faith, said, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.”
O thou Author of all good, inspire my soul with this all-important principle, to make me meet for every season and condition. May the life that I now live in the flesh be by the faith of the Son of God. And may I finish my course with joy, and be able to say, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
JULY 2.-" And he looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts.”—Mark ii, 5.
EVERY thing in the temper and conduct of our Lord and Saviour is worthy attention; and the fact before us will be found very instructive and useful.
We see that the passions are not evil in themselves. They are inherent in our very nature. It is therefore impossible to divest ourselves of them; and if it were possible, we should only reduce. ourselves to mere reasoning machines, and unimpressible intelligences. The passions are the springs and impulses of action. All that religion does is, to govern and regulate them, and to furnish each of them with an appropriate sphere, object, and agency. We learn that we may be angry and sin not.
This is the case when we are angry at sin. This he who was the Holy One of God felt and expressed. It is our duty and honour to resemble him; and it is a proof that we are of one Śpirit, if what offended him offends us, and we cannot bear them that are evil.
Yet anger should be always attended with grief. We should grieve to see men suffering, but we should grieve more to see them sinning. We should feel more to see a man proud than poor, 10 see him led captive by vice than laid in irons. No character is so truly
pitiable as the wretch who is destroying himself for ever. David felt this, and said, I beheld the transgressors and was grieved: and Jesus was here grieved at the hardness of their hearts. Fools only make a mock of sin. To laugh at a man who is inflicting upon his
soul the torments of hell, is far more cruel than to turn into sport and merriment the tortures of a fellow-creature on the rack. Paul, in his climax, considers our “having pleasure” in the sins of others a greater instance of depravity than "doing them” ourselves; and the reason is, because we may have powerful temptations to the one, whereas the other results from pure congeniality: nothing shows us more than that which can yield us pleasure. So, on the other hand, the purest grief is that which we feel for the sins of others. Selfish respect may have some place in concern for our own sins, because they endanger us; but we shall not be punished for the sins of others. When therefore we suffer for them, we sorrow after a godly sort; we are affected with sin as sin ; and evince the truest benevolence. And so pleasing to God is such a disposition, that in times of public calamity he ordered a mark” of preservation to be imposed“ upon the foreheads of the men that sighed and cried for all the abominations that are done in the midst of the land.”
In our Lord we see the finest moral harmony arising from the perfect union of diverse feelings and affections. His zeal was not without discretion; his prudence was not without fervour. His authority dignified' his condescension; his kindness softened and endeared his power. His compassion was not without censure; his censure was not without pity. He distinguished between the sin and the sinner; and at once displayed his displeasure and his distress-—"He looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." So should it be with us.
Let us beware that our tenderness does not degenerate into connivance at evil. Adam was too complaisant, even to a wife, when he refused not the forbidden fruit, though presented by Eve. And what judgments did Eli draw down upon himself and family, because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not! The Scripture does not speak with commendation of “men in whose mouth are no reproofs." Yea, it says, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”
Let us also take heed that our faithfulness does not deprive us of the meekness and gentleness of Jesus Christ, or annihilate our concern for the offender in our hatred of the offence. Some Christians are sadly defective here. It might be supposed that they had never read the injunction: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself
, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."
July 3.-" Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim."
Exodus xvii. 8. Though God had relieved the people in their
pressure when there was no water for them to drink, yet they had offended and provoked him by their rebellious murmurings. Moses therefore, to perpetuate the memory of their guilt, as well as of their deliverance, gave a new name to the place: “He called it Massah and Meribah, because of the children of the children of Israel, saying, Is the Lord among us or not ?"-And may we not suppose that the present attack upon them was permitted of God, to rebuke and correct them for their sin? For men are his instruments: he controls them when they act most freely; and he employs them righteously when they act against us unjustly. He can also punish them, even when they fulfil his pleasure; for he judges them according to their motives and designs, and not according to the effects their actions produce by his overruling interposition. “O Assyrian ! the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of fire."
These Amalekites have been supposed to be the descendants of Esau; but we read of them in the days of Chedorlaomer; and Balaam calls Amalek “ the first of the nations." They possessed at this time a large tract of country, extending from the confines of Idumea to the western shore of the Red Sea. When therefore Israel crossed over, they were obliged to approach their borders : but they offered them no injury or provocation; and instead of invading their territory, they were turning away from it. We know not what actuated Amalek to assault them; whether it was the hope of plunder, or a wish for military renown, or pure maliciousness." But from the book of Deuteronomy it appears that his conduct was as mean as it was wicked, and as dastardly as it was cruel : for not daring to engage them in front, he waited his opportunity, and smote the hindmost of them, even all that were feeble behind them; and when they were faint and weary, alike incapable of resistance or flight.
The detail of the action on the part of Israel is worthy our attention. They were not only justified in having recourse to arms, but they wisely managed the measure. Though they were a people conducted by the Almighty, who had miraculously saved them in Egypt, and delivered them at the Red Sea, and provided them with flesh at Zin, and water where they now were, nothing supernatural is here thought of: for miracles were never intended to be employed where ordinary means were at hand, and sufficient for the purpose. “ Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek : to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek : and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.” Here we have a fine example of activity and reliance : the sword in the hand of Joshua; the rod in the hand of Moses : the host fighting in the vale, as if every thing depended on their strenuousness; the interceder pleading on the hill, as if all was to be accomplished by divine agency. To use means without neglecting trust in God, and to trust in God without omitting the use of means—This is the test of a proper state of mind in religion - This is the union recommended by our Lord and his Apostle. “ Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation :” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Behold Moses and Joshua on this occasion in their respective departments; and see in what various and suitable ways God qualifies and employs his servants. We should not oppose good and useful men to each other, or even improperly compare them together. We should view them all in reference to their commission, their work, and their adaptation–Then they are equally respectable. Each has his own calling and work. It would be absurd to extol the valour of Joshua at the expense of piety in Moses; or to extol the piety of Moses at the expense of valour in Joshua. It was not for want of courage that Moses prayed; or for want of devotion that Joshua fought-It was the same spirit that actuated the supplicant and the warrior. But “as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office : so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” If all were the eye, where were the hearing ? and if all were the ear, where were the seeing? It is enough for the eye to see, and the ear to hear, and the foot to walk. It would not be for the beauty and welfare of society that every excellence should be found in the same individuals; and it will always be in vain to look for it.
As nothing like our artillery was then used in fight, a person might safely place himself near enough to survey the scene- -Thus Moses was stationed on the brow of a rising ground just by, and within view—and how encouraging must it have been to Israel, as they advanced to battle, to look up and see him with his arms extended, and holding in his hand the signal of omnipotence! “ Yonder,” would they say, “ yonder is lifted up the wonder-working rod which has performed so many exploits for us. Yonder is the man who has power with God, and can prevail, imploring for us succour and success."
“ And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed : and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” This was to show him that the excellency of the power was of God, and not of them; and that means, however good and proper in themselves, are nothing without the concurring agency of Heaven.
But where are the knees that never tremble, and the hands that never hang down? In another world we shall serve God as we ought, and as we would, but in our present state, and while we have these bodies of clay, we cannot do the things that we would. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We are not weary of his service, but we are soon weary in it, and need relief. “ Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." Here we learn of what use we may be to each other. Not only did Moses help Joshua, but Aaron and Hur helped Moses. Two are better than one: and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. We cannot be independent of each other. We may often feel our obligations to chose who are in many respects our inferiors. Jonathan was not equal to his friend David in religious attainment and experience: yet he went to him in the wood and strengthened his hand in God.
Need we wonder at the result of the conflict? Joshua fought