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I am sure it is at this time. I speak not of any individual church. Consider how popery prevails, and infidelity rages; they are both decided enemies of the church of Christ. May we not fear that the world is almost overwhelmed by them? They are nearly allied to each other, and their object is the sanie. But Christ is on his throne. His word he has declared shall not pass away.
“ Heaven and earth may pass away, but my word shall not pass away :” and “ Upon this rock will I build my church.” Not, as the papist says, St. Peter, but the Saviour is speaking of himself as the foundation of his own church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He will have a church carrying on his work in the world; that is true of the church collectively considered, and of every church truly devoted to him. The enemies of his church have no more power to contend with him, than, as we say, a mite has to contend with an elephant.
“ He that is for you, is more than all they that are against you,” so that you may have all in his hand. Commend yourselves then to him continually. Raise your Ebenezer every day. It is he that has brought you thus far. Sing
“ Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by thine help I'm come:
Safely to be carried home. May those who have not tasted of his grace, who have never given up their hearts to him, who are setting their affections on something short of him, and who are seeking satisfaction and rest where it cannot be found; 0, may such be convinced of their folly. Such must find out that every creature will say, salvation is not in me. Thus we find that men of the world seek for a blessing in one thing, and then give it up for another; and finding that does not answer, they turn to a third, and thus they are vexing and wearying themselves, as the prophet says, with lying vanities. They turn to things which cannot give them rest; they are seeking to embrace shadows. Let them know that Jesus alone can impart to them joy and happiness. He will give them real happiness. “I will cause those that love me,” says he, inherit substance.” He will give them that which is satisfying. And again, he says,—“I will fill their treasury.” Let them enlarge their expectations, and conceive ideas of happiness as extensive as they can, I will fulfil their wishes. O that this God may be “our God for ever and ever, and our guide even unto death!” Thank him if you know him. If not, may you long after him and seek him, and you shall find him to the praise and glory of his grace, and to your own happiness in time and eternity.
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY W. HARDING, 11, Red Lion COURT, AND 14, Gray's
T. Riler, Printer, 10, King Street, Tower Hill.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND PREACHER,
Patronized by the Clergy and others.
JOSEPH, A TYPE OF CHRIST.
PREACHED BY THE
REV. THOMAS SNOW, M. A.
At St. Dunstan's, Fleet Street,
Text.-"Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be
."-43d chap. Genesis, 3d verse. The words of my text are the words spoken by Joseph to his brethren when about to return froni Egypt unto their father and their own land. “ And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn, which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face except your brother be with you.'
The history of Joseph, though the events occurred nearly 4,000 years ago, are still most interesting to the Christian Church. In it we see, in a most remarkable way, the overruling providence of God extending over the greatest and most minute concerns of men, and his holy determination according to his promise, to make all things work together for good for them that love him. In Joseph, we have displayed an example of piety and goodness in very different stations of life: so that those in the most abject, as well as those in the most exalted station, can place this instance before them, and learn from Joseph, “ both to be full and to be hungry, to abound and to suffer need.”.
The history of Joseph opens with an account of the remarkable trials which were ordained for him even in his youth. He is first of all introduced to our notice as ex
posed to the cruel hatred and malicious designs of his brethren. In the 37th chapter and the 2nd verse, it is said—" Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren ; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report," He had observed, with regret, some iniquitous conduct in them, and he reported it to his father that he might reprove and restrain them, not as a malicious talebearer and sower of discord, but as the affectionate brother, who, when he durst not admonish them himself, on account of his youth, represented their faults to one that had authority to check them. His serious deportment, at the age of seventeen, was as irksome to them as their evil practices were to him; that alone would have made them his enemies; but another reason is given-he was the favourite childJacob conceived a stronger regard for him than for the rest. This preference might seem to reflect highly on the young man's character, but it was evidently a source of great calamity to him. “ Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age”. probably the companion and the comfort of his old agemore pleasing to him from the gravity and piety of his disposition ; « and he made him a coat of many colours." This coat of many colours might be of itself of little value, but as a mark of particular regard it naturally excited envy and malice in the breasts of those who thought they had an equal right to it; “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” It was the divine purpose to exalt Joseph to a state of great eminence, which was very early made known to him by two prophetical dreams. It was revealed to him that his brethren and all his father's house should bow down to express their submission to him. He told his dream, without any reserve, to his brethren, and by it took a larger share of envy, and his brethren hated him.
By these terms, then, the plan of his history opens to us. God had determined for some special reasons to place Joseph in a state of high dignity, and this design, so offensive to his brethren, it was their design to study to defeat.
But how vain is all opposition to God! By all their wicked contrivances it was so far from preventing the honour of Joseph, that they were the very means of accomplishing it. “The Lord of Hosts had proposed it, and who shall disannul it ?” While they were engaged in their occupation of shepherds Joseph visited them upon a kind errand of an inquiry after their welfare, and how did they reward him ? “ When they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him ; and they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh : come now therefore and let us slay him and cast him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams. But whlle the wicked were taking counsel against the just, the eye of the Lord was upon Joseph, and they did not slay him; for after they had bound him they saw some Midianitish merchants coming with their camels, and it seemed to be thought the best way of dispatching him for ever was to sell him as a slave to these merchants; and this they did, and Joseph was carried away from them into an unknown land. Like his master, the Lord Jesus, he was sold for a few pieces of silver, and given up into the hands of strangers. It does not appear
his brethren were then struck with any powerful feeling of their own wickedness. The coat which had caused their jealously they brought to their father dipped in blood, from which it was concluded Joseph was devoured by wild beasts, and no further inquiry was made after him. Thus it is possible that the wickedest actions may for a while escape retribution, and the consciences of sinners may be so stupified as not to disturb them while upon earth ; but perhaps even here their schemes of villainy transacted in darkness should all be made public to the world, and their inmost soul filled with anguish at the recollection of what they have donethis at least will take place hereafter, and a solemn day of reckoning it will be, when God shall judge the secrets of all men by Jesus Christ.
But, to return to this noble-minded youth, (now reduced to a low state indeed,) he was conveyed and disposed of by the Midianites like the cattle which are transferred from one owner to another at the will of man ; but the power of God, which overruled the whole of this strange history, caused him to be carried to a distant country, to save much people alive, and prepared a home for his reception. He was sold to Potiphar, a man of some rank and the principal officer in the king's army, and here we have to contemplate Joseph in a different situation. He had already shown himself an affectionate and dutiful son-now we shall see his most excellent conduct as a servant. He had been brought up with much tenderness by his father, and would find many hardships in a place of servitude. The
of God fitted him for bis place and enabled him to discharge the duties of it with fidelity. In this way the Lord put an honour upon him, and
him much favour with his master. And this is a suitable occasion for observing, that the office of servants-nay those in the lower stations—are not to be thought contemptible—nay highly honourable, since the Lord has been glorified in them, and some of the most excellent characters in the earth have been appointed to them. Nor let us suppose that to be reduced into poor circumstances is necessarily to be miserable. Perhaps Joseph had more real happiness in his attendance upon Potiphar, until the affliction came upon him, than under the indulgent eye of his father; for we read that the Lord was with Joseph. We know that the Lord's presence alone can render any place truly comfortable to his children, and this was most eminently vouchsafed to Joseph whilst he was a servant. It is this presence of God which makes up the happiness of heaven; and those who are favoured with a share of it on earth, need not complain that they are in a needy condition, or subject to the will of another. But while the example before us may encourage those greatly who are in the state of servants, it will also instruct them in the duties which belong to them. Doubtless they sustain peculiar trials, those of them especially who are possessed of genuine piety, and are fixed in families of ignorant and profane persons--still it should be remembered that under such circumstances they have an opportunity of recommending their principles to others in the most forcible manner. In this respect their actions