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mountains: but in the seven years of famine there is every probability that such was not the case. “The famine was sore in all lands,” and the want of rain which occasioned it, would extend to the mountains of Ethiopia : for modern observation has clearly established the fact that, as to its leading features, the weather spans the earth in great quadrants. In these circumstances, therefore, we submit, will be found a very satisfactory solution of the natural difficulties connected with the seven years of plenty and of famine. The geological evidence of the actual occurrence of a great disturbance of the annual overflow, and the monumental evidence that the time of its occurrence closely approximated to that of the reign of Aphophis, the patron of Joseph, we also present as collateral proofs of the verity of the inspired narrative, of no light or unimportant character.
We may perhaps here be permitted to answer an objection to such researches, which is often urged by excellent persons of devotional habits and contemplative and confiding temperaments. We want no confirmation to our own faith. We firmly believe that God is able to give seven years of plenty and of famine to Egypt, by a simple exercise of his own volition, and without the employment of natural phenomena at all. What good end is accomplished by such discoveries as these? The answer is not far to seek. The faith of these persons is not the faith which God demands of his people. It is a mere ignorant unreasoning assent to the dogma that God can do all things, leaving out the all-important limitation which the Bible applies to it : “ He cannot deny himself.” There is nothing more needful for man to know, than that these marvellous works in the days of old, were all subordinated to one rule or canon. There was no needless interference with the ordinary laws of nature. They were merely put into action at times before specified, in order that men might see God's mastery over them. We shall find this to be especially the case with all the supernatural interferences recorded in the history we have now to illustrate; and therefore it much concerns the consistency of the Divine procedure to discover, that the seven years of plenty and famine were likewise of the same character. There may in effect have been nothing supernatural in the entire transaction, beyond the prediction, and the divine wisdom imparted to Joseph in taking advantage of them. Yet is this no Neology, but Divinity in its best and loftiest sense.
“ Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another ? And he said, Behold! I have heard that there is corn in Egypt; get you down thither and buy for us from thence, that we may live and not die.
“ And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befal him. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came; for the famine was in the land of Canaan.” Gen. xlii. 145.
The scene depicted in this concise narrative is a • very animated one. The sandy paths across the
desert of Suez are crowded with caravans of the inhabitants of Canaan, and their beasts of burden, laden with the valuable products of their country, and with silver and gold in rings, and all intent upon the purchase of corn. It was thus that the riches of Canaan flowed into Egypt. We are now in the first year of the famine only, and already the current has set in.
“And Joseph was ruling (exercising kingly power) over the land ; and he it was that sold to all the people of the land : and Joseph's brethren came and bowed themselves down before him with their faces to the earth. . . . And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them.” ver. 6,9.
Twenty-one years had elapsed since the last interview of Joseph with his brethren. Then the hard features of the reckless hunters of the desert frowned fiercely upon a stripling bound and helpless, and their hands grasped their murderous weapons, so
bitter was the envy that his prophetic dream had roused in them. They threw him into a pit to perish with hunger and thirst; they were debating as to the policy of drawing him up to despatch him, when the appearance of the Ishmaelite caravan and the avarice of Judah changed their determination into that which was even still more heartless and cruel. Now, a company of wrinkled and grey-bearded wayfaring men, they bowed themselves to the earth before the regal state of their former victim ;-the very consummation at which the prophetic dreams that had exasperated their envy and rage against him had pointed ; so that they had themselves fulfilled the divine intimation, and that, by the act of daring wickedness whereby they hoped to render it impossible. “There are many devices in a man's heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Prov. xix. 21. No wonder that “ Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them.”
“And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them: and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew him not....
“And Joseph said unto them, Ye are spies , to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food
are thy servants come. We are all one man's sons ; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land are ye come. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not. And Joseph said unto them, This is what I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies. Hereby ye shall be proved; as Pharaoh lives ye shall not go hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you; or else, as Pharaoh lives, surely ye are spies. And he put them all together in ward for three days.” Verses 7–19.
We have no regal monuments of the epoch now before us. Joseph evidently sate as a king in the gate, when his brethren were brought into his presence. It can therefore be only on monuments that discourse of the actions of kings that we can hope for any illustration of the passage. For these we must descend to a somewhat later period. A scene not uncommon in the civil wars that ended in the union of the two Egypts under one crown, represents the reception given to an embassy from the opposite faction. The ambassadors are called spies, and beaten, before they are admitted into the pre