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brethren ; and, at this unexpected meeting, his heart melted within him. Fraternal tenderness arose in all its warmth, and totally effaced from his generous breast the impression of their ancient cruelty. Though, from that moment, he began to prepare for them a surprise of joy; yet he so far constrained himself as to assume an appearance of great severity. By this he intended, both to oblige them to bring into Egypt his youngest and most beloved brother, whose presence he instantly required; and also, to awaken within them a due sense of the crime which they had formerly perpetrated. Accordingly, his behaviour produced the designed effect. For, while they were in this situation, strangers in a foreign land, where they had fallen, as they conceived, into extreme distress; where they were thrown into prison by the Governor, and treated with rigour, for which they could assign no cause ; the reflection mentioned in the Text arose in their minds. Conscience brought to remembrance their former sins. It recalled, in particular, their long-forgotten cruelty to Joseph ; and, without hesitation, they interpreted their present distress to be a judgment, for this crime, inflicted by Heaven. They said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us; and we would not hear : Therefore is this distress come upon us.Behold also his blood is required.

From this instructive passage of history, the following observations naturally arise: I. That a sense of right and wrong in conduct, or of moral good and evil, belongs to human nature. II. That it produces an apprehension of merited punishment, when we have committed evil. III. That although this inward sentiment be stifled during the season of prosperity, yet in adversity it will revive. And, IV. That, when it revives, it determines us to consider every

distress which we suffer, from what cause soever it has arisen, as an actual infliction of punishment by Heaven. The consideration of these particulars will lead us to a very serious view of the nature of man, and of the government of God.

1. There belongs to human nature a sense of moral good and evil, or a faculty which distinguishes right from wrong, in action and conduct. They said one to another, We are verily guilty-In an age when the law was not yet given, when no external revelation of the Divine will subsisted, except what had been handed down among the patriarchs, from one generation to another; the brethren of Joseph reasoned concerning their conduct, upon the same moral principles, and were affected by the same feelings, of which we are conscious at this day. Such sentiments are coeval with human nature; for they are the remains of a law which was originally written in our heart. In the darkest regions of the earth, and among the rudest tribes of men, a distinction has ever been made between just and unjust, between a duty and a crime. Throughout all the intercourse of human beings these distinctions are supposed. They are the foundation of the mutual trust which the transactions of life require; nay, the very entertainments of society constantly appeal to them.

The Historian, who studies to magnify his hero, by represent, ing him as just and generous ; the Poet, who seeks to interest the world in his fictions, by engaging the heart in behalf of distressed virtue; are sufficient to confute the Sceptic, who denies any natural perception of a distinction in actions.

But though a sense of moral good and evil be deeply impressed on the heart of man, yet it is not of sufficient power to regulate his life. In his present corrupted state, it is both too general to afford him full direction in conduct, and too feeble to withstand the opposition of contrary principles in hiş nature. It is often yond the reach of clamour, and the strife of tongues ; and, free from distracting cares, you can attend calmly to your eternal interests. For such comforts as these, have you not cause most thankfully to acknowledge the goodness of Heaven? Do they not afford you ground to pass

the remainder of your days in resigna, tion and peace ; disposing yourselves to rise in due time, like satisfied guests, from the banquet that has been set before you ; and to praise and bless, when you depart, the great Master of the feast: To a man that is good in his sight, whether he be young or old, God giv, eth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy. For every season of life, the benignity of its providence hath prepared its own satisfactions, while his wisdom hath appointed its peculiar trials. No age is doomed to total infelicity; provided that we attempt not to do violence to Nature, by seeking to extort from one age the pleas sures of another; and to gather, in the Winter of life, those flowers which were destined to blossom only in its Summer, or its Spring.

But perhaps it will be said, That I have considered old age only in its first stages, and in its most favourable point of light; before the faculties are as yet much impaired, and when disease or affliction has laid no addition, al load on the burden of years. Let us then view it with all its aggravations of distress. Let us suppose it arrived at its utmost verge, worn out with infirmities, and bowed down by sickness and sorrow. Still there remains this consolation, that it is not long ere the weary shall be at rest. Having passed through so many of the toils of life, you may now, surely, when your pilgrimage touches on its close, bear, without extreme impatience, the hardships of its concluding stage. From the inestimable promises of the Gospel, and front the gracious presence of God, the afflictions of old age cannot seclude you. Though your heart should begin to faint, and your flesh to fail, there is One, who can be the strength of your heart, and your portion for ever. Even to your old

age, saith the Lord, I am He; and even to hoary hairs will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear ; even I will carry, and will deliver

you. Leave thy fatherless children ; I will preserve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me. +

There is undoubtedly a period, when there ought to be a satiety of life, as there is of all other things; and when death shall be viewed as your merciful dismission from a long warfare. To come to the grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in, in its season, I is * Isa. xlvi. 4.

+ Jer, xlix. 11. | Job, v. 26.

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