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a pitcher on her shoulder, and she became the wife of Isaac.
Joseph's brethren had conspired to put him to death. His fervent intercessions did not soften their heart. The plot was to be executed without delay, when by aocident a caravan of Arab merchants, on their way to Egypt, came down the valley. A new plot was suggested to their mind, and they sold him into slavery. The history of Jacob's posterity, for centuries, turns on this accident, like a door on its hinge.
An arbitrary law is declared in Egypt, that every
male child of the enslaved Israelites shall be drowned in the river. The babe Moses is concealed by his parents for three months, and is then laid in a basket of reeds by the bank of the river. If an officer of Pharaoh had passed by, he had probably pushed the babe into the stream. A covetous man might have spared the child to be his slave. But the royal princess walked that way, and her heart is moved with compassion for the weeping infant.
By this accident his life is saved. He is educated in all the learning of Egypt, and becomes an able general, a profound legislator, and the most emi. nent man of his
age. Saul, the son of Kish, went out to search for his father's asses, which had wandered astray, By accident he called on Samuel to make some
enquiry, and is privately anointed the future king of Israel.
The king of Persia, whose dominion extended from India to Ethiopia, had a sleepless night. He ordered his servants to read to him out of the chronicles of his kingdom. By accident they came to a sentence about one Mordecai, who had disclosed a conspiracy against the king's life. “What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this ?” said the king. At this moment, by accident, Haman entered the palace, to ask permission to hang this Mordecai on the gallows he had prepared.
Mary was living in Galilee, when a decree was published by Augustus that the people in all the provinces of the Roman empire must be enrolled for taxation. Mary being of the family of David, was obliged to make a journey with Joseph to Bethlehem. By this accident the prophecies were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem.
We shall refer to one more fact, twice recorded in the Bible, which furnishes unquestionable evidence that God overrules and controls events and circumstances, which to men appear accidental.
Ahab, king of Israel, resolved to go against Ramoth Gilead; and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, agreed to assist him in the contest. Mi
caiah the prophet, predicted, that if the monarchs made the attempt, the king of Israel would perish in it.
Ahab incensed against the messenger of such evil tidings, commanded him to be imprisoned, and treated with the greatest severity, until he should return from the battle-field. As far as possible to defeat the predictionAhab disguised himself, and went into the battle as a common soldier, requesting Jehoshaphat to wear the ensigns of royalty; who, as he was not expected in the conflict, would doubtless be taken for the king of Israel. Now mark the result. And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said to the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host, for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day : howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself upon his chariot against the Syrians, until the even; and about the time of the sun going down, Ahab died. The purpose of God is here announced by the prophet; and the instrument to execute that purpose, is unconscious of the agency under which he acts --and of the consequences which are to result from his deed. And when we remember that this was in a battle, than which nothing can be imagined more uncertain and accidental, the conclusion must be that the reins by which events are guided, and the scales in which the fates of the human race are weighed, are alike in the hands of God.
We shall now refer to a few facts from HisTORY, which will serve as illustrations of the same truth, that what appears to be accidental and fortuitous to man, is not so to God, but that all is known to him and under his control.
There is no example in ancient history more striking than that which is recorded of Timoleon, which we shall relate out of Plutarch. Three persons had entered into a conspiracy to assassinate Timoleon, as he was offering up his devotions in a certain temple. In order to it, they took their several stands in the most convenient places for their purpose. As they were waiting for an opportunity to put their design in execution, a stranger having observed one of the conspirators, fell upon him and slew him. Upon which the other two thinking their plot had been discovered, threw themselves at the feet of Timoleon, and confessed the whole matter. This stranger upon examination, was found to have understood nothing of the intended assassination; but having several years before had a brother killed by the conspirator, whom he here put to death, and having until now sought in vain for an opportunity of revenge, he chanced to meet the murderer in the temple, who had planted himself there for the above mentioned purpose. Plutarch cannot forbear, on this occasion, speaking with a kind of rapture on the schemes of Providence; which, in this particular, had so contrived it, that the stranger should, for so long a time, be debarred the means of doing justice to his brother, until, by the same blow that revenged the death of one innocent man, he preserved the life of another.
Posidonius, in his life of Augustine, relates, that the 'good man, going on one occasion to preach at a distant town, took with him a guide to direct him in the way. This man, by accident, mistook the usual way, and fell into a byepath. It afterwards proved that in this manner the preacher's life had been saved, as his enemies, aware of his journey, had placed themselves in the proper road to kill him.
The celebrated Scotch reformer, John Knox, had many remarkable
from the malicious designs of his enemies. He was accustomed to sit at the head of the table in his own house, with his back to the window ; but on one particular evening he would neither himself sit in his chair, nor allow anyone else to do so. That very evening a bullet was shot through the window, purposely to kill him ; it grazed the chair in which he usually sat, and made a hole in the foot of the candlestick.